October 31, 2003

Dorrie the Little Witch


I loved the Dorrie books but even the Flea as a boy knew the triumphant hats were impossible. Now I possess just such a hat! I shall post an image as soon as a sympathetic digital camera owning friend of a Flea is available.

"Her hat is always on crooked and her socks never match."

In related witchy news is an opportunity in Norwegian small business loans.

The Norwegian Industrial and Regional Development Fund has awarded Lena Skarninga 53,000 kroner so she can sell elixirs to residents around the forest of Nord-Odal, 93 miles north of Oslo. Skarning, a 33-year-old practicing witch said she plans to make a living mixing potions for clients, selling wares door to door and making house calls.

Posted by the Flea at 11:57 AM | Comments (1)

Flea b-day

Happy birthday to Flea! Happy birthday to Flea!

Ok, my never-ending cold and antihistimine regimine meant I missed the Flea's official anniversary on October 28. Still, I am terrible at remembering birthdays and often forget my own age (I have to work it out from remembering the year of the moon-landing... no, seriously).

The 31st is a good day to mark the occasion. It is my favourite holiday and is also a whole year from my second post. Google the words "Madonna" and "tattoo" and you shall find my excursus on kabbalah. The first hit points to my old home on Blogspot and the second to my jury-rigged proto-blogging at my personal dot com. This year's aim concerns the combination of the words "Kylie" and "bottom". I am sure I get move up from the number seven spot.

And then... This poorly worded post has produced an alarming confusion of events. This is a blogiversary rather than a b-day. Sorry about that! It has not occured to me that the Flea (the blog that is) is a Scorpio...

Posted by the Flea at 11:52 AM | Comments (9)

Invisible Library

Someone very dear to the Flea once commented that there was no such thing as too many books, only not enough bookshelves. Fortunately, many books are in need of imaginary shelving.

In 1840, a curious sales catalog titled "Catalogue d'une tres-riche mais peu nombreuse collection de livres provenant de la bibliotheque de fen M. le Comte J. N. A. de Fortsas." (Catalogue of a very rich but very small collection of books coming from the library of Monsieur Count J. N. A. Fortsas) appeared in Europe. The catalog was indeed small, listing only 52 books, and yet it caused great excitement in the book collecting world. The Count de Fortsas' collection was, literally, unique: the Count collected books of which only one copy existed. And now all of these singular volumes were for sale.

Posted by the Flea at 11:48 AM


The history and specifications of the original 1966 Batmobile feature at this website.

The Batmobile-to-be was the brainchild of Lincoln Mercury's postwar chief stylist, Bill Schmidt. Inspired by a scuba-diving encounter with a shark, Schmidt sketched a low, long, wide, and flat vision of the future with a predatory full width grille, ominously hooded headlights, and killer tail fins.

Posted by the Flea at 11:47 AM

Bonfire of the Vanities

The Flea makes its Bonfire of the Vanities debut with a post about echidnas.

Posted by the Flea at 10:48 AM

October 30, 2003

Sarah Michelle Gellar


This soundboard is such a good idea. It must only be used for the forces of good!

What I see is that after the sun goes down Spike and all his friends are going to be pigging out at the all-you-can-eat moron bar.

There are yet more Buffy-related sound files out there...

And then... Hmm. Once again, a link that worked yesterday and not today. The Flea's traffic is creeping up but I don't think the collected clicking of Flea-readers could knock anybody off-line. I shall try again later.

Posted by the Flea at 06:14 AM


Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:13 AM

World sunlight map

The world sunlight map is just what its name suggests.

The World Sunlight Map provides a computer-generated approximation of what the earth currently looks like. While less impressive than actually being into orbit, this is much more accessible to most of us.

Posted by the Flea at 06:12 AM


Political philosophy is explained using two cows (via Chaos Central).

Bureaucracies: You have two cows. The government takes them, shoots one, milks the other, pays you for the milk, and then pours it down the drain.

Posted by the Flea at 06:11 AM

Simpsons reference

The Meatriarchy makes a brilliant Simpsons reference with regard to Canadian security.

Posted by the Flea at 06:10 AM | Comments (1)

Directorate of Science and Technology

Good news. The CIA Directorate of Science and Technology is exhibiting 40 years' worth of gadgets including and "insectothopter".

The CIA once built a mechanical dragonfly to carry a listening device but found small gusts of wind knocked it off course so it was never used in a spy operation. The agency also tested a 24-inch-long rubber robot catfish named “Charlie” capable of swimming inconspicuously among other fish and whose mission remains secret.

Bad news. It is not open to the public. Some material is available on-line... These pamphlets are particularly interesting.

Posted by the Flea at 06:08 AM

October 29, 2003

Trouser Semaphore

The Chaps offer a moving sight.

Within the space of a week, and with minimal amount of application, it is possible to gain a skill of incalculable worth. Across the floor of a crowded cocktail gathering, you too would be able to convey your inner most thoughts and deepest needs to like minded individuals, using nothing more than flexibility of your physique and the rough pliability of one’s trouser cloth. Surely, there is no sight more moving than a man and three square yards of carefully tailored cavalry twill moving in perfect harmony.

Posted by the Flea at 12:56 PM


Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 12:47 PM

Who sung it?

I feel vague embarrassment at my perfect score.

Posted by the Flea at 12:44 PM


At last, a Linux based solution for the computing needs of Barbie fans aged four to eleven.

Barbie Wizards guide girls through the process of partitioning their disks, formatting volumes, mounting Samba shares, and installing packages.

Posted by the Flea at 12:36 PM


Taiwan to make legal gay marriage (via InstaPundit). Wow. This one came in below the radar... and will be sure to annoy all those progressive Europeans who got beat to the punch by Taiwan (?).

The government of Taiwan announced Monday that it will bring in legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. It will make the island nation, off the coast of mainland China, the first in Asia to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Posted by the Flea at 12:35 PM

October 28, 2003

Ascension Island

The Flea rattles its ghostly chains in welcome to a visitor from Ascension Island. I am still waiting on Inaccessible Island but as another dependency of St. Helena I would say Ascension Island is close enough for government work (though not all that close actually). The local government offers a most hospitable web presence (don't miss the virtual tour).

Ascension has an airstrip although there are no commercial flights to Ascension; RAF flights from Brize Norton to the Falklands stop at Ascension, and USAF flights from Patrick AFB (Florida) serve the US Base on the island. Ascension used to be a "closed" island but tourist access has recently become available, although there are relatively few facilities for tourists or casual visitors. Ascension can be briefly visited as a passenger on the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) St. Helena when it calls at the island.

Two take-offs and two landings a week for commercial flights may have just been approved. Time to pack my bags!

Posted by the Flea at 09:02 AM | Comments (1)


New Like Cinema's on-line auction is selling Jessica Biel's "unforgettable" outfit, Leatherface's four rings and best of all a prop rubber Bloody Chainsaw.

Bid today for your chance to own this amazing piece of horror film history. This prop rubber chainsaw is worn from production and stained with fake blood from Leatherface's slashes. This is a chance you don't want to miss!

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

Particle Tarot

The Particle Tarot is on my list of future Dave McKean purchases. It is primarily an art piece as it consists only of the major arcana. His Vertigo Tarot is a fully functional spread of major and minor arcana photo-collage comic book stylee.

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM


An accurate reflection of the Flea though not the super cool Book of Revelation like Suburban Blight's Kelley.

You Are Romans
You are Romans.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by the Flea at 08:09 AM | Comments (2)


Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:00 AM

Mermaid suit

I am convinced I would look fetching in one of these. Frankly, I find this Neiman Marcus ad-copy extremely mermanophobic. Quick! To the Fleajet!

The custom-designed prosthetic suit fits over the hips and envelopes the legs, creating an extremely realistic blend of female and fish.

Posted by the Flea at 07:57 AM | Comments (3)


Do not start feeding the fish if you have work to do.

Posted by the Flea at 07:53 AM

October 27, 2003

Kylie's assets


The Flea's commitment to Kylie-media means I am all over Kylie's assets. Kylie is worth a reported US$70m including holdings in property, merchandizing and advertizing, singles sales, tours and song royalties. Meantime, Ms. Minogue has decided to cover her most famous asset in a new sartorial philosophy for her latest video. Could this reflect the influence of deranged fans? The Sun has launched a "Don't Cover Up Kylie!" petition in protest.

"Her bottom is now a national institution," The Sun said.

Quite right. Justin Timberlake has admired it, Jean Claude van Damme has claimed credit for it but Johnny Vaughn has summed it up.

"If an alien landed on earth, he would think Kylie's arse is the world's leader."

Truly, Kylie's assets unite us all.

Posted by the Flea at 09:28 AM | Comments (1)

The bathhouse of Jesus

A Roman bathhouse is being excavated in the basement of a modern gift-shop in Nazareth. I quote the following passage for two reasons. First, as it explains the significance of the site for ancient geopolitics and subsequently our understanding of the life of Christ. Second, to point out the contortions some Guardian editorialist went to work the words "occupying power" in there. This sort of news must prove a serious problem for the anti-Israel mind as it is a powerful reminder of the two millenia of persecution of the Jews only now mitigated by the existence of a strong, free Israel.

Freund, of the Maurice Greenberg Centre for Judaic Studies at Hartford University in Connecticut, says the discovery means that historians will have to rethink the place and significance of Nazareth in the Roman empire and consequently the formative experiences of Jesus. It has been assumed that the Nazareth of 2,000 years ago was a poor Jewish village on the periphery of the empire, where local families inhabited caves on the hillside that today contains the modern Israeli-Arab city. On this view, the young Jesus would have had little contact with the Romans until he left Nazareth as an adult; his father, Joseph, one of many craftsmen in the town, may have worked on a Roman palace at nearby Sephori.

But the huge scale of Shama's bathhouse suggests that Nazareth, rather than Sephori, was the local hub of military control from Rome. The giant bath could only have been built for a Roman city or to service a significant garrison town. That would mean Joseph and Mary, and their son Jesus, would have been living in the very heart of the occupying power. This is likely to have huge significance for New Testament scholars in their understanding of Jesus's later teachings.

Posted by the Flea at 09:26 AM | Comments (1)


Like holy water for my files, you say?

Our server and algorithms have been specially consecrated, enabling them to bless any data which passes through their blessing algorithms. Increasingly the electronic world is becoming more and more polluted with sin, and evil, and this is a simple easy to use service which brings a little divinity to your online documents.

Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM

Anthem of the USSR

And now is the time at the Flea when we dance (but wait there's more!).

Posted by the Flea at 09:11 AM

Porno karaoke

The Germans are ahead of the curve on this one.

Porno karaoke is similar to traditional karaoke - but, instead of standing in for Whitney Houston or Frank Sinatra, contestants belt out the soundtracks of adult movie stars.

Posted by the Flea at 09:10 AM

Spam spam spam

Six different comment spams from different advertizers (but one bot?) force me to disable html in comments. This may not deter the spambots but it will deny them their linky reward.

Posted by the Flea at 09:06 AM

October 25, 2003

Hotel Attraction


Antonio Gaudi had plans for a hotel on what was to become the site of the World Trade Center (or thereabouts).

The drawing called for a cluster of steel and concrete parabolic towers at varying heights surrounding a central tower that would stand 1,048 feet tall, according to Paul Laffoley, the Boston architect leading the effort to give the concept a second chance.

"It's like resurrecting something that should have existed in the past," Laffoley said.

Posted by the Flea at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)

Con Te Partirò

This cold is hanging on and seems to have left me in a mood. "I will go with you"... an on-line lounge has a copy linked toward the top of the left-hand column.

Con te partirò
su navi per mari
che io lo so
no no non esistono più
con te io li rivivrò
con te partirò
Io con te

Bocelli's version is wondrous. Kenny's has a certain something.

Posted by the Flea at 10:00 AM

Ridley. Ripley. Ridley. Ripley.

Ridley to kill Ripley in fifth Alien film.

Ridley Scott says he's thinking about making a fifth Alien movie so Sigourney Weaver's character can be killed off once and for all.

Posted by the Flea at 09:57 AM

Tru Calling premiere

Eliza Dushku's Tru Calling is to premiere on Fox, October 30. I have been skeptical of the show's premise but will watch any Dushku-media. I shall start by having a look at the thirteen minutes of the show Fox has available for preview...

Posted by the Flea at 09:53 AM


A b3ta poster investigates the life and times of Nohands, a most famous kitten.

Since his initial appearance on Ratemykitten.com over a year ago, the furry creature known as "Nohands" has become a minor Internet legend, spawning hundreds of photoshopped variations, viral emails, animations, and even a dedicated gallery. The picture was originally posted anonymously, and only after some months was claimed by a user called "bugger", who has since remained silent.

Posted by the Flea at 09:32 AM | Comments (1)

Save the Gorilla

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (via b3ta).

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM

Smashing pumpkins

These are indeed smashing pumpkins. Don't despair of your own pumpkin-carving prowess. You can get some practice on-line. Who knows? Something unique may emerge.

And then... Even more pumpkin goodness including an astonishing Alien pumpkin.

Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM

Miss Afghanistan

There are two visions of the world contesting one another for supremacy. One vision holds that a woman who is gang-raped is "partly to be blamed" if she is not wearing hijab and therefore seduced her rapists "by her revealing form and shape." The other holds that a woman can wear just what she pleases. Take Miss Afghanistan, for example.

Miss Afghanistan Vida Samadzai walks during the presentation of the 60 candidates for Miss Earth 2003 International Beauty Pageant in Manila on October 23, 2003. The 25-year-old Kabul born beauty left Afghanistan in 1996 to live in California. Samadzai who is taking up international business at University Cal State Fullerton plans to visit Kabul soon.

I am confident our vision is going to win. The forces of joyous beauty will triumph of the forces of vicious puritanism (the latter link via the dissident frogman).

And then... The InstaMan is on this too.

AMERICA 100, TALIBAN 0: This says it all!

Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM | Comments (3)

Viking long-ships

"The ship was a dragon...but this ship was far larger, and more carefully put together in all her parts. The king called this ship the Long Serpent... The Long Serpent had thirty-four benches for rowers. The head and the arched tail were both gilt, and the bulwarks were as high as in sea-going ships. This ship was the best and most costly ship ever made in Norway."

The Gokstad Ship may have soon have a sister.

Pulse levels are rising among Norwegian researchers who think they may have found the country's fourth intact Viking ship buried in a mound near Toensberg. The site is just next to the spot where the famed Gokstad ship was found in 1880.

Posted by the Flea at 12:41 AM | Comments (1)

October 24, 2003



All praise Ith for this... That is Keira Knightley with her Guinevere on. A dark ages Arthur film is sure to please the Flea.

The film is set in the 5th century, around Hadrian's Wall (which has been recreated in Co. Wicklow in Ireland - well, 3miles of it!) and is based upon the presence of Sarmatian warriors who served Rome on the Wall keeping the peace and the Picts out of Britain. Since Hollywood want their films dramatic and flashy, overall historical accuracy has occasionally gone to the wall as well, despite John's best efforts, but the overall effect of the finished production - due for release Winter 2004 - should make up for this, especially since this film is the first proper Dark Age Arthur.

Posted by the Flea at 10:51 AM | Comments (4)

Aragorn's destiny

Viggo Mortensen is interviewed on becoming Aragorn. Alongside it is yet another excellent film-related Quicktime video.

With his ruggedly handsome exterior and coolly courageous performance, actor Viggo Mortensen embodies Aragorn in a way that's wholly true to both J.R.R. Tolkein's literary creation and Peter Jackson's cinematic vision.

Too bad the actor does not believe in liberating people from the forces of evil in the real world. Indeed, he compares the current United States government to Saruman and when seeking to condemn actions in the Second World War can only find the bombing of Dresden in his moral lexicon.

Posted by the Flea at 10:47 AM | Comments (2)

What is love?

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:43 AM | Comments (2)

Powers of Ten

This is neat (via Chaos Central).

View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.

Posted by the Flea at 10:37 AM | Comments (2)

October 23, 2003



The Flea Presents Great Canadians™ series could have no better start than a celebration of the life and thought of William Shatner. The First Church of Shatnerology explains it all.

Putting a Shatnerologist in a room full of ordinary people is like putting a velociraptor in a room full of wiener dogs.

Posted by the Flea at 07:10 AM | Comments (2)

I should be so lucky

I did not have the heart to report this over the weekend. I find myself in the wrong country... vexed again!

KYLIE MINOGUE will launch her sensational new album with a free gig at London’s Hammersmith Apollo next month.

And the Flea's spectral antennae were about to do a dance until I realized the name of the publication reporting news of "Kylie: Unleashed!", a Kylie video game.

"The game is mostly arse-based, yes. Generally speaking the controls are fairly simple. Left makes her wobble her arse leftwards. Right makes her...well, you can guess the rest."

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

Dance! Dance! Dance!

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM | Comments (1)

Castellum Laurium

The Dutch town of Woerden on the Rhine was once a Roman fort, Castellum Laurium. River-going technology unearthed by Dutch archaeologists suggests Roman river transport of AD 100 could flow upstream as well as down.

Dutch archaeologists have discovered a Roman cargo ship equipped with oars, a unique find that they say explains how imperial Rome defended itself on its northern frontiers.

Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM

Inaccessible Island

The Flea will not rest until my stats package turns up readers from Inaccessible Island. Or at least from Edinburgh of the Seven Seas on Tristan which I gather is the closest inhabited spot.

Inaccessible Island was discovered by the Dutch ship t'Nachtglas in 1652, and named after it, with the phrase "inaccessible" added in parentheses after the name as the sailors who landed were unable to get further inland than the beach. The latter name has persisted to this day, reflecting both the difficulties in visiting this island and the difficulties in reaching its interior.

Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM | Comments (1)

October 22, 2003

Obey the suit

Ok, not an ad that will ever air on the virtuous cable television of Toronto the Good due to imagery of questionable taste. And yet l find I must now own a Lutwyche Bespoke suit at all costs.

A headless suit mysteriously interacts with several people in a new viral video promoting U.K.-based tailor Lutwyche Bespoke. In the video, called Obey The Suit, a man whose face is never shown first takes a bite out of a man's sandwich, then slaps the backside of an unsuspecting woman using the copy machine and finally interrupts a business meeting have his way with a participant on the conference room table. Each time, the victims and witnesses react with a smile as soon as they see the suit.

Posted by the Flea at 09:54 AM | Comments (3)

And there was much rejoicing

The Flea's fever has yet to break and the prospect of another raspy lecture this evening is weary making. And yet there is much rejoicing at Flea Towers this morning as a kind hearted Flea-reader has sent the soundtracks to Frank Herbert's Dune and Children of Dune. Brilliant stuff and much appreciated.

Thank you!

And then... No, seriously, thanks. I am listening to the Children of Dune soundtrack. There is a piece called Inama Nushif which played over the birth of the twins montage. It is moving beyond the capacity of my antihistimine addled writing ability to express.

Posted by the Flea at 09:53 AM | Comments (1)

Batman protest

Whatever one might make of the substance of their complaint or their choice of venue these rooftop protestors were wise to avoid Superman outfits as that would have been silly and unconvincing.

Two men dressed as Batman and Robin have climbed on to the roof of the Royal Courts of Justice to protest over the treatment of fathers in the family courts. Eddie Goldtooth and Jolly Stanesby, members of the pressure group Fathers for Justice, scaled the side of the court building in The Strand just after 4am.

Group spokesman Glen Poole said the men were calling themselves "the caped crusaders for justice".

Posted by the Flea at 09:48 AM | Comments (5)

Exquisite corpse

An MTV feature caught my attention as it shares its name with a novel I read several years ago. The term originates in a surrealist game...

Among Surrealist techniques exploiting the mystique of accident was a kind of collective collage of words or images called the cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse). Based on an old parlor game, it was played by several people, each of whom would write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal part of it, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution. The technique got its name from results obtained in initial playing, "Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau" (The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine).

Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM

Sweet Dreams

By a staggering coincidence this result echoes Sketches of Strain.

Sweet Dreams
"Sweet Dreams" (by Eurythmics)
Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
Travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody's looking for something
Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused

Which 80's Song Fits You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM | Comments (1)


These 3D views of the Italian Riviera suggest the growing ability of "the internet" to torment those of us about to face a Canadian winter.

Portofino is the glittering jewel of the Ligurian coast. Although there is not much to do here, it is a place to see and be seen (Bogart and Bacall and Taylor and Burton made it world-famous), and the view from the harbor of the port with its brightly painted houses will likely keep your camera busy. Nearby is the monastery of La Cervara and the church of S. Giorgio, which is said to contain relics of St. George brought back from the Holy Land. It was Pliny who first described this stunning natural area and named it 'Portus Delphini'. This over time was corrupted to Portofino.

Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM

Robin Hood

The bones of legendary outlaw Robin Hood may have been dug up in the mid-18th Century, according to a history buff.

Let us assume for a moment there was an historical Robbing... err... Robin Hood hiding there somewhere under the layers of French courtly fancies. Whoever he was and whatever he was up to in life chances are he was not shooting arrows a full 650 metres from his death bed (it was only a flesh wound!). The Flea concurs with the thinking of the history buff up to this point. Even so, green tights and wishful thinking triumph over common sense in a BBC story reporting a ludicrous claim to have identified Robin Hood's burial site.

Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM

October 21, 2003



The platypus is a totally over-rated marsupial compared to the echidna. Echidnas kick ass.

And then... Not a marsupial at all! I blog corrected... see the comments for details.

Posted by the Flea at 08:29 AM | Comments (4)

Death Star theater

The future home of a Flea needs something like this.

Dillon Works fabricated this 10 seat custom home theater, complete with automatic doors and twinkling star fields. (It even has a THX sound system!)

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Group hug

A website offers the opportunity to make anonymous public confessions.

\con*fess"\, v. i. 1. to make confession; to disclose sins or faults, or the state of the conscience.

the idea is for anyone to anonymously confess to anything. it actually feels kind of good to know that someone will read it.

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM

Dub dub

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

Nonverbal communication

The scribbler points to research on "rejection signaling" in women's courtship rituals as evidence "you have to get up pretty early in the morning to get ahead of we professors".

Posted by the Flea at 08:19 AM

October 20, 2003

Lord of the things

I am wondering how much money I would need to have before I would consider dropping US $5995.00 on a Gandalf statue. A desktop Orthanc seems more plausible (also available as a 3D puzzle) and these Stone Trolls appeal to me. Even so, I cannot help but wonder if the book is getting lost in all these mathoms. And I cannot decide if the travesty that is Lord of the Rings Monopoly must be mine.

The board contains familiar Monopoly elements such as "Go," "Free Parking," and "Jail" and Lord of the Rings locations like Helm's Deep, Isengard, and Weathertop, all against a map of Middle-earth. The Monopoly railroad locations have been replaced with Lord of the Rings horses -- Brego, Shadowfax, Bill The Pony and Asfaloth. The set includes collectible Pewter game tokens of Aragorn, Frodo, Gimli, Galadriel, Gandalf and Legolas, and a gold-colored One Ring that can be used in a non-traditional version of the game.

I am curious how the Ring fits into a non-traditional version of the game. I would have thought the ability to become invisible could only underline the traditional strategy of surreptitiously helping yourself to extra Monopoly money. This, at least, was the approach of all too many friends of a Flea...

And then... The Monopoly Token Personality Quiz linked through this page explains why I always took the Top Hat.

Posted by the Flea at 09:16 AM | Comments (2)

Zombie watch

The Flea's commitment to zombie-media continues with reports of walking dead in Comoros.

The world's top scientists are scrambling to figure out why the dead are spontaneously becoming reanimated in the African country of Comoros.

And then... Hmm. That link was working yesterday. I shall keep an eye on it.

Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM | Comments (2)


Do I get to be a sinister and sensual vampire like Ith? Noooooo...

You are Form 3, Unicorn: The Innocent.

"And The Unicorn knew she wasn't meant to go into the Dark Wood. Disregarding the advice given to her by the spirits, Unicorn went inside and bled silver blood.. For her misdeed, the world knew evil."

Some examples of the Unicorn Form are Eve (Christian) and Pandora (Greek). The Unicorn is associated with the concept of innocence, the number 3, and the element of water. Her sign is the twilight sun.

As a member of Form 3, you are a curious individual. You are drawn to new things and become fascinated with ideas you've never come in contact with before. Some people may say you are too nosey, but it's only because you like getting to the bottom of things and solving them. Unicorns are the best friends to have because they are inquisitive.

Which Mythological Form Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by the Flea at 09:11 AM | Comments (4)

Sesame Street

The Raging Kraut was home sick and catching up on his Sesame Street viewing with his daughter. Imagine his surprise to see Sesame Street guest Kofi Annan promote the "U.N. Way" to resolve conflicts.

Elmo was arguing with another character about who gets to sing the alphabet song. Historically Elmo always sang the song, but now the other characters are muscling in, wanting a piece of this rich singing pie...

In walks Mr. Annan and dictates that they should solve the problem the "U.N. way" and mandates that they should all sing the alphabet song together- no auditions to see who was the best singer, no digging in to the history of the situation, no exclusion of AWFUL performers - just a compromise solution that rewards the slackers in the group and punishes those that have worked hard and are actually better than average.

Posted by the Flea at 09:08 AM

October 18, 2003

Tate Modern

The Turbine Hall is the most impressive feature of the Tate Modern, a gallery housed in the converted Bankside Power Station. It is host currently to a peculiar atmospheric piece called The Weather Project. Another reason for the Flea to miss London (though I did get to see Anish Kapoor's peculiar installation in the same hall).

In contrast with the Unilever sponsored showpiece exhibit was an impromptu display by Banksy, an agit-prop and graffiti artist. Banksy's work strikes the Flea to be less creative than any given day at b3ta. His marketable politics look like more commercial anti-pop to me. Even so, I like the idea of do-it-yourself accession to museum and gallery collections.

The stunt was planned with precision and executed with aplomb. Disguised as a pensioner, Britain's favourite graffiti artist, Banksy, shuffled into Tate Britain and stuck one of his own creations on to a gallery wall.

The picture - a small oil painting of a bucolic scene disfigured by blue and white tape to represent a police line - might have still been there had the glue not proven too weak. After several hours hanging next to a 19th century landscape, Banksy's painting, entitled Crimewatch UK Has Ruined the Countryside For All of Us, crashed to the floor and the stunt was discovered.

Posted by the Flea at 10:47 AM


Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

And then... The original video for this tune lacks a certain something of the revised version.

Posted by the Flea at 10:43 AM | Comments (1)

Dwarf injured

John Rhys-Davies was injured, possibly severely, in an on-set accident.

The actor who plays dwarf Gimli in the The Lord of the Rings films is suing producers of the mini series "La Femme Musketeer" for negligence after he suffered serious injuries in an on-set accident.

Posted by the Flea at 10:33 AM

Evil Dead

Ain't It Cool News reports the following item of self-explanatory import.

"I would love to do the 4th Evil Dead film!"

Posted by the Flea at 10:18 AM | Comments (2)


Despite being full of Kylie-content the Flea is measurably less good than Argghhh!!! according to an on-line Gematria calculator.

This site is certified 64% GOOD by the Gematriculator

Posted by the Flea at 10:17 AM | Comments (1)

360 degrees

I have no plans to stand at the top of Everest. It is nice to have a look round though.

When I reached the south summit I was suffering from a lack of Spanish Olives. I was most preoccupied with thoughts of the tin of olives sitting in my tent at base camp. The preoccupation was the result of a very intense dream about olives which was interrupted by the alarm summoning me to our summit attempt. When I reached the south summit the view to the main summit interested me from a mountaineering point of view and all dreamings of olives were banished from my head.

Posted by the Flea at 10:13 AM

Dating game

British archaeologists suggest the age of cave paintings in what is (for) now France have been grossly exaggerated, saying "If the French are right, it would be as if they had found a Renaissance painting from the early Middle Ages."

The age of the cave paintings at Chauvet, the Sistine Chapel of palaeolithic art in south eastern France, has become the subject of a war of words between British and French archaeologists. The British claim the French may have exaggerated their age by 18,000 years under official pressure to promote them as the oldest cave paintings in the world.

The French government loose with the truth for glory and commercial gain? Mais... ce n'est pas possible! We cannot know for certain as they will not only independent laboratories to verify the carbon dating results of the single French lab tasked for the job.

Posted by the Flea at 10:01 AM

October 17, 2003



Superhero Hype has a great shot of the Punisher from the forthcoming film. I enjoyed the not very good Dolph Lundgren version but then I am easy to please. The Tim Bradstreet rendition remains the definitive Punisher.

Posted by the Flea at 10:14 AM

Death warmed up

My lectures are done for the week and it is now time for me and my cold to bundle-up at Flea Towers and get back to writing. Kind Flea-readers have rushed to my aid with offers of chicken soup and a mysterious wish-list item. Not surprising, the Canadian version of Amazon is non-convenient and hassleriffic... but the thought is much appreciated. I am touched!

One more post after this then it is time for eggs Béarnaise to get my strength up.

And then... Urgh. Yet worse today. The Grand Marnier and Amaretto blueberry tea I was prescribed did their trick last night but the effect sadly does not last. The gracious provider of said tea expressed a certain skepticism as to where I could have procured proper eggs Béarnaise in the Annex. Château Flea, of course!

Posted by the Flea at 10:08 AM | Comments (2)

All proper tea is best

"We don't have many plimsolls as such," the employee says. "What are they for?"

"I am being trained for the life of a boulevardier," says Temple. "Each morning I must walk along Jermyn Street at a brisk pace, turn left into St James Street, pausing to select the evening's cigar at Davidoff's before ambling to my club, where I shall spend the rest of the day ensconced in an armchair, reading The Times."

By an astonishing coincidence, the Flea is also in training for the life of a boulevardier. Still more astonishing, these Chaps have conducted research into the semiotics of hair that sheds light at long last on my Victorian hairstyle of boyhood. Here is a movement to take note of though for now I have my own research to conduct.

Tomorrow, multinational chains such as McDonald's, Starbucks and Gap will face a new wave of actions against their homogenisation of our high streets. The protests will come not from rowdy mobs of anti-globalisation campaigners sporting dreadlocks and combat trousers, but from polite, well-spoken gents dressed in bespoke tweed suits and hand-stitched brogues.

Marching under the banner "Civilise the City", these self-styled Chaps will disrupt the normal day's business at global chains by enquiring about the availability of devilled kidneys in fast-food outlets and asking to be measured by the head-cutter at clothes shops more used to dealing in S, M, L and XL. Neatly printed banners bearing slogans such as "Give three-piece a chance" and "All proper tea is best" have been made in preparation for the day, the aim of which is to restore good manners, real food and fine tailoring to our city centres.

Posted by the Flea at 09:58 AM

Helen Mirren Appreciation Society

Helen Mirren discusses her nude "romp" with Kylie Minogue's boyfriend.

"There's one scene where he's lying naked and he's unbelievably beautiful. "And I'm sitting next to him and thinking 'Oh my God, I'm so old and ugly' - and yes I did take my clothes off too.

I find this last bit about the old and the ugly difficult to believe. I am sure he is very nice and so forth but he is only Kylie's boyfriend. The Flea is second to none in Kylie-media worship but Helen Mirren is perfection itself. Prime Suspect, for example, is the best crime drama I have ever seen and Excalibur! would not have been the same without her. Time to join the Helen Mirren Appreciation Society.

Posted by the Flea at 09:47 AM | Comments (3)

Tiny Demons

This coincidence is eerie in more ways than one. First, Andrew Ian Dodge is blogging on a recording artist I had no cause to think of for years until yesterday morning. Second, the artist in question is Todd Rundgren. Creeeeeepy!

Andrew has "Hello It's Me" posted at Dodgeblogium. In return, the Flea offers "Tiny Demons".

One of them plays a piccolo in my ear
Another one makes me smell things that aren't there
And they know where to hide
And they know everything that's inside
Of my head
Tiny demons, inside me

One of them ties a lasso around my heart
Another makes me nod when i drive the car
And they won't ever leave
But they won't show their faces to me
And they wait 'til i feel
Like they're gone and they jump out and steal
My relief
Tiny demons, inside me

Listen, listen

Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM | Comments (1)

His toe hurts

I read this and my problems seem small in comparison. Not a post for the squeemish... you have been warned!

Posted by the Flea at 09:38 AM

October 16, 2003

Willow weds


Alyson Hannigan married her longtime beau, Angel's Alexis Denisof (news), this weekend, E! News Live has confirmed.

The Flea rattles its ghostly chains in ambivalence. Yay! Boo! At least an Alyson Hannigan sitcom is in the offing.

Posted by the Flea at 05:58 AM | Comments (1)

Lemur blah blah blah

This is the worst of my teaching schedule for the current academic year. I gave three lectures to courses in three departments Monday, taught another course at the University of Toronto last night, get on a quarter to seven express bus out to Waterloo this morning to give two lectures at Wilfrid Laurier and then scramble back to Toronto for another U of T lecture tonight. Fortunately, I have yet to run out of things to drone on and on about. Unfortunately, I have picked up a cold so my throat is sore and my thought can be summed up thusly.

Posted by the Flea at 05:50 AM | Comments (2)

Meshugga Beach Party

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

But wait, there's more Meshugga Beach Party goodness (via Attu)!

Posted by the Flea at 05:42 AM

Which Rat Pack Member Are You?

That grasshopper bit is uncanny in its accuracy (via Emperor Misha I).


Posted by the Flea at 05:41 AM

Gilgamesh and Amelia Earhart

"I don't want to say definitely it was the grave of King Gilgamesh, but it looks very similar to that described in the epic," Jorg Fassbinder, of the Bavarian department of Historical Monuments in Munich, told the BBC World Service's Science in Action programme.

The BBC reports the possible discovery of the tomb of Gilgamesh while the Pacific Daily News reports a possible clue to the resting place of Amelia Earhart.

The claim rests on a story told by an 81-year-old World War II veteran who was stationed in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in 1944 as a gunman for the Marines. The veteran, Saint John Naftel, of Alabama and some local collaborators have identified what they believe may be the gravesite of Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan, who disappeared somewhere in the Pacific in the summer of 1937 while they were attempting to circumnavigate the globe.

Posted by the Flea at 05:39 AM

Chaco Canyon

Archaeologists have long wondered how the sophisticated Chaco civilization, which built huge multistory dwellings in the high desert of north-central New Mexico, thrived in such an arid climate. The answer, in a word: imports.

The University of Colorado Museum investigates an early system of planting, harvesting, storing and distributing food in what is now the American southwest.

Posted by the Flea at 05:38 AM

October 15, 2003

Street Fighter Kylie


I cannot understand how I have yet to see this film.

Cammy's ready to fight! She's trying to look real serious and mean, and I know that she could kick my butt, but I can't help but think that she's so cute!

Posted by the Flea at 10:43 AM

The Gender Genie

This gadget has predicted accurately the gender of every author I have tried so far (via Fimoculous). The algorithm on which it is based is surprisingly straight-forward.

Inspired by an article in The New York Times Magazine, the Gender Genie uses a simplified version of an algorithm developed by Moshe Koppel, Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and Shlomo Argamon, Illinois Institute of Technology, to predict the gender of an author.

Posted by the Flea at 10:39 AM | Comments (7)

The Meowtrix: Relittered

Someone else with more free time than the Flea.

Free your mind. This Febtembruary. Not really. Vote fish.

Posted by the Flea at 10:32 AM

La Sagrada Familia

Construction of La Sagrada Familia cathedral may be seventeen years ahead of schedule.

Gaudi's neo-Gothic monument was due to be finished in 2040, but thanks to donations from tourists and new technology, could now be finished in 2023.

Posted by the Flea at 10:20 AM

Air Force Druidry

My druid round-up left out at one who served in the United States Air Force. It turns out Rocket Jones is a lapsed druid. Brilliant! I sometimes tell people I am a lapsed agnostic (antagognostic?).

I can relate. The last time I was asked to put by religious beliefs in a box was for the last Canadian census. The Flea's answer: "Jedi Knight (excluding Episode I)".

Posted by the Flea at 09:50 AM



The Flea got its second round of comment spam yesterday. The first was just over a month ago and was so odd I did not know what to make of it at the time. Yesterday's was posted by a Russian site selling a non-family oriented product. I deleted the comments as soon as I saw them but I fear this is only the beginning. Reading comments is about half the Flea-fun for me now and I would be most disappointed if I had to disable them.

The IP address of the recent offenders is:

And then... Here is another:

And then... And another:

Posted by the Flea at 09:39 AM | Comments (2)


Could the Flea become CAPTCHA enabled (via a most useful comment at James Seng)? What is CAPTCHA? This is an acronym for A Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.

Since 1950, when British mathematician Alan Turing wrote an article called "Computer Machinery and Intelligence" for an Oxford philosophy journal, people have applied the phrase Turing test to any experiment in which subjects must distinguish between man and machine by exchanging information with the unknown entity. Such tests strive to determine whether a computer exhibits human intelligence, indicated, in Turing's view, by the computer successfully fooling subjects into believing it's human. CAPTCHA turns the game around, with the machine separating humans from computers.

Posted by the Flea at 09:38 AM

October 14, 2003

Future histories


The Return of the King and both The Matrix sequels make this a banner year for film. The movie event for me, however, was the Sci-Fi Channel's rendition of Children of Dune (which told the story of Dune Messiah as well as the book of the title). Leto II is, in my humble opinion, the greatest hero of all fiction so I was inevitably a demanding viewer. The acting, the effects and above all the music were an astonishing portrayal of Frank Herbert's stories in all their tragedy and adventure. It is just possible I shall one day see something I would never have dared hope for... a film version of my favourite novel, God Emperor of Dune.

One of us had to accept the agony. He was always the stronger.

CGI special effects have enabled the telling of stories which would have been prohibitively expensive if not impossible until recently. The latest example of this was Sci-Fi Pictures' Riverworld, a film whose existence I did not suspect until it turned up on tv Saturday night. I am still looking forward to the new Battlestar Galactica mini-series even if Starbuck has undergone a gender change.

Soon it could be time to brush up on my psychohistory. Ain't It Cool News reports a possible "faithful" film adaptation of the first two Foundation novels by Isaac Asimov.

Twentieth Century Fox has just hired a writer to script two movies at the same time, ala "Lord of the Rings," these being the scripts to FOUNDATION and SECOND FOUNDATION. They tell the story of Hari Seldon and his science of psycho-history, which predicts the next thousand years of the human race. The future is put in jeopardy by the appearance of the Mule, a mutant who takes over the galaxy, and who can't have been part of Seldon's Plan. Fox obviously sees this as a sci-fi Lord of the Rings. The writer is Jeff Vintar, who penned next summer's Will Smith starrer "I, ROBOT" based on his original screenplay "Hardwired," with characters and concepts from Asimov, a sort of "early days at U.S. Robotics" prequel that Alex Proyas [DARK CITY] is directing.

Bring on Foundation!

And then... More films good. More books bad. At least when the books in question are the offensive, lamentable prequels to Frank Herbert's masterpieces. Now they are threatening to write "Dune 7" based on Herbert's notes. If only Brian Herbert would follow the example of Christopher Tolkien and publish the notes along with other commentaries. A re-release of the Dune Encyclopedia would also be much appreciated in preference to the "canonical" crapola which is getting into print.

And then... Mike Campbell is reading God Emperor... I can hardly wait to have a chat about it. It may not be posted here, however, for fear of spoilers for a story which spans six novels.

Mike agrees the music was tremendous. And it was the montage scene at the birth of the twins which moved me to tears.

Posted by the Flea at 05:51 AM | Comments (9)

Boycott the Matrix

"Why suggest that either my faiths of anarchy must be chosen or my goals for profit."

Why, indeed? This quote is from articles which date back several months but which are still news to me. Marcus Chong, the actor who played Tank in the first Matrix film is reportedly suing the directors and producers of its sequels. This website advocates a Matrix boycott in sympathy.

We are advocating downloading, boycotting, and/or participation in a letter-writing campaign to oppose the verbal harrassment, character assasination, and eventual arrest of Marcus Chong ("Tank" of The Matrix) during failed salary negotiations by the Wachowski Brothers and Joel Silver, producers of the Matrix sequels. The role of "Tank" has been eliminated for the first sequel.

Posted by the Flea at 05:44 AM

I'm a Pepper

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

(And when you are done being a Pepper you can teach the world to sing if you like.)

Posted by the Flea at 05:43 AM


It took a whole lot of swatting before I tired of this.

Posted by the Flea at 05:43 AM


Be groovy through the night with the Gang's bright light! This Mystery Machine LED Clock has tons of far-out features.

While I appreciated the Flea-reader tip about the true grooviness of this Cartoon Network ad for a Scooby Doo Mystery Machine LED Clock I confess I had to do some Googling to understand the reference. It is a sad state of affairs when I can count myself among the two-thirds of the population relying on Entertainment Weekly text-boxes for definitions of the not-so-latest hip lingo.

"This idea of 420 being a 'secret code' is kind of funny, when you think that a third of the population is in on the secret. We're going to be selling tickets to our 420 party at $50 a pop--that's how mainstream we think it is."

Posted by the Flea at 05:42 AM | Comments (1)

A Pre-Raphaelite

Not shocked by this (via Absinthe & Cookies):

which art movement are you?

this quiz was made by Caitlin

Posted by the Flea at 05:41 AM

Evolution of alphabets

The evolution of the Latin alphabet is demonstrated using a superbly realized animation. The page links to more materials for a University of Maryland course on the history of alphabets. This would be a fun course to teach.

Posted by the Flea at 05:41 AM

Most peculiar carvings

University of Newcastle archaeologists are asking the public if they have seen anything like the mysterious Northumberland rock carvings recently brought to their attention by a farm worker. They have a Mythos look about them to my eye.

"We have absolutely no idea what they are," says Mazel, an archaeologist at the University of Newcastle. "They are nothing like anything we, or anybody else we have talked to, have seen before." He believes the carvings were not created recently - in the last 15 to 20 years - and could be as ancient as 3000 years old.

Posted by the Flea at 05:41 AM | Comments (2)

October 13, 2003



The Flea stands ever ready to provide up to the minute items of an historical interest for tourists of Salisbury and region. The locals have are sometimes referred to as "moonrakers"...

Wiltshire smugglers were carrying illicit brandy when they were surprised by Excisemen. In a thrice, they dumped the brandy into a pond and commenced to rake at the water with their long handled implements. When the Excisemen asked what they were about, they replied that they were "raking up the cheese", pointing at the moon's reflection in the water. Considering them fools, the Excisemen moved on, leaving the Moonrakers to retrieve their 'loot' and proceed on their way.

There is much more to do than Stonehenge. Far from me to belittle the place as it is fully of hengey goodness but I think you get more henge for your money at Avebury. This is bit further north so I am assuming travel by car from Salisbury. England is such a compact country that distance does not present an obstacle. A trip to Avebury should include nearby Silbury Hill and best of all the West Kennett Long Barrow.

Late Neolithic chambered Long Barrow, about 3700 BC.
One of the biggest barrows in Britain, this is a spectacular barrow measuring 340 feet long by 75 feet wide, and a line of stones at its east end up to 12 feet high forming a corridor 40 feet into the barrow. There are five sarsen stone chambers inside the barrow and they may be visited at any time by the public. From the many excavations carried out on this barrow there have been about 42 burials discovered belonging to a tribe or family.

This is a barrow with a difference as travellers can walk right into it. The place had been picked clean of swords of the men of Westernesse by the time of my visit but were also apparently barrow-wight free so it all balanced out. I was at Avebury with some druid friends and acquaintances as part of a Lughnassad day in the country by way of celebrating a "hand-fasting" ceremony using one of the convenient giant-rocks-with-hole-in provided by the locale.

The particular druids I accompanied on the day were from the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids ("odd-bod" offers degrees by correspondence) as opposed to the Ancient Order of Druids. This latter group are, naturally, Christians which might seem odd though I think they are a druidy group of Masons. There are plenty of other people calling themselves druids including at least two other groups on the day I was at Avebury though I do not think they were from the Hasidic Druids of North America (I doubt I could have made them up). Rollo Maughfling, Arch Druid of Britain (of the Glastonbury Order though he makes some grander claims) got on everyone's nerves with a speech which, when combined with the factionalism of that harvest day, made me wonder if I had stumbled into a Monty Python sketch. Also in attendence was King Arthur who was poking around the place with Excalibur in one hand and a smoke in the other. His winsome hangers-on leant credence to his kingly claims. I am sad to report nobody from the Temple of the Children of Lileth was on hand for Flea-instruction in herb or latex lore.

Once a visitor is done with all the mystic tourism Marlborough is close to hand for a bit of shopping or lunch.

Another afternoon away lies to the west of Salisbury at Stourhead (pronounced "star- head" for some reason), a stately home whose interiors are much of a muchness (as my Grandad would say) but whose garden is triumphant. The word "garden" does not convey the scale of the phenomenon. A fine National Trust gift shop on the estate was the source of an oil-skin walking hat that has kept the rain of several countries from troubling the head of a Flea. Just a bit further on is Sherborne Castle. This will be one of my first stops the next time I am in the area as I have not been there and I am on an Elizabethan kick thanks to Neil Gaiman's 1602.

More important than any of these suggestions is a last piece of advice: pick up a copy of The Rough Guide for England. It will include details for local sites like the Cathedral and Old Sarum, how to get there and suggestions for food and drink once history gives way to dinner.

And then... Paul may be satisfied by my quiz result:

French Guard
You are the French Guard.
Slightly off, living in an area you really don't belong in, you lie and taunt those around you. From all the cruel memories of your childhood, you decide to take revenge on cute furry farm animals. They make good cannonballs. Ppffftt!

What Monty Python Holy Grail Quest Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM | Comments (5)

Olsen Twins

Hey Flea, Flea-readers might say, why do you never report on the Olsen twins? Hey, I might reply, there is a limit. Cup of Chicha's recent twin fact checking means I am saved - for the moment - from adding them to the Fleascope. I am particularly intrigued with the idea of connecting the Olsen twins to structural linguistics. "Systems of difference" are on the agenda for tomorrow's semiotics lecture to my intro cultural studies students and I got some splainin' to do. The Olsen twins are the obvious way in to the material once the connection is pointed out.

Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM | Comments (2)

Whin, Beruthiel and Legolas

I am re-reading The Lord of the Rings in anticipation of the third film. Tolkien's language never ceases to move me. What is more, I must have read the book twenty times and am always surprised by new detail. The Company of the Ring is passing through the land once known as Hollin when Tolkiens' eye for landscape presents the reader with a plant I had not heard of: whin. It is an attractive type of gorse... who knew?

A passing reference to Queen Beruthiel also piqued my interest.

" 'Do not be afraid!' said Aragorn. There was a pause longer than usual, and Gandalf and Gimli were whispering together; ... 'Do not be afraid! I have been with him on many a journey, if never on one so dark; ... He is surer of finding the way home in a blind night than the cats of Queen Beruthiel.' "

One mystery remains... why would the western gate to Khazad-dûm refer to the place pejoratively as the black pit, "Moria". Internet speculation raises the possibility of waymeat.

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM | Comments (3)

Not My Job!

Last night, I listened to a Real Audio file of Clive Barker taking part in an NPR game-show showing off his expertise on anti-gravity technology (the link is about half-way down the page). The game-show farce was fun but there is also some more serious talk of interest before the foo fighting questions begin. The interview allows Barker to promote the first in the Abarat series of children's novels. I purchased a copy when it came out but did not make it through the first chapter at the time. It will have to wait for my hypothetical island vacation scheduled to take place alongside the release of the first Abarat movie in 2005.

Posted by the Flea at 06:42 AM

Scottie translator

We aw loove Kylie at Ghost ay a flea. It is high time Scootlund designed a tartan fur 'er jist lake they did fur Madonna.

Posted by the Flea at 06:40 AM


A personality test with some interesting questions. The Flea's results...

Like just 6% of the population you are a MENTOR (SEAT). Some would call you the most powerful and influential of all people. Those people are wrong.

The reality is that you DON'T really WANT to impose personal views or beliefs on others. Yet you are extroverted and intelligent, and you like to get involved. So you help others with the pursuit of knowledge.

You're the reason that people say "teachers are also students." You are as much a learner as a master, and this satisfies you.

You won't die a lonely death, but towards the end you'll grow introspective, wondering if your life meant anything. This will last for decades, and you'll die after your spouse.

Posted by the Flea at 06:38 AM

Flea cookies

Thanks everyone for the help in figuring out the difficulty some readers were experiencing with image reception (I am v. pleased with the Cylon on the sidebar). One reader was warned by his firewall of an incoming cookie from the Flea. Is anyone else receiving an alert of this kind? What could be causing an alert like this? Most worrying to me, is this something my stats package is doing without me knowing about it? Apologies for my computing ineptitude.

Posted by the Flea at 06:38 AM | Comments (4)

October 11, 2003



The Flea's attic apartments are now home to a signed 1987 P. Craig Russell lithograph of Mephisto. Mephisto is a fine villain though not one of my favourites. I was after the poster as it is graphically powerful, presented the opportunity to own a signed Russell and it was not expensive as he is (unjustly) not as sought after as other comics artists. It is going to share pride-of-place with my Tim Bradstreet original Dark Knight sketch... Next on the hit-list: something by Dave McKean.

Posted by the Flea at 11:57 AM | Comments (5)


The Flea's international readership is a constant source of fascination to me. It is gratifying to learn these posts have some passing import to people in Macedonia or Malaysia. Truly, love of Kylie unites us all. My stats package thoughtfully puts a national flag next to each country domain as it pops up on the server so it was easy to spot one I did not recognize.

The Flea rattles its ghostly chains in welcome to visitors from Niue. Niue, it turns out, is a beautiful island east of Tonga in the south Pacific. Niue is the smallest independent national polity in the world with a population somewhere in the range of 1800 people. I do not know if Niue has diplomatic representation in Toronto but the Government of Niue should feel free to deputize me as I shall be in need of somewhere warm and pleasant to think about in the next few months of winter. Niue used to have the somewhat more dramatic, if arguably problematic, name of Savage Island. This was perhaps due to these tree-climbing monster crabs which are crying out for garlic-butter.

Posted by the Flea at 11:39 AM | Comments (1)

I will survive

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 11:23 AM | Comments (1)

How everyday things are made

Stanford's Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing offers on-line introductory videos showing how everyday things are made.

If you've ever wondered how things are made - products like candy, cars, airplanes, or bottles - or if you've been interested in manufacturing processes, like forging, casting, or injection molding, then you've come to the right place.

Posted by the Flea at 11:20 AM

Tallest structure

Ananova reports the possibility of a structure much taller than the 1776 feet envisioned in Daniel Libeskind's proposed construction on the site of the World Trade Center.

After a meeting Mr Libeskind, Roland Betts, a director with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, told the New York Post: "The reception is better at 2,000ft." Sources at the LMDC, which was formed to oversee the redevelopment of , said Libeskind's latest drawings show the building rising to at least 2,000ft, and possibly as high as 2,100ft.

Yes, please. 1776 has an obvious symbolic value but I believe the sight of the tallest structure in the world would make an even stronger statement.

A minor quibble... the 1483ft Petronas Towers are (just) the tallest buildings in the world (and only because their masts are a permanent part of the structure in comparison with the Sears Tower's antennae which for some reason do not count as such). They are the tallest regularly inhabited "buildings" but not the world's tallest "structure." This remains, for the moment, Toronto's much taller CN Tower at 1815ft or 553m.

Posted by the Flea at 11:15 AM | Comments (3)


This appeals to me (via Raging Kraut).

ENFP - "Journalist". Uncanny sense of the motivations of others. Life is an exciting drama. 5% of the total population.
Take Free Myers-Briggs Personality Test
Posted by the Flea at 10:59 AM

October 10, 2003

Tottenham Court Road



A train SCREECHES to a halt. (A scare.) We are in the
tubes of London. Only one passenger disembarks and the
train goes off, leaving him alone in the cavernous
hallways. The PASSENGER is a young man, rather well-
dressed. He looks about the platform, then at his
watch. He walks up to a vending machine to buy a
Cadbury Chocolate Bar.



as the Passenger puts his coin in the vending machine.
The camera is on ground level and as we watch the
Passenger, the Wolf's legs flash by us.

Underground Week at the Flea™ is on the prowl at Tottenham Court Road tube. An American Werewolf in London is a classic with an impressive re-release site promising an ipix experience of film locations (coming not very soon!).

I wait for a proper look at The Slaughtered Lamb and try to put my finger on quite what it was that made this film so frightening. Hair growing where it never grew before is a disconcerting experience. I once had a professor with legendary ear-hair and have lived in fear of the day great tufts will sprout from the ears of the Flea as some sort of karmic balancing of the scales for my youthful amusement. Of course, there are more immediate metaphors the werewolf tranformation scene evokes that are visceral and can reach through the film's humour and manifest absurdities. The film is a fantasy but it speaks to something real.

Tottenham Court Road differs from the last three imaginary or inaccessible Underground stops at the Flea and unlike Neverwhere's Angel Islington features as more than a borrowed name. The not-so-abandoned Aldwych was the shooting location but Tottenham Court Road tube is actually there and Flea-readers everywhere can make their way into its intestinal passage-ways and peculiar Italian-bistro colour-schemes. A common theme in internet writing on the subject is that the werewolf's stalk through the station remains so scary that people are reluctant to risk visiting the station themselves.

Time to see the movie again. I shall be watching for a recurring John Landis trope provided I can bring myself to poke my head out from under the covers in the Tottenham Court Road stalking scenes. The director includes an "easter egg" phrase "See you next Wednesday" in many of his films that turns up in a poster somewhere in the station. It is said to be a tribute to Stanley Kubrick but its somewhat course debt to Cockney rhyming slang is explained here.

Posted by the Flea at 10:01 AM | Comments (1)

Aniston vs Heineken

This just in: beer is desirable.

I can see me lovin' nobody but you
For all my life

Posted by the Flea at 09:37 AM

Cute, nice and interesting

This just in: Kylie is reportedly "cute, nice and interesting."

The 35-year-old Aussie singer tells this month's issue of i-D magazine that when the makeup comes off, she sees things that aren't necessarily so great. She told the magazine: "I know things other people don't about (my face). "I've seen it looking fabulous. But I've seen it in ways you really wish you didn't know existed."

What a cute, nice and interesting thing to say! Only a cad, love-rat and/or philanderer would say otherwise! A couple of Kylie's non-controversial photos in the October i-D magazine are available on-line.

Posted by the Flea at 09:32 AM


The Idler is hunting for the crappest town in the UK.

We’re making our decision on the number of nominations each town gets. So we’ll be surprised if it isn’t Hull – but you never know. There are a number of strong contenders across the South West, there are dozens of costa-del-granny seaside towns forcing their way up the rankings, more and more of you are furious with life in London. Cumbernauld still seems unrelentingly miserable.

Aldershot, Birmingham and Wolverhampton have their virtues but I confess I can understand how they made the list. I cannot imagine how someone could think Chester makes the crap-grade as it is one of the most historically and architecturally fascinating cities I have yet to visit. I worked for the university in Lancaster for several years and while I chose not to live there it was picturesque and the people were friendly so I do not think it merits inclusion in the crap-quest either. And the only reason Manchester is on this list is a futile jealousy of someone not lucky enough to live there (even if the bit about the rain is true).

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM

Rupert Everett

A quiz with truly spooky accuracy.

rupert everett
You like the social butterfly, the outgoing, Rupert
Everett gets you in.

Random Actor Compatablity
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

Flea pictures

I have had reports of a "vanishing images" problem from people reading the Flea. The Flea banners and buttons are all saved as .jpg files as are the images I include in posts. Is anyone reading this having a comparable problem? And, if so, does anyone have an idea what the cause of the difficulty might be? Is there a preferable file-format I could be using for images (given a desire to limit file sizes) and is it possible something viral is being included in the images I am generating using Photoshop?

I am also curious to hear from people who have not encountered this difficulty. I access the Flea from three different computers using three different versions of Windows and thus far can also see the images I include for publication. It is worrying to learn my shopped work is not making it to the screens of Flea-readers everywhere...

Posted by the Flea at 08:40 AM | Comments (7)

October 09, 2003

Hobb's End


Let's say you've just found a five million year-old spaceship while excavating a new British underground station. The dead aliens inside the ship may have been responsible for human evolution -- and may not be as dead as you would like.

The excavation for Hobb's End tube is today's Underground locale. That is "hobb" as in hobgoblin or, indeed, hobbit. The name suggests something eldritch is in the offing.

One the best afternoons of my life was spent drinking beer with Robert Holdstock at the Crown, a pub in Bloomsbury. Holdstock is my favourite living author. I first read him in an issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction which included a novella whose story would later be finished in Mythago Wood and its sequel Lavondyss. I was eleven years old when I read that story and it remains one of the most important to me among all the others I have read since then. Cut to me many years later turning up two hours early for a book-signing at Forbidden Planet.

There is always some trepidation at meeting someone whose words have been an inspiration but Holdstock turned out to be every bit the scholar and gentleman his works suggest. I berated him for publishing Mythago Wood as a novella with no clear ending. It was years before I found out what happened. His excuse? The story was not yet finished and even he did not know the ending. Fair enough. Holdstock's stories address ancient history, archaeology, mysticism, psychology and folklore and in this way speak to most everything I find fascinating twenty years later. This brings me back to Hobb's End and the early influences on the life and thought of Robert Holdstock.

It turned out his boyhood favourite fiction was a series of British sf films which are not so well known in North America. Quatermass is a scientist-adventurer who encounters peculiar horrors. My favourite of these is from Quatermass and the Pit, a film whose conventions are familiar to fans of other British sf. The special effects are laughable and tight budgets constrain the story and the sets but the horror is consequently a matter of suggestion and allusion after the fashion of H.P. Lovecraft. Terrifying. The thing they dug up at Hobb's End tube still gives me the creeps.

The name may be familiar from other stories. It turns up as a New England town of the same name in In the Mouth of Madness and under a variety of similar guises in Lois & Clark. There also appears to be a film by this name but I have not seen it.

It is been some time since I have seen Quatermass and the Pit so perhaps a Flea-reader can enlighten me on this point. The sign says Hobb's Lane but some reviews identify the tube station as Hobb's End (in Knightsbridge, no less)...

And then... An omnibus review of Holdstock's Ryhope Wood stories describes their non-linear, Moebius-like narrative structure. The reviewer claims a reader could start anywhere in the series but I would still suggest Mythago Wood as the best way in. The Flea should add a spoiler warning is in effect once the reviewer addresses specific titles. I hope the following offers sufficient tempation for Flea-readers to seek out Holdstock's books...

Ryhope Wood is a small forest in England. It covers perhaps three square miles and sits on the Ryhope Estates, near the village of Shadoxhurst. On the border of the wood sits a house called Oak Lodge, rented by the Ryhopes to the Huxley family in the days before the Second World War. There's an airfield nearby, while Shadoxhurst is nothing more than a sleepy rural community best known for its annual festival (and the unique dances therein). A brook wends its way into the wood, and various fences and gates make a low-key effort to keep stragglers from wandering in.

This, after a fashion, is true. However, to paraphrase C. S. Lewis, this is not what Ryhope Wood is, rather, it is what the wood is made of. Ryhope, it seems, is the last remnant of the primordial forest left in England. It is old, it is dark, and it has learned to defend itself. It touches other forests and other times, other ages of the world. Far larger than its dimensions should allow, it can turn invaders back upon themselves or trap them forever.

Posted by the Flea at 06:03 AM | Comments (5)

Kylie Barbie

Someone may have a greater Kylie obsession than the Flea. Scroll down for Brit Awards 2002 Kylie Barbie, Can't Get You Out Of My Head Kylie Barbie (in "white dress" and "silver dress" versions) and MTV European Music Awards 2001 Kylie Barbie.

I cannot help but wonder what it would cost to commission a Love At First Sight Kylie Barbie.

Posted by the Flea at 06:00 AM

Breedin' in Eden

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 05:58 AM

Food for thought

Last night I gave the first lecture in my five-part University of Toronto course on food and culture thereby providing the all-too-flimsy excuse I need to tell my eating honey-ants story. Food is on the agenda in the blogosphere too. David over at Sketches of Strain loves food. Meantime, there is some Oreo-related sinning going on at Pinwheels and Orange Peels (and I am most relieved to hear the good news about Sneakers btw... I am sure he will come round).

Posted by the Flea at 05:56 AM

Luke Skywalker

For it is quizzed: the Flea is Luke Skywalker.

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Posted by the Flea at 05:53 AM | Comments (5)

October 08, 2003



Today's Underground Week at the Flea™ station is in the Strand, one of my favourite parts of London. I recommend champagne with friends at the American Bar at the Savoy and nearby Christopher's American Grill is the only place in London I could find a decent cup of coffee. Lots of theatre and so forth as well of course.

Most of my trips to the Strand by night were by taxi as the most convenient tube station is the not quite convenient Covent Garden. It is shame they closed Aldwych. This is one of London's "most 'used' of the disused stations" as it features frequently in films and videos. It was shut down in 1994 as its 600 average daily users did not justify an estimated cost for repairs to its lift machinery.

Today, the station is being maintained by London Underground mainly as a museum piece, film set and the ticket hall is frequently rented out for art exhibitions, book launches and other private parties. The underground section will slowly deteriorate over time since little maintenance is now performed (apart from redecoration for filming!), however if you go to the surface entrance, you can peer through the gates and see that the ticket area has been restored almost to the same condition as when it was built. Even the external facade has been cleaned and painted, with the original Strand sign now prominently on display.

The Strand sign is there as this was the original name of the station when it opened in 1907. Hilarity ensued as there was already a Strand station at what is now Charring Cross... Aldwych is one of many stations with a resident ghost. Some say there is a colony of German dwarves whose secret tunnels access the lifts at Russell Square station. An Underground Survival Guide website gives this story a low plausibility rating.

Whoever made up this story must be having a laugh. (After all, everyone knows they’re Swiss dwarfs not German.)

And then... I kept taking this quiz until I got my favourite line. This website links the Northern Line to a group of troglodytes who may be linked in turn to the Russell Square dwarf rumours. I gather something like them also make an appearance in Michael Moorcock's Mother London though I have yet to read it.

Going Underground - which London Underground tube line are you?


"The Subterraneans seems a deceptively playful kind of London legend: the sort which narrators repeat with disparaging amusement, but which cries out to be believed. It is fairly consistent, as such legends go. The underground race evolved from a small group of humans who fled below out of desperation - outcasts from society, perhaps, who had nowhere else to go. Feeding on unspeakable pabulum, they adapted and survived down there, the adaptations including a reversion to near-bestial form and a gradual loss of English speech. They prowl the sewers and railway tunnels showing themselves as little as possible. They might be pitied, except that (tacitly or explicitly) the legends make them ferociously antagonistic towards us. They probably eat the sandwiches and burgers we discard and it is "widely believed" that they also eat tramps, drunks and other isolated late-night commuters. Now you have another good reason for avoiding the Northern Line after rush hour."

Posted by the Flea at 11:21 AM | Comments (1)


Not one but two movies based on the life of Alexander are in production. I knew about the Oliver Stone version starring Colin Farrell but only just now learned of the Baz Luhrmann version starring Leonardo di Caprio. It should be interesting to see the two as both directors have particular styles. The Stone picture reportedly co-stars Angelina Jolie and Anthony Hopkins so that is good then.

"I'm in the middle of training," Farrell explained. "I just started about three weeks ago. Lifting weights, jogging, horse riding, working with swords. I'm working with [stunt coordinator] Captain Dale Dye, who's worked with Oliver Stone on six or seven of his movies.

It shows. Someone has been snooping around the set taking pictures of Colin Farrell on horse-back. Conversely, the Baz Luhrmann picture will have Nicole Kidman as Alexander's mother and is to be produced by Dino De Laurentiis. Now that is cheese(cake) goodness.

Posted by the Flea at 11:00 AM


"High concept" meets terror in this tv show.

Posted by the Flea at 10:37 AM | Comments (1)

Konono N°1

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:36 AM | Comments (1)


The Flea's recent sojourn among the dreaming spires included book-shopping, general admiration of the architecture and a long-anticipated visit to the Pitt Rivers Museum. I confess some envy shading into irritation at those fortunate young people studying there now amidst England, home and beauty. Must. Work. Harder. Must. Secure. Tenured. Position. At. Oxford.

Then I read something like this. New students are to be ferried between fresher events by bus even though the two venues are 500 yards from each other. Not only that, but the journey by bus is three times longer due to Oxford's one-way road system. Never fear for the dears if they get stuck in traffic.

Should the coach grind to a halt, as is likely in the usually congested streets, a choir will be on hand at the back of the coach to ward off impatience. Helena Puig Larrauri, union president, defended the coach trips. "We don't want the freshers to walk because we are worried they might get lost," she said.

My favourite part of the Telegraph article is the thoughtful route-map. Now is the time at the Flea when I bang my head against the wall.

Posted by the Flea at 10:30 AM

Cemetary paths

Satellite imagery reveals Costa Rican cemetary paths overlay footpaths dating back 1,500 years. Time and travelling feet have worn grooves into hillsides as much as 3m deep.

"It appears that the cemetery was not the only sacred place, but so was the territory between the village and the cemetery, and the proper path use was to access the cemetery along precisely the same path used by their ancestors," he said. "The process of entering and leaving cemeteries was part of a belief system that included ceremonial feasting, tomb construction and the breaking of special pottery, grinding stones and other ritual activities at the cemeteries," said Sheets.

Posted by the Flea at 10:21 AM

October 07, 2003

Vauxhall Cross


Today's Underground station is Vauxhall Cross. It earns a place in the Flea's psychogeography of London as the headquarters of MI6 and its pride of place in the most recent, and lamentably under-rated, Bond film "Die Another Day". Some say the station is imaginary. The Flea has a key which says different...

Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM | Comments (4)

Not Bond

CommanderBond.net passes on an IMDb Movie/TV News report which claims Sylvester Stallone has been chosen to play the new James Bond. This seems most unlikely to the Flea. For one thing, the next Bond girl would have to be named Adrienne.

These James Bond-themed Barbie and Ken dolls are stylin'. Too bad it is a cell-phone strapped to Barbie's thigh.

Barbie® doll makes quite a bold statement as a Bond Girl, dressed in one of the most sizzling ensembles ever created for her! What a pair they make, and what a striking addition to your collection they'll be!

And then... CommanderBond.net has been doing some editing. Here is what Google News shows the link lead to:

Sylvester Stallone Is Chosen To Play James Bond
CommanderBond.net, UK - 27 Sep 2003
The IMDb Movie/TV News reports that Rocky star Sylvester Stallone
has been chosen to play the role of James Bond. Stallone will ...

Posted by the Flea at 08:00 AM

Holiday. Celebrate.

The National Trust of Scotland faced "spiralling debt" taking it to "the verge of insolvency" over the last five years. Madonna's trend-setting wedding to Guy Ritchie at Skibo Castle is credited with turning around the NTS' fortune.

Now it seems that Scottish romanticism has influenced the general public’s choice of wedding locations, and the NTS makes approximately £500,000 a year in renting out castles and stately homes for parties, weddings and corporate events.

Posted by the Flea at 07:49 AM

Peter's bones

At the end of the roadway, under the altar itself, was a rough block of masonry. Through a crack in the brickwork a slender column of white marble could be seen, like a bone laid bare. "This is the tomb of the Apostle Peter," the guide announced, "marked by the so-called aedicula, a memorial to Peter with two marble columns, raised in the second century."

Tom Mueller discusses martyrdom, haphazard archaeology and a curse connected to the purported burial place of Peter.

Posted by the Flea at 07:39 AM

Minoan ship replica

Greek admiral Apostolos Kourtis set out to build and sail a replica of 5,000 year-old Minoan ships using ancient drawings and construction methods:

"It will creak and groan, but it will hold. It's a flexible boat designed to withstand tricky seas," Kourtis said. Minoan shipbuilders used tall, sturdy cypress trees to make their boats. "The cypress tree's trunk was split in two. Both halves were then placed facing each other to guarantee symmetry," said Kourtis, a naval officer who has become a passionate student of ancient naval technology.

Some modern materials and building methods were used a compromise given time and labour considerations. Despite this, Kourtis even plans to follow a traditional sailing iterary on his planned voyage. The name of the ship - to be on the hull in Linear B script - is "a closely guarded secret"...

Posted by the Flea at 07:19 AM

October 06, 2003

Angel Islington


Underground Week at the Flea™ starts with the Angel. The Flea called the People's Republic of North London home for two years before moving north to Manchester. I had a somewhat tipsy dinner with two Japanese academics at Pizza Express off Islington Green following an open-bar gathering at a nearby publishing house. They loved London - "Big as Tokyo. Feels like Kyoto." - and were charmed by Islington. This is worker's district? A certain relative of the Flea was not amused...

The station is notable for the longest escalator in the Underground system (60m or 197ft with a vertical rise of 27.5m or 90ft). It is best known for having made an appearance as a character in a Neil Gaiman tale. A high-school friend of the Flea revealed herself to have Jedi powers, and look fab in gold armour, as the Hunter in the television series.

Posted by the Flea at 10:12 AM | Comments (1)

When a wand is just a wand

Oxblog's analysis of Harry Potter finds adolescence where some see witchcraft (via Angua).

Now, when I finally got around to reading the books, it all started to become more obvious. Any of you remember the scene where Harry gets his first magic wand? It's pretty much an extended discussion of how long other wizards' wands are, measured in inches. Sort of reminds me of eighth grade.

Angua also links to this little ditty. If I could not teach Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts I would be delighted to accept a post in Recent Runes at the Unseen University.

Posted by the Flea at 10:06 AM

Kirk vs Picard

Kirk vs Picard settle it capitán a capitán (via Absinthe and Cookies).

To those Farkers whining about this "lame" game wasting their pwecious time: "People that complain about games like this wasting their time are so lame. Like you were busy curing cancer when this game interupted you."

As much as I have enjoyed latter-day Treks up to and including Enterprise none of their captains could hope to go toe-to-toe with Kirk (though Picard's Earl Grey Hot is a formidable weapon). I have not checked the Campblog yet this morning to see what Mike thought of last night's Enterprise but his use of logic has revealed the likely ending of season three.

It turns out that the Xindi cabal is really directed by an omnipotent computer mind, hidden behind a wall in their meeting room. Archer hurls the Dune-esque-navigator creatures's water tank through the wall, thus creating an entrance to the computer room. He then lures the computer into a problem of logic,

Xindi computer: Prepare to be exterminated.

Archer: Just give me a moment to say good-bye to T'Pol. For, you see, I hate Vulcans, but I love T'Pol.

Xindi computer (whirring, lights flashing, sounding confused): You say you hate Vulcans but you also say you love T'Pol. ... But, T'Pol is a Vulcan. That means that you don't hate Vulcans ... But, your general statement indicates that you hate her .... How can you love her when you hater her?? .... [smoke, fizzle, computer dies]

Posted by the Flea at 10:01 AM | Comments (1)

Citizen Wayne

***Dave writes about the Batman that might have been. Orson Welles is reported to have had a Batman project in development in 1946.

Gathering many of his old friends and colleagues together from “Citizen Kane,” he proposed “a cinematic experience, a kaleidoscope of heroism and nightmares and imagery seen nowhere save the subconscious of Goya or even Hawksmoor himself.” Welles planned Batman to be an adult psycho-drama, but combined with what he described as the “heart-racing excitement of the Saturday morning serials, given a respectable twist and a whole new style of kinetic direction unlike anything ever attempted in American cinema.”

Marlene Dietrich as the Catwoman... the mind boggles.

Posted by the Flea at 09:58 AM | Comments (1)

Neighbourhood threat

Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods. The Flea's home in the Annex suggests television producers, academics and champagne socialism. An Ex of the Flea lives out in the Beaches, a comparable area down on the lakeshore. This Ex has an impolitic sense of humour and refers to the neighbourhood as "the Bitches".

A post at GenX at 40 suggests a good reason to say impolite things about Beaches dwellers. Some of Toronto's literati down by the lake thought it would be hilarious to have a "white trash party".

Sure, people eat white bread and Cheez Whiz... because they have little cash and no options. We know - unlike author Tralee, Maureen (never heard of the potato famine) O'Shea and named guests Ravinski and Crothers - folks who were lucky to get as much. It's not just that making fun of poor is so pathetic. It's the whole white trash / poor trash crap thing. Trailer Park Boys if funny to me because I went to school with them and knew the crap they had to put up with. I was proud as a kid of the friend's Dad or, as a adult, of the neighbour who hunted, hanged and dressed deer, grew their food, who fixed their cars and their homes - who knew how to do when money would not do. Folks who are capable - who the Beaches party set rely on when the money won't fix the problem.

These are the same people who elected one of only seven socialist Members of Parliament in our recent provincial election. Figures.

Posted by the Flea at 09:56 AM

Fleet numbers

When the last sailor walked off the amphibious ship Anchorage yesterday, ending the ship's 34 years of naval service, the Navy's fleet of warships shrank to its smallest size since before World War I.

The United States Navy now has a strength of 296 ships. Numbers are projected to sink further to 291 ships in 2006 before rising above 300 again by 2009. I am not certain what to make of arguments for or against this situation in absolute numbers. It is true a missile-destroyer of today is far more capable than its more numerous counterparts of the past. It is equally true, however, that today's ships face far more lethal adversaries. The symbolic value of fleet-numbers strikes me as another factor to be taken into consideration. The appearance of weakness - real or imagined - may tempt opponents into foolish action or lend heart to those who seek our destruction.

Posted by the Flea at 09:53 AM | Comments (2)

October 04, 2003


The first publicity photo of the new Catwoman costume is now available.

The cat is finally out of the bag. HALLE BERRY slinks into a strapping new ensemble this week when filming starts in Vancouver for Catwoman. The Oscar-winning actress plays the Felonious Feline (see also: Princess of Plunder, Mistress of Malevolence) from the Batman series, a role made famous by Eartha Kitt in the '60s TV show and reinvented by a neoprene-clad Michelle Pfeiffer in 1992. Berry's leather cat suit for the 2004 film is "very bare, very urban, very downtown," she says.

Posted by the Flea at 09:11 AM | Comments (1)

Down under

Beyonce Knowles is reported to enjoy Kylie Minogue's LoveKylie underwear range thereby twisting Ananova's arm into running an image of Kylie's bottom two days in a row. The Sun runs with Beyonce-related fashion from the November issue of FHM.

Everyone sing along with the Flea now:

Here's to the bottom………………Of perfect dimension
Here's to the bottom……………… That's gripping the nation
Here's to the bottom……………… Our sheer inspiration
Give to the bottom ………………A standing ovation
Here's to the bottom !

Posted by the Flea at 09:07 AM

Machine a Sexe

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

(via b3ta)

Posted by the Flea at 09:02 AM

Legend of the Extreme

Oh, how I laughed. Episode 2 is even better.

By all that is holy it is you that is gay!

Posted by the Flea at 09:01 AM

Sombrero galaxy

"God's sombrero" is a galaxy more formally known as Messier 104. A Hubble telescope image is on display at lgf. It is mind-boggling. My first thought is one of incredulity at being able to apprehend something so vast all at one go. My second is to wonder how many critters were living and working across that vast space when the light started out on its journey from M104 to us here and now.

Two things are certain. First, the social animals amongst the countless inhabits of the Sombrero Galaxy developed ideas of right and wrong, of justice and injustice and of the necessity of acting for the good even when they could only take it on faith their actions would work out for the best. Second, amongst those numberless social animals were countless alien-idiotarians complaining about everything the first group of aliens did. Enjoy!

Posted by the Flea at 08:56 AM

Transforming archaeology

The Economist discusses infra-red, microwave and magnetic sensing techniques which afford archaeologists less intrusive means of investigating remains.

SINCE its emergence as a science, archaeology has wrestled with a paradox: discovery involves destruction, and investigation requires intrusion. An archaeological dig cannot be undone. Once a layer has been stripped away, any information not recorded is lost. Most archaeologists have had the experience of trying to discover something new about a site that has been completely excavated, only to find that the question they wanted to ask had not occurred to the original diggers.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM

The turtles and the volcano

Scientists infer a near-extinction event from lack of variability in the DNA of Island of Isabella turtles relative to other smaller islands in the Galapagos (via Fark). Conveniently, a local volcano is known to have erupted within the time-frame anticipated by analysis of genetic drift. Very clever that.

By studying the DNA found in the nuclei of the tortoise cells, the team was able to establish that the lack of variability was due to a contraction in the population some time in the distant past.

And by studying the DNA found outside the nuclei, in the cell's "power units" called mitochondria, the scientists were able to put a time to this contraction, or "bottleneck". This is possible because mitochondrial DNA changes regularly over time, allowing the emergence of patterns in its sequence to be clocked.

Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM

October 03, 2003

New Who

Tom Baker claims Eddie Izzard is to be the new Dr. Who.

This. Is. Brilliant!

In the interview on Thursday morning, Baker told presenter Julian Worricker that Izzard would bring an "alien quality" to the part.

"Eddie Izzard is so mysterious and strange. He seems like he has lots of secrets," Baker said. "You always feel Eddie Izzard knows something you don't, or has been somewhere you haven't been."

Eddie Izzard's Englishness makes him perfect for the role. With apologies to many a Flea-reader, I have never understood Anglicans who were not English as I associate the Church so strongly with marmite, funny little sandwiches (minus the crusts) and country walks with the dog. Izzard described my feelings on the matter. His theology of the Church of England is summed up as Tea and Cake or Death.

You can't do that in the Church of England, you can't say, "You must have tea and cake with the vicar or you die!" You can't have extreme points of view, I mean the Spanish Inquisition wouldn't have worked with the Church of England. "Talk, will you talk!" "But it hurts!" "Well, loosen it up a bit, will you?" Because that's what it would be- Tea and Cake or Death, Tea and Cake or Death! Cake or Death, that's a pretty easy question, I mean, anyone can answer that. "Cake or Death?" "Uhhh...cake please." "Very well! Give him cake!" "Oh, thanks very much! It's very nice." "You! Cake or Death??" "Uhhh...cake for me, too, please!" "Very well! Give him cake, too! We're gonna run out of cake at this rate!" "You! Cake or Death???" "Uhhh...death, please....no! Cake! Cake! Cake! Sorry!" "You said death first!!" "No, I meant cake!" "Oh, all right... You're lucky I'm Church of England! Cake or death?" "Umm, cake please." "Well, we're out of cake! So, what do you want??" "So my choice is Or Death??" "Well, have the chicken, then. Tastes of human!"

And then... b3ta celebrates with this link to Tom Baker colourful use of language in out-takes to a voice-over of some kind. I shall henceforth take care in my pronunciation of "reparability".

Posted by the Flea at 08:59 AM | Comments (1)

Kylie covers bottom

The Flea is ever vigilant in pursuit of the latest in Kylie-media. Kylie's bottom has once again made its way into the press despite her best efforts.

"A large part of my pop persona is to do with my body, for better or for worse that's the way it is. You have no idea the lengths we went to not to show my derriere. There were six people with boards all around me. I even shimmied my way backwards into the water with a sarong on. I thought we were safe. There's so much you just can't control but we carry on."

And then... This is most frustrating. Kylie put in a visit to a pub near the Flea's Islington residence and I was on the wrong side of the Atlantic at the time. I should confess I have never set foot in this particular establishment so it is most likely I would remain frustrated on that side of the Atlantic too.

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM

Super audio compact disc

The Flea was after the Thin White Duck mix of Madonna's "Hollywood" and so wandering in the far corners of the nearest HMV. The cd singles were hidden back with sound-tracks and some new-fangled format music in value-added packaging. Great, I thought, Now I have to buy Kind of Blue again.

The Creation of a New Medium that is Changing the Meaning of Pure Audio - the Precision of Digital Reproduction Combined with the Warmth and Ambience of Analog Sound.

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

Queen of the Bland

After the publication of the The Queen of the Damned, I requested of my editor that she not give me anymore comments. I resolved to hand in the manuscripts when they were finished. And asked that she accept them as they were. She was very reluctant, feeling that her input had value, but she agreed to my wishes. I asked this due to my highly critical relationship with my work and my intense evolutionary work on every sentence in the work, my feeling for the rhythm of the phrase and the unfolding of the plot and the character development. I felt that I could not bring to perfection what I saw unless I did it alone. In othe words, what I had to offer had to be offered in isolation. So all novels published after The Queen of the Damned were written by me in this pure fashion, my editor thereafter functioning as my mentor and guardian.

Anne Rice claims she needs no editor. “Let her edit cake,” ***Dave explains (and to whom the Flea owes this link). And this explains why I have stopped reading Anne Rice. It is a shame. Stephen King and Clive Barker are two more writers whose power obviated the obligated, but not the need, to be judiciously edited.

Posted by the Flea at 08:40 AM | Comments (2)

Baths threatened by water

Roman remains beneath three streets in historic Bath were found to be under threat by water leaks. A damp proof course is to be installed which should remedy the problem. I just liked the tag-line.

Stephen Clews, curator of the Roman baths, said: "It may seem odd that water should be a problem for a bath. "But what is happening is a cycle of wetting and drying has developed as the condition of the road above deteriorates and leaks form. Over time salt in the water causes problems with the structure of the ancient stonework and Roman renders," he added.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM

Chesapeake Mill

Early in morning of the first of June 1813 the United States frigate CHESAPEAKE left her moorings in President Roads, Boston, Mass. and sailed on a cruise. At a quarter to six that same evening she commenced an action with the British frigate SHANNON, which had been watching the port. The American commander, Captain James Lawrence, was mortally wounded and his ship surrendered to a British boarding party after a great loss of life.

A campaign has been launched to save an English mill built from the timbers of an United States warship.

The Chesapeake Mill in Wickham, Hampshire, is made from the timbers of the frigate USS Chesapeake which was captured by HMS Shannon in 1813 when the United States and Britain were last at war. The war began in 1812 when the US objected to the Royal Navy stopping and searching its ships for contraband that could be making its way to Britain’s enemies in Europe.

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM | Comments (1)

Shield maiden

The remains of a six-foot tall woman, buried with a shield and knife, were recently discovered in an Anglo-Saxon cemetery in Lincolnshire, England. The body and artifacts, which date to A.D. 500-600, suggest that more women than previously believed may have fought alongside men during the turbulent years following England's Roman period.

Discovery seems surprised by this find, comparing the ancient warrior to the cartoonish Xena. My Saxon ancestors, and living female relatives, mean I am not surprised at all. It is another character from an all-too-historical fantasy which better describes my vision of womanhood.

It needs but one foe to breed a war, not two. And those who have not swords can still die upon them.

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM

October 02, 2003

Afghan radio


Kylie tunes are proving a huge hit with listeners of new music station Arman FM, and it seems locals in the Afghan capital just can't get her out of their head. "We play a lot of Kylie Minogue," DJ Zaid Mohseni told the Reuters news agency. "She is very popular."

The Arman FM flash intro and somewhat improbable road cruiser are worth a look. Their picture gallery tells stories which belie the anti-liberation gloomsters. Arman FM's polling reveals three of their five most popular DJs are women. That is not just good news. That is astonishing.

The Afghan word for hope is Arman and that is exactly what the station is about.

The Flea stands in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan in their love of Kylie. Truly, she unites us all. Kylie Minogue's new single is available on-line in advance of its November 2 general release. The video arrives October 20.

Filmed in Barcelona, Minogue pays homage to French 60s sexpot Brigette Bardot, all smoking eyes and perfect pout, a look sure to strike a personal chord with the popstar's Gallic squeeze Olivier Martinez and satisfy Kylie addicts everywhere.

Now including Afghanistan.

Posted by the Flea at 05:59 AM | Comments (2)


The lastest Enterprise was Kirkesque in its bare-chested, alien slave-babe rescue cheese goodness. This was not just original series cheese. This was over-the-top Edgar Rice Burroughs cheese.

Rescued by Archer from an alien bazaar, a captivating slave girl, Rajiin, uses her erotic, hypnotic mental powers on the crew to steal data on humans for her Xindi overlords.

The Flea is still waiting for Starfleet-issue red-shirt uniforms.

Posted by the Flea at 05:55 AM | Comments (4)

Alien vs Predator casting

Lance Henrikson has been cast for the latest Alien film (oh, and some Predators in there too).

Henriksen will portray a billionaire industrialist who finances an expedition to the Antarctic to uncover an ancient pyramid and insists on joining the scientists on the journey. When they arrive, they discover two alien races engaged in the ultimate battle.

Posted by the Flea at 05:55 AM

Earth: A Crap Sandwich

This must be the cleverest Greenpeace ad ever. Flea-favourite Eddie Izzard stars in Alien Invasion.

What's email?

An early delivery system for pronography.

The thinking behind the marketing is a good deal cleverer than the thinking behind the cause. The connection between President Bush and Esso may be obvious to their way of thinking but it escapes me. And I am much more concerned about a new ice-age than warmer winters in southern Ontario.

Posted by the Flea at 05:54 AM

Walking directions

Hoom! offers maps and walking directions for Middle Earth travel.

When using any walking directions or map, it is a good idea to stop at an inn or hostelry and inquire about news from abroad. Find out whether any wars are brewing, and if so, whether agents of the enemy are pursuing you. This is only an aid in planning. Your eventual route and mileage may vary.

Posted by the Flea at 05:51 AM

Move your feet

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 05:48 AM

Laboratory of Generalized Catastrophe

Merde in France runs an interview with French novelist and thinker Maurice G. Dantec. These are not views of the French establishment...

The French population is about as well informed as in 1940: at the time it was said that we didn't need to fight wars in order to win them. You know how that turned out.

Sensitive readers should be aware the interview affords the opportunity to learn colourful phrases in two languages. I like what he has to say about writing and blogs:

How do you see the effects of blogging on the vocation of writing?

None whatsoever: what matters is what is written, not where, not how, not even by who. However, a blog can be very useful for writers during their research phase. It allows the establishment of the 'library-network' which has a strategic importance in today's all-out-war the stakes of which are, of course, the WRITTEN WORD. By that I mean the paradoxical updating of the divine presence in each human being.

Posted by the Flea at 05:39 AM

October 01, 2003


On the off-chance someone has not seen the trailer for Alien: the Director's Cut it is available on-line. No sign of Aragorn in this one.

Posted by the Flea at 09:12 AM


A lawsuit has been launched against Madonna by the son of French fashion photographer Guy Bourdin.

Madonna's new "Hollywood" video is a blatant visual rip-off of the work of a late French fashion photographer, according to a federal copyright lawsuit just filed against the pop superstar. The son of photographer Guy Bourdin alleges that Madonna's video is filled almost entirely with reenactments of his father's distinctively racy images (Bourdin died in 1991 at age 62). "It's one thing to draw inspiration; it's quite another to simply plagiarize the heart and soul of my father's work," said Samuel Bourdin in a press release.

Bourdin's work imparts a "disconcerting surrealism" and a "weird sense of alienation." Shot by shot comparisons of the Hollywood video and Bourdin's Cinefilms and photographs are available through the miracle of "the internet"... Is there anything in The English Roses about copying from other students?

Posted by the Flea at 09:07 AM

Milk and cereal

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:50 AM | Comments (1)

Blackman Eddy

Road-building in Belize knocked down half a pyramid. The unfortunate accident provided an opportunity for achaeologists to excavate the Blackman Eddy pyramid site to bedrock. The results indicate mesoamerican civilization dates back at least three-hundred years earlier than established estimates.

The Maya erected new pyramids on top of older ones, concealing previous building phases. Garber and his students took the Blackman Eddy pyramid apart layer by layer, discovering 13 building phases over 2,000 years. Maya civilization reached its peak around A.D. 600.

"As we dug through the layers of the pyramid, we hit 800 B.C. and kept on going down to about 1100 B.C., where we were finding settled agricultural peoples making sophisticated pottery. So we've pushed the dates for the Maya about 300 years," Garber said. "It is a unique finding, but my guess is that if archaeologists had the opportunity to dismantle pyramids in other places, they would find the same thing," he added.

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM | Comments (1)

Roman souvenir

A second-century bronze pan has turned up in Staffordshire.

Archaeologists are excited because the names of four forts located at the western end of Hadrian's Wall - Bowes, Drumburgh, Stanwix and Castlesteads - are engraved on the vessel.

While the find could suggest a Romans fondness for tourism and knick-knacks it appears to be a bespoke piece. Not quite so disturbing as socks and sandals then.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Revamped Royal Navy logo

The White Ensign logo of the Royal Navy may be "revamped" by advertising firm Saatchi and Saatchi:

The White Ensign logo will be redesigned to reflect the wider capabilities of the service. The old logo, a fluttering White Ensign above the words "Royal Navy", was regarded as out-dated. A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "We are trying to refresh the navy's image.

"It's an ongoing process to make the navy more identifiable for all of its facets - such as the marines, the air arms and other sections of its fighting force."

The Navy seems happy with the reported £100,000 fee, claiming "the ensign in the new logo has more of a 3-D effect." It looks like the money bought a fancy flash-enabled web interface along with the 3-D logo. Saatchi and Saatchi are clearly on to something. The company has also run promotions for the Republic of Singapore Navy. Other navies seeking rebranding opportunities should contact Flea Designs for the finest in shopped logos.

Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM

Return of the King


Here is the definitive The Return of the King trailer. The reforged Narsil raised a cheer, Gandalf riding into battle drew a visceral noise from somewhere inside me and Gollum is terrifying.

I am looking at a sequence of freeze-frames of the speech-maker from a much debated Flea-post. The shots are not clear but he is wearing the livery of Elendil. That makes him Aragorn.

Tall ships and tall kings
Three times three,
What brought they from the foundered land
Over the flowing sea?
Seven stars and seven stones
And one white tree.

And then... And that is Viggo Mortensen's nose. I am including an image of Aragorn in full returned-king mode in the extended entry to this post.

And then...People keep leaving moronic follow-on comments telling us the speech is by Viggo. Yes, thanks, that is obvious now but was not in the first teaser trailer so keep your condescending, ill-informed non-insights to yourselves.


Posted by the Flea at 12:00 AM | Comments (10)