November 29, 2003



Imagery of Frodo under the influence of the One Ring is almost too hard to look at (via Attu). Imagery of Elijah Wood under the influence of Photoshop tells a different story (but don't tell Andrea just in case).

And then... If that Elijah-nipple action leaves anyone feeling less manly here is some craneporn.

Posted by the Flea at 08:00 AM

Green eggs and lembas

Jay Solo posts some Tolkien-themed doggerel in the tune of Seuss.

Oh, Master! We will meet the elves!
We'll get to meet the elves ourselves
And hear them sing their elven songs!
We'll hear them bong their elven-gongs
And strum their elven loola-lutes!
They'll hoot their elven hooty-toots!

And then... I have trouble thinking about Dr. Seuss due to the twitch that starts at the corner of my eye when I think of... no, I shall not mention it. Suffice to say Defective Yeti rounds up what appears to be a consensus view concerning a certain film. The last observation is most satisfying (via Dean's World).

Posted by the Flea at 07:59 AM

Life of Pi

I have been poking around "the internet" looking for materials to illustrate issues for my course in Digital Media and Culture. This Life of Pi promotional site uses interactive flash-animation to evoke vignettes from the book and, presumably, inspire book-sales so might have made a good talking-point. But talk about your pretentious crapola. A friend once observed to me that just because something is said slowly and in French does not make it deep. The same might be said of slow-moving animation that aims at portentious but achieves boring. I have not read the book so what do I know? But then, this website fails to show me.

Posted by the Flea at 07:56 AM


These images of Halle Berry on a Ducati are self-explanatory.

Posted by the Flea at 07:55 AM

11 Million Dollar Bra

The Flea's commitment to fashion-media compels me to draw these images of Heidi Klum in an 11 million dollar bra to your attention.

Posted by the Flea at 07:54 AM


Pravda now offers an "erotic news" feature. This installment warns men off a variety of women. Not just a bunch of apologists for dictators... a bunch of jerks.

Statistics says that the number of single and sexually dissatisfied women is a lot more than the number of men, who want to find a lover. That it why, it would be very good for a man to avoid having an affair with any of the mentioned types of women.

Posted by the Flea at 07:52 AM

New math

Bill Whittle has been in dry dock. He is back and explaining some new math.

For thirty years now, since 1973, we have been consistently teaching the world an object lesson on the nature of the modern American mindset, and that lesson is this:

We are fierce and terrible in battle. But kill a few dozen -- at most, a few hundred – of us, and we will turn tail and run for home. For all our skill in combat, the American people are weak and decadent, bullies and cowards without the guts for a real fight. We have been teaching our enemies this variable for a long time now: Somalia, Lebanon, Vietnam, and various smaller engagements. And they have adjusted their calculations accordingly. Duck when facing us in battle, then grind us down with guerrilla actions until we throw in the towel and go home. We have not just been teaching our enemies this theory. We have been training them in its use.

Posted by the Flea at 07:51 AM

November 28, 2003

She Satan

She Devil
You are a she Satan! You love to promise your
victims the world and then steal their souls
when they least expect it. Way to go!

What Kind Of Evil Bitch Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Ok, so Classical Values and the Flea can't agree about everything... And 106 seemed like a square WQ to me too.

Posted by the Flea at 11:10 AM | Comments (2)


Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:00 AM | Comments (1)

Chocolate Heart

More seasonal cheer is suggested by this one-pound chocolate heart.

Bite into our solid, milk chocolate, anatomically correct human heart. Made from premium chocolate, they make the ultimate gift for doctors, anatomy students or your sweetheart. Packaged in a white gift box.

The white gift box is a thoughtful touch. Don't miss the hand gelatin mold or the brain treats.

Mmm. Brain treats.

Posted by the Flea at 09:58 AM


Victory isn't imminent. Its not apparent or even probable. Its simply all we have.

One of the most moving assertions I have read in the blogosphere is elaborated on at Chaos Central.

Posted by the Flea at 09:49 AM | Comments (1)

November 27, 2003

Metal bikini


While posting a picture of Princess Leia in her Jabba slave-girl outfit may seem like trolling for hits, I felt it was my duty to bring Leia's Metal Bikini to your attention. This was a masterpiece of costume design evoking every John Carter Warlord of Mars and John Norman Gor series paperback cover.

Posted by the Flea at 06:17 AM | Comments (4)


Sometimes I feel I have failed on the aesthetic end of the anthropological life. Such is the peril of fieldwork in England and studying "up" rather than doing the Malinowski thing. Now, this guy looks like an anthropologist. Scroll down this page for his "sample job letter", this would have come in handy these last few frantic, scrambling weeks as the Flea seeks gainful permanent employment (and someone help this fellow with permalinks!).

Posted by the Flea at 06:14 AM


Anthony shops at Costco.

It's hard not to buy something there - those ultra huge packages are so hypnotizing. You never know when you might need 100 lbs of nutmeg!!

For me it's all Winners all the time. It's a Canadian partner company of T.J. Maxx with brand-name products at a discount... it's a new store every day!

Posted by the Flea at 06:09 AM | Comments (1)


These beatbox tutorials could spruce up my lectures.

Here on Beatbox.Tv you will find a variety of Beatbox audio recordings, as well as other music we think is too good not to be heard.  Stick around and explore a growing collection of beatbox-inspired films.

Posted by the Flea at 06:08 AM

Queen Anne's Revenge

I keep changing the name of my hypothetical spaceship. Nervous Energy is a goodie from Iain M. Bank's Culture series. Endeavour has an aura of an heroic age of science and discovery so that works too. Now that I have been reminded of Blackbeard's flagship I can say my hypothetical spaceship has been definitively christened. There is some neat stuff here about a storm-cycle that buried the wreck keeping it relatively well preserved until now.

Sea currents have tossed around pirate Blackbeard's flagship for nearly 300 years. But now the game is getting treacherous for the sunken Queen Anne's Revenge, according to research conducted by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Posted by the Flea at 06:06 AM

Sun disc

The first Bronze Age sun disc of its kind to be unearthed in Wales, this astronomical trinket looks authentic (as opposed to this German bauble). That said, I want a gold cape for myself...

The disc found by chance by an archaeologist digging at Copa Hill at the Cwmystwyth Mines - 10 miles outside Aberystwyth - was the subject of a treasure trove inquest heard by Ceredigion coroner on Tuesday. The find - roughly the size of a milk bottle top - is said to be as significant as the famous Mold cape - thought to have been worn as a garment for religious ceremonies by a great authority - the Bronze Age disc now housed at the British Museum.

Posted by the Flea at 06:04 AM

Sword heroine

Swords don't kill people. People kill people... with swords? This is a great story. The sad thing is I am surprised this 80-year-old widow has not been charged with something.

Police have praised the bravery of an 80-year-old widow who used a ceremonial sword which she kept on display in her home to fend off two burglars. The raiders, both aged in their late teens, were forced to flee empty-handed after Jean Freke, who suffers from angina, wrestled with one of them before threatening the other with the sword which she grabbed off the wall.

Posted by the Flea at 06:01 AM | Comments (1)

November 26, 2003



"I think I want to be sexy by covering up and being a bit more classy Bardot-like, maybe. This time, it's eyes off the bum and it's all about the waist."

What a waist? Kylie perched in a champagne glass sporting a pink Stella McCartney corset. Happy new year!

Kylie Minogue wears silk-satin corset, £825. Satin briefs, £110. Both by Stella McCartney. Satin and crocodile skin shoes, £685, at Christian Louboutin. All make-up by Lancôme.

Posted by the Flea at 11:23 AM

Snow globe

I am developing yet more seasonal cheer.

Posted by the Flea at 11:17 AM | Comments (1)

Lord of the Chicken Rings

KFC is selling precious popcorn chicken to Australians thanks to the obvious relationship of popcorn chicken to Tolkien's Middle Earth. Canadian KFC is marketing chicken rings alongside The Return of the King though I confess I have been too afraid to find out just what a chicken ring might be. I would point to an internet guide to the subject but cannot find one due to what I can only imagine is the embarassment the KFC marketing people.

Posted by the Flea at 11:14 AM


George Clooney as Magnum P.I. sounds atrocious but I know I will love it.

George Clooney will reportedly play TV private investigator Magnum PI in a movie version of the 80s TV show. Clooney is said to be desperate to take on the role made famous by Tom Selleck. IMDb says he's wanted to play three roles since he started acting, Danny Ocean in Ocean's Eleven, Hannibal in The A Team and Magnum.

George Clooney, I can buy you as Magnum but you are no Hannibal.

Posted by the Flea at 11:11 AM | Comments (6)


Speaking of rejuvenation, an Escher-themed post inspired a hat-tip from Mr. Jester vis a vis an heretofore unbeknownst to the Flea Esher-Who connection. And this may be the best hat in the history of the future.

Posted by the Flea at 11:08 AM | Comments (1)

Mass graves

Driving a pink half-track must be a laugh. Not so funny after you look at this (hat tip to Fred).

Posted by the Flea at 11:00 AM

November 25, 2003


M.C. Escher
Congratulations!! You are M.C. ESCHER.
Your drawings often depict images, which seem to be feasible, but logically cannot exist. You are happiest when you are exercising your mind. You live your life very sensibly. Your friends turn to you when they need advice from someone who knows how to remove emotional prejudice from a situation.

Which famous artist most reflects your personality?
brought to you by Quizilla

Another eerie synchronous result with the philosopher of Classical Values.

So, did anybody else think Mobil Ave was not only anagram of Limbo but a play on Möbius' famous strip as Neo's attempt to escape down the tracks failed?

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM | Comments (4)


Canadians are Smug suggests a blogosphere strategy to confront comment spam.

Spammers try to succeed by hiding their noise among the signal of easily exploitable systems. Can we fight their noise with noise of our own?

Posted by the Flea at 09:11 AM


The Hunley, first submarine to sink an enemy warship, has been excavated three years after being raised from the deep.

Scientists this week finished removing sediment from the ballast tanks of the sub after recovering a coil of waterlogged rope. They also recovered some tools from the crew compartment, which might indicate the crew had been making repairs the night the Hunley sank.

I worked for two years on an SSN related project. It is hardly news for a submarine crew to be making repairs but that last line is chilling to read.

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


A technology designed with military applications in mind is to be used to monitor the deterioration of Tang dynasty Magao cave paintings at Dunhuang.

Smartdust is a collective term for tiny mobile computers with attached sensors and radio transmitters, known individually as motes. Unlike conventional sensors, motes can communicate with each other by radio and exchange information about their location and environment. Because they are tiny computers, they are can perform complex calculations. They consume little energy, because they switch themselves off when they are not gathering information, so they can function for months on the same battery. Finally, they are very, very small. The current prototype is the size of a matchbox, but the final version will resemble a grain of rice.

Posted by the Flea at 09:08 AM | Comments (1)

November 24, 2003



Terry Nation was the genius behind Blake's 7, responsible for much of The Saint and The Avengers and created the scariest Dr. Who villains ever. While I cannot blame him for wanting to discombobulate the BBC, I am most unhappy a proviso of his will may mean there will be no Daleks in the new Who.

The BBC jointly owns the rights to the Daleks with inventor Terry Nation, who died in 1997. And while BBC chiefs want the robotic killing machines in the new series the executors of Mr Nation’s estate are saying No. A TV insider said: “No one knows exactly why, but Terry fell out with the BBC at some point. He told the executors never to let the BBC use the Daleks again. “Fans want to see the Daleks return, but they may be disappointed.”

Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM | Comments (1)


New full-length trailers for SciFi's Battlestar Galactica mini-series are a good source for intensive fan speculation. The Flea remains willing to be convinced by a female Starbuck and Edward James Olmos is inspired casting as Commander Adama. I am pretty sure I spotted Simon Fraser University campus doubling as Caprica as it has stood in for the concrete architecture of many alien worlds. Oh, and if all we get is a bunch of lame synthetics instead of those "walking toasters" this series is going to fail miserably (even if they look like Seven of... ahhh... Number Six).

Let's get the old girl ready to roll and kick some Cylon ass!

The ass-kicking will start December 8 for you lucky folk south of the border. Canadians must wait until January.

And then... Something I should have mentioned earlier... I linked to the wrong cast-member for Starbuck in an earlier post on Battlestar Galactica. I got her confused with this new, made-up, non-original series character Number Six.

Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM

Wrong bananas

I thought they were bananas but the man said they were not (via b3ta).

Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM | Comments (1)

Weird Quotient

What's more weird is that my weird quotient is exactly the same as Señor Argghhh!!!

Posted by the Flea at 09:18 AM | Comments (3)


Eric writes on blogging.

It concerns the subject of abandoned blogs. I am a little sensitive about losing friends, doubtless because I lost so many of them to AIDS. But here in the blogosphere, I have to say that despite my kvetching about ill will, incivility, and yes, even outright bigotry, the worst thing I have had to witness is the death of blogs I have enjoyed.

Sketches of Strain is one example of a blog which touched my life, then died. I got that awful, sinking feeling I know so well, and....

Quite right. I had not thought about that sinking feeling in connection to losing friends to AIDS. I know that feeling well. In some ways it is not the close friends but the acquaintances I miss the most. To everything there is a season and this includes the loss of family and friends. Grieving is something we all have to learn how to do but somehow those friendships that were cut short are the worse loss. Only yesterday I was thinking of a friend who died twelve years ago and I still cannot quite understand how it is that I am alive and he is not.

There are acquaintances we only see at parties or only in the context of work or the local watering-hole. The challenges of distance and the limitations of the medium may mean friendship in the blogosphere is something similar. Or perhaps none of us have been at this long enough to find out how this conversation works (or it could be just the Flea, of course). I know I would choose to never look at CNN or another New York Times article if the choice was that or losing InstaPundit or Electric Venom. My daily stroll down the blogroll is as much about checking in on people's lives as it is on the news and therein lies the difference between blogging and the rest of the media.

If you are reading this David, I want to say I respect and support your decision to move on from Sketches of Strain but you should know your blog is already missed.

Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM

Support Iranian Democracy

The Pandavox has prepared a form letter requesting major media organizations cover the struggle for freedom in Iran (via Blog Iran!). The post includes links to Fox, MSNBC and CNN.

Canadian Flea-readers are encouraged to contact the CBC, CTV, CanWest Global and the Globe and Mail.

Posted by the Flea at 09:06 AM

November 22, 2003


Damian Penny is in Halifax and enjoying a wider range of beverages than are available on the Rock (thanks in part to Mike Campbell's teachings and influence). A commenter has the following to say:

Damian: I've never tasted a bourbon that could match a decent Canadian rye whiskey. The Wild Turkey you yearn for can't match even entry level rotgut like Golden Wedding, and I've tried Meaghers bourbon, which someone from Kentucky told me was the creme de la creme, and I wasn't too impressed with that either. If you want a sweeter sipping whiskey, you can't beat Crown Royal or Gibsons, and for mixers, CC and VO are still the world's best choices. I'm not a scotch drinker (whiskey that tastes like its made from dirt doesn't appeal to me), but why not support Canadian wheat farmers instead of American corn farmers? It's the same thing with beef, corn-fed beef from the States just doesn't compare to Western Canadian beef that's been pastured and then fattened up on wheat and barley.

Ok Flea-readers... I am looking for suggestions on the subject of sweet Canadian sipping whiskeys. I too am not a fan of scotch but tend toward Irish blends and that Kentucky masterpiece Maker's Mark. And while we are at it, is the commenter right about U.S. vs Canadian beef? This is revolutionary stuff.

And then... Hey, Maker's Mark sell coffee, mouse-pads and suggestive signs! That's the smooth taste of brand-stretching.

And then... Meantime, a blind taste-test of single-malt whiskeys left a twenty-year-old Nikka Yoichi the winner.

Posted by the Flea at 09:46 AM | Comments (5)

2003-02-20 20:49:00

No longer shall Kylie-media feature her famous bottom. Now we know who is to blame for Kylie's decision to retire her posterior. Justin Timberlake, you have earned my wrath!

My picture shows the heart-stopping moment he groped her behind in front of millions of viewers at this year’s Brits Awards. And it freeze frames the instant that Kylie decided to retire her rear from public performance. The Aussie singer says: “That was the turning point for me.”

The famous scene happened at precisely 8:49pm on the evening of Thursday, February 20, and was rated as Mister Trousersnake’s moment of the year. Later he gave Kylie’s bum “58 out of 10.” But his moment of madness sowed the seeds of doubt in Kylie’s mind.

Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM

Minas Tirith

Images of Minas Tirith are now available at LordoftheRings.net.

Preview the last bastion of hope against Sauron's forces in this exclusive photo gallery.

Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM | Comments (1)


This floral insight is courtesy of Ith. I am not sure what it means.

Your soul is bound to the Burning Rose: The

"I go where my heart beckons me, and I go
with my head high. But sometimes, I get a need
until I bleed so my heart swims above my

The Burning Rose is associated with passion,
intensity, and desire. It is governed by the
god Eros and its sign is The Flame, or Physical

As a Burning Rose, you can get lost in the moment
if you let yourself. You are a very physical
person, be it in relationships, work, or play.
You may be driven by your hormones sometimes,
but you know it's because you have to follow
your instinct.

What Rose Is Your Soul Bound To?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by the Flea at 09:16 AM

Moon landing

Pravda runs an article asking if the Moon landing was faked. What's Russian for moonbat?

Raising of the American flag also revealed several faults. There is no atmosphere on the Moon, it consequently means that there can be no wind. As it was said, a flagpole had a horizontal slat on the top so that it could be possible to unfurl the flag wide. It looked rather strange that a corner of the flag fluttered and one of the astronauts even had to pull it down. Probably, some stupid worker in a film pavilion, where the documentary was shot, opened the door and let the wind inside. In a word, there were lots of strange things connected with the Mood landing expedition that produced such a sensation all over the world.

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

November 21, 2003

Mark 3:1


Some nifty scriptural references in The Matrix series. My favourite is from the Nebuchadnezzar.

And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out saying, 'You are the Son of God.'

I add one addition to this website's exegesis of the name Thomas Anderson. Thomas is also "the twin", a nice play on Mr. Anderson/Neo's life in two worlds.

Posted by the Flea at 08:15 AM


Given my inherent Canadian ability to move in bullet-time and fly, my facility in the dark and my stylin' leather car-coat this choice was inevitable.

You are Neo
You are Neo, from "The Matrix." You display a perfect fusion of heroism and compassion.

What Matrix Persona Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by the Flea at 08:13 AM | Comments (2)

Frankly, Mr. Shankly

Someone thinks there is a phenomenon connecting Diana and Morrissey. I do not know what to make of the theory but I like this ultra-Morrissey-ish disclaimer by the theory's author.

I won't be answering any more emails until I've cleared up some personal problems. Therefore, I've temporarily deleted my email address from this site.

Posted by the Flea at 08:12 AM

Turkey and gravy

Yes, I know, it sounds... revolting... yet so... tempting... I am imagining... the stink of it. A suffocating cloud I can't escape...

Jones Soda Co.announces today that due to the incredible response to the Turkey & Gravy flavored beverage, and the requests from across the country, Jones Soda will sell its Turkey & Gravy flavored beverage online with all proceeds going to Toys for Tots, a national charity for children.

Posted by the Flea at 08:11 AM | Comments (1)


This is no way to treat a cat.

Posted by the Flea at 08:10 AM

Fully automatic

This is the 144 shot "fully" automatic Gatling Gun. What more can be said about this marvelous piece of equipment.

Indeed, I find myself at a loss for words.

Posted by the Flea at 08:09 AM

November 20, 2003


The Meatriarchy thoughtfully provides a link to a transcript of a notorious recording of Paris Hilton. I am not sure how anyone would wear out their fingers looking for a copy of the video itself because "the internet" proferred it to me with the first Google hit (and no, the Flea is not linking to it).

And then... And so it begins.

And then... I may have blogged too soon. Apparently, Paris herself has yet to see the tape.

And then... The Stranger reviews the film, calling Rick Solomon's work the movie of the year:

There is no happy ending even for characters on videotape, only the existential dilemma of the ongoing search for pleasure. Because of this, Paris Hilton Sex Tape can be summed up in a single word: tragedy.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

Jingle balls

The Flea is beginning to feel some seasonal cheer.

Posted by the Flea at 07:12 AM


Lost, found and then promptly lost, Llactapata has been found once again.

In 1912, the American explorer Hiram Bingham came upon what he called the remains of some Inca chieftain's castle and a few other buildings. This was part of Llactapata, meaning "high town." But Bingham gave it only a passing glance. He was in a hurry to get to the site, only two miles away, where he would make his name in archaeology: Machu Picchu.

And then... More on Llactapata at Archaeology.

"Inca Ruins Discovered near Machu Picchu." That's the title on the press release, and it's sort of true--Thomson-Ziegler documented more of the site than Bingham did in 1912 or those who visited the place in the 1980s did--but on the other hand, they knew the site was there. Was it really the "first time that infra-red cameras have been used in this way to find lost Inca sites"? Well, since the site wasn't lost it's a moot point, but it's hard to say what the infra-red work did, or did not, reveal about Llactapata.

Press releases are meant to grab the attention of reporters. To accomplish this they often include claims that push the boundaries the truth, and stretch it just a bit. Mark Twain called these "stretchers." It's unfortunate that reporters, perhaps working under tight deadlines, are taken in by the hype. It's also unfortunate that the real story of what archaeology is and what archaeologists do gets buried in it. Assuming that Thomson-Ziegler had proper permits, were doing high-quality work, etc., the study of this site might have been enough of a story without the overstated claims.

Posted by the Flea at 07:11 AM | Comments (1)


I confess a guilty satisfaction at the discomfiture of Paris Metro commuters. Karmic logic suggests the Flea shall suffer alongside them soon enough in the Toronto subway system. My favourite part of this story about annoying singing ads is the inevitable response from the Luddite corner.

Saxophonist Daud Stelian, who has played in Paris subway tunnels for over a year, said he feared for his business. "We could lose some of our audience. The chanting billboards distract people from us musicians," he said. "Paris is a very cultural city, and we get lots of nice comment on our music from travelers. But the singing ads just don't fit in."

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

November 19, 2003

The Tommy Hunter Show

The Flea's recent focus on the Beachcombers was a trip down memory lane for me (that's Memory Lane in The Matrix). Let us not forget the Tommy Hunter Show or the Irish Rovers or Mr. Dressup.

And for those who like to rock, the Friendly Giant.

In this case, Friendly (the giant) lived in a castle overlooking a peaceful countryside. His friend Rusty the Rooster lived in a bag hanging on the wall. Jerome the Giraffe routinely craned his neck into the tower window for interspecies chit-chat. In an adjoining room, a family of raccoons played musical instruments, fronted by the giant himself on a variety of woodwind instruments.

Often cited as a forerunner of reality television, The Friendly Giant was a fairly accurate depiction of family life in the Canadian prairies, but with shorter winters.

Posted by the Flea at 12:35 PM | Comments (2)

Summoner Geeks

I am not sure what is more terrifying about this film: the people it portrays or my brutal sense of recognition.

I have grey eyes...

Let me see that sheet.

Well, it says I have blue eyes but I thought about it and I decided I have grey eyes.

Posted by the Flea at 12:33 PM


Cigarette advertisements used to be glam. I like this one especially.

Once upon a time, the rich, sweetly pungent smoke of tobacco offered more than dreary old diseases like emphysema and lung cancer. It promised sophistication, sex appeal, even longevity itself.

Posted by the Flea at 12:32 PM


This is the Flea's VCR clock.

Posted by the Flea at 12:27 PM | Comments (2)


I am not certain 250 years old qualifies as ancient. This article not only fails to show us a picture of the ancient toothbrush but leaves out the ancient equivalents of yet more ancient magazines in ancient dental office waiting rooms (I think I may owe a hat-tip to Fred for this one but my email situation is so out of hand I do not know... either way, time for a visit !).

German archaeologists have unearthed what could be Europe's oldest toothbrush, officials said Tuesday. The brush, dug up at the site of a former hospital in the western city of Minden, is at least 250 years old, said the Landscape Association of Westfalen-Lippe, which oversees the excavation.

Posted by the Flea at 12:23 PM

November 18, 2003

Scream of the Shalka

The ninth Dr. Who is Richard E. Grant. Don't get too excited though, he is only an animated Doctor (via The Eternal Golden Braid). As fortieth anniversaries go I would have preferred news of Eddie Izzard confirmed as the next Doctor. I shall settle for this animated serial in the meantime.

Written by Paul Cornell, Scream of the Shalka features the Ninth Doctor finding trouble on present-day Earth. Why are the streets deserted? What lurks under the ground? And why isn't there any Pachelbel on the jukebox?

Posted by the Flea at 08:55 AM


Much like John, this totem animal has a connection with an old alma mater (the football team morphed into a basketball team of the same name).

Your soul is bound to the Third Totem,
Grandfather Thunder: The Raven

Grandfather Thunder appears as a flock of
ultramarine ravens. He embodies reverence,
leadership, honor, and inspiration
. He is
associated with the color ultramarine, the
season of winter, and the element of water.
His downfall is egocentrism.

You are most compatible with Wolves and Owls.

Which Animal Spirit Totem Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

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


John Travolta demonstrates the current impracticality of flying home from work (via Attu).

The star now keeps a Boeing 707 jumbo next to his new mansion in Jumbolair, a "fly-in community" about 130km north west of Orlando, Florida. The gated estate where Travolta built his home includes a a 2.3km long runway, which is long enough for 707s to take off and land. "The great thing is I can park my jets in my backyard," he said.

Posted by the Flea at 08:49 AM | Comments (2)


Googlism has the following to say about the Flea.

ghost of a flea is similarly challenging
ghost of a flea is more of an eloquent meditation than a mystery
ghost of a flea is a book that you don't want to finish and you can't put down
ghost of a flea is a dry novel of ideas
ghost of a flea is one of my favorites of his paintings because it moves away from his complex philosophical theorizing and delves into intense
ghost of a flea is one horribly memorable bloodthirsty demon
ghost of a flea is real gem of a book
ghost of a flea is about to come out
ghost of a flea is on a roll
ghost of a flea is a very melancholy book
ghost of a flea is a scaly beast
ghost of a flea is a wonderful observation

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM


McDonald's was annoyed about a dictionary reference the other day. They claimed outrage at the McJob smear directed at their valiant, Stakhanovite workforce. Their bigger worry is probably loss of their McTrademark as that prefix becomes McCommon usage.

James Lilek's recent use of the term "googling" with a small letter G should be a worrying harbinger for Google. Of course, Kleenex and Post-It do just fine even as people refer to their competitors products by the branded name.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Sky disk

When I read the words "Culture of the Star Wizards" I become suspicious. This looks too much like a Relic Hunter prop to be authentic. In fact, I looks like a fake. That said, I want a gold hat for myself...

For something so small, the "sky disk" has made quite an impact here. Not even a foot across, the 5-pound bronze disk is embossed in gold leaf with intricate images of the sun, moon, and 32 stars. In the plate's center is a representation of the star cluster Pleiades, which appears in the sky around the autumnal equinox and signaled the arrival of harvest season. What's most amazing is its age. More than 3,500 years old, the sky disk may well be the most important Bronze Age find in decades.

Posted by the Flea at 08:46 AM

November 17, 2003

Ping and Pong


These little critters are red panda bear cubs. Red panda bear cubs kick ass.

I was walking home the other night when I almost bumped into the fat rear-end of a raccoon snuffling its way into the next morning's garbage pick-up. He backed up and waddled away across the street but not before I caught a clear look of embarassment. I laughed and pointed at him, Busted! I am convinced raccoons will inherit the earth if we humans do not work out.

A raccoon will eat almost anything; this is one reason it is such a successful animal. With their tiny hand-like forepaws, the raccoons can pick locks, unlatch bird feeders, open garbage cans, peel corn and catch fish.

A bar-argument broke out about raccoons a few days later. Are they dogs or bears? The phone-message left on my machine went unanswered that night but my next day investigations turned up the answer to the question. Racoons belong to a third group of animals that are neither dogs nor bears but includes critters such as pandas. The resemblance is obvious once it is pointed out.

And then... Jaguar cubs also kick ass.

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

More spam

Someone hacked my Bl*gr*lling account, deleted all my links and replaced them with multiple copies of their own. I say, bring back flogging for spammers. I sent a note to Bl*gr*lling but now I cannot access their server. I am going to give them a day or so to fix the problem. If that does not work, I shall dump Bl*gr*lling and return to a manual system of links in the sidebar. Sorry for the lack of linkage in the meantime.

And then... Hmm. It now appears to be working again. A momentary glitch?

Posted by the Flea at 11:10 AM | Comments (2)

Without a doubt

I just spotted the video for No Doubt's cover of '80s Flea-favourite Talk Talk tune "It's my life". Jean Harlow is hot. Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow is hotter.

And then... I must have saved this entry incorrectly when I wrote it over the weekend. The link to No Doubt's music page is now working and the "It's My Life" link is (for the moment) second from the top of the page.

Posted by the Flea at 11:03 AM


Nobody gets superpowers from eating rotten beef in the Matrix.

Sure, not according to these ducks.

Posted by the Flea at 11:00 AM



Richard Nixon was on the cover of Time Magazine the week I was born (via ***Dave). Another Quaker!

Posted by the Flea at 10:58 AM

Tunnelling companies

I wanted to write a follow-up to my post about Wipers, that's English for Ypres. I found more ghastiless describing the first poison gas attack in history and a very nearly as noxious plan for a "reality" television program based on life in the trenches (thanks to the reprobates of the BBC). I also found a page describing more of the medieval town itself rather than shedding light on the slang name the British chose for it. The page includes a chilling aside.

The towers from Lille Gate date back to 1395. Under the arch to the left is a doorway which once led to a small museum (active between the wars) and, before that, to luxurious dugouts (all of the ramparts around Ypres were riddled with tunnels). This particular one was used at one time as an HQ for the Canadian Tunnelling Companies.

Canadian Tunnelling Companies? Surely the name could not mean what it suggested. Sure enough, there were a multitude of tunneling companies formed to carry out the medieval end of a spectrum that included everything from horses to mustard gas. I am alarmed at the idea, annoyed I was not taught this stuff in high school and gratified to learn this heroism is not forgotten by everyone. These Companies were active in WWII as well. The Juno Beach Centre honours the role of Canadian military engineers in the liberation of Europe and National Defence has a number of CMHQ Reports available on-line reporting on tunnelling operations in Gibraltar from 1940 to 1942.

And as for Wipers... the town lent its name to The Wipers Times, a rival for Punch in its day. I particularly enjoy this only slightly satirical letter to the editor.

(The Wipers Times, Monday, 6th March 1916 no 3, #1)

To the Editor,
Sir, - Whilst walking along the Rue de Lille the other night, a gentlemen (sic) coming in the opposite direction accosted me quite abruptly with the words “Who are you?” When I told him not to be inquisitive he became quite offensive ,and assumed a threatening attitude. This incident was repeated several times before I had reached the Square. I endeavoured to find a constable, but could not. Where are our police, and what are they doing? Have any more readers had the similar unpleasant experience?
Yours, etc.

Posted by the Flea at 10:53 AM | Comments (1)

November 15, 2003

Jet Boat Gemini


The answer to the ultimate Canadian bar trivia question: what was the name of Relic's boat? No, not his houseboat, the Chuck-Chee, but the name of his astonishing jetboat...

The Beachcombers touched a lot of people. There are visitors from something like 80 countries wandering through the Flea each month so I expect there are many people looking at this entry wondering what on earth I am talking about. My Persephone post touched people in a way that suggested my own affection for a television series I grew up with is not particular to me. International Flea-readers may miss out on the deranged excitement I am feeling right now to learn that Relic's boat may indeed have had a name if only off-camera.

And such is the power of the blogosphere. Get this: a Flea-reader writes with the name of Relic's jetboat...

I will reprint his comments to my earlier Persephone post in their entirety. And yes, I do remember the episode "Jet Boat Gemini".

Larry writes:

I think I may have the answer for everyone in regards to the name of Relic's jet boat. I was a faithful fan from the beginning to end. It was a true classic and it is a shame the network that carried for 19 seasons won't show all the episodes. I was fortunate to visit the set in 1985 and again in 1990 for the final show called Sunset. I was given a small part and spent the whole time hanging around with cast and crew. The series premiered October 1,1972. The last original one aired December 12,1990. It was broadcast in repeats for a few weeks after when it was taken off for good. Relics boats name? "Hi-Baller" was its name off camera.

PS, For anyone true Beachcombers fan. If you watched closely you would know there were two jet boats. Does anyone recall the episode "Jet Boat Gemini" Both boats were featured in that one. It originally aired in 1974. It was a gooder.

Posted by the Flea at 11:32 AM | Comments (8)

Shape Shifters Part 8

It is grading season and end of term and I am putting together job applications. This combined with an expected four-hour commute home and unpleasant weather to leave me beat the other night. My exhaustion is my only excuse for how much I enjoyed the crapola that is Howling III: The Marsupials when it came on at midnight.

You have to give Mora full credit for his conceptual wildness. A breed of marsupial werewolves - a breed of Australian marsupial wolves do in actuality exist - and we do indeed end up seeing one with a pouch; an ingrown community of werewolves; werewolf nuns; werewolf ballerinas; attempts to scientifically study the werewolf transformation; the spirit of the werewolf ancestor prime. Sadly all of this fails abysmally.

Posted by the Flea at 11:30 AM


Having just re-read the Lord of the Rings I had wondered how much of the triumphant Battle of Bywater would feature in the third film. This distressing news goes some way to answering the question.

Nearly 10,000 Lord of the Rings fans have signed an online petition demanding Christopher Lee be reinstated in the final part of the trilogy. It comes after the actor revealed he would be boycotting the premiere because his scenes as evil wizard Saruman had been cut from Return of the King.

Posted by the Flea at 11:27 AM

Disturbing deaths

Yet another alarming resource from "the internet", a website cataloguing a variety of disturbing deaths from the world of literature.

Jerzy Kosinski [1933-1991] Polish-Born American Author - Think he committed suicide by placing a plastic bag over his head in the bathtub. Can anyone else confirm this?

Posted by the Flea at 11:21 AM

Objective Individual Combat Weapon

I know nothing about firearms. This is just cool because it looks like something to kill Aliens with.

Very basically, the U.S. military wanted a weapon system that mates a conventional rifle with a 20mm "cannon" that is capable of delivering a special munition that can be user set to explode with an airburst at user determined and programmable ranges.

Posted by the Flea at 11:17 AM | Comments (2)


Too sad for words. Belgian highway construction uncovered a nearly intact system of trenches and the remains of seven soldiers of the War to End All Wars. I have my great-uncle's medals from that war and remember clearly the way he talked about that phrase when he gave them to me. I look at this field and think of the bodies that still turn up year after year almost a century later and my mind reels.

British politicians have called for a detour to the highway in order to preserve the site.

They said the trenches - on the site where chemical weapons were used for the first time and at the starting point for one of the bloodiest battles in human history - should be preserved as a reminder for future generations.

At first glance, the mournful, featureless and mud-brown archaeological dig, just northeast of Ypres in Belgium, could itself be a Great War battlefield. Out of the raw, moist earth, largely undisturbed since the third battle of Ypres in 1917, there have emerged seven bodies, an immense treasury of war-time artefacts and - most significantly of all - the most complete pattern of preserved 1914-18 trenches to be found for many years

And then... John sends this link in commemoration.

And then... And shares moving words at Castle Argghhh!!!

Posted by the Flea at 11:14 AM | Comments (2)


An amateur excavation has uncovered a John Chalmers threepence piece under 10 Cornhill St. in Annapolis.

Chalmers was a silversmith who began working in Annapolis in the 1760s. He served in the Continental Army and was elected to the town council in 1783. He died in 1817. By 1783, the United States had won its independence but did not have its own money. People would often use English coins or Spanish dollars that were cut into eight pieces. Many people were paid in tobacco. Congress created the national Mint in 1792.

About 100 Chalmers coins have been discovered in collections. And although many historians assumed Chalmers had worked in Annapolis, no one had ever found one of his coins there.

Posted by the Flea at 11:11 AM

November 14, 2003

This is my boomstick


Attention Flea-Mart shoppers! It turns out the Master of Castle Argghhh!!! sometimes takes requests. Good... Bad... He's the guy with the guns. Also, warhammers and such. There has to be a chainsaw/mechanical-hand rig somewhere in that collection...

Posted by the Flea at 09:30 AM | Comments (2)


The donuts blink in unison.

Posted by the Flea at 09:18 AM | Comments (6)

I walk the line

Straight from the quiz-forges of Castle Argghhh!!!

Which Founding Father Are You?

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

Dust to dust

The painstakingly raised and restored Vasa and Mary Rose, favourites of Kings Gustavus Adolphus and Henry VIII respectively, are threatened by a chemical reaction as their hoary old timbers dry out.

A threat now hangs over the future of both ships. Scientists have detected a significant build-up of sulphuric acid within the timbers of the Vasa, and they fear the Mary Rose may suffer the same fate once it too has dried out. If the problem in the Vasa goes unchecked, specialists believe the ship's immense timbers could eventually turn to dust, making a mockery of the immense effort that has gone into her restoration.

Posted by the Flea at 09:11 AM

November 13, 2003

Nick Fury


Ok, whose bright idea was this?

Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, the 1998 made-for-television movie based on the Marvel Comics character, returns to television for the first time on Saturday night july 13. The movie -- which premiered on Fox on May 26, 1998 -- starred David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM | Comments (8)


We had a wave of heavy rain, wind and lightning last night. This morning I wake up to discover plenty of wind but rain replaced by snow. Waterloo, Ontario is uphill of Toronto so it tends to be heavier snowfall here than the warmer city huddled by the lake. I shall find out this afternoon but first I have to get from this house to the university with inappropriate footwear.

And then... That's "footware" isn't it. I do wear shoes, etc. on my feet so that must be it. The power kept cutting in and out at the house so I removed myself to the office before my morning Flea-edit. The power keeps cutting in and out here too and rumour has it the bus service is down in which ca...

Ok, now there is an example. The power just blinked in and out. There was a rumour going around at the coffee place that the University was closed today. An impromptu Flea-dance was performed on the spot but joy was turned to despond once I called the switchboard who laughed at me for my wishful thinking. In all seriousness, my lectures use a web-component (including a sweet 12' screen, digital projection set-up) and this cannot be relied upon if the power is not there. Also, every time the power cuts out I am reminded this office has no windows. Good thing I can move around in the dark with some facility.

Posted by the Flea at 07:12 AM | Comments (2)

Mom discovers blog

The Onion article was forwarded immediately to the parental units of a Flea (via Daimnation!).

"To think that I was happy that Mom was e-mailing instead of calling ever since [Widmar's sister] Karen got her online last year," he added. "I didn't see the danger."

Posted by the Flea at 07:08 AM

Swedish album covers

The Daily Dish links to some truly terrifying Swedish album covers and a group photo of Microsoft in 1978.

Here's Microsoft in 1978. No, I wouldn't have invested either.

And then... More vivid, enthralling details are here.

The noun víking means "pirate raid." The word is now used (incorrectly) to describe all the peoples of Scandinavia and their settlements. Apparently, most of the fierce ones got killed, or stayed in the warmer places like England where their descendents carry on the Viking traditions of ravaging europe as soccer hooligans and rugby players. Some came back, to form the core of the Swedish military, but apparently the Sheep Herders and Twig Gatherers became dominant.

Posted by the Flea at 07:00 AM | Comments (2)


The Flea dances a spectral jig in welcome to a visitor from Tuvalu (and four, count'em four, repeat visits from Niue). The island chain of Tuvalu and its capital, Funafuti looks a lovely place to visit.

According to a story recorded by the missionary George Turner, Funafuti was first inhabited by the porcupine fish whose progeny became men and women. The accepted tradition of the island, however, and this accords with historical probability, is that the Funafuti people originated from Samoa. As was the case with Vaitupu, the founding ancestors were Telematua and his two wives Futi (meaning banana) and Tupu (meaning "holy" or "abundant").

Posted by the Flea at 06:58 AM


An "interaction sphere" is a term used by archaeologists to describe a cultural and economic influence of an ancient society extending beyond the immediate political sphere of influence of that society. Hmm. There must be a less clunky way of putting that but I am missing a chalk board to talk about this stuff on the blog... Ok, imagine I am holding a piece of chalk.

There was a Hopewell interaction sphere up and around the Ohio and Illinois rivers and a Shang Dynasty bronze interaction sphere. We spot this stuff when elites from distant locales have more in common with each than they do with the locals they are lording over. Clues include stylistic elements in the luxury goods that tend to travel further than basic commodities or the housewares of ordinary folk.

It looks like the Olmec interaction sphere extended further than had previously been thought...

Human bones believed to date from the ancient Olmec civilization have been found in southeastern Honduras, suggesting the influential culture extended farther than previously thought, Honduran authorities said on Tuesday. Carmen Fajardo, at the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History, said it appeared to be the first time Olmec remains have been found outside the so-called Mesoamerican corridor that stretches from Mexico to central Honduras.

Posted by the Flea at 06:55 AM

November 12, 2003

Rimmel London

Kate Moss is irreverent and laid back in the London Eye as they both feature in a Rimmel advertisement for something or other as Rimmel's first leading face. Not that I can find the commercial anywhere on "the internet" so you shall have to settle for these other pictures of Kate Moss. Hmm... must keep looking. Wait... wait... no, just Kate Moss pole-dancing again. Such, as they say, is life. Here is another Rimmel London ad featuring Kate Moss though not featuring the London Eye that would otherwise be the whole point of this post.

Moss, who is one of the world's most recognized supermodels, was referred to by the cosmetic company as the "natural choice" for the new ads. "The RIMMEL London girl has an irreverent, laid-back attitude-both in the way she lives her life and in the way she wears her RIMMEL make-up. Kate is able to capture this perfectly because she is the quintessential London girl," says Emmanuelle Bonte, RIMMEL's marketing director.

Marketing directors of the world should know the Flea stands ready to be the first leading face for gentleman's products including Maker's Mark Kentucky straight bourbon whisky, Burt's Bees shaving foam and anything in the DKNY Men's range. Burt's Bees already has this guy for men's grooming so I am probably too late to be much help there. I am sure I could do a better job than the scruffy fellow hovering behind Cate Blanchet in recent "Blade Runner" Donna Karan New York advertising.

Donna Karan se decidió por Blanchett al considerarla una persona con un gran exotismo, además de tener una imagen muy moderna al mismo tiempo. El shooting se realizó en Los angeles y la diseñadora lo ha descrito como sexual, orgánico e industrial… Cate luce prendas de la firma en un aeródromo, un coche y una imprenta abandonada.

And then... Off topic but interesting is the new White Stripes video I found at the NME while looking for Moss-media. The music is much of a muchness but I like the 60s-ish Monkees look and feel of the stop-motion photography.

Posted by the Flea at 07:33 AM | Comments (5)


Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Miss Digital World

Artificial-Americans can at last join a beauty contest of their own though they shall have to go to Italy to do so. Perhaps the losers can console themselves with a digital cat.

"Every age has its ideal of beauty, and every age produces its visual incarnation of that ideal from the Venus de Milo in ancient Greece to Marilyn Monroe in the 1960s," Franz Cerami, the creator of the competition, said. "Miss Digital World is the search for a contemporary ideal of beauty, seen through virtual reality," he told Reuters.

And then Kaya is another "digital girl" I meant to link to when I wrote this post. I finally came across the website again so here it is.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM | Comments (1)


Something else I have in common with ***Dave.

"You should never be cowed by authority. Except, of course, in this instance, where I am clearly right and you are clearly wrong."

What "Buffy" Character Are You?

Posted by the Flea at 07:19 AM

Asteroid (1990 OS)

Alan says if you listen close you should hear the whooshing sound as 1990 OS passes within nine LDs (lunar distances) of Earth. NASA has thoughtfully provided an orbit simulation to visualize the process.

Due to its size and the proximity of its orbit to that of Earth, 1990 OS has been classified as a "Potentially Hazardous Asteroid" by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center.

Flea-readers wanting a yet more detailed view of the debris waiting to crash into our planet thereby dooming us all can take a look at some useful animations. I am glad people are cataloguing all these whooshing rocks even if they do not have the time to calculate precisely where they are all headed.

Posted by the Flea at 07:18 AM

November 11, 2003

The "sonofabitch system"

Mark Steyn argues against the practice of courting client-states that invented, sustained and sustains a variety of despots.

This system of cherrypicking from a barrel-load of unsavoury potential clients was summed up in the old CIA line: ‘He may be a sonofabitch but he’s our sonofabitch.’ The inverse is more to the point: he may be our sonofabitch, but he’s a sonofabitch. Some guys go nuts, some are merely devious and unreliable, some remain charming and pleasant but of little help, but all of them are a bunch of despots utterly sealed off from their peoples.

Posted by the Flea at 10:36 AM

November 10, 2003

A mayor for Toronto

We will get to the mayor in a moment. The Flea has only one endorsement to offer in today's Toronto municipal elections: vote Jeff Brown for Ward 19 councillor!


As a former community newspaper reporter and publisher, a teacher, and a community volunteer, I am committed to bringing your voice and priorities to City Hall.

The proposed Front Street extension should be stopped. Elect Jeff Brown!

We are also voting for mayor today...

To bridge or not to bridge, I don't care. On the one hand we have a guy who wants to put more police officers on the street but whose endorsement by the police union is itself legally dubious. On the other hand we have a guy who is endorsed by a councillor who defended rioters even as they assaulted police officers and their horses in an attempt to storm the provincial parliament.

I have the sneaking suspicion the first will find the money to buy a police helicopter that, given past performance, will be used to hover over my house at four'o'clock Sunday morning. I have a sneaking suspicion the second will ban smoking in bars and restaurants thereby driving most of my friends out onto the streets for early a.m. cigarettes.

I would like a waste-to-energy facility rather than 150 truckloads of garbage on the highways to Michigan every day but I would also like highway traffic to pay for the highways they use by preference to the TTC.

Once again I find myself without a candidate to vote for who has the slightest chance of winning and who isn't a ludicrous little twerp. At least I will not have to live with that voice and almost any mayor would be better than the last.

Let's hope Rick McGinnis has advice on what to do.

And then... The Meatriarchy has identified the real issue at state. Vote Quimby!

And then... Mondo Sismondo is coy about her decision for mayor (while assuring readers she does not share my indecision) and provides a ringing endorsement for Jeff Brown in Ward 19.

And, since I don't want any levels of government to work together, I will be voting for Jeff Brown for Ward 19 Councillor. As of yesterday, I'm his ex-wife and I'm still voting for him. I don't think you can get a stronger endorsement than that.

Posted by the Flea at 03:33 AM

Sister Christina

My MTV Europe Awards viewing had to wait for the Saturday broadcast of the show on Canadian television. The Flea's unceasing commitment to fashion journalism means I am compelled to report Christina Aguilera in and out of her nun's habit. Pink, Beyoncé and Kylie all put in an appearance so that's good then despite an on-going catfight and an obscure "no kissing" rule. Kylie is reported to have insisted on an electric juicer for all her juice needs backstage and to have given the after-awards party a miss in favour of a cup of tea.

Posted by the Flea at 03:03 AM

Matrix timeline

I know what you want Neo. You want to know the answer to the question... when is the Matrix?

Using background culled from the three movies and "Animatrix" shorts, The Associated Press compiled an estimated timeline of the war between men and machines

And then... Zut! MSN changed their link... thanks to ***Dave for pointing out the Gucci-themed material that was there in the place of Matrix future history. That was the fastest link-rot ever! My high school art teacher used to claim to us that nothing dates faster than our conceptions of the future. Evidently, she was right.

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


Could this be the camera for John? I have never met the gentleman but the words "huge gun-like object" leap to mind when I hear the word argghhh!!!

I would say that the Fotosnaipers (often 'translated' to English as 'Photo Snipers', but strange enough, I prefer the semi-Russian spelling that's found on the gun mount) are more suited to take action pictures, than they are to spy on people. The gun mount fairly convincingly eliminates the need for a tripod, so the FS sets are well suited for wildlife photography, sports photography, recording photography: situations where the subject will not feel threatened by a huge gun-like object.

Posted by the Flea at 12:53 AM | Comments (1)

Mr. Peabody's Apples

Madonna's second children's book is now available. Like the first, it is based ostensibly on insight from the kabbalah. A Village Voice critique suggests mama don't preach.

However powerful her Christian name may be, in the context of publishing it feels inadequate and inauthentic. Whoever engineered the flap copy knew this: The author's bio begins, "Madonna Ritchie was born in Bay City, Michigan." The jarring inclusion of her married name seems a deliberate attempt to fool anybody who might flip to the back. This book is not by Madonna née Ciccone, who so recently tongue-wrestled Britney Spears; it's by Madonna Ritchie, native of the pleasantly down-home sounding Bay City, Michigan, Blessed Mother of Lourdes and Rocco. You know, mommy-from-the-block. "She lives with her husband"—does that sound like the Madonna who once equated blowjobs with fervent prayer?

Posted by the Flea at 12:50 AM

William Gibson

This quiz told me I was Jane Austen so I changed my answers (via Argghhh!!! ).

William Gibson
William Gibson wrote your book. Technology
terrifies and delights you.

Which Author's Fiction are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by the Flea at 12:48 AM | Comments (1)


The Flea rattles its ghostly chains gratefully in the direction of the PayPal button. A kindly Flea-reader made a second contribution to this year's Flea... thanks!

Posted by the Flea at 12:47 AM

November 08, 2003

Re: The Matrix


This installment of the Flea Presents Great Canadians™ features two stars of the recently released, not very good Matrix: Revolutions. Carrie-Anne Moss and Keannu Reeves are quite pretty despite their dialogue and naturally the innate Canadian ability to fly and move in bullet-time helps them in their adventures.

And then... James Lileks liked the third film far more than I did. In fact, I did not like it. But I agree with his assessment of the main problem of the Wachowski brothers' philosophy.

I took away something else from the Matrix trilogy: it is a product of deeply confused people. They want it all. They want individualism and community; they want secularism and transcendence; they want the purity of committed love and the licentious fun of an S&M club; they want peace and the thrill of violence; they want God, but they want to design him on their own screens with their own programs by their own terms for their own needs, and having defined the divine on their own terms, they bristle when anyone suggests they have simply built a room with a mirror and flattering lighting. All three Matrix movies, seen in total, ache for a God. But they can’t quite go all the way. They’re like three movies about circular flat meat patties that can never quite bring themselves to say the word “hamburger.”

And then... Problem: unsatisfied with Revolutions. Solution: go see it again the next day on IMAX.

The IMAX Experience is the world's most powerful and involving film experience. With breathtaking images up to eight stories high and wrap-around 12,000-watt digital sound, IMAX technology takes you to places only imagined.

Much better. Everything moves faster and everything looks better. Also, this second viewing let me figure out why the station is called "Mobil". Check out the fridge magnets too.

Posted by the Flea at 10:54 AM | Comments (1)

JOUR 3070

The Flea's referral log reveals visits from Georgia State's JOUR 3070 Introduction to Theories of Mass Communication. The class has an essay due November 12... stop reading this entry and start typing! The assignment looks sound. I may steal/rip-off the idea for my Digital Media and Culture course next term.

Remember, your job in this paper isn't to say blogging is great or blogging sucks. Your job is to write an essay about blogging from a mass communication theory perspective. You should come up with an argument, present that argument, then give reasons why you think that argument is valid.

Quite right. Here are some keywords to consider: hypertext, intertext, reflexivity and recursion. I will add more as I think about this. Oh, and if you need an excuse to say the following please feel free to quote the Flea... Blogging is great! Blogging sucks!

Posted by the Flea at 10:53 AM | Comments (1)

Christmas Island

The Flea makes cheerful night-noises on the moor in welcome to a visitor from Christmas Island. All these islands of the world continue to amaze me. Flying Fish Cove must be the best name for a capital city anywhere. Another place to add to my list of places to visit (and another reason to break out the garlic butter).

An Australian external territory, claimed from Britain in 1958. It was discovered on Christmas Day, 1643, by Captain William Minors of the British East India Company, thus the name.

Posted by the Flea at 10:47 AM | Comments (5)

Exotic pin-up

Yep, something else I have in common with Anthony.

You are the exotic pin-up. Nothing about you is ordinary. You are mysterious and lean toward foreign places and exciting men.

What Type Of Retro Gal Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by the Flea at 10:42 AM


I think people are beginning to work out what CGI is for and the answer looks to be epic-cheeze goodness. The armour, the sets and an astonishing naval opening shot make this look promising. Brad Pitt is Achilles and Orlando Bloom also features. There is a wooden horse involved there somehow too.

If love is worth fighting for it has known no greater battle than this.

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

November 07, 2003

Women in metal


A thirty-second Google search can reveal more information on "the internet" than was available to a medieval Pope or the head librarian of the Library of Alexandria. Take women in metal, for example.

Contained herein is a list of female members of heavy metal bands. Not just those that are popular, or that I personally like, but as many as I can include.

Posted by the Flea at 10:55 AM | Comments (1)

Va va venemous

Venemous Kate has a new picture of her venemous self at her blog. Just saying is all.

Posted by the Flea at 10:16 AM

Sharing is nice

Sure, the Flea would share a toothbrush with Kylie Minogue but what about men from different regions of New Zealand?

A survey of 428 people nationwide by toothbrush company Oral-B, reveals 29 per cent of Christchurch men would share their toothbrush with the diminutive Aussie songstress – compared with only 20 per cent of Wellington men and 19 per cent of other South Island males.

Time to watch her new video, "Slow".

Filmed in Barcelona, ‘Slow’ is the first track to be taken from Kylie’s forthcoming album ‘Body Language’ (released November 17). The video features a Brigitte Bardot-esque Kylie writhing around a swimming pool whilst seductively imploring us to "slow down and dance with me".

Posted by the Flea at 10:14 AM


I think I need a portrait of myself with Stevie Nicks.

The portrait is stunning, I love how the wings extend out beyond the actual painting...the detail of the tips is just amazing. If you ever post a Stevie portrait on your website please post this one, it is just soo beautiful that the whole world should see. I can't wait to hang it in my home...

Posted by the Flea at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)


Once again British humour in advertising that would fail the test of Canada's various virtue police even as it demonstrates American mastery of the precision vault. More strange still is Trojan's Shockwave arcade.

Posted by the Flea at 10:12 AM


Archaeological interpretation of a recently excavated Etruscan tomb ignores the obvious influence of the Mythos on latter-day Etruscans and their "puzzling, non-Indo-European language."

Vividly colored, the scenes in the tomb reflect a sinister change in the Etruscan concept of death. A fun loving and sensuous people, on the verge of decline they adopted the Greek vision of a demon-infested underworld. "The figure with red hair is surely a death demon of some kind. This is confirmed by the black figure at her side, used by the Etruscans to characterize demons," chief archaeologist Mario Iozzo, director of the Center for Conservation in Florence and Chiusi's Archaeological Museum, told Discovery News.

Posted by the Flea at 10:11 AM

November 06, 2003

Matrix X-mas special

Christmas is Agent Smith's favourite. So pretty!

That thing almost hit us. That thing could have hit us. We could have died.

Do you want me to use this thing on you?


Then shut up.

Posted by the Flea at 06:59 AM | Comments (2)

Britney Spears nude study

This blog entry title is not just a dumb traffic generating stunt. There is serious research to be considered.

Posted by the Flea at 06:58 AM | Comments (1)

The Punisher

The trailer is now available. Wow, it looks horrible. In fact, I was composing mentally some sort of Spawn comparison when I learned who plays the villain. Battlefield Earth, anyone? Ain't It Cool News wonders if Dolph wasn't so bad after all.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM | Comments (2)


Arguably the only sane character in the show (via All Agitprop, all the Time...).

Click here to take the M*A*S*H quiz!

Posted by the Flea at 06:56 AM | Comments (1)

Thy rod and thy staff...

I found this via a post at Dean Esmay via Classical Values. The title of the post must be the best use of scripture I have seen in the blogosphere. It is also a moving story for someone to share.

It has been an eventful two days for me. Something my family and I probably won't forget in awhile. And it involves that gun you see to the right. That's my gun. A Mossberg 590 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. And I know how to shoot it and shoot it well.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

November 05, 2003



This flash plane-arium is... amazing. A dagger of the mind! Of course, every plane-arium should have laser Kenny Loggins...

Now breath deep as the stars slowly start to move in little circles. I know that you think plane-ariums are boring, but I'm gonna try to change the way you think about that.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

Silver Age Superman

Hmm, better throw the Chaos Overlord a bone seeing as I am his biggest fan.

Up in the sky... look! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... Superman!

And then... I had been meaning to say something about the gripping tomacco coverage over at Chaos Central so I shall mention it now.

Posted by the Flea at 06:40 AM | Comments (1)

Aragorn and Arwen and Barbie and Ken

Ok, I am all in favour of Barbie-culture but this is wrong.

Posted by the Flea at 06:38 AM | Comments (2)

Middle Earth

Your journey to Middle-Earth begins in New Zealand. Take the Wizard's Way, for example:

Day 5 Christchurch to Methven (75miles)
Today travel south through the Canterbury Plains from where you will be able to view the mighty Southern Alps, known in the film as the Misty Mountains, which make up the spectacular backbone of the South Island. Methven is a mecca for skiers and hikers alike and also the location where crews built Edoras the home of Theoden.

The Ring Route includes Mount Ruapehu. A view of the volcano and surround at this site show another astonishing location choice by Peter Jackson. The trouble with "the internet" is I now have an image of someone snow-boarding on Mount Doom stuck in my head.

The Department of Conservation has re-issued its warning for people to stay at least 500m from the centre of the Crater. The main cause for concern is the cracks which are continuing to develop in the crater rim.

And then... I meant to mention something about that 360 shot of Ruapehu/Amon Amarth. There is a very convenient, and striking, mountain nearby that looks cut out for the role of a south pointing spur of Ered Lithui. I can already imagine Barad-dûr climbing up its slopes.

Posted by the Flea at 06:36 AM

Alien vs. Predator

The film is scheduled for August 2004. This promo site has the details. There is a new, ok teaser-trailer but fair warning about the behind-the-scenes promo, it is one spoiler after another.

Whoever wins... we lose.

Like the last provincial election in Ontario? Oh, ha ha. I am a card.

I think the behind-the-scenes promo is worth a look despite the spoilers. Seeing some of the tech and scenery might take away from the shock and awe of the film but I doubt anyone will be too worried to have plot details revealed. I shall go on in the extended entry to this post...

... to say this: I am loving the fantasy archaeology underlying the film. My course on the collapse of ancient civilizations ends tomorrow night. I now have a new theory to advance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:35 AM

End to snowball glaciation

The evolution of sea-critters with carbonate shells may have prevented "snowball glaciation" this last half-billion years or so through a regulatory effect on the oceans (via A Voyage to Arcturus).

The researchers used a computer model describing the ocean, atmosphere and land surface to look at how atmospheric carbon dioxide would change as a result of glacier growth. They found that, in the distant past, as glaciers started to grow, the oceans would suck the greenhouse gas -- carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere -- making the Earth colder, promoting an even deeper ice age.

When marine plankton with carbonate shells and skeletons are added to the model, ocean chemistry is buffered and glacial growth does not cause the ocean to absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Posted by the Flea at 06:34 AM

November 04, 2003


Sketches of Strain points out one drawback of getting to know people through blogging.

What do you do when the only people you feel like hanging out with live hundreds if not thousands of miles away?

Posted by the Flea at 05:20 AM

Brawny Man

***Dave reports a Brawny Man make-over.

The hair and moustache was looking a little dated, to be sure. He’s basically been unchanged since 1974 — and I know I’ve updated my look a few times since then.

Posted by the Flea at 05:20 AM

The Eternal Golden Braid

Fred has moved to new internet home.

The title comes from the sub-title of Douglas Hofstadter's best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning work of non-fiction. Maybe someday I'll actually finish reading it and understand it as well!

Posted by the Flea at 05:20 AM


Quizilla thinks I have something else in common with Classical Values.

Sophisticated and classy, you take shitty-tasting liquid and make it look beautiful and glamorous!!
Congratulations!! You're a smart sophisticated and
beautiful martini!!

What Drink Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by the Flea at 05:20 AM | Comments (1)


Richard Roth's hundred most common errors in English language usage is quite useful. Some of his errors do not cross the ocean, however, as I believe error number eight does not apply in England (but please do correct me if I am mistaken). I have yet to do through the list so do not know if my pet peeve is represented. People often say they are "disinterested" when they mean to say they are "uninterested".

Posted by the Flea at 05:16 AM | Comments (4)

Cut up

Grazulis hosts a "cut-up machine" (via Merde in France). But wait... there is more cut-up goodness to be had.

Here you will find resources on the cut-up technique pioneered by Tristan Tzara, William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin, and popularized by David Bowie and many others. The list leads off with some online cut-up devices you can use, each with its own way of doing things, and then offers links to pages that discuss the cut-up technique and/or offer examples of writing created with cut-ups.

Posted by the Flea at 05:12 AM

Archaic occupations

A list of archaic occupations includes many that might usefully be revived. The Flea could certainly make use of the services of an amanuensis. And I am surprised there are no undergraduate courses in tide-guaging on the books (via Cup of Chicha).

Posted by the Flea at 05:12 AM

November 03, 2003



Sure, Nick Adonidas' boat was named Persephone. But what was the name of Relic's boat? This one stumped the bar the other night.

My Googling to answer this pressing question revealed something criminal... there is no Beachcombers fan-site on "the internet". We bloggers must act at once! Take Robert Clothier, for example. I grew up being half-terrified/half-in awe of his cranky character, Relic. It turns out he was a sculptor. Quite dapper too. That is him on the left, believe it or not.


Robert Clothier (1921-1999)
Three Forms, 1956
218.5 x 86 x 115.5 cm

Located near the north side of the Lasserre Building, Three Forms won the UBC Purchase Prize in the first Outdoor Sculpture Show held at UBC in 1956.

Clothier was born in Prince Rupert in 1921. He attended St. George's School in Vancouver and then UBC in the late 1940s. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and is known for his role as "Relic" in the CBC television series The Beachcombers. As a sculptor, Clothier had his first exhibition at UBC in 1956 when he won first place for Three Forms in a contest judged by Herbert Read. He also exhibited in Art Encounter '82 in Vancouver and was a member of the Pacific Northwest Society of Sculptors.

Posted by the Flea at 06:11 AM | Comments (10)

Faroe Islands

The Flea welcomes a visitor from the Faroe Islands. Torshavn looks lovely. Yet another place to visit... I have been re-reading The Lord of the Rings in preparation for the final film in the series. The landscapes of the Faroe Islands evoke Tolkien's otherwordly familiarity.

And then... My Googles brought the band Tyr to my attention as their video for "Hail to the Hammer" was filmed in the Faroe Islands. Ok, I sometimes tell people that if I was going to start my education again I would choose to be in marketing or an architect. The fact of the matter is I am going to finish this PhD and start a Dark Ages Viking metal band. I could use some singing lessons but I figure I have the attitude.

And then... This is almost a complete tangent... I was in search of Tyr albums as the nearest metal store and discovered an Abba cover by one of my favourite bands. A sample of Therion's rendition of Summernight City may be found here. Dance, Flea-readers! Dance!

Posted by the Flea at 06:09 AM | Comments (1)

Blond Inuit

The disappearance of Norse settlements in Greenland (their last communication was a letter dated 1408) has resulted in romantic speculation that the Vikings had gone west and intermarried with the Thule Inuit.

A well-known Canadian Arctic explorer, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, hinted in his diaries he came across European-featured Inuit in the early 1900s in Western Nunavut. So Helgason and Palsson tested the theory by comparing DNA from 100 Cambridge Bay Inuit with Norse descendants from Iceland.

It turns out there is no DNA match between the two groups and consequently no lost tribes of blond-haired, blue-eyed esqimaux.

Posted by the Flea at 06:08 AM

The Church of England joke

Quizilla is now so sophisticated it can identify your cognate Eddie Izzard joke (via Suburban Blight).

Have you ever impersonated Sean Connery? You might
want to try it; it seems to be in your nature.
Just try not to offend too many people.

Which Eddie Izzard Joke Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by the Flea at 06:06 AM


An experiment using Polaroid photos is a kind of iterative hologram of the photographer's life. I have never seen anything like it and so am resorting to the two-dollar words to cover up my inability to understand it all at once.

And then there is flogging. My next big purchase (scheduled for sometime in 2005) should be a digital camera at which point there may be a Flea flog. The Flea's Inukshuk Expert already has marvellous things to show at geoblog.

I don`t have time to keep a diary, so this will have to do. Some of the pictures I take for professional reasons, but most just because the muse speaks.

Posted by the Flea at 06:05 AM

Last chance city

Rick McGinnis has set up a blog to cover the forthcoming Toronto municipal election. I had been planning to say something about the process but not got round to it yet... I found the site through The Meatriarchy (who has a new post on the election here) and Angua who, like me, missed out on the email invitation though I was delighted to see the Flea on Last Chance City's blogroll.

Posted by the Flea at 06:03 AM | Comments (1)

November 01, 2003

War of the Worlds


No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their affairs they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

Compare and contrast H.G. Wells original introduction to The War of the Worlds with the complete Orson Welles scary radio version.

We know now that in the early years of the twentieth century this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own. We know now that as human beings busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

Posted by the Flea at 12:24 PM | Comments (2)


Any one of these cars for the 37th Tokyo motor show would make a find Fleamobile. I am torn between the Nissan Jikoo and the Mitsubishi SE·RO.

With a name derived from the words "secret room," the SE·RO is intended not only as a source of transportation, but also as a personal space for the driver who needs a respite from adult life and can no longer hole up in a tree house or couch cushion fort.

Posted by the Flea at 11:49 AM | Comments (2)


This web-based clock is stunning.

Posted by the Flea at 11:46 AM

Ray - Part 1

My favourite part of this South Park-stylee choose-your-own-adventure story is the Latin music in the background of a scene where your character is trying to sneak into a building. Here is one possible future of hypertext media.

Excessive Violence, Excessive Audible Explicit Language, Excessive Textual Explicit Language, Mild Adult Themes

Posted by the Flea at 11:41 AM | Comments (1)

Paglia on blogs

Camille Paglia does the art critic stumble as she dismisses blogs while claiming some column of hers was somehow the first blog. Left-wing firing squads, it has been said, are circular. I think something of the same logic applies to being too cool to, you know, like anything.

Blog reading for me is like going down to the cellar amid shelves and shelves of musty books that you're condemned to turn the pages of. Bad prose, endless reams of bad prose! There's a lack of discipline, a feeling that anything that crosses one's mind is important or interesting to others. People say that the best part about writing a blog is that there's no editing -- it's free speech without institutional control. Well, sure, but writing isn't masturbation -- you've got to self-edit.

Now and then one sees the claim that Kausfiles was the first blog. I beg to differ: I happen to feel that my Salon column was the first true blog. My columns had punch and on-rushing velocity. They weren't this dreary meta-commentary, where there's a blizzard of fussy, detached sections nattering on obscurely about other bloggers or media moguls and Washington bureaucrats. I took hits at media excesses, but I directly commented on major issues and personalities in politics and pop culture.

If bloggers want to break out of their ghetto, they've got to acquire a sense of drama and theater as well as a flair for language. Why else should anyone read them? And the Web in my view is a visual medium -- I don't log on to be trapped on a muddy page crammed with indigestible prose.

Posted by the Flea at 11:39 AM | Comments (2)

It's a blog world after all

This October the Flea welcomed visitors from Guatemala, Bahamas, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Tonga, Turks and Caicos Islands, Lebanon, Panama, Malta, Ascension Island, Ukraine, Faroe Islands, Nepal, Costa Rica, Guadeloupe, Vanuatu, Moldavia, Uruguay, Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Niue, Chile, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Brunei Darussalam, Cayman Islands, a United Nations server, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Mauritius, Ireland, Egypt, Lithuania, Columbia, Latvia, Yugoslavia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Peru, Qatar, Romania, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Turkey, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Russian Federation, Hungary, Malaysia, Switzerland, Philippines, Estonia, Portugal, Austria, Argentina, Poland, Iceland, Singapore, Brazil, Denmark, Belgium, Israel, Norway, Slovak Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Taiwan, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, France, Mexico, Netherlands, Australia, United Kingdom, United States and Canada.

Posted by the Flea at 11:37 AM | Comments (2)