Saturday, August 26, 2006
The Kingston Trio was a big part of pop history, and they made great music. For the fans, and I'm one, this is essential material.
By Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
August 26, 2006
"The noise came from the trees: crack, crack, crack.
As the researchers and their village guides crept closer, they saw something that was not supposed to be happening in the Ebo forest in the central African nation of Cameroon: chimpanzees using rocks as hammers to break open tough-shelled nuts.
Previous research had found that kind of tool use only in chimps 1,000 miles away, across the wide N'Zo-Sassandra River in Ivory Coast. Researchers thought the behavior was either a genetic trait or maybe a learned skill passed from one generation to another.
The discovery of tool use among chimps in Cameroon, separated from their cousins in Ivory Coast by the 'information barrier' of the river, suggests that the skill was invented independently in each place, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Current Biology."
'I want to bring my songs and melodies to hip hop beats -- a bit like 'No Diggity' by Blackstreet,'' John said in excerpts of an interview posted on Rolling Stone's Web site on Friday.
John told the music magazine he would like to work with producer Dr. Dre and a variety of artists, although he had yet to contact them."
Something Old, Nothing New: "The new DVD of Double Indemnity includes a fascinatingly bad extra: a 1973 made-forTV remake, directed by Jack Smight (Harper), written by Steven Bochco, and with Richard Crenna, Samantha Eggar and Lee J. Cobb doing MacMurray, Stanwyck and Robinson, respectively."
Friday, August 25, 2006
Secret Service officials confirm to The Washington Post they tried to get the Virginia Department of Transportation to close down the carpool lanes on a highway leading out of Washington Wednesday so President George W. Bush could easily get to and from a fundraiser for Republican Sen. George Allen.
State experts who monitor traffic predicted a commuting nightmare, because they would have had to close down the lanes for much of the day for logistical reasons, so they denied the request."
Forty years or so ago, I was in graduate school with Keith Coplin. I haven't seen Keith since then, but I remember him well, and I especially remember one funny story about him and the draft. But that's beside the point. The point is that a couple of years ago Keith published a novel called Crofton's Fire, and it's terrific. The title character is a military man who escapes the Custer fight at Little Big Horn and goes on to become involved in any number of interesting situations throughout the rest of the 19th century. Crofton, unlike, say, Harry Flashman, is a good and decent man, but his narrative voice is as compelling as Harry's. It's also entirely different. The book's style is spare and almost poetic.
This book got killer reviews, and independent booksellers loved it (see scan). If you're looking for a superbly written historical novel, this is the one. Check it out.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Making Room for the Hopeless Pop Star in a Crowd of Professional Amateurs - New York Times: "“Paris,” the CD, is evidently a vanity project; the packaging includes nearly as many photographs of the singer (10) as tracks (11). And some of the lightweight love songs, like the sleek disco throwback “I Want You,” work pretty well. But throughout, you get the welcome feeling that Ms. Hilton isn’t taking any of this too seriously. Wasting no time in getting to her beloved catchphrase, she whispers, “It’s hot,” six seconds into the first song. And the album, which lasts less than 40 minutes, ends with a perfectly useless version of the Rod Stewart hit “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.”
Needless to say, most listeners will be able to make it through “Paris” without crying. But the CD should help refine the common notion that Ms. Hilton is famous for doing nothing. She is, on the contrary, famous for being able to do whatever she wants, which makes her the exact opposite of your average aspiring star. Ms. Hilton and Mr. Federline have this, at least, in common: Neither of them is looking for a job."
Lola was Angela's cat. Even though Judy and I have known her for 14 years, have fed her when Angela was out of town, and have even kept her in our house for days at a time, she never liked us. She never voluntarily got in our laps or liked being around us. Mostly she'd howl and hiss at us. But she loved Angela. She followed her everywhere, and when Angela was at home, Lola would either be in her lap or nearby. She was a one-woman cat.
Earlier this summer, Lola started getting sickly. The vets weren't much help, but we told Angela to spend whatever it took. If she couldn't pay, we would. Lord knows what the bills will be, since Lola went from the vet to the even more costly internist. In the end, nobody could help. Lola had three tumors in her tummy. Her weight dropped from 12 pounds to a little over 3 pounds. She could have visited the cat oncologist, but there would have been no guarantee of a cure. So today Angela did one of the hardest things she's ever done or will ever have to do (I hope): she took Lola in to the vet so that Lola could could sleep the big sleep and have some relief. I have no idea why I'm so sentimental about a cat that didn't even like me, but there you have it. Rest in peace, Lola. We'll never forget you.
Updated: 11:54, Thursday August 24, 2006
Celebrity autobiographies are the books most often abandoned by readers, according to a new survey.
The five books most often left behind in hotel rooms are all works written by the rich and famous, the survey by Travelodge found.
The book most often discarded was Paris Hilton's Confessions Of An Heiress, with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho in second place with his Made In Portugal.
In third place was glamour model Jordan - or Katie Price - with her A Whole New World.
Big Brother star Jade Goody was fourth with Jade's World and Sir Alex Ferguson fifth with Managing My Life.
While JK Rowling's Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone was sixth, two more celebrity autobiographies were in seventh and eighth positions - Tony Adams' Tony Adams Addicted and Paul Gascoigne's Gazza - My Story."
The 100 films that follow (in alphabetical order) were chosen by the magazine's editors for their startling ideas and images. Some are from foreign lands or scorned genres; many were made with tiny budgets; but all are great, and none are recognized by the AFI.
Note: The films that are marked with a yellow star are the films that 'The Greatest Films' site has selected as the '100 Greatest Films'."
After a tumultuous week of clashing over the essence of the cosmos, the International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of the planetary status it has held since its discovery in 1930. The new definition of what is — and isn’t — a planet fills a centuries-old black hole for scientists who have labored since Copernicus without one."
News.com.au: IT TOOK about 30 takes to get it right, but Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe and his co-star Katie Leung clearly enjoyed their first screen kiss.
The pair, who are currently filming Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, did, however, admit to a few nerves before their big moment.
Pretty Scottish actress Katie, 19, who plays Harry's girlfriend Cho Chang, had nothing but praise for her wizard beau despite some inital butterflies.
"Daniel is a good kisser," she revealed, "I really enjoyed it. He's energetic and makes you feel relaxed ... It's great working with him."And the 18-year-old leading man was just as enthusiastic about the spellbinding love scene which will be screened next year: "My God, it was fun. Me and Katie - we were awkward and nervous at first but once we got it, it was fine."
Check out the rest of the post to see who should have been included on Joss Whedon and James Gunn's lists. (Links to those lists are provided there.)
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
How to Make a Duct Tape Wallet - WikiHow: "How to Make a Duct Tape Wallet
Everybody needs a wallet, right? If you have a taste for the unconventional, or you're simply a stubborn do-it-yourselfer, then whip out that roll of duct tape and make your own wallet!"
What Your Freshmen Don’t Know
Beloit College has released its latest “Mindset List,” to help academics understand what freshmen know — and what they don’t have a clue about. This list has been prepared each August since 1998 and past lists are available online.
Here is this year’s list, for the Class of 2010:
1. The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
2. They have known only two presidents.
3. For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.
4. Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the U.S.
5. They have grown up getting lost in “big boxes”.
6. There has always been only one Germany.
7. They have never heard anyone actually “ring it up” on a cash register.
8. They are wireless, yet always connected.
9. A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents’.
10. Thanks to pervasive head phones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in the front.
11. A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.
12. Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.
13. Faux fur has always been a necessary element of style.
14. The Moral Majority has never needed an organization.
15. They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.
16. DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.
17. They grew up pushing their own miniature shopping carts in the supermarket.
18. They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.
19. “Google” has always been a verb.
20. Text messaging is their e-mail.
21. Milli Vanilli has never had anything to say.
22. Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.
23. Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.
24. Madden has always been a game, not a Super Bowl-winning coach.
25. Phantom of the Opera has always been on Broadway.
26. “Boogers” candy has always been a favorite for grossing out parents.
27. There has never been a “skyhook” in the NBA.
28. Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents’ attics.
29. Computerized player pianos have always been tinkling in the lobby.
30. Non-denominational mega-churches have always been the fastest growing. religious organizations in the U.S.
31. They grew up in minivans.
32. Reality shows have always been on television.
33. They have no idea why we needed to ask “...can we all get along?”
34. They have always known that “In the criminal justice system the people have been represented by two separate yet equally important groups.”
35. Young women’s fashions have never been concerned with where the waist is.
36. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
37. Brides have always worn white for a first, second, or third wedding.
38. Being techno-savvy has always been inversely proportional to age.
39. “So” as in “Sooooo New York,” has always been a drawn-out adjective modifying a proper noun, which in turn modifies something else.
40. Affluent troubled teens in Southern California have always been the subjects of television series.
41. They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.
42. Ken Burns has always been producing very long documentaries on PBS.
43. They are not aware that “flock of seagulls hair” has nothing to do with birds flying into it.
44. Retin-A has always made America look less wrinkled.
45. Green tea has always been marketed for health purposes.
46. Public school officials have always had the right to censor school newspapers.
47. Small white holiday lights have always been in style.
48. Most of them have never had the chance to eat bad airline food.
49. They have always been searching for “Waldo”.
50. The really rich have regularly expressed exuberance with outlandish birthday parties.
51. Michael Moore has always been showing up uninvited.
52. They never played the game of state license plates in the car.
53. They have always preferred going out in groups as opposed to dating.
54. There have always been live organ donors.
55. They have always had access to their own credit cards.
56. They have never put their money in a “Savings & Loan.”
57. Sara Lee has always made underwear.
58. Bad behavior has always been getting captured on amateur videos.
59. Disneyland has always been in Europe and Asia.
60. They never saw Bernard Shaw on CNN.
61. Beach volleyball has always been a recognized sport.
62. Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice.
63. Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.
64. LoJack transmitters have always been finding lost cars.
65. Diane Sawyer has always been live in Prime Time.
66. Dolphin-free canned tuna has always been on sale.
67. Disposable contact lenses have always been available.
68. “Outing” has always been a threat.
69. Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss has always been the perfect graduation gift.
70. They have always “dissed” what they don’t like.
71. The U.S. has always been studying global warming to confirm its existence.
72. Richard M. Daley has always been the mayor of Chicago.
73. They grew up with virtual pets to feed, water, and play games with, lest they die.
74. Ringo Starr has always been clean and sober.
75. Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.
August 23, 2006
Theme: Friends & Neighbors
Howdy, Neighbor, Howdy – Porter Wagoner & the Wagonmasters
Don’t Take Everybody to be your Friend – Sister Rosetta Tharp
(Dylan suggests going on YouTube and searching for Sister Rosetta. Watch a video, he says, and “it’ll blow your mind.”)
Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend – T-Bone Burnett
Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend – Marilyn Monroe (truncated version)
Dylan explains why he plays “obscure” artists
La Valse d’ Amitie – Doc Guidry
Make Friends – Moon Mullican
My Next Door Neighbor – Jerry McCain
Let’s Invite them Over – George Jones & Melba Montgomery
Dylan digresses for a fine rant about the current state of country music (“You damn kids get off my lawn!”)
My Friends – Howlin’ Wolf
Last Night – Little Walter
You’ve Got a Friend – Carole King
Bad Neighborhood – Ronnie & the Delinquents
Nieghbours – The Rolling Stones
Too Many Parties and Too Many Pals – Luke the Drifter (Hank Williams)
Why Can’t We Be Friends – War
A city crackdown on saggy pants?
Dallas: Critics defend their right to wear drawers that droop
07:19 AM CDT on Wednesday, August 23, 2006
By TAWNELL D. HOBBS / The Dallas Morning News
The hip trend of wearing saggy pants could be at risk on the streets of Dallas.
Dallas school trustee Ron Price, with the backing of several City Council members, wants to prohibit pants that hang well below the waist. He wants an ordinance banning the look within city limits.
Mr. Price plans to address the council at today's meeting at 9 a.m. at City Hall. He said he's fed up with people who walk the streets "with their pants below their buttocks with their underwear exposed."
Several council members backed the idea Tuesday, with Bill Blaydes declaring, "It's an embarrassment to our city if we can't keep our pants up."
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Specialists say it could be the result of a mild winter and drought conditions, or multiple queens forcing worker yellow jackets to enlarge their quarters so the queens will be in separate areas. But experts haven't determined exactly what's behind the surprisingly large nests.
Auburn University entomologists, who say they've never seen the nests so large, have been fielding calls about the huge nests from property owners from Dothan up to Sylacauga and over into west-central Alabama's Black Belt.
At one site in Barbour County, the nest was as large as a Volkswagen Beetle, said Andy McLean, an Orkin pesticide service manager in Dothan who helped remove it from an abandoned barn about a month ago."
'I don't know anybody who's made a record that sounds decent in the past twenty years, really,' the 65-year-old rocker said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.
Dylan, who released eight studio albums in that time, returns with his first recording in five years, 'Modern Times,' next Tuesday.
Noting the music industry's complaints that illegal downloading means people are getting their music for free, he said, 'Well, why not? It ain't worth nothing anyway.'
'You listen to these modern records, they're atrocious, they have sound all over them,' he added. 'There's no definition of nothing, no vocal, no nothing, just like ... static.'"
I see in the paper that it's Ray Bradbury's 85th birthday. The Martian Chronicles is one of those books that will always be in my Top Ten. There are some great stories in there. And "The Fireman," the story that became Fahrenheit 451, is one that completely knocked me out when I was a kid and read it in Galaxy magazine. One of the best stories ever. Happy birthday, Ray Bradbury!
Thanks to Ed Gorman for the tip.
Monday, August 21, 2006
One thing Ed Gorman does better than just about anybody, in fact, is bring the small-town setting into his westerns. The book's never about just the main characters. It's about everybody who's affected by what happens, and in Powder Keg we get to see them all.
Another thing you can be sure of is that nobody's going to be all bad or all good (well, except for Pepper and Connelly in this one, and maybe the killer). Everyone's troubled; everyone's motives are mixed.
Something a little different this time is that the setting is the dead of winter. The cold and wind and snow play a big part in the story, and you can feel them all.
I'd better warn you, too, that this book isn't for the faint of heart. There are some disturbing scenes that will probably stick with you for a while. And of course it's a mystery. The murders aren't what they seem, and Noah Ford, the Cavalry Man, has to figure out what's really going on. You'll get more than your money's worth from Powder Keg. Check it out.
PARIS HILTON - Paris Hilton Campaigns Against Promiscuity.: "Paris Hilton Campaigns Against Promiscuity.
Celebrity PARIS HILTON has launched a campaign to fight the spiralling problem of sexually transmitted diseases, and is urging women to pull back on promiscuity for the sake of their health.
The reality TV star has shaken off her raunchy reputation after her 1 NIGHT IN PARIS sex tape with RICK SALOMON was exposed in 2004, and is reinventing herself as a positive female role model.
And the socialite, who recently vowed to avoid sex for a year, is encouraging women to do the same and retain their dignity.
She says, 'It's sexier when a girl is flirty but she doesn't do anything.
'I think women should be confident and strong, and they often underestimate themselves and give in to men."
Candy Addict ? Top 10 Grossest Candies: "There are a lot of gross candies in this world. A lot. I didn’t realize the level of grossness that candy has sunk to. We at Candy Addict decided to compile a list of the Top 10 grossest candy we could find. We searched high and low for gross candy and came up with a long list. We then each ranked the grossness of each and compiled our results to bring you the Top 10."
As Beth Foxwell reminds us, Anthony Boucher was born on this day in 1911. A true polymath, he went on to a distinguished career as an editor, author, and anthologist, among many other things. The Bouchercon is, of course, named for him and held in his honor. I love to recall the happy hours I spent in the stacks of the library at The University of Texas at Austin, poring over the yellowed pages of the bound issues of The New York Times Book Review, writing down the names of all the authors that Boucher had reviewed so that I could check their books out of the library or buy old paperback copies of them. Great times.
Boucher died much too young, in 1968. Though I never met him, he had a huge influence on my life.
Whitney Houston has a new fan in the form of the world’s most wanted man – Osama Bin Laden.
According to Bin Laden’s former sex slave Kola Boof the Saudi native is obsessed with the crack addicts work.
She told Harpers Bazaar: “He told me Whitney was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen.”
'He said that he had a paramount desire for her and although he claimed music was evil, he spoke of someday spending vast amounts of money to go to America and try to arrange a meeting.'
Apparently Bin Laden wants to convert Bobby Brown’s lady to Islam and shower her with copious amounts of gifs.
Boof said: 'He said he wanted to give her a mansion he owned in a suburb of Khartoum."
Sunday, August 20, 2006
When pythons attack | Salon News: When a giant python in Florida tried to swallow an alligator -- and blew up! -- local pundits had a field day. But nobody's laughing at how the wayward pets are strangling the life out of the Everglades.
By Philip Armour
A 200-pound, 21-foot snake is not something you want to step on when working in the yard. But don't look now -- Burmese pythons of that size are turning up in southern Florida. "No humans have been attacked yet, but it's clearly a possibility," said Skip Snow, a wildlife biologist with Everglades National Park.
An estimated 1,000 to 10,000 pythons now slither freely throughout southern Florida, eating birds, rabbits, raccoons, gray squirrels and possums. But they also take on bigger prey. Last year, a state employee, checking water levels in a remote canal, discovered the aftermath of a gruesome death match: a 13-foot python literally exploded attempting to swallow a six-foot alligator. The snake's grotesquely distended body ruptured as a result of the alligator's size and kicking legs. The alligator didn't make it, either.
"Yeah, yeah, the King Kong vs. Godzilla thing is pretty funny," said Kenneth Krysko, a reptile researcher with the Florida Museum of Natural History. "But Florida wildlife is under attack."
The Observer | World | Revealed: world's oldest computer: "Revealed: world's oldest computer
Sunday August 20, 2006
It looks like a heap of rubbish, feels like flaky pastry and has been linked to aliens. For decades, scientists have puzzled over the complex collection of cogs, wheels and dials seen as the most sophisticated object from antiquity, writes Helena Smith. But 102 years after the discovery of the calcium-encrusted bronze mechanism on the ocean floor, hidden inscriptions show that it is the world's oldest computer, used to map the motions of the sun, moon and planets.
'We're very close to unlocking the secrets,' says Xenophon Moussas,an astrophysicist with a Anglo-Greek team researching the device. 'It's like a puzzle concerning astronomical and mathematical knowledge.'
Known as the Antikythera mechanism and made before the birth of Christ, the instrument was found by sponge divers amid the wreckage of a cargo ship that sunk off the tiny island of Antikythera in 80BC. To date, no other appears to have survived."