The first anniversary of the Bonfire of the Vanities is being celebrated at Wizbang.
Ok, Toronto question here. Has anyone notice the distorted, Mythos-influenced totem pole down at Little Norway Park? I could not find an image of it on-line. Something to add to my hypothetical digital camera list.
Swimming with sharks in 3D panoramas! Shark Pass is particularly beautiful.
*Europa trademark Flea Industries PLC. Some worlds may be small and potato shaped.
Renovations at St Cadoc's church in south Wales have uncovered a medieval wall painting thought to have been covered up since the Reformation.
Nesting pigeons pointed the way to a hidden treasure.
More on the Voynich Manuscript as a new analysis "suggests that it contains nothing but gibberish".
An 18th-century interpretation of ancient Roman design. Lovely.
One of the outstanding model theatrical works.
The entire opera is crying out to be captained. Scene Nine especially.
I have become attached to this show. There is nothing nasty or petty or cynical about it.
Maybe this Palpatine cane would let me do that blue lightning thing to speed up my morning coffee making ritual.
Unloved buildings of historical significance.
John Lydon, a.k.a. Johnny Rotten, is to host a series of wildlife specials.
Colby Cosh explains the Canadian election to Americans (before yesterday's vote). A central point is an introduction to Mr. Stephen Harper, leader of Canada's new Conservative Party.
Along the way, he mentions a promotional site built by Canada's embassy to Washington. Canadian Ally is presumably meant to reassure our southern neighbours we are doing, like, something. Sad that we have to go out of our way to make this point. Actions, one might observe, speak louder than websites.
Remarks by someone calling himself "Hamilcar" to a post at The Shotgun sum up the attitude that lost the Conservatives the election. The zealots are trying to figure out why Ontario failed, once again, to follow what they claim is God's will.
These people could care less if a Liberal or a Conservative took a seat provided "Christian" "Heritage" Party values win the day. These people are the super-crazies of Canadian politics and we are meant to believe it was vote-splitting among the super-crazies that lost the day. And they wonder why the right's combined share of the popular vote shrank by 8% despite this Liberal government? Here is the answer. Most Canadians do not want a fringe of right-wing Catholics and Evangelical Protestants to dictate to them what to do in their marriages, their families or their places of worship. Here is a simple fact: the federal Conservative Party will never hold power in this country until it is clear that its membership respect the opinions of Canadians who disagree with them.
It is not the Alliance take-over of the Progressive Conseratives that people should be talking about. It is the Christian Heritage Party take-over of the Alliance. The people of Ontario rejected CHP values last night. Thank God.
The rest of my election commentary is here.
And then... Chris Taylor offers thoughts on strategy for next time.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
A reverse shoot'em up. Defend your base from an incoming fighter.
The musical! Sadly, I was too disorganized to get out to see it. There is a cute choose your own adventure game tucked into the multimedia section.
“The Northwest Passage did not exist, and so could not be discovered, until Europeans invented it.”
For all your summer boating needs.
The Department of the Navy presents naval art from the Battle of Midway.
Textbooks are important. But I think there should be room for some novels in there. I was attempting charades after a drink or three. The game was limited to titles of books and plays and I was having no luck miming "1984". I got around the problem by the expedient of signing out the individual numbers (and was accused of cheating for what was clearly inspired improvisation). My charades partner had no idea what book I was talking about. This was an intelligent, politically engaged woman... who had just moved to London from South Africa. I expect Orwell was not a hit in apartheid libraries. I expect the University of Bagdhad could use a copy.
The National Post offers clues the fellow in the next cublicle is a Tory.
We had an aircraft carrier. Imagine that. Now we have metric and the CBC. It was a bad trade. I am proud to say this is one of a handful of countries in the whole world where you can arrive, work hard and send your kids to school in the hope of a better life. No matter your accent or appearance you will be Canadian. Try moving to France and see if you could do the same. It is true that Canada used to be a profoundly nativist country with some repellent ideas about race. It is also true the history of this country might be told as one of conquest and exploitation. Also, we had no cable television. We were far from perfect. Nobody sensible wants anything like that again.
But Canada has also been about exploration and entrepreneurialism and optimism. Half this country is made up of Hudson's Bay territory itself granted in a charter to the oldest corporation in the world. It was trade that drove the voyageurs to find the next river or the next lake. It was trade that inspired the search for the elusive northwest passage (soon to be a reality if global warming finally pays off).
This country has also been a force for liberty. The third largest navy in the world fed Britain through the dark days of the Blitz and Hitler's north Atlantic wolf packs. This is the country that took Vimy Ridge and that stormed Juno Beach. Let's bring back that Canada.
Update: November 2, 2005
After I wrote this post I kept track of people flying the Red Ensign at their websites. I no longer do so. I have no relationship with the Red Ensign bloggers (though I have got to know several of them) and from what I can make out my politics are well to the left of most of them.
More important: it has come to my attention that some racist groups use the Canadian Red Ensign as a symbol. This is a profound insult. Canadians fought and died at Juno Beach to oppose fascism and racism. It is a fight we have yet to win.
Let's just sit back and enjoy that headline shall we?
It was only a matter of time before Parks Canada linked to the Flea.
Web surfing has a new, perhaps stupid, meaning.
Coming soon to undergraduate departments near you. It is a sure sign the pestilence of analysis has started that SDB has to fend off questionnaires. The survey is ludicrous. Having decided bloggers are narcissists the questions are all directed at uncovering aspirations to immmortality. Den Beste replies:
Not that bloggers are not aiming for immortality by other means. I plan to get my immortality the old fashioned way: vampirism.
Samizdata has fallen under the spell of Belinda Stronach.
Cross-posted to The Shotgun.
Keira Knightley is to star as Elizabeth Bennet in a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Matthew MacFadyen has been cast as Darcy. He has that brooding saturnine thing going which is what I believe is called for. Not that I would know not having read the book. My only impression is of Colin Firth as that guy based on that guy in that column that got turned into a movie with whatsherface who supposedly had to gain weight for the role but in reality looked less skeletal than usual.
Should I read Jane Austen? I have relegated that sort of thing to the chick lit section along with... I pause for a shudder... Lucy Maud Montgomery. Prolonged argument with a maoist ex of my undergrad days revealed to me that pornography produces unrealistic ideas about sexuality and relationships for men. Forgive my somewhat dense reaction to this line of reasoning but I thought that lack of realism was the entire point of pornography. This got me nowhere. A better riposte was to point out that much of the literature that was popular among undergrad women at the time produced equally unrealistic ideas about sexuality and relationships. I called it "Lucy Maud Montnography", thought I was very clever and remain to this day the only person who has laughed at that joke.
Time to read some Cormac McCarthy and assure myself that all is right with the world.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
I am honestly choking up as I watch these clips. The cougar. The beaver. The ptarmigan, of course. They are all here. Canadians my age grew up with Hinterland Who's Who clips and that tune is now etched into our psyches.
All I live for now is to see the one where the narrator asks, "Will the snake eat the frog? Or will the frog eat the snake?" A gnomic parable for our country. And there was the one where the beaver fights off a mountain lion. That beaver kicked ass.
I know this is old news but for some reason I think the photo with this article is hilarious. So, how do I get my myostatin suppressed so I can shed pounds, get ripped and perform incredible feats of strength that will amaze and astonish?
Good point. As much as I loved the recent television adaptations of Dune, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune it did pain me to see yet another (two!) white Duncan Idahos. Frank Herbert is quite specific in his description of the character. If it is important to cast Paul Atriedes somewhat faithfully this should also be true of Idaho. It will be critical if they decide to make God Emperor of Dune. Oh yes.
Herbert's favourite characters tend to be pig ugly and have red hair. These turn up over and over again in his writing with the grumpy Jorg X. McKie as an exemplar of the breed. And where do I sign up to work for the BuSab? But I digress.
Le Guin loses me in her moralizing about "(unquestioned) Good and (unexamined) Evil". The spectre of the VRWC haunts her. It is a shame the (unquestionable) Good of women being able to walk the streets unescorted by a male relative and (unexamined by the "left") Evil of sawing heads off for cable news ratings get lumped in with ill conceived fantasy plots. No, fantasy land is not the real middle ages. But that is no reason to obscure the fact of real heroism and real evil in the real world.
A catalogue of panoramic photos dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. Disasters are a recurring theme. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire photo is particularly evocative. I had no sense of the scale of the fire until now. But I am left with the conviction that civilization will pick up and rebuild no matter what gets thrown at the West.
Does anybody have poll numbers for the Marijuana Party? Carol Taylor, a candidate in an Ottawa riding, is reported to be distributing some eye-catching leaflets, presumably inspired by design experience from her occupation as a "professional dominatrix" (via INDC Journal).
Frankly, I am also shocked by her... uhh... campaign literature.
Cross-posted to The Shotgun.
|How to make a Flea|
1 part intelligence
1 part self-sufficiency
Layer ingredientes in a shot glass. Add a little fitness if desired!
Note the missing ingredient rendering this cocktail impossible to replicate (via Absinthe & Cookies).
The LÉ Niamh, pride of the Irish navy, has sailed into Toronto harbour and is docked south of Skydome at Maple Leaf Quay. I stopped by to pay my respects and get a close-up look at a modern offshore patrol vessel. At 78m LÉ Niamh is small in comparison to other warships. But that 76mm OTO Melara Cannon still represents the pointy end of Irish democracy. Beidh fáilte romhat ag aon tam!
The ship will be open to the public on Saturday afternoon from 2 til 5. Folks in Boston and St. John's will also have a chance to visit before she returns to Ireland.
I am continuing with the Firefly thing here. A friend sent me an invitation to join the Browncoats - sinister sounding at first, I admit - who turn out to be Firefly related (but you probably already knew that).
I now pass on the invitation in the hope to enlist a militia of Flea-readers and thereby bringing me Credits for something or other. Sign up and start pestering your friends and relatives to get Credits too! Apparently we also get "exclusive content" and "insider information".
BBC Sport hosts virtual replays of Euro 2004. An anorak is required for proper viewing.
Just the thing for decreasing your office productivity. I like Gary Gastropod.
Ten minutes of B.A.S.E. jumping might not be for people lacking a head for heights. This should get an award for best use of a Metallica cover in an on-line video. Epic.
Not being an Asian or Pacific Island American, or indeed American of any hyphenation, it is difficult to know what to make of this McDonald's marketing. Does this inspire anyone to express their cultural identity by going for a Big Mac?
The test was skewed by the fact my Bloc Blog party positions do not fit any established political party. Pro-military funding and missile defence, anti-gun registry, pro-personal and business tax reduction, anti-Kyoto, pro-choice, anti-bar and restaurant smoking ban, pro-gay marriage, anti-criminalization of marijuana possession. The bar and restaurant smoking ban thing did not even turn up on the radar for this quiz. Tuition fees do. Are there enough college and university students who bother to vote for this to make the slightest difference to election outcomes?
Dr. Kelley L. Ross offers some most satisfying criticism of speculative fiction's greatest sacred cow.
And then... Mike Campbell comments.
Get your Lovecraft on in this latest non-metal version of the Alien vs Predator trailer.
My one word was café.
A creepy and compulsive tour through a surreal warehouse. This has a Clive Barker feel to it.
Crooked Timber considers a survey of Canadian political parties on internet-related policy such as "IP protection, file-sharing, open source, identity cards and use of Internet materials in education."
Cross-posted to The Shotgun
They were the best of times. They were the worst of times. They were "shorter waiting times"? Such was the message spelled out in alternating lines with the Liberal Party logo in this morning's coverage of our Prime Minister on campaign. We live in epic times. Madmen fly aircraft into buildings and private astronauts fly into space. Cutting a few days off hospital visits for those of us choosing not to fly down the States for the same privilege seems like a small issue for small imaginations. Paul Martin thinks "shorter waiting times" is the issue that might animate the Canadian people and carry him back into office. Sadly, he may be correct.
Cross-posted to The Shotgun
You're paranoid, and perhaps a bit whacked. Your life experience has made you an introvert. Though you're a true friend, who retains promises and the past in the palm of your hand, you need to let it go -- staying anal retentive forever is not the anwer.
Take the What Pulp Fiction Character Are You? quiz.
A trifle vulgar but good advice nonetheless (via Informatsiooni stardirada).
Affordable, private spaceflight. Astonishing. Of course, this also means affordable, private intercontinental ballistic missiles. Downer. But with something that looks Buck Rogers cool just about any risk is worth taking.
Johnny Storm lights the Bonfire at Apropos of Something.
The gallery of Super-Dudes is now open.
The F-Scale test describes me as a liberal airhead. Some useful points but unfortunately predictable.
Oxygen isotope analysis spots some Welshmen among remains found at Boscombe Down near Stonehenge.
And then... Contemporary Stonehenge at dawn. Lovely.
Fascinating thoughts about President Lincoln, General McClellan and the Army of the Potomac at Regions of Mind. Suzanne Fields is cited on "the young Napoleon" of 1864 and today's hapless Democratic candidate.
The first of the new Narnia movies starts filming June 28 with a scheduled US release for December 2005. Banners from a New York licensing show are a first glimpse into this new interpretation of Lewis' world.
The Two Things about cultural anthropology.
1. It's all relative.
2. It's all relatives.
Well put together 3D racing game. Too bad I am no good at racing games.
Unofficial, of course. I like the Keep-Uppy game too.
A “positive, organized action” was “the only safe-guard for peace" lest we fall for those “interests that would profit from war.” Students "strike a blow for peace" at the Kansas Union. A one-hour strike "protesting potential U.S. involvement in war" was joined by 140 colleges in in 31 countries.
The year: 1935.
I confess to one minor edit in the last paragraph and some blurring into the equally enthusiastic demonstrations of 1936. Who knows? The noble sentiments of these young people may have been a decisive factor in preventing the United States from further foreign entanglements. Until 1942 and my grandparents had already fought their way through the Blitz.
Silent Running reviews the strait-to-dvd release Starship Troopers II. I like to watch films with a fresh eye so only read enough of the review to know things were looking bad before renting the accursed thing. My own review follows in the extended entry.
Bad from minute one. It is amazing to learn what it feels like as your IQ drops. I felt like this movie was literally lobomotimizing me as I watched it. This was not just bad. It was boring. I would like to say that never have so many decent movies been ripped off so badly for so little entertainment value. But the truth that Starship Troopers II was merely awful. A hideous pastiche of the first film (itself a rip-off), Aliens, Mimic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Pitch Black and The Thing. Even a Jean-Luc Picard line is abused. But this is no Zardoz. And it is too stupid to have the ideological offensiveness of the Paul Verhoeven effort.
There are hot naked people and there is plenty of bug splattery for those who enjoy that sort of thing. For some reason the troopers in this one all have George Michael facial hair. I admit this does feature the best ever use of a microwave oven in a movie.
Now off to read the Silent Running review.
And then... Ha! One quote strikes me:
Robert Anson Heinlein inspires that reaction in many. There is an intensity to his work and he always manages to slap me in the face with his plot twists. I just read "Farnham's Folly", for example and am now taking a bath in PKD's "Our Friends from Frolix 8" to recover. "Farnham's Folly" is the first library paperback I have ever read that included hostile, scrawled book reviews on the last page.
"oh what a cheesy, jingoistic last line. gag!"
"bootleggers made America what it is, sedated Happy Sheple Nation"
Can anyone shed light on why teenage women, often the daughter of the protagonist, throw themselves at the protagonist? Is there a hidden depth I am missing here?
A celebrity I have never heard of rejects kabbalah.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Two bodies. Two engines. One soul. The new Porsche 911 Carrera and 911 Carrera S.
Or at least it should not be. Liberty and democracy are under assault by maniacs who would kill or convert us all. Some folks want to stick their heads in the sand, some want to blame the all powerful father figure of American network television and in some quarters of the conservative movement the witch hunt continues. Pathetic and pitiable.
The timing of and response to the Madrid bombings were intended to influence the outcome of Spanish elections. They appear to have succeeded in their aim. There is a sick irony in thinking about the groups which mobilized to take advantage of the attack. These same conspiracoids of the left would have asked "qui bono" if it had not been the short-term interests of their parties that benefited.
It is important to consider the likely response of Canadian establishment, media and political groups to an attack in this country. For example, there are Toronto based protest groups that can mobilize a mob quickly. They managed to conjure up an attempt to storm Ontario's legislature in recent years. Would they choose to do so in the aftermath of an attack that left hundreds dead on the subway?
It is important to understand the shock that will ensue if and when Canada is attacked. The feelings of anger that follow could be turned to a resolute determination to stand up for responsible government and liberty. These same feelings can all too easily be twisted. We know what the media elites of this country have done with every story in the last two years of conflict. We can only imagine they will be ready to distort any atrocity to serve their own ends.
We need our arguments ready.
"The web. It has no smell." Good point. Juliette Binoche is as charming as ever in Jet Lag, the latest in my Jean Reno film festival. This one finds him stranded in and about Charles de Gaul. CDG makes for a better airport film that that new Tom Hanks atrocity is likely to be. Watching Reno order room service is a thing of beauty. "Everything is so complicated in this country." It occurs to me as I am watching that their hotel is a Paris Hilton. Ha. I made a funny.
For all your Black Speech of Mordor needs. Now repeat after me:
“Uglûk u bagronk sha pushdug Saruman-glob bûb-hosh skai!”
Buffy returns in animated form.
At first I could not even make out what this game wanted me to do. Then I figured it out and solved the puzzle in 178 moves. I imagine there is a more efficient solution.
A hitherto overlooked Japanese Spiderman television series. This is just wrong.
Belated Bloomsday thoughts reminded me of a Kate Bush tune. I have it on reliable authority that "The Sensual World" is based on Molly Bloom's soliloquy at the end of Ulysses though I should confess off the top here that I have never read the book. Bush' version is inspired by the piece rather than a strait quote as she was reportedly refused permission to go ahead by the Joyce estate. Jon Drukman and Jenn Turney recorded a fan version of the song using Joyce' original words. The slightly wobbly mp3 can be found here.
Cross-border shopping, miraculous relics and a thieving monk all came together in the Anglo-Saxon community of Bishopstone. A centuries long fight over which of a number of St. Andrew's churches got ripped off has at last been resolved to the content of archaeological experts.
Some kind of newfangled quantum nucleonic reactor is supposed to make it possible for long term flight. Very useful for aerial surveillance and the forthcoming destruction of humanity by robots.
England, a people of faith in the face of adversity. St. George's flag, a symbol of that faith, is enjoying a newfound popularity thanks to its association with England's national religion. Unfortunately, that same flag has claimed by xenophobes who would pervert both the Christian message and arguably less ecumenical message of football (via the Melbourne Truth of blogs).
The Telegraph points to such diverse uses of the flag while the Guardian worries about everything from associations with racism to points off driving licences. It should stop to wonder at the racism expressed by burning that same symbol. The cross of St. George, like any symbol, must be understood in context if it is to be understood at all. The English are alarmed by flag waving of any kind and there is good reason to be suspicious of nationalist feelings given the grotequeries of the National Front. That said, I see this new sense of English nationalism as a natural counterpart to greater sovereignty for Scotland and Wales and a growing appreciation for regional histories that had been subsumed into larger transnational states.
We have something analogous to think about in recent discussions in the Canadian blogosphere. The Tiger in Winter makes an important point about the Canadian Red Ensign. I suppose it is inevitable racist morons should want to make use of it. Let's take it back.
And then... The Telegraph's Craig Brown explains.
In 30 seconds and, yes, re-enacted by bunnies.
More nonverbal communication for the traveller.
Find out what those pesky acronyms and abbreviations stand for.
Set shields on schmaltz. But with exquisite rendering of facial expressions the angst is called for.
The bathroom simulation is particularly realistic.
I recently met someone who I was told had been doing computer work at Sealand, a supposedly independent territory sitting off the Thames estuary. I confess I am rather less curious about the sovereignty of the wreck than I am about its history during the War. A chain of Maunsell sea forts built to protect the Thames and Humber estuaries found new life in pirate radio. I cannot imagine the remaining two would be comfortable to live on.
This Friendly Dictators trading cards world map leaves Canada blank. We should probably throw something in there before anyone figures out VRWC HQ is north of the border.
Ben-Gurion University geologist Dr. Yossi Hatzor has lead a team to study the stability of King Herod's three-tiered fortress palace at Masada. I had never seen a model of the place before and had failed to appreciate how spectacular it must have looked when it was new. Neat.
Sadly, reports that Canada is to introduce a Star Trek based five-dollar coin featuring William Shatner are not serious. Except that thing about changing Sir Wilfrid Laurier to look like Mr. Spock. We really do that (hat tip to Fred).
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
On-line gaming in its purest form. How long can you stay away from being crushed? My personal best is 7.3 seconds.
I know this looks like quite a bit of work but it is about half as much as goes into my appearance before the Flea gets underway in the morning. It is my firm believe that all blogging is best in a jacket and tie.
The latest Carnival of the Canucks features photography...
"There's all sorts of reports of falling morale among U.S. troops in Iraq" is only one of the slurred, grammatically suspect claims being made on CBC Newsworld this Wednesday morning. I can understand the CBC employing Henry Champ; his anti-American views are a natural fit for the Corporation. But I find it difficult to conceive the cognitive dissonance Mr. Champ must experience every day he wakes up to find himself in occupied Washington, D.C. Perhaps this is some sort of punishment posting for giving the mandarins insufficient deference at their space fortress on Front Street.
So, does the CBC feel compelled to cite any of the reports of falling morale or their sources? Of course not. Let us credit this lapse to the many reports of falling morale at the CBC at the prospect of a Conservative government in Canada.
So this thing thinks I am most like Angel. Must be my view that justice should be "poetic -- emphasis on the "Poe".
Hey, it's not like there is a war on or anything. Give it the six weeks or six months until the bombs go off in the Toronto subway system and I am on the phone trying to make certain my sister is still alive, to calm my parents and to wait until I hear the name of the first person I know among the dead. I will then look back at this festival of non-entities and spit.
Stephen Harper (Conservative) weathered the NDP/Liberal attack on his shifty position on gay marriage and abortion rights as well as could be expected. The verbal contortions needed to maintain this shifty position relied strongly on the "meaning of 'is' is" school of debate but I expect it will be enough to get him the fifty or so seats in Ontario he needs for his minority.
Jack Layton (NDP) is the biggest disappointment to me here. I was never a likely NDP voter and Mr. Layton is going to take his seat in a walk. He is still a lot of puffed up nothing. Naming a Muslim woman NDP candidate to show he understands the problems of Muslim women is typical of a comprehensive group-think politics of identity. Who cares if the candidate in question might have positions of her own? Not Mr. Layton. What matters to him is her subject position. It strikes me to be condescending and racist. Such is his party's postmodern Know Nothingism.
Gilles, le Compte Duceppe (Bloc Québécois) must have thought the social democratic alternative looked tastier than I did as he stuck his fangs into Jack Layton. This may account for the eldritch springy delivery Mr. Layton had for the rest of the night. So... why attack the NDP over the Clarity Act? Is there any mileage in having a go at the only socialist party nobody in Quebec will actually vote for? A bit like making fun of Abba. Much too easy for anyone to actually be impressed by it.
Ahh, Paul Martin (Liberal), you are perhaps the least convincing of our enemies. "Believe you me"? That sounds about as hip and happening as your... whatchamacallit?... "blog" you were writing awhile back. Why, as Mr. Harper put it, should anyone believe you?
And then... 21:28 update. Ok, that's better at least on the question of gay marriage. Take the matter to Parliament and let Parliament decide. Here Mr. Harper's position was finally clear to me as it lined up with Mr. Layton and M. Duceppe. Mr. Martin's fearmongery got tackled from the left such that he had to turn twice, pathetic and lost, to Mr. Harper and hope some deranged response would save the day for Liberal waffling. There was no response. Mr. Harper let the Prime Minister hoist himself on his own petard and in that moment won the election for a Conservative minority.
Reflections on today's English language debate mean yet another day of Canadian federal election coverage for the Flea's international readers. Sorry about that. Here is a picture of Kate Beckinsale while we wait. I am quite confident she would be fascinated with Canadian federal politics if she had any reason to think about the socialist backwater we call home.
Wondering just who will be in the debate line-up lead me to make the mistake of looking that the Green Party of Canada's "10 key values" list. It is no less than I deserve for listening to that "fiscally responsible, socially progressive" line they are selling. Looking down the list there is plenty that, parsed differently, I would agree with. It could be the "near enemy" problem or it could be there is only so much syrupy sweetness I can take in at once. "Like the people of the First Nations, we must consider the welfare of our descendents, for seven generations, if we are to be wise stewards of the earth." You have got to be kidding me. Noble, meet savage. Savage, noble. Turning people into Ewoks does not make you progressive it makes you racist.
Seriously, where do I get my Green Party dreamcatcher to inspire me when I am revising tax policy? Reading Green makes me long for barbequed dolphin. Maybe Anthony could offer some advice. This is red meat so I am looking for... what, a merlot to go with?
Watch this space...
The latest in my Jean Reno film festival is The Crimson Rivers and this one scared the heck out of me. Seriously creepy. The Université de Guernon is a bit like going to Overlook University and "the Vow of Shadows" makes a gothic plot device for game masters everywhere... An NRO review aptly compares the film to Seven and offers a sound critique (as does this review) but offers frustrating spoilers so I would leave it until after.
An original on-line game. Could be addictive.
TheMovieBox.net features an MTV clip from the forthcoming Blade: Trinity. Ho hum. By contrast, a most promising I, Robot trailer from Japanese tv. After looking at both I now know there is only one cool way to land if you are going to jump out a window and crunch into the pavement below. I was worried this thing might be another A.I. debacle. Man, that movie sucked (both via Ain't It Cool News).
Elsewhere at the Flea's movie corner... The official Catwoman site is up and running. I suppose an IMAX-scale Halle Berry would be impressive. The latest Alien Vs Predator trailer has some head banging potential. And a Sub-Mariner movie is in the works.
Images of Phoebe, a moon of Saturn, support the idea it is a captured comet.
NASA has more on the Cassini-Huygens mission on-line including an animation of Phoebe here. Next up: Saturn by the first of July and an astonishing passage as the spacecraft crosses through the large gap between the F Ring and G Ring.
And then... The Blue Revolution has more...
Gmail is still in beta and it is already causing ripples. I notice my old Yahoo! mail account had its storage increased 25-fold sometime last night. Nice. Unfortunately, those new 96mg still feel a bit cramped next to my 1000mb of Gmail. Soon I will be able to download my consciousness to Gmail and have extra room to access skills in motorcycle repair, medieval French of the langue d'Oc and wicked, wicked martial arts moves off "the internet". I can use broadband wifi to control the remaining wetware I keep around for irony/nostalgia purposes.
This Rense article claims ten United States carriers are now at sea. Are we to make anything of this? The source is suspect but stopped clock, twice a day, etc. The number would appear to exceed the seven carriers planned to take part in Summer Pulse 2004. Rense claims much of the Royal Navy has also put to sea... Anyone with a vacation home in Syria or holding Iranian energy stocks should take time to consider their investment portfolio.
Trailers from an example of authentic independent cinema.
If you ever wonder that there might be an end to human depravity in celebrating the suffering of others then remember this and this and this because the answer, sadly, is no. I can only think the people responsible for this stuff are broken in some way. To think they were probably much like Hobbits once.
That looks about right. Mike Campbell, on the other hands, fits right in though I am certain he should have been Darcy.
It is time for everybody's favourite topic: Canadian federal politics! Tonight's French language debate is underway. I offer the following guide for the perplexed.
Stephen Harper (Conservative) is stuck with a mic that is not turned up for some reason. He has this odd humble way of looking down and around when answering a question as if to suggest he is mulling it over. It could be this is something he only does when he is speaking French. I will check it out in the English language debate.
Jack Layton (NDP) is full of pep and his faux Québécois accent is good. He and Stephen Harper have both been going to the nasal voice coach and the faux colloquialism coach. When his stint at the NDP is over he can pose for postcards in a Mountie uniform for Disney promotions.
Gilles Duceppe (Bloc Québécois) has a vampiric pallor and hairstyle that means his head is perfectly camouflaged by the wall. He must have just fed when they took the photo at the top of this post. Didn't they call Frontenac a vampire? Maybe he sired this guy. Weird. Otherwise, his only apparent virtue is that he is not Paul Martin. Maybe someone will ask him if he is still a Communist.
And Paul Martin (Liberal) continues to inspire a sense of wonder in me. I wonder why this guy was supposed to be the great hope for the Liberal Party? I have always thought he was over-rated and his performance here confirms it. I mean seriously, does anyone actually say something is "priorité numéro un" in French? Maybe. The guy looks like an accountant. No offense to accountants but he is supposed to be Prime Minister. I would also hesitate to vote for someone who liked like an anthropologist. Maybe especially an anthropologist.
If ***Dave jumped off a bridge I would too so I thought answering these questions looked like a good idea.
1. What image is on your desktop? (include a screen capture if you can!)
I am running through Buffy/Angel characters. Today it's Willow.
2. Which websites do you visit most? (gimme links!)
Google image searches and Drudge Report.
3. What are you obsessed by?
Making the perfect omelette.
4. Name one artist/musician/writer that inspires you (pick one or more)?
5. What are you working on now (outside of your journal)?
A book project.
6. What do you read in bed?
Right now I am reading The Dilbert Principle.
7. Favorite city? Why?
London. Everything I need can be found in Zone 1 and Zone 2.
8. To you, what qualifies as a good celebration?
Business meetings involving mojitos.
9. If you only had 3 albums of music to take to a desert island, what would they be and why?
I would rather leave them. Anything I took would be ruined for me in short order.
10. If you could do anything else with your life, what would it be?
Discover Ghost of a flea in the blogroll at InstaPundit.
11. What keeps you awake at night?
There used to be squirrels in the attic but having discouraged them I sleep just fine.
12. And finally, any famous last words?
Semper ubi sub ubi.
But enough about me. What do you think of me?
John Hawkins' latest survey asked bloggers to select their favourite fictional characters. I am delighted to see Doctor Who made the list, sorry to say my own list left out Mike the computer and notice the Dark Knight once again cleans the floor with the Man of Steel.
In case anyone is unclear on why the English are loved and respected everywhere. Or what I sound like cycling through downtown Toronto. Or what I think of that 2-1 result yesterday. Not work safe unless you have headphones.
And then... Instant link rot... vexed again!
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
The other European challenge features a Canadian representative to Portugal.
Test your popup killing software. Does anyone have a favourite?
A Liberal Party attack ad, "Harper and the Conservatives" accuses the Conservatives of planning to buy aircraft carriers (yes, that's plural) for the Canadian military. A carrier is useless without its battle group, the ability to organize and deploy such a formation and - wait for it - the carrier based aircraft that make such a vessel a threat.
This begins to add up even if it is only hybrid carriers we are talking about rather than something more power projecty. I cannot find the word "military" let alone "carrier" in the Conservative Party 2004 platform (no wait, here it is). Who imagines we are really going to build such a force? Not even the people who produced the attack ad sadly enough.
This insight arrives via the new look philosopher of Classical Values.
The Liberals make a policy speech given by Steven Harper available on "the internet." I notice it is copyright EBSCO Publishing 2003. I wonder who they are and why they have given their permission to republish the document at Liberal HQ?
The document was drawn to my attention by one of my colleagues concerned I am swimming with sharks. I like to think I am all fangy myself but was curious as I have a strong professional interest in what my fellow fishies have to say. Yet another hissy fit from the socon contingent at the Shotgun about "homosexualists" shows there are fundamental disagreements over public policy, and the underlying moral component of such policy, among Canadians. I cannot understand what it is about gay sex that is so fascinating to people that they should carefully peruse copies of Planet Out from their Church & Wellesley homes unless they are, like, gay in which case it would all make perfect sense to me. There is nothing remotely surprising to me in the knowledge that gay Canadians would choose not to vote for a political party that does not respect gay people. It is an ongoing surprise to me that so many Canadians should have so little faith in almighty God that their particular religious views should have to be imposed through the long prying finger that is Canadian temporal power.
Mr. Harper's problem as leader of a political party seeking power is a bit different. He has to paper over differences between socons and those neocons who are libertarian-leaning on social issues. But on black and white issues such as the legality of gay sex or abortion I see little room for compromise. If I thought there were any prospect of a Conservative majority I would be concerned at the prospect of that government thinking to use the notwithstanding clause on this or this bit of possible legislation. As it stands I am no more troubled by the socon Evangelicals of a Conservative government than I already am by the right wing Catholics of the Liberal backbench over the last ten years. On some issues of conscience it is six of one and half a dozen of the other. There is also the important point that people with views that are not in vogue at the CBC space fortress on Front Street should also have those views represented in a democracy. There is a sad irony in the fact a government lead by Mr. Harper may offer more opportunity for Liberal socons to express those views than a Liberal majority ever did.
The other reason I am not all that worried about the expression of these views comes from looking at the ground we are leaving behind. The most socially conservative of socon governments - let's say the current American administration and a potential Conservative government here - are different from their Reagan/Thatcher forerunners in that the Evangelical element is brought into the foreground. But there is another important difference. The most "extreme" anti-gay or anti-abortion rhetoric that is now being squashed by Conservative Party central was normative public discourse in Canada twenty years ago. There was no need for any political party to oppose gay marriage because the entire idea lay beyond the possibility of thought. Canadian socialists have no reason to feel smug about this issue given the contemptible prevarication evinced by the majority NDP government in Ontario when they had the chance to implement their party platform. Canada has come very far very fast. It is true the Martin government would like to throw everything down the memory hole - the Liberals opposed gay marriage up until a couple years ago - but this is just as true of the new Conservatives. They like to cast themselves as defenders of traditional family but, having comprehensively lost the argument on some specific issues, are engaged in rhetoric of the kind Mr. Harper makes in this speech. Plenty of talk about tradition and no idea about what these traditions might actually be. Here is the thing: tradition is a moving target. Were we to genuinely express the politics of Burke we would be talking about the gradual abolition of slavery and my Quaker views would be as out of place as they are today.
But that is the peril of my libertarian leanings. I have to put up with this sort of waffling even as I have to hold my nose and vote for this or that version of half-hearted Canadian authoritarianism. When I vote in Trinity-Spadina it will be in the hope of producing a Liberal or Conservative minority government not because the milquetoast Canadian socialism of my soon to be NDP MP has anything to recommend it. There is no Canadian political party that will defend my God given right to smoke Marlboros and have sex with my gay husband while watching Fox News.
Paul Tuns posts yet another anti-gay screed at The Shotgun.
I just want to signal my utter boredom with this topic. You know what? I don't agree with his ideas about marriage either. The difference is I am already asked to pay for them through the tax system. I do not think the state should have anything to do with marriage for precisely this reason. But...
How often can we read the same arguments over and over again? There are libertarians reading and writing for The Shotgun who take an entirely different view of "homosexualists" and gay marriage. For what it is worth, I am totally in favour of gay marriage and gay people and welcome Mr. Harper's stated opinions regarding the exclusion of hatred from the new Conservative Party. I could post something to that effect every day and would likely have no more influence on Tuns' opinion than he has ever done on mine. Can't we please give it a rest?
And then... Kathy Shaidle reminds me of why she is one of my favourite people in the Canadian blogosphere. Now, where did I put my remote control...
I am going to re-open comments on this one. Here is the proviso: please tell me what we can add to this conversation that has not already been said. Is there some room for compromise on these issues that can satisfy what appears to me to be an either/or kind of debate? I would be delighted to think so. If people want to use this as a platform for why their particular discomfort with gay people, gay sex or gay marriage should be imposed on everybody else I am going to hit the mute button again. Don't like it? Comments are not open at Relapsed Catholic but I am sure there is more than enough room for everybody over at The Shotgun.
Anne Frank should have turned 75 today.
Structural analysis allows anthropologists to make sense of a story by thinking through patterns of difference, opposition and transformation in the narrative. This way of approaching stories works best with folk-tales or genre fiction whose power comes from a satisfying rendition of things we already know to be true... True in a mythic sense, that is. The story of a haunted relic coming to light at an estate sale in September of 2001 would be fun to think through. This is great story: Pandora's Box meets the Hope Diamond.
The most basic opposition lies in the nature of the demon reportedly inhabiting the box. A dybbuk is a "clasper", it clings on to you. So what do you do with such a demon? Try to give it away. Or sell it. Assuming this is a tall tale made up to lend an air of mystery to an otherwise innocuous eBay sale it is still a clever bit of advertising. There is also some nice psychology at work in the tale. When I am told about a haunted box I won't be able to get rid of my first urge is to buy the thing.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
In case anyone is unclear on FIFA's recent clarification of the offside rule.
If you think animated Flea icons are creepy wait until you see this...
A wonderfully creepy film with a poignant epilogue.
A view of Europe from the Germany of 1914 in map form.
I am on about M. Vidocq because of a surreal, wonderful film whose hero is based nominally on the famous detective. Jean-Christophe Comar (that's Pitof in the credits) is a special effects man turned director. Think Moulin Rouge meets The Matrix. Possibly the ultimate Flea flic. The French trailer has fallen down the memory hole along with the official movie site (shouldn't there be an archive of that sort of thing?) but Rue can enjoy the dubbed Italian version.
And then... I looks like Pitof also directed the new Catwoman. This is the first news that has made me curious to see it.
And then... The Waybackmachine is in effect.
The trailer for a forthcoming horror flick. I am glad Cary Elwes is getting work but this looks absolutely repulsive.
I managed 174 out of 200 on Peter Schmies's word classification test. But that was only by making informed guesses from Latin derivatives. Wild guesses made up much of the rest. Time to sit down with a dictionary (via Chaos Central).
The European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) has... wait for it... extracted an ice core from Antarctica. This particular core is almost 3km long, or rather, deep thereby doubling the previous record and providing knowledge of atmospheric conditions dating back 740,000 years. Information about the eight ice ages that happened through that time may give us a better idea of how long term climate change comes about.
If only we had Gameboy and Walkman jammers.
How to disappear to Cartegana.
This is the new Batmobile and it is all "bat-pimped out."
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
For all your Bond villain secret fortress needs.
Just the thing for a Thursday afternoon at the office.
The XYZ Digital Map Company sells reproductions of Operation Overlord reconnaissance imagery.
Impressive. But the Aerial Reconnaissance Archive (TARA) at the University of Keele has over five million images available on-line.
Le blog de Polyscopique reports the crocodile tears of a union leader fretting about the foundations of a "democratic Québec." Laurent's post demonstrates two profoundly different uses of the term democracy.
In the first month of my life as an undergraduate the student newspaper announced our school fees included a contribution to a political action group based on campus. The charge was voluntary but, thoughtfully, imposed in advance. Anyone who did not wish to support this particular political action group had to go to their offices in the student centre for a refund. To be clear, we are talking about three or four bucks. Not a lot of money and I imagine many people could not be bothered to get their money back. To be clear, I imagine this was precisely the point of imposing a levy in advance.
My personality being remarkably consistent down the years, I trooped off to the office to get my money. Sure it was three or four bucks but it was three or four bucks that had been taken without my permission and applied to an organization whose political philosophy was not known to me. Suffice to say this was not a campus Monarchist Club. I was told I had to read a pamphlet and sign off - literally check boxes - on which of the hundreds of worthy causes pursued by this organization met with my ire and to write an explanation of why I was going to deny them their much needed funds.
The ensuing argument with the director is irritating to relate even ten years later. I will leave it to you to imagine the steely fanatic staring contest... this gig was a full time job for her after all. I refused to debate the finer points of my hatred for bunnies and light that had lead me to wanting my three or four bucks. "But you voted for this!" No I didn't. "Yes you did. The students voted for this fee last year." I am a first year student. I was not at this university last year. "But you voted for it anyway. The students voted for it!"
So spoke the voice of the beehive.
Communists invariably refer to their dictatorships as democracies. To folks like this the will of the people is only ever expressed by the whim of intellectuals and never by the people themselves. I see this as being directly analogous to media studies scholars who offer a sneering denial when I ask them if they ever, like, watch television or cultural studies profs who would not be caught dead eating breakfast at McDonald's. It is astonishing to me that so many intellectuals have such evident contempt for the opinions of the people for whom they claim to speak.
Good question. This is where the blogosphere enters the picture... In network on network warfare blog reporting is part of the battlespace.
Eloquent and informed, Chris Taylor now has a new home on "the internet". Anthony, Paul and I have been cited as blogfathers. Three men and a bloggy? I am not sure that sort of co-parenting is recognized under Canadian law.
This sort of game drives me mental. Send it to your obsessive compulsive workmates to reduce their productivity thereby making you look good!
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (encore presentation).
Is Guinness black or ruby red?
Never say, 'Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia'. I'm scared of that word; it's too long!
A reason to think better of French President Jacques Chirac (no, seriously).
Approach with extreme caution!
Do not attempt to use
magic against this man!
And then... Hmm... have to do something about the house wards. Taylor & Company is coming perilously close to Flea Mansions.
toil and trouble
fire burn and cauldron bubble
something wicked this way comes!
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Resistance is futile when it comes to relishing the eclectic sound of Warp 11.
Architecture, graphics, and film come together at KDLAB.
A bold, eccentric lady is tending the Bonfire this week.
Light from a passing meteor is recorded on several security cameras.
I am glad Special Branch is paying attention. I also think it is hilarious the guy is in a Clash tribute band. This must have confirmed everything he has ever believed about the government and his importance in the scheme of things.
You're Allison Reynolds! "the basketcase" quiet and shy, you stay in the shadows. That is until you blurt out something random and Wierd. You're artistic and misunderstood. If only people would take the time to listen or notice you...
Which Breakfast Club Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
The earliest known map using the name of England is to go on display at the Bodleian Library.
I am baffled at this apparent ongoing fascination with Atlantis. Who cares?
Ray Bradbury offers a frank opinion of Michael Moore. Moore's latest tries to steal the goodwill accorded to Bradbury's classic "Fahrenheit 451". Bradbury wishes he could have made Moore change the title (via Chaos Central).
A number of panoramic views from operation Overlord.
David Warren offers a different perspective on tyranny.
Cross-posted to The Shotgun.
And then... Being American in T.O. comments on D-Day, remembrance and the sad state of the Canadian military.
A complaint... The Flash interface for the King Arthur website has interactive runes. Nice, except these are alphabet of the invading English not Arthur's Britons, i.e. Welsh. The Druids, the Brithonic priest caste, used ogham script when they felt the need to write something. Or, according to a studious observer of the Gauls, yet another non-Germanic alphabet.
And then... I am now wondering if those runes appear on Caladvwlch (Caliburn in Latin... Excalibur, that is) itself. Geoffrey of Monmouth claimed it was forged at Avalon, hardly a spot for Saxon runes. Shuddersome. Worse yet is the reported nationality of Arthur. The article has some very general spoilers if that sort of thing worries you.
“I love the pictures of Guinevere in her leather bikini — but historically accurate? Please, someone, give Arthur a break!”
All that was lost is now found thanks to the miracle of "the internet".
The true story of one small town with a huge pair of balls. I will not rest until I have been to Alexandria, Indiana.
So that is why it is the blogosphere...
Want. This. Nokia 3220.
I once had the opportunity to spend an afternoon at the pub with Robert Holdstock, author of Mythago Wood. That book alone is half the reason I went on to study anthropology... I asked him how he managed to evoke such realism in his neolithic and bronze age settings even down to fragments of lost languages. The short answer was that he is good at making things up. Part of the process involves visits to the British Museum to see period objects. The thing to remember about those objects is that they are museum pieces now but in their own time and place they were as everyday, as much a part of the fabric of life, as the chairs we sat in or the pint glasses in our hands. A helmet in a display case at the British Museum is not just a priceless piece of antiquity. It actually belonged to someone. Someone who wore it, sweated in it, perhaps died wearing it.
Such objects are also continuing sources of inspiration. This Corinthian helmet, currently on display at the Manchester Museum, would do nicely.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (with a karaoke option only a click away).
Have you ever felt you were turning into a zombie? Maybe you're not alone.
A hero must arise from his sofa.
Long years of wandering in the desert of the real has brought us at long last to this.
The Bonfire is crackling away at PoliBlog.
Cap'n! We canna take the strain!
How to protect yourself from an atomic bomb.
Toronto! Car chase! Frozen food! A textbook stop in accordance with provincial regulations and highway conditions at the time!
The Transplanted Texan explains how Canadians and Americans both managed to win the War of 1812. So... everybody here knows why it is the White House, right? Ok, I make joke. Canadians take this stuff far too seriously considering Canada did not exist at the time. This was a British victory and, to quote Tony Blair, "I know this is kind of late, but sorry."
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
I had wondered if there was anything to that exploding whale story.
That is all very well, you may ask, but is there an exploding whale video? Yes.
One of the most frequent search results leading to the Flea is kartoffelcanone, or potato-bazookas. IOD Air Cannons is a manufacturer of combustion potato/spud guns and air/pneumatic cannons. Their video-clip page mean I finally get to see a spud-gun in action.
This is worth repeating.
The redesigned Ghost of a flea looks fine in IE but is suffering column creep in Opera (hat tip to Varenius). I would be grateful for thoughts and suggestions! Also, if anyone is reading the Flea with Netscape please let me know if things are working...
Excavations have recovered an engine and control from a Hurricane buried in Buckingham Palace Road during the War. The story of how it came to be buried in the forecourt of Victoria Station is something else.
Now it the time at the Flea when we dance.
Reading "the internet" can be a recurring source of frustration. It helps to remember a few simple errors in reason are often at the root of even the most vexing virtual vituperation. In the spirit of François, the Duc de la Rochefoucauld, the Flea offers select maxims for surviving the conversatizione of the blogosphere.
Just because someone is willing to die for an ideal does not make that ideal admirable.
Youthful idealism can be lead tragically astray.
God cannot be contained in a building or a book or a word let alone a list of rules.
The latest edition of Carnival of the Canucks is hot off the presses and vaguely maple-scented at Circadian Shift.
It is a peculiar reading of the 10th amendment that would seek to overturn state marriage laws by further amending the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. At least this move is logically coherent if unlikely to get anywhere (via White Pebble).
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation hosts an online petition.
Further googling produced little more about the car but an alarming revelation that Kylie Minogue has five planets in Gemini. Terrifying.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
For all your Metallica rockumentary needs.
The Rhino RTV is a new class of off-road vehicle that is larger than an ATV, yet smaller and more nimble than an ATV.
Take a trip on the Circle Line thanks to the wonder that is "the internet".
And the virtue of computer strategy games. Recent tests suggest UK schoolchildren have lost the plot of D-Day.
"He's a pain in the ass slug. He needs his ass kicked." - Dennis Miller