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August 31, 2004

Compagna di viaggio

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Asia is very wild, violent and spiritual, all at the same time

Italian Cinema Week at the Flea™ continues with a proper Italian film. It is a good thing I read the back of the dvd box before watching Compagna di viaggio (Travelling Companion) or I would have had no idea what was going on. Probably an Italian cinema thing. Every French film I have watched this year has included an argument about phone etiquette. What does it mean? No idea. But it is clearly a recurring trope so it does not surprise me when seemingly irrelevent phone bickering breaks out.

Compagna di viaggio is not inexplicable in the same way. I had a hard time figuring out why, for example, director Peter del Monte wanted it to look like it was shot on a Super 8. Perhaps it was. Still, it is a quirky, moving film. A grand-daughter (almost) helping her slightly dotty grand-dad tie his tie is the sort of schmaltz that sucks me in. And of course it is lovely to watch Argento speaking Italian. And smoking.

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Bonfire 61

It is 80s appreciation for this week's Bonfire of the Vanities, now alight at mypetjawa.

This week's Bonfire of the Vanities asks the blogosphere: Where were you in 1987? Forget the worst of the worst for the past week, this week's Bonfire spotlights the worst of the worst from 1987!

And for the record, Jess said she'd never tell!

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Real Italian

"So you want to learn to swear in Italian? No problem. Here are some really useful words!"

(via mepetjawa)

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

Panda Pang

Panda Pang is fun but much too stressful for me.

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Good Morning Sunshine

Good Morning Sunshine is a cartoonish, flower-pot toilet. A much more attractive idea than it sounds once you look at it. The singing birdie is a nice touch.

Bring the fresh air into your bathroom with the flower pot, a birdie that sings with every flush and a sun that really shines!
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

Rome: Total War

"I think the slain care little if they sleep or rise again."
- Aeschylus

With steely will and much filling in of registration forms I managed to download the demo for Rome: Total War. The tutorial offers useful pointers on the interface for people not familiar with the medieval Japanese or European variants of the game while the demo Battle of Trebia (218 B.C.) hints at greater unit and battlefield detail. Cavalry movement, for example, is vastly improved as are unit sound effects and tactical battlefield map. Game designers have played it safe with a conventional bottom bar (unlike the promised interface for Battle for Middle Earth). The main attraction for me are the range of playable factions... I want to conquer the world from Britannia, naturally. And there is nothing like breaking up Roman infantry with a war elephant charge!

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

August 30, 2004

Les Morsures de l'Aube

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The week is Italian Cinema Week at the Flea™, a tribute to the pictures of Asia Argento. And nothing could be more appropriate for the daughter of Dario Argento than to play a vampire. A hot, hot vampire. Argento stars as Violaine in Les Morsures de l'Aube (Love Bites).

Former French television star Antoine de Caunes turns his sights on the horror genre in his first feature in this goth comedy about trendy nightlife and new-millennium vogue. Antoine (Guillaume Canet) is a layabout slacker who lives in a lounge at a health club where a friend lets him stay. After outsmarting a bouncer at an exclusive club in town, he gets a tip from another friend, Etienne (Gerard Lanvin), about a new party in the know. When Antoine attempts getting into the swanky soiree, he claims his friend "Jordan" has invited him.

Antoine de Caunes used to co-host Eurotrash with Jean-Paul Gaultier, a show that defined the English view of the French by pretending to be a French show about England. Somewhere between de Caunes' direction and Argento's every smoldering move this movie manages to invent a new variation in the theme of vampire. Of course, I would watch Argento reading the phone book so there is little point in mistaking my zombie-like devotion for a film review. Don't believe her damsel in distress pose in the above photo... Violaine is quite capable of taking of herself. Needless to say this is not a family film.

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Bible Study

"Single Focus" holds Bible study. At Hooters.

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Taxigoth

175 different varieties of goth are catalogued thanks to the brooding mystery that is "the internet".

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Titles

This website offers titles for sale.

Under International and English Law: "You have the right to call yourself, and be known as anything you like" provided there is no fraudulent intention in the process of any such changes to a person's identity.

If I have the right to call myself , and be known as, anything I like why would I pay for the privilege? And that's The Flea, Epopt of Pan Tang to all the hoi polloi reading this by the way.

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Flirting With Suicide

My goth name, apparently. I had thought it was Surfs With Birds (via Abraca-Pocus!).

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Exmortis

Exmortis is a creepy horror-themed web game. Turn the lights down and the sound up...

You wake up in the woods with no memory of how you got there. Nightmares of blood and screams still echo through your mind. It's late and it's cold - unless you can find shelter fast, you won't last the night.

Not being very good at this sort of thing, I needed the walkthrough to get to the front door.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Hermetic graffiti

The curious case of Hermetic graffiti in Valladolid Cathedral ms. 40/8.

In this article, we will examine the frontispiece of the manuscript of a hymn by the Spanish composer Cristóbal Galán (c.1620-1684), entitled Si del alma las alas veloces (Valladolid Cathedral ms. 40/8). It consists of three nested squares framing the title, and two ink-drawn symbols above and below the title (Figure A, p. 10). [2] Examined together with the lyrics, these elements reveal a syncretism of hermetic, alchemical images and words in an orthodox Roman Catholic devotional piece.
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Arte of Defence

For all your Elizabethan fencing needs. Don't miss the pdf format manuals section.

The Arte of Defence was studied and taught by masters in the late 15th and 16th Centuries. The most famous of the teachers typically came from Italy. Until the advent of the smallsword and the French schools of fence, the Italians and to a lesser degree the Spanish, enjoyed the role of the most sought after teachers of the Arte of Defence.
Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Hat tip

Colby Cosh wants a standard symbol for hat tipping links.

Is there an existing body of theory on this issue? What I'd like is if we could borrow one of the less-used HTML characters to stand in for "Hat tip", but I never know what characters will be recognized by everybody's browsers. Is the dagger closely enough associated in people's minds with the concept of a footnote to work, without explanation, as a non-ostentatious "hat tip" symbol?
Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Bastard Sword

Bastard Sword
Bastard Sword, although used by many europeans in
medieval times this sword was more of a
collecters sword and was less used for fighting
and more used for looking at, and would only be
used by great warriors or lords/kings. (Please
Vote)


What sword would you use (info and pics on swords as well)
brought to you by Quizilla

At long last I find myself back in sympatico with the philosopher of Classical Values.

Posted by the Flea at 08:11 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)

August 28, 2004

The Batman

A new Batman animated series premieres this September on the WB. Looks good. The title music sounds like it was recorded by The Cure.

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Zen

Come, follow me up this path. Enter the World of Zen.

Posted by the Flea at 08:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

No spam

This post used to feature a link to viral marketing by way of an on-line sports game. The company attempted to spam comments to this post, however, and consequently I am deleting all mention of this company and its products from this website.

If you wish to advertise at the Flea you have to pay. Rates for the company in question shall henceforth be ten times the posted rate.

- The Publisher

Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

Magic Roundabout

Sometimes people ask what life is like in England. Let us take Swindon's County Ground Roundabout as a case study of the English mind.

The new roundabout (see picture) was the work of the Road Research Laboratory (RRL) and their solution was brilliantly simple. All they did was combine two roundabouts in one - the first the conventional, clockwise variety and the second, which revolved inside the first, sending traffic anti-clockwise.

PC Steve Dudley, one of the police officers involved with the introduction of the new system, recalled: "There was someone from the RRL up on a crane and officers on each of the five junctions. We would let the traffic build up and then let one lot go at a time. After a few trial runs we let the whole lot go at once. It was quite nerve-racking, but it did work."
Posted by the Flea at 08:29 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Auto-destruct

A cleaner at the Tate Britain showed more sense than the gallery's curators.

A cleaner at London's Tate Britain modern art gallery threw out a bag of garbage which formed part of an artwork because it was thought to be trash, British newspapers reported on Friday.

The transparent bag of garbage -- full of newspaper, cardboard and other bits of paper -- formed part of a work by German-born artist Gustav Metzger called "Recreation Of First Public Demonstration Of Auto-Destructive Art."
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Grade 9

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Honour has been satisfied! Besides, any photo of me with hair is a good photo. See here and here for details.

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And then... Time for Eric to rummage through boxes!

And then... Ravishing Light is "feeling social and foolhardy."

And then... Chris Taylor is calling it the Flea's Breakfast Club.

And then... Abraca-Pocus! is more enthusiastic about the virtues of baldness than I can bring myself to be (and I think I would fight right in with the Weasley's!).

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (4)

August 27, 2004

Yamakasi

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Contrary to popular belief, the word, "Yamakasi," isn't Japanese in origin, but comes from the language of Lingala, mostly used in Zaire and Congo. The translation of it would be "strong body, strong spirit, strong man." This basically, would be the underlining theme throughout "Yamakasi."

I have been watching parkour (street climbing) footage again. This time with the benefit of proper cinematography and Luc Besson direction. I am left with the sense these guys would be irritating to hang out with. Always leaping out the window instead of taking the stairs. Yamakasi has a thin plot but so do most Robin Hood stories. This is more than made up for by astonishing daring do and athleticism some of which was clearly cribbed by the second Matrix film. Except in Yamasaki the people actually are running along the face of walls, climbing 27 story buildings and so forth. Finally, there are stunning views of Paris, a city that, inspite of my repeated criticism of the French government, remains one of my favourite places in the world.

They are an urban ninja group known as the "Yamakasi," a clan of seven modern day samurais who scale and climb buildings in order to get closer to the skies and be free. Their discipline and ritual practices of the art of motion are hindered when a young boy, in an attempt to mimic his "Yamakasi" heroes, falls from a tree and gets badly injured from a poor heart. Feeling responsible for the accident, the Yamakasi begins a Robin Hood like adventure where they start to steal from the rich in order to raise the large sum of money for the boy to receive his operation.
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Italian Cinema

Next week is Italian Cinema Week at the Flea™ and by Italian cinema I mean pictures of Asia Argento. Or rather, the pictures of Asia Argento. Ahem.

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

One Ring

Just me but... is it a good idea to invite a Ring Wraith to your Tolkien themed wedding? At least Stormtroopers can't shoot straight.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Wave Pillow

Wave Pillow is ingenius. How big can the market be for these things?

Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Spy Training Test

"Have you got what it takes to be a super-spy like James Bond? Prove that nobody does it bettter with our spy training test."

130 points for me due to a so and so result on the knowledge evaluation segment. I am just pleased I scored four for four on the scuba test.

Posted by the Flea at 08:38 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Toogle

Toogle is a webtoy. Though not for the whole family (they could do with a preferences Toogle toggle).

Toogle is a Text version of Googles Image Search. Currently it creates images out of the very term that was used to fetch those images, later we will endeavour to create images out of the search terms entered by users past and present. But for now please, go play.
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 26, 2004

To Chav and Chav Not

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More pop culture on the move I am missing due to not being in the UK. Sadly, I had to Google the word "chav" to understand this Burberry themed b3ta chav joke. There were "townies" in Manchester but that term was used more broadly to refer to "anyone who does not look like us" (i.e. my metal/punk friends and acquaintances).

The term that has become especially widely known in recent weeks, at least in southern England, is the one borrowed for the name of the Web site, chav. A writer in the Independent thought it derived from the name of the town of Chatham in Kent, where the term is best known and probably originated. But it seems that the word is from a much older underclass, the gypsies, many of whom have lived in that area for generations. Chav is almost certainly from the Romany word for a child, chavi, recorded from the middle of the nineteenth century. We know it was being used as a term of address to an adult man a little later in the century, but it hasn’t often been recorded in print since and its derivative chav is quite new to most people.

ChavScum has apparently earned some inexplicable notoriety in defining the term. Chav Photos illustrates the style, Chav Olympics illustrates some social conventions and the BBC weighs in with a documentary, To Chav and Chav Not. Brilliant.

Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (1)

Medulla

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM | TrackBack (0)

Queen

Freddie Mercury was not only gay, he was Zoroastrian. It seems doubly odd that "Queen ... has become the first rock act to receive an official seal of approval in Iran" with the release of a greatest hits album and (highly eBay collectible) explanatory leaflet.

The album contains hits such as Bohemian Rhapsody, The Miracle and I Want to Break Free, but reportedly omits a number of Queen's love songs. The cassette, costing less than $1 (55 pence), comes complete with translated lyrics and an explanatory leaflet.

It tells Queen fans that Bohemian Rhapsody is about a young man who has accidentally killed someone and, like Faust, sold his soul to the devil. On the night before his execution he calls God in Arabic, "Bismillah", and so regains his soul from Satan.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

The Spirit Of Haida Gwaii

The Spirit Of Haida Gwaii is the most famous work of Canadian artist, Bill Reid.

There is certainly no lack of activity in our little boat, but is there any purpose? Is the tall figure who may or may not be the Spirit of Haida Gwaii leading us, for we are all in the same boat, to a sheltered beach beyond the rim of the world as he seems to be or is he lost in a dream of his own dreaming? The boat moves on, forever anchored in the same place.

I am delighted to learn an image of the sculpture will grace the new twenty-dollar bill along with my favourite Reid sculpture, The Raven and the First Men.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

Band of brothers

Mark Steyn offers a particularly nice back-hand about "the internet". First, observations about a dvd recording that offers a less than flattering portrayal of an actress whose make-up was only ever intended to work on 50s television. Who could have foreseen digital tv?

That's what happened to John Kerry. For 25 years, he told The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, the United States Senate, and all manner of other well-known saps about his covert Yuletide operations inside Cambodia gun-running to anti-communists with his lucky CIA hat. To verify any of this would have required a trip to specialist reference libraries, looking up stuff on eye-straining microfiche, etc. So it was easier to let the old blowhard yak away and just nod occasionally.

Senator Kerry couldn't have foreseen that Al Gore would invent the Internet, and there'd be this Google thingy, and all you'd have to do is tap in a few words and a nanosecond later it would all be at your fingertips – veterans memoirs, Cambodian history, declassified Johnson administration documents, previous Kerry "stretchers" (as Mark Twain called them).
Posted by the Flea at 08:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Rivethead


You're a Rivethead! You probably get pissed off
when people call you goth, but realise that
most of the world doesn't even make the
distinction between the two very similar
cultures. You revel in the decadence of the
computer age and like to pretend that you could
actually survive in a post-apocalyptic world.


What kind of Goth would you be?
brought to you by Quizilla

This insight arrives via Abraca-Pocus! (who is in denial).

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

August 25, 2004

Jazz Kylie

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Cute Kylie, Sexy Kylie, Dance Kylie, Indie Kylie... meet Jazz Kylie! The Sun reports Kylie has decided to "hang up her hotpants and stilettos."

KYLIE MINOGUE is planning to abandon pop for jazz music, I’m frankly astonished to reveal. She is to record an album of laid-back jazz and perform the tracks in intimate, smoky clubs rather than sell-out arenas.
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

I'm Gonna Eat Pacman

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM | TrackBack (0)

Crazy Golf

Play 18-holes of mini golf.

Posted by the Flea at 08:40 AM | TrackBack (0)

House of Secrets

House of Secrets is a short film featuring windmill cookies. Mmm. Windmill cookies. Anyway, this one caught me completely off guard.

Posted by the Flea at 08:39 AM | TrackBack (0)

Wave

Pete Cabrinha surfs a 70-foot wave. Impressive.

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Triple-dog dare

A defence of the honour of Avril Lavigne lead to an unfortunate triple-dog dare. Bruce Gottfred wins major respect by observing not only the letter but the spirit of the challenge. Paul Jané's rejoinder was a case of special pleading (having been sent to that Swiss boarding school all the cool kids from Genoa City end up at). Funkalicious upholds the honour of American bloggers while Taylor & Company offers a spirited riposte (and this link round-up, thanks!) and comment from The Tiger in Winter holds the promise of more blogger high school photos to come.

Will the veil mystery of the Meatriarch be lifted if only a little? Knowing the gravity of a triple-dog dare, my own pics arive in town in the next couple days...

And then... Abraca-Pocus! and Raging Kraut rise to the challenge!

And then... Another blogger takes up the call at Scaper's Weblog!

And then... Canadian Headhunter, already has a high school pic up near the bottom of this Bruce Springsteen fan page. Or is that a Seneca College snap? Meantime, the Meatriarch wants a Bloggie!

Posted by the Flea at 08:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (4)

Freaks

Freaks: the screenplay. One of us! One of us!

THERE NEVER WAS, before or since, a movie like FREAKS, a 1932 film by horror-master Tod Browning (director of Bela Lugosi's DRACULA), and, safe to say, there probably never will be again.

Today it is a cult classic, but in its day FREAKS was considered too horrifying, and public outrage forced it to be withdrawn from distribution.
Posted by the Flea at 08:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

By hook or by crook

The Australian reports further information on what may be the wreck of the Great Lewis, Oliver Cromwell's flagship.

Kelleher said the prime candidate for the find is the "Great Lewis", a 410-tonne frigate which sank in 1645 with 200 soldiers aboard. Scans of the sandbar by Kelleher's team show the wooden structure of the vessel embedded almost intact in the sand. A line of cannons are exposed above the seabed about 8m under the surface. They have been dated to between 1636 and 1670 and were made in an English foundry, according to research published by the magazine Archaeology Ireland.

"Very little is known of ship typology from this period," Kelleher told the magazine Archaeology Ireland. "The possibility that it could have been directly involved in a period of our history that has left such an immense mark adds even more importance to the wreck, as does the realisation that we could, in fact, be looking at a war grave," she added.
Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM | TrackBack (0)

Bloggish Enlightenment

Mike Campbell has described the internet news revolution as part of the "Bloggish Enlightenment". Belmont Club observes that for "good or ill, the genie is out of the bottle."

Before the Gutenberg printing press men knew the contents of the Bible solely through the prism of the professional clergy, who could alone afford the expensively hand copied books and who exclusively interpreted it. But when technology made books widely available, men could read the sacred texts for themselves and form their own opinions. And the world was never the same again.

And then... The InstaPundit's publishing schedule let him point to the same quote last night. Zut!

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 24, 2004

Dimmu Borgir

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Mike From Hobart Presents: the top 10 most ridiculous black metal pics of all time. These are all good style pointers for Hand of Vecna, the Flea's hypothetical viking metal band of the future.

#5
Dimmu Borgir
The bald guy makes this picture #5, hands down. This is some serioulsy shoddy corpse-paint on everybody, especially for a photo shoot. Look at the bald guy. Just look at him! Is that supposed to be intimidating? He looks like a f***ing alien! As with Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir's pics have gotten more ridiculous with time, i.e., the presence of top-hats, vampire teeth, capes, etc. Terrible!

Sadly, I recognize the make-up effect the guy on the left is going for. It is based on a not terribly good self-portrait by Aleister Crowley ("The Master Therion 666"). Must be a bald guy thing.

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Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (1)

FanimeCon

My special power is not being at FanimeCon. That said, Cat should marry me.

Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

San Andreas

The trailer for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Muy caliente!

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Switch to the Dark Side

My name is Anakin Skywalker and I am a Sith Lord.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Hangman

A well thought out Hangman game featuring special topics. No problem with Lord of the Rings words when the vocubulary is limited to the films.

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM | TrackBack (0)

Early British Kingdoms

David Nash Ford's Early British Kingdoms brings Dark Ages Britain to life thanks to the wonder technology of "the internet". I am particularly struck by a series of maps that make it much simpler to visualize the political development of the island. A map of Arthurian Britain is especially fun.

Posted by the Flea at 08:36 AM | TrackBack (0)

Bragdy Gwynant

The world's smallest brewery. In Wales, of course. I am not much of an ale drinker but would go on a pilgrimage to try the stuff.

A mid Wales brewery which claims to be the smallest in the world has re-opened. Less than 5ft square and formerly an outside toilet, Bragdy Gwynant brews ale for just one customer - the Tynllidiart Arms next door. Based in Capel Bangor, near Aberystwyth, the brewery has gone back into production after a two-year break.
Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Gwragedd Annwn

The Encyclopaedia of the Celts is a fine resource. I found it while looker for pointers on how best to deal with the Gwragedd Annwn (gooer-geth ah-noon).

The best-known and the earliest of the stories about the Gwragen Annwn is the story of the lady of Llyn y Van Ffach, a small and beautiful lake near the Black Mountains. It happened in the 12th century that a widow with a farm at Blaensawde, near Mydffai, used to send her only son two miles up the valley to graze their cattle on the shores of Llyn y Van Ffach. One day, as he was eating his midday snack, he saw the most beautiful lady he had ever seen , sitting on the surface of the lake combing the curls of her long golden hair with the smooth water as her mirror. He was at once fathoms deep in love, and held out his hands with the bread in them, beseeching her to come to shore. She looked kindly at him, but said, 'Your bread is baked too hard' and plunged into the lake.

I have never heard it put quite that way before.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Cassini reaches Saturn

USA Today hosts some stunning Saturn images. Check out the interactive mission Flash feature for the spiral path taken by Cassini from here to there.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

Academia

A Telegraph opinion piece asks a question that might well be posed of Canadian universities.

In the United States, where there is some connection between performance and funding, universities are much wealthier. And so, by definition, are the people who teach in them. It is hard to fathom why so many British academics resolutely oppose any move towards a privately financed system when they would be its chief beneficiaries.
Posted by the Flea at 08:20 AM | TrackBack (0)

Lynndied

This Lynndie site is in poor taste and probably not work safe. Be warned! So what does doing a Lynndie involve?

Here are the basic instructions:

Find a victim who deserves to be "Lynndied".

Make sure you have a friend nearby with a camera ready to capture the "Lynndie".

Stick a cigarette (or pen) in your mouth and allow it to hang slightly below the horizontal.

Face the camera, tilt your upper body slightly forward but lean back on your right leg.

Make a hitchhiking gesture with your right hand and extend your right arm so that it's in roughly the same position as if you were holding a rifle.

Keeping your left arm slightly bent, point in the direction of the victim and smile.
Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 23, 2004

Wal-Mart

People getting married at Walmart scares me on some profound existential level. I guess I am still a snob or something.

A garden center employee, Chuck Foruria, walked alongside Pat as she rode her motorized shopping cart down the makeshift aisle, her oxygen tank in the basket.

"Who gives this woman in marriage?" asked Stacey Garza of the Free Will Church. "Her friends and family at Wal-Mart," Foruria replied.
Posted by the Flea at 11:28 AM | TrackBack (0)

Grayson

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Grayson has the first cool Robin uniform I have ever seen. Admittedly, it is always difficult not to look lame when you are standing next to the Batman.

Gotham's Son Returns! Two decades after the golden age of superheroes has passed, hope has abandoned Gotham City. Corruption has infected Gotham's highest levels of power and led to the death of its greatest champion. Now, former boy wonder, Dick Grayson, will emerge from the shadows of retirement to avenge the murder of his legendary mentor.

This is a big download but it is a beautiful job so well worth it. So, how come it takes a fan film for me to see the first convincing screen Superman ever? Studio people: give John Fiorella money to make this film. You will have insane fan loyalty backing it up. "Stay out of this, Clark!" Yep, I admit it. Superman kicks ass.

Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

Poseur

Avril Lavigne high school pics linked from the Meatriarchy lead to an unfortunate throwing down of gauntlets around blogger high school pics. This is what I get for defending the honour of Avril.

Ahem. Let's make this formal:

I hereby triple-dog dare bloggers everywhere to post their high school year pictures from Grade 9 and 10!

Mine may or may not be safely boxed up in another city so I am not saying I am going to post these tomorrow or anything...

And then... Bruce Gottfred has gone and done it. Ok, time to find those highschool yearbooks.

And then... James Bond of the Canadian blogosphere, Paul Jané ups the ante with an high school photo with babes.

And then... A search of Flea Mansion turned up no high school yearbook photos so I will take Paul's route and post this Vancouver photo for the moment. It is a Canadian Gothic scene of the mid-80s. Skinny Puppy crashed our parties.

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Next: see if I can get the parental units to bring my yearbooks with them this weekend.

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack (6)

Animated

Having watched Hellboy and Alien Vs Predator I think digital animation has reached the point where the special effects no longer get in the way of the story (such as it was in the case of AVP). Buy American demonstrates that stop-motion animation is still cooler than CGI. Ray Harryhausen remains the master, of course.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Saw

The Saw website is up and running and features a trailer. Grotesque.

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM | TrackBack (0)

Before I kill you, Mr. Bond

“Before I kill you, unspecified spy, allow me to introduce my latest diabolical invention.”

Posted by the Flea at 08:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Death in Rome

Death in Rome offers more edutainment from the BBC.

Location: Ostia, river port of Rome. Year: 80 AD. Victim: Tiberius Claudius Eutychus, discovered dead in his apartment. Mission: Investigate the clues scattered around his room to solve the mystery. You have until dawn to crack the case.
Posted by the Flea at 08:35 AM | TrackBack (0)

Olympics: the naked truth

Olympics: the naked truth.

The modern Olympic ideal is completely alien to the spirit of the Greek original, which despised women, slaves and foreigners and celebrated sectarian religion, nudity, pain and winning at any cost.

I am shocked to learn the modern Olympics have fallen so far from their original glory. And that's just the nudity. The celebration of sectarian religious hatred continues unabashed.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Breathable

Gothamist reports an important development.

Just what NYC has been waiting for: The AWOL USA Alcohol Without Liquid machine, that turns whiskey or vodka into a breathable mist.
Posted by the Flea at 08:25 AM | TrackBack (0)

Nipplegate

I question the timing of Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction.

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

Titan Missile Museum

The Titan Missile Museum missile site tour is now on my hypothetical travel itinerary (via The Eternal Golden Braid).

Posted by the Flea at 08:19 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

270 to Win

270 to Win features an interactive 2004 US electoral college map. So, this thing is really going to be settled in Ohio.

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

Beenie Man

Hey, Much Music. I see you are hosting music samples by Jamaican dance hall artist, Beenie Man. Perhaps you are unaware of Beenie Man's repeated calls to murder lesbians and gay men.

For example:

"Kill dem battybwoys haffi dead, gun shots pon dem ... who want to see dem dead put up his hand" (Kill them, the queers have to die, gun shots in their head ... put up your hand if you want to see them dead.)

And then there is this:

"Hang chi chi gal wid a long piece of rope" [Hang lesbians with a long piece of rope] and "Tek a bazooka and kill batty-f***er" [Take a bazooka and kill gay men].

This is bad enough but considering the recent killing and mutilation of Jamacian gay activist, Brian Williamson, I am appalled your station thinks it is appropriate to promote music by Jamaican artists calling for more of the same.

Shame on you.

And then... Shame on you too, MTV.

And then... MuchMusic replies, September 24, 2004. Their position boils down to something like, "While we don't support all of Adolph Hitler's positions we like to run with his popular speeches. Just not the nasty ones where he talks about the Jews."

Hi Nicholas,

Thank you for taking the time to contact MuchMusic with your concerns.

I believe you are referring to audio samples in MuchMusic's Listening Lounge, selected from Beenie Man's albums "Back To Basics" and "Tropical Storm" (five 30 sec. tracks were selected from each album). All tracks chosen for our Listening Lounge are carefully screened by our web team before being posted on our site, to ensure they are in keeping with the broadcast codes MuchMusic (and all Canadian broadcasters) must follow. None of the samples chosen for our website contain the problematic lyrics you refer to below, or any other material that we think would make them unsuitable for our website.

Although the internet is not subject to regulation by the CRTC and does not have to follow the guidelines that broadcasters must follow, generally speaking we have chosen to have the content on our site conform with what we determine to be suitable for telecast on MuchMusic. The MuchMusic website is used by more youth than any other in Canada (excluding search engines), and we believe we have a responsibility to ensure that the content on our site is in keeping with the values of our television station.

Because the Beenie Man clips we selected for our Listening Lounge did not contain any of the material you refer to below, we think they were suitable for inclusion on our website. The objectionable material you excerpt in your email is from songs other than the ones we chose for our website. We determine the suitability of material for broadcast - on our station or on our website - based on the content within the video or audio clip, not on anything external to its content.

Your email suggests that by airing any of Beenie Man's videos or audio clips, we condone the other sentiments as well, even though they are not expressed in our broadcast material. While we do agree that some of Beenie Man's lyrics are highly objectionable, we do not agree that by airing Beenie Man's non-homophobic material we are supporting his viewpoints. Throughout history many musicians have created songs expressing violence towards women, brutality, and expressions of intolerance. Rather than banning everything that artist produces, we think it's better to try and educate our viewers by providing critical analysis of the issue and provoking debate about all of the implications of an artist's messages or behaviour. We've done this on issues ranging from the presentation of women's sexuality in music videos to sweatshop conditions in Bangladesh, and the programs are subsequently made into commercial-free versions that we supply to educators to use in the classroom, free of charge, as part of Canada's Cable in the Classroom initiative.

In this vein, we have also tackled the issue of homophobia. MuchNews recently produced a story about Beenie Man that examined the tension between free speech and the promotion of hatred and how Canadian law deals with both issues. The NewMusic has also recently produced a segment about homophobia and hip hop music, as well as an entire show examining what it means to be gay in the music industry, called "Queer and Now" (this show is also part of our Cable in the Classroom lineup).

MuchMusic has always taken an overt and firm stance against discrimination of any kind, and we have always been known as a gay-positive station. This is corroborated by Canada's gay community which has commended us for such things as: our annual coverage of Gay Pride Day and the parade ("MuchComesOut"); the presence of openly gay people as on-air personalities on our station; our special programs exploring issues of homosexuality in music and media which I've reviewed above. Promoting the acceptance of differences and countering negative stereotypes about people of all different cultures and backgrounds is a fundamental part of our broadcasting philosophy. We do not air programming that contravenes these values, and that includes material that is derogatory or demeaning to any group or individual based on their gender, sexual orientation, religion, or race.

I hope that the information I've provided has been helpful.

Sincerely,

-----------------------------------------------
Calla Dewdney
Audience Relations Coordinator - MuchMusic/MuchMoreMusic
Public Affairs Coordinator - CHUM Television
Posted by the Flea at 08:12 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 21, 2004

Take Your Mama

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 11:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

Action Figures

I am scandalized by news of a Maxim Olympian article. I had somehow missed news of Olympic mountain biking.

And then... That's the X-Games, you say? Thought it looked too too interesting to be the Olympics.

Posted by the Flea at 11:19 AM | TrackBack (0)

Doom 3

Want Doom 3 even more now I have seen this review. Does the game ship with a pillow?

Posted by the Flea at 11:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Tinkerbell

Concerned Flea-readers will be relieved to learn Paris Hilton's Chihuahua, Tinkerbell has been found.

Posted by the Flea at 11:15 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Pop Shoppe

Get choked up at the memory of the Pop Shoppe, a lost Canadian childhood and the knowledge that Lime Rickey flavoured soda pop cannot be found for love or money (via GenX at 40 by way of the Campblog).

Mention the words "Pop Shoppe" to just about anyone who was alive in the 1970s and you'll immediately get a nostalgic reaction. Whether they're a soda pop connoisseur or not, most people remember that there was a Pop Shoppe depot in their neighborhood. And if they ventured across town to their local Pop Shoppe once upon a time, they remember the red and white stripes in the logo and the fact that they could mix and match as many different flavors in a case of 24 glass stubbies as they wanted.

And they might even remember the flavors that made Pop Shoppe stand out - choices like Festival Dry, Sparkle Up, Lime Rickey, Black Berry, and even Bubble Gum.
Posted by the Flea at 11:14 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

Purple Porch

A striking reflection on sleeping, rather trying to sleep, alone (via Ramblings).

I toss. I turn. I roll to His side of the bed and he's not there. Again. But I can smell his scent on the pillow and that calms me some. And when he is there I'm annoyed with this other body in my way. You would think with him being gone so many nights I'd be happy when he is here. And I am. I just don't let on that I am because I don't want him to know that I'm not happy when he's gone. If he knew that he wouldn't leave. Its just another day. Another time I'm talking to air. Oh, I sorry, I forgot you weren't here again.
Posted by the Flea at 11:07 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 20, 2004

Postage

fleastamp.gif

Is that a guitar on your stamp or are you just pleased to see me? The latest blog stamp set at the Politburo Diktat included this confidence inspiring postage (thanks, Rusty!).

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | TrackBack (0)

Dancing Mr. Peanut

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Superhero Costume Boots

The Flea shall have appropriate footware at long last!

Ever see a superhero wearing shabby boots? Not if he's serious about keeping the world a safe and villain-free place. Our superhero boots are top notch, one piece constructed, Lex Luthor stompers! They're boots for the modern man and woman! They're boots of steel! Or, close enough...
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

WRFF

They said this time would never come. They were wrong. It's time for a new flava. It's time for a new ride.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

I Ching

A gorgeous, if less than informative, flash I Ching.

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Dirty Country

Dirty Country: the Larry Pierce story. Some nsfw lyrics in the trailer. Great rhyme with "wrote'em".

"Dirty" Country is a documentary film project chronicling the adventures of Larry Pierce - small-town factory worker and family man who happnes to be the dirtiest country singer in America.
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Throat singing

myrick gets news of Yat-kha, a Siberian throat singing punk band. That is quite of combination. Some of those Siberian's Canadian neighbours also practice throat singing and a seriously eerie racket it is.

The harmonic frequencies created by the human vocal apparatus are harnessed in throat singing to select overtones by tuning the resonance in the mouth. The result of tuning allows the singer to create more than one pitch at the same time, with the capability of creating six pitches at once. Generally the sounds created by throat singing are low droning hums and high pitched flutelike melodies. Some styles of throat singing may be likened to a Theremin.

The Mythos connection should be obvious. Intrigued Flea-readers can learn throat singing on-line thanks to the cultural traffic accident that is "the internet".

Posted by the Flea at 08:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Former USSR

The Flea welcomes a visitor from an .su domain. Is this someone holed up in a missile silo looking for Kylie info?

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

MooLatte

Dairy Queen needs a rethink when their bright sparks in marketing come up with a MooLatte without anyone noticing a problem (via The Shotgun).

Q: Yeah. That's just something to consider. We were also thinking—the MooLatte has three separate flavors, but if you took eight flavors and combined them, you could call it the Octoroonie.

A: Octoroonie?

Q: Yeah.

A: Actually—wow, that's actually a pretty good idea.
Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 19, 2004

Shattered Glass

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I watched Shattered Glass as part of my on-going veneration of Chloë Sevigny. There was a fascination for a film portrayal of the New Republic and a freeze-frame mention of Andrew Sullivan, of course, but I was left with two thoughts. First, a paranoia about use of commas. Second, wanting to know more about one time editor Michael Kelly. Hank Azaria's version is entirely sympathetic. I had not put the name together with the man.

It is telling to watch the incredulity experienced by people thinking to fact-check mainstream journalism using the Yahoo! search engine and finding somethig is amiss. It has been so short a time since the gatekeepers of the press could be held accountable by their readers that it is small wonder we are only getting used to the idea. The point is only driven home by seeing something that has become a commonplace represented as something surprising. To my mind, it is "the internet", and not one (of all too many) mendacious journalists, that lies at the heart of the film. I am increasingly in favour of pointers by way of a best practice guide, if not a code of ethics, for bloggers doing journalism. But I am not all that worried about the institutionalization of what we are up to because whatever scoundrels are out there the blogosphere is fact checking their asses.

For those curious about the man who inspired the movie the second Google hit for Stephen Glass is "a tissue of lies", an index compiled by Rick McGinnis.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | TrackBack (0)

Must link Flea!

I present "Turning the Tide", the "official weblog of Noam Chomsky." As of last night the Flea was one detail and four spots short of overtaking Chomsky in the Large Mammal section of the Ecosystem.

Now is the time to link to the Flea! Help pop culture coverage overtake Noam Chomsky!

And then... I have removed the hotlink to Turning the Tide now it has jumped back ahead of the Flea. No sense of giving aid and comfort! mypetjawa has more on a sensible Chomsky non-linking policy.

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (6)

Jaws

Jaws. In 30 seconds. With bunnies.

(via ***Dave)

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Factory X

Factory X is manufacturing licensed prop replicas from Sleepy Hollow, Jeepers Creepers 2, X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Jeepers Creepers products are the most promising so far.

Posted by the Flea at 08:35 AM | TrackBack (0)

867 5309

Jenny gets her number.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Darwin

The 2004 Darwin Award nominees. I am forced to agree with Kontraband's choice for winner (and their rationale).

Yes, these are all true. They are finally out again. It's an annual honour given to the person who did the gene pool the biggest service by killing themselves in the most extraordinarily stupid way.
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Viking Quest

Norway, 793 AD (that's AD 793, actually, my BBC chums). It is the time of the great Viking raids. Viking Quest is an epic tale of loot and legend. Most satisfying web edutainment! My strategy earned 891 points.

Posted by the Flea at 08:29 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Chachapoyas

It is not every day you find a lost city in the jungle. An outpost of the Inca empire, thought to have been inhabited by the Chachapoyas, has been discovered in Peru's Amazon jungle.

The stone city, made up of five citadels at 9,186 feet above sea level, stretches over around 39 square miles and contains walls covered in carvings and figure paintings, exploration leader Sean Savoy told Reuters.

"It is a tremendous city ... containing areas with stone etchings and 10-meter (33-foot) high walls," said Savoy, who had to hack through trees and thick foliage to finally reach the site on Aug. 15.

Covered in matted tree branches and interspersed with lakes and waterfalls, the settlement sites also contain well-preserved graveyards with mummies with teeth "in almost perfect condition," Savoy said.

I am particularly curious about the mummies. The Chacapoyas had seriously cool looking mummy cases.

Posted by the Flea at 08:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Steel furnace

A steel furnace has been discovered at Coalbrokdale in the Ironbridge Gorge. Archaeologists believe it was built in... 1620.

Paul Belford from the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust in Shropshire says it is a remarkable discovery. "The idea that an industrial revolution suddenly began in the mid 18th Century is no longer tenable," he said. "The development of industrial capitalism happened over a much longer period."
Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | TrackBack (0)

Thatcherite Canadian

The Last Amazon finds a name for her politics.

Politically, I have felt something of a hodge-podge. Not a true libertarian, nor a Joe Clark conservative, I have often thought myself closer to a classical liberal but try explaining that position to a resident of Canada educated under the clutches of Trudeaupians. Actually, I did try to explain it to my 22 year old brother; he promptly denounced me as a "neo-con" and hasn’t spoken to me since. Ah, the benefits of a liberal arts education!
Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

August 18, 2004

Scissor Sister

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Who could not identify with Jake Shears, front man for flavour of the moment Scissor Sisters, after his opportunity to record a song with Kylie Minogue?

"I identify with her a little bit. There's something about her energy that I saw eye to eye on. (We did) lots of interpretative dances, we danced around a lot."

And then... I don't mean to disparage with the flavour of the moment remark. England still has a singles pop music culture that is alien to North America. Looking at these Scissor Sisters videos on-line I am reminded how utterly cut off I am from England, home and beauty. Ahh, to be walking into a Boots and embraced by ambient dance music.

Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)

Creep

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Bizarro world

The Chaos Overlord is back from vacation and needs reminding of why Batman is cooler than Superman. Unfortunately, whatever mojo he worked in the mountains has reversed the Earth's cool polarity and Superman is temporarily cooler than Batman. Sorry about that.

Posted by the Flea at 08:49 AM | TrackBack (1)

Can Fu

Maximum taste. No sugar. I have yet to try Pepsi Max, a new Pepsi product but the Can Fu ad is cute. So, Pepsi, what will it take for you to buy a year of ads at the Flea? It's a natural for Quaker Oats products.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Serenity

A fan's visit to the Serenity stage-set. I guess being Film Correspondent for The Straits Times means having friends with connections at Universal Studios. Hey, Ong Sor Fern... you should be blogging!

I got to walk through the sets and do the groupie thing by taking a picture in the cockpit of the spaceship set. I even swiped a small stack of decorative stickers, which served as signage on a recently dismantled set, as souvenirs.

I also got to meet some of the cast members, who were shooting the breeze in a quiet corner of the soundstage as the stunt coordinator worked out an elaborate fight sequence in a bar set full of extras.
Posted by the Flea at 08:45 AM | TrackBack (0)

Backless g-string

The Flea's commitment to unrelenting fashion-media coverage uncovered Australia's latest contribution to civilization: the backless g-string. I call for legislating a mandatory sumptuary code strictly limiting persons licensed to wear them.

And then... That should read "unrelenting commitment to fashion-media" coverage, actually. But what I wrote is probably more accurate in some obscure technical sense of reflecting my true agenda.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (2)

G.o.D.

The multitalented folks at Dodgeblogium have an album in the works. And collectible apparel!

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Con Edison

That is a Con Edison brand, not a tattoo. Electrified manhole covers? Horrifying. At least it is a cool looking body mod.

A 26-year-old skateboarder is scarred for life after she fell onto a red-hot Con Edison manhole cover — mere blocks from the scene of a tragic death earlier this year when a woman stepped onto an electrified Con Ed cover.
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

Viaduc de Millau

Astonishing construction images of the Viaduc de Millau.

The highest bridge in the world The Millau Viaduct, designed by the English architect Lord Norman Foster, will be the highest bridge in the world once it is opened.
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Comments

***Dave reflects on commentary. It seems to me that many blogs with explosive comments are those that make explosive commentary. I am pretty sure I would get more comments at the Flea but am ruthless at pruning out material that is insulting or simply argumentative. If I were to leave such comments be I imagine fights would break out and comments (and possibly traffic) would be generated but I decided early on that my blood pressure could not take it.

I am with ***Dave in his befuddlement as to what provokes a reaction and what is left in silence. Sometimes I post something tongue in cheek to wind people up and nothing happens while the other day a debate broke out about the efficacy of Ewok military tactics. I take no responsibility for that one.

Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Sort of

A test that does does meet my saucy language limits but may prove instructive is included in the extended entry to this post.

I AM 60% ASSHOLE/BITCH!
60% ASSHOLE/BITCH
I am abrasive, some people really hate me, but there may be a group of other tight knit assholes and bitches that I can hang out with and get me. Everybody else? Fuck ‘em.
Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Hemispheric Dominance Inventory

The Hemispheric Dominance Inventory sounds as though it would include things that go bang but actually claims to test which side of your brain you prefer to use. Right brain all the way, baby.

Posted by the Flea at 08:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 17, 2004

Ringu

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It is not often one has the opportunity to watch a Japanese film and its American and Korean remakes (a visual comparison of the three is instructive though should be taken with a maximum spoiler alert). Having just had a Ringu, Ring, Ring Virus film festival I am entirely certain I did not want to learn this bit of Ring trivia.

Yamamura Shizuko is based on a real person, Mifune Chizuko, who was born in 1886 in Kumamoto Prefecture and who was rumored to have the gift of foresight. After a demonstration in 1910, she was proclaimed a charlatan and killed herself a year later.

I can only imagine what Mifune Chizuko would make of the film(s) based on Suzuki Koji's novel. I had avoided Ringu due to marketing comparisons of its American remake with the entirely mediocre Sixth Sense. Well worth the trouble to track down as this was the best fright I have had in some time.

Posted by the Flea at 08:55 AM | TrackBack (0)

Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope the site of your choice.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

BMVD

The Buffyverse Music Video Database (BMVD) showcases Buffy themed "vids", a promising new art-form. Fans edit together music videos as thematic or character studies based on the show.

Posted by the Flea at 08:45 AM | TrackBack (0)

War of the Worlds

H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise sounds like a travesty in the making. At least the Cruise Mission: Impossible films were fun.

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

National Archives

The National Archives has an impressive interface. I have to restrain myself from downloading the wills of various 17th century Packwoods... Of particular interest is the will of Will of George Packwood, Perfumer and Razor Strop Maker of All Hallow's Lombard Street London (18 December 1810). Then there is a document dated 15 February, 1836, the Will of Joseph Packwood, Captain in His Majesty's Navy.

The National Archives, which covers England, Wales and the United Kingdom, was formed in April 2003 by bringing together the Public Record Office and the Historical Manuscripts Commission. It is responsible for looking after the records of central government and the courts of law, and making sure everyone can look at them. The collection is one of the largest in the world and spans an unbroken period from the 11th century to the present day.

And then... Some googling gets results. Whosever the will, there was a Cpt. Joseph Packwood caught up in "the first open defiance of British authority in the colonies." I imagine the privateer and the Napoleonic Lt. (see below) are two different men, both captains of the same name. Somewhat confusing given the limitations of research on "the internet." A poignant note is a record from the old Protestant cemetary, Naples: "Cecil Galway BERTHOUD, died 8th August 1836, aged 10 months. Buried with his grandfather Captain Joseph Packwood, Royal Navy". There is also reference to the Wasp, formerly the Guepe, a French privateer captured in 1801 and later under the command of Lt. Joseph Packwood in 1805. Sacre bleu!

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Surely you jest

It has been three and a half centuries since England last had an official jester. I have not seen a single jest or jape and already find the concept irritating. There may have been good reason this institution was left behind at the Restoration (via Martinis, Persistence, and A Smile).

Nigel Roder has beaten six rivals by public acclaim to become England's first official jester for more than 350 years, succeeding Muckle John who lost his job when King Charles 1 was beheaded in 1649.

"This is a real job. He will have to amuse and provoke -- although failure to do so will no longer risk beheading," Tracy Borman, events director of English Heritage, told Reuters on Saturday.
Posted by the Flea at 08:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Phishing

Test your phishing IQ. I scored 70%.

Will you take the bait?
Think you can’t get caught in the “phishing” net of online fraud? Dive into our Phishing IQ Test and find out if you can avoid the hooks of the online crooks. We’ve put together 10 suspected fraud emails from our collection of millions-all of them real and all of them actually received by real people like you.
Posted by the Flea at 08:26 AM | TrackBack (0)

USS Ronald Reagan

An image of the USS Ronald Reagan using its NBC decontamination system. I have never seen a picture of this procedure before. Cool.

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Free Tibet

Canadian VRWC team-leader, Mark Steyn elaborates on the theme of people whose attitudes are in "inverse proportion to the likelihood of their acting upon them." He is talking about old Europe but his point has broad application.

They're like my hippy-dippy Vermont neighbours who drive around with "Free Tibet" bumper stickers. Every couple of years, they trade in the Volvo for a Subaru, and painstakingly paste a new "Free Tibet" sticker on the back.

What are they doing to free Tibet? Nothing. Tibet is as unfree now as it was when they started advertising their commitment to a free Tibet. And it will be just as unfree when they buy their next car and slap on the old sticker one mo' time. If Don Rumsfeld were to say, 'Free Tibet'? That's a great idea!

The Third Infantry Division go in on Thursday', all the 'Free Tibet' crowd would be driving around with 'War is not the answer' stickers.
Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

You are good


How evil are you?

The spirit of Kylie guided me through this trial (unlike Ben who is evil).

Posted by the Flea at 08:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 16, 2004

Doom 3

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Doom 3 reviewed and given a "Christian rating". Critique follows. My "neither hoof nor horn" Quakerism is not worried by the game's purported Satanic content as much as I am by the need to develop time management skills. It takes some doing to get my work done and escape into a realm of dark fantasy. Oh, and get a dedicated Doom 3 keyset.

There hasn’t been a game that I would more than happily throw away after I just purchased it for fifty-five dollars than this one. The graphics are superb and sound is just down right awesome, but nothing will make up for the complete satanic feel and exposure this game will bring. As a twenty-one year old I have to say I was freaked out, disturbed, and horrified by Doom III’s content. I can’t imagine what a thirteen year old would feel like. After hours of exposure to this game, I could see a child’s attitude and personality change because of this game. I would have displayed more images but due to the graphic and satanic nature of this game I just couldn’t show it. Stay far away from Doom III it has no value to it at all. I would highly recommend that anyone who professes themselves to be Christians, to NOT PLAY THIS GAME.
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)

bo logh

bo logh: Holvam latlh Holmey je vIqelmeH Holvam vIlo'.

Posted by the Flea at 08:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Weboggle

I blame A Small Victory for this Weboggle astonishing timewaster. Curse you, limited vocabulary!

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The Sword

The Sword is an impressive short, animated film. Satisfying Tai Chi Sword (if I am correct about the technique), well-thought foreshorting in the drawing and a haunting, melancholy tune that fits the story. If anyone can read the characters on the sword itself, please let me know what they say.

Posted by the Flea at 08:40 AM | TrackBack (0)

Casino Royale

Quentin Tarantino wants to film a re-make of Casino Royale. Yes, please.

The director said that while the last three films were "great" they really were "spoofs" of the true James Bond character. His notion was to set the picture in the Sixties after the events of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, when Bond's wife was gunned down by Irma Bundt, Blofeld's sinister henchwoman, minutes after their wedding.

He wanted Bond to be "in mourning" when he falls for Vesper Lynd, the woman in Casino Royale.
Posted by the Flea at 08:35 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (2)

Philco Predicta

I present the ultimate case mod: the Philco Predicta.

Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Stealth

The U.S. Navy has declassified the existence of a "previously unknown stealth aircraft." My first impression? Hey, it's the X-302! It is important to check out all four photos for the full effect.

Posted by the Flea at 08:25 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Sic semper tyrannis

A poster detailing the USS Virginia in cutaway.

Dominating the seas and coastlines, the VIRGINIA-class submarines will gather intelligence, deploy special forces, and attack land targets
Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

Canadian Forces

American cousins: some of us north of the border understand the situation with perfect clarity (hat tip to the Armorer).

Posted by the Flea at 08:19 AM | TrackBack (0)

Anglosphere

Anglosphere.jpg

Just a thought. Canada and New Zealand have got some work to do.

Posted by the Flea at 08:18 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

August 14, 2004

Cthulhu case mod

The case that must not be named!

Posted by the Flea at 10:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

Hello Cthulhu

The misadventures of Hello Cthulhu.

No, actually. I would hate to have a cookie, you vapid waste of inedible flesh!
Posted by the Flea at 10:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Hello Kitty flashlight

An Hello Kitty flashlight for Doom 3 (via The Primary Main Objective).

Is it a gadget? Well, sort of. This mod for pants-wetter Doom 3 changes your flashlight (gadget!) into a special Hello Kitty light. That'll show those demons who's boss!
Posted by the Flea at 10:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

Fable

Halo hype notwithstanding, Fable is the first game that has made me yearn for an Xbox. Will have to wait for the PC version.

You start out as a child and even then decisions you make carry consequences. Spotting a villager kissing a woman on the sly, you face a predicament minutes later when the man's wife asks whether you have seen her husband.

As the game goes on, the decisions you make determine how you look and how others treat you. Fall into evil, and villagers shrink in fear. Your physique changes, there may even be flies buzzing around your head.
Posted by the Flea at 10:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

History of Warcraft

For all your Warcraft history needs.

No one knows exactly how the universe began. Some theorize that a catastrophic cosmic explosion sent the infinite worlds spinning out into the vastness of the Great Dark - worlds that would one day bear life forms of wondrous and terrible diversity. Others believe that the universe was created as a whole by a single all-powerful entity. Though the exact origins of the chaotic universe remain uncertain, it is clear that a race of powerful beings arose to bring stability to the various worlds and ensure a safe future for the beings that would follow in their footsteps.
Posted by the Flea at 10:13 AM | TrackBack (0)

A History of the Daleks

A fun point of the Dr. Who series is the Doctor's opposition to the Daleks through the course of their history. A fun point for fans is trying to make sense of a social, technological and historical narrative that is necessarily only revealed piecemeal and out of chronological order. Turn your thoughts, if you will, to the planet Skaro and the subject of Dalek history.

Posted by the Flea at 10:12 AM | TrackBack (0)

Hans Island

The Bonassus offers a most "valuable contribution to the ongoing and inane argument" between Denmark and Canada over Hans Island here, here and here.

Posted by the Flea at 10:09 AM | TrackBack (0)

Why blog?

INDC Journal considers the question: Why blog?

And when you think about it, it's pretty amazing that this alternate citizen-media culture has coalesced into a coherent medium and enriches the day-to-day lives of so many readers with pages and pages, and hours and hours of original punditry, news flitering, photography, artwork, political analysis, cathartic rants and catblogging ... for free. Free. There is very little profit motive here, and I'll be honest: some days, that kind of weirds me out. Look around; did you ever imagine that there were this many smart people, with this much talent, that have families and/or work full-time jobs, yet are willing to put on a daily dog and pony show for millions of readers? For free? It's like we're all part of some Marxist collective that actually works.

Hey, we're organic intellectuals! Even if we are not saying the things Marxist intellectuals expect of the people.

Posted by the Flea at 10:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Heart of Fire

fire heart
Heart of Fire


What is Your Heart REALLY Made of?
brought to you by Quizilla

This alarming assertion arrives courtesy of The Queen of All Evil (whose heart is gold).

Posted by the Flea at 10:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 13, 2004

Thruxton 900

thruxton900.jpg

The Telegraph reviews the Triumph Thruxton 900. Works for me.

The Thruxton will be bought for its style rather than performance and, of all Triumph's retro range, this look works the best. The black and white chequered central stripe is lacquered into the deep paint, the cast tank badge oozes quality and the whole machine blends convincing Brit bike culture, the authenticity of the badge and configuration, and an air of solidity and substance.
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Too Fast Too Furious

Trans Am v Nitros Goped.

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Don't Touch That

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM | TrackBack (0)

Kittens!

Kittens!

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

X-Men 3

Bryan Singer taking on the Superman project means there is a opening to direct X-Men 3. Joss Whedon is just the man for the job.

ComingSoon.net got a chance to talk to Joss Whedon about the rumors that he may be interested in taking on X-Men 3, now that Bryan Singer is out of the picture. Whedon says that nothing has been offered to him for "X3," but if offered, he would LOVE to do the third film (hint, hint Fox!).
Posted by the Flea at 08:38 AM | TrackBack (0)

Dr. Strange

I was pleased to find Dr. Strange making an early return to print through Witches, a newish comic with four issues to its credit. Shame Marvel's writers can't keep their politics to themselves. And if your villain is going to launch into deranged, coded rant the readers are owed the simple courtesy the rant have anything to do with the plot.

I quote the baddie from issue #4.

You're either with me or against me. I cannot allow these people to continue gaining more skills... more powers. One unilateral blow against them all will free me up for... well... other matters.

It's all about the other matters!

Posted by the Flea at 08:36 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Booth

The Mojave Phone Booth was five miles from the nearest structure and yet always answered with a busy signal. Someone had to drive out there and hang up the phone.

Fifteen miles of washboard road stood between The Booth and us. We covered it quickly, averaging about 40 mph, and only bounced off the ceiling a couple of times as we slammed through big rain cuts in the road.

We could feel we were getting closer, but we got a little bit disoriented about halfway in. We came to a fork in the road, took it, and then realized we’d taken the wrong tine. We realized our mistake not because of the map, but a landmark of far greater authority: telephone wires. There they were, marching into the distance, marching to The Booth, leading us on as surely as the Sirens led the sailors.
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Ok, I take back every skeptical word I have ever said or written about Quentin Tarantino. Now I get it. I had a blah reaction to Kill Bill, Vol. 1. With Vol. 2 the whole thing makes sense. Quite a bit to say about Bill himself but I am working that into a paper I am writing on why Batman has a butler (Charlie's Angel's is the key). Someone had to make a movie that was an homage both to classic westerns and the samurai flics from which they were often cribbed.

David Carradine should get an Oscar for this. And the Uma Thurman/Daryl Hannah confrontation is one of the greatest fight scenes ever filmed. I say nothing about if for fear of offering a spoiler to anyone who has yet to see it.

Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Un Chien Andalou

Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí's Un Chien Andalou is that masterpiece of surrealist cinema one reads about all the time but never sees. Now it is available in its entirety I should warn you about the eyeball slicing and breast fondling interludes. Quite specialized for a silent film. It is a shame I did not see this when I was 20 as I would have thought it was brilliant. Now it is primarily a source of annoyance thanks to over-enthusiastic Pixies fans lacking an art history background.

The initial seeds of surrealism begin to grow. You have to admire the temerity of Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali to create this piece of material circa 1928, when it was going to cause an outrage in that taboo period. Buñuel allegedly took stones to the premiere to throw at the critics. The film opens with Buñuel in the infamous scene where he slashes the eyeball of a woman with a razorblade. After this initial disturbing image, the rest of the film has other dreamlike sequences, which cannot be easily explained.
Posted by the Flea at 08:30 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 12, 2004

Mirthless

MirthlessSmile.jpg

If they confiscate dumb role-playing supplements the terrorists have already won. Mephron and the Maiden of the Mirthless Smile run into trouble with an over-zealous, under-smart bag check officer (via the Flea's Whiskey Expert).

This morning, they're doing bag searches again to get on the ferry. And the guy doing the searches pulls me aside and says, "Sir, I feel that I need to confiscate this book."

I pause and say, in that tone of voice that most people would recognize as meaning, "have you lost your grip completely, chuckles?": "You need to confiscate... a book."

"Yes. I feel it's inappropriate for the other people on the ferry to be exposed to it."

Now, I had the book IN MY BAG. It was not open. And while the Maiden of the Mirthless Smile is displayed as improbably proportioned, well, this is not, as far as I know, illegal to have. I mean, there was a guy carrying a copy of Maxim, and some of the women in THAT are improbably proportion. (All right, I admit: they're not wielding a huge sword and dressed in a bustier studded with human finger bones. But really.)
Posted by the Flea at 08:55 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Marco!

Marco!

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

Sword umbrella

That's not a knife. This is a knife.

Sword umbrella. Ideal, whether you're a dashing secret agent or a mild-mannered pedestrian. Each gets right to the point with a tempered, high-carbon steel, 29" rapier blade.
Posted by the Flea at 08:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

Bently slide

Have you ever wondered what Blenheim Palace would look like going sideways? You need wonder no more.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Hitchcock

Which Hitchcock films have you seen? I have seen 27 of the 53 films listed here. Half way to go! Several are works of genius so it is very difficult to pick a favourite. I can honestly say I have never sat down to dinner with a proper table cloth and not thought of the fork scene in Spellbound, Dial M for Murder is the most tightly plotted script ever written (Chinatown is so over-rated on that score) and Rope's two reel single shot is a must see for anyone who just loves movies. But for sheer style I have to hand it to Notorious (via The Campblog)

The Pleasure Garden (1925)
The Mountain Eagle (1927)
The Lodger (1927)
Downhill (1927)
Easy Virtue (1927)
The Ring (1927)
Champagne (1928)
The Farmer's Wife (1928)
Blackmail (1929)
Juno and the Paycock (1930)
Murder! (1930)
The Skin Game (1931)
Number Seventeen (1932)
Rich and Strange (1932)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
Waltzes from Vienna (1934)
The 39 Steps (1935)
Sabotage (1936)
Secret Agent (1936)

Young and Innocent (1937)
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Jamaica Inn (1939)
Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Rebecca (1940)
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941)
Suspicion (1941)
Saboteur (1942)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Lifeboat (1944)
Spellbound (1945)
Notorious (1946)
The Paradine Case (1948)
Rope (1948)
Under Capricorn (1949)

Stage Fright (1950)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
I Confess
Dial "M" for Murder
Rear Window
To Catch a Thief
The Trouble With Harry
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The Wrong Man (1956)
Vertigo (1958)
North by Northwest (1959)
Psycho (1960)
The Birds (1963)

Marnie (1964)
Torn Curtain (1966)
Topaz (1969)
Frenzy (1972)
Family Plot (1976)

Posted by the Flea at 08:40 AM | TrackBack (0)

Shatner

William Shatner, perhaps the greatest living Canadian, may make a guest appearance in Enterprise, Season 4 (via The Eternal Golden Braid). Better yet the story idea may have been Shatner's own. Set phasers on cheeze!

Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Hawaiian Fire Dept.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of a jet powered fire truck. Is this what they mean when they call it a fire department? This reminds me of what I love about the United States.

This 1940 Ford is powered by two Rolls/Royce 601 Viper engines w/afterburners, this truck is guaranteed to be the first at any fire, maybe even before its own sirens! Developing 12,000 pounds of thrust, how fast will it go?... Depends on how long you hold on!
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Solar sail

The Institute for Space and Astronautical Science has taken the first steps toward a working solar sail (via Prometheus 6).

ISAS succeeded in deploying a big thin film for solar sail in space for the first time in the world. ISAS launched a small rocket S-310-34 from Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima, Japan, at 15:15, August 9, 2004 (Japan Standard Time). The launch was the culmination of a historic new technology, the world-first successful full-fledged deployment of big films for solar sail. A solar sail is a spacecraft without a rocket engine. It is pushed along directly by light particles from the Sun, reflecting off its giant sails. Because it carries no fuel and keeps accelerating over almost unlimited distances, it is the only technology now in existence that can one day take us to the stars.
Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

Whine industry

For Bourdeaux producers of the Union des Grands Crus business is supposedly good. This cannot be said for the rest of the industry.

For the 95 percent outside this magic circle in what was once the undisputed capital of the wine world, life has grown grim. Their vineyards are in what may be the deepest crisis since the phylloxera aphid devastated Bordeaux's vines a century ago.

The phylloxera aphid crisis. I seem to remember something about that. Who was it that rescued the French that time? Oh yes, Charles Riley, an American entomologist. Quelle terrible ironie du sort!

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 11, 2004

Paris and Nicole

ParisHiltonNicoleLenz.jpg

No, not Nicole Richie. Paris Hilton's other friend Nicole Lenz. Honestly, the rumours that see print in the Austrian press. It is enough to boggle the mind.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)

Printing

Flea Industries is considering a new line in attractive, limited edition signed and numbered prints for the discerning home and office decorator. Can anyone recommend a good printer in downtown Toronto?

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Varmintz

Varmintz is a cute critters game with a Froggers pedigree.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Chicago rooftops

Batman Begins' Christian Bale was spotted by ABC News filming on the rooftops of Chicago.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Green Lantern

Good news. Jack Black has not been cast as Green Lantern for a possible screen version of the comic.

According to this week’s Entertainment Weekly, the rumors of actor Jack Black stepping in as an (admittedly paunchy) Green Lantern, were just that – rumors. “I took a meeting with someone who has the rights, but there’s no [Green Lantern] script,” Black told EW. “I’d be interested if there was a really good writer attached, but it’s far from a [done deal].”

Black’s comments seemingly justify DC Comics VP of Marketing and Sales Bob Wayne’s comments at San Diego when asked if the casting of Black was a reality: “I live in no fear of ever seeing that movie [referring to a Green Lantern film starring Black].” You see, he said he lived in no fear of it, because, as he saw it (apparently knowing that the Black casting was only a rumor) knew it wasn’t going to happen.
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

Star Wars Holiday Special

For all your Star Wars Holiday Special needs. Sadly, I saw this again recently despite Lucas' best efforts to bury it. Do not call up that which ye cannot put down.

This site was created as a labor of love in homage to the 25th anniversary of The Star Wars Holiday Special, which aired one time only on November 17th, 1978 and has been virtually lost ever since. The intent was to gather as much as there is to possibly know about the Holiday Special and document it in great detail, since this has never really been done before.
Posted by the Flea at 08:40 AM | TrackBack (0)

Return of the Jedi

I hope this new ending for Return of the Jedi is a joke. The legacy of three once great films has been so violated it is no longer possible to tell.

Posted by the Flea at 08:40 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)

Whistler tips

I would have thought whistler tips negate the point of having a muffler and would therefore be subject to the same laws that mandate them.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

Swagger stick

A comment left me curious about the history of swagger sticks. What are they for exactly? I gather they are probably derived from the short whips used by cavalry and not from the sometimes equally ornate pace stick whose origin lies in the artillery. Another source has it that swagger sticks are descended from the leading cane, a tool of on the spot discipline.

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | TrackBack (1)

Vaguely Metal




Though you probably can't stand goth music, you tolerate going to clubs because of the occasional Ministry and Misfits that they play and the hot people in vinyl and chains. Not that you'd ever have the social skills to date one of them, but eh, *something's* gotta fuel those masturbation fantasies, right?


What kind of goth are you?

Created by ptocheia

And for the record: the correct answer is always Throbbing Gristle.

Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)

August 10, 2004

Mirna

Mirna.jpg

It is season 5 so I have got into The Amazing Race late in the day. Charla and Mirna are easily my favourite team and I have developed an obsessive fascination with Mirna. Maybe it is the Armenian/Syrian accent.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Sugar Water

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Clone kittens

They are building a clone kitten army of cuteness!

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

1derland

Welcome to 1derland. An eye-catching viral for BMW. Too bad my driving is so bad. Cool looking and cool sounding, Cool Flame is another BMW viral ad in game. It offers peculiar insights into hard boiled Miami via the German popular imagination.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Goldschlager

The ultimate goth shot is made of Goldschlager and Jägermeister. Some poor souls call this a Liquid Cocaine but all travellers on the secret stream know it by its true name: Jägerschlager.

I had wondered how much actual gold there was in Goldschlager but had not thought to enlist attractive research scientists in the cause. More fool me.

Goldschlager is my favorite novelty booze. It is a clear cinnamon liqueur, swirling with hundreds of tiny flakes of real gold. Yes! Real gold, inside the bottle, mixed up, ready to flow into your stomach, small intestines and other digestion-related organs. The alcohol may affect your equilibrium, giving you a light-headed feeling. The dense gold flakes also affect your equilibrium, delivering a stomach-churning gold "rush".
Posted by the Flea at 08:29 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (1)

Stonner

Glasgow's contribution to culinary excellence has at least exceeded the deep fried Mars bar. Now: the Stonner (hat tip to Fred Kiesche). A whopping 46g of fat and twice the calories of a Big Mac are produced by "a pork sausage wrapped in doner kebab meat coated in batter and deep fried." Queue the publicly funded outrage.

The new kebab has been blasted by health experts. Michael Lean, professor of human nutrition at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, said: "This type of thing leads to poor health. It doesn't take a lot of common sense to see that it is a stupid thing to be producing."
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)

Early Toronto Newspapers

Early newspapers of Toronto, including a list of titles from 1793 through to 1867, arrives courtesy of "the internet".

The first newspaper published in Toronto appeared on October 4, 1798. Called the Upper Canada Gazette, or American Oracle, it published the activities and decisions of the government. For more than twenty years, the newspaper had no competition. In 1802, the Upper Canada Gazette published the proclamation announcing the Treaty of Amiens to the townspeople. In 1812, Isaac Brock published a proclamation to alert the citizens of York of the possibilities of invasion.
Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Pacman Ghost


What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Pacman Ghost.I am a Pacman Ghost.


I like to hang around with friends, chatting, dancing, all that sort of thing. We don't appreciate outsiders, and do our best to discourage others approaching us. I enjoy occasionally wandering around randomly, and often find that when I do so, I get to where I wanted to be. What Video Game Character Are You?

I have probably run this quiz before. Let's call it checking in.

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 09, 2004

Resident Evil: Toronto

TorontobytheFlea.jpg

The full trailer for Resident Evil: Apocalypse reveals the Hive was located underneath Toronto (more properly known as Raccoon City) all along. They get a lot of mileage out of the Laboratory... ahh... "City Hall" too. Isn't this stuff supposed to be classified? Only Canadian agents of the VRWC know what we did with the vanishing CN Tower.

Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Happy Fun Song

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:55 AM | TrackBack (0)

Tetris

Live action Tetris. This is the coolest thing I have ever seen on "the internet".

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Puzzled Sheep

Sheep! This is a family friendly, entirely pleasant and most satisfying webgame. I particularly like the music.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)

Alivan's

For all your wand care needs (via Attu).

Your Alivan's wand deserves the best...don't trust its well being to just any polish. Our premium kit includes the Crested Box (6"x6"), Wand Cream in logoed tin, Wand Polishing Cloth, and Applicator Sponge.

Alivan's makes some fine wands and this article on proper wand care is a must read for novices. But I still prefer my own, a Victorian ivory and ebony conductor's baton. The Alivan's virtual shop tour will help you choose a wand of your own.

Posted by the Flea at 08:36 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Lawn furniture

I have a witchy friend who is buying a piece of land and already planning the stone circle arrangements. I think she could use this lawn furniture too.

Well, basically, the Terra Armchair is made of grass. Lawn-type grass, that is (what else could we have meant?). Simply assemble the sturdy cardboard frame into its chair-like shape, fill the structure with soil and plant the grass seeds. Water regularly and before long you'll have your very own organic chair. Sowing (and mowing) your seeds - or should that be seats? - has never been so satisfying!
Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

More Supaida-man

I first learned of a Japanese Spiderman television series last month. Now I have seen the Spiderman opening sequence and theme music I must know what the lyrics say.

Posted by the Flea at 08:32 AM | TrackBack (0)

Barbie of the Bronze Age

A head of a 4000-year-old doll, thought to be the world's oldest toy, has been unearthed on the southern island of Pantelleria, Italy.

They say the doll's head clearly belonged to a toy and the find proves that during this era dolls were used as play items and not just gifts to gods, as commonly believed. Miniature pots and plates were found close to the doll's head, possibly the utensils of an ancient toy kitchen.

"The playing habits of children have barely changed in 4 000 years," said one of archaeology team.
Posted by the Flea at 08:30 AM | TrackBack (0)

Nushabad

A three-story underground city, believed to have been a refuge in times of trouble, has been discovered beneath the Iranian town of Nushabad. Scroll down for the only photo I have been able to find of the Nushabad cite.

“The city is built according to a systematically laid-out plan and it is likely all the residents had a hand in building it, since it seems a gargantuan task to me,” said Ehsan Zera’at, architecture scholar. Archaeologists have so far dug out several earthenware vessels and two fat-burning lanterns. The potteries date from the Sassanid dynasty (226-651) to Safavid era (1501-1722), said Sadat, a graduate archaeology student, adding, “The city has been built during the Sassanid era and has been dwelled and used till the Safavid period, at most.”
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

Der er et yndigt land

HansIsland.jpg

Canada's viking problem is back in the news though hints from the Royal Danish Embassy to Washington suggest there is little cause for alarm.

When borders were drawn between Greenland and Canada in 1973, Hans Island was ignored and since then both Canadians and Danes have claimed the island by hoisting their nation’s flags there. Rumour also has it that visiting Danes leave bottles of schnapps behind for the next troupe of flag-bearing Canadians, who leave bottles of whiskey in return…

Not that this particular piece of Danish/Canadian territory is frightfully high profile. Even Google scratches its head when asked for a map of the place. While the Meatriarchy is sadenned that Canada has chosen conflict with a country with better beer than ours (isn't that anybody except Mexico?) the Geological Survey of Canada's Keith Dewing offers a thought. We could share Hans Island.

To resolve the dispute over who has claim to the island, Dewing suggests Canada and Denmark share Hans Island, which would then be half Nunavut, half Greenland - and a tourist attraction in its own right.

"They should put the border right in the middle. That would be the only place in North America where you could touch Canada and Europe," suggested Dewing.

Hans Island does not appear in on-line maps and if it were not for a lone satellite image I could not be certain quite where it is. I have a request. If the governments of Denmark and Canada are going to pretend to care about sovereignty over this uninhabited spot they could at least have the courtesy to send someone with a digital camera the next time they mount what can only be costly, time-wasting military expeditions to the place.

Cross-posted to The Shotgun

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM | TrackBack (1)

August 07, 2004

Achève-moi

Clémence Poésy is to play Fleur Delacour in the next Harry Potter film, The Goblet of Fire. Yes, The Goblet of Fire. Ok, I have only narrowly restrained myself from a temptation to vulgar puns so I shall leave it at that. I must warn sensitive Flea-readers that the first linked material includes partial nudity. Also, a feeling of existential frustration.

Contrary to yesterday's linked Guardian coverage, Katie Leung has been cast in the role of Cho Chang.

Posted by the Flea at 11:23 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Cthoolou

This Cthulhu flash is like the inside of my head. And it is true they can't make a decent H.P. Lovecraft movie.

Look you guys I thought we were all the same entity here.
Posted by the Flea at 11:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

Cthulhu business proposal

Chief (Dr.) David Ehizojie, the principal partner of David, Ayo & Co. Chambers, had an investment opportunity in Nigeria. By a strange coincidence, Randolph Carter found himself in immediate need of a large amount of money (via The Eternal Golden Braid).

Dr. Ehizojie, I work as an anthropological researcher with Miskatonic University, in Arkham. Recently, in the course of researching the belief systems of some obscure Polynesian cultures, I came across some fragmentary references to a god "Cthulhu." After more research, I found scattered references to Cthulhu in Egyptian, Mongolian, and several African cultures. I would ask you, since you are from Nigeria, if you're familiar with the name Cthulhu, possibly pronounced something like "Kloo-loo." If you are, I would appreciate it if you could send me any information.
Posted by the Flea at 11:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Towel War

One World Cup and two World Wars! Doo-dah! Doo-dah! (With apologies to the Raging Kraut)

Posted by the Flea at 11:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Polar Penny

Jim Elve of BlogsCanada comments on "an outrageous story from the Far North." It is reported that Nunavut Tourism marketing officer was fired last month for her blog. Quoting the Nunatsiaq News.

Penny Cholmondeley, known on the Internet as "Polar Penny," was surprised to learn on July 18 that she was being fired because of the online journal, or web log, she had kept since her arrival in Iqaluit in January. The web log, or "blog," was easily found by typing the words "Polar Penny" into a search engine, and often topped search engine lists generated by people looking up a local business in Iqaluit, or for photos of Frobisher Bay.

BlogsCanada raises questions about the story, runs a letter from Polar Penny and offers contact information for Nunavut Tourism. It is not clear to me on what grounds Cholmondeley was fired but possible implications of the story for other Canadian bloggers wishing to express their opinions, and keep their jobs, should be taken seriously.

Cross-posted to The Shotgun.

Posted by the Flea at 11:10 AM | TrackBack (0)

Michael Moore

Shortly after September 11, 2001, Michael Moore wrote an article that was my first hint the man was a nut. I am now trying to track it down. I am almost certain it ran in the Village Voice but cannot find it in their archives. Does anyone have a suggestion as to where to look? Such is the ethics of the Memory Hole I would not be surprised if the article had been categorized as ungood badthought.

And then... The Tiger in Winter posts a round-up of Michael Moore's writing after September 11, 2001. It is my feeling that for many people that day was a mirror for the animating spark of our character. I shudder to think what Mr. Moore saw in himself that could be the wellspring of such... I don't have a word for it. But it is vile. I think it is important not to look away the traffic accident that is Michael Moore's vision of the world and himself. Be prepared to take a shower afterwards.

Posted by the Flea at 11:09 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Dear Subway

Dear Subway,

I write to express my revulsion at reports of anti-American imagery used in a recent - and ongoing - campaign in German Subway stores. First reports of a fat Statue of Liberty struck me as harmless. The derogatory use of the term "Amis" (German slang for Americans), however, accompanied by an image of people running as two towers collapse on them strikes me as hideous and inexcusable.

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Subway should apologize immediately and publically and especially to the German consumers it expected to attract with this hate propaganda. Subway should also expect many customers to avoid doing business with you for some time.

Sincerely, etc. and so forth.

(via lgf)

Posted by the Flea at 11:06 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Non-Voting

Agoraphilia makes a libertarian case against non-voting and suggests shaming as a route to encouraging more libertarian voters.

What if libertarians stopped applauding non-voting, and instead began prodding each other to go out and vote? What if we had “voting parties,” consisting of groups of people who vote together and go out for dinner afterward (at a location disclosed only to those who joined in voting)? What if every libertarian called two or three libertarian friends on election day to make sure they did their duty? Yeah, duty. You got a problem with that?

I see two difficulties with the tactic. First, collective participation by libertarians has a negligible effect if no party represents libertarian views. I take a least worst approach to voting but in so doing endorse and perpetuate a system that produces those bad choices. It seems to me the argument for non-voting remains strong in this light.

Second, cojolling collective libertarian participation in anything, let alone the electoral process, would have the same effect as cat herding. Forget it. Fun to watch but frustrating to manage. And try "shaming" me, or most libertarians, into anything and you are just as likely to evoke a knee-jerk contratrian response. I am sympathetic to some arguments about the health effects of smoking, for example, but when some santimonious anti-smoker lectures me on the subject it only makes me wish to take up the habit.

Posted by the Flea at 11:03 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 06, 2004

Ultraviolet

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Jack Davenport: vampire hunter.

In life--and death--things aren't always as they seem. It's hard enough for police detective Michael Colefield (Davenport) to accept that his fellow officer and best friend, Jack, is on the take. It's even harder to believe what a mysterious agency called the CIB is telling him, that Jack is a "Code Five" (Code V), a creature of the night—a vampire. Mike learns the hard way that all this is true, but he learns it well, so well, in fact, that CIB recruits him for its cause.

I was delighted to find this short series is available on dvd. The Ultraviolet narrative arc has a mounting creepiness in the Lovecraft vein. The elements of the story and setting that at first seem silly somehow enable a complete suspension of disbelief. If it were not for the incomparable Joss Whedon, this would be the best vampire television ever.

And for the record, the Flea can neither confirm nor deny repeated requests for information regarding my birthplace, upbringing or connection to any agencies of Her Majesty's government.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Divine Intervention

The day of reckoning is at hand in Jim Bonacci's Divine Intervention. This kicks so much ass. Just make sure those demon children don't get near your face (hat tip to the Flea's Demographics Expert).

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

A Murder of Scarecrows

A Murder of Scarecrows is a gorgeous, original and above all goth webgame. Be sure to toggle for music as you swat at the crows (via diztopia).

For a century or more
There has been a tiny war
All tucked away from human eyes
This battle rages by and by...
Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

AVP

Flea-readers who cannot wait for Alien Vs Predator to open can find clips online. The latest addition is a Alien/Predator fight sequence!

Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

Batmobile

Damian, Damian, Damian. All your Batmobile media needs can be found in the pages of the Flea! Here, for example, is a look at the new Batmobile in action on Wells St., Chicago.

Posted by the Flea at 08:39 AM | TrackBack (0)

He-who-must-not-be named

Ralph Fiennes has been cast as Voldemort in the latest Harry Potter film.

Voldemort, who is Harry Potter's greatest enemy, was not seen in person in the first three Potter films. It is in the Mike Newell-directed fourth one (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) that he makes his dramatic entrance in the flesh.

Other new cast members include Miranda Richardson as a newspaper gossip columnist, Brendan Gleeson as Mad-Eye Moody and French actress Clemence Posey, who beat over 3,000 girls for the role of Cho Chang, a schoolgirl who catches Harry's eye.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)

30-Second Bunnies

The 30-Second Bunnies are on vacation.

Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

Canadian Amazing Race

I have been thinking about Canadian blogosphere Amazing Race teams. The first and most obvious is:

Bob Tarantino and Antonia Zerbisias.

Yes, I know Antonia is not a blogger per se but what would the VRWC do without her?

Nominations for more teams are open!

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

1954

Larry Smith carries out a low-tech experiment living ten days without any technology not invented by 1954 (via ***Dave). I would follow suit except but am not sure I could face blog withdrawal symptoms. What are those symptoms? Not sure exactly but why take the risk.

Mornings are the worst.

The coffee is too weak. The windup alarm clock is too loud. The phone rings, and it might or might not be my mom. There are no new e-mails. There is no hope for a Krispy Kreme. And man, oh man, I miss my Ambien.
Posted by the Flea at 08:20 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 05, 2004

ReDaleks

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The appearance of this pimped out gold dalek with Jo Grant might have been enough to scotch the gay dalek rumours that had troubled the Terry Nation estate. The Daleks are to return in the new Dr. Who (via Absinthe & Cookies).

"Doctor Who without daleks would be like Morecambe without Wise or Wimbledon without strawberries."

Of course, this only increases the incentive of Who writers to work innuendos into Dalek lines. "We're here! We exterminate! Get used to it!"

And then... Ok, this makes much more sense. The gay dalek link was not to the camp exterminators of TV Offal but to the writer of Queer As Folk. That would be the brilliant original series set in Manchester rather than the dull as dishwater north American knock-off filmed here in Toronto. Russell T Davies is brilliant. For example:

It was suggested that there was unhappiness at plans to make the Daleks "too evil". The series is being written by Russell T Davies, the creator of the controversial drama Queer As Folk.

Insiders say the original plan was for a single, rogue Dalek in a plotline similar to the film Alien, before letting loose an entire Dalek army at the end of the series.

Please, please, please tell me they are still going to do this. A rogue dalek sort of like the Alien. So. Cool. Can. Barely. Type.

And anyone wondering what Davies' threat to "bring back the Nimon and the Garm!" might mean can check them out at this photo-essay of the 2004 Doctor Who Exhibition in Blackpool.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)

Doctorin' the Tardis

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:56 AM | TrackBack (0)

Daleks, and the Art of War

Daleks, and the Art of War is an analysis of Dalek war tactics.

Daleks are NOT good at hand-to-hand combat and prefer to use their guns even at close ranges. Yet sometimes they even surprise me. In 'Planet of the Daleks' the Doctor and a Thal is trying to force a Dalek into an ice pool. The Dalek is able to knock the Thal off his feet by hitting him with its EYESTALK! This either shows that the Dalek had some skill at close combat or that the Thals are truly wimps. I pick the latter.
Posted by the Flea at 08:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Spoken Word

Ernie Cline redeems spoken word performance. "Nerd Porn Auteur" speaks for the Flea. Probably not safe for work but after Jo Grant and the Dalek I thought I should get through my risquée material in one day.

If you are an intelligent woman interested in breaking into the adult film industry and you can name Luke Skywalker's home planet: You. Are. Hired.
Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM | TrackBack (0)

Uniforms

Fall all your flight attendent uniform needs. This is an impressive collection though I should caution you the dummy gets a little creepy after multiple viewings... I was ready to make a smart remark about Iranair but was cut short by my smart mark being reflected in reality. My personal favourite is Indian Airlines which, unsurprisingly, also had the best cuisine of any airline I have flown.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Happy

I am so happy I think I will throw on a towel, frolic down to the dock and drinking some happy juice.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Call his bluff

Waddling Thunder offers an architectural challenge. The Flea contributed the cat-scratching post thesis.

Posted by the Flea at 08:36 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Very, Very Rule

John Hawkins reveals the secret to building blog traffic.

Remember that you will have to be very, very, good, for a very, very, long time, while working very, very, hard to promote your work and you will be very, very, underappreciated the whole time.
Posted by the Flea at 08:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Theoretical Rothbardianism

Karen De Coster makes a convincing argument for theoretical Rothbardianism. Whatever that might be (via The Julian Calendar).

In order to uphold my reputation for I-don't-care-what-anyone-thinks political incorrectness - for the sake of truth and reality, and not just for the sake of being un-PC - I posed for a few pictures, with a special little toy, atop a Covington, Kentucky hilltop that overlooks the beautiful city of Cincinnati. I'll explain later, though I am saving the really good picture for then.
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 04, 2004

The War of the Spanish Succession

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"The War of the Spanish Succession was over 300 years ago," John Keegan explains. "There is no reason to revive it."

Quite right. This was the only territory in Western Europe to remain under Allied control during the War. This territory remains of critical strategic importance to democracy and those democracies that yet have the will to stand firm against tyranny. The will of the people of Gibraltar has been expressed.

Gibraltar is British.

Posted by the Flea at 08:59 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack (1)

LoveKylie

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The Flea's commitment to cutting edge fashion-media coverage continues as Kylie Minogue introduces the latest LoveKylie lingerie rage. Very fetching (via Attu).

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Around the World

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:50 AM | TrackBack (0)

Dr. Doom

Next Bond contender, Julian McMahon has been cast as Dr. Doom in the forthcoming Fantastic Four movie. Doom is one of my favourite comic characters but my dread at the prospect of a comedy film dampens my enthusiasm.

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM | TrackBack (0)

Eminem Mania

A strangely compulsive Eminem webgame. I would be grateful if someone could give me the code that follows "who knew". I am well and truly stuck!

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

RightGoths

The first thing I need to do is check RightGoths for personal ads (via the comments at Absinthe & Cookies).

How does a Goth outlook fit with conservative foreign policies?

The world is a bleak place filled with suffering and death. A conservative foreign policy spokesman will believe this as ardently as the nearest Goth. Next?
Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Gothic Miss Manners

For all your gothic etiquette needs.

There is no cut-off age for the goth subculture. None. There’s not even a sign of a gothy cartoon character that says “You must be THIS tall to be in Gothyland”. A person can decide they’re goth at any age, and one doesn’t have to stop being goth by some previously-determined birthday. Personally, I plan on growing up to be the eccentric old lady that all the neighborhood children think is a witch. It’s taken me a long time to accumulate a wardrobe of black vintage clothes, and I plan on getting a lot of use out of it!
Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

Red Panda

Is there anything cuter than red panda cubs? More red panda cubs!

Posted by the Flea at 08:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Triple-dog dare

Blogger and a gentleman, Dean Esmay points to recent reports of men detained after striding through Walmart thongs. It seems many people do not understand the gravity of a triple-dog dare. Now one of the men involved explains his actions in the comments at Auterrific.

Well what can we say, It all started after work last Tuesday evening after a day of various other pranks done to Steph, so trying to top all the other events of the day I came up with walking through Walmart in a thong, but said he would not do it alone so I agreed to acompany him thinking he would probably back out. Next thing I know my boss is driving us to Walmart saying that we didn't have a hair on our ass(later he found out different) and triple dog daring us so whats a man with any kind of pride going to do after his manhood has been questioned.

Quite right. To quote another commenter, "how can you look in the mirror for the rest of your life if you turned down a triple-dog dare?"

Posted by the Flea at 08:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

COMPVTER ROMANVS

Caesar has proclaimed Compvter Romanvs to be the official calcvlator of the Roman Empire.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

The City of the Pharaoh

Ideofact discusses The Lost City of DeMille and the work of documentary film-maker Peter Brosnan. This is my kind of archaeology.

Brosnan wanted to raise money to excavate the "Lost City of DeMille -- the massive Egyptian set that DeMille built in the California desert, then demolished once he was done shooting -- in order to keep rival companies from poaching his set. The demolished site is still there in the California desert, complete with five ton sphinxes, statues of Ramses, and what not.
Posted by the Flea at 08:25 AM | TrackBack (0)

Barsana Monastery

The Barsana Monastery has been added to my list of places to visit.

Hidden for centuries in a corner of the northern Carpathians, the wooden churches of Maramures have long been one of Romania's most secret treasures. These sleeping princesses, declared world heritage monuments by UNESCO in 1999 for their simple beauty and superb craftsmanship, will finally be awakened in an effort to lure tourists to a remote but charming part of the Balkan country.

Spooky. These are the tallest wooden structures in Europe thanks to those steeples.

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

August 03, 2004

Ee'd Plebnista

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The Flea School for Wayard Expats presents a continuing series in rhetoric and oratory. Today we are addressed by Captain James T. Kirk:

This was not written for chiefs. [Shouting] Hear me! Hear this! Among my people, we carry many such words as this from many lands, many worlds. Many are equally good and are as well respected, but wherever we have gone, no words have said this thing of importance ... in quite this way. Look at these three words written larger than the rest with a special pride never written before or since -- Tall words proudly saying ... "We the people". That which you called Ee'd Plebnista was not written for chiefs or kings or warriors or the rich and powerful, but for all the people!

Kirk: Yangs? Yanks. Yankees! Spock: Kohms. Communists! Let's call the whole thing off? H. Bruce Franklin makes an interesting case for anti-war leanings in the original Star Trek series including the episode, written by Gene Roddenberry himself, from which this speech is gleened. Flea-readers unfamiliar with the plot of "The Omega Glory" (all three of you) may rely on his summary. Our heroes have just discerned a case of parallel history at work on Omega IV.

At this point, the Yangs, who have conquered the Kohm village, are being incited by Captain Tracey to execute Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. The scene is dramatically punctuated by the entrance of the sacred banner of the Yangs, a tattered American flag, evidently the "omega glory" of the episode’s title. Forgetting all the principles for which they were fighting in their endless war against the Communists, these Yankees have become savage barbarians teetering on the very edge of bestiality. All they have left of the great American ideals are their worship words, garbled versions of the Pledge of Allegiance and the preamble to the constitution of the United States, which they recite as mere sacred gibberish.

As beliefs are institutionalized it is all too easy for them to descend into "sacred gibberish" having lost the animating spark that had called them into being. But to acknowledge this as a fact is as much a call to reaffirm our beliefs as it is a critique of their diminishment in empty ritual.

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I have recently pointed to harsh criticism of the Star Trek universe and find myself in broad agreement with the problems such criticism has raised (if rather less sympathetic to the sneering dismissals of "progressive" opinion). "Klingons and Commies," a BBC article on the episode, offers some inadvertent insight. Writer Peter David is cited, observing "the Prime Directive - the non-interference directive - was the thing that Kirk quoted right before he always then ignored it." This strikes me as a superior approach to dithering with the UN for years on end. I have a vision of President Bush citing the Prime Directive, kicking ass and taking names. Kirk reveals the true meaning of Ee'd Plebnista to be the sovereignty of the people over the will of "chiefs or kings or warriors or the rich and powerful." Or, it should be added, of empty ritual.

"'We the People...' Those stirring words incorporate so much," said Majel Barrett describing "The Omega Glory" as "the core of Star Trek." Quite right.

The whole screenplay is available on line as are Omega Glory wav files, including Kirk's "Constitution" speech that is worth a listen.

Posted by the Flea at 08:55 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Skyrockets in Flight, Afternoon Delight!

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:45 AM | TrackBack (0)

Common People

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (a second time!).

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Romulan Wars

Romulan Wars has a satisfying interface for an on-line game even if the Romulans keep killing me. The brief Starfleet ship database is fun too.

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM | TrackBack (0)

Star Date

For all your Federation star date calculation needs.

Posted by the Flea at 08:39 AM | TrackBack (0)

Star Trek in Japan

A fansite lists Japanese content in Star Trek. In painstaking detail.

In a scene, Picard uses chopsticks. Of course, Keiko and O'Brien sometimes use.

It was with mounting horror I realized someone might have catalogued Star Trek's Canadian content. I note Nicole DeBoer rates higher than William Shatner in the list of actors. And it turns out B'Etor is Canadian. Argh... and Lursa! Who knew?

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wolf 359

Riker listing ships destroyed by the Borg at Wolf 359 (more detail here) is one of the most chilling moments in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Wolf 359 Research Project explores the wreckage and includes an interview with Paramount designer Michael Okuda.

Posted by the Flea at 08:35 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Moonbase

The Campblog argues we do not need an economic case for a return to the moon.

Let's go do it because we can. Let's do it because it would be supercool. Let's go do it because we're a species of explorers and inventors and innovators. Let's go do it because the planet could explode some day and we'll need a handful of humans to survive as the Moon gets thrown across the galaxies. Dammit, do we need another reason??

And then... I should add the Flea's endorsement of this project is conditional on all moonbase staff wearing late '70s jumpsuits and having feathered-hair and/or sideburns.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Liberty Enlightening the World

The Statue of Liberty National Monument is to re-open at last.

Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton announced that the Statue of Liberty will be opened on August 3, 2004. Visitors will be offered a special insiders' view of the engineering marvel that is the Statue of Liberty.
Posted by the Flea at 08:25 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 02, 2004

Next Bond

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Pierce Brosnan is "turning in his license to kill" and speculation on as to the next James Bond is underway.

Speculation surrounds Brits Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffudd, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Gerard Butler, Jude Law and Ewan McGregor, as well as Aussies Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger and Eric Bana.

Frankly, I hope this is not a negotiating tactic on Mr. Brosnan's part. The Flea stands ready to step into the role. Well, of a Q sidekick anyway. As for Bond, Adrian Paul has emerged as a strong contender in an earlier post. The Flea endorses Adrian Paul for the next James Bond. And having Sean Connery take over as M is a good idea too.

And then... As this week's Flea is in press, I learn Eric Bana is reported to be the next James Bond. I have not seen Troy, Black Hawk Down, The Hulk, etc. and so forth so do not know what to make of the choice. The Banatics will undoubtedly be pleased.

And then... Not so! (hat tip to Kelvin!)

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (1)

007

Some of these James Bond quiz questions stumped the not inconsiderable Bond-lore of the Flea. Question no. 4 in the "movie stuff" section misses out 006, Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) from Goldeneye so I have retained some of my dignity.

More Bond trivia can be found here while James Bond's London has photos of Bond locales.

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM | TrackBack (0)

Sheep commandos

The sheep of the Yorkshire moors have "perfected their version of the commando roll" (via Normblog).

Determined to get at lush greenery in the valley gardens of Marsden, a former textile town on the edge of the Pennine uplands, flocks have developed a new way of getting over road grids installed to stop them.

"I've seen them doing it and they're clever," said an independent district councillor, Dorothy Lindley. "They lie down on their side, or sometimes their back, and roll over the metal grids until they are clear."
Posted by the Flea at 08:40 AM | TrackBack (0)

X-Prize

Bastard Sword comments on Canada's X-Prize team.

It's a good thing it's a private venture or the Canadian government would churn out a white paper explaining why Canada can't afford to be in the space launch business.

Cross-posted to The Shotgun.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Cybersex

This is not even remotely work safe. I only post a link to this cybersex information for that sake of a digitally mediated approach to an integrated sexuality. Also, it's Monday morning (via the Flea's Tribal Demographics Expert).

I say, let love gnaw the chains off its ankle and fly.
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Chicha

The Field Museum has turned up an ancient Wari chicha brewery for mass production of the "spicy, beer-like alcoholic drink" (don't ask about the fermentation process).

The brewery, some 2,440m up in the Peruvian Andes, could produce as much as 1,000 litres of the drink a day. Such quantities were needed to fuel alcohol-based gatherings organised by the elite of the Wari empire which took place in purpose-built drinking halls. Each Wari noble would have consumed up to 10 litres of "chicha" per ceremony.

The bit about using the beverage for "ritual intoxication" is more archaeology-speak for what people engage in while watching ritual hockey games or ritual weekend BBQs. Even at 1-3% alcohol content, 10 litres is a lot of chicha.

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM | TrackBack (0)

Euphoria

This is one of the most twisted, frightening things I have ever read. The UK Department of Trade and Industry is interested in vaccinating children against euphoria (via gutrumbles).

Childhood immunisation would provide adults with protection from the euphoria that is experienced by users, making drugs such as heroin and cocaine pointless to take. Such vaccinations are being developed by pharmaceutical companies and are due to hit the market within two years.

Treatment of this kind strikes me as a reasonable idea for adults in extremis. Otherwise, vaccinating people against the possibility of ecstatic states denies them any opportunity to participate in the shamanic experiences that have literally shaped the evolution of our species. See Equilibrium for details.

Posted by the Flea at 08:26 AM | TrackBack (0)

4.3 million

The Blog Father report 4.3 million page views for July. The Flea attracted 108k page views from 27k unique visitors in the same month. I figure 2.5% of the InstaMan's traffic is not bad.

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)