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.
The Ten Commandments of Ayn Rand. That is a stylin' outfit in the linked article, btw.
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.
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.
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.
Tom Reynolds offers his top 25 miserable music tracks. Take Bonnie Tyler's 1984 hit, Total Eclipse of the Heart, for example.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance in front of the mirror wearing Chanel medallions.
Caroline Letkeman posts documents related to her legal quest to get a refund from the Church of Scientology.
This seven point "Defense of Biblical Marriage" memo found its way to me through the miracle that is "the internet".
"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.
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.
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.
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...
Le Building is just the thing for your cute, animated short needs.
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!
I had never played Sheepish before yet it bore an eldritch familiarity. As if I had known it in another life, dimly remembered.
Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo reports three lions rescued a 12-year-old girl kidnapped by men expressing a lamentable aspect of Ethiopian traditional marriage.
Note to leopards: do not try to eat 73 year old Kenyan grandfathers.
Yesterday, I was challenged on my assertion that selective tax-cuts are subsidies by another name. I ask Flea-readers to turn your attention to the practice of double-entry book-keeping to allow me to illustrate why a tax-cut and a subsidy are effectively the same thing.
Say you live in a community that has roads and a society that has decided some things like road repair are a communal good for which we are collectively responsible. Excepting Robert Heinlein's moon-dwellers, chances are you live in such a community. It may be that your society has decided to have infrequent and basic road repair or it may be that your society has decided to build an Autobahn. It may be that your society has reached its decision through a transparent system of representative democracy or that its decision has been made by a relatively small elite. But no matter what system of road repair is decided upon or what system of government reached the decision, let alone the merits of any combination of the above, the fact remains that some choice has been made and the potholes will need to be filled. Whether you would rather take your chances with Mike on the Moon is immaterial to that fact.
Now let us say you have a socialist government handing out subsidies to groups it likes. No matter how big those subsidies are or which groups are so endowed someone still has to pay the bill for road repair. If more money is spent on selective subsidies then one of two things must happen: either more taxes must be raised from everybody else or road repair has to be scaled back. It may be that subsidies will prime the pump a la John Maynard Keynes/George W. Bush and that increased economic activity will have a knock on effect of a larger economy as a whole and so reduce pothole repair burdens across the board. But this has no bearing on the fact that in the short term more subsidies equal less money for road repair. Or health care. Or national defense. Or anything else our community has decided to pay for.
Now let us say you have a conservative government that actually cuts taxes rather than claiming at election time that it intends to do so then proceeding to spend just as much, if not more, on its own pet projects than the socialists it claims to oppose. A tax cut, it is often supposed, is the opposite of a subsidy because the government is forgoing taxation rather then finding ways to spend more money. Unfortunately, there is the small matter of those potholes needing to be fixed. Again, no matter how fancy a road system our community has chosen to support there will be a bill to pay in supporting it. If some organizations or interests are offered a tax cut then one of two things must happen: either more taxes must be raised from everybody else or road repair has to be scaled back. It may be that tax cuts will prime the pump a la Tony Blair/Ronald Reagan and that increased economic activity will have a knock on effect of a larger economy as a whole and so reduce pothole repair burdens across the board but this has no bearing on the fact that in the short term more selective tax cuts equal less money for road repair. Or health care. Or national defense. Or anything else our community has decided to pay for.
It seems to me that both approaches have merit. By all reports both Hong Kong and Singapore have working road systems though historically these two communities have had different underlying economic philosophies directing their growth. This does not change the fact that in both instances a decision was made about what kind of road system the community was prepared to pay for. In even the most directive or the most laissez-faire contexts some organizations or interests are inevitably going to be offered advantages through subsidies or tax cuts. But no matter which side of the ledger the monies come from the rest of us have to pay for their privileges. And that is true whether or not the organization or interest claims to represent a religious ideology.
I was thinking of putting together a list of materials by people driven to distraction by the idea of their fellow citizens being treated equally before the law across Canada instead of in only 8 of 10 provinces. Unfortunately, some websites would require a line-by-line fisking to address properly. The grotesque thing about Charles McVety, et al. is how fixated they are on something that has no effect on them whatsoever (via Sinister Thoughts). Same-sex marriage has been the law of the land in Ontario for two years and I have yet to hear even a rumour of any church, synagogue, mosque or temple losing the charitable status my tax dollar continues to support no matter what lunatic nonsense spews thenceforth. I mean, I am literally paying for a variety of people to teach all sorts of things I regard as utter foolishness and yet none of the above pay a tithe to support my blogging religion. All this while my taxes support some folks from a minority of those churches, synagogues, mosques and temples who want to use the law to obliterate the marriages of a number of my friends. It seems that a loudmouthed, obnoxious few hold a peculiar idea of persecution where anything that impinges on their ability to tell other people what to do signals the end of the world. So, add "gays" to "Jews", "Masons", "Majestic-12" and every other group whose occult agenda is supposedly pulling the strings. The agenda? To force people like McVety to, uhh, well nothing except present them with the grim prospect of minding their own business. With any luck C-38 will pass quickly and CBC Newsworld can stop giving McVety airtime and put me on to talk about Kylie Minogue instead.
Meanwhile, I went to Pride yesterday afternoon and at least until the heat drove me off I did not see a single banner, flyer or float that made any reference to C-38. Just a lot of people having fun. But I suppose that is the difference right there.
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.
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.
"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.
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?
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?
Same-sex marriage is already the law in eight of ten Canadian provinces. The sky has not fallen. When Bill C-38 passes and Canadians in those last two provinces are treated equally before the law it will not be a day too soon.
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?).
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.
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).
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.
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."
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.
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).
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.
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.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Wafah bin Laden (and not Waffa bin Laden as per my earlier post) has taken her mother's maiden name and is now known as Waffa Dufour. Despite her family's enormous wealth her "It Girl" difficulties should be obvious.
Update: Wafah appears on talk show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.
Dufour update: 12/24/2005
Wafah Dufour poses for GQ. This may be the tipping point that brings her to public attention and is sure to annoy most of the right people but I cannot see how it will improve her unreleased musical efforts. Perhaps she can pursue a career in being famous for being famous.
Funny that. And here I was under the impression her relation to that man was the one and only reason her attention seeking behaviour has had the slightest success.
Waffa update: Waffa video!
Radar Online samples the Scientology® "Sec Whole Track" questionnaire for expert E-meter operators (that's "electro-meter", or the even grander "electropsychometer", for those not living in year zero). But first, some background (via A Socialite's Life who comments on sixteen missing days in the life of Katie Holmes). How does Tom Cruise keep his cool?
I would link to an on-line version of the whole 343 word questionnaire but Google has removed a search result. At least the "whole track" term is expounded upon at this Scientology website. A vivid example of a whole track identity crisis offers a, ahem, clear picture of the problem.
Update: The Flea's HR Rep informs me that Google "did not really cave". Yay, Google!
Update: Who is Xenu? Bwa ha ha! In future, anyone claiming I do not show tolerance for people of faith "round these parts" shall be directed to this leaflet for spiritual guidance. They may find Scientology's reported teachings on "homosexuality" all too familiar.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Vexed is only recommended for Flea-readers with no history of an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Zombie Arcade explores the thin line between the second-hand fear of videogames and real fear.
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!
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.
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.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (a large QT file but patience is rewarded at the altar of Ladytron).
You may as well play A-blast. It's not like you were planning to get any work done before lunch anyway.
I cannot imagine what relationship they could be talking about (hat tip to the Sister of the Flea).
Ahh.. so much like my life. C'est triste mais c'est vrai.
I think this Bus Driver Test is quite clever.
Explore some deep-sea and oceanic life.
I was recently described by a friend as a "red Tory", something that has become a term of abuse for some in the new Conservative party looking for any explanation except their own party policies to blame for the inexplicable reluctance of central Canada to support them. Another friend countered that I was definitely "blue", something I took as a compliment despite my opposition to the party platform and dismay with much of what passes for conservatism in Canada.
I believe a recent prank against Tom Cruise illustrates something important about misplaced priorities. I have spent some time poking fun at Cruise lately and for the same reasons most others have done so. There is a false note in his public appearances that suggests his revelations about his life and character are meant to provoke and manipulate. Or such is my impression.
Poking fun is one thing. But when a representative of quasi-public broadcaster squirted water in Cruise' face in Leicester Square there was nothing funny about it.
I hope Cruise pursues this rather than ignoring bad behaviour as so many public figures have chosen to do. A "protester" recently dumped red paint on the hands of Canadian foreign minister, Pierre Pettigrew. While initially charged with two serious offenses he is now only to face action on one relatively minor offense. This from someone who had (apparently temporarily) been expelled from Concordia for prior bad behaviour. How is it we have chosen to condone this sort of thing? And why are any of us are surprised that it should continue when there are no consequences for doing so beyond free publicity and a cheap laugh at the expense of someone in the public eye?
There are many "progressives" who will claim to have been assaulted if someone makes a remark in their presence which troubles their conscience but who think it is a world of hilarity when an elected official, or anyone who has in fact accomplished something, is made a figure of fun at the hands of an actual assault. There is nothing surprising in this. Only another sad example of what now passes for a once noble aspiration of the left to find dignity in people's lives no matter their station or situation.
What I find harder to understand is the mean spiritedness that has increasingly come to pass itself off as conservatism. I was watching Joyce Meyer this morning as I pottered around getting up. Her theme was "The Battle for Your Future" and she made her usual sound performance and spirited engagement with scripture. One moment that struck me could have been mistaken for a digression but I believe was at the heart of her argument. She stopped to chastise her audience, telling them to treat local hotel employees and restaurant workers with respect. She asked people to consider the consequences of trashing their hotel rooms, even skipping out on the bill, as people who had come to town as part of a Christian tour. Someone might reasonably say, I am not going to explore the God you claim to follow if that is an example of the behaviour a "Christian" sets. She went on to ask if this sort of bad behaviour was the result of misplaced priorities, of too much doctrine and too little demand that we treat each other with respect. Quite right.
Now, I understand I am confusing two groups of people here: charismatic Christians and conservatives in Canada. But the two groups have in common an aspiration to a higher standard of behaviour and have a common duty to set an example of such behaviour. This is especially the case for two groups of people who are often critical of the behaviour of others. But it is as much the rhetoric and behaviour of some Conservatives and their advocates on "the internet" that has turned me away from supporting the federal party as it is party policy. I expect obnoxious pranks and simple assault from that part of the left that has lost the ability to make a coherent argument let alone win people to their cause with reason. Despite increasing evidence to the contrary, I still expect better of people claiming to be conservative.
I am not a member of the party and barring some serious revision of the party's direction I will not be supporting the Conservatives in the next election. But if it is conservative to insist that a public assault on a man in no position to defend himself should be met with draconian intolerance then I still fit the bill. I thought there was something about law and order conservatives were meant to support. I am thinking it is time to become more confrontational about the face of conservatism that has decided generalized contempt for public officials, the judiciary and the law is a replacement for sound party policy. Of too much doctrine and too little of the respect we claim to expect from others.
Update: This is disappointing. Tom Cruise is reportedly not going to press charges. More stalkerazzi bad behaviour to follow.
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.
My immediate own goal was an accurate forecast of my lousy Bumper Ball skills.
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.
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.
Oh, how I yearn to see this Brazillian Star Wars rip-off. Surely one for my cult cinema list.
These Star Wars auditions are classic. It is sad that I am word perfect on the lines.
Anyone who has not seen Thumb Wars should just go rent it now.
I am not sure what it says about me that I find this Blaupunkt ad so funny.
The Flea's Career Counsellor wishes the line between the real and the virtual were really this blurred.
On May 19th, 2005 the Mars Spirit rover tooks a picture of the Martian sunset.
This Boeing 727 Jet Limo converted to street use would make a whole lot of Fleamobile.
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.
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.
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.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
These Mary Kate and Ashley perfumes offer the scent for all occasions.
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.
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.
Oprah hosts video from the Tom Cruise appearance "everybody's taking about."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Even though it hurts me so.
This trailer for George A. Romero's Land of the Dead looks tasty.
I expect this biojewellry project will trigger a debate about aesthetics rather than the debate about bio-engineering this BBC article anticipates.
I may have to reconsider my earlier thoughts about Live8.
The latest edition of the Collins English Dictionary acknowledges some new tribes of the UK.
I am particularly pleased with the word "chavtastic". And here is a little challenge. I doubt anyone can point me to anything that says "chav" more succinctly than this all too credible 9ct gold ringed Burberry condom.
Whatever my fundamental disagreements with the Holy See or with the views of any particular Pope, there is an enormous satisfaction at finding in Benedict XVI an intellectual voice to debate. In his "In Search of Freedom; Against Reason Fallen Ill and Religion Abused", this comment on the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny stands out.
It is fascinating to read an essay written by a theological figure that would take Jacques Derrida to task. I am also sympathetic to the view that religious conviction can address the nihilism that lies at the heart of deconstruction and the risk of tyranny such nihilism affords. That said, it is important to understand how very many Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, were active supporters of the Nazi party. Religious conviction alone is no guarantee against tyranny.
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).
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?
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance in our Daisy Duke's.
Come prove your skills as a Jedi.
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.
UK shadow transport secretary Alan Duncan, the Conservative party's first openly gay MP, is to stand for the leadership. While he knows his chances are slim his observations on the risk of "historical oblivion" for a party that has failed to recognize modern Britain should be closely listened to by Canadian Conservatives in much the same predicament (via the Daily Dish).
Conservatives of Canada, every time CBC Newsworld invites that Satan-inspired hate-gnome, Charles McVety on as a guest they are handing him the rope to hang your party. The longer you leave it to distance yourself from his views the more you shall deserve to be associated with them.
Be honest now. Who would turn away this designer toilet if only as a conversation piece?
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.
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.
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!
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
I am not even certain what product or brand this Sobics block game is peddling but the game itself is addictive.
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.
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?
Countdown to the Michael Jackson verdict... liveblogging at the Flea!
"Of course he's innocent... would these faces lie to you?" As Varenius signalled in comments to an earlier post, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was on the scene to cover/add to the Michael Jackson fan circus.
Update: 16:51 EST CNN shows images of Janet Jackson arriving. Her hair is fantastic and enviably compliments her Farrah Fawcett Majors sunglasses. Flea-fav La Toya Jackson is also on hand (excuse me, that's "Toy"), all apparently forgiven for her earlier public speculation about Michael Jackson's sex life. Meanwhile, the CBC Newsworld anchor says he does not know the name of the streets around the courthouse. Such is the Elvis/non-Elvis distinction so evident between our two countries.
Update: 16:58 EST CNN says audio feed is due to commence from inside the courtroom in two minutes. Ahh, feel the impending bathos!
Update: 17:03 EST CNN reports the jury is filing in. Meantime, the folks with the Irish Michael Jackson fan sign and the other folks with the "Trust Jesus Repent" banner make me wish I had someone on hand with a giant www.Ghostofaflea.com placard.
Update: 17:04 EST "The judge is on the bench. The judge is on the bench." Will Michael Jackson fans riot? The suspense!
Update: 17:11 EST Just remembered I don't care about Michael Jackson. Who are all those people? Why am I watching this? Also, have Michael Jackson fans stored up rocks and other improvised riot supplies?
Update: 17:16 EST Not guilty!
Update: 17:17 EST Not guilty on all counts!
Update: 17:22 EST Someone is waving a giant French flag with the words "France Loves You Michael". This is more appropriate to the context than I can express. So, I take it Michael Jackson's message of love to his fans means they continue to endorse his practice of sleeping with young boys. Not in a sexual way, you understand.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
And speaking of the "nasty party" here are some examples of what is aptly described as the American Taliban. I do not believe everyone cited by this website deserves to be there but I do think the federal Republican party is playing with fire. I have been taken to task for making the Taliban comparison in Canadian politics. Anyone wishing to do so needs to carefully consider a world where some of the views expressed by some of these folks became public policy.
You may be wondering if someone is having a better day at the office than you are. The answer is yes.
National Geographic hosts footage from a probe sent into a tornado. The sound is unreal.
The Flea will engage in some journalism with a visit to the big Korean grocery store down the way. South Korean food producer, Orion has released a Choco Pie index meant to emulate the Economist's Big Mac index meant to evaluate currencies through relative purchasing power. A Canadian price comparison seems in order. Choco Pie is reportedly wildly popular in mainland China "where a box of Choco Pies is presented as a gift to well-wishers at weddings" and adding up to an impressive 60% of the Chinese cookie market.
A taste-test comparison with the rival Lotte Choco Pie may also be in order.
Update: Lotte have the corner on supplying my big Korean grocer. Their pies were on at C$1.99 a box which seems a bargain to me. The difficulty with the Orion Choco Pie index, whatever they may turn out to retail for when I do find them, strikes me to parallel this Economist lattenomics article. The whole point of using the Big Mac as an indicator of purchasing-power relative to the currency market in United States dollars is that in most instances the basket of goods and services needed to make one are produced locally. It seems less apt to compare the price of a Starbucks latte in two countries where the coffee is imported in both instances as this indicates more about local rents than purchasing-power. The same difficulty is yet more evident in attempting to make a meaningful comparison using a box of Choco Pies imported as a finished product.
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.
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.
The new French Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin has an inspiration and an explanation for dealing with France's economic malaise. Call on the memory of Napoleon for guidance and blame the English for French difficulties. Let's get this straight: the French vote against the EU "constitution" but Tony Blair is to blame for its failure because he subsequently canceled the UK vote. Meanwhile, high French unemployment is in some phantasy sense the result of low unemployment in countries following an "Anglo-Saxon" economic model. Now, far be it from to me to suggest it is precising this sort of thinking that resulted in Napoleon having his hat handed to him at Waterloo but I am not above making sly remarks to that effect.
Alain Juppé's blog looks like it might actually be a blog. I am surprised to see it called a "blog" rather than some silly word made up by a French ministry of linguistic purity. Only more evidence of that perfidious wind in the sails.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
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.
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.
Further adventures in the popular culture of Japan. No, I don't grok it. But I like the hat.
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.
"Michael Jackson taught us to love and not to be cynical. He told us to believe, not to hate. I believe."
I still loathe Michael Jackson fans. For one thing, how do these people afford to lounge around outside the Jackson trial for weeks, sometimes months, on end? It is difficult to fathom not only the motivation but the wealth required to indulge this fixation.
Parents everywhere: consider carefully a possible outcome of letting your children listen to popular, or "pop", music. One is a son who grows up to be a Michael Jackson SuperFan. BJ Hickman has been attending the Jackson court proceedings since January, moving to California and taking a job in a local mall. This fan, having already been banned from the courtroom for inappropriate behaviour, has now attracted a restraining order from a member of the media. Jackson has reportedly taken note of this lost soul. His response? An invitation to Neverland to meet Michael Jackson's "children".
Update: Jesse Jackson puts in his two cents, of course. Next Jimmy Carter will pair up with Amnesty International to denounce the proceedings. Meantime, police fear violence may follow a guilty verdict. While I realize this is no laughing matter the spectacle of rioting Michael Jackson fans is somehow thrilling.
Update: Michael Jackson fans mix with anti-war demonstrators. Ahh, moonbats of the night, what sweet music you make! I would pay good money to see this.
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.
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!
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.
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.
A somewhat acerbic review of the latest "Star Wars" episode takes George Lucas to task for his claim it is only a childrens' movie.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
*That's Sapphism, for the uninitiated.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
A Balliol College student was arrested and spent a night in jail after repeatedly suggesting the arresting officer's horse was gay.
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.
Beautiful Atrocities offers a round-up of the Chav revolution.
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.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
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.
This Jessica Alba, ahem, coverage is in no way meant as an attempt to bring back any boycotting Flea-readers.
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.
*Oops... wrong link! Fixed now. And more here.
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?
Toronto Police have launched a campaign to attract women from the "South and West Asian communities" to careers in law enforcement. An excellent idea.
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).
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
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.
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.
Ideofact offers one of his favourite F. Scott Fitzgerald quotes which he had "inexplicably forgotten was from his rather gloomy essay The Crack Up."
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.
This Morse Code sound generator should come in handy.
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.
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.
|What military aircraft are you?|
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.
|Click Here to Take This Quiz|
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.
Via the Kraut who is an F-15.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*Amazon is linked for their sound files not because they are paying me anything for it.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Obey attempts to dress up a sticker campaign as a lesson in phenomenology.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance along to this regrettably bicycle-free video.
This Google timeline shows the first image result for each year in the twentieth century. Neat idea.
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.
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.
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.
Nobody should be surprised to learn this cigarette commercial would be illegal in Canada.
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).
R.S.V.P. is a '50s-ish dinner party game that I cannot recommend to anyone on a deadline.
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.
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.
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.
It is not as if I could play the harpichord but I still want it.
Build a railroad with this on-line game as a mid-week diversion.
Blogjam dot cow cooks a giant Scotch egg.
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.
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.