FleaInNYCbanner.jpg

July 30, 2005

The Kylie Bible

evian_big.jpg

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.

Posted by the Flea at 09:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Birthday Massacre: Blue

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Harry Potter sleuthing

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).

Posted by the Flea at 09:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

Dungeons & Dragons made simple

The Joycean complexity of Dungeons & Dragons made simple at last (via KiP).

It landed on my desk, heavy like a two-handed mace: Dungeons & Dragons for Dummies, a new book from Wiley Publishing, written by a couple key guys from the RPG industry. "Perfect!" I exclaimed. "If only this had come out a little sooner -- like in 1975."
Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

Collins-class

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.

The report, which was distributed to 26 naval commanders, reveals several potentially "catastrophic" incidents at sea, including a fire on board HMAS Waller and damage to crucial battery cables aboard HMAS Farncomb and HMAS Sheean.

Nine months after the report was written, HMAS Dechaineux and its crew of 55 almost sank after it suffered a major flood off the coast of Perth -- as revealed for the first time in The Weekend Australian last Saturday.

Cameron Stewart suggests a culture of secrecy, invaluable to the submarine service in a war-fighting context, may have contributed.

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

July 29, 2005

Where the Wild Roses Grow

WildRoseKylie.gif

"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.

"This song, even though it's a murder ballad, is dealing with a kind of obsession I had with her - on a professional level, but an obsession - which is about her beauty and her innocence, in a way," Cave confesses carefully, intent on being understood.

"Her un-cynical approach to things in the face of what I guess she goes through...There was something very much about the person she was, that she was able to maintain, in a quite honest way, this un-cynical kind of person. I really admired that. I admired her strength in a way. I'm not really articulating this very well."

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!

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Little Britain

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.

The beautiful brunette - who has been by her pop star sibling's side since she was diagnosed with the disease - says the pair love to snuggle up together in bed while watching the hugely popular comedy series.

Dannii, 33, claims the show's off-beat humour has been taking Kylie's mind off her cancer battle and lets her feel 'normal' again - if just for a few hours.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Shapeshifters: Lola's Theme

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Wizard Challenge

I managed 7 on this Harry Potter trivia wizard challenge.

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

Machine Gun Vs Katana

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.

Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thank you for listening

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.

I do not sing what I believe
I only give them fact
If they believe quite otherwise,
It still will have impact.
Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM | TrackBack (0)

July 28, 2005

Rock Star INXS report

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.

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

The Raveonettes: Love in a Trashcan

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Stirling Prize

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced its shortlist for the 2005 Stirling Prize. Nice, but nothing that meets last year's Gherkin gold-standard.

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

The Backstroke of the West

Fun with Engrish. And the Presbyterian Church (via Bow. James Bow).

i saw revenge of the sith last weekend at a local theater with my friend joe who was in town on business. it was much better than the first two movies and a fitting end (err.. middle) to the star wars saga.

the next day i was walking past my friendly dvd salesperson and decided to check out revenge of the sith. i was assured the quality was good and for 7rmb why not give it a shot.
Posted by the Flea at 06:07 AM | TrackBack (0)

Spammer beaten to death

Now there's a tagline that writes itself. Well known Russian spammer, Vardan Kushnir was found beaten to death.

Andrei Kashutin, the managing director of IT Dvizhenia, an industry association of nearly 7,000 IT students and young professionals, said Kushnir and his company were the most well-known spammers in Russia, sending millions of unsolicited e-mail messages offering English classes at the American Language Center.

"Anybody who regularly uses e-mail has come across their spam," Kashutin said. He added, however, that it was highly unlikely that an angry e-mail user would actually kill him, "especially if it happened in his own apartment."
Posted by the Flea at 06:05 AM | TrackBack (0)

Our Beer, version 1.0

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.

Mr Nielsen asked his students to think about applying open source ideas to the non-digital world. "Why not take those ideas back to the old world, and try to apply them to other things as well?" asks Nielsen. Why beer? As the Vores Oel website says, why not?

"It's a universal commodity that we like to think of as free, but unfortunately it isn't," says Mr Nielsen. "So, I thought it was an appropriate medium to confront these issues."

The Our Beer source code can be found at the Vores Øl website.

Posted by the Flea at 06:04 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

July 27, 2005

Doctor Who theme music

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.

Doctor Who (1963) (02:21)
... her recording of Ron Grainer's Doctor Who theme, one of the most famous and instantly recognisable TV themes ever. On first hearing it Grainer was tickled pink:
"Did I really write this?" he asked.
"Most of it," replied Derbyshire.

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.

Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Doctor Who classic clips

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.

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

10th Doctor

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).

Posted by the Flea at 08:50 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Chemical Brothers: The Test 2002

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

A Clockwork Orange

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?

A children's charity has slammed a secondary school for putting on a production of the controversial and violent A Clockwork Orange. Children as young as 12 are involved in the performances at South Camden Community School, in Charrington Street, Somers Town.

(hat tip to the Flea's Nadsat Droog)

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

How it works

The computer circa 1971 (and 1979).

Computers themselves are continually changing. Electronic valves are no longer used and have been replaced by transistors and diodes which have a low current consumption, greater reliability and much smaller dimensions.
Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thongs, public transit and civil liberty

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.

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

July 26, 2005

Women on the verge the Flea would give rubies to date even though it would almost certainly end in disaster

bjork.jpg

1. Björk
2. Winona Ryder
3. Mylène Farmer
4. Anne Heche
5. Angelina Jolie (obviously*)

*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.

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

1.5 million dollars

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.

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

Duran Duran: Wild Boys

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Postage paid

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).

Tired of receiving mounds of unsolicited letters and offers in the mail? Want to fight back? Want to get rid of that old tire in your garage that the garbage man won't take? Then read on......
Posted by the Flea at 08:38 AM | TrackBack (0)

Halley Research Station

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...

The new modular station, elevated on ski-based jackable legs to avoid burial by snow, can be towed across the ice. The modules are simple to construct and can be re-arranged or relocated inland periodically as the ice shelf flows towards the sea. A central module packed with stimulating areas for recreation and relaxation is flanked by a series of modules designed to suit the changing needs of the science programmes. It features renewable energy sources and new environmental strategies for fuel, waste and material handling.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Hans Island update

HansIsland2.jpg

The Flea continues to report as two arctic titans clash once again over the tiny, isolated, desolate and uninhabited disputed territory of Hans Island.

Defence Minister Bill Graham's recent visit to an Arctic island off the northwest coast of Greenland has set off a diplomatic row. Last week, Graham walked about on 1.3-square-kilometre Hans Island, claimed by both Canada and Denmark. Graham said Canada has always considered Hans Island its territory.

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.

*On a related note: Canada has a warship! (via the Castle)

"Nobody was more stunned than we were," said Kali Omari, first mate of the seized vessel. "We saw this frigate steaming toward us, and we were worried, but then we saw the maple leaf on the flag, and we thought, 'Oh, Canadians. What the hell do they want?'"

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.

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

July 25, 2005

South Park Studio

FleaPark.jpg

South Park Studio presents the Flea. This representation is close to 100% accurate.

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

Sugar Crash

Sugar Crash takes a moment to load but may be the single greatest webgame ever.

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

Bees: Chicken Payback

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:46 AM | TrackBack (0)

Fuji TV Building

Fuji TV Building. So. Freaking. Cool.

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

Decorer

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.

In the past, this style was called "shinorer" because Japanese talent, "Tomoe Shinohara" wear like this. After that, this fasion trend disappear at once. But recently this fasion start to rampant again as "Decorer".
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Haado Gei

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.

Razor Ramon HG has a corner on the program where he helps others, whether they want his assistance or not, suddenly springing up in front of them, holding his arms above his head, then wildly gyrating his hips and thrusting his pelvis forward while screaming out a piercing, "Whoooooo!" and announcing himself as "Haado Gei!"

Update: A fast-loading clip of Haado Gei in action can be found at Transbuddha.

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

Namie Amuro: Body Feels EXIT

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".

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

Zero Landmine

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 my home
The land of my mother
The place I play
With sisters and brothers

The trees are rooted
In the ground beneath
Take away the violence
Give the earth back its peace

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.

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

July 23, 2005

Tricky Dick

bunnydick.jpg

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.

Posted by the Flea at 10:00 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

The Donald

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.

Posted by the Flea at 09:58 AM | TrackBack (0)

Blue Lagoon: Do you really want to hurt me?

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:57 AM | TrackBack (0)

Escape from Balmoral 3D

Do you have what it takes to Defend the Faith? I found this one terrifying.

Posted by the Flea at 09:55 AM | TrackBack (0)

Stiff upper lick genetic, study says

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.

"There's been a lot of arguing over the last ten years, but it's now more or less agreed that about 80 percent of Britons' genes come from hunter-gatherers who came in immediately after the Ice Age," Miles said.

These nomadic tribespeople followed herds of reindeer and wild horses northward to Britain as the climate warmed. "Numbers were probably quite small—just a few thousand people," Miles added.
Posted by the Flea at 09:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

July 22, 2005

Rain on your parade

Glebova.jpg

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.

I hate to break up the, ahem, parade in comments to this scandalized post at Small Dead Animals but the Mayor of Toronto has apologized and made it clear Ms. Glebova is welcome.

City officials cited a by-law which prohibits activities encouraging sexual stereotyping and degradation. But city mayor David Miller admitted they had gone too far.

"It's unfortunate, and silly and won't happen again," he told reporters.

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).

Posted by the Flea at 07:54 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Kate Ryan: Libertine (live)

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.

Posted by the Flea at 07:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

I for one welcome our feline overlords

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).

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Google Moon

Google Earth is cool;
Google Moon is cooler.

What happens if I try to zoom too close?
Well, you'll have to go and find out, won't you?
Posted by the Flea at 07:46 AM | TrackBack (0)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

No spoilers

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!

Spoilers follow:

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.

Update: Speculation about the identity of R.A.B. leads some to suggest Sirius Black's brother, Regulus Black.

Near the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, a message is signed with the initials R.A.B., and some have interpreted it to mean Regulus A. Black. (The "A." is not given by Rowling but could stand for "Alphard," uncle to Regulus and Sirius.) This would indicate that the locket Horcrux was stolen by Regulus and possibly destroyed. Page 116 of The Order of the Phoenix mentions a similar locket stashed at 12 Grimmauld Place, the Black household.
Posted by the Flea at 07:45 AM | TrackBack (0)

The binnacle and the bat'leth

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).

After numerous meetings and a full script treatment, he wrote a two-page memo that laid out the basic tenets of what the new ''Battlestar Galactica'' would eventually become. ''We take as a given the idea that the traditional space opera, with its stock characters, techno-double-talk, bumpy-headed aliens, thespian histrionics and empty heroics has run its course, and a new approach is required,'' it began. ''Call it 'naturalistic science fiction.''' There would be no time travel or parallel universes or cute robot dogs. There would not be ''photon torpedoes'' but instead nuclear missiles, because nukes are real and thus are frightening.

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.

Dr. Zee reveals to Adama a dream he had about a warrior whom Adama recongizes as Lieutenant Starbuck, who was lost 14 years ago in a Cylon attack. Zee goes on to describe Starbuck's crash landing on a barren planet, where he built himself a Cylon companion from scavenged parts and befriended a pregnant woman who'd arrived there in time to give birth. (Original Airdate: May 4, 1980)

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.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Charles Chibitty

Charles Chibitty, the last World War II Comanche code-talker, has died (via KiP).

"It's strange, but growing up as a child I was forbidden to speak my native language at school," Chibitty said in 2002. "Later my country asked me to. My language helped win the war and that makes me very proud. Very proud."

Update: The Castle says, Hoka Hey!

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

July 21, 2005

Mustafa Sandal: Isyankar

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance no matter what.

Posted by the Flea at 11:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

A "cabal" of parliamentarians

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:

"Usually, when a coup against a society is carried out," said the press release, "it is done under the cover of darkness, with silent forces working surreptitiously. However, the legal 'redefinition' of marriage in Canada constitutes a public coup carried out in the full light of day and without any sense of shame."

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.

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

Exclusive Brethren

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.

The Exclusive Brethren are an Evangelical Protestant Christian church related to the Christian or Open Brethren. Members follow a rigid code of conduct based very strictly on Bible teaching, which provides a firm moral framework and is focussed on a strong family unit.

They keep themselves separate from other people (including other Christians) as far as possible, because they believe the world is a place of wickedness. They regard 'exclusiveness' as the only way to keep away from evil.

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.

Posted by the Flea at 11:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The final frontier

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.

James Doohan has died, aged 85. This is what I wrote about him last year:

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".

All Stations This Net, All Stations This Net - Station Doohan, Close Station, March Order. Return to Assembly Area Fiddler's Green, route Hell. Await further orders. Report to Lieutenant Eddie Albert for TINS exchange.
Posted by the Flea at 11:11 AM | TrackBack (0)

July 20, 2005

Rap about Trek

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.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Alcazar: Physical

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.

Posted by the Flea at 07:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

Lt. Morris Costello

Firefighter Morris Costello should be commended for the dramatic rescue of a woman in Tampa, Florida. This one is difficult to watch.

Posted by the Flea at 07:36 AM | TrackBack (0)

Swastika building

Either my latitude and longitude skills are deficient or this Google Earth image is not what it purports to be.

Posted by the Flea at 07:33 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Kenilworth Castle

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 garden then so appointed, as wherein alooft upon sweet shadowed walk of terrace, in heat of summer, to feel the pleasant whisking wind above, or delectable coolness of the fountain-spring beneath, to taste of delicious strawberries, cherries, and other fruits, even from their stalks, to smell such fragrancy of sweet odours, breathing from plants, herbs, and flowers, to hear such natural melodious music and tunes of birds, to have in eye for mirth sometime these underspringing streams…. whereby, at one moment in one place, at hand without travel, to have so full fruition of so many of God’s blessings, by entire delight unto all senses (if all can take) at once..."
Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM | TrackBack (0)

July 19, 2005

Eliminate the negative

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).

The pertinent question for bloggers is simply, Why? What is the purpose of broadcasting one's unfiltered thoughts to the whole wired world? It's not hard to imagine legitimate, constructive applications for such a forum. But it's also not hard to find examples of the worst kinds of uses.

A blog easily becomes a therapeutic outlet, a place to vent petty gripes and frustrations stemming from congested traffic, rude sales clerks, or unpleasant national news. It becomes an open diary or confessional booth, where inward thoughts are publicly aired.

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.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Gone but not forgotten

Some forgotten pictures of popular people. Once again the ever increasing beauty of Kylie Minogue is an unfortunate figure of fun.

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

A probing analysis of Gwen Stefani’s "Hollaback Girl"

Greg Stacy comments on Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl", "one of the most baffling pieces of music of the modern age".

Let me hear you say,
this s**t is bananas
B-A-N-A-N-A-S


Here, Gwen steps away from this bloody spectacle for a moment to comment on the madness and ugliness of what we’ve just witnessed, and, by extension, the petty rivalries of high school in general. This s**t is bananas, Gwen tells us, and we can only agree. And lest we miss the point, she spells it out. And repeats it another three times.
Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

Peter Griffin: Rock Lobster

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).

Posted by the Flea at 06:45 AM | TrackBack (0)

PawSense

PawSense has the technology to cat proof your computer.

Even while you use your other software, PawSense constantly monitors keyboard activity. PawSense analyzes keypress timings and combinations to distinguish cat typing from human typing. PawSense normally recognizes a cat on the keyboard within one or two pawsteps.

If a cat gets on the keyboard, PawSense makes a sound that annoys cats. This teaches your cat that getting on the keyboard is bad even if humans aren't watching.
Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

Ball Revamped III

Flea-readers with compulsive personalities, completion issues or a tight deadline had best avoid this Ball Revamped III game.

Posted by the Flea at 06:40 AM | TrackBack (0)

Trebuchet

Build your own trebuchet and start flinging things at the neighbours. A cow, for instance.

This cartoonesque cow-shaped crater will give future geologists something to puzzle over...
Posted by the Flea at 06:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

July 18, 2005

Waiting for Kate Bush

Kate Bush is set to release an album this fall. Oh yes. Just the thing to celebrate Katemas.

The news that Kate Bush is returning with her first album since 1993 has prompted much swooning and clucking among her intense brood of devotees who look upon her as a latterday Gaia in legwarmers. These people who, it's said, celebrate her birthday, or "Katemas", annually, perhaps explain why Bush has devoted much of her fortune to ensuring that at no point do they come within half a mile of her.

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.

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

Nightwish: Nemo

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.

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

Damn you, Han Solo

There is something about gawking at people in costume at Star Wars conventions that never gets old.

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

Mirai Arcadia Seek

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).

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

Captain Sao Feng

DC Media Girl has some good news and some bad news.

Good news first: Hong Kong action superstar Chow Yun-Fat, who happens to be one of the sexiest and best looking men in the world IMHO, has signed on to appear in a new American film. The bad news: He’s playing Captain Sao Feng in Pirates of the Caribbean 3.
Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

Treasure Chest of Fun & Fact

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.

U.S.S.A. school-teacher: It may be difficult for your old-fashioned parents to believe these things. It is your duty to tell us if they do not. Those students who do this will be great communist heroes. And we will straighten out their parents in a hurry!
CUT TO: FAMILY HOME

Dad: They've taken away all our rights. Yet they say they are making us happy. This is nonsense! They own everything ---- even us!

Mom: But this seems to be only the beginning!
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Healthy competition

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.

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

First person shooter

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.

Sometimes I think maybe I should join the Army. I mean it's basically like FPS but with better graphics.
Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

Weapons of mass moderation

Evidence now suggests the chiches were timed to be activated within seconds of each other (via Silent Running).

It is vital, however, that these terrible incidents should not provoke hatred of, and a backlash against, the broader liberal community. Most liberals have never planted a cliche in any newspaper. They read them, but that is because there is no alternative. They can hardly be expected to read the Tory press. Still, one must admit, the first time I went on the Tube after all those editorials and pronouncements I harboured unworthy suspicions. Any one of my fellow passengers could be a liberal. He or she could be travelling to a newspaper office or a BBC studio to set off another piety.
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

July 16, 2005

King Kong

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.

The name Kong of the original "one-ape revolution", it turns out, is a Malaysian word for gorilla.

This film is a horror story set in Depression America in 1932 about a movie producer who travels to Skull Island on the ship Venture, captures a giant gorilla, and brings it back to New York. The King Kong story begins with the documentary films made by Merian Cooper such as Grass in 1925 and Chang in 1927. Cooper wanted to film "the ultimate in adventure" and he wrote the story of a giant ape creature who falls in love with a blond, a Beauty and the Beast fable.

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.

Posted by the Flea at 10:22 AM | TrackBack (0)

Shakira: La Tortura

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance even if Jeff thinks we dance funny. It's hot outside.

Posted by the Flea at 10:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Bouncy and fun

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.

Posted by the Flea at 10:18 AM | TrackBack (0)

Mazda 5

The folks responsible for this Mazda ad think mini-van drivers will be put off by an organic love interest.

Posted by the Flea at 10:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

July 15, 2005

Annett Louisan: Das Spiel

Annett.jpg

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. This is wonderful. Like the world is alright after all. As if Vanessa Paradis recorded a German-language single. Which she really should.

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Fantasy plot generator

This fantasy plot generator should come in handy.

A naive monk is working as a spy in a lost temple. His betrothed is set alight by a mysterious woman. With the help of an uncultured druid, he must destroy an accursed object in order to avert disaster and save his own life.
Posted by the Flea at 05:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

Federline

Kevin Federline establishes a new fashion benchmark with this trend-setting socks and flip flops combination (via Gay Orbit).

Posted by the Flea at 05:49 AM | TrackBack (0)

Tom Cruise is nuts

Xenu. Yes, you heard me. I. Said. Xenu. What we've got here is a failure to communicate.

Cruise: I'm a helper. For instance, I myself have helped hundreds of people get off drugs. In Scientology, we have the only successful drug rehabilitation program in the world. It's called Narconon.

SPIEGEL: That's not correct. Yours is never mentioned among the recognized detox programs. Independent experts warn against it because it is rooted in pseudo science.

Cruise: You don't understand what I am saying. It's a statistically proven fact that there is only one successful drug rehabilitation program in the world. Period.
Posted by the Flea at 05:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

The E-Meter

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.

Welcome to the Internet's most extensive E-Meter site. The device above is a Hubbard electro-psychometer (E-meter): a crude lie detector used by Scientology auditors (counselors) to examine a person's mental state. Scientologists claim the device allows people to "see a thought". In the hands of a trained auditor, they believe it can uncover "hidden crimes".

*More John Travolta goodness thanks to the Onion.

Posted by the Flea at 05:44 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Orwellian

"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)

Cited in a sensible piece by Max Boot (via Instapundit).

Posted by the Flea at 05:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

July 14, 2005

Jessica Alba laughs at naked men

Alba.jpg

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.

In related news, Alba reportedly finds naked men "hilarious". I imagine this is especially true of naked men with no discernable legal philosophy.

Latina beauty Jessica Alba finds naked men "hilarious", and is far from aroused if she sees them attempt a sexy strip. The Sin City siren will never forget when she was taken to a strip joint by her mother on a bizarre night out, because she couldn't stop laughing at the posing performers.

*So what is this all about then? (nsfw) You know I have to question these matters. Otherwise the terrorists have already won.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

NailJet Pro

Fun with printing technology.

The Imaginail NailJet Pro inkjets artwork directly onto the fingernail in high resolution at very low cost. Lasting as long as normal nail varnish, the NailJet Pro can print photographs or any other high resolution design and it can print a different design on every fingernail.
Posted by the Flea at 08:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Veto Silver: When you're with that girl

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance to the "electro-fuelled art pop" of Veto Silver (no video yet...).

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

The new thing

That's the new thing. We all decided on it last night. Anyone using a conjunction before a preposition gets punched.

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

Funky Truck

Funky Truck has a nice interface and is strangely enjoyable considering my driving is too incompetent to finish the first level of the game.

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

The Anti-Potter

Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, had some unkind words for Harry Potter.

In a letter dated March 7, 2003 Cardinal Ratzinger thanked Kuby for her "instructive" book Harry Potter - gut oder böse (Harry Potter- good or evil?), in which Kuby says the Potter books corrupt the hearts of the young, preventing them from developing a properly ordered sense of good and evil, thus harming their relationship with God while that relationship is still in its infancy.

"It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly," wrote Cardinal Ratzinger.

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).

An upfront and popular page on Ubersite, in which the author berates Potter fans not just for liking the books, but also for assuring him he’d like them too (if he’d just give them a chance!). "Let me be honest," he says. "I wouldn’t. . . . In fact it is safe to say that I'd much rather have Satan tear out my rib cage and smash my face in with it than go watch Harry Potter movies, or read any Harry Potter books."

Bill has more!

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

July 13, 2005

Omarion

Omarion, in London for Live8, reportedly asked his fans to pray for his safe return home.

London was the scene of carnage on Thursday after a series of deadly blasts but American R&B crooner Omarion, who suffered no injury or inconvenience, wants people to pray for him.

"Omarion was in London during the tragic bombings that struck this morning," a statement by the singer's publicist AR PR Marketing, released hours after the bombings, said. Making no mention of the fatalities or casualties of the blasts, the singer's statement concluded, "He would like his fans to pray that he has a safe trip and a safe return home. He appreciates your support."

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.

Posted by the Flea at 07:15 PM | TrackBack (0)

Mr. Window

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.

I had no idea who asked this guy to do the job he was doing. I wondered if it had anything to do with the old ladies who woke me up rather rudely at 7 a.m. one Saturday morning — the Chinese never ring a doorbell just once, or even twice, it’s again and again and again until you arrive at the door. They lived downstairs and wanted to ask me if I had a habit of throwing water out my window.

I let this guy do his work, assuming it would be quick and that he could do what needed to be done by simply reaching outside the window. I glanced over at him and the wide open window and wondered if he was small enough to fall right out. I started to get a little nervous.

And then the man climbed out the window...

Posted by the Flea at 07:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

Chemical Brothers: The Boxer

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Telecomparisons

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?

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Hufu

Hufu is the next logical step in soy based meat substitutes. Sounds delish with fava beans (via Spirit Fingers... "Hufu is fake people!").

What does Hufu™ taste like? Does it taste like human flesh?
Hufu™ is designed to resemble, as humanly possible, the taste and texture of human flesh. If you've never had human flesh before, think of the taste and texture of beef, except a little sweeter in taste and a little softer in texture. Contrary to popular belief, people do not taste like pork or chicken.
Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM | TrackBack (0)

Concentrate

I found this concentration test for men over at Knowledge is Power. This should be all the warning you need not to test yourself at work.

Posted by the Flea at 07:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

Swayze

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.

Swayze, (adj)Extremely good or well, more emphatic than 'tight.' Derived from 'to be swayze',v.

I just got paid, AND just hooked up with that girl from down the street. Kid, I'm swayze.
Posted by the Flea at 07:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

July 12, 2005

Harry Potter plot points

Details and plot points from one of the leaked copies of Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince, including an explosive revelation about one of the main characters...

... 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.

Posted by the Flea at 06:59 PM | TrackBack (0)

Rock Star INXS

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.

So... early Flea-favs include Jessica Robinson, Heather Luttrell and former Elvis impersonator J.D. Fortune (love the tats).

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.

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

New Order: JetStream

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:20 AM | TrackBack (0)

Astromech

Astromech has all the droid-building instructions you have been looking for. For all your DIY R2-D2 needs...

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

Coca-Cola formula

I would test these Coca-Cola secret recipes if I had any ingredients handy.

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

Interviews

This BBC Four website hosts short interviews with a variety of interesting characters including such notables as Iris Murdoch, Alfred Hitchcock and Margaret Thatcher.

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

July 11, 2005

HMCS Toronto

HMCSTorontobytheFlea.jpg

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 found Toronto's crew to be quite friendly and polite; they patiently put up with all of my stupid landlubber questions comparing the effectiveness of her sensor suites and weapon systems to those of our NATO allies. I guess they weren't that stupid, though, because just about every crewmember I talked to asked me "Were you in the Navy?" I wasn't, but thank you, Tom Clancy. And thank you, Jane's Defence Weekly.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

The Flea sends a shout out to the geography of New Zealand for this teaser trailer to The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The whole of it looks absolutely wonderful (via Gay Orbit).

In C.S. Lewis' timeless adventure 'The Chronicles of Narnia,' the four Pevensie siblings stumble upon the entrance to the magical world of Narnia while playing a game of hide-and-seek in the country home of an elderly professor. Walking through a magical wardrobe whisks the children away to a dreamlike universe where animals can talk, centaurs roam the hills and winter never ends.
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Jacquard Club

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.

She has pumped money into the 'canaries' (Chav bird of choice called Joey) and this year they were promoted. The victory parade drew thousands of loyal chavs onto the streets, sales of Burberry hats went through the roof as the locals felt compelled to compete with the Manchester and Arsenal scum. With premiership football on offer Norwich has become a chav magnet!
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

Emo haircuts

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.

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

Esthero: We R in Need of a Musical Revolution

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Pyoro

I was doing rather badly at Pyoro until I worked out the spacebar let me eat the falling plants.

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

Complete defeat of the Corsican uprising

This George Orwell quotation has been shamelessly lifted in its entirety (and more!) from Harry Hutton.

I THINK I owe a small apology to the twentieth century. Apropos of my remarks about the Quarterly Review for 1810—in which I pointed out that French books could get favourable reviews in England at the height of the war with France—two correspondents have written to tell me that during the present war German scientific publications have had fair treatment in the scientific press in this country. So perhaps we aren’t such barbarians after all.

But I still feel that our ancestors were better at remaining sane in war-time than we are. If you ever have to walk from Fleet Street to the Embankment, it is worth going into the office of the Observer and having a look at something that is preserved in the waiting-room. It is a framed page from the Observer (which is one of our oldest newspapers) for a certain day in June, 1815. In appearance it is very like a modern newspaper, though slightly worse printed, and with only five columns on the page. The largest letters used are not much more than a quarter of an inch high. The first column is given up to ‘Court and Society’, then follows several columns of advertisements, mostly of rooms to let. Half-way down the last column is a headline SANGUINARY BATTLE IN FLANDERS. COMPLETE DEFEAT OF THE CORSICAN UPRISING. This is the first news of Waterloo!
Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

July 09, 2005

Fairytale wedding

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.

The self-described "American royalty" wants to host a fairytale ceremony in London, at St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey or Windsor Castle, and sees no reason why the royal family shouldn't let her, Hello magazine has reported.

"I've always wanted to be a princess on my big day and only a wedding in England could make that happen," Hilton said. But there's just one hitch: only British royals or heads of state can marry in the historical venues, a fact which doesn't seem to faze the party princess. "I'm the closest thing to American royalty anyway," she said.
Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Morrissey: We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

Cactus buzzer

Ahh, the legendary English sense of humour.

Posted by the Flea at 09:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

Vive les pommes frites!

Vive les pommes frites libre!

I am quite pleased with that p'tit bot mots (via Boing Boing)

Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

Theory of gravity

Warning: gravity is only a theory (via Chapel Perilous).

It is unlikely that the Law of Gravity will be repealed given the present geo-political climate, but there is no need to teach unfounded theories in the public schools. There is, indeed, evidence that the Theory of Gravity is having a grave effect on morality. Activist judges and left-leaning teachers often use the phrase “what goes up must come down” as a way of describing gravity, and relativists have been quick to apply this to moral standards and common decency.

It is not even clear why we need a theory of gravity -- there is not a single mention in the Bible, and the patriotic founding fathers never referred to it.
Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM | TrackBack (0)

July 08, 2005

Mountain Dew Energy

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.

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

The Long Blondes: Appropriation (By Any Other Name)

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance with some timely hot feminist lyrics.

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

The Da Vinci Code

My gut-wrenching jealousy of Dan Brown makes it difficult for me to look on this Da Vinci Code trailer with any proper enthusiasm.

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

Day of the Jackal

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.

So why has the loophole not been plugged? "Because bureaucrats are naturally lazy and indolent," says Mr Forsyth.

There appears to have been some movement on the loophole by 2005.

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

Britain, F* Yeah!

The admirably named it comes in pints? offers a tribute to Britain (via the Daily Dish).

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

July 07, 2005

God Save the Queen

QueenElizabeth.jpg

STATEMENT FROM THE QUEEN FOLLOWING EXPLOSIONS IN LONDON

7 July 2005

The dreadful events in London this morning have deeply shocked us all. I know I speak for the whole nation in expressing my sympathy to all those affected and the relatives of the killed and injured. I have nothing but admiration for the emergency services as they go about their work.

ELIZABETH R
Posted by the Flea at 10:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

London attacked

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.

Posted by the Flea at 07:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

July 06, 2005

How to disappear completely and never be found

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.

For most, the thought of changing names and jobs, cutting all ties and escaping to a tropical paradise is just a tantalizing daydream. This book will help you translate your dreams into action, as thousands of others have! Contains practical advice on planning a disappearance, getting money and a foolproof ID, who will start looking for you and the methods they will use and how to cope in your new environment under your new identity.

Considering this Homolka publicity I would have imagined it would attract more than one satirical Amazon review.

I read it in one night. It was very imformative. I followed the instructions very carefully and hid myself. I was found the next day at 9AM by the feds. I am now serving twenty years in the pen. Thanks a lot Doug Richmond.

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.

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

How to remove an electronic house arrest anklet

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.

Posted by the Flea at 09:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

London Olympics

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).

Asked why he had said at the weekend that Britain produced the worst food after Finland, and therefore did not merit trust as a nation, the Gallic humour that had led him into diplomatic hot water suddenly deserted him.

Looking uncomfortable and desperate to escape the cameras, the normally dignified Mr Chirac rushed inside, refusing to answer light-hearted questions about whether he liked British roast beef and avoiding invitations to expand on his views about English cuisine.

Though why Tony Parker should blame "Anglo-Saxon" bias I cannot imagine. Two Finnish judges and French rudeness seem more probable.

The EUobserver has Jacques Chirac's remarks for any who may have missed them.

Mr Chirac's remarks on the quality of food, overheard at last weekend's meeting with Moscow and Berlin in Kaliningrad, have a sparked a lively debate in the Uk and Finland.

"One cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad", French daily Le Monde quoted him as saying in hushed tones to the laughing German and Russian leaders.

"The only thing they (the Brits) have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease", added Mr Chirac. "After Finland, it is the country with the worst food".
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The Stendahl Syndrome

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.

American horror audiences are used to gore. We've seen buckets of blood, gobs of guts, and every imaginable violent act displayed in widescreen detail. We may consider ourselves jaded to such things. But I defy you to watch THE STENDHAL SYNDROME and not turn away, or at least feel genuine revulsion, at several points in the film.

Asia Argento (DEMONI 2, LA CHIESA, TRAUMA, B. MONKEY, IL FANTASMA DELL'OPERA, Dario's daughter) stars as Anna Mani, a police detective on the trail of a serial rapist/murderer. She tracks him to Florence, where she receives a tip that he'll be at the Uffizi museum. With a police composite sketch of the rapist to refer to, she heads for the museum, hoping to capture him. But, while perusing the art there, she finds herself overcome by an unusual psychological phenomenon called the Stendahl Syndrome: a reaction to artwork that makes the viewer suffer hallucinations, disorientation and unconsciousness.

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.

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

Zombie dogs

While I am all in favour of medical research these canine reanimation experiments are literally morbid.

Scientists have created eerie zombie dogs, reanimating the canines after several hours of clinical death in attempts to develop suspended animation for humans.

US scientists have succeeded in reviving the dogs after three hours of clinical death, paving the way for trials on humans within years. Pittsburgh's Safar Centre for Resuscitation Research has developed a technique in which subject's veins are drained of blood and filled with an ice-cold salt solution.
Posted by the Flea at 08:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra (Chapel Perilous, his arms wide).

1rst Officer: Zinda! His face black, his eyes red!
Picard: Temarc. The river Temarc, in winter!
1rst Officer: Darmok?
Picard: And Jalad. At Tanagra. Darmok and Jalad on the ocean.
1rst Officer: Sokath! His eyes open!
Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

Daft Punk: Technologic

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Ghillie Suits

A Ghillie Suit should come in handy for the Flea's everpresent need to move unobserved amongst the crowd.

Jute attached to 5'x 9' netting, with hood. Has sleeves. The front is open for those of you who like to crawl on your stomach! Available in Desert Tan, Leafy Green, Mossy Oak and Woodland.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Body Thetans be gone!

The more I learn about Scientology the more creeped out I become.

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

Flea problems

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?

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

July 05, 2005

Yamamoto Taro

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.

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

iPod Flea

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).

iPod Flea: You'll be itching to use it.
Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

OK Go: A Million Ways

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance like there is no tomorrow even it it will take a moment to load (via Raymi).

Posted by the Flea at 09:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

Make Poverty History and Get Robbie Laid

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.

Despite running the event, Geldof managed to offend at least one person. Fellow organiser MIDGE URE was said to be furious that Bob had refused to allow him to perform - but then appeared himself singing the Boomtown Rats song I Don't Like Mondays.

Ure was heard muttering furiously: 'Oh God, what a tart he is,' when he saw Geldof singing on the video screens in the VIP room. Those who were at the original Live Aid remembered how Geldof had moved his performance around in the first show meaning that he, and not Ure, would perform in front of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

Though much may be forgiven for the first Pink Floyd appearance in twenty-four years.

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

Unequivocal welcome

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.

Joining the animated fray, the United Church of Christ today (Jan. 24) said that Jesus' message of extravagant welcome extends to all, including SpongeBob Squarepants - the cartoon character that has come under fire for allegedly holding hands with a starfish.

"Absolutely, the UCC extends an unequivocal welcome to SpongeBob," the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president, said, only partly in jest. "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we." For that matter, Thomas explained, the 1.3-million-member church, if given the opportunity, would warmly receive Barney, Big Bird, Tinky-Winky, Clifford the Big Red Dog or, for that matter, any who have experienced the Christian message as a harsh word of judgment rather than Jesus' offering of grace.
Posted by the Flea at 09:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

Treaty of Tripoli

Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, approved unanimously by the Senate on June 7, 1797, is worth a look.

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

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!

The problem that I think you, Sullivan, and most have is that you fail to recognize the federal nature of the U.S. The 1st Amendment was supposed to apply only to the national government--applying it to state governments is an invention of recent courts.

In the lingo of the time there would have been a major distinction between the United States and any one state--this also explains why the Treaty of Tripoli would be correct in saying that the 'United States' (the FEDERAL government) was secular and be truthful since at the time several state governments had official churches.

It's very difficult for modern people to understand just how differently people once thought of state governments. For instance, we now say "I'm an American" where as prior to the late 1800's we would say "I'm a New Yorker" etc. The law also was very different. For instance, one was considered a 'citizen' of a state at the time whereas now we are a 'resident' of a state and a 'citizen' of the U.S.

It is also worth noting that the reason for Jefferson's letter to the Baptists was that the Commonwealth of Virginia, while the law legally recognized 'dissenter' groups, had an official state supported church (Anglican). The Baptists felt they were being somewhat persecuted.

So it is unfair for secularists to claim that America has always been a secular government--state governments which handled the vast majority of governmental affairs were not necessarily secular. It is also unfair for religionists to claim that America had a religious foundation--it didn't, the national government has always been explicitly secular.

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."

7. Because experience witnesseth that eccelsiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. Enquire of the Teachers of Christianity for the ages in which it appeared in its greatest lustre; those of every sect, point to the ages prior to its incorporation with Civil policy. Propose a restoration of this primitive State in which its Teachers depended on the voluntary rewards of their flocks, many of them predict its downfall. On which Side ought their testimony to have greatest weight, when for or when against their interest?
Posted by the Flea at 09:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

A hedge of separation

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.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

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:

I've long believed that the most committed Christians are secularists as well. They know that government-engineered faith is fatal to real religion; and that faith that needs government is a pale image of what it should be.

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.

Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

July 04, 2005

Defense of Fort M'Henry

StarSpangledbytheFlea.jpg

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

Posted by the Flea at 07:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

Röyksopp: The Understanding

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

BASEketball

I somehow managed to miss BASEketball until it turned up on CityTV, another heroic performance for Trey Parker and Matt Stone. A fan has thoughtfully provided rules to the game.

This is not just a (to me) very funny movie, it is an actual game. It was created at a family picnic by former MAD magazine writer and filmmaker David Zucker (Airplane!, The Naked Gun, and other very very funny movies). He had a basketball hoop over his garage and noticed that, aside from Horse, there weren't many games the non-athletes from the party could play. Eventually, he came up with the rough outline for BASEketball, a hybrid of basketball and baseball.
Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Wilderness survival

This guide to starting a fire using a Coke can and a chocolate bar should come in handy.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Freedom Medal of Valor

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.

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

18 U.S.C. § 2257

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!*

The U.S. Goverment has passed "18 U.S.C. § 2257", which effectively shuts down every American owned or operated adult industry where there may be a photograph or video. It requires more paperwork than even the most adept accountant could possibly keep up with. The punishment for even a single offense if $25,000 and/or 5 years in jail. Having even two pictures of adults in intimate situations would double those fines.

*That would be a buck o'five.

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Libertarianism

Sean Kinsell writes a classic line.

I'm hardly the first person to say this, but that's my main gripe with many libertarians: their arguments have the internal purity of rock crystal but are useless for a country of 300 million strong-minded people who all have to live with each other.

While Eric Scheie offices a classic example in the comments.

I'll never forget a meeting of libertarians in Berkeley which turned into hours of arguments over whether handguns should be allowed to be sold in vending machines to elementary school children. (Yeah, sure, there's a "principle" involved, but it's about as practical as debating how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.)
Posted by the Flea at 07:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

July 02, 2005

Jessica Alba 1, Shark 0

IntotheBlue.jpg

While filming her new movie Into the Blue, Jessica Alba reportedly fought off a shark by punching it in the nose. Kick ass!

She revealed: "I jabbed him on the nose and he swam off". Meanwhile, Jessica has slammed her male co-stars for being wimps.

Update: In related news, the Superficial has high-resolution images of Jessica Alba in her spanking new Invisible Woman outfit from The Fantastic Four.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

MTV Date School

MTV Date School offers a number of useful pointers.

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

Fischerspooner: Just Let Go

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:50 AM | TrackBack (0)

Shatnerology

This First Church of Shatnerology Handbook for New Operating TOUPEE's (NOT) should come in handy.

A SubSupplicant stuck on the track is stuck in the time flow. Time itself has stuck as a flow and the UnterBeing is stuck at that point in the past. An effective way of jacking SubSupplicants is to put an effort-postulate there to move them a little earlier than the stuck point. This jolts them loose on the time track and they come up to present time and jack off.

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.

This is the criticised "personality test" which for many is the first introduction to the "Church" of Scientology. Originally called "American Personality Analysis", but probably changed to "Oxford Capacity Analysis" (OCA) because "Oxford" carries more weight. The original test was created by psychologist Julia Lewis and was later adopted and edited by CoS. The alleged Scientology front company U-MAN use the same test when they do recruitment work for companies.

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.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Estrogen explained

Brooke Shields explains what Tom Cruise does not know about estrogen.

If any good can come of Cruise's ridiculous rant, let's hope that it gives much-needed attention to a serious condition. Perhaps now is the time to call on doctors, particularly obstetricians and pediatricians, to screen for postpartum depression. After all, during the first three months after childbirth, you see a pediatrician at least three times.

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.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

All there is to know about Karla Homolka

Christie Blatchford quotes a letter written by Karla Homolka to crime writer Stephen Williams from prison.

"People," she says with that inimitable Karla view, "are always going to interpret what I do as bad. They'll pick out one bad thing from a sea of good and I'll be judged on that."
Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Vigilantism

Vigilantism in the defence of liberty is no vice (via the Tiger in Exile).

In a striking departure from centuries of American belief in rule of law, President Bush gave his approval Monday to a limited experiment in public vigilantism "to see if it works."
Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Only Homer could go to China

TaiwanIndependence reviews an episode of the Simpsons unlikely to be aired in the Chinese mainland any time soon (via the Taipei Kid).

Madam Wu: "Lisa, soon you'll have a Chinese baby sister who will surpass you academically!"
Lisa: "I don't know about that, I'm considered preeeetty smart."
Madam Wu: "Well Tibet was considered pretty independent, how'd that work out?"
Posted by the Flea at 06:35 AM | TrackBack (0)

Roommates

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.

There were never tarantulas actually running around in the apartment. They were all in their cages and quite dead by the time the showdown occurred. I wish I had known that, because I might not have been so berserk frenzied at the time of re-entry.
Posted by the Flea at 06:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

July 01, 2005

The Vimy Flag

VimyFlag.jpg

"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.

The 5th Battalion carried this Canadian flag (or ensign) at Vimy Ridge in April 1917. This battle is often regarded as a symbol of Canada's coming of age during the First World War. The ensign displays the coats of arms of Canada's founding provinces (Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia), and likely dates from the late nineteenth century.

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.

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

Clone Wars

Only Neal Stephenson can make the Star Wars prequels sound interesting as inadvertent social commentary. And it sounds as though I need to read those six Clone Wars novels (via C. Buddha).

Anakin wins that race by repairing his crippled racer in an ecstasy of switch-flipping that looks about as intuitive as starting up a nuclear submarine. Clearly the boy is destined to be adopted into the Jedi order, where he will develop his geek talents - not by studying calculus but by meditating a lot and learning to trust his feelings. I lap this stuff up along with millions, maybe billions, of others. Why? Because every single one of us is as dependent on science and technology - and, by extension, on the geeks who make it work - as a patient in intensive care. Yet we much prefer to think otherwise.
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

DJ Daft Fader:

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Prepare. To freak. Out.

Also, DJ Keltech presents War of the Worlds (via C. Buddha).

Posted by the Flea at 08:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Bling It On!

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.

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

Hermes

FormerlyRosie comments on Oprah's recent Hermes humiliation, Brooke Shields v Tom Cruise and quotes Joni Mitchell.

my tommy needs to breathe
“heart humor and humility
will lighten up your heavy load”
said joni mitchell
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Commonly Confused Words Test

This Commonly Confused Words Test described me as an English Genius. Well, that is nice to know (via Shaolin Tiger).

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

Secret Archives of the Vatican

Rotten offers some thoughts on the Secret Archives of the Vatican. Dan Brown fans, take note!

You would think that the Vatican's Secret Archives would be some dumb conspiracy theory. I mean, it sounds ridiculous. The Vatican's Secret Archives. Let it roll off your tongue. Surely, we're into serious conspiracy weirdness here.

Except, of course, that there really is such a thing. And it's pretty much exactly what you think it is.
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Scientology Secret Library

Operation Clambake presents the Scientology secret library. Remember: information wants to be free.

You have now entered the library of the inner most secret scriptures of the "Church" of Scientology. From November 7th 1996 and over a period of 6 months I, with the help from many friends on the 'Net, managed to keep most of these files on the World Wide Web 24 hours each day. We, and most ISP's in Norway, got our share of threats from the the lawyers representing Religious Technology Center (RTC) in USA. They have not dared to sue anybody in Norway, even though they have or have had lawsuits going in Sweden and America over the same material.
Posted by the Flea at 08:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

Rehabilitation Project Force

CESNUR, the Center for Studies on New Religions publishes a study of the Rehabilitation Project Force, reportedly operated by the Sea Org programme of Scientology.

Although the Church of Scientology has been the focus of a number of studies by scholars of new religions, they have paid little attention to the Church’s core religious body: The Sea Organisation. Most members of the public today have heard of Scientology, but few are aware of the Sea Organisation (SO), and the Church itself does not publicise the "Sea Org", as it is called, except to its own members.
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | TrackBack (0)