May 31, 2005

myData = myMondrian


myData = myMondrian.

where a human is reduced to data, data is converted to values, values are transformed into art.
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | TrackBack (1)

Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein

Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein compares the Pop artist's work to its original sources.

What? Why did you ask that? What do you know about my image duplicator?
Posted by the Flea at 08:55 AM | TrackBack (0)

Gonzo cannon

Johnny Depp is generously footing the bill for a Gonzo fist tower to ensure a decent send-off for Hunter S. Thompson.

The organisers of a memorial service for writer Hunter S Thompson are to build a 150 foot-high tower from which to fire his ashes. Actor Johnny Depp will pay for the tower to be built for the service, set to take place on 20 August.

During the ceremony, Thompson's ashes will be fired from a cannon at the top of the tower onto his Colorado ranch.
Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

Jew B. & Milky Whyte: Tarzan Rubberband

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance though I am not entirely certain why. Possibly not safe for work if you are concerned about what your colleagues might say about the kind of websites you are frequenting. There is also the risk of singing along.

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

Skyscraper comparisons

A scale-comparison elevation plan chart of proposed, visionary and fantasy skyscrapers needs a bigger monitor to enjoy properly. I wonder when 7 South Dearborn is going to get its act together. And it is satisfying to note the "mixed used" Minas Tirith in the list at 304m.

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

Pile Of Guilt

Kid Dork of Sean Twist has introduced a harsh measure for dealing with unread books.

It sits beside my reading chair. The books and magazines I buy with my hard earned coin, meaning to read, but....don't. I used to just recycle them after a month or so, or put them on one of the many bookshelves here in the house. But no more. I made the Pile Of Guilt, so I have to read them, if only to know peace in my darkened little soul.

Sadly, Star Wars: Battle Surgeons sounds pretty good to me.

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


An exhaustive compendium of the history of the Batmobile is made possible thanks to "the internet".

Batman first appeared in May of 1939 in Detective Comics #27, and although the first true Batmobile did not appear for another two years, it has become one of the Dark Knight's best known weapons.

The Batmobile made its career debut in Batman #5, then appeared on a comic cover for the first time for Batman #20. Because of different artists' interpretations of what the car should be, it changed size, shape, and features frequently. Later, as the car was marketed beyond the comics, more forms appeared based on practical or aesthetic considerations.
Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | TrackBack (0)


The Flea's engoing mission of reducing office productivity everywhere compels me to present Guess-the-google.

After creating Montage-a-google, several people wrote to me suggesting I make a game based on the same technology. Montage-a-google is a simple web app that uses Google's image search to generate a large gridded montage of images based on keywords (search terms) entered by the user. Guess-the-google reverses this process by picking the keywords for you, the player must then guess what keyword made up the image - it's surprisingly addictive.
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 30, 2005

Cinnamon Rush

One of the strangest things in the world to me is the way stuff moves around the place. It was not so longer ago that only a tiny elite in any particular society would have access to luxury goods or commodities that had travelled any distance at all. Now it is an apparent banality that in the clutter on my desk is a watch made in Japan, a bottle of sandalwood oil from Australia and a two dollar bill from the U.S. of A. I could not tell you where the staples in my stapler come from or where my Farrah Fawcett sunglasses were manufactured let alone where the pewter in my Alchemy tetragrammaton ring was sourced. Our nervous systems evolved in a context where all the food we ate, every article of cloth we wore and each hunting gadget were intimately familiar to us from the beginning to the end of a very short supply chain. These days the surface of my desk presents me with bewildering complexity and a maze of relationships both social and technological that it could take ages to tease out. But who has the time? Small wonder the extraordinary difficulty of making ethical choices in our consumer habits or use of energy or attitudes toward environmental or labour policy are addressed in such facile terms by our major political parties.

Which brings me to my favourite toothpaste. There is nothing remarkable about my Crest Whitening Expressions liquid gel (excepting that unique Cinnamon Rush flavour sensation) but it did strike me how odd it was to be in Islington brushing my teeth with a product I had bought at the Giant Tiger in Picton, Prince Edward County. It seemed a long way for a humble toothpaste tube to travel. A bit like Sam Gamgee's pots and pans I expect.

Posted by the Flea at 10:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Annie: Heartbeat

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

Stonehenge is 'sort of Canadian'

Margaret Atwood thinks Canada is a bit like Stonehenge.*

I felt at home with it. It was pre-rational, and pre-British, and geological. Nobody knew how it had arrived where it was, or why, or why it had continued to exist; but there it sat, challenging gravity, defying analysis. In fact, it was sort of Canadian.

*It isn't really.

(via Sinister Thoughts)

Posted by the Flea at 10:23 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

The Black Knight

Get medieval with the Black Knight! I love the muzak in the Olde Weapon Shoppe.

Don't hit Matilda the witch! She hates to pay taxes, and will turn you into a pig if you mess with her.
Posted by the Flea at 10:21 AM | TrackBack (1)

Star Wars testaments

I have just watched the Retarded Animal Babies interpretation of the latest Star Wars installment and it left me feeling more positive about the whole enterprise largely on the grounds I am not the only person re-writing this latest Lucas drek in my head even as I am watching it on the screen. Some words of warning... do not even think about watching this short film at work. There is swearing, animated nudity and adolescent fart-level humour. It is hilarious.

It left me thinking about some of my difficulties with the prequels and the blanket emotional refusal I have to accept that any of it should be considered canonical. This left me with the further thought that I am basically an Old Testament Star Wars fan. Except that in the case of this scripture the Old Testament occurs in the future while the New Testament occurs in the past. Or possibly that I am a New Testament Star Wars fan denying the truth of Old Testament writings I deem to be heretical. Or maybe the prequels are a latter-day arrangement that has an only passing relationship to the authentic continuity. Well, you see my problem. Just remember: never talk like that. That character does not exist.

Posted by the Flea at 10:19 AM | TrackBack (0)

Another Star Wars prequel

Cinematical follows up on rumoured Lucas musings (via Gay Orbit).

George Lucas said he was finished with the Star Wars movies. Ebert didn't believe him, Karina didn't get it, but more importantly - WE wanted more. Stupid Us. It seems George Lucas told a scooper that he has an idea for another add-on to the Star Wars movie series: a prequel to The Phantom Menace. The story would follow the Jedi regaining control of the universe from the many Dark Lords some 88 years before Anakin Skywalker ever graced the universe. Yoda, who, according to Lucas, was instrumental in the effort, would apparently have a headlining role. However, Lucas, now age 60, says he won't be captaining such a ship if it ever happens.
Posted by the Flea at 10:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

Dishwasher Salmon with Cilantro Sauce

The Surreal Gourmet presents an approach to dealing with impossibly high expectations of his cuisine.

Instead of competing with these fantasies, I counter with culinary theatrics from my surreal bag of tricks. My trump card is salmon fillets poached in the dishwasher and topped with a brightly flavored cilantro sauce. It's simpler then it sounds, (virtually) foolproof, and it's usually a safe bet that none of the guests ordered the same thing for lunch. As a bonus, the results are melt-in-your-mouth moist.
Posted by the Flea at 10:14 AM | TrackBack (1)

May 28, 2005

BoA world conquest

K-Pop star BoA (Kwon Boa) announces plan for world conquest.

¡°I won¡¯t stop at being a star only in Korea and Japan,¡± a buoyant BoA told the Chosun Ilbo in an exclusive interview. ¡°I will become the top in Asia, and get recognition in the U.S. and Europe to become a world-renowned Diva.¡± She added, ¡°As I have tried in Japan, I want to come back to my fans as a more matured person, overcoming my old image of a girlie singer.¡¯¡±
Posted by the Flea at 01:21 PM | TrackBack (0)

BoA: Milkyway

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 01:19 PM | TrackBack (0)

Cat logic

I have never seen a more perfect demonstration of cat logic.

Posted by the Flea at 01:16 PM | TrackBack (0)

My favourite toothpaste

My favourite toothpaste. Read about it Monday... at the Flea!

Posted by the Flea at 01:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The Subway Page

The Subway Page offers "links to world subway and other transportation information resources." Some inevitable dead-linkage has crept in but an interaction subway map of Nagoya has already come in handy.

Posted by the Flea at 01:11 PM | TrackBack (0)


Take care when you type the word "Google".

In a new twist to the old practice of "typosquatting," virus writers have registered a slight variation of Google Inc.'s popular search-engine site to take advantage of any users who botch the spelling of the google.com URL.

The malicious site, googkle.com, is infested with Trojan droppers, downloaders, backdoors and spyware, and an unsuspecting user only has to visit the page to be at risk of computer hijack attacks, according to a warning from Finnish anti-virus vendor F-Secure Corp.
Posted by the Flea at 01:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Das Keyboard

Das Keyboard is for ubergeeks only. Sadly, I now find I crave one for myself.

Das Keyboard is an enhanced 104-key USB PC keyboard equiped with 100% blank keys mounted on precision and individually weighted key switches.

Since there is no key to look at when typing, your brain will quickly adapt and memorize the key positions and you will find yourself typing a lot faster with more accuracy in no time. It is amazing how slow typers almost double their speed and quick typers become blazing fast!
Posted by the Flea at 01:10 PM | TrackBack (0)

May 27, 2005

Mary Jane Watson


The greatest moment in comic book history is the first appearance of Mary Jane Watson, in "Amazing Spider-Man" No. 42 (first series, November, 1966). Obviously.

After Spider-Man swings back home and changes back to Peter Parker, and he gets some sleep. He is awaken by his Aunt May reminding him of their dinner meeting with the Watson's. Peter gets all dressed up and thinks to himself: "I've spent months trying to avoid meeting Mrs. Watson's niece!"..."I guess I might as well meet her and get it over with!"..."She may not be as bad as I expect!...She'll probably be worse!". Peter and his Aunt walk down the block to the Mrs. Watson's house where they are greeted by Anna Watson. Anna states that Mary Jane will be there any minute after she left her apartment. Peter sits on the couch while May and Anna talk at the dinner table, with his mind on Gwen Stacy. The doorbell rings and Anna answers the door with the following introduction: "Peter Parker, I'd like you to meet my niece", to which Peter responds: "You mean...THAT'S Mary Jane?!!". The last panel of the issue. The most important panel of the issue. The panel that will live in infamy. OK, I'm getting carried away here! Anyway, a gorgeous curvy redhead responds with the unforgettable line: "Face it, Tiger...You just hit the Jackpot!"
Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)

Choosing a girlfriend

Apparently, choosing a girlfriend is much more straightforward than it looks. This one might not be safe for work if you laugh too loudly and your co-workers decide to investigate just what precisely is so funny about that spreadsheet you are looking at anyway.

Say you don't have a girlfriend. Or say you have one you just now realize isn't working out. With all the women in the world to choose from, finding only one of them to be your girlfriend seems like a daunting task. Noooo problem, my friend. Lucky for you, all women fall neatly into one of these ten varieties.
Posted by the Flea at 07:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

Audtiobullys feat. Nancy Sinatra: Shot You Down

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Hard Jedi training

Mental note: never video self doing Jedi training in the woods.

Posted by the Flea at 07:35 AM | TrackBack (1)

Grocery Store Wars

Grocery Store Wars is yet another web movie that is more faithful to the spirit of the original films than the latest Lucas efforts. This is worth a look for the shopping cart alone. Also, a cute way to market organic food products.

That's no moon... that's a melon. The Death Melon!
Posted by the Flea at 07:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

Break me a f***ing give

Anthony Lane offers up Yoda as the character he would most like to see bumped off in the latest, and supposedly last, Star Wars installment.

At one point in the new film, he assumes the role of cosmic shrink—squatting opposite Anakin in a noirish room, where the light bleeds sideways through slatted blinds. Anakin keeps having problems with his dark side, in the way that you or I might suffer from tennis elbow, but Yoda, whose reptilian smugness we have been encouraged to mistake for wisdom, has the answer. “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose,” he says. Hold on, Kermit, run that past me one more time. If you ever got laid (admittedly a long shot, unless we can dig you up some undiscerning alien hottie with a name like Jar Jar Gabor), and spawned a brood of Yodettes, are you saying that you’d leave them behind at the first sniff of danger? Also, while we’re here, what’s with the screwy syntax? Deepest mind in the galaxy, apparently, and you still express yourself like a day-tripper with a dog-eared phrase book. “I hope right you are.” Break me a f***ing give.
Posted by the Flea at 07:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Vorsprung durch Technik

A peculiar Audi commercial has convinced me of the truth of Vorsprung durch Technik.

Posted by the Flea at 07:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

On the number of New World founders

Jody Hey's "On the number of New World founders" reaches a surprising conclusion about the first wave of immigrants to the Americas. I would love to know what their names were.

His analysis suggests that only about 70 individuals left their ancestral Asian population (estimated at about 9,000 individuals) to reach America 7,000 to 14,000 years ago. Archaeological evidence places the earliest American inhabitants in the New World at around 14,000 years ago. Though Hey's estimates are more recent, they also indicate a high probability at this time period. With this new approach, researchers will be able to explore this and many other questions to fill in the details of the first American immigration.
Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM | TrackBack (0)


After a 28-year journey Voyager 1 has entered the heliosheath of the solar system. An artists rendition of our solar bow shock is pretty cool.

NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered the solar system's final frontier. It is entering a vast, turbulent expanse where the Sun's influence ends and the solar wind crashes into the thin gas between stars.

"Voyager 1 has entered the final lap on its race to the edge of interstellar space," said Dr. Edward Stone, Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Caltech manages NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, which built and operates Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2.
Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 26, 2005

The Queen of Chavdom


The Flea's passion for Beckham media made it impossible to ignore reports of a Posh Spice nude calendar appearance. But Flea-readers asked: where be the photos? I was forced to reiterate my rock hard commitment to maintaining standards on non-objectification and that commitment will stand proud for as long as I am publisher of the Flea (Time-Warner, make me an offer).

But then I thought: where be Victoria Beckham's own performativity and representation of self in this then? The Flea could hardly stand in the way of Posh and Becks' parodic expression of wealth and dialogical relationship to gender roles. Plus, those glasses really work for me. The small issue of not being able to find images from the forthcoming "4 Inches" calendar may have also played a part.

Posted by the Flea at 05:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The greatest moment in comic book history

The greatest moment in comic book history. Read about it tomorrow... at the Flea!

Posted by the Flea at 05:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Jessica Alba offers free talent

Seeing as Bill Ardolino is boycotting the Flea he is going to miss this link to high-resolution photos of Jessica Alba engaged in charitable pursuits.

Jessica Alba has displayed her generous side at the Cannes Film Festival by offering her acting talents for free - to raise money for AIDS charity Amfar … Alba caused the greatest stir by vowing to star unpaid in one of Bob Weinsteins movies, if he agreed to bid $100,000 for tennis lessons with sports stars Monica Seles and Boris Becker. Weinstein was happy to honour Alba's proposal…
Posted by the Flea at 05:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Star Wars costumes

A parade of unfortunate Star Wars costumes suggests I might not be the extreme hellaloser I thought. Then again, there is the problem of finding these costumes strangely fascinating.

Words I never, ever wanted to go through my brain: "This picture is making me feel a bit aroused by Boba Fett."

And for the first time I literally sprayed coffee onto my monitor. It was Chewbacca related. Fair warning.

Posted by the Flea at 05:44 AM | TrackBack (2)

Natalie Portman pole dancing

Given the Flea's ongoing reportage of cutting edge keep fit trends and coverage of the latest in popular film it only seemed wise to link to these clips of Natalie Portman pole dancing in the film "Closer". I doubt I shall ever see the movie myself as it looks to be more an exercise in existential frustration than an exercise in keeping fit. Jude Law and Clive Owen also feature.

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

How to brew beer in a coffee pot

How to brew beer in a coffee pot.

The process of brewing coffee, I discovered, was a good way to relate the brewing process to people who do not understand zymurgy, the technical term for making beer. This became more than a useful analogy: with familiar kitchen equipment, you can repeat the steps of the process that goes on in breweries large and small-and make a very small batch of beer.
Posted by the Flea at 05:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

China demolition

Those buildings blowed up good. Yep. They blowed up real good.

Posted by the Flea at 05:35 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Future of Gaming

One of these would smarten up the office to no end.

Posted by the Flea at 05:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Xtreme beach volleyball nude, at last

Japanese videogame manufacturer, Tecmo appears to have failed in its court bid against players of its Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball title. Wired reports Tecmo had objected to players introducing custom mods that created a naked volleyball experience by rendering away the game's already scanty costumes.

Tecmo filed the lawsuit in January in a crackdown on NinjaHacker.net, an internet forum where fans created and shared custom content for several Tecmo Xbox titles, including Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive 3 and Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. Users had reverse-engineered the games to figure out how to create custom "skins" that changed the appearance of onscreen characters, in some cases rendering the already scantily clad women of Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball completely nude.

I do not think it is only Tecmo's legal position that is precarious. It is difficult to credit objections to nude volleyball to a game manufacturer that "assigned the R-trigger on the Xbox pad to be a 'boob cam' - press it and you automatically zoom in on your character's breasts or crotch" and "the ability to set the level of 'bouncyness' on the breasts of the female characters." It would be sensible to worry less about custom mods and more about problems with virtual sand.

Posted by the Flea at 05:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 25, 2005

Posh Spice nude

Victoria Beckham has posed nude for charity. Fans of Posh may imagine the act is inherently charitable thereby earning some sort of double-karma. No word on whether David Beckham plans a similar act of Samaritanism.

She strips off for a glossy new book, 4 Inches - a reference to the size of the models' stiletto heels - to raise money for Sir Elton John's Aids charity. Posh and other celebrities, including the Duchess of York, Kate Moss, Rachel Hunter and Geri Halliwell, agreed to be photographed nude - except for a pair of Jimmy Choos and Cartier jewellery.

And, especially in Victoria's case, the result is stunning. For once she is actually posing, as opposed to just pouting. She looks incredibly natural and, even better, she seems to be having fun.
Posted by the Flea at 03:56 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (1)

Up Sith Creek

I would tell you I thought the Star Wars prequels were a steaming pile of bantha poodu but that would just be a point of view and we are now to believe that moral relativism is the hallmark of the Dark Side. And if you felt differently I would go all broody and threatening on you because either you are with me or you are my enemy and that oddly familiar assertion of moral absolutes we are now also meant to believe is the hallmark of the Dark Side. Frankly, I could care less if George Lucas wants to pass himself off as a latter day anti-war activist and critic of capitalism but I wish he would keep his own second-hand cotton-candy philosophy straight. Also, I am reasonably certain I saw at least one of his Huttish brood in costume once again. The one good thing I will say for this film is the appearance of Leia's mother in slightly-retro cloned cinnamon buns. There is no reason another generation should not have its sexual development compromised by a hairstyle.

Posted by the Flea at 06:34 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

The Sith Sense

Darth Vader will fully read your mind. Just don't pick a specific object. Specific objects do not concern him.

You are not a Jedi! You are not even a Jawa!

My object was "Natalie Portman as my imaginary girlfriend" and Lord Vader. Read. My mind. Totally.

Posted by the Flea at 06:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

The Passion of the Sith

David Edelstein sums up neatly what I believe is the second-worst flaw of the Star Wars prequels.

... Lucas still suffers from what I called (re: Attack of the Clones) "runaway digititis": the compulsion to sprinkle every frame, every pixel with cyber-MSG, so that the simplest conversation is upstaged by a backdrop of shuttle-crafts darting up and down, side to side, and diagonally. It's like competing for attention with hundreds of goldfish on speed.

There is also the interesting rumour that Tom Stoppard was drafted to improve Lucas' legendarily ham-fisted dialogue. Actually, I loved the line "Hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo." and plan to salt my conversation with it. Unfortunately, Portman mispronounced "Naboo" and that took me right out of the scene.

Posted by the Flea at 06:30 AM | TrackBack (0)

J'en ai marre, encore

The Flea wishes to signal ongoing feelings of solidarity and affection for the people of Corsica. Here is Alizée singing J'en Ai Marre to underline the point.

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM | TrackBack (0)


The last sight seen by the last human will look something like this self-replicating machine.

Posted by the Flea at 06:21 AM | TrackBack (0)


Though personally, I think these Norwegian soldiers serving in Kosovo deserve more attention for their version of Kokomo. Much as nobody anticipated the irritation to be caused to untold numbers of rail and bus commuters by the invention of handheld communicators I doubt the combination of inexpensive digital video and broadband internet was meant to lead to impromptu karaoke by the boys overseas. It seems inevitable in retrospect. We have a micro-genre in the making.

Posted by the Flea at 06:16 AM | TrackBack (0)

ToTo247's Xanga Site

The chilling story of a blogger's last post (via Gay Orbit).

A doomed Queens man's chilling computer entry led cops to a suspect who allegedly robbed and killed the victim and his sister to finance a return to China, police said yesterday. ...

"He wrote that he was wondering why Lin was there and wished he would leave," said Police Officer Jennara Everleth, an NYPD spokeswoman.
Posted by the Flea at 06:12 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 24, 2005

Eternity in a wild flower


"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and to see heaven in a wild flower,
hold infinity in the palm of your hands,
and eternity in an hour."

Once again in Annexia. Let us see what I can make of it.

Posted by the Flea at 05:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Paris Hilton's Carl's Jr.

At long last, the Paris Hilton ad for Carl's Jr. featuring a burger approximately the size of Paris' head. That's hot!

Nothing says Paris like a Spicy BBQ Six Dollar Burger from Carl's Jr. Apparently.

Update: I love Paris every moment!

Posted by the Flea at 05:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Louis XIV: Paper Doll

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance with bare-breasted Suicide Girls. Not safe for work unless you teach cultural studies in which case watching this video is only one example of a gruelling dedication to the advancement of the understanding of popular culture.

Posted by the Flea at 05:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Most powerful

Paul O'Brien ponders the Question Cosmic: who is the most powerful being in comicdom? Much preferring the Marvel multiverse I thought of the Beyonder or Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet. O'Brien agrees these are real bad-asses but hands the prize to the DC continuity.

But in my book, I give the verdict to DC's God. He is completely omnipotent, first of all, which remains unclear for the likes of the Living Tribunal and Eternity. God unequivocally created everything in the DC universe, which is never claimed by nor proven of any of Marvel's cosmic gods who act more like guides/ regulators/ observers/ caretakers than makers. God is also omniscient, and this is the final factor that convinces me no Marvel deity can take God on.
Posted by the Flea at 05:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Man of Steel

A sincere tribute to Superman is touching considering he is so much less cool than the Batman.

Posted by the Flea at 05:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Enter a new world

Read a book (with a hat tip to the Neighbour of a Flea).

Posted by the Flea at 05:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Size 9 or 10

A two-thousand year old shoe has been unearthed at a Somerset quarry. The quarry part is a bit suspicious. Archaeologists should also be on the look-out for remains of Britain's oldest scarf, floppy hat and killer hoover.

They said the shoe, which was found at Whitehall Quarry, near Wellington, was the equivalent to a modern size 9 or 10, and was so well preserved that the stitching and lace holes were visible in the leather.
Posted by the Flea at 05:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Roman fashion crime

The Flea presents an update to an earlier report of a Roman fashion crime: photographic evidence from Darlington of Roman Army socks and sandals.

According to Philippa Walton, a finds liaison officer at Newcastle University's Museum of Antiquities, the Romans may well have been putting comfort before style.

She said: "It is quite funny really that the soldiers were wearing these thick woolly socks. It could have been the fashion for a Roman soldier or it could have been because of the tough northern cold. ... There was a letter found at the Roman fort at Vindolanda, on Hadrian's Wall, from a soldier writing home asking for more socks."
Posted by the Flea at 05:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 23, 2005

Sic transit gloria mundi

The Flea is on the move again and regular posting should resume tomorrow from the not as sunny as it should be sounding Republic of Annexia. Some thoughts on discount airlines. The ticket price sounds good, yes, but the discount is eaten away by overweight baggage charges and the price of rail/coach tickets each way to and from your destination city and hinterland airport. Big savings for the inconvenience and expense are retained by the airline while each souvenir of your visit jacks up your fare to exactly where it would be had you flown with a proper carrier. At least, such is the guestimate of the travelling book collector. If stamps and other light-weight antiquities are your game you may not face the same problem.

Some further reflection for my airline: Air Transat, your customer service is everything I could have expected had I realized your corporate headquarters was in Quebec City. Your steerage-class in-flight cuisine is everything I have come to know and love from from the gourmanderie that is the Great White North. And while my first flight with you found all the electrics and tail parts still in working order on touch-down your peerless Canadian accident record leaves me crossing my fingers and offering prayers to a variety of ancient storm gods as I face the prospect of my return journey.

Once again: Air Transat, you are the sucking wind beneath my wings.

Posted by the Flea at 06:50 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)

May 21, 2005


The Flea's Human Resources Advisor forwards news from Hanzi Smatter, "dedicated to the misuse of Chinese characters (Hanzi or Kanji) in Western culture." It seems Nike has made a somewhat odd choice of message for a pair of $320 trainers. I doubt this was the image they were looking for.

The phrase means "self-suspicion" or "self-doubt". What a great way for Nike to rub "buyer's remorse" in these sneaker fans' faces and their empty wallets (except the sneaker pimps).
Posted by the Flea at 10:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 20, 2005

Sam Gamgee in Mordor

"There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for awhile. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach."

Posted by the Flea at 06:41 PM | TrackBack (0)

The Unutterable Beauty


How do I know that God is good? I don't.
I gamble like a man. I bet my life
Upon one side in life's great war. I must,
I can't stand out. I must take sides. The man
Who is a man a neutral in this fight is not
A man. He's bulk and body without breath,
Cold leg of lamb without mint sauce. A fool.
He makes me sick. Good Lord! Weak tea! Cold slops!
I want to live, live out, not wobble through
My life somehow, and then into the dark.

I must have God. This life's too dull without,
Too dull for aught but suicide. What's man
To live for else? I'd murder some one just
To see red blood. I'd drink myself blind drunk,
And see blue snakes if I could not look up
To see blue skies, and hear God speaking through
The silence of the stars. How is it proved
It isn't proved, you fool; it can't be proved.
How can you prove a victory before
It's won? How can you prove a man who leads,
To be a leader worth the following,
Unless you follow to the death--and out
Beyond mere death, which is not anything
But Satan's lie upon eternal life?
Well--God's my leader, and I hold that He
Is good, and strong enough to work His plan
And purpose out to its appointed end.
I am no fool, I have my reasons for
This faith, but they are not the reasonings,
The coldly calculated formulae
Of thought divorced from feeling. They are true,
Too true for that. There's no such thing as thought
Which does not feel, if it be real thought
And not thought's ghost--all pale and sicklied o'er
With dead conventions--abstract truth--man's lie
Upon this living, loving, suff'ring Truth,
That pleads and pulses in my very veins,
The blue blood of all beauty, and the breath
Of life itself. I see what God has done,
What life in this world is. I see what you
See, this eternal struggle in the dark.
I see the foul disorders, and the filth
Of mind and soul, in which men, wallowing
Like swine, stamp on their brothers till they drown
In puddles of stale blood, and vomitings
Of their corruption. This life stinks in places,
'Tis true, yet scent of roses and of hay
New mown comes stealing on the evening breeze,
And through the market's din, the bargaining
Of cheats, who make God's world a den of thieves,
I hear sweet bells ring out to gayer, and see
The faithful kneeling by the Calvary
Of Christ.
I walk in crowded streets where men
And women, mad with lust, loose-lipped and lewd,
Go promenading down to hell's wide gates;
Yet have I looked into my mother's eyes,
And seen the light that never was on sea
Or land, the light of Love, pure Love and true,
And on that Love I bet my life. I back
My mother 'gainst a whore when I believe
In God, and can a man do less or more?
I have to choose. I back the scent of life
Against its stink. That's what Faith works out at
Finally. I know not why the Evil,
I know not why he Good, both mysteries
Remain unsolved and both insoluble.
I know that both are there, the battle set,
And I must fight on this side or on that.
I can't stand shiv'ring on the bank,
I plunge Head first. I bet my life on Beauty, Truth,
And Love, not abstract but incarnate Truth,
Not Beauty's passing shadow but its Self.
Its very self made flesh Love, realised.
I bet my life on Christ--Christ Crucified.
Behold your God! My soul cries out. He hangs,
Serenely patient in His agony,
And turns the soul of darkness into light.
I look upon that body, writhing, pierced
And torn with nails, and see the battlefields
Of time, the mangled dead, the gaping wounds,
The sweating, dazed survivors straggling back,
The widows worn and haggard, still dry-eyed,
Because their weight of sorrow will not lift
And let them weep; I see the ravished maid,
The honest mother in her shame; I see
All history pass by, and through it all
Still shines that face, the Christ Face, like a star
Which pierces drifting clouds, and tells the Truth.
They pass, but it remains and shines untouched,
A pledge of that great hour which surely comes
When storm winds sob to silence, fury spent
To silver silence, and the moon sails calm
And stately through the soundless seas of Peace.
So through the clouds of Calvary--there shines
His face, and I believe that Evil dies,
And Good lives on, loves on, and conquers all--
All War must end in Peace. These clouds are lies.
They cannot last. The blue sky is the Truth.
For God` is Love. Such is my Faith, and such
My reasons for it, and I find them strong
Enough. And you? You want to argue? Well,
I can't. It is a choice. I choose the Christ.

- G. A. Studdert Kennedy

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 PM | TrackBack (0)

William Blake

Turner has never moved me and Barbara Hepworth, while collectible, only demonstrates why Vorticism was only a backwater of Futurism. There is only one British artist who is truly great.

William Blake is far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced. I feel both elated and embarrassed to say that, because in recent years the critical reputation of the poet, printmaker and radical prophet of the French revolutionary era has been slipping, to say the least. Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell are never likely to be shifted from their place near the heart of English literature. But Blake thought of himself as a visual artist; he illuminated his self-published writings, illustrated Dante and Chaucer, and painted singular oils such as The Ghost of a Flea.

I stopped by the Tate Britain to see if the Flea was on display. Not this time. In storage and so near yet so far. Just as well. I might have been tempted to eat it thereby bringing the tattoo to grim semblance of life.

Posted by the Flea at 12:21 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

May 18, 2005

Deep affection

The White Peril discusses some reasons for the deep affection so many fans hold for Kylie Minogue.

As a British friend and I were discussing last night, Kylie is one of those stars who get such deep affection because she hasn't forgotten how to work first and foremost to entertain her fans. She doesn't write "confessional" lyrics in which she works out her spoiled-celeb neuroses, or use every interview to complain that she has deep, dark psychological recesses that people don't understand. Given the way pop and dance fans have been beaten with the diva-complex sledgehammer for the last quarter-century, it's touching to have at least one superstar who still seems to enjoy--in a forthright, good-natured way--the sheer fun of dressing up in spangly costumes, dancing around with a bunch of buffed-up guys, and singing a catchy tune. To the good wishes already expressed by millions of her other fans, let me add my own.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has added his best wishes and words of support. Reportedly, such wishes and prayers have been such that Kylie Minogue's website was temporarily overwhelmed by traffic yesterday. One sobering additional revelation is a report that Kylie had her medical check-up on the advice of her boyfriend. One possible outcome of Kylie's unfortunate news is that many people may now be considering if it is time for a check-up of their own.

Posted by the Flea at 02:17 PM | TrackBack (0)

Jem: They

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 02:14 PM | TrackBack (0)

Why I live in Canada, Episode III

Liberty, for one thing. The temptation of Vivienne Westwood ties and Paul Smith blazers is more than a civilized soul can long endure. I had to say to myself, "I am not spending three-hundred dollars on a hat", consider every step on my way back to the street entrance and firmly close the door behind me. This was after trying on every Philip Treacy item in the store. Unfortunately, at £175 the Elvis trilby added up to more than my current choices can support even counting a minutely considered VAT exemption. At least I am now the pround owner of a pair of hot new cufflinks.

Posted by the Flea at 02:11 PM | TrackBack (0)

Smart ass

This was forwarded to me by the Flea's Etiquette Advice Team.

A man in the Florida supermarket tries to buy half a head of lettuce. The very young produce assistant tells him that they sell only whole heads of lettuce. The man persists and asks to see the manager. The boy says he'll ask his manager about it. Walking into the back room, the boy said to his manager, "Some ass wants to buy half a head of lettuce." As he finished his sentence, he turned to find the man standing right behind him, so he added, "And this gentleman has kindly offered to buy the other half." The manager approved the deal, and the man went on his way. Later the manager said to the boy, "I was impressed with the way you got yourself out of that situation earlier. We like people who think on their feet here. Where are you from, son?" "Canada, sir," the boy replied. "Well, why did you leave Canada?" the manager asked. The boy said, "Sir, there's nothing but whores and hockey players up there."

"Really?" said the manager. "My wife is from Canada."
"No s***?" replied the boy. "Who'd she play for?"
Posted by the Flea at 02:06 PM | TrackBack (0)

May 17, 2005

Troubling news

Kylie Minogue has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I am certain the many people with experience of cancer in their own families, and everyone around the world for whom Kylie's music is an ongoing source of happiness and inspiration, will find this most troubling news (hat tip to the Flea's Etiquette Advisor).

This is the text of the statement released by The Frontier Touring Company regarding Kylie Minogue's condition today:

Whilst at home in Melbourne with her family this week prior to her Australian Showgirl Tour, Kylie was diagnosed with early breast cancer. She will undergo immediate treatment and consequently her Australian tour will not be able to proceed as planned.

Kylie said today "I was so looking forward to bringing the Showgirl tour to Australian audiences, and am sorry to have to disappoint my fans. "Nevertheless hopefully all will work out fine and I'll be back with you all again soon."

The Brisbane Courier-Mail is publishing letters of support for Kylie. Kylie, her family and her friends are in my prayers.

Posted by the Flea at 09:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

Neptune retrograde

Neptune is putting on the breaks and will start to make tracks backwards in the sky from this weekend until October. And some of you thought Mercury retrograde presented challenges and opportunities.

Posted by the Flea at 09:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

Kelly Osbourne: One Word

Gaah. This is perfect. This says everything I have been trying to say. I may as well go jump off a bridge. There is nothing to add to this. I want this played at my funeral.

Posted by the Flea at 09:51 AM | TrackBack (1)

Sith word scramble

I doubt there is anybody left on earth (except Rusty) who genuinely cares how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. Two vomitous byblows of the original series have left me feeling nothing of the enthusiasm that should now possess me. Perhaps bad writing, over-produced digital animation vastly inferior to the 1977 special effects and the corpulent gasbag at the helm are all it takes to achieve the nullity at the core of the Dark Side. In five hundred years time when "The Star Wars" is discussed in offworld doctoral seminars the accepted thesis shall be that the man named "George Lucas" could not have directed the original film because the same man could not have been responsible for the fart in the elevator of culture that are the prequels. Lucas, thy true name is Howard the Duck.

At least the new films have produced some satisfyingly irksome tagline puns. "Is there life after Darth?" "To the Darth side" "May the sales force be with you" "Force the issue" " 'Star' gazers" "The Empire strikes bucks"

Posted by the Flea at 09:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Star Wars 3D

I thought it could not get worse. I was wrong.

Did you really think Lucas wouldn't come up with some scheme to again re-release his films in the theater? Well, he has and that scheme is 3-D. While speaking at the ShoWest convention in Las Vegas, Lucas revealed his plans to remaster the STAR WARS films and rerelease them to theaters in 3-D.
Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 16, 2005

My Fair Lady

Visitors to England, even those raised by English parents, should expect to have their pronunciation and colloquialisms challenged upon their arrival. The expression "I'm good", for example, was near invisible to me until I was roundly mocked for using it when asked if I would like my gin and tonic refreshed. "Only God knows if you are good," was suggested. "We know you are good," was another, "but would you like more gin?" I am told the turn of phrase is employed only by "chavs", "Essex girls" and "people sucking up to Americans." But what about those of us for whom it is as indigenous as the Americans to whom people are sucking up? No good answer was given.

Despite the beating my vocabulary has suffered I do know to enunciate the letter-H in "herb", an habit that has fallen into disuse in Canada echoing, I fear, the usage of our southern neighbours. An American friend corrected me recently, H-minus. I quoted Eddie Izzard to the effect that the word is pronounced "herb, because there is a f***ing H in it." This no more convinced my American chum than any of my Canadianisms pass muster with my English friends and relatives. My yet more clever rejoinder follows: "In 'ertford, 'ereford and 'ampshire 'urricanes 'ardly ever 'appen." She did not get the reference. But then she has a PhD from MIT and one must make allowances.

Posted by the Flea at 11:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Mylo: In my arms

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 11:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

50-pence hotpants

Kylie Minogue's famous gold lame hotpants are reported to have holes from "from all that Spinning Around in the 2000 video that made them famous."

Just as well Kylie's frocks and Manolo Blahniks are now handled with white gloves by museum curators. Yesterday they went on show in the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra as Kylie: The Exhibition. Even Kylie "never imagined". Minogue's clothes are "culturally significant", says the exhibition's curator, Janine Barrand. In fact they are "of great national and international importance".

Well, obviously.

Posted by the Flea at 11:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

Paris Hilton striptease

Paris Hilton reportedly found her striptease performance in House of Wax "unnerving".

"I just laugh at myself," Hilton said. "I don't really care. I was screaming at my death scene. It's a cool death scene, so I was like, yeah, whatever, because I know--everyone knows that I'm not really dead. It's just a really cool death scene." But she did admit that prancing around in a red bra and panties for the striptease scene was a bit unnerving.

"They're actually playing my single 'Screwed' while I was shooting it, and I was like, 'I want, I want a close-up,' and I only had John, the director there, who I trust," Hilton said. "And he was just filming, and no one else was there because I was embarrassed, you know, to be dancing and taking my clothes off. ... I felt so cheesy. But I was doing it to my song, so I felt really sexy, and then I just did it, and it turned out really good."
Posted by the Flea at 11:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 15, 2005

I still miss my Grandad

Just saying.

Posted by the Flea at 12:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

May 14, 2005

Grand guignol

It was off to lunch with relatives in Gloucester then Tewkesbury Abbey where the choir was having a practise and featured the most stunning soprano I have ever heard. The acoustics helped but she was quite extraordinary. I was a bit taken aback by graffiti carved into a rather grand guignol statue of a corpse in some state of decay until I realized the berks responsible had dated their names 1650 and 1651. Finally a visit to the Malvern Spring Gardening Show. Last year's event drew over ninety-thousand visitors and judging by the traffic this year's may have been even bigger. I was particularly pleased to come away with a badge for the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. I plan to wear it to the conference I am attending later this week and figure it will impress any number of Japanese hotties. With any luck, the life of some endangered hedgehog will also be saved.

Posted by the Flea at 09:12 PM | TrackBack (0)

May 13, 2005

Haute bourgeois

An haute bourgeois supper at a friend's place in South Kensington featured three Frenchmen, a Brazilian, a Barbadian and the Flea representing the trackless northern wastes. Champagne and cassis is always welcome but all the more so when the Albert Memorial is a stone's throw away reminding one that life's rich pageant is fleeting and all the better to spend what there is in good company.

A somewhat frenetic last tube back to the Angel, some sleep and a short drive later brought me to lunch at the Eagle and Child in Oxford. Steak and ale pie, the local bitter and a leisurely read of the latest issue of The Chap were just the thing to fortify me for a pilgrimage to the Pitt Rivers Museum. The latter is undergoing construction so the first and second floor galleries were out of bounds despite an attempt to use visiting academic status as an infiltration tactic. The stairs, unfortunately, had been removed so prof or no prof there was no way up! Still very nice to have a chat with Museum staff and get a proper introduction to a witch bottle about which I was curious (photo to follow). All part of the Flea's civilizing mission.

Posted by the Flea at 07:31 PM | TrackBack (0)

Pub food

Visitors to England should understand there is pub food and then there is pub food. My first ever visit to the Eagle and Child was a pleasant surprise in that they serve the latter. Pub food consists of gentrified, idealized roasts and a broad variety of ales and bitters - often marketed for their organic genesis - and is generally served at London prices. Pub food, by contrast, is more of a home cooked affair involving local vegetables and heated up pies and all sorts from the frozen food section. The latter is often a bit of a shock to people from abroad and may be part of the reason for lingering impressions of British cuisine and post-war rationing. Now, being of the champagne socialist disposition in many matters of taste and lifestyle I enjoy my foods gentrified and organic. But there is something indisputably authentic about finding real pub food even if it tends to the salty and not very nice. Hence my surprise at finding pub food at the Bird and Baby. I had assumed the place would be overrun with Inklings fans and legions of folks trying to channel Frodo and Co. at the Prancing Pony. Not a bit of it. It remains a local pub. Whatever the merits of the steak and ale pie the Old Hooky bitter was better than any skunky Canadian lager and would almost certainly have met with hobbitish approval. It comes in pints.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 PM | TrackBack (0)

Neighbour Kylie

Mike Campbell has very thoughtfully sent me an image of Kylie Minogue as Charlene Robinson from Neighbours days. She is so tiny! And I have been wondering about the mystery of how her character's clothing survived the trailer fire ever since Kylie raised the issue in an interview I was listening to (to which I was listening... still ending those sentences with prepositions, damn me!).

The 1988 cast of Neighbours, including Craig McLachlan, Craig McLachlan's hair, future Hollywood star Guy Pierce, future global conquerer Kylie Minogue, Annie Jones as Plain Jane Superbrain. and Ian Smith in his Sisyphusian role as Harold Bishop.
Posted by the Flea at 07:21 PM | TrackBack (0)

May 12, 2005


Does anybody know if there is anything left of John Dee's house at Mortake in Richmond-upon-Thames? I have not been able to find anything on-line.

Posted by the Flea at 01:38 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Zoning Improvement Plan

As soon as the Flea starts raking in monster cash I am going to look into improving my postal code.

From Beverly Hills to TriBeCa, from notorious enclaves of mansions and lush lawns to little-known niches of wealth, we looked at ZIP codes around the country to find the ones where home prices were the highest last year
Posted by the Flea at 01:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 11, 2005

Henry IV, Part 2

O sleep! O gentle sleep! Natures soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, that thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down and steep my senses in forgetfulness?
- King Henry IV

I had not been to the National Theatre since I saw Dame Judi Dench in A Little Night Music some years ago. Sondheim is always a treat but I was also impressed with the performance space (if less so with the fantastically unwelcoming Brutalist exterior). So I looked forward to seeing how it would be used to stage Henry IV, Part 2. Wonderful lighting and music kept me almost entirely awake for what is, let's face it, a mess of a play that in the end is only a prequel for the ass-kickery that is Henry V. One pleasant surprise, sure to vex the Sister of the Flea, was the appearance of Flea-fav and role-model Matthew Macfadyen as the Prince of Wales, aka Tom Quinn from Spooks (MI5 to north American audiences). Spoiler alert: he becomes Henry V.

Posted by the Flea at 10:14 AM | TrackBack (0)

Kylie Minogue and Geri Halliwell kissing

Every once in a while a kind soul sees Kylie Minogue and Geri Halliwell kissing and thinks of me (thanks Jeff!). Not that anyone who reads the Flea would have anything but an ethnographic interest.

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

Why I live in Canada, Part Deux

In Toronto, there is next to no risk of walking into the big HMV at 333 Yonge St. only to be confronted by a wall of blue-rinse Cliff Richards fans throwing undergarments at their idol as he warbles through his latest hit. While I am making up the bit about the undergarments the image it conjures is faithful to the weirdly hormonal atmosphere of the event. HMV staff and security were getting a kick out the whole thing but all I could do was back away slowly.

Posted by the Flea at 10:07 AM | TrackBack (0)

Byzantine comments

Yo, everybody. Just to say I have wanted to reply to a variety of comments over this last week but none of the three computers to which I have access is happy with TypeKey. In at least two cases this is due to ancient Macishness but I cannot say what the difficulty might be with this spankin' new Toshiba laptop.

Bill: One of the worst bits of lifestyle news I ever heard was the day I learned Donna Karan's decision to sell-up meant DK Fuel for Men would no longer be made. I have been hording the stuff, taking great care to wear it only on spectacular goth occasions or in the event of making it with goth women, but despite my poor social schedule one of my last bottles expired this morning (I count trips to London as spectacular goth events) (no goth/pre-Raphaelite women present themselves). Fortunately I have moved on to Michael by Michael Kors and I imagine Christian Dior shall still be making Fahrenheit when the pyramids have worn down to pencil stubs.

Jeff: I had no idea Jane Wiedlin was involved in the Paris Hilton cd. The whole project just gets better and better.

Rick: Sorry for the Byzantine comments barricade. It is there to keep out the Turk. As for presenting as British instead of Canadian... I think there is always a temptation to be a bit Catch Me If You Can on vacation. This is why everyone remembers Leonardo di Caprio picking up his pilot's uniform better than pretending to be an MD. Though I have been direct with friends of the family I would normally let people think I had grown up in Montreal by preference to the sterile truth that is Ottawa.

Posted by the Flea at 10:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 10, 2005


In some future episode of Master Mind where the topic is "The Flea" or "Ghost of a flea" one question might concern my favourite brand. The correct answer is, of course, Donna Karan, DKNY or DK for Men. That said, and strictly technically, there is one brand I like better: Muji. I took the opportunity to stock up on Muji marker pens and bought yet another slim-line Muji business card holder (the first one went walkabout and the second one got dented). And despite having once upon a time been given a Mont Blanc fountain pen as a gift I am now more pleased to own a Muji fountain pen for the princely sum of �15 despite its tacky cartridge ink system. I am almost the owner of some triumphant Muji slippers but unfortunately even the Japanese version of extra-large is too small for the impressive feet of a Flea. Zut! At least the Japanese scenester who helped me out was jealous of my fedora. I had been getting funny looks from everybody else and especially the cad at Harvey Nick's who was apparently convinced I was about to make off with the pink Burberry cufflinks I had been admiring. Such is the near inevitable consequence of my New Spiv look.

Posted by the Flea at 11:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)


A Stormtrooper's life flashes before his eys in Ops! This is a sad reminder of how good an animated short can be in comparison with two dreadful prequels.

Posted by the Flea at 11:45 AM | TrackBack (0)

Alien Wars

Help Itchana Tchones in this Alien/Star Wars game.

Posted by the Flea at 11:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Mobile monitoring

Tokyo Times reports a development in keitai culture as Aomori University officials encourage class attendance.

At the beginning of every class, the students are given a number that they must then send by e-mail to a university administrator. Then (and this is the clever part) the administrator will send a reply to between 5 and 10 students who have claimed to be present, with those receiving the response having to stand up and give their name to the teacher. The random nature of this selection process hopefully deterring students from passing on the necessary number to absent friends.
Posted by the Flea at 11:38 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 09, 2005

We'll meet again


Let's say goodbye with a smile, dear,
Just for a while, dear, we must part.
Don't let the parting upset you,
I'll not forget you, sweetheart.

We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when,
But I know we'll meet again, some sunny day.
Keep smiling through, just like you always do,
'Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds away.

So will you please say hello to the folks that I know,
Tell them I won't be long.
They'll be happy to know that as you saw me go,
I was singing this song.

After the rain comes the rainbow,
You'll see the rain go, never fear,
We two can wait for tomorrow dear,
Goodbye to sorrow, my dear.

- Vera Lynn (Ross Parker and Hughie Charles)

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

Max Rabbe: Oops!

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance like it's Weimar Berlin (via the Daily Dish).

Posted by the Flea at 08:49 AM | TrackBack (0)

Your sister's dance team

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance like wallflower superstars.

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

Paris Hilton expresses perfectly sensible reservation about blogs

And Blogcritics proves her perfectly reasonable point by making a lame crack about her intellect. I am quite certain anyone sitting in front of a computer all day is no position to criticize. I mean, seriously. You may find Hilton's life a bit simple but given the choice between being a young, wealthy socialite or an embittered, unpopular Blogcritics writer there is no contest.

Q: Do you read blogs?
Hilton: What's that?
Q: Um, they're these things on the Internet where people write news and stuff.
Hilton: No, I don't really read anything on the internet except my AOL mail. I don't like people who sit on computers all day long and write about people they don't know anything about.
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)


Though there is a certain tragic majesty in this nerd life. Take Geekin: Love, Jealousy and Twenty-sided Dice, for example.

"Geekin'" is an original story about a group of friends united by their common passion: role-playing games. Week-in and week-out, as often as they can, these socially awkward misfits indulge their imaginations in the mythical land of Tir Sidaj, where they claim personas as warriors, wizards, healing witches, and one ornery gnome. The strength of this Geek Utopia is tested, however, when the one force strong enough to rend it is introduced into the mix. Friendships will be broken and bonds will be shattered as the friends must deal with the ultimate Geek weakness: An attractive girl.
Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 07, 2005

Juliette and the Licks

Let's all sit and contemplate Juliette Lewis. I think Rick McGinnis will back me up on this plan. Now that I think about it, Rick has probably photographed Juliette Lewis. Vexed again!

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The Name of the Waitrose

Even the grocery is done up to look as if it partook of some hoary antiquity. I had a walk with the Westie at the remains of a Roman villa whose foundations, made with the local stone, were entirely sympathetic to every building built since. Also, underfloor heating. Impressive chaps those Romans, though I gather his was more likely the house of some local Dubonii. Some rather more recent history is evident outside my window as the Canadian Red Ensign circa WWII flies in anticipation of tonight's party. This afternoon presents the modest goal of convincing my cousin it would be a good idea to try the vegetarian haggis I noticed is offered for sale in a nearby town. While the words "vegetarian" and "haggis" have never been made to rhyme the idea possesses me with a burning curiousity.

Posted by the Flea at 09:07 AM | TrackBack (0)

There'll always be an England

There'll always be an England
While there's a country lane
Whereever there's a cottage small
Beside a field of grain.

There'll always be an England
While there's a busy street
Wherever there's a turning wheel
A million marching feet.

Red, white and blue
What does it mean to you?
Surely you're proud
Shout it loud.

Britons awake!
The Empire too
We can depend on you
Freedom remains
These are the chains
Nothing can break.

There'll always be an England
And England shall be free
If England means as much to you
As England means to me.

Posted by the Flea at 09:01 AM | TrackBack (0)

Kettenkrad small military motorcycle

So, obviously, we had to kick Nazi ass in the War but this Kettenkrad small military motorcycle is still a hellasweet ride.

Posted by the Flea at 08:59 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 06, 2005

The wilds of Oxfordshire

A weekend in the country. How delightful! Always plenty to do. No muntjacks sighted yet but I expect it is only a matter of time. The WWII Canadian Red Ensign will be flying outside the cottage later today already prompting a threatened response of flags and bunting from down the lane. One boiled egg, toast from the Aga and War-era coffee have fortified me for a trip into town for groceries. There are the remains of a Roman villa nearby that I missed on my last visit and I hope to see those too.

Posted by the Flea at 10:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Use a pile driver

The following is advice on rhetoric by noted orator, Winston Churchill. I believe it is an important intervention on the subject for all that it is primarily made in one-syllable words.

If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time-a tremendous whack.
Posted by the Flea at 09:53 AM | TrackBack (0)

Live octopus dish

I believe this live octopus dish is the closest thing I have seen to real Gagh (qagh).

Posted by the Flea at 09:45 AM | TrackBack (0)

Plague of Kittens

Save the kittens! Not for sensitive Flea-readers.

Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Cast a spell on you

Soon my Nicole Kidman shrine will include movie memorabilia from Bewitched. The trailer looks fun (via SciFiDaily).

When a movie star (Will Ferrell) decides to remake the hit '60s sitcom 'Bewitched,' he discovers that his leading lady (Nicole Kidman) is a real witch -- literally. See the debut of the enchanting new trailer.
Posted by the Flea at 09:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 05, 2005

Liber AL 1:57

As delighted as I was to come across an OTO (Austin variety) 100th anniversary edition of the Book of the Law I was much more pleased to find a Neptune Press illuminated edition at Atlantis Books. Printed in a limited edition of 500 I had spotted one on eBay but it was out of my reach. There is a special luxury in not only finding one for sale but being able to pick from remaining copies to get a number I would like then having my name logged for posterity. Just lovely. Serious Aleister Crowley buffs will be interested to learn the OTO special edition is missing a line-break. So much effort only to fall short of the perfect rendition called for by Liber AL. But then we have been counselled not to lust for results... Thanks to some well informed sources at Atlantis Books for their eagle-eyed reading!

Posted by the Flea at 04:44 PM | TrackBack (0)

The War's voices

A website hosts voices from WWII. I do not have RealPlayer on this machine so these will have to wait until I get to the country...

For many wartime listeners, radio delivered the world to America's doorstep in ways unimaginable just a few years earlier. In addition to bringing the war closer, radio also established new heroes and introduced a tangle of distant names and places, and, more than ever before, broadcast a new world of voices from all corners of the globe, and from friend and foe alike.
Posted by the Flea at 04:41 PM | TrackBack (0)

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

As the sixtieth anniversary of VE Day approaches it is time to give some thought to your soundtrack for celebrating the occasion. Run down to your local HMV or equivalent and pick up a 40s dvd. Or just go for the Andrews Sisters!

Posted by the Flea at 04:40 PM | TrackBack (0)

May 04, 2005

The Daily Show: Judges vs Jesus

John, let me answer that with a parable.

Posted by the Flea at 05:47 PM | TrackBack (0)


I have finally listened to Qntal's "Illuminate" properly. Gorgeous. This is what I get for teaching too many courses in a term. I keep missing things! Vedes Amigo Illuminate particularly impressed.

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Revenge of the Sith

So... XBox is advertising the Revenge of the Sith videogame before the actual film is released. Whatever.

Posted by the Flea at 05:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 03, 2005

England, home and beauty

Am now in London and still awake from the last time I posted... how could I sleep on the plane when they showed Racing Stripes - the story of a plucky zebra who does not know he can't be a race horse - and Ocean's Twelve - a madcap caper in which Julia Roberts grifts as... Julia Roberts! Hilarity ensued.

Some thoughts. Mac sucks. This is broadband access but an ancient machine and I am too zoned to figure out the copy and paste function that would produce a nice, interactive filler post for your amusement. So, sorry about that. I am going to look into internet cafes. The situation may be trickier still once things move to lovely Oxfordshire and the VE Day Anniversary village fete. I have brought my WWII Canadian Red Ensign to fly in the village and hope to have pics to share once I return to Canada. In the meantime you should treat these posts as missives from occupied France. I am not certain how often I shall be publishing. One thought as I go on partial hiatus is that I have a number of fun-filled Flea marketing projects in the works so watch out for June.

Some more thoughts. Friends don't let friends fly Air Transat. You have been warned. I mean, if they had served KD for my main meal it would have at least offered some value in irony. I knew something was wrong when the lady next to me got her kosher dinner. The fact this same lady had crossed herself as the plane was taking off was a red flag. Clearly a repeat Air Transat customer. To summarize: Air Transat = sux.

Let's see. I have done some exciting Sainsbury's shopping, ducked down to the Sadler's Wells Barber Shop and have discovered a range of FCUK body spray products unavailable in Canada that, were I to load up a satchell and resell them in Toronto in entrepreneurial style, would pay for my airfare. Tomorrow I am putting on finishing touches for my '40s outfit for the VE Day bash and time permitting will start the rounds of my favourite bookstores in the world. Tonight is dinner out in Islington but first I think a little lie down

Posted by the Flea at 05:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

See Paris Die

Sadly, I have to report yet more opposition to Paris Hilton. While I am eager to see House of Wax I do not share the enthusiasm so many apparently feel to see Paris die!

The folks at Kitson had to threaten Paris Hilton in order to get her into their trendy Robertson Blvd. boutique. Sure, the slogan “See Paris Die” is scrawled all over the store’s windows, but it’s a promotion for Paris’ upcoming horror flick, "House of Wax", and the "Simple Life" star was originally supposed to be there last Saturday, but didn’t show up. Paris then promised to appear at the store the following day, while en route to LAX for a flight to Tokyo, and again blew them off. After frustrated Kitson management threatened to toss out the whole "House of Wax" display, and accompanying merchandise, and to send the bill to Warner Bros., Paris finally made good. If Paris gets on your nerves, Kitson is selling “See Paris Die” t-shirts.
Posted by the Flea at 05:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 02, 2005

Off to England


Should have flown British Airways. I am not entirely clear on my internet access but shall do my best to keep the Flea in print while I am on the move.

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Girl on girl light saber action

Aside from aiming to be the number one Google hit for "girl on girl light saber action" this post is meant to point to Star Wars: Revelations. This is an enormous download and might seem daunting. But if you loved the original films it is impossible not to be drawn into the sheer accomplishment, the sheer enthusiasm, of this indie film production and the download is worth the effort. I imagine every fan who sees it wishes they could have been a part of it. I certainly do.

This is a (wait for it) tour de force.

"This is what Panic Struck Productions did with no budget. Imagine what we can do with a budget!"

Plus it's Star Wars .. what more could you ask for? It's all about the love of filmmaking, playing in that wonderful world George Lucas created, having fun, and showing what can be done at an independent level. If we can inspire others that is payment alone.
Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM | TrackBack (0)

Riding the Bus with My Sister

Rosie O'Donnell returned to television with "Riding the Bus with My Sister", an ABC movie-of-the-week directed by Anjelica Huston. At some point I would like to write something about the MOW genre. There was an amazing effort featuring Tori Spelling as an inadvertent call-girl that I think should be immortalized somehow.* Love Rosie. But also loved this review. Scathing, yes. Cruel, perhaps. But so well written. I cannot offer a fair assessment of my own as I was watching the season premiere of Family Guy.

The viewer, meanwhile, is sure to cringe - and often. This is another inexplicable effort by an actor to overplay a slow, strange character and teach everybody lessons. The sanctimonious old stunt is not fair to viewers. This is a deeply - even thrillingly - embarrassing movie.

*That would be Co-Ed Call Girl, a CBS movie-of-the-week from 1996. Proving once again the ass-kickery that is "the internet". I had forgotten it featured Jeri Ryan in a bikini.

This movie is astounding...it's all about how Tori Spelling becomes (sort of "accidentally") a high-priced call girl while in college. Tori wears some amazing getups while trying to elude the evil pimp who's trying to turn her into his prize call girl. Tori's the glue binding this epic together...she's spellbinding. I was haunted by her performance in this.
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Djinn sighted on Mars.

Posted by the Flea at 08:07 AM | TrackBack (0)


A rather alarming red planet.

Astronomers believe they have for the first time taken a picture of a planet in another Solar System, European scientists said today. The planet, known as an Exoplanet, is five times bigger and 10 times hotter than the biggest planet in our solar system, Jupiter.
Posted by the Flea at 08:06 AM | TrackBack (0)

Time Management for Anarchists

Deadlines are your comrades! Time Management for Anarchists: the movie.

I've just finished a Flash adaptation of my Time Management for Anarchists seminar. I started doing the talk a year and a half ago at Canzine and have done it a half-dozen times since, mostly at infoshops and political bookstores (Austin, Montreal, Berkeley, Vancouver) and also at a couple of events (New Orleans Book Fair, the Vegetarian Food Fair). It's based on the paradoxical notion that anarchists have to be more organized than average if they don't want to depend on power structures, and presents some ideas on how to kick the boss habit.
Posted by the Flea at 08:03 AM | TrackBack (0)

Risk: Anglican Communion

Too good to strand in the comments... thanks, Urthshu! I am now possessed with an intense yearning to own this Anglican Risk game. Satire should never be this tempting.

The classic battle game of global domination now with a spiritual dimension. Isn't it about time the whole Anglican Communion agreed with your views of the Windsor Report?

In this combat classic, all you need to do is plan your mission carefully, make decisions and evangelise quickly and boldly. The object is to conquer all 44 Anglican Church Provinces on the board, thus preserving the theological integrity of the worldwide Anglican Church.
Posted by the Flea at 08:02 AM | TrackBack (0)

Publication ban

Austin Bay has some stupid things to say about Canada by way of the Gomery Commission. Here is one example.

If you don't know about Canada's crooked politicians, you're not alone. Democracy and free speech are breaking out in Beirut, but they're both taking a beating in Ontario. The Canadian government has a press clamp on an investigation into the ruling Liberal Party's "Adscam" kickback scheme. A "judicial publication ban" is the term. It may soon rank with the Watergate rhetoric like "modified limited hang-out."

It is called a judicial publication ban because it is a judicial publication ban. Despite the hyperventilating rhetoric that has been typical of the subject, it is not a "press clamp" imposed by the government. Many people believe this ban is inadvisable or that such bans are inadvisable per se. Fine. Then we should change the law. Such opinions do not change the fact that the ban was imposed in order to defend the rights of a number of people to a fair trial, a right of no consequence to the purposes of Austin Bay's rhetoric. If those trials are thrown out on the grounds their defendants cannot not now be tried fairly I imagine Austin Bay and his fellow travellers will see that as another example of the long reach of the Liberal party.

While the rights of those defendants have been trampled I have yet to see anyone in Canada charged with violations of the court order despite the fact many folks appear to have broken the law in their rush to point fingers at the Liberal government. If that is free speech taking a beating in Ontario (Bay does not seem to have noticed the proceedings are also taking place in Quebec) then I am quite sanguine at the prospect.

Posted by the Flea at 08:01 AM | TrackBack (0)