Ahh, the elusive Kylie Bible. So near. Yet so dear. Independently wealthy Flea-readers might consider this deConstruction promo book as if it was on my wish list. A snip at £224.99! I would move to any country with the correct power supply for this out-of-stock Spinning Around lamp. Sadly, I even yearn for this Kylie branded Evian water.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Some theories about the shocking finale of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince may be had by following this link. Once again, if you have not read the book and plan to then best forget this post for now (via Xiaxue).
A May 2002 internal report to the Australian navy, obtained by The Weekend Australian, revealed their six Collins-class attack submarines have been "plagued by far more serious safety issues than has been publicly admitted." More worrying still is troubling evidence of an "out of sight out of mind" attitude to the problem.
"Do you know where the wild roses grow
So sweet and scarlet and free?"
Nick Cave says skepticism at his writing a song for Kylie Minogue was a pure idea, systematically debased. Tabloid headings like "Kylie Strips For Satanic Video" notwithstanding.
I had never heard an urban myth about Nick Cave and a London flat replete with Kylie posters and paraphernalia. But then I had not thought of "Where the Wild Roses Grow" for some time. I was reminded of it as I watched Kylie, Nick Cave and the Pogue's Shane MacGowan stumbling through a television performance of Bob Dylan's "Death is Not the End". Sublime. It turns out the song Nick Cave wrote for Kylie afforded him a long held desire to work with the Pop Pixie. A 1995 Australia Rolling Stones article quotes him as saying that shooting a video together was "close to a religious experience."
Well, I can only imagine. Watching Where the Wild Roses Grow is close enough to a religious experience. And watch the hands, you cad!
Despite worrying reports of the seriousness of her cancer battle, Flea-readers will be pleased to learn of Kylie Minogue's continued pluck in making her recovery. Kylie's sister, Dannii explains that "laughter is the best medicine" and to that end the two have been snuggling up to watch Little Britain.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
I managed 7 on this Harry Potter trivia wizard challenge.
It is not so much that the outcome of this machine gun vs katana match was in any doubt. It is how impressive the katana is as it stands up to the rounds in slo-mo. Flea-readers better informed in gunnery than I am might be able to say the kind of forces involved.
This Slate article about L. Ron Hubbard is remarkable largely for a link to the noted poet/lyricist singing "Thank you for listening". Scientology pop music experts explain the song utilizes "elements from several genres—from honky-tonk and free-swinging jazz to cutting-edge electronic rock. The result is a wholly new dimension in space opera sound." The man was clearly a genius. A genius. I know what a genius is. I know. The man was a genius.
Last night's supposedly shocking installment of Rock Star INXS saw two contestants shown the exit instead of the expected one. All bets are off! This just shows anything can happen! One bad performance and it's all downhill from there!
The singers looked genuinely flabbergasted. Don't these people watch television? First off, I am reasonably certain I am the only person watching the show and, while I am prone to buy any old crap they might advertise, an audience of one is not going to support three nights a week of '80s Australiana indefinitely. No matter how many times the show floats that stadium audience of 100,000 fantasy figure, this is INXS we are talking about. When at this late date people are still making (arguably tasteless and hurtful, shame on you) jokes about autoerotic asphyxiation you have some rebranding to do. Barring an aesthetic epiphany (hey, we were never that great a band in the first place!) and retirement to the Outback these guys had to start kicking off more than one person at a time or face cancellation.
Second, and following the same logic, how many weeks are there until the fall season? One less would be INXS member a week was still going to leave too many would be INXS members surplus to requirements for the scheduling train-wreck on the horizon. I am shocked Mark Burnett has yet to cut to the chase and cut all the no hopers for the benefit of those of us in the reality-based reality-television community. Inked up and angsty, J.D. Fortune is the next lead singer of INXS so let's just have the camera follow him around getting drunk and having feelings. And if his inter-personal skills keep him from taking his coveted place there is always the ludicrously named MiG to do the job.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Now there's a tagline that writes itself. Well known Russian spammer, Vardan Kushnir was found beaten to death.
At the instigation of Copenhagen-based artist, Rasmus Nielsen, and demonstrating a striking productivity, creativity and initiative given these are university undergraduate students, some Danes have created open source beer.
The Our Beer source code can be found at the Vores Øl website.
A BBC Radio 2 piece explores how Ron Grainer's Doctor Who theme "still sounds like the pop music of an era we have not got to yet, where all the pop music is made by robots." Also absolutely critical to learn about the role of Delia Derbyshire* in, oh, say, actually recording the theme and her pivotal, not fully recognized, role in the history of electronic music. She was a genius and deserves a posthumous award of some kind.
Daphne Oram and story of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop are also important. Once you have given some thought to their work you might take a hand at composing your own with this handy BBC Radiophon-A-Tron. Diddly-Dum and Wee Wah Woo are wonderful but Weirdly Happy brings a tear to my eye. Perhaps this only makes sense if you grew up hiding behind the sofa.
*I am amazed I have not heard Delia Derbyshire's "visionary piece", Ziwzhi Ziwzhi oo-oo-oo from "The Prophet" sampled anywhere. "Reason" is a great Asimov short story. You will soon be chanting along too (too too too).
Ziwzhi Ziwzhi oo-oo-oo-oo
Ziwzhi Ziwzhi oo-oo-oo-oo
Praise to the master,
his wisdom and his glory.
These Doctor Who classic clips are a nice alternative to getting any (non-time travel related) work done. Flea-readers unfamiliar with the Who oeuvre should pay special attention to "Royal Blood" in the How Evil! section for an introduction to Flea-fav Romana. That was a great episode.
David Tennant has the ideal Flea-ish look as the new Dr. Who in this BBC promotional image. Tennant is calling the look geek chic. Now to find a pair of cream plimsolls in downtown Toronto (hat tip to the Sister of the Flea).
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
It is hard not messel some shilarnied parents, and Bart Simpson as that lil malchick Alex, if you smot at this prodding of A Clockwork Orange. Now how about some of the old Ludvig Van, my malenky droogs?
(hat tip to the Flea's Nadsat Droog)
I recently filled in a "customer feedback" form for the Toronto Public Library to thank them for installing bicycle hitching posts outside their Lillian H. Smith Branch (home of the Merril sf collection). My praise was not without reservation, however, as I pointed out that as a Toronto resident I am a patron, not a customer, of the public library.
This is a distinction I take seriously. If I want to be a customer I will go to a private business. As a library patron of a public service I have different rights and obligations than I do as a customer of a private concern, a distinction that applies not only to myself but to library staff, the character of the library's collection, its hours of operation and so forth. As a patron I am not buying a service but making use of a service to which I am entitled as a citizen, a tax-payer and a city resident.
All of these issues in mind, it is worth pointing out a somewhat perfunctory ritual I go through every time I leave the Metropolitan Reference Library branch. The Reference library is, as the name suggests, not a lending library but made up of archives, periodicals and other research materials. As such, patrons do not remove materials from the branch and, to provide some certainty light-fingered patrons should forego temptation, security guards check bags on the way out the door.
Is this a dramatic inconvenience? No. More important, is this a violation of my civil liberties? Hardly. The right of the people of Toronto to protect our archive collection from theft supercedes my right to have access to that collection without the marginal limitation of consenting to a bag check. So what precisely would be the difference between a search conducted to protect a library collection and a search to protect myself and my fellow passengers in the public transit system? I understand many people, including myself, will not be entirely comfortable with peace officers rummaging through our backpacks and there is an undeniable, if slight, loss of privacy in undergoing such rummaging. But then I think it is a stretch to suggest there is a constitutional right to using public transit under any circumstance. The TTC would not let me ride the subway clad only in a sequin, maple leaf thong or brandishing a Frank Frazetta battle axe (or both... there's your unwanted visual for the day) so I am not certain by what right I should be able to carry whatever I want in my baggage unchallenged.
Privacy is a right. But so is a reasonable expectation the TTC is exercising due care to reduce the odds I will be blown to bits by religious maniacs. The preponderance would seem to lie with protecting the latter at a slight detriment to the former. Casual observation of the subway platforms at Yonge and Bloor, or the Go Train terminal at Union Station, during any evening rush-hour suggest the horrendous casualties that could be inflicted by suicide bombers. Or for that matter by bombers less convinced of their heavenly reward. There is no need for them to engage in a "self-sacrifice operation" when they can still exploit the majority of commuters who have yet to take seriously the risk of unattended packages. I am now convinced this country will only learn its peril when the atrocity is upon us.
*I am placing this link to Angelina Jolie naked in some early film outing as its contents may be distressing to sensitive Flea-readers in search of a plot. I cannot make out why Angelina would press herself up against a chain-link fence or why this would necessitate a blonde woman I don't recognize deciding the appropriate response would be to take off her clothes and press herself against the other side of said fence. Nowt so queer as folk as they say in't the North.
Following Glenn Reynolds' calculations and comparing our most recent weeks' SiteMeter statistics the Flea should fetch US$1.5m from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. I could only agree to a sale at that price with the greatest reluctance.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Jason Bell offers tips on replying to snail-mail spamming, a phenomenon that used to quite aptly be referred to as junk mail. Now I wonder if the same tactic would work with Canadian postage paid envelopes (via Gay Orbit).
A "futuristic design" has been chosen for the new British Antarctic Survey Halley Research Station. The Faber Maunsell concept looks straight-forward to build. Perhaps it was the climbing wall that sold it. I wonder if they are looking for an anthropologist...
Which would all be laughable if Denmark and Canada did not have rather more pressing matters of security and defense demanding their attention. Or for that matter if anybody else on earth recognized either country's sovereignty over these Arctic territories or water-ways let alone any badly defined exclusive economic zone. For the moment I expect Canada to bumble along while the Vikings rove around the place in their rather impressive Thetis-class ice-cutting frigates (supposedly fisheries OPVs).* And in irony related Arctic news, while Canada cannot decide what aircaft might best be used to assert our hypothetical sovereignty in Nunavut the Danes are buying new patrol aircraft from... drumroll please... Canada.
Update: July 29, 2005 Anyone wondering just where Hans Island might be when it is at home can check this CTV piece for a map. Wikipedia, ever resourceful, has a better map and the above photo first published in the ship's newsletter of the HDMS Triton, a Danish frigate. The Associated Press reports Danish and Canadian Google ad buys promoting their respective territorial claims (though I have yet to see them appear at the Flea). Canadians feeling patriotic stirrings can visit Rick Broadhead's website... just turn up your speakers.
South Park Studio presents the Flea. This representation is close to 100% accurate.
Sugar Crash takes a moment to load but may be the single greatest webgame ever.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
MasaManiA documents Decorer, a Japanese trend that demonstrates its lineage in Japan's fashion history, noted for muted palettes and public restraint in interpersonal etiquette.
Haado Gei fans... welcome! Please come back and visit Ghost of a flea for more pop culture news. Think of it as an entertaining, free English lesson!
Razor Ramon "Hard Gay" Sumitani offers more of the personal restraint and caution in nonverbal interaction for which Japan is noted. It is reliably reported his somewhat less than credible leather hot-pants routine has made him "a firm favorite of Japan's fickle schoolgirl fans". These Haado Gei video clips are slow-loading so I have only seen two or three though hip-thrusting to Ricky Martin music is a recurring trope. Perhaps a Flea-reader in Japan could offer some context... though they are hilarious without understanding a word that is said.
Update: A fast-loading clip of Haado Gei in action can be found at Transbuddha.
I would have made Body Feels EXIT a Flea-dance but at 44 Mb only the most dedicated, high-bandwidth, too much time on their hands Flea-readers are likely to enjoy it properly.
I went in search of Namie Amuro videos after reading in Japan Today about her recent public appearance at Daiba Aquacity. But did I have any luck? Hardly. I am not certain what it means that it should be simpler to track down Danish viking metal on "the internet" than almost any J-pop video. Perhaps even media giants like Sony and so forth shudder at the thought of the bandwidth it would require to satiate J-pop's on-line audience. At least Namie Amuro's website offers a catchy loop from her latest single, "Queen of Hip Hop".
There I was innocently downloading review materials using eMule when I stumbled across Zero Landmine, a heartfelt plea to rid the world of landmines through the power of song. Suffice to say the charity anthem genre is not for me. If I could find an on-line copy I would link to it for the consideration of Flea-readers everywhere (a couple of these ads suggest the piece). No reason I should suffer alone.
This is what I get for deciding to watch anything provided the name David Sylvian or Sakamoto Ryuichi is attached. Even Cyndi Lauper does not manage to save this from its Ewok destiny. I had to download a Modesto Muñiz rendition of Nightporter from Sylvian's website to remind myself of my eternal devotion. And on the plus side clicking around lead me to this elephant in boots Chara website. Neat.
So you know Richard Nixon was a Quaker, right? Click through "to hear the greatest political song ever recorded." I freaking love that Norman Osborn hairstyle. Herbert Hoover was also a Quaker but a Gurneyite, a subject on which I should remain silent, lacking in any obvious supervillain powers and Bunnyless to boot. We're all Ranters now besides.*
*Esp. the Flea.
I am adding this link late (12:00 EST) because I just spotted it on Instapundit but don't want to bump my Nixon photo. Having spent several years working in construction research this testimony by Donald Trump regarding the renovation costs for the United Nations building in Manhattan is fascinating.
Update: Moving the UN to the old WTC site... "Put them in on the top floor." Excellent, excellent idea even if that last detail was not the Donald's.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Do you have what it takes to Defend the Faith? I found this one terrifying.
It turns out Adrian Targett is not alone in belonging to a family that has not moved around much. Despite invasions, occupations and migrations by Celts, Saxons, Romans, Vikings, Normans and the rest Oxford archaeologist, David Miles says British genes are much the same as they have been since the last Ice Age.
Miss Universe, Natalie Glebova, was briefly barred from opening an event in the square outside Toronto city hall thanks to a fifteen year old city ordinance. Some folks think this displayed an unwarranted hypocrisy considering the skin on display at Toronto Pride. In fact, it only demonstrated the left-wing prudes had one last gasp in them at City Hall while the right-wing prudes on "the internet" have lost their fight to keep people from having fun at Pride. This blog has been attacked by prudes of the right and prudes of the left so I can relate to Miss Universe even if I will never remotely resemble her in a sash and tiara.
So that makes Toronto intellectually and politically consistent on this subject. Which is more than I can say for many of the comments to Kate's post or, for that matter, the rest of Canada which apparently still has a lot to learn from downtown Toronto. Seriously folks, in a world where religious maniacs want to blow us to kingdom come, if you think this stuff is worth getting het up about (ha ha, I make joke) you need to get your priorities straight (har har, I slay me).
Those advocating a "Straight Pride Day" should consider the unfortunate resonance the demand has with those of scandalized folks who want a "White Pride" alternative to Black History Week. That said, the Flea says the sooner we have a Toronto Mardi Gras the better. It would be a cross to bear but if bare-breasted women in the streets and a Canadian version of the Hurricane are what it takes to quiet the anti-Pride lobby I imagine Toronto can shoulder the burden.
Update: Canadians exhibiting a natural curiosity about our winning Miss Universe entrant may want to peruse these images of Natalie Glebova doing various bikini and elephant related good deeds (and be sure not to miss Glebova's commentary on Toronto Bollywood fashion through that Miss Universe link).
Update: I think I have figured out the problem. All those socons sit transfixed at their computers obsessing over images of Pride and dangerous erototoxins have deranged their reasoning processes! Best not to keep looking and mind their own business lest they get over-erototoxed (via Instapundit).
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. And to the video echoing with the spirit of Flea-goddess Mylene Farmer. That second one is possibly nsfw but what are you thinking looking at French pop videos at work in the first place? Hadn't thought of that one had you? No, I thought you hadn't.
Some might say this piece suggests cats are not that bright. I think it is only one more example of cats messing with our heads (possible nsfw ads and who knows what the Dutch commentary is saying).
As the first signed copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince arrived in New York by armoured truck some folks already thought they knew how the story would end. One of them decided to casually mention the rumour they had heard to me some time ago and I am afraid that purported knowledge, thankfully innacurate as it turned out, coloured my reading of the book. Reports of Harry Potter spoiler related suicide are only a slight exaggeration. So, for heaven's sake, if you have not read the latest Harry Potter do not read the rest of this post let alone follow the links!
Some have expressed the wishful view that in her latest book J.K. Rowling has taken a rhetorical stand against the "war on terror". Slate quotes Darren Cahr's reading of the novel, finding in it "a terror campaign that disrupts the lives of ordinary people and results in the deaths of innocents."
This much is true but Mr. Cahr has nevertheless missed the point. It is entirely possible, reasonable, even at times important to be skeptical of specific actions, policies or motivations of the Ministry of Magic or indeed of any government no matter how representative. Anyone who imagines a perfect bureaucracy really is living in a world of fantasy. It is another thing entirely to imagine this excuses the actions of Voldemort and his followers let alone pretend some finger-pointing at wizarding authorities substitutes for the need to confront and defeat evil directly. The Ministry of Magic may be handling the fight badly but at no point does Rowling suggest the real fight is with the Ministry rather than the Death Eaters. Quite the opposite. Slate's readership imagine itself to be too sophisticated to believe in good and evil. Fortunately, Rowling's readership is capable of grasping the simple moral fact of evil and the duty to challenge it. I am delighted a generation of children are being raised under her tutelage.
Though Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released only a few short days ago, Wikipedia is already listing continuity errors. But not everyone is content to enjoy the book. This drive-by Harry Potter spoiler video shows the depths to which some will sink to have fun at the expense of other people. The spoiler has morphed with lightning speed, a sure sign of this publishing event's place in the culture.
Details from Ron Moore's concept memo outlining the "naturalistic science fiction" of the new Battlestar Galactica and much more besides in this New York Times Magazine article (via the Neighbour of the Flea).
While I am not surprised die-hard fans of the original series would have preferred a continuation of the original story I am astonished anyone could hold on to their antipathy to the new series having actually seen it. But then these supposed die-hard fans find it convenient to ignore, or in the case of the author of the New York Times piece are evidently unaware of, the fact there already has been a continuation of the original series. In addition to the 24 Battlestar Galactica episodes of 1978-1979 were 10 episodes of Galactica 1980. This was exactly what these supposed true Battlestar fans claim to want: a continuation of Glen A. Larson's story for the most part written by Larson himself and in the case of one final, desperate episode starring Dirk Benedict as Lt. Starbuck. It was horrid. Horrid beyond belief. Take this creepy summary of that last episode, "The Return of Starbuck", for example.
Most sensible people would compare this horror to the new series, one of the best science fiction series ever produced, and admit they were wrong to doubt Ron Moore.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance no matter what.
Now the Senate has passed Bill C-38 and the legislation has been given royal assent the governments of Alberta and Prince Edward Island will, at long last, have to choke back their righteous indignation and issue civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Sounds like the work of a cabal of parliamentarians, encouraged by activist courts and abetted by a compliant media foisting a new tyranny on Canadians! Well, if you stark raving mad. Comment on the issue at LifeSite quotes Campaign Life Coalition, branching out from their opposition to abortion, waxing Klingon at a development they say "reeks of dishonour, dishonesty and public disdain". But they are just getting warmed up. To continue:
Remember: opponents of same-sex marriage say they don't hate gay people. I know for a fact some of them don't. But some of them, it should be noted, are so devoted to their opposition to same-sex marriage they are prepared to call an act of Parliament a coup or a form of tyranny. Given the real tyrannies with which our freedoms are threatened, and given their motivation by an unreasoning, implacable religious fundamentalism, this sort of language by some on the extreme Canadian right is a stupidity so perfect it approaches wickedness.
II Timothy 2: 19 "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
It turns out that as much as a third of the anonymous anti-gay mail barrage Canadian MPs were subject to in the run up to recognizing same-sex marriage is thanks to a single, secretive Christian sect, the Exclusive Brethren.
Writing as a fringe member of a not terribly secretive, but small and fervent, Christian sect I have to say I find all the secrecy and exclusivity most appealing. That said, their ideas about gay marriage are wrong on two counts: first, they are wrong about gay marriage, and; second, there is no point is being an exclusive brethren if, after only two hundred years, you go soft and decide to start sending out leaflets. My suggestion is simple. If you want to be a Christian and take an active hand in politics you are much better off joining the Roman communion. Catholics have been at this stuff since almost the beginning, are much better organized and certainly do not need to resort to an expired 7/11 post-box as a cover. When I was lending a hand with the Quaker food runs around Westminster we knew we might as well give up when the Catholics turned up. We had sandwiches and blankets. They had a mobile soup kitchen. It was no contest really.
Interesting fact: Aleister Crowley was raised as a member of the Plymouth Brethren (or Open Brethren) who, in a peculiar reading of I Corinthians 3:4, split with the Exclusive Brethren in the late 1840s. Crowley's family were Quakers but his father turned to the Brethren presumably in the feeling the Friends were insufficiently hard-core. And just look what that got him.
I was preparing a radio piece for the CBC asking sf actors what they made of their most devoted fans, their experience of interacting with their fans and, most important, just who it was the fans thought they were meeting when they approached the actors at conventions. The piece was never produced due to some unfortunate timing, my interviews were carried out a week before September 11, 2001, but I nevertheless am pleased to have had the opportunity to meet and chat with the actors behind Chewbacca, Neelix, Greedo (though not that Greedo), Admiral Motti (a bit intimidating with his Imperial guard) and Leeta, the pneumatic Dabo girl from Deep Space Nine. While I met Traci Lords she was not giving interviews but Ted Raimi was bafflingly pleased to be interviewed for a CBC piece having grown up listening to it from near Detroit. I had interviewed his friend Bruce Campbell for a National Post article so knew enough to ask him what it was like to grow up "north of Canada"...
Perhaps the main reason I am a moderately successful anthropologist is I am prepared to be a bit nosey in asking people questions and, given that many folk prefer not to be pestered in this way, it is important to have something to offer in return if only an honest curiousity about what people think. This curiousity lead me to be lying in wait for James Doohan at the bar at Planet Hollywood in the hopes I could stand him a drink and ask him a few questions. I was not quite prepared for the man when he arrived with his family. He had a presence it is difficult to describe, quite different from the raw charisma of William Shatner, but in some ways more impressive in its quiet strength. A surprise perhaps in speaking of a man best known for playing an engineer in a fanciful space opera. No surprise at all in a man who who fought at Normandy. I let the man have a drink in peace.
Most installments of the Flea Presents Great Canadians™ are somewhat tongue in cheek. This one is not. Recent news coverage of James Doohan's poor health has revealed aspects of his biography many fans knew nothing about. Doohan was a Captain in the Royal Canadian Artillery, stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and was wounded after taking out two enemy snipers only to go on to fly an artillery observation plane for the Royal Canadian Air Force. This is a stand up hero and a great Canadian. The Campblog has more to say.
Update: The Castle offers a moving tribute to "the craziest pilot in the Canadian Forces".
The BBC hosts a number of interviews with actors and other stakeholders* from a variety of Star Trek series. Patrick Stewart offers advice on how to remember your lines and there is something strangely gripping about Jeri Ryan on getting in and out of her 7 of 9 costume. Jonathan Frake's observation about the importance of science fiction is an important one.
*I am so pleased with myself for that stakeholders thing.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance to a catchy London Beat sample. And that tricky, not quite safe for work banner ad... just turn up your speakers and look at the left side of the window. Your office will transform into a gay bar and nobody will be distracted by the bare-breasted lady.
Update: The more I look at this video the more I think it does more to advance freedom and liberty than every humour-challenged Ya Basta! protester at Gleneagles. If I can't have a dance party, I don't want to be part of your revolution.
Firefighter Morris Costello should be commended for the dramatic rescue of a woman in Tampa, Florida. This one is difficult to watch.
Egyptian government bureaucrat, spokesman and ersatz archaeologist, Zahi Hawass has made his latest threats agents European research institutions. From my point of view, it is entirely possible the Catholic University of Brussels (I think the Guardian means Louvain-la-Neuve) and the Fitzwilliam Museum are in possession of artifacts that were removed recently and illegally from Egypt and should therefore be returned. It is difficult to offer informed comment as this Guardian article offers almost no details, the artifacts themselves being secondary to reprinting an Egyptian government press release in the service of all purpose, misplaced guilt-mongering.
It is impossible, however, to take seriously claims for artifacts removed from the area centuries ago when the current government of Egypt has no democratic legitimacy and is consistently threatened by a violent minority who can no more be entrusted with their care than the Taliban. When I can open a Temple of Isis within the bounds of the old empires that created these objects and that same freedom is enjoyed by, say, the women of what is now called Egypt it will be time to consider relocating some antiquities. For now, the Rosetta Stone should stay precisely where it is.
English Heritage hopes to recreate a garden created for Elizabeth I by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester at Kenilworth Castle. Archaeological research and a rereading of a descriptive letter by Robert Laneham, a gentleman usher to Dudley, offer guidance.
A professor on a hiring committee at Quaint Old College in the American midwest writes that candidates with blogs found themselves at a disadvantage. S/he seems to imagine that just because a non-blogging candidate can obscure their interest in electronics, cats or countries we should invade that these views are somehow less likely to have any such interests because they have not written about them on-line. Trust me, I have read enough student blogs (not you, Agent C) to have an idea of the range of things I did not need to know about as their professor. Heck, I have graded enough student papers to have worked that one out. I assume the same would apply to any potential colleague, blogger or not. It may be a small comfort to Ivan Tribble that I would not want to work with him or his nosey colleagues either (via WitchyProf).
Ahh, so different than using the Chronicle of Higher Education for anonymous petty venting of frustration at the existence of "the internet". It seems to me that with every new cohort of increasingly wired students cranky grumblings at the strangeness of blogging will be harder and harder to credit. But by then I imagine clever Professor Tribble will have invented the whole idea.
Greg Stacy comments on Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl", "one of the most baffling pieces of music of the modern age".
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.*
*If that is not enough fun with genre for one day I can also point you to Yoda getting down to Britney Spears' "Oops (I did it again)" (nsfw banner ads).
PawSense has the technology to cat proof your computer.
Flea-readers with compulsive personalities, completion issues or a tight deadline had best avoid this Ball Revamped III game.
Not that the Guardian could have left it at attacking her fans but had to have a go at the leg-warmer goddess herself. The Flea stands by Kate Bush as a fellow oracle, mystic waif, seer, conduit for the world of ethereal sprites and essentially, incorrigibly, a show-off. Let's have another listen to that Futureheads cover of Hounds of Love.
Now is the time when we dance. So gothique.* **
*Don't miss Deltra Goodrem attempting to seduce Captain James T. Kirk. I should point out that German speaking Flea-readers will find many of the incidentally linked videos quite diverting. The Austrian ski and winter paradise of Arlberg looks lovely. I don't expect the bikini model videos to be of a broad interest to Flea-readers German-speaking or otherwise but I mention them here in the interests of journalism or something.
**A nsfw image has been added since I wrote this post. It is fairly tame, however, so you are probably taking a much bigger chance by cranking your speakers playing music at the office.
There is something about gawking at people in costume at Star Wars conventions that never gets old.
You might think it would be easy to meet women who paint themselves blue and make their way around the world in inventive PVC cosplay outfits. You would be wrong (or possibly be a font of suggestions).
DC Media Girl has some good news and some bad news.
Ok, I'm confused after reading this comic book. Is life under communism more like life when we get our news from blogs instead of the CBC or more like life where video games are censored? Let's ask J. Edgar Hoover.
It is by no means obvious how the agency responsible for this Xbox ad come up with its premise but it captures an undeniable truth nonetheless.
This guy's PC owns. Not safe for work due to language and the possibility your co-workers will think this is how you interact with your computer when you are not at work.
Flea-fav Irshad Manji is interviewed by the Times of London. Manji's critique of a particular brand of Islam is in exact accord with my feelings about too much of what masquerades as Christianity.
Peter Jackson's King Kong is a return to his roots. And casting a digitally-mediated Andy Serkis as King Kong is inspired. Seeing as it is inevitable I may as well be (one of) the first to suggest having King Kong climb Minas Tirith and swat at the Nazgul buzzing around his head. Skull Island is doing a remarkable Mordor impersonation... otherwise there is a distinct Sam Raimi feel to the trailer.
While I could not agree King Kong was "the most terrifying movie monster of all time" the 1933 original is a classic. And while I know it is classic movie monster heresy to write this but I prefer the Dino De Laurentiis "tiger in your tank" 1976 version with the spooky, John Barry soundtrack.
This Jeep commercial is safe for prime-time but possibly not for the office. I get the impression Jeep's ad agency has a low opinion of the intelligence of its market base.
The folks responsible for this Mazda ad think mini-van drivers will be put off by an organic love interest.
Al Qaeda's repeatedly stated aim is to develop nuclear capability and bin Laden's specific injunction to kill four million Americans (two million of them children) is entirely real. It is not intent, but capability, that is at issue. I do not believe for a minute that WorldNetDaily has any specific information that would suggest al Qaeda has realized this capability. But people who dismiss such a concern out of hand are people who have decided, whether they know it or not, that the risk is low because their safety can be entrusted to the security competences of ex-Soviet states. I do not share their optimism.
365 and a Wake Up considers the attack on London while writing from Iraq.
Well said. God bless and keep you safe.
This fantasy plot generator should come in handy.
This secrets of Scientology website discusses the working and operation of the E-Meter. The John Travolta* and Priscilla Presley images are just perfect. The inventor of the E-Meter deserves some attention and the piece on how to audit aphids should come in handy.
*More John Travolta goodness thanks to the Onion.
Canada's Conservative party recognized the same thing here some time back... and decided to concentrate all its efforts on the war against same-sex marriage. Sadly, that last bit isn't a joke.
Update: Though in fairness to Stephen Harper's supporters, in that hat/vest combo it is not always easy to discern what he is thinking. I am no lawyer but this look almost certainly violates the fashion clauses of the Charter (hat tip Gen-X at 40).
"The notion that you can somehow defeat violence by submitting to it is simply a flight from fact. As I have said, it is only possible to people who have money and guns between themselves and reality."
- George Orwell, "No, Not One" (1941)
A New York Observer article is a fun read despite its baffling premise that the British stiff upper lip was believed by anyone to have gone anywhere. I particularly enjoy the commuter who felt it polite to "cut a long story short" and I shall always remember the efforts of some to keep the home fires burning during the Blitz. "Progressive" readers need fear not as the writer manages to include the obligatory leftist dismissal of any real bravery being involved and manages to conjure a tangential anti-Bush angle. The stars would still appear to be in their courses.
This, however, is the telling bit. London is not Madrid. And Britain is not Spain.
Jessica Alba says she will not be making any nude film appearances because "I don't do nudity, I never do nudity. I just don't feel comfortable being naked around other people. Julia Roberts doesn't do nudity. A lot of people don't."* The Flea-included (mostly). Probably a good idea about that Julia Roberts policy too.
*So what is this all about then? (nsfw) You know I have to question these matters. Otherwise the terrorists have already won.
Fun with printing technology.
That's the new thing. We all decided on it last night. Anyone using a conjunction before a preposition gets punched.
Funky Truck has a nice interface and is strangely enjoyable considering my driving is too incompetent to finish the first level of the game.
Bored servicemen plus camel spider equals Jackass Iraq.
Update: As Varenius points out in a comment, this links to a page with a risque banner ad that may not be worksafe. Sorry about that. I am not certain what it says about me or "the internet" that I hardly notice half-naked people.
Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, had some unkind words for Harry Potter.
While this may seem like a derangement of reason, it is a small thing in comparison with the real Harry haters (via the Flea's Publishing Panel of Experts).
Bill has more!
The education system in Saudi Arabia forbids the teaching of Darwinian evolution. Well, it is just a theory after all.
Having lost in court, in Parliament and in public opinion one last nasty, futile maneuvre would resurrect monarchical rule rather than see the equality of fellow citizens. Lest there be any remaining doubt about the utter contempt for democracy of the theocrats in opposition to same-sex marriage this latest gesture should put it to rest (via Gay Orbit).
Omarion, in London for Live8, reportedly asked his fans to pray for his safe return home.
His official website denies involvement with the PR firm that released the statement. The PR firm, in turn, has disavowed any relationship to the singer or the press release. What seems clear is that somebody paid PR Newswire $635 to issue the statement. This seems a bit steep for a prank.
We have all seen some deranged things thanks to the panoptic eye that is "the internet". Despite the sheer variety and scope of the human condition so represented I do not believe I have seen anything more disconcerting than the sight of a Shanghai maintenance man perched on a rusty air conditioner mount some thirteen floors up from the pavement.
Shanghai Diaries has details of his afternoon working at home.
And then the man climbed out the window...
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
I have belatedly given a hard look at those multiple hidden fees in my Bell telephone bill and am now doing some shopping around with this Telecomparisons website. Do Flea-readers have a preferred alternate carrier?
One of the participants in Spy was admiring his suit and tie disguise and said, "All I need is a briefcase and I'm Swayze." Swayze, it turns out, is Cockney rhyming slang for "crazy". Though in this case I believe he meant he would be ready.
The depressing thing about this week is how obvious is the delight some people take in hating and breaking things. Worse yet is how many of those few would try to justify hating and breaking things by pointing a finger at God's will instead of their own defective characters.
There is nothing Christian about vandalizing a church, less still is there anything Christian in the spirit that would motivate such a deed. In light of the casual mean-spiritedness and toilet stall humour I saw directed toward gay people in the comments section of a prominent Canadian "conservative" blog yesterday I think it is a short step to the spray-paint can for all too many people who imagine they are doing the Lord's work. They are not.
For all the snearing about London's deployment of CCTV surveillance, it appears the technology has played a key role in the speedy identification of the bombers.
If the camera on the bus had been operational, and let us hope London transport is seeing to that problem, at least one of the culprits could have been identified immediately. CCTC may not have prevented, deterred or displaced these men but as this is terror and not youth in hoodies it is the critics who should reconsider their expectations of the technology without dismissing it entirely.
... are subject to a British Columbia court injunction! I hope you did not expect me to violate a court order. While that might make me a hero to some grumpy folks out there given the on-again, off-again kvetching from the Canadian right about Judge Gomery (it's about the freedom of speech) I think there are plenty of good reasons to accept the court's decision. More importantly, I admit it is sad to troll for hits in this fashion but it is the summer doldrums and this is all part of an ongoing Google experiment in any case. You may spank me now.
Rock Star INXS is the reality television I have been waiting for. No, wait. The reality television for which I have been waiting. It even has Canadian content (no offense). Mark Burnett, what would I do without your ever increasing reality tv oeuvre? I am not sure what I think of ersatz citizen journalist reality show contestants but involving Dave Navarro as a pseudo-judge and host was a good choice.
Update: 22:12 EST And Daphna Dove, obviously. Except you could hardly put her in front of INXS. Nobody would notice them in the background.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Multi-role patrol frigate, HMCS Toronto and her friendly crew are visiting her namesake city on a tour of the Great Lakes. The HMCS Toronto website has details for people wishing to visit the ship in Toronto. Lots of fun. And nice to learn up close our democracy still has some teeth. The Canadian Navy was distributing collectible recruitment mini-CDs and the Flea is pleased to offer one to the first three commenters to this post who would like one.
Update: Taylor & Company has a more detailed post on a visit to the HMCS Toronto. I too owe a great debt to Tom Clancy.
I had forgotten the Jacquard Club, goth bar of Norwich (having only been there once). Reports have it an increasing Chav presence is changing a once horsey, middle-class city. Thank you, Delia Smith. Now I have no idea what to do with my Canaries jersey.
As someone with a surfeit of embarrassing '80s hairstyle photo evidence I am all in favour of today's youth facing similar consequences. I also think Emo haircuts (nsfw language/ads) are no more embarrassing than any other possible displacement of hair. I just wish I had hair.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
I was doing rather badly at Pyoro until I worked out the spacebar let me eat the falling plants.
Rüdiger Ditz writing for Siegel call it "Cool Britannia" and a "strategic defeat" for al Qaeda.
Despite snarky remarks from the Superficial, I see no reason why St. Paul's, Westminster Abbey or Windsor Castle, overrun with tourists at the best of times, should not make an exception to the royal rule and allow the run of the place for Paris Hilton to wed Paris Latsis. Failing that, perhaps Beckingham Palace is available.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Ahh, the legendary English sense of humour.
Vive les pommes frites libre!
I am quite pleased with that p'tit bot mots (via Boing Boing)
David Ahenakew, found guilty of inciting hatred and fined a thousand dollars, blamed pressure from "the Jewish community" for his conviction. Being Jewish, to Ahenakew's mind they would also presumably have merited his description of them as "a disease". But then I expect everyone who condemned Bill C-250 to leap to defend Ahenakew's right to express his views (excepting Americans who for the most part actually do believe in freedom of speech).
I was doing some poking around to write something about current Flea-fav soft drink, Mountain Dew Energy. This green nectar is actually Diet Mountain Dew but marketed as a "natural health product" to get around Canada's deranged caffeine regulations. I came across an article from the Edmonton Sun by a scary looking man named Mike Jenkinson.
There is something both amusing and pathetic in the state of Alberta journalism that even a slightly humourous piece about a soft drink cannot pass without an introduction lambasting "the Liberals for destroying this fine country, running an unconstitutional government, poisoning political discourse and generally acting like a bunch of nitwits." Anyone feeling "Western alienation" who wonders why central Canada cannot take you seriously: look no further. You may say you enjoy Mountain Dew Energy but some of you read more like you have been drinking the Kool-Aid.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance with some timely hot feminist lyrics.
My gut-wrenching jealousy of Dan Brown makes it difficult for me to look on this Da Vinci Code trailer with any proper enthusiasm.
One would imagine the Day of the Jackal loophole passport scam would have been closed 32 years after Frederick Forsyth's book was published, let alone two years after the attacks of September 11, 2001. This 2003 BBC article considers the question.
Canada and Italy are named as targets by Al Qaida. The other targets have already been hit. People can continue to blame every problem in the world on the Americans but this belief, no matter how fervantly held, does nothing to change the stated aims of those would do us harm.
Carleton University security expert, Martin Rudner's assertion that Canada is relatively safe because "An attack on Toronto will get a minor mention in U.S. papers. The Arab world wouldn't even report it." merits special mention as the single most asinine thing I have read since yesterday's attack.
My first thoughts are with friends and family followed by the rest of the city I love best. My first effort to call my cousin has not worked though I expect I have got the dialing code wrong. No email from anyone though I expect that is a lack of technological know-how on the part of various friends and relatives. I am going to run updates here as I learn more.
Update: 7:23 EST A call to Gloucester got through where an email had been sent. My most immediate relatives are well. That email explained phones are down in London (but the internet is working). There is no public transit.
I will start keeping updates on news items in the extended entry of a post to follow this one. Personal thoughts will follow in this post.
The Globe and Mail reports that Karla Teale, the woman seeking anonymity from her former life as Karla Homolka through the peculiar tactic of granting a national television interview two hours after her release, has read a book on how to disappear. The book is rather grandly titled How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found: Planning a disappearance, arranging for new identification, finding work, establishing credit, pseudocide (creating the impression you're dead), and more.
Considering this Homolka publicity I would have imagined it would attract more than one satirical Amazon review.
Not having read the book I am not certain if it offers anything more than Day of the Jackal* baptismal certificate tips, though I gather these were more than enough for Ahmed Rassam to generate a fictional identity as "Benni Noris". One note to the psychopath seeking anonymity: stay away from the Tim Horton's iced cappuccino. It is a dead give-away.
*"In the third cemetary he visited the Jackal found a gravestone to suit his purpose, that of Alexander Duggan who died at the age of two and a half years in 1931. Had he lived, the Duggan child would have been a few months older than the Jackal in July 1963…." - Frederick Forsyth, The Day of the Jackal, NY: Bantam, 1971, p. 78.
This evening I watched a CNN report that was making a flap about Martha Stewart's claim she had worked out how to remove her house arrest electronic monitoring anklet from that source of improvisation that is "the internet". While the report was somewhat tongue in cheek, CNN could not find the website Stewart claimed to have seen and so I decided to have a look myself. I gather Sentinel is the likely manufacturer of Stewart's accessory based on an article on how to bling up your house arrest anklet. But otherwise I have to say I am with CNN and against Martha Stewart... unless her Googling abilities found the "how to" instructions that have eluded me.
As someone planning to invest in London real-estate, news of the forthcoming London Olympics sent a shudder through me. Still, if it is two fingers for the French President then no expense should be spared (good for Wales too, apparently).
The EUobserver has Jacques Chirac's remarks for any who may have missed them.
So here I am gearing up for the life transition that is sure to be George Romero's Land of the Dead, Asia Argento's first horror appearance in a film not directed by her father. George Romero, as she put it, is God. As a reminder of Argento (the daughter) in a classic role, I decided to rent The Stendahl Syndrome and it delivers on the premise and the Argento (the father) disorienting creep factor. So close. Only to discover those poltroons at Troma have released a version with Asia Argento's voice dubbed over and no subtitle alternative. Their introduction took care to point out Maxim's determination of Argento (the daughter) as the hottest woman in the universe. While this is true, Troma evidently does not understand fully fifty percent of her hotness is in her voice.
Don't miss the Argento (the father) interview Easter egg. A final thought: unless your last name is Argento this is not even remotely a family film.
While I am all in favour of medical research these canine reanimation experiments are literally morbid.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
A Ghillie Suit should come in handy for the Flea's everpresent need to move unobserved amongst the crowd.
The more I learn about Scientology the more creeped out I become.
How did I miss this classic moment with Stephen Harper, would be Conservative Prime Minister of Canada? I have to say Paul Martin looks better and better all the time. These things are relative.
I was also intrigued to learn that alongside Atlantic Canada's "culture of defeat" and Ontario's content with Canada's slide into becoming "a second-tier socialistic country" that Harper feels alienated even from the alienated West as "in parts of the Prairies" there is evidence of "the kind of can't-do attitude (that) is a problem in this country." I assume that would be the parts of the Prairies that do not show Calgary's economic can-do spirit so admirably demonstrated by the Saudi business model of being lucky, sucking oil out of the ground and then bragging about it. Oh, and the whining about other people having a sex-life. Musn't forget that.
Not to worry Conservative supporters. Assuming he can bring himself to talk to people, this BBQ circuit could be the ticket to showing the Canadian people his warm, welcoming side. Plus, your party leader has yet to insult the people of Nunavut so that could be a seat right there. Just don't ask for his opinion about inukshuks. It might be enough to drive him right over the edge.
MT3 has been acting up for several days now. The main page will publish up to one of several entries it is apparently having trouble digesting, or even a link within an entry, and then refuse the publish the remaining posts and the sidebar. And then sometimes it will publish them all without complaint. I have tried rebuilding the site as a whole to no result though republishing the main index will sometimes right the balance if only for a time. Explorer and Firefox read the page until the some break so the difficulty appears to be independent of the browser. Has anyone seen this problem before?
So, I started to write this post about a movie but got sidetracked by research into a secondary character. I am now convinced that if I could understand the performance of Yamamoto Taro (Age: 31, Height: 175cm, Sun Sign: Sagitarius) in this NEC Cinema Paradise ad (yellow bandana/green shirt) I would understand all of Japanese popular culture and thereby achieve Bodhisattva status of something. For starters, what's with the snippet of Italian opera from out of nowhere? Though I am completely in accord with his astonishment when the keyboard pops out of the entertainment centre.
Toshi the pizza delivery guy, the part that lead me indirectly to consider NEC products that may not be available in North America in my lifetime, was one of the more straightforward characters in the film that started this business. I rented Moon Child in part because I was after watching a low brain-wattage vampire film but also because the cover said it starred HYDE of L'Arc~en~Ciel and Gackt, formerly of Malice Mizer, both of whom are J-pop/rock slash J-Goth figures about whom I remain sadly ignorant. I was so ignorant of Wang Leehom I had not heard of him but Taiwanese pop music is not quite yet on the Flea's radar. Suffice to say this is one of the best vampire films (à la clan Toreador) I have ever seen. It is an ongoing wonder to me how thoroughly Japan gets Goth and a more immediate wonder they have figured out how to make form-fitting loud Hawaiian shirts très gothique. Also guns. Lots of guns.
This iPod Flea ad makes me think I should be registering a trademark. Not that I need more than six songs anyway (via the Flea's Enochian Correspondent).
This is London comes through with the details of life backstage at Live8. The £7,000 A-list goodie bag sounds good too. So nice to do these things for charity.
Though much may be forgiven for the first Pink Floyd appearance in twenty-four years.
Even if I was not delighted to learn recent news about their decision to acknowledge same-sex marriage, the fact the United Church has a sense of humour would be more than enough to endear them to me.
Update: Dr. Rusty Shackleford writes with the following interesting observation. It reminded me that Virginia used to impose a fine of 100 pounds on ship's captains landing Quakers in the colony. That was before the formation of the United States. So... now I am curious when the various states relinquished/had taken away their established churches!
I am now looking through a pamphlet called "Memorial and Remonstrance" by James Madison (June 20, 1785) addressed to "the Honorable the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia."
Canada having no formal separation between church and state I am disappointed to read so many of my neighbours in the great republic to the south so lightly dismissing Article VI of, and the First Amendment to, their Constitution as a "myth". Thomas Jefferson may be best remembered for a letter he drafted to King George III* in which he wrote that men were "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." In 1802, then third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson wrote another letter, this one to the Danbury Baptist Association.
Thomas Jefferson, at least, did not think his reading of the Constitution or his duties in upholding it were a "myth". It is important to note he borrowed the letter's most resonant phrase from Roger Williams, who in 1644 argued "a hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the Church and the wilderness of the world" should be formed for the protection of religious belief. Jefferson's intention was to protect religious belief from its debasement in the operations of government or the notion belief should, or indeed could, be imposed by the state. Any educated religious person of his day, so familiar with the dictates of this or that denomination in the Thirteen Colonies or across the seas in England, would have recognized the reference. It is sad that with two centuries of religious liberty fewer people would know the name Roger Williams and understand that the need identified by Jefferson and the Founding Fathers is no less pressing today.
I could not agree more with something Andrew Sullivan had to say on the subject:
It is also worth pointing out another religious authority who offered advice in the same vein (for details see Luke 20:21-26).
*Less well known is a reply from the government of George III.
The words of the Star Spangled Banner are an account of the siege of Fort McHenry and a condemnation of British artillery skills but their meaning is something evoked, and never captured, by the meaning of the words alone. A literal truth can be important but rarely so much as a mythological truth. The first one may tell you what the weather is like but only second can describe the feeling of the sun rising on one more day of hard won freedom or, more important still, remind us it is still worth defending. Happy birthday, America.
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
- Francis Scott Key
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
This guide to starting a fire using a Coke can and a chocolate bar should come in handy.
A website offers some unflattering and arguably unkind depictions of Tom Cruise but is interesting for its high-resolution image of Scientology's Freedom Medal of Valor.
Either the authors of 18 U.S.C. § 2257 do not know much about the internet or they know enough to imagine gumming up the works will have any effect on the production, and rather more importantly the consumption, of pornographic images. The very best they can hope for is a multi-billion dollar industry going offshore. Assuming, of course, the bill survives an inevitable, well funded First Amendment challenge. Remember: freedom isn't free!*
*That would be a buck o'five.
Sean Kinsell writes a classic line.
While Eric Scheie offices a classic example in the comments.
These people are not joking. And just so we are clear on this point: prejudice against gay people, usually gay men, is only the all too acceptable face of this movement. Should a Dominionist government come into being I can only assume historical precedent as a guide to those who would suffer. This means Catholics, Jews and any Protestants with a different reading of Scripture in something like that order. This includes those in for a nasty shock having agreed to the Dominionist reading of Scripture when it was limited to gay people rather than, say, adulterers or non-virginal women. Plank meet eye. Eye, plank.
Dominionism is a form of theocratic fascism. There can be no compromise with its agenda and even those who share some part of its moral aims, an opposition to same-sex marriage, for example, should take extreme care that shared opposition not inadvertently support Dominionism in its bid for power.
Bruce Prescott writes as a mainstream Baptist about Rousas John Rushdoony's thought.
One thing I will say for these folks is that their theology, while moronic, is intellectually consistent. It strikes me that if your plan is to guide an information age society with the metaphors of bronze age pastoralists you may as well go with the whole program rather than cherry picking the bits that can be twisted to justify rough treatment of the people you happen not to like. Of course, this is the same intellectual consistency that lead the Taliban to make exactly the same mistake: these metaphors were the best those bronze age writers could manage but unless we believe the Holy Spirit has abandoned the world, unless we would rather worship some words on a page instead of God Almighty, we have do the best we can to make sense of Creation with the metaphors appropriate to our lives now.
Fortunately, there is an obvious alternative to bronze age law. Don't like same-sex marriage? Don't marry a gay guy. Otherwise, let's make common cause in minding our own business and maybe, just maybe, help each other find the truth rather than imagining it can be imposed on someone like a parking ticket. Or that someone can make a free choice to accept Grace when the parking ticket comes with a death sentence.
MTV Date School offers a number of useful pointers.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
This First Church of Shatnerology Handbook for New Operating TOUPEE's (NOT) should come in handy.
In case this looks like utter nonsense with no happeningness in the time-track, it is worth a comparison with the Oxford Capacity Analysis test. Some years ago I tried to get the Church of Scientology to send me a copy of this, the personality test their representatives are after getting people to take. I ended up having to change my phone number to be rid of their pestery phone calls and never did get a copy of the test. But lo, the wonder that is "the internet" now provides both the test and L. Ron Hubbard's optimal answers.
Some Scientology documents prove more elusive which is a shame as this is rivoting, if poorly written and conceived, latter-day gnostic fun. Some otherwise unavailable materials, subject to copyright and so forth, are nonetheless in the public sphere as part of the Fishman Affidavit made available by multiple Dutch court rulings and, of course, thanks to the technological marvel that is "the internet". Take this ostensibly super-secret inner-revelation of Scientology OT VIII B document, for example. But then the Church may or may not claim it is a forgery so no harm no foul. Excepting perhaps the bit about Jesus "being a lover of young boys and men" and "given to uncontrollable bursts of temper and hatred". The idea that the man we knew as L. Ron Hubbard was some kind of alien Anti-Christ messiah might also be off-putting to some still labouring under an excess of Body Thetans and the genetic manipulation of the Galactic Confederacy. Tell me about it.
Brooke Shields explains what Tom Cruise does not know about estrogen.
Update: Scientologist, Tom Cruise claims psychiatry is a pseudo-science. Because he knows the history of it. Do you know the history of it? Because he knows. He knows the history of it.
Guys who have shared housing in college will recognize the outline of this roommate story even it if, in fairness, it does represent an extreme. Excepting a handy map there are no visuals but this remains not even remotely safe for work or anywhere else.
"In those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation."
- BGen A.E. Ross
I recently had the opportunity to visit the new war museum in Ottawa. It is impressive both in terms of its collection and its architecture but the moment that impressed me the most was the privilege of chatting with a commissionaire as I stopped by the entrance to the main exhibits area. He suggested I start my tour with a look around the "used car lot" on the lower floor, lots of tanks and such. I followed his suggestion and on the way found this, the Vimy Flag.
It is difficult to imagine a more pointless struggle than the Great War but even more difficult to conceive of the heroism it must have taken to fight in it. The meaning we find in that flag suggests some divine purpose may be at work in even the most pointless conflict. We may never know the ultimate end of our actions but it seems to me we can be certain of our intentions. This week I felt proud to be Canadian for the first time in a long time even as I believe we have much more work to do. Perhaps both are for the best. Happy Canada Day.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Prepare. To freak. Out.
I do not know what it says about me that I cannot tell if this tween-oriented Bling It On! ad is a parody. Or that I am now possessed by a mad urge to bling up my monitor and possibly my telephone.
FormerlyRosie comments on Oprah's recent Hermes humiliation, Brooke Shields v Tom Cruise and quotes Joni Mitchell.
Operation Clambake presents the Scientology secret library. Remember: information wants to be free.