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June 30, 2005

Polaroid-o-nizer™

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Polaroid-o-nize™ an image. You know you want to (via Raymi).

Posted by the Flea at 10:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Týr: Ormurin Langi

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance in memory of Ólavur Tryggvason and the conquest of Midgard.

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

The Henry Root Letters

Charles William Donaldson, author of The Henry Root Letters, has died aged 70 . Props to Magdalene College for rumbling him. I have a friend who engages in the same letter-writing hobby and now a swath of Oxfordshire has to double-check any ridiculous mail to be certain he is not its author.

Journalists were the most gullible of all. Not one refused the invitation to contribute some choice item of rubbish to the Henry Root Anthology of Great Modern British Prose. In a letter to Nigel Dempsey [sic], the Daily Mail's diarist was softened up by the assurance that "some folk deride sycophantic gossip about one's social superiors as a lot of snobbish nonsense, but I am not of their number".
Posted by the Flea at 10:09 AM | TrackBack (0)

Miss McDonald

A Day In The Life of Miss McDonald is one of the most frightening things I have ever seen on "the internet" (new pictures every week!). And is it wrong to think she's hot?

Posted by the Flea at 10:06 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Ten Commandments of Ayn Rand

The Ten Commandments of Ayn Rand. That is a stylin' outfit in the linked article, btw.

The American system is not a democracy. It is a constitutional republic. A democracy, if you attach meaning to terms, is a system of unlimited majority rule; the classic example is ancient Athens. And the symbol of it is the fate of Socrates, who was put to death legally, because the majority didn't like what he was saying, although he had initiated no force and had violated no one's rights.

Democracy, in short, is a form of collectivism, which denies individual rights: the majority can do whatever it wants with no restrictions. In principle, the democratic government is all-powerful. Democracy is a totalitarian manifestation; it is not a form of freedom….
Posted by the Flea at 10:04 AM | TrackBack (0)

Tree-worshipping pagan sex slaves

A comment to a post at Daimnation! repeats that old chestnut about Rome falling due to the failure of its moral values. This is where the slideshow would normally feature pictures of guys at Pride having fun, seemingly anathema to those repeating said chestnut.

"A people who still remembered that their ancestors had been the masters of the world would have applauded, with conscious pride, the representation of ancient freedom, if they had not long since been accustomed to prefer the solid assurance of bread to the unsubstantial visions of liberty and greatness."

So nice to cite Edward Gibbon's "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire". So sad to miss the point entirely. In fact, the Roman Republic and Empire were strong for exactly as long as these societies featured tree-worshipping pagan sex slaves in their spiritual, moral and political structures. It was when they picked up Christianity that their civilization collapsed before hordes of... wait for it... Germanic tree-worshipping pagan sex slaves. So, yes, there was a collapse of traditional Roman values in play but it was Christianity that burst the (presumably buff and fun-loving) imperial Roman bubble. Those chaps at Pride are doing an admirable job of living out Roman ideas of virtue and virility and I fully expect the tree-worshipping pagan sex slaves of downtown Toronto to create an empire in due course. How's that for a hidden "gay agenda"? Ave! It is certainly to be preferred to the constant, barely suppressed whining about other people having fun that would have made Gothic and Vandal rule a welcome relief. Or even our forthcoming Liberal majority government.

Posted by the Flea at 10:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 29, 2005

Bewitched

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Long time Flea-readers know of my Nicole Kidman idée fixe and watching her play Samantha in Bewitched I may as well have had my heart yanked out and thrown at the movie screen (the Sony website has a cute trivia game promoting a dvd release). The film was faithful to the series we grew up with but worked well with the playful conceit that the film was itself about a remake of the tv show. Casting Shirley MacLaine as Endora was inspired. There are plenty of negative reviews written by grumpy people about this film. Ignore them.

In this re-imagining of the magical 1960s sitcom, Will Ferrell plays Jack Wyatt, a difficult Hollywood star who tries to have a career comeback by playing Darrin Stephens in a big-screen version of the classic TV series. When Jack sees the beautiful Isabel Bigelow, played by Nicole Kidman, he thinks that she'd be right for the part of his on-screen wife, Samantha. What he doesn't know is that Isabel really is a witch, which actually makes her a perfect casting choice for the role. Isabel's father Nigel (Michael Caine) is concerned by his daughter's interest in the mortal world, until he's distracted by Iris Smythson (Shirley MacLaine), the movie star who'll be playing Samantha's mother Endora in the film.
Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

I Hate Myself and Want to Die

Tom Reynolds offers his top 25 miserable music tracks. Take Bonnie Tyler's 1984 hit, Total Eclipse of the Heart, for example.

The Welsh singer's collaboration with Meat Loaf producer Jim Steinman still vanquishes all those who turn around to gaze into its bright eyes. Under Steinman's direction, Tyler rasps her way through a million permutations of the phrase "every now and then, I get a little bit [insert neurosis here]" before losing it during the song's demented chorus.
Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Funky G feat. DeeN: Imam nekog

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance in front of the mirror wearing Chanel medallions.

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

Suppressive Person

Caroline Letkeman posts documents related to her legal quest to get a refund from the Church of Scientology.

My demanding a refund made me a "Suppressive Person," according to Scientology's obscenely self-serving list of "High Crimes" or "Suppressive Acts," as originally spelled out by cult founder L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology, now executing the dictates of neo-cult leader David Miscavige, uses my demand for refund of money defrauded from me as proof of my being an SP.

L. Ron Hubbard's reported "battle tactics" make for particularly interesting reading for those interested in Scientology's supposedly defunct injunction that Suppressive Persons are "fair game".

ENEMY
SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.
Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

Defense of Biblical marriage

This seven point "Defense of Biblical Marriage" memo found its way to me through the miracle that is "the internet".

A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17; II Sam 3:2-5).
B. Marriage shall not impede a man’s right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21).
C. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed (Deut 22:13-21).
D. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30).
E. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9).
F. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother’s widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen.38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10).
G. In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36).
Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Book of Coming Forth by Day

An alternative, and probably foundational, list of "commandments" may be found in Chapter 125 of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. These should sound familiar.

I have not scorned any god.
I have not defrauded the poor of their property.
I have not done what the gods abominate.
I have not cause harm to be done to a servant by his master.
I have not caused pain.
I have caused no man to hunger.
I have made no one weep.
I have not killed.
Posted by the Flea at 06:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

June 28, 2005

We should have been first

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"The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation."
- Pierre Elliott Trudeau

Canada is to become the third country in the world to recognize same-sex marriage. About time.

"(This) is about the Charter of Rights," Prime Minister Paul Martin said earlier Tuesday. "We are a nation of minorities. And in a nation of minorities, it is important that you don't cherry-pick rights. A right is a right and that is what this vote tonight is all about."

Of course, same-sex marriage was already the law of the land for 90% of Canadians so this new legislation is of most importance to those remaining who live in Prince Edward Island, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories (where a court case had already been filed) and in one more province that comes as no surprise. Meanwhile, some politicians in, don't hold your breath, Alberta continue to embarrass themselves. And by the way, Calgary Tory MP Ted Morton, if your ludicrous suggestion becomes law in Alberta there will be plenty of churches who will be delighted to marry same-sex couples. But the religious rights of those churches, or their gay parishioners, have never meant a damn to you have they? So it hardly surprises me you could care less about the rights of men and women who want to marry outside any church, let alone the one that failed to teach you Christ's compassion.

Posted by the Flea at 10:14 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Satarial

Every once in awhile I stumble across a band that leaves me with a profound feeling of yearning. When, oh when, I ask myself, will I get off my ass and form Hand of Vecna, my hypothetical viking-metal band of the future? Satarial is just such a band (warning: nipple!). While more Celticy than Vikingy in inspiration these videos leave me no doubt we are faced with an awesome presence. Especially that one with the elf queen and the flagellation and the ritual sacrifice. Just take care not to browse through band photos at work. One word: firecracker.

Posted by the Flea at 09:49 AM | TrackBack (0)

City Hideout

City Hideout by OOOMS is a collapsable metal box resembling "the kind of streetside sheds that commonly house electrical devices such as streetlight controls, new-age parking meters, and small generators." This is the ideal duckblind for my crime-fighting activities in Annexia. One the one hand it would allow me to disappear...

At the same time, the hideout's slits create the perfect condition for a new breed of urban voyeurism, suddenly casting its inhabitant as a pathological threat to all passers-by.
Posted by the Flea at 09:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Le Building

Le Building is just the thing for your cute, animated short needs.

Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Amoeba v Product.01: Heart ov Glass

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. More Product.01 goodness!

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

WYSIWYG

I am looking for software that will let me do WYSIWYG website, and specifically blog, design. My current Flea design makes me happy but I would like something that would let me shift the top banner into the background, make the layout fill the field better, etc. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Posted by the Flea at 09:37 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Sheepish

I had never played Sheepish before yet it bore an eldritch familiarity. As if I had known it in another life, dimly remembered.

Posted by the Flea at 09:36 AM | TrackBack (0)

Wondimu Wedajo

Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo reports three lions rescued a 12-year-old girl kidnapped by men expressing a lamentable aspect of Ethiopian traditional marriage.

The men had held the girl for seven days, repeatedly beating her, before the lions chased them away and guarded her for half a day before her family and police found her, Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo said Tuesday by telephone from the provincial capital of Bita Genet, some 560 kilometers (348 miles) west of the capital, Addis Ababa.

"They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest," Wondimu said, adding he did not know whether the lions were male or female.
Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Daniel M'Mburugu

Note to leopards: do not try to eat 73 year old Kenyan grandfathers.

A 73-year-old Kenyan grandfather reached into the mouth of an attacking leopard and tore out its tongue to kill it, authorities said on Wednesday. Peasant farmer Daniel M'Mburugu was tending to his potato and bean crops in a rural area near Mount Kenya when the leopard charged out of the long grass and leapt on him.

M'Mburugu had a machete in one hand but dropped that to thrust his fist down the leopard's mouth. He gradually managed to pull out the animal's tongue, leaving it in its death-throes.
Posted by the Flea at 09:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

June 27, 2005

Dandi Wind: Umbilical Noose

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance in ecstatic worship of Dandilion Schlase.

Posted by the Flea at 12:24 PM | TrackBack (0)

Hydro-Foam

Ok, I hellawant one of these Hydro-Foam toys. More on the Hydro-Foam at the inventor's website.

The Hydro-Foam is a remote control electric airplane powered by a brushless motor and lithium-polymer batteries. It's not a beginner airplane.
Posted by the Flea at 12:17 PM | TrackBack (0)

Interview Tom Cruise

Ask Tom Cruise anything (via KiP). Also, Tom Cruise's Thetan powers are showing (also via KiP! xoxo). Here it is again with suitable Sith music accompaniment.

Posted by the Flea at 12:15 PM | TrackBack (0)

Tom Cruise and David Miscavige

Upon L. Ron Hubbard's death and transition into research in some other plain of existence, the management of Scientology was taken over by David Miscavige. Now, I know that while I have been caught in a few undignified poses myself this image of Tom Cruise saluting Miscavige is priceless. Presumably this is a gesture specific to the Scientology para-military arm, Sea Org. Nice uniform, by the way.

Posted by the Flea at 12:14 PM | TrackBack (0)

Behind the Sofa Again

Behind the Sofa Again is a soon to be completed group-blog dedicated to the first season of the new Doctor Who. Very nice design. I am waiting for the end of the season one broadcast in Canada before reading too much.

Incidentally, this blog will stay open for at least another fortnight, so if any authors feel like writing an overview or a summary of the season as a whole please feel free. By mid-July we'll move to the new blog, which will be pretty rough and ready at first and then redesigned as we go. Just in case anyone is mad enough to post anything during the summer they can! This blog will always have the facility for comments to be posted - it ain't going anywhere.
Posted by the Flea at 12:12 PM | TrackBack (0)

June 26, 2005

On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem

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"Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth but supreme beauty, a beauty cold and austere like that of sculpture." - Alan Turing

Wade Rowland argues the "sum of our debt to a gay man." Alan Turing's sexual preferences probably had nothing more to do with his mathematical abilities, a mathematical genius that was critical to winning the War, than his choice of ice cream flavour. But in the end his sexual preferences were the only thing that mattered to a country he had faithfully served.

By the end of the war, the English were running several fully electronic digital computers, code-named Colossus, churning out so much valuable data that Allied planners and strategists were hard-pressed to absorb it all. Historians credit the code-breakers with winning the Battle of the Atlantic; they say they played a decisive role in the later victories that led to the defeat of Hitler's continental armies and ultimately to Germany's unconditional surrender.

It could not have happened without Alan Turing.

To which I would add: hounded to death at 41-years of age, what did Alan Turing never have the opportunity to invent? We not only failed to treat him properly but lost the world he might have made. It is crucial to understand that Turing never made a secret of his sexual preference. This demonstrates something of the disattention to social worlds so typical of most of the mathematicians I have met and was most probably unwise given the time in which he lived. But it strikes me it would be impossible to blackmail a gay man for his sexual preference when it was not a secret he had ever bothered to keep. The threat of blackmail used to deny him access to his work, in other words, was a nonsense and nothing more than an excuse to treat the man badly. Sadly, precisely these sorts of self-serving, irrational excuses are still put about to justify treating gay people unequally before the law fifty years later. All too many of these excuses are propagated using computers whose underlying logic is indebted to a gay man. That isn't just ironic. It is tragic. But such is the logic of the inquisition. If history had seen that line of reasoning consistently win the day we would not be using computers, we would be living in mud huts. And if that logic had killed Alan Turing before the War we might yet to be free of Hitlerism.

So... being igorant, just what is an Entscheidungsproblem when it is at home?

Posted by the Flea at 10:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Pride

Over a million people are expected to come out for this afternoon's centre-piece parade of Pride Week in Toronto (bigger than Sydney... but we already knew Canada is bigger than Australia). The first Toronto Pride twenty-five years ago was a reaction to police harrassment and was bravely celebrated under people surveillance. This year Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair will be in the parade. The Ontario Provincial Police are operating a recruiting booth at the event, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty attended a Pride awards gala last Tuesday and I have read messages of support from federal cabinet ministers, the leader of the NDP and from Canada's Governor General.

So Stephen Harper.. what are you ashamed of? And why should a single person among that million vote for you or your party?

Posted by the Flea at 10:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

June 25, 2005

Breast aware

Kylie Minogue recently released a statement about her treatment and thanks to fans for helping to raise awareness about breast cancer. Also, to deny rumours she had imported English body guards to Australia (perish the thought), caused amubulances to be diverted (though I expect heads were turned) or had her hospital room painted pink (and why not?).

"I've been informed that since my diagnosis thousands of women have become more aware than ever of the risk of breast cancer. Being 'breast aware' plays a major role in early detection so I was especially pleased to hear that younger women in particular are being more proactive with breast examination and talking to their doctors"
Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

Batman Beginerer

The Batman Begins sequel will shed Katie Holmes. I am taking bets on whether the bride to be ever makes it up with aisle with Tom Cruise. The shade of Bennifer, and the not inconsiderable Tom Cruise irritation factor, says: not likely.

All the other major cast members, including Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, have already signed up for the sequel, which will apparently feature Batman’s arch-nemesis, the Joker.

A spokesperson told Pagesix.com, "She won't be in the sequel, the next romantic interest will be a much stronger actress. Warner is happy that people are now focusing on who'll be playing the Joker rather than Katie and Tom." Miaow.
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Dave Clarke ft. Chicks On Speed: What Was Her Name

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance like we're in detention and have to explain our Cap'n Crunch sandwiches (hat tip to the Flea's Sensitivity Awareness Advisor).

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

Pewter Daleks

Years ago I spotted a pewter Dalek salt and pepper set but was saved from temptation because one of the Dalek plunger arms was broken. A Dalek bottle stopper or table lighter is an even bigger temptation. But a reproduction TARDIS key... almost too much to resist.

And then there is Dalek bubble bath.

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

Moon over London

Now, that's what I call gibbous. No wait, that's a different kind of moon. This one is a Ponzo.

This is the spectacular sight thousands of people were treated to last night. Hanging low in the night sky, the moon appeared extraordinarily large and glowing like a massive red ball. Astronomers say the so-called "moon illusion" means that a full moon close to the horizon appears much larger than when it is high in the sky.
Posted by the Flea at 08:38 AM | TrackBack (0)

L. Ron Hubbard and Aleister Crowley

While I knew L. Ron Hubbard was (allegedly) associated with Jack Parsons and the OTO Agape Lodge in Pasadena I did not know he was (allegedly) involved in the Babalon Working or how close Hubbard (allegedly) felt to occult supergenius Aleister Crowley, "my very good friend."

According to L Ron Hubbard Jr. his father considered himself to be the one "who came after"; that he was Crowley's successor; that he had taken on the mantle of the "Great Beast. " He told him that Scientology actually began on December the 1st, 1947. This was the day Aleister Crowley died."

Not that Crowley ever met the man, writing instead that Hubbard appeared to be a "prowling swindler" and, writing of him and Jack Parsons, "I get fairly frantic when I contemplate the idiocy of these louts". Here is some official word on Scientology symbols.

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

Fried minke whale

The BBC reports on the latest innovation in Japanese fast food technology from Hakodate based Lucky Pierrot, winner of a gold prize from the Hamburger Lovers Association . I gather minke whale sits somewhere between beef and fish on the taste and texture scale (hat tip to the Jawa Report).

A restaurant in Japan has added a rather unusual snack to its menu - it's selling whale burgers. The burgers are made from minke whale and they're served in a bun at the Lucky Pierrot fast food joint..
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 24, 2005

Hyogo Gubernatorial Election

While Tokyo Times is probably right to say the Hyogo Gubernatorial Election does not usually attract more than local attention instances of poster theft and thoughts on the 7-3 hairstyle merit closer scrutiny. Also, swimsuit model Ms. Eriko Sato.

Young Sato-san you see is pictured sporting a shichisan (7-3) hairdo. A style generally favoured by middle-aged men, and one that gets its name from the position of the parting. Meaning that a centre parting could conceivably be labelled a 5-5, and a comb-over a 9-1 – although sadly they aren’t.
Posted by the Flea at 09:57 AM | TrackBack (0)

One Free Minute

One Free Minute is either a very good idea or a very bad idea (via Raymi).

One Free Minute is a mobile sculpture designed to allow for instances of anonymous public speech. When you call the cellphone inside One Free Minute, you get connected for exactly a minute to a 200 watt amplifier and speaker. The speech produced by the speaker can be heard clearly more than 150 feet away from the sculpture.
Posted by the Flea at 09:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

Hungry Hippos

It took me three tries to beat the computer at this straightforward, click-as-fast-as-you can Hungry Hippos game. I just like hippos.

Posted by the Flea at 09:49 AM | TrackBack (0)

Husky Rescue: Summertime Cowboy

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:46 AM | TrackBack (0)

PETA

Knowledge is Power comments on reports of PETA's twenty-million dollar annual budget and the ten-thousand animals they are reported to have killed between 1998 and 2003. But PETA claims to mean well so I expect those numbers will not deter many from supporting them.

So, what can one think of such a group? It obviously hates medical researchers and meat eaters, as they try to stop both practices. It obviously hates humans with diseases, or they would not be so eager to stop medical testing. Also, it seems to hate pet owners, or it would do what the SPCA does and actually find a home for the critters.
Posted by the Flea at 09:40 AM | TrackBack (0)

June 23, 2005

Puzzle box

I have yet to purchase a working music box from the Pyramid Gallery largely due to the sheer bewildering variety of Philip LeMarchand designs on offer.

In the year of 1749, LeMarchand produced fifteen documented puzzle / music boxes. These designs soon became the rage of Europe...

I have seen plastic, glass and wooden models, even a reconfigured Rubik's cube, along these lines but these are the first working musical versions I know of. All too collectible. At four-hundred dollars for a working puzzle version, I am both frustrated and pleased to see some folks are even more devoted to their puzzle box collection than I am.

Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

Hellraiser

This is a banner year for Hellraiser fans seeing the belated release of both Hellraiser: Deader and Hellraiser: Hellworld. Deader was beautifully shot on a lowish budget in scenic Romania and Hellworld offers the promise of ever creepy Lance Henriksen in a lead role. One reviewer was right about Deader, thumbs up for the practical effects and thumbs down for the cgi.

I love the scene where Amy wakes up with a knife in her back and she's running around her bathroom screaming, spreading blood all over the walls. But then there are scenes with bugs crawling on the walls that look as bad as in Exorcist: The Beginning. Another thing that looked terrible were the chains, which were heavy and black- they made me think of those plastic chains made for kids to play with. Chains are the most important part of a Hellraiser film, come on, can't you get them right?!

Given his experience in occult horror film-making, I thought director Rick Bota's name had to be a pseudonym reference for Builders of the Adytum but I now think I was perceiving a pattern where none was to be found. But one surprise proved itself to be a worthy sensation... Pinhead fans should not overlook the "No More Souls" Easter egg.

Better yet is the promise of The Scarlet Gospels, Clive Barker's much anticipated addition to the Hellraiser mythos with a hope for new cenobites and the first ever appearance of Pinhead in print.

Posted by the Flea at 09:15 AM | TrackBack (0)

Natalie Imbruglia: Shiver

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM | TrackBack (0)

Vexed

Vexed is only recommended for Flea-readers with no history of an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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

Zombie Arcade

Zombie Arcade explores the thin line between the second-hand fear of videogames and real fear.

Play this at your peril.
Posted by the Flea at 09:07 AM | TrackBack (0)

Solstice

Skeleton remains found at Durrington Walls suggest contemporary druids are celebrating the wrong solstice at Stonehenge. This is the best sort of archaeological reasoning.

Analysis of pigs's teeth found at Durrington Walls, a ceremonial site of wooden post circles near Stonehenge on the River Avon, has shown that most pigs were less than a year old when slaughtered.

Dr Umburto Albarella, an animal bone expert at the University of Sheffield's archaeology department, which is studying monuments around Stonehenge, said pigs in the Neolithic period were born in spring and were an early form of domestic pig that farrowed once a year. The existence of large numbers of bones from pigs slaughtered in December or January supports the view that our Neolithic ancestors took part in a winter solstice festival.
Posted by the Flea at 09:04 AM | TrackBack (0)

I want to recommend a news source

Here is a handy form should anyone want to recommend "Ghost of a flea" as a Google news source. I hope there is enough original content here in the form of political and pop culture news commentary to be worth a look!

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

June 22, 2005

Captain Jack

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Captain Jack Harkness represents a new twist for Doctor Who, the first (openly*) bisexual Who companion. Captain Jack is also one of the few companions who is a time-traveller in his own right.

John Barrowman, the gorgeous out actor and singer has joined the cast of Doctor Who as Captain Jack Harkness, a bi-sexual inter-galactic time-travelling con-artist! who has a taste for both the ladies and gentlemen! Rumour has it that after flirting with Rose, the Doctor’s sidekick, Captain Jack turns his amorous attentions to the good Doctor himself!

While this new season has not quite ended most of the innuendo has been from the Doctor, demonstrating a sarcasm missing in the character since the days of John Pertwee. Most welcome. It seems John Barrowman is making an even bigger step than I had thought as AfterElton points out how few bi guys have been represented on television in any role whatsoever.

I suppose despite the lack of mind-controlled kissing thus far that there are some who will see Captain Jack as an Uhura/Kirk style intrusion of social comment into an sf story. It should be pointed out that Russell T Davies never hesitated to make Who references in Queer as Folk, at least as intrusive to a hip urban gay story given the contaminating aesthetics of nerd culture. Besides, Doctor Who has always been as camp as a row of tents.

*We can only speculate about Leela. And the Flea still pines for Romana II wandering in Exo-Space.

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

The Sisterhood of Karn

The Sisterhood of Karn is an all lesbian Doctor Who fan-club. No images of Karn outings, sadly, excepting some folks in Cybermen outfits. Which I suppose passes for stone cold butch in some region of space/time.

The sole purpose of the group is the social gathering of like minded individuals, good conversation. The meetings are an opportunity to discuss Dr Who, Cult TV and related issues without fear of suffering the ridicule and disapprobation that most of us face when we "come out" as Dr Who fans.
Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

Ladytron: Seventeen

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (a large QT file but patience is rewarded at the altar of Ladytron).

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

A-blast

You may as well play A-blast. It's not like you were planning to get any work done before lunch anyway.

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

The $5 million woman

I cannot imagine what relationship they could be talking about (hat tip to the Sister of the Flea).

So here’s what I’m hearing about that relationship.
A source VERY close to the deal is saying there’s a contract.
It’s worth $5 million.
It’s for five years.
There will be no sex.
The deal was sealed June 7.
That’s what I’m hearing.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

La Triste Fumeaux

Ahh.. so much like my life. C'est triste mais c'est vrai.

Six Characters have long admired the masters of French New Wave cinema. Nothing makes us happier than sitting down with a bowl of jello shots, three cans of mushroom soup, and our favorite Renoir, Truffaut, or Buñuel film.
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

June 21, 2005

Danii Minogue vs Flowerpower: You Won't Forget About Me

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (and with the video). Danii's a good egg, really.

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Bus Driver Test

I think this Bus Driver Test is quite clever.

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Explore the Abyss

Explore some deep-sea and oceanic life.

Got a deep-sea or open-ocean cruise coming up? Need a photographer who can work in challenging offshore environments?
Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Singlish

This guide to Singlish, colloquial English as spoken in Singapore, should come in handy for reading Xiaxue.

Nearly everyone in Singapore speaks more than one language, with many people speaking three or four. Most children grow up bilingual from infancy and learn more languages as they grow up. Naturally the presence of other languages (especially various varieties of Malay and of Chinese) has influenced the English of Singapore. The influence is especially apparent in the kind of English that is used informally, which is popularly called Singlish, but which is called Singapore Colloquial English or Colloquial Singapore English in most academic writing.
Posted by the Flea at 09:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

June 20, 2005

300

Originally a five-issue series, "300" has been published as a hard-cover collection that looks more like a coffee-table book than a comic book.

When best-selling comics creator Frank Miller announced his plans to re-create the legendary battle at Thermopylae in comic-book form, very few people knew what to think of the project. After all, the direct-sales comic book market is fairly driven by superhero comics, and not every creator would think of tackling an ancient historic event on the pages of a comic -- much less one that almost nobody has ever heard of. Then again, not every creator is Frank Miller.

Frank Miller and Lynn Varley have struck at something elemental with their representation of Spartan valour and managed to evoke something of the heroism at a critical turning point not only for the Greeks but for contemporary civilization. I am too much of an anthropologist not to find the oddly Nubian looking fashion of the Persian emperor a bit off-putting but the style pointedly evokes a difference between the opulence of empire versus the spartan aesthetics of the, uhh, Spartans.

News of a feature film is most exciting. Not that any of this explains the Dark Horse comics 300 Zippo lighter.

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Rammstein: Feuer Frei!

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (with a shout out to SondraK with lurv!).

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Bumper Ball

My immediate own goal was an accurate forecast of my lousy Bumper Ball skills.

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Darth Vader

Using a Darth Vader voice changer mask in this fashion is not suggested for Flea-readers hoping to avoid a swift kick in the Naboo.

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

Sumo Tube

The Flea's ongoing fascination with the world of men's haberdashery and active partipation in a variety of extreme sports compels me to point to this Sumo Tube.

WEAR IT! STEER IT! ROLL IT! JUMP IT! The Sumo Tube is a new, exciting, and challenging freestyle towable that is not connected to the boat. The rider slides into the Sumo suit and holds on to a grab handle on the end of a 60' rope. The rider can roll 360s from left to right, jump the wakes, steer left and right by moving their arms, or just glide across the water's surface. It's a fast and fun bodysurfing thrill ride.
Posted by the Flea at 11:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

June 18, 2005

Os Trapalhões na Guerra Dos Planetas

Oh, how I yearn to see this Brazillian Star Wars rip-off. Surely one for my cult cinema list.

When Italy remade Star Wars (Star Crash, 1979), they turned the character of Chewbacca into a sexy, sexy woman in a bikini and added David Hasselhoff. In Turkey, they turned Luke and Han into kung fu masters forced to battle armies of oversized fuzzy muppets while on trampolines (Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam, 1982). But in Brazil, they kept Star Wars more or less the way it was and just threw in four wacky idiots from Earth.

I have not seen Hasselhoff's performance in Scontri Stellari Oltre La Terza Dimensione but, sadly, I have seen Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam.

Posted by the Flea at 12:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

Star Wars auditions

These Star Wars auditions are classic. It is sad that I am word perfect on the lines.

Kevin Spacey plays Christopher Walken as Han Solo and the late Walter Mattau as Obi Wan Kenobi. Darrell Hammond plays Richard Dryfus as C-3PO. Classic sketch from SNL spoofing behind the scenes footage of "Star Wars, the 20th Anniversary Home Video".
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Thumb Wars

Anyone who has not seen Thumb Wars should just go rent it now.

Loke: I'm going to trust my feelings and use the power of the thumb.
Oobedoob: Use the instrument panel Loke.
Loke: What?
Oobedoob: The instrument panel, that's what it's there for. Advanced weaponry designed to hit tiny targets.
Loke: Okay okay!
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Blaupunkt: Pimp my Ride

I am not sure what it says about me that I find this Blaupunkt ad so funny.

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Gravity Bomb

The Flea's Career Counsellor wishes the line between the real and the virtual were really this blurred.

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PhotoSushi

PhotoSushi features some gorgeous snapshots of Japanese life. I am particularly taken with this matsuri image (more on matsuris here). And is it possible to have a name more cool than Elvis Hoshida?

Posted by the Flea at 12:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Martian sunset

On May 19th, 2005 the Mars Spirit rover tooks a picture of the Martian sunset.

Because Mars is farther from the Sun than the Earth is, the Sun appears only about two-thirds the size that it appears in a sunset seen from the Earth.
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Jet Limo

This Boeing 727 Jet Limo converted to street use would make a whole lot of Fleamobile.

This Jet Limo, built on the chassis of a Mercedes bus with Turbo engine, is majestically decorated. Next to the cockpit, it has 2 living rooms, a bar, a bedroom with a heart shaped bed, a bathroom and much more. The main TV is a 52" screen, and the sound system comes with a fog machine and a laser light show. It can accommodate 30 to 50 people. It is legally drivable in the streets and can cruise on freeways at the speed of a regular car.
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June 17, 2005

Jessica Alba "lubed up"

InvisibleWoman.jpg

Jessica Alba explains the Vaseline stage of the costume creation process for her forthcoming role as Invisible Woman in the Fantastic Four. Fascinating stuff but, and I admit this is a small quibble given the words "Vaseline" and "Jessica Alba", Marvel should never have changed the character's name from Invisible Girl. Invisible Girl sounded much more chic.

Jessica: It was really strange for me. I was with a bunch of guys, and I was by myself, and it was 8 in the morning. I had this bodysuit on, and they're like, "We're going to put Vaseline all over your body." I'm like, "Oh, okay. Everywhere?" And they're like, "Yeah, everywhere." So, I say, "Okay." Then they got closer and closer to certain areas that only certain people are allowed to go, and they were really lubing it up. So, it was weird. ... They have to lube you up before they put on the casting thing, so it won't stick to you.

Q: What did they need the life cast for?

Jessica: I think they just wanted it so they could build a costume on it. Hmm, I don't even know...
Posted by the Flea at 06:36 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Ginger vs Mary Ann pie fight

This Ginger vs Mary Ann coconut cream pie fight (director's cut) is yet another example of the shocking, creamy objectification of women in the mass media. Also, coconut cream pie.

Posted by the Flea at 06:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Hayden Christensen kisses Ewan McGregor

The Flea's commitment to equal-opportunity anti-objectification reportage compels me to point to Hayden Christensen kissing Ewan McGregor. Judging by their recent "Star Wars" appearances, Hayden Christensen's acting nipples are a likely victim of objectification though I am not certain Ewan McGregor's acting mole faces the same cruel fate.

Dumbass Update: Since I published this post I have had several people try to post comments to the effect that Ewan McGregor is not gay. I have not chosen to publish any of them due to there universal bad grammar, bad spelling and apparent lack of a sense of humour. The real issue here is McGregor's acting mole you dumbasses.

Posted by the Flea at 06:32 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

White Rose Movement: Love is A Number

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Olsen perfumes

These Mary Kate and Ashley perfumes offer the scent for all occasions.

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

Going Postal

I am reading one of Terry Pratchett's more recent Discworld books and I am delighted to report Going Postal is as good as the best of them. Pratchett's writing is clever and witty but also manages to reach into the heart of the important things in life: duty, courage and love. This passage on craftsmanship struck me in particular.

He wanted to say, oh, how he wanted to say: craftsmen. D'you know what that means? It means men with some pride, who get fed up and leave when they're told to do skimpy work in a rush, no matter what you pay them. So I'm employing people as 'craftsmen' now who're barely fit to sweep out a workshop. But you don't care, because if they don't polish a chair with their arse all day you think a man who's done a seven-year apprenticeship is the same as some twerp who can't be trusted to hold a hammer by the right end.

Such is the state of too much of the world. I am all in favour of efficiences and think there is something to be said for right-sizing organizations. Then there is brightsizing. I have no doubt the observation underlying this Dilbertism will be familiar to Flea-readers in offices everywhere.

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

Tom Cruise on love, life and fatherhood

Oprah hosts video from the Tom Cruise appearance "everybody's taking about."

It's Tom Cruise like you've never seen him before! Everything you wanted to know…and we mean everything! You don't want to miss this one-on-one.

Dane Cook on Jimmy Kimmel shares the Flea's response to the event. This is what I look like after I publish my posts every morning.

Posted by the Flea at 06:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wonder Woman

Tom Cruise must have enjoyed that Audrey Hepburn scene from Funny Face as much as I did given his choice of locale for a proposal. That said, while Paris lives up to its romantic reputation (at least in my experience), I think the Eiffel Tower's place in myth belies the reality of a somewhat grim tourist trap about as romantic as the reality of the main strip in Niagara Falls.

Rumour has it Katie Holmes' agency is "desperate" to land her the lead role in Wonder Woman. Seeing as I do not have anywhere to go with that bit of reportage, except the words "Please, no", I shall return to mocking Tom Cruise. Take this auto-fisking culinary news, for example.

Cruise has often credited the church's learning tools with helping him overcome dyslexia and giving him the confidence to become a pilot, but it's a little known fact he has also become an expert in the kitchen thanks to Scientology.
Posted by the Flea at 06:18 AM | TrackBack (0)

Quakers on Bill C-38

Marriage as a social institution is all too often co-opted for personal or political gain. Much of the rhetoric around same-sex marriage in Canada has ignored the truth I believe to be at the heart of the debate: the ability of a couple to properly care for one another without the impediment of a law embodying the prejudices of others. This is an electronic copy of the Submission to the Legislative Committee on Bill C-38 by the Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers). It advances a position of tolerance for the rights of people to act on their beliefs. Only sensible, in my opinion.

The minute stands in a long Quaker tradition of speaking out on issues of social justice and human rights. In this instance, the rights of gay and lesbian couples stands along side the right of faith communities to act on their own beliefs without imposing these beliefs on others.

Please keep this in mind the next time you hear someone say the views of religious people are being disregarded by Bill C-38. This legislation is supported by many people with strong religious convictions, myself included. All too often it is our religious beliefs that are entirely disregarded in this debate no matter how much the "religious" right has chooses to adopt the victim rhetoric of the extreme left.

Posted by the Flea at 06:14 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (1)

June 16, 2005

Batman Begins

Ten minutes into this latest DC Comics effort I had two thoughts. The first was that they finally decided to make a Batman film. The second is that now it is going to be difficult for Marvel to do a proper job of Stephen Strange's sojourn in Tibet on his way to a rendez-vous with destiny in the form of the Ancient One. I still think they are going to need Johnny Depp for that one. Let's hope he is a Dr. Strange fan.

But I digress. Batman Begins is a masterpiece. I cannot think of a more successful comics adaptation to film. Christopher Nolan has done an astonishing job, Christian Bale is as brilliant as ever and the rest of the cast is note perfect, including Katie Holmes no matter how annoying reportage of her personal life may be at the moment.

Update: The BBC notes a number of positive reviews, Entertainment Weekly calls it a triumph, the Scotsman says the Dark Knight has a bright future, Catholic News Service argues this may be the best of the Batman films, 365Gay notices Christian Bale looks hot in his Batsuit, MTV is less impressed with Bale's inexpressiveness but likes the movie while the Virginian-Pilot wins best review title observing it is Bale's turn at bat. The film rates a poor review from the Globe and Mail, indicative of the Canadian establishment's inability to enjoy anything, and another from the London Free Press, easily the stupidest newspaper in Canada. This places the latter in the same sad category as the Washington Post's too clever by half Freud sneer and Salon's review which you know is in trouble when they can't even appreciate the new Batmobile. Like, whatever. The good news is Christian Bale plans to be back as Batman.

Posted by the Flea at 09:36 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

Ladytron: Sugar

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Even though it hurts me so.

Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Land of the Dead

This trailer for George A. Romero's Land of the Dead looks tasty.

Zombies, man. They creep me out.
Posted by the Flea at 09:32 AM | TrackBack (0)

Bone of contention

I expect this biojewellry project will trigger a debate about aesthetics rather than the debate about bio-engineering this BBC article anticipates.

Couples who want to share more than vows are getting the opportunity to share their bone too in a "bio jewellery" research project. Using bioglass, a special bioactive ceramic which mimics the structure of bone material, researchers are growing rings made out of the couples' bone. Five couples are having the rings made. They will be grown from bone cells taken from their jawbone.
Posted by the Flea at 09:30 AM | TrackBack (0)

Pink Floyd at Live8

I may have to reconsider my earlier thoughts about Live8.

Veteran rock band Pink Floyd have been added to the list of acts appearing at next month's Live 8 concert in London. Roger Waters will be reunited with band-members Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright for the show.
Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

June 15, 2005

Katie Holmes allergy

Batman Begins opens today and I have high-hopes that the studly creepiness of Christian Bale will bring the Dark Knight to the silver screen at long last. One fly in the ointment of my contentment is the increasing distraction presented by what should have been the entirely unremarkable presence of a B-list television actress. I shall make the best of it. To quote Stephen King, I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I'll go for the gross out. I'm not proud (via KiP).

Her new boyfriend has certainly put a smile on her face. But a closer look at Katie Holmes shows something else as well.

Out shopping in Los Angeles, Tom Cruise's 26-year-old girlfriend was sporting what appeared to be a serious case of stubble rash. Or maybe she's just allergic to the twice married, 42 year-old actor.
Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Recruitment

This Paris Hilton commercial parody is, on an aesthetic basis, one of the most disturbing things to which I have ever linked. Meantime, I found this ABC piece asking if the original Carl's Jr. ad is "commercial porn". Have these folks never seen actual pornography? For that matter, have these folks never seen Paris Hilton's home movies?

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (3)

Jessica Simpson: These boots are made for walking

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance in our Daisy Duke's.

Update: Looks like Sony is on to us. Try here for those Daisy Dukes instead if their server keeps acting up. Watching this video edit leaves me with a profound optimism for the Dukes of Hazzard.

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sabermania

Damian, who reportedly already too tempted by video games, should especially stay clear of Sabermania.

Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Jedi skills tournament

Come prove your skills as a Jedi.

Main event: light saber combat.
Posted by the Flea at 08:11 AM | TrackBack (0)

Robot suit

Japanese engineering brilliance offers us some hope in the coming war with the machines. This robot suit may be just the powered exoskeleton we have been looking for.

"Humans may be able to mutate into supermen in the near future," said Yoshiyuki Sankai, professor and engineer at Tsukuba University who led the project. The 15-kilogram (33-pound) battery-powered suit, code-named HAL-5, detects muscle movements through electrical-signal flows on the skin surface and then amplifies them.
Posted by the Flea at 08:07 AM | TrackBack (0)

Repliee Q1expo

Repliee Q1expo is just one more step on the way to human extinction at the metallic hands of our cybernetic progeny. And by "our" progeny I mean the progeny of the Japan Robot Association. Like this Honda monster is designed to do anything except stomp on human skulls. Seriously.

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University stands beside Repliee Q1expo during the Prototype Robot Exhibition at Aichi World Expo in Nagakute, central Japan, Thursday, June 9, 2005. This humanoid robot, that is covered in a skin-like substance and moves its mouth and shifts its torso as though it's breathing, sits in booths to work as a tour guide for visitors at the expo.
Posted by the Flea at 08:05 AM | TrackBack (0)

June 14, 2005

Designer Stuhl WC

Be honest now. Who would turn away this designer toilet if only as a conversation piece?

Posted by the Flea at 11:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Flea & Speculum

Flea&Speculum.jpg

I took time to visit an old friend I had met years ago when it had been on display at the Wellcome Institute for an exhibition on the magic of medicine. The magic-mirror, or Speculum, of Dr. John Dee is shown here with a carrying case made for it when it was in the possession of Horace Walpole and alongside Dee's more workaday shew-stone, a smaller crystal ball. This is a magickal artifact of the first water, so well known that it was credited as the device through which Dee divined the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

These are the objects through which Dee and his associate Edward Kelly communicated with a variety of angels, most notably Uriel (a chilling prospect for those who have read Clive Barker's Weaveworld). Yet the mirror's occult fascination even pre-dates John Dee's Elizabethan sorcery. The "jet shew-stone" is reportedly an Aztec cult object, originally assiociated with the worship of Tezcatlipoca, or "smoking mirror", the god of the cold night sky.

Obsidian mirrors were adopted by Mesoamerican rulers as objects of power and divination, granting them a medium through which they could look into the future and connect with the realm of the gods. Both reflective and translucent, the obsidian mirror was seen as a threshold between two worlds, with the obsidian conceptualized as a membrane or tissue separating this earthly world from the beyond. Many ancient depictions survive showing mirrors being worn as part of ceremonial and military costumes, especially by the ruler.

If there was any one object in the British Museum I could take into my small collection at Flea Towers this would be it. The mirror is currently on display in the Enlightenment Gallery in a cabinet devoted to other similar curiosities.

Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Dandyism

Fashion historian Olga Vainshtein investigates dandyism, an idea whose time has come. I need to start denouncing things as being fit "for the collective farm". Style-challenged lesbian friends of the Flea, you have been warned!

As a scholar who has devoted her career to studying fashion, Olga Vainshtein always had a natural curiousity about dandies. But her interest took off after she unwittingly married one. During a recent interview in a Moscow cafe, Vainshtein described her style-conscious husband, Shakespeare scholar Aidyn Dzhebrailov.

"After we were married, I observed how carefully he would get dressed in the morning," she said. "We'd go shopping for clothes together. I'd see something I thought was fine, but Aidyn would say, 'That's for the collective farm. That's garbage.' And this is how I began to discover the world of a male taste that is very different from female taste."
Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

Fischerspooner: Never Win

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

Stainboy

Stainboy's adventures with Staregirl, Robotboy and Matchgirl. Knowing her quite well from real life, I would love to see Voodoo Girl.

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

Slang of the 1920's

This 1920's slang primer should come in handy for a young acquaintance of the Flea, the spitting image of Anita Loos.

The twenties were the first decade to emphasize youth culture over the older generations, and the flapper sub-culture had a tremendous influence on main stream America; many new words and phrases were coined by these liberated women. Many of these are still used today!
Posted by the Flea at 09:22 AM | TrackBack (1)

Sobics

I am not even certain what product or brand this Sobics block game is peddling but the game itself is addictive.

Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

Return to the Batcave

Flea-readers will be unsurprised to learn of my perfect score on this Return to the Batcave quiz. You might want to consider lowering your speaker volume before the Batman theme music gives away your current productivity.

Posted by the Flea at 09:19 AM | TrackBack (0)

Tom Cruise, Jessica Alba and Jennifer Garner

A Socialite's Life reports what I can only assume to be entirely scurrilous and false rumours about Tom Cruise, Jessica Alba and Jennifer Garner. So, just how did Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes meet anyhow?

Interestingly enough, neither Tom or Katie can remember how the two of them met. Mmmm. You would have thought that they would have had a story prepared for the that one. But no. Tom had no answer for the question on Oprah, and Katie had no answer on Letterman.
Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

June 13, 2005

k.d. lang: 2 Hymns of the 49th Parallel

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 11:52 AM | TrackBack (0)

Magic carpet ride

You may be wondering if someone is having a better day at the office than you are. The answer is yes.

This is just cool. Its a couple minute video from a pilot taping himself taking off a Aircraft Carrier and soaring through the clouds.
Posted by the Flea at 11:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Amazing Catapult Watch

I do not know if I have ever yearned for a time-keeping device as I now yearn for this amazing catapult watch (this home ballista kit is also tempting).

The only watch that's also a weapon- it shoots BBs, dried peas, popcorn kernels, lentils and more up to 8 feet accross the room! This stainless steel watch will be the envy of the classroom or the meeting room. Use it to "wake-up" those sleepy headed co-workers and classmates. When they look around to see who's been pelting them with spitballs, you'll just be casually checking the time.
Posted by the Flea at 11:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Inside tornadoes

National Geographic hosts footage from a probe sent into a tornado. The sound is unreal.

It's a technological first. A well-placed probe fitted with 7 video cameras—6 with a 60-degree field-of-view designed to achieve a full 360-degree field-of-view (one failed during deployment, resulting in a 300-degree field-of-view) and one pointing upward—captures footage inside a tornado, providing visual data on ground wind speeds where the storm does the greatest damage.
Posted by the Flea at 11:41 AM | TrackBack (1)

How to win elections, Part 1 (coming up)

Watching Project Runway... posts coming up before lunch! Including the first in a series on electing a new government.

*Not that I have anything new written about Project Runway. I am thinking how amazing it would be if I could learn to make my own suits.

Posted by the Flea at 09:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

June 11, 2005

Just don't mention the war

Spectators for the reenactment of "an early 19th-century sea battle" that some might mistake for Trafalgar are in for a nasty surprise (with a tip of a tricorner hat to Ben).

Admiral Nelson saw off the mighty Franco-Spanish fleet at the battle of Trafalgar but 200 years on, he has been sunk by a wave of political correctness. Organisers of a re-enactment to mark the bicentenary of the battle next month have decided it should be between “a Red Fleet and a Blue Fleet” not British and French/Spanish forces. Otherwise they fear visiting dignitaries, particularly the French, would be embarrassed at seeing their side routed.

Well, heaven forbid an historical representation acknowledge the existence of "sides" let alone make an ethical or aesthetic choice between or among them. One organiser had some candid words on the decision, "Surely 200 years on, we can afford to gloat a bit. Not even the French can try and get snooty about this." Watch this space.

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

ABBA: Waterloo

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:19 AM | TrackBack (0)

Urban golf

The good folks at Jaguar put far too much effort into this London urban golf game. This does not stop me from craving a turbo-charged S-Type Jag.

Posted by the Flea at 06:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Necktie association

The Japanese government is rebuked by the Nihon Necktie Association for a new casual dress policy and the slogan, "No tie, no jacket." And quite right too.

"The campaign is aimed at helping achieve the target (of reducing greenhouse gas emissions) set under the Kyoto Protocol. Neckties help keep you warm in winter. We never said neckties are bad," Koike told a news conference Friday morning.

Worse even than this "no tie, no jacket" nonsense is the slogan, "Cool Biz" deployed in its full English-language horror. Neckties are not colourful scarves meant to keep anyone warm no matter how inclement the weather. Neckties are impractical garments meant to suggest formality and respect for one's context, one's colleagues and oneself. The Flea is scandalized that misguided ecological puritanism should have breached the once secure walls of Japanese sartorial discipline. This cretinous policy of mandatory sloppiness misses the whole point of having electricity in the first place.

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

Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

Further adventures in the popular culture of Japan. No, I don't grok it. But I like the hat.

Posted by the Flea at 06:15 AM | TrackBack (1)

Turn the other Chico

Kanji Aiso asks if the men of Chico, California care about fashion.

In Chico, however, it's doubtful that people want explosive fashion. From the perspective of a foreign resident, Mika Shikano, a 22-year-old Chico State student from Japan, Chico is the most casual town in terms of fashion she has ever seen.

"The men in Chico, especially, seem to have no sense of fashion," Shikano said. "In the summer, half of all Chico State men seem to wear Old Navy shorts and T-shirts on campus. In winter, they wear hooded sweatshirts and baggy pants. It seems like all students wear the same type of clothing."
Posted by the Flea at 06:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

The Empress of Cute

While I am prepared to accept that Hello Kitty is "shrouded in mystery" the greatest one to me is quite what her appeal is supposed to be. Anyone raising the subject of Hello Kitty vibrators is liable to earn a withering look for reasons I would rather not get into in print.

Other iconic characters such as Mickey Mouse and Snoopy have enjoyed worldwide stardom too, but there is something uniquely Japanese that sets Hello Kitty apart. First of all, she is somewhat shrouded in mystery. Sanrio designers have purposely limited her story to the barest of details. We know that she was born in London, weighs the same as three apples, and likes to make friends; she has a mother, father, and sister (Mimi), and the surname of White. Still she lacks an extensive body of film work or a comic strip that would define her in any meaningful way.
Posted by the Flea at 06:11 AM | TrackBack (1)

June 10, 2005

Why VHS was better than Betamax

Jack Schofield claims the VHS vs Beta comparison is nothing more than an urban myth. His explanation of "whole product" will be on any future reading list I put together for teaching technology and society courses.

Read this, and the next time someone tells you that, of course, Betamax was superior to VHS, you can tell them that they are wrong. It's an urban myth.

This is not news: the information has always been available to anyone who could be bothered to look. However, it seems to me that the survival of this and many similar notions is not just a matter of techno-arrogance: it shows a failure to understand how technology markets work.
Posted by the Flea at 08:19 AM | TrackBack (0)

VHS Or Beta: Night On Fire

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance like we were married to Robert Smith (and listen to remixes at Astralwerks).

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Poom

This being Friday it is not as if Poom is going to take you away from doing anything productive. Email it to your friends and sabotage their Monday mornings!

Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM | TrackBack (0)

Mickey Mouse

I am going to assume Flea-readers are too sheltered in their internet browsing to be as scandalized by this Mickey Mouse clock as I am.

Posted by the Flea at 08:10 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Mantropy

This Maxim Mantropy warning site offers much to consider and a useful test to see if you are in an at risk group. But what if my dog's name is Beelzebub Schmoopie? Otherwise my 0-5 score was vaguely surprising to me.

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

Sith Sith Sith

A somewhat acerbic review of the latest "Star Wars" episode takes George Lucas to task for his claim it is only a childrens' movie.

Oh really? It just so happens that this "children's movie" has a scene where a guy gets his hands chopped off, a graphic decapitation, the wanton slaughter of children (the highlight of any movie), and the coolest scene in any space action movie starring Ewan McGregor: Anakin getting his legs chopped off as his stumps catch fire while his face melts. By the way, if you haven't seen this movie yet, don't read the previous sentence.
Posted by the Flea at 08:04 AM | TrackBack (0)

Nazi sex dolls

Ok, you may be thinking that tagline is my most egregious effort yet to attract traffic. But first consider the question posed by this Bild article. Here is serious journalism addressing some serious history: a purported Nazi sex doll project to build a "perfect automaton of lust". I gather Borghild, the ultimate Nordic über-Barbie, never went into production let alone saw action at the front. By which I mean Paris (and please forgive my rough translation from the German).

Is this the last secret of the Third Reich? The renowned German Museum of Hygiene in Dresden poses a scurillous question: did the Nazis build the world's first sex doll? At the forefront of investigations is a website reporting in detail the alleged Nazi "Borghild project". SS-leader Heinrich Himmler is said to have initiated the production of "galvanoplastic dolls" in 1940... as sex-toys for frontline soldiers.

I could not spot a link to the website in question but this Borghild Project resource looks a likely candidate. Non-Wagnerians will be edified Borghild was a wife of Sigmund, she of the poisoning rather than she of the being Sigmund's sister-wife, Sieglinde.* All I can say is this sort of thing is an inevitable end result of the Nazi penchant for too much carrot juice and excessive walking in the out of doors. And being the original barking moonbats, of course.

*Sly Wagnerian comments on Leia's rescue from the Death Star are invited on this point as, having already well exceeded my taste limit, I am at a loss for the mot juste.

Posted by the Flea at 08:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

June 09, 2005

20 cult films you should have seen

IrmaVep.jpg

Protein Wisdom offers his "fifth set of 20 films that if you haven't seen you should see immediately or risk having protein wisdom sneer at you like certain embarrassingly reactionary rightwing blogs sneer at homosexuals and minorities of all stripes."

My Alphaville related post suggested there are at least twenty cult films you should see immediately. Comments suggesting obvious "cult" films risk mockery.

1. Alphaville... for the Kylie Minogue reference.
2. Dark Water... one of the scariest.
3. Black Lizard... for Mishima Yukio.
4. Nomads... for Dr. Benway.
5. Hawk the Slayer... because Jack Palance is God.
6. Modern Vampires... for the flossing.
7. Heroic Trio... for the theme music.
8. The Changeling... for the ball on the staircase.
9. Meet the Feebles... because I am the fly.
10. Les Yeux Sans Visage... for the beauty tips.
11. A Chinese Ghost Story... for the 1000-year tree demon.
12. The Star Wars Holiday Special... for Bea Arthur.
13. Horror Express... for the anthropology.
14. The Believers... for the spiders.
15. Suspiria... for the razor-wire.
16. Andy Warhol's Frankenstein... for the gall bladder.
17. The Keep... for Tangerine Dream.
18. Braindead/Dead Alive... for the lawnmower.
19. Tetsuo... soon the whole world will be made of metal!
20. Irma Vep... my favourite film.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (1)

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

A Socialite's Life thoughtfully posts images from a W Magazine spread on Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. This only adds to the peculiar shortness of breath I experienced upon viewing the trailer for Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

These photos don't do a whole lot to dispell the dating rumors. I'm sure the stance is "movie promotion." If the photos are any clue the film is going to be HOT!
Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

Angelina Jolie no-strings sex

The latest in the Flea's continuing series on purported celebrity interest in no-strings sex presents Angelina Jolie and the S-word.* The news renders Brad Pitt somewhat surplus to requirements whatever the rumours to the contrary.

Tomb Raider star Angelina, who is bisexual, says she knows what women like. She told OK! magazine: "I absolutely love women and find them incredibly sexy. I have loved women in the past and slept with them. I think if you love and want to pleasure a woman, particularly if you are a woman yourself, then certainly you kjnow how to do things a certain way."

*That's Sapphism, for the uninitiated.

Posted by the Flea at 06:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

Clor: Love + Pain

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

George Lucas in Love

George Lucas in Love reminds me of the affection I should feel for a director who created so much of my childhood. The Princess Leia character is priceless (via the Kraut).

A young George Lucas fights writer's block while trying to complete his final screenplay for USC Film School. This satire of Star Wars and Shakespeare in Love has Lucas searching for the true origins of the Star Wars saga.
Posted by the Flea at 06:50 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Review of the Sith

This is the first possibly nsfw due to language Star Wars review I have read. Keep your coffee away from your keyboard (via Harry Hutton).

Much worse than people going on about loving or hating "star wars" are the stars themselves. I do not like stars at all, the big gaseous bastards exploding and showering the metorites. And I hate people who go out in the garden and look at stars and start that bollocks "oh man, we are just such a tiny part of a huge universe", they make me want to s***.
Posted by the Flea at 06:49 AM | TrackBack (0)

Just don't frighten the horses

A Balliol College student was arrested and spent a night in jail after repeatedly suggesting the arresting officer's horse was gay.

When questioned on the offence, Brown expressed regret at his comments. “I swear to hold back on gender preference assumptions if they allow me to meet animals in the future,” he said. Those at the scene remain surprised at the police’s decision to formally arrest Brown. Cooper stated: “We were struggling to hold back tears at the ludicrous turn of events … we returned to college utterly bemused and shocked by the constabulary’s application of resources."

“Aside from the hilariousness of the event there’s also a serious question; isn’t it offensive to assume categorically the word ‘gay’ is insulting,” said Williams. “I kept drunkenly shouting at the police that I was offended that they assumed ‘gay’ was being used as an insult. I tried to persuade them Sam was my boyfriend but they weren’t buying it."
Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Monkey business

The New York Times reports the research of Yale "behavioural economist" Keith Chen into the economic behaviour of capuchin monkeys that "will either surprise you very much or not at all, depending on your view of humans" (for which link you may blame the Neighbour of the Flea). In evidence: gambling, theft and, of course, prostitution.

Something else happened during that chaotic scene, something that convinced Chen of the monkeys' true grasp of money. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of money, after all, is its fungibility, the fact that it can be used to buy not just food but anything. During the chaos in the monkey cage, Chen saw something out of the corner of his eye that he would later try to play down but in his heart of hearts he knew to be true. What he witnessed was probably the first observed exchange of money for sex in the history of monkeykind. (Further proof that the monkeys truly understood money: the monkey who was paid for sex immediately traded the token in for a grape.)
Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

June 08, 2005

Council-house chic

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Beautiful Atrocities offers a round-up of the Chav revolution.

chav, n., adj., UK slang, pejorative, similar to trailer trash, basura blanca, stupid proles, etc. AKA neds, wallys, hood rats, scallies, mall rats.

Of all the pop etymologies of the term I have heard, "acronym for council-house violent" is the worst. "Cheltenham average" was a favourite I picked up during my recent visit to England but that was down to a relative from Gloucester and he could have be expected to take a neutral view of these things. The best explanation suggests a Romany origin of the term.

The Times and several others consider chav to have come from nineteenth-century Romany language, either from chavi, meaning "male child" (chavo similarly meaning "female child", and chal meaning "boy"), or from chavvy, meaning "mate" or "friend" (usually in the sense of "fellow Roma", and hence used as a pejorative for all Roma by non-Roma). This etymology is supported by the existence of other words with associations to chav such as charva that can be similarly linked to Romany (compare charver, the Romany word for "prostitute").
Posted by the Flea at 09:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

Max Graham vs. Yes: Owner of A Lonely Heart

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

Paris and Paris

At least one Flea-reader currently boycotting me due to my Paris Hilton coverage will be depressed that I turn my thoughts to her upcoming wedding to Paris Latsis. He may at least be happy to learn that celebrity kabbalah is no longer hot.

“Paris, like a lot of trend-following celebrities, seems to be moving away from Kabbalah,” Rick Ross of Cultnews.com tells the Scoop. “The pop craze over the Kabbalah Centre may have passed and despite the group’s energy drink, it may be running out of gas.” One reason, he says, is that it doesn’t seem to have helped celebs’ careers. “Look at Madonna,” Ross says. “She’s had one failure after another and couldn’t get her tour-turned-Kabbalah documentary screened at Cannes.”
Posted by the Flea at 09:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Jessica Alba see-thru dress

This Jessica Alba, ahem, coverage is in no way meant as an attempt to bring back any boycotting Flea-readers.

This dress is actually fairly dopey looking, unless you're turned on by Robin Hood, (and I heard you were. Perv) but the fact that it’s the sheerest fabric ever developed by the world's greatest fabric making people gets it a gold medal in whatever category that might be.
Posted by the Flea at 09:45 AM | TrackBack (0)

David Beckham G-string

Far be it for the Flea to troll for hits in this low-traffic summertime blogging season but the opportunity to discuss David Beckham's beauty regimen "including moisturising, eye cream and manicures", reportedly firm bottom or include phrases such as "David Beckham thong" is too good to pass up. Though he denies wearing Victoria Beckham's G-string.

He admitted to taking tips from wife Victoria, who is equally obsessed with looking good.

Beckham, 30 next month, said: "I've learned a lot. Being out in the cold and rain doesn't help your skin, so moisturiser in the morning is a big thing. And at night it's the eye cream. A manicure is probably my favourite pampering splurge."
Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Supermarket trolley

Banksy strikes again. This time his venue was the British Museum.*

The work was planted by an anonymous "art terrorist" called Banksy and museum staff were after he put a message on his website, saying that the 10in by 6in rock "had remained in the collection for quite some time." This is not the first time Banksy has stuck fake objects to gallery walls and waited to see how long it takes before curators notice.

*Oops... wrong link! Fixed now. And more here.

Posted by the Flea at 09:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Tag, I'm it

I recently presented a paper about Suzuki Koji's novel, "Ring" upon which a number of films in several countries have been based. For people who have not read the book, or seen any of the films, the central conceit is of a chain-letter style curse. An effective basis for a horror plot and an even better story on which to base the marketing of a horror film.

Well, I try not to forward chain letters in any form no matter how much bad luck I am supposed to have attracted as a consequence and so have thus far been resolute in avoiding the current book tagging that has been going on in the Canadian blogosphere. This despite some past bad behaviour on my part. There is a limit to any resolution, however, and how could I ignore being tagged by Antonia Zerbisias, Canadian media doyenne and foil to ever-so-slightly right of centre Bob Tarantino of Let It Bleed. Bob, mercifully, has already been tagged...

Number of books I own: Regular Flea-readers may already know my home suffers from a condition my mother describes as "book blight". I have a plan in the works to address the problem, somewhat pressing with thoughts of moving back across the Atlantic, but for now am happy to house them all in two cities in one country instead of four cities in two countries (not counting books at the office which actually adds up to three cities).

Last book I bought: A collection, the first volume of "Serenity Rose" which I gather is "the comic book journal and assorted spooky galleries of ms. serenity rose, local witch." I have not yet had time to read it but pretty much everything put out by Slave Labor is wonderful and this "goblin danse" looks especially promising.

Last book I read: A novel, "The Risen Empire" by Scott Westerfeld which is the first book in his "Succession" series. This was the best space opera I have read since Peter F. Hamilton's "The Reality Dysfunction". Fun to describe a galactic empire governed by the undead as hard science fiction but Westerfeld pulls it off nicely.

Five books that mean a lot to me: This is a question that should probably be treated like Desert Island Discs, let us assume various books of the Bible and the collected works of Shakespeare are on the list. Given this is the Flea, let us also assume "Dune" and "The Lord of the Rings". Five books... only five books. Talk about Sophie's Choice. Hmm... I will limit my answer to five of my favourite grimoires.

Steps to an Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson. To my mind, many problems in relationships and public policy stem from problems in the ways we are taught to think. Bateson is good for what ails us.

Illuminatus! by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. Any undergrads reading this who have yet to read Illuminatus! should do so at once. Your education has become far too practical and this trilogy should go some way to correcting that.

Looking Awry by Slavoj Žižek is "an introduction to Jacques Lacan through popular culture" and is one of the best entry points I know of into semiotics, psychoanalysis, structural analysis and film theory.

A True & Faithful Relation of What passed for many Yeers between Dr. John Dee (A Mathematician of Great Fame in Q. Eliz. and King James their Reignes) and some spirits published by Méric Casaubon based on transcripts of work by Dr. John Dee and Sir Edward Kelley. Reading my Magickal Childe edition is like taking a warm bath. Just be certain to take care with your Enochian pronunciation. Klaatu, verata... uh... necktie!

London AZ... this is the Indispensable grimoire to navigating my favourite city and, with luck, my soon to be home once again.

I have recently posted a longer list of books of more general importance that is worth a look if these five are not more than enough!

Tag five more: Oh no. The link ends here! There was no obvious jinx attached to this exercise beyond blogospheric pressure though the latter may be worse than the former. I am going to risk it. So Antonia, we have an insight into your off-line reading but when do we get a look at your blogroll?

Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (1)

June 07, 2005

Bonjour la police

TorontoPolice.jpg

Toronto Police have launched a campaign to attract women from the "South and West Asian communities" to careers in law enforcement. An excellent idea.

Const. Kiran Bisla's parents might be stuck in the ways of old, but when it comes to good, old-fashioned police work, they're gung-ho.

"They have a great deal of respect for police officers and have supported me throughout the entire process," Bisla said. "They're so old-fashioned in everything else, but my dad is very pro-police and has been very supportive."

Bisla is only one of a handful of South Asian female Toronto Police officers.
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

No-Contact Jacket

The No-Contact Jacket is advertised as being for women but I think it would look stylin' with the Flea's crime-fighting utility belt. My only concern is how this garment stands up to the rain (via the Flea's Career Counsellor).

The No-Contact Jacket is a wearable defensive jacket created to aid women in their struggle for protection from violence. When activated by the wearer, 80,000 volts of low amperage electric current pulses just below the surface shell of the entire jacket. This exo-electric armor prevents any person from unauthorized contact with the wearer's body.
Posted by the Flea at 08:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)

Garbage: Sex is not the Enemy

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

I loathe Michael Jackson fans

As much as I write about pop culture and will celebrate the careers of some rather trivial people and yet more trivial works of art there are some aesthetic lines I will not cross. This includes participating in an obsessive fixation on the trial of Michael Jackson. I have no idea whether or not the man is guilty (cough * guilty * cough cough) as I am not a juror in the case and do not have access to all the facts available at the trial. The spectre of Michael Jackson fans demonstrating outside the courthouse, however, is one that leaves me with a profound feeling of revulsion.

They have flown to California from all over the world to be close when the fateful verdict is read. They have strung proclamations of love along quiet rural roads and readied white doves to release to celebrate the acquittal that they expect to hear from court. Now Michael Jackson's die-hard fans, who have kept an anxious and sometimes angry vigil for almost five months during the pop star's child molestation trial, can only hope that a jury of eight women and four men agrees with them.

"It's nerve-racking for us," said 26-year-old Gaby Parker of Austria, adding, "It must be worse for Michael."

Well, Gaby Parker, may your name forever be googled in conjunction with this farce. You and your fellow cultists have no better idea than I do but have decided that because you have chosen to idolize this rather peculiar man that he must be innocent. Innocent, it would seem, irrespective of whether or not Jackson has been raping children. I can almost understand what it must be like to participate in the mystique of a Kim Jong Il or even a Fidel Castro if one had been raised in a context where no other belief was on offer. Forming a cult of personality on an entirely voluntary basis and over a pop singer is another matter entirely. It is a morbid demonstration of the depths of human stupidity.

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

The Crack-Up

Ideofact offers one of his favourite F. Scott Fitzgerald quotes which he had "inexplicably forgotten was from his rather gloomy essay The Crack Up."

"Life yielded easily to intelligence and effort," at least for a little while. As Fitzgerald explains two paragraphs down, at the age of 39, he prematurely cracked. I'm reminded of a few things -- the elegance of Fitzgerald's prose, his keen insight, and how quintessentially American his thinking was.
Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM | TrackBack (0)

Mansions of the Lord

Watching footage of the D-Day landings yesterday underlined for me that I remain furious about some remarks I wrote about last week. More so after finding "A tribute to Margraten Cemetery" at Zacht Ei. I would be grateful if you would stop for a minute and reflect on it. Take a moment and listen to Mansions of the Lord too.

To fallen soldiers let us sing
where no rockets fly nor bullets wing
Our broken brothers let us bring
to the mansions of the Lord
Posted by the Flea at 08:09 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Flash Morse

This Morse Code sound generator should come in handy.

I learned Morse code in my early teens, while taking a ham radio course. I found it difficult, mostly because I couldn't practice listening to it (I did not own a ham radio). It's one thing to read a bunch of dits and dahs on paper, but it's much harder to decipher the sounds. I hope this will help anyone learning Morse.
Posted by the Flea at 08:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Respectful dissent

For reasons that I may be able to make clear in a couple weeks, I am taking a look at public statements made by Edmonton-Beaumont MP, David Kilgour. I am impressed by much of what he has to say about Darfur and plan to follow up on that thinking. His views on same-sex marriage, however, leave much to be desired. Take this, for example.

During 1963, in Selma, Alabama, following the US Supreme Court's decision to integrate schools, Martin Luther King Jr. disobeyed a restraining order issued by a federal judge barring him from demonstrating with others and was arrested. His subsequent famous letter from jail declared that “…a just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God.”

Similarly, in the campaign a century earlier to end slavery, authors Colson and Pearcey comment; “(Lincoln) wrote passionately about ‘the duty of nations as well as of people to own their dependency upon the overruling power of God.’ Only a deep conviction in our obligation to submit to a higher authority could have steeled this humble country lawyer to oppose slavery when it was a legally established institution.”

Invoking the names of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln in the cause of denying rights to our fellow citizens demonstrates a perverse understanding of the lives, careers and intentions of those men. It also shows how profoundly held is the assumption that what passes in rhetoric for religious conviction is all too often so much prejudice under a false flag. Prejudice, to start, against acknowledging the religious beliefs held by those of us who are in favour of same-sex marriage. For my friends on the right who think I have lost the plot and my friends on the left who think my religious beliefs mean, well, that I have lost the plot: God does not belong to a political party or any particular issue of public policy. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln were men of conviction and their religious beliefs were integral to the foundation and expression of those convictions. But the same could be said of Jefferson Davis. That does not mean Davis' views on public policy, or the rights of his fellow Americans, were just.

Posted by the Flea at 08:07 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Raptor


What military aircraft are you?

F/A-22 Raptor

You are an F/A-22. You are technologically inclined, and though you've never been tested in combat, your very name is feared. You like noise, but prefer not to pollute any more than you have to. And you can move with the best.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

Via the Kraut who is an F-15.

Posted by the Flea at 08:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 06, 2005

Jorane avec Daniel Lanois: Pour ton sourire

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Now is the time at the Flea when we dance with the most astonishing guitar bridge in pop music history. Breebop offers a translation of the lyrics for non-French speakers.

Daniel Lanois would easily be the coolest living Canadian if not for Leonard Cohen and William Shatner. Given that Pierre Trudeau was easily the coolest Canadian of all time it would seem that Quebec has an inequitable share of Canadian Elvis. Clearly we need a federal Elvis transfer scheme to redistribute Elvis to Elvis-deficient regions such as the Ottawa valley and most of Manitoba. And then Jorane herself is also blessed with a surfeit of Elvis.

Posted by the Flea at 10:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Daniel Lanois: The Maker

In case anybody wonders why I am saying Daniel Lanois is one of the coolest living Canadians the video for "The Maker" is hosted at Yahoo! for your edification.

Oh, oh deep water
Black and cold like the night
I stand with arms wide open
I've run a twisted line
I'm a stranger in the eyes of the Maker
Posted by the Flea at 10:12 AM | TrackBack (0)

Turner Prize

Now, Tracey Emin kicks ass but I am still delighted to see a painter nominated for the Turner Prize. The BBC even claims Gillian Carnegie is favoured to win.

The Turner prize provided a shock of a different kind today when an artist known for painting the most conventional of subject matters - vases of flowers - was shortlisted for the often controversial award. Gillian Carnegie, 34, from London, is the first artist who exclusively uses paint as a medium to be nominated for the prize in five years.

Delight notwithstanding, the still life is a bit blah. Let's read some more about future ex-wife of the Flea, Tracey Emin. Perhaps her forthcoming rage at my irritating lifeways would inspire me to create my own unique Stuckism.

Update: Oooh! Stuckist Punk Victorian!

Update: I think Ghost of a flea might be an example of Remodernism in blogging. Though someone once said that my problem was not that I was a postmodernist but that I was a pre-modernist. I took this as a great compliment.

12. The Remodernist's job is to bring God back into art but not as God was before. Remodernism is not a religion, but we uphold that it is essential to regain enthusiasm (from the Greek, en theos to be possessed by God).
Posted by the Flea at 10:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Commodore Spirit

I do not normally make a big deal about my advertisers but check out that Commodore Spirit ad. Let's see, she's cute, wears glasses and has a Commodore logo emphasizing her stupendous, ahh, garment. She may be the ultimate nerd goddess. Commodore Spirit: I salute you!

And check out the BloggersMarket too. It is an excellent idea.

Posted by the Flea at 10:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Miss Universe

I had been dwelling on how to cover Canada's recent success at the Miss Universe pageant. I cede the floor to Spirit Fingers. And more Miss Universe here.

O Canada! I had my doubts when you strode on the stage exceeding the allowable dimension and weight limits for plumage on clothing...but you powered through and proved beyond a doubt that you are the prettiest beaver on the block.
Posted by the Flea at 10:05 AM | TrackBack (0)

Live8

Live8 has been criticized for its "too white" artistic line-up. This seems strange to me as I thought the whole point of the exercise was for white people to spend an afternoon feeling good about themselves while doing nothing to actually address the systematic lack of political and economic freedoms that result in poverty and starvation. And besides, whatever. The show was dead to me the minute I read they had turned away a Spice Girls reunion.

On Wednesday 6th July, the eight leaders of the most powerful and richest countries in the world will gather for a summit in the town of Gleneagles in Scotland. These men can make poverty history and change the future for hundreds of millions of people – but they will only do it if enough of us tell them to.
Posted by the Flea at 10:04 AM | TrackBack (0)

June 04, 2005

Much ado about the nothing

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Much has been made of the somewhat derivative nature of Kelly Osbourne's fabulous new hit single, "One Word". Yes, the song is an homage to the 1980 New Wave anthem, "Fade to Grey" by Visage. Rather less has been made of the fact that "Fade to Grey", while fab, was itself derivative of the Human League's 1976 "Being Boiled"*

I am not certain what the problem is supposed to be. Should the video have included footnotes? The "One Word" video, and indeed song lyrics, are clearly inspired by Jean-Luc Godard's film, Alphaville and yet nobody has complained about that. And Flea-readers who have yet to see Alphaville should do so at once.

Alphaville subtitled A Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution, Godard's hugely influential sci-fi thriller was originally called Tarzan vs. IBM, a title indicative of its pop art/pulp fiction sensibility and suggestive of its theme: the alienating, dehumanizing effects of contemporary corporate/computer culture. Lemmy Caution, Secret Agent .003 from the Outlands, travels through space in a Ford Galaxie to Alphaville, the city of the future where love, art, and individuality are outlawed. Armed only with a Zippo lighter, a .45 calibre handgun, and a volume of Eluard's poems, his mission is to neutralize the dictatorial Professor Von Braun and destroy Alpha 60, the ruthless computer that demands mindless conformity.

*Amazon is linked for their sound files not because they are paying me anything for it.

Posted by the Flea at 02:23 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Depeche Mode: Dream On

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 02:17 PM | TrackBack (1)

Obey

Obey attempts to dress up a sticker campaign as a lesson in phenomenology.

The Obey campaign can be explained as an experiment in Phenomenology. The first aim of Phenomenology is to reawaken a sense of wonder about one's environment.
Posted by the Flea at 02:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Justin Sweet Gallery

Justin Sweet is artist in residence at Fullerton College in California. Images of his work at Justin Sweet Gallery makes me wish I had a ventilated room so I could start painting again. Stunning fantasy art with strong Pre-Raphaelite and Symbolist influences. Take this Drow, for example. Or this apparently larger piece that would not look out of place at the Tate Britain.

Posted by the Flea at 02:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

TL'Ilythiiri Zhaun'ol

The Drow Dictionary should come in handy for all your Underdark needs. Perhaps especially if used in conjunction with this Drow Translator and this handbook on Drow Social Relationships. Pay particular attention to the materials concerning gender. Drow manga is another story entirely.

This dictionary has been prepared by the Sorcere for the use of the Drow in dealing with other races and as a guide for other races in the proper dealings with the Drow. To facilitate such use, the majority of this Dictionary has been translated into Common.

Any Drow allowed contact with other races should have received training in proper conduct elsewhere, thus no effort has been made to supplement such training here. Non-Drow are advised to pay heed to these Usage Notes. Many Drow societies welcome mutually profitable or pleasurable dealings with other races or societies. However, the Drow are a justly proud people and are quick to take offense -- often fatal offense -- at what they perceive to be insults or breaches of etiquette.

You have been warned.
Posted by the Flea at 02:11 PM | TrackBack (0)

I'm a Goth Chick

A goth choose-your-own adventure at last! With apologies to Red State dwellers. I can assure you goths also want to flee the Blue States or indeed anywhere that is not a Victorian graveyard.

You feel the life being sucked from you - is this the end? No. You soon awake with a soft shudder; your eyes open slowly, languidly. They find the clock on the wall measuring the passage of time, its revolving second hand cruelly mocking you as it demonstrates the fleeting nature and meaninglessness of life. You stare at this instrument of slavery until the final tick that brings the sound of the class bell tocks off its crooked face.

The school day is over. This fact, as usual, makes the rest of the sheep in your school happy, but not you. After all, what’s the use? What’s to do now?
Posted by the Flea at 02:08 PM | TrackBack (0)

June 03, 2005

General grievance

Strong words from an editorial in one of Toronto's alternative weekly magazines deserve wider attention. Eye Magazine comes to the defense of Fashion Cares, an annual AIDS fund-raiser that this year has chosen a Bollywood Cowboy theme much to the consternation of some rent-a-grievance progressives. But then the good folks of the puritan left never did care for camp fun any more than the good folks of the puritan right.

Activists have a hard enough time of it trying to convince the rest of us that the world's going to end if we don't stop buying cars, or that pornography creates rapists, without the sophomoric likes of the people at the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAP) reinforcing the stereotype that activists are hyperbolic knee-jerks who throw around potentially powerful words like "injustice" and "outrage" like verbal confetti.
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I like to ride my bicycle

This latest news from Annexia leaves me with the mad urge to bicycle naked for or against some cause or other. Critical Ass may signal time the neighbourhood is exposed to the triumphant cycling glory that is the Flea.

"Everyone will come here with their own agendas, but for me it's all about the fun," says a man we'll call Kurt, a 25-year-old math student who, for reasons that will become obvious, asked not to have his name used. It's 10:30pm on May 27 and, amid the Friday night crowds, he's standing buck naked at the Bloor and Spadina intersection. There are four other naked and semi-naked men there too, with their bikes.
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Jem: Just a ride!

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance along to this regrettably bicycle-free video.

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Google timeline

This Google timeline shows the first image result for each year in the twentieth century. Neat idea.

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

An open letter to Umlaut

Dear Umlaut,

You think you're so damn cool, huh? Just hanging out, chillin', above all those vowels. You're all, "Ooh, look at me, I'm a chic umlaut. I make girls' names look modish, like Zoë and Chloë, and I rock with strung out '80s metal bands!"
Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

Jean-Paul Gerbet

Karla Homolka's new man sounds much like the last.

He is a smooth-talking Frenchman from Cognac and she kept a nude photo of him in her cell. Officials say Karla Homolka and the new man in her life courted each other by leaving notes hidden in common areas that male and female inmates used separately at different moments in jail.

Jean-Paul Gerbet is a 38-year-old French citizen serving a life sentence for strangling Cathy Carretta, who he moved to Quebec to date and with whom he had a stormy, jealous relationship.

Given the full-page, full-colour front page photos the Toronto Sun seems to run every time they have an excuse to feature Karla Homolka I can only imagine this latest news will add to the grotesque voyeurism that has typified their coverage. But The Sun is by no means alone in this rendering of atrocity as celebrity. The above quote is from an article in Canada's self-proclaimed newspaper of record, The Globe and Mail and ran under the tagline "She kept nude picture of her new man". What is wrong with this country? Instead of being jailed for life as a dangerous offender, Homolka is soon to be free and the press will continue to treat the details of her jail-house romance with the same utter contempt for the gravity, or indeed the reality, of her crimes.

Googling Gerbet's name I came across a blog entry publishing a letter written by the sister of the woman he murdered, Cathy Caretta. It is difficult, troubling reading. Her life, and the ongoing trauma imposed upon her family, should not be forgotten in the devilish circus surrounding Homolka's release from prison.

Perhaps a Flea-reader can explain something to me that I have never understood. Under the plea bargain Homolka made to testify against then husband Paul Bernardo - "Scarborough rapist" and Homolka's conspirator in the abduction, torture, rape and murder of two girls as well as Homolka's younger sister - she agreed to cooperate fully with the Crown prosecution even as she failed to mention the video tapes police officers had missed in a search of the Homolka-Bernardo home. Having apparently broken the terms of her plea bargain all those years ago I cannot understand why she was not prosecuted as a willing accomplice to the crimes of her then husband at least one of which seems to have never been the subject of any prosecution whatsoever.

Upon her release for serving the full twelve years of her fatuous sentence we are going to have to live with the consequences of that decision. Much has been made of the danger Homolka may present to the public - and particularly to young women and girls - and her reported association with Gerbet would seem to confirm public fears. It is worth adding that Homolka faces no small danger herself from the men to whom she is evidently drawn or indeed from that segment of the public one can only fear might be inclined to take justice into their own hands.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 02, 2005

Ten most helpful books of the 19th & 20th centuries

Knowledge is Power reproduces a Human Events list of 19th and 20th century books that meet paleocon disapproval. Take this scathing review of John Maynard Keynes' "General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money", for example.

The book is a recipe for ever-expanding government. When the business cycle threatens a contraction of industry, and thus of jobs, he argued, the government should run up deficits, borrowing and spending money to spur economic activity. FDR adopted the idea as U.S. policy, and the U.S. government now has a $2.6-trillion annual budget and an $8-trillion dollar debt.

Though one could also say, "FDR adopted the idea as U.S. policy, and the U.S. government now administers the largest economy and highest standards of living in human history" or, following the non sequitur to its logical conclusion, "FDR adopted the idea as U.S. policy, and I like lappi cheese". It seems to me a more germane observation is the irony of how those governments adopting policies from the Nazi or Communist representatives on the reading list would share Human Events' disapproval for the work of Sigmund Freud, Betty Friedan or Alfred Kinsey. But that is the tricky thing about arguments advocating greater individual responsibility, choice or liberty: we are always going to be stuck with the problem of other people disagreeing with us or, heaven forbid, having fun while we sit at home typing grumpy articles and not getting laid.

Knowledge is Power's Moonbatologist Claire forwards a much better request for a list of the Top 10 Most Helpful... Positive... Constructive Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. My list is tilted toward books that have been useful in my own thinking rather than those which have had the greatest influence. There is nevertheless a certain overlap with some objects of paleocon disapproval even as I demonstrate a certain dead/white/male and English-language bias they might share. Books I keep to hand by the computer enjoying a perhaps undue pride of place the Economist Style Guide and Numbers Guide both almost made the list.

1. Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

Darwin's masterpiece on "the mystery of mysteries" liberated design from the need for designers and in so doing not only challenged some preconceptions about the world but advanced an entirely new logic for understanding complex systems of relationships.

2. Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams

A friend tells me this work's title might better be translated as "the dream of interpretation". Freud knew perfectly well the limits of his project and so much criticism of his work strikes me as being ignorant of his writings and method. If you can write a sentence without making recourse to an English grammar then you are expressing knowledge of which you are not consciously aware. There is much, much more to our selves than is immediately apparent and the whole is worthy of investigation.

3. Helena Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine

While I am no Theosophist myself, Blavatsky is probably more important than any other single individual - with the possible exception of Aleister Crowley - for the exuberance and spiritual experimentation of the New Age. No Blavatsky, no X-Files!

4. James George Frazer, The Golden Bough

Much of J.G. Frazer's analysis seems dated now but his magisterial work was an inspiration to generations of writers and artists as well as a starting place for the comparative study of the way people have made sense of the world.

5. Margaret Mead, Coming of Age in Samoa

You may notice a pattern of "it ain't necessarily so" thinking in my list. Mead's work has been challenged on its particulars but the underlying observation we are not destined to act out the sexual anxieties of any particular time and place was spot on and, judging by contemporary fretting about the things other people get up to, remains as cogent today as it was when it was first published.

6. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

"... the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection."

7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Tolkien's saga for the English-speaking peoples is the single greatest adventure I have ever read and the best guide in fiction for the development of a sense of duty and moral purpose in young people. And along the way this novel inadvertantly created modern fantasy.

8. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus

And here we have a reasonable candidate for the ur-text of science fiction (H.G. Wells The Time Machine almost made the list). One of the distinguishing characteristics about our civilization is our fascination with the future. I wrote a paper some time ago about the cross-fertilization of ideas amongst scientists and engineers and their common source of inspiration in the science-fiction stories they read as children. There is nothing trivial about our capacity to imagine better worlds and work toward them.

9. Alfred Korzybski, Science and Sanity

This may be the most important book on the list even as it is certainly the least widely read. Korzybski reinvented linguistics and the study of human cognition and has been overlooked to the detriment of the general understanding of either. If you have read anything by Robert Anton Wilson you have had a primer on general semantics. The source merits a look.

10. George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant

1984 would have made my top ten but for my reluctance to include anyone twice and for this, the shortest work on the list. Orwell explains something important about imperialism and in so doing explains much of the history of the last two-hundred years. It is also the most brilliant essay I have ever read. You can read it now if you like.

Update: Bow, James Bow leads me to commentary on the subject of harmful books at A Small Victory.

I'm not at all surprised that the Kinsey Report made the list. Everyone knows that sex, when not used for procreation and performed between a man and woman in the missionary position, is DANGEROUS! Sex leads to pleasure! Pleasure leads to the dark side!
Posted by the Flea at 10:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)

Finest Virginia blend

Nobody should be surprised to learn this cigarette commercial would be illegal in Canada.

Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

Kylie in hospital

Australia's Herald Sun reports inconvenience caused to patients in the cardiac wing of Cabrini Hospital in Melbourne as space was made to accommodate Kylie Minogue as she was at the same hospital ungoing treatment for breast cancer. While I imagine it is vaguely possible an administrator was overzealous in the defense of Kylie's privacy the fact remains a celebrity of this magnitude - whether artistic, political or otherwise - is going to draw unwanted attention from journalists, paparazzi and fans and particular provision must be made. I cannot imagine Kylie would have wanted anyone to be inconvenienced on her behalf and any sly implication of anything the sort strikes me as caddish and scurrilous (with a hat tip to Sean of Digiteyesed Photography).

ELDERLY patients needing heart surgery at Cabrini Hospital in Melbourne were kicked out of their beds to make an entire wing available for Kylie Minogue. The pop princess, who is being treated for breast cancer, was allocated eight of the hospital's 18 cardio rooms in a move that angered Cabrini doctors and patients. Minogue's management yesterday said she had not asked for patients to be moved, had not dictated her treatment, and had only directly hired one guard.
Posted by the Flea at 09:19 AM | TrackBack (0)

R.S.V.P.

R.S.V.P. is a '50s-ish dinner party game that I cannot recommend to anyone on a deadline.

Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Burt Reynolds

You have read the story about Burt Reynolds slapping a CBS producer but have you seen the video? Close examination of the blow reveals it to have been caused by delayed elastic tension resulting from cosmetic surgery.

Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM | TrackBack (0)

Iranian policewomen

Iranian policewomen: you may have seen the stills but have you seen the video? These uniforms and that abseiling has a certain Matrix-like quality.

Posted by the Flea at 09:12 AM | TrackBack (1)

Cruise control

Tom Cruise crazy "in love" with Katie Holmes on Oprah has made the news but have you seen the video?

While promoting that film over the last several weeks, Mr. Cruise engaged in an increasingly public discussion of his religion, Scientology. Then he set tongues wagging in Hollywood and elsewhere with an hourlong appearance on the May 23 "Oprah" show, during which he jumped around the set, hopped onto a couch, fell rapturously to one knee and repeatedly professed his love for his new girlfriend, the actress Katie Holmes.
Posted by the Flea at 09:10 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 01, 2005

Mars, der Kriegsbringer

I am listening to Gustav Holst's The Planets as I type these words. Some wine had been enjoyed in the wilds of Oxfordshire as I explained the last resort of my parental units when the Flea as a small boy could not fall off to sleep. Their inventive, and quite perceptive, recourse was to play Mars, the Bringer of War for me and that always did the trick. But was a copy to be found in the cottage for discussion over a late night tipple? No. So, thanks to a collection of Anglican hymns, we listened to Jupiter instead, sang along and thought of Diana. That was almost as satisfying.

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Lego Harpsichord

It is not as if I could play the harpichord but I still want it.

Posted by the Flea at 10:39 AM | TrackBack (0)

Railroad Builder

Build a railroad with this on-line game as a mid-week diversion.

Posted by the Flea at 10:35 AM | TrackBack (0)

Giant Scotch egg

Blogjam dot cow cooks a giant Scotch egg.

Reaction to last month’s mammoth pork pie post was almost universally favourable, but the most intriguing response came from reader JB, who suggested that I construct a scotch egg, using an ostrich egg rather than the more usual chicken’s egg. So I did.
Posted by the Flea at 10:30 AM | TrackBack (0)

Celebrity BMIs

Sally Aquire offers a selection of body mass index information for a variety of celebrities. I am sceptical of the whole concept of BMI tending to think that while my Paris Hilton Diet has a way to go that it would be madness to shrink down to the number suggested by the medical profession. That said, I think this celebrity BMI site is useful in so far as there are plenty of folks out there who could use an extra cheeseburger or three.

Generally speaking, a healthy body mass lies between 18.5 and 25. A figure below 18.5 is classed as underweight, and anything above 25 is regarded as overweight.

Today's women are bombarded by images of ever-shrinking stars who seem to bear testimony to the belief that to be thin is to be happy and successful. It begs the question: how healthy are the celebrities we hold up as role models?
Posted by the Flea at 10:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

F5 tornado

A video of the fastest wind ever recorded on Earth is utterly terrifying. Some adult-oriented ads might be tricky depending on where your computer is located.

The storm grew. It was destined to become the first F-5 to hit a major city. It was the fastest wind ever recorded on Earth at 318 mph that wiped out everything in its path. Forty-four people died. Seven hundred and fifty people were injured and more than 10,000 homes destroyed. The video tape has just been discovered after being lost May 3, 1999 during the worst tornado outbreak in Oklahoma history.
Posted by the Flea at 10:27 AM | TrackBack (0)