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September 30, 2005

Pure theatrical Viagra

Nicole Kidman's last appearance on a West End stage was described as "pure theatrical Viagra". No reprise of Kidman's nude performance in "The Blue Room" is rumoured. Even so, one can only imagine the anticipation for her forthcoming appearance in a production of Henrik Ibsen's, "Hedda Gabler". And here be the Flea. Once again on the wrong side of the sea.

Kidman made an impression on Broadway in the hit 1998 production of The Blue Room. Kidman starred in the David Hare play in both London and New York, earning a Theatre World Award for her performance. In recent years, she has been rumored for many theatrical projects--among them Henrik Ibsen's The Lady From The Sea, Sam Mendes repertory productions of Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night and a Broadway revival of The Philadelphia Story. However, her busy schedule made appearing in the shows impossible.
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The Dandy Warhols: Smoke it

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Anticipated Amazon

My mad organizational skillz have been impeded by a brutal flu this week and so Amazonia's next herald will have to wait a day or three... If you had been thinking to submit a pic then please do so by all means!

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Jessica Alba nude

Jessica Alba, having reconciled herself to the "curves and flaws" of her figure, has decided she would indeed appear nude on screen. But only if the role was right.

"But right now, I couldn’t sleep well at night being naked in anything. My father would lose his mind!"

Perish the thought.

Update: Dr. Shackleford provides a cautionary update regarding the digital enhancement of certain commercial representations of Jessica Alba. Shocking!

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Lindsay Lohan nude

While the thought of "Lindsay Lohan nude" might keep web denizens awake late at night I cannot say I shall be first in the queue for her forthcoming Vanity Fair cover (hat tip to Dr. Shackleford). Any Marilyn Monroe mimicry might best be accomplished by a proper breakfast and a brisk constitutional. Sure to bring a blush to anyone's cheeks.

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Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf: the X-Creatures project is a seriously impressive shocked role-playing game. Despite the fact I am always killed before I can escape the lobby.

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Neither right nor left but curmudgeonly

I was told recently of an effort to characterize the political slant of this blog. I am never certain how to respond to this sort of question though I think of myself as a man of the left, profoundly disappointed by political parties of the left. Best say I am Orwellian. Reading George Orwell's essays is like taking a warm bath. Too much to quote properly but here is something regardless.

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Lacanians vs. Heideggerians

The trouble with Slavoj ˇi˛ek is the same as the trouble with Laibach. There are always going to be people writing commentaries explaining that the posturing is in some sense ironic and that therefore only the hopelessly unhip who need be alarmed. It is, of course, only their own totalitarian etiquette they are so desperate to assuage. The precise monster, in fact, both ˇi˛ek and Laibach have ranged themselves against.

Half the Slovenian government seems to have studied Lacan at the university, including the former General Secretary of the ruling party, Gregor Golobic, who wrote, for his thesis at the University of Ljubljana, a Lacanian critique of the philosophy of Cratylus. ("He is my best friend! I love him!" Zizek says. "He is the future Slovene Stalin. He is a man of power. He is the kind of guy who, when I am in his office and talking with him and a minister calls, he says to the minister, 'F**k off, I don't have time to talk to you.' ") The philosopher Richard Rorty, who, while teaching at the University of Virginia, invited Zizek and Judith Butler there to discuss Lacan, says, "Zizek told me that the great battle in Slovenian politics is between the Lacanians, who dominate the civil service, and the Heideggerians, who dominate the military."
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September 29, 2005

Popcorn

The childhood of the Flea was scarred by a morning drill through the school PA system. All good Stakanovites would bounce around doing a Trudeau-era eastern bloc style calisthenics routine called the Health Hussle. The sound of the Popcorn Song haunts me still. At least the Jean Michel Jarre version has a certain grandeur.

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Depeche Mode: Precious

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Font club

The first rule of font club...

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Metal Storm

Imagine a gun that fires a million rounds a minute (hat tip to the Flea's HR Consultant).

The weapons range from a handgun that can only be operated by an authorized user to a grenade launcher that can fire either lethal or non-lethal ammunition. While much of the technology is a closely guarded secret, the firing mechanism has no moving parts. Instead, it uses electronic ballistics technology. Unlike other guns, the only parts which move are the bullets.
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September 28, 2005

Arts history

A peek into the basement of Melbourne's Arts Centre shows a Kylie Minogue stage costume taking pride of place among 300,000 objects culled from Australian performing arts' history.

Since its inception in 1976, the archive has become Australia's biggest performing arts collection. Staff have worked tirelessly to amass memorabilia from contemporary performers such as AC/DC, Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue and Split Enz, as well as a wealth of earlier material, including programs from the 1920s' Wirth Brothers Circus and the travelling magic shows of the 1940s.
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Mylo: Doctor Pressure

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Highlander in 30 seconds

Re-enacted by bunnies.

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Goa'uld

This Goa'uld to Tau'ri phrase-book should come in handy.

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Daniel's Egyptian Screensaver

Versaphile offers an Egyptian screensaver based on one used by Daniel Jackson in Stargate SG-1 episode, "The Fifth Race".

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La lucha libre

"In the flouncy skirt and bowler hat...", the thrill of Bolivian women's wrestling.

In her red multilayered skirt, white pumps and gold-laced shawl, the traditional dress of the Aymara people, Ana Polonia Choque might well be preparing for a night of folk dancing or, perhaps, a religious festival. But as Carmen Rosa, master of the ring and winner of 100 bone-crunching bouts in Bolivia's colorful wrestling circuit, she is actually dressing for a night of mayhem.
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September 27, 2005

There was chanting in the air that night

Scary: I have defended Abba's "Fernando" as the only product of Western culture to fully appreciate the failure of political revolution, and the appeal of having a go regardless, since Georges Bataille did so in his introduction to "The Accursed Share" (some alcohol may have been involved).

Scarier: I am prepared to quibble about the pronunciation of fictional alien names which cannot be pronounced with human organs of speech.

Scariest: The unspeakable genius of "Do you hear the pipes, Cthulhu?"

There was chanting in the air that night
The stars were right, Cthulhu!
You were dreaming of your destiny
Beneath the sea, Cthulhu!
Though the Elder Gods have cast you down
Have no regret
As the Al-Azif has prophesized, R'lyeh will rise, Cthulhu!

(with a shout out to fellow cultist, Andrew Ian Dodge)

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

De Umbrarum Regis Novum Portis

This guide to making my own "Nine Gates" should come in handy.

Written by Aristide Torchia in Venice, 1666. The book contains nine woodcut engravings rumoured to be copied from the apocryphal Delomelanicon, a book purportedly written by the devil himself. The Nine Doors to the Kingdom of Shadows is said to contain within its pages knowledge to raise the devil. The author was burned, along with all his works in 1667.
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Elbow: Forget myself

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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How I Met Your Mother

If everyone could email next Monday to remind me to watch this I would be grateful. It is so tricky to remember to watch anything on broadcast that isn't The Apprentice. Lily is my perfect match, apparently. Quite right.

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Hercules minus Mars

Lead statues of Hercules and Mars kept each other's company at Chirk Castle until some time after 1911 when they went missing. Hercules turned up but Mars is still on walkabout.

Hercules was found in a nearby wood in 1983 and brought back to the castle by helicopter. Experts have now renewed the hunt for the 12ft tall Mars.

Historian Nigel Davies said: "When you think of the sheer size of it and the weight, and that it has gone for a walk without anyone noticing. But this is within living memory so someone may know something."
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Roman Sorbolo

Italian computer programmer, Luca Mori made a sensible inference using Google Earth to unearth a Roman villa.

His curiosity was sparked by unusual shading by his home in Sorbolo, Parma. He contacted local archaeologists who investigated and confirmed it was once the location of a Roman villa.

"At first I thought it was a stain on the photograph," 47-year-old Mr Mori explained. "But when I zoomed in, I saw that there was something under the earth."
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Edwin Smith Papyrus

While it never found a cure for the common cold, the "Edwin Smith Papyrus" revealed ancient Egyptain medicine used simple antibiotics, sterile surgical equipment. The papyrus, housed in the archive of the New York Academy of Medicine, is on public display for the first time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Ever since an American, Edwin Smith, bought and translated the papyrus in the 19th century, it has struck readers as surprisingly modern. It includes magical incantations, but most of the text takes a methodical, empirical approach to diagnosis and treatment. Perhaps most striking is its restraint - the author's approach is cautious, and in some cases, the text counsels doing nothing but waiting to see if the body will heal itself.

"When you think about some of the aggressive treatments recommended by later authorities, the things done in the Middle Ages that would make your skin crawl and were sometimes harmful, the papyrus is often much more in line with our current thinking," said Miriam Mandelbaum, curator of rare books and manuscripts at the academy of medicine.
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September 26, 2005

Suzie McNeil live

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I'm just honoured that they loved me so much.
- Suzie McNeil

The most important advantage of growing up in Ottawa was having Hull, and Québec's more considerate alcohol laws, a short trip across the Champlain Bridge. As teenagers of an age that will remain somewhat unspecific (the parental units have been known to peruse this publication), we would pile into the Bondomobile, Wangomobile or the too sacred to have a nickname 49 Ford panel truck and make our way across the river to the dépanneurs and their precious bičres froid. AC/DC, The Kinks and Led Zepellin were the soundtrack with Dire Straits offering the obvious anthem for any trip.

More important than any of these was Queen. It remains a mystery to me that the metalheads of Ottawa, not then known for their progressive instincts, idolized Freddie Mercury, not just flaming but breathtakingly gay. The name of his band was another subtle hint. Such is the power of an elemental cool to transcend all piffling differences between people. This Saturday night I had another mystery to consider: how it is that a British rock act could be so important to a generation of Canadians. Mike Myers offered tribute to Queen in his coming of age epic about the Tim Horton's of Scarberia, the Ultima Thule of Canadian suburbia. Canadians have a habit of worrying what it is that defines us beyond our differences with the States. Mike Myers answered the question with a movie meant to be set in Chicago but whose real location was obvious to anyone who had ever gone horn-tripping for coffee and cigarettes in Toronto at three in the morning.

This is all to say that if anyone had told me it was possible to cover "Bohemian Rhapsody" I would have told them something unprintable. This is not just a pop song. If anything, it is Canada's "Waltzing Matilda". Yet this Saturday night I had the privilege of being present when Suzie McNeil, backed only by drums, bass violin and a lonely electro-acoustic guitar, gave in to the crowd. Saying, "We are nuts to even try this," she stepped up to the mic and brought the house down.

Suzie McNeil's welcome home event at Revival felt more like a family picnic, if an extremely well-dressed and well-catered family picnic, than a concert. Suzie's set included most of her Rock Star INXS fan favourites including her original "Soul Life" and her smoking cover of "I Can't Make You Love Me". A question and answer session gave the tv fans an insight into life at the Rock Star mansion and the surreal life of reality tv contestants. Irascible producers (Suzie: "Mark, I just need to get a guitar." Mark Burnett: "Suzie, the only thing you need to get... is it... together!"), family members in the audience reminding you of every little slip of the tongue (Mom: "Unequivicably!") and drinking champagne from J.D. Fortune's toe in front of an international audience (don't ask about the cake) all featured. Having only returned to Toronto early Friday morning, and having been contractually cloistered, Suzie had not seen the show that has made her famous. Even so, it has already become obvious that Dave Navarro's "Sweet Suzie McNeil" is going to stick ("Oh yeah, that"). I can imagine it would get old fast. The trouble for Suzie is that the tag seems so appropriate. Everyone from her fans, her family, her band, her film production team and her management who so kindly arranged an eleventh hour media pass for your humble correspondent was so nice. A very Canadian rock star.

"I will do my best to get to Collingwood. And to Mississauga."
"North Bay..."
"And North Bay!"

Welcome home, Suzie.

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Stewie Live

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. If you ask him to (hit tip to Porchboy).

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Kylie Manogue

Kylie Manogue has his heart in the right place, one can hardly quibble with raising funds for breast cancer research, but I cannot help but wish I had never seen this.

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Alice Cooper: Kylie fan

Alice Cooper, sensible chap that he is, is a fan of Kylie Minogue.

"If a Kylie song comes on with a catchy beat, I'll sit and rock my head to it like anyone else. I think she's great."
Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Funker Vogt

The new favourite dance music of the Flėa. Not sure how I missed these guys. Possibly my Rumpelstiltskin teaching career. Need to get out more. Here are some videos and such like. A critical review,

As Funker Vogt took to the stage (in their cheesy orange jump suits) there was a noticeable, sudden shift of bodies away from the bar area down onto the Underworld's modest dance floor. It was like watching a human tide go out in 10 seconds flat. It had been a while since I'd seen the entire floor of the Underworld crammed with dancing bodies, and I have to say it was a pretty scary sight. I attempted to push my way into the hordes to snatch a couple of photos for this review, but it was like walking against a humongous wave of religious fanatics - all of whom are totally oblivious to your presence.
Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

September 24, 2005

INXS without Michael Hutchence

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"I had balls - and a dick as well."
- Suze DeMarchi

Garbage lead singer Shirley Manson, in dire need of green vegetables, "slammed" INXS for deciding to find a new lead singer for their band (hat tip to Porchboy).

"It isn't INXS without Michael Hutchence," said Manson. "I feel like in life you have to be prepared to let go of something in order for new growth to occur in your life. And I think it is unhealthy to be constantly coming back to recreate the past," she added. "You should forge forward instead of being sentimental about things that have gone by."

Here's a thought. Try letting go of the idea that INXS is impossible without Michael Hutchence. An interesting aspect of talk about Rock Star was how many folks claimed INXS was only possible with a male lead singer or, using their psychic insight, that INXS were sexist and consequently would never choose a female lead singer. In point of fact, INXS has already worked with Suze DeMarchi, formerly of Baby Animals, as a temporary lead singer and so a woman fronting the band was a reality before the reality tv show kicked in.

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Garbage: Why don't you love me?

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Blood Shed

Blood Shed is a stripped down shooting webgame with craptastic animation. Gotta love the backing track. I for one would pay to hear Suzie McNeil sing Kashmir.

Update: Suzie McNeil live!

Posted by the Flea at 08:11 AM | TrackBack (0)

A night out in Dundee

Harry Hutton discusses a gift of the English-speaking peoples.

The five most violent developed nations are all English-speaking. This is our great gift to the world, along with parliamentary government, Shakespeare and Benny Hill.
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Find-a-human

How to bypass some American corporate phone systems with IVR phone system shortcuts. A Canadian equivalent would come in handy.

Posted by the Flea at 08:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Global colding revisited

Jeremy Rifkin says "we are all to blame" for the "harsh lesson of Katrina and Rita". To my ear, this claim sounds indistinguishable from those "Christians" wishing to sacrifice hurricane victims on the altar of a vengeful god. So, search and replace "gay" with "SUV" and the argument remains internally coherent drawing, as it does, on the same theological line of reasoning.

Best to clarify some lines of inference. Is it possible that human intervention in the carbon-cycle is responsible for more intense hurricanes? Certainly. There are plenty of instances where our species, even in the relatively low-density foraging version that was the standard model until about six thousand years ago, has effected dramatic changes in continent-spanning ecological relationships. It would seem more surprising if the effects of two-hundred years of world-spanning industrialization had not effected the atmosphere, its interaction with energy retained from sunlight and consequently the weather. And here is the first problem. Effects that have a colossal effect on people may have a neglible effect on larger systems. Whether something impresses a modified chimp neurology might make no odds.

Is it possible that indications of global warming represent a trend and not a statistical blip? In other words, is global warming "real"? It certainly could be. In fact, I assume that it is. The trick is to make a leap from that assumption to some causal relationship between human activity and that change. The reason for my confidence in a global warming trend is that any archaeologist who has paid minimal attention to the history of the last two thousand years should be expecting it. If anything, the world has been chilly these last few centuries and we are due for a bit of a thaw. I imagine the anti-SUV folks would be making with the wailing and the gnashing of teeth if they were to discover a wine-industry in Labrador but this would have been no surprise to the Vikings who settled Greenland a thousand years ago. That said, I am inclined to think what was nice for the Norse made for spectacular storms for the Caribs. It should go without saying that changes are going to entail costs and benefits and that from a human perspective these may not be equatibly distributed.

Shouldn't we be doing something about greenhouse gas emissions on the off chance there is a causal relationship between them and some possible super-hurricane? Well, no. Plenty of outcomes are possible. I for one would think twice about buying property in the blast zone around Mount Ranier but does my chimp-like calculation of the odds mean Seattle should be abandoned to the woods? Probably not. Will that last sentence look ridiculous when the supervolcano blows next week and screaming hordes flee into the Pacific as walls of pyroclastic flow, etc. and so forth? Yes. And I expect the usual suspects would be blamed for the catastrophe once the lava was on the way (the government, human hubris, God, etc.). Plenty of things look foolish after the fact. So is expectation that this time I might have bought the winning lottery ticket but I would not make that foolishness illegal either.

Does any of this imply I am opposed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions? Not at all. I think there are perfectly sensible reasons to be addressing issues such as our dependence on fossil fuels that may be entirely independent of a human contribution to climate change. Am I unconcerned about evidence of global warming? Quite the opposite. In fact, my impression that humans have relatively little impact on this warming trend makes me rather more alarmed at the prospect. If I thought the problem could be addressed by sacrificing sport-utility vehicles to a Semitic storm god, I could rest easy. This is the advantage the magical thinkers have over me when sin is thought to be the cause (be it sodomy or SUVs). A little dance around the fire, some ritual chanting, and we are ready to go. Figuring out what even the sum of human ingenuity, engineering and science can do in the face inclement weather is a tougher problem by far.

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September 23, 2005

Happy Mondays: Playground Superstar

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Serenity art

Pre-production art from forthcoming Joss Whedon vehicle, Serenity looks promising. Also, videos. I'm a leaf on the wind! Better yet, a viral not featured in the film. Creepy.

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

Scribes sought

George Lucas is reported to be hiring screenwriters for a forthcoming Star Wars television series. Something to do with bounty hunters, apparently.

Keeping with Lucas' penchant for security, the show will be scripted at the bearded one's secluded Skywalker Ranch. Work will commence this January. Lucas and his colleague Rick McCallum will produce the still untitled show.
Posted by the Flea at 11:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Revolution Controller

Nintendo's Satoru Iwata reveals the Revolution Controller.

The controller for Nintendo's upcoming Revolution home console system is a cordless remote-control-like device designed to be used with only one hand. Two small sensors placed near the TV and a chip inside the controller track its position and orientation, allowing the player to manipulate the action on screen by physically moving the controller itself. For example, you could slash an in-game sword by actually swinging the controller from side to side, turn a race car just by twisting your wrist, or aim your gun in a shooter by pointing the controller where you want to fire.
Posted by the Flea at 11:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

September 22, 2005

What a waist

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Carmen Kass showed off a Roland Mouret number to good effect, a "petrol-blue, wasp-waist outfit so pneumatic, so curvaceous, so goddamn hot that women (and, I fully expect, a few men) fell for it in droves." What a pity this look is an exception and not the rule. Mimi Spencer mourns for women's waists, lost to changing fashion and body-types. Let's pretend for the sake of argument we don't notice some of the following only just predate Virginia Woolf. Though perhaps it represents a tipping point (jokes about critical mass will be given the arched-eyebrow treatment).

Replay in your mind the iconic images of womankind, and the waist plays a starring role. Think of The Rokeby Venus by Velįzquez, our heroine with her back to the viewer, boasting an ample pair of buttocks and a wonderful, slender waist. Or The Swing by Fragonard, an erotic conflation of billowing skirts and minuscule, embrace-me waist. Fast forward to Scarlett O'Hara clutching the bedpost as she was sardined into her stays. Think of Dior's New Look, or Marilyn, with her man-trapping 22-inch waist (19 when corseted). Or Brigitte, or Liz Taylor, before kaftans and Virginia Woolf.
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Choose lard

Are lard, eggs, and fish tacos the new health foods?

Until recently, we were warned to avoid lard as the world's most cantankerous fat. Now, it turns out that lard has half the saturated fat of butter, so when it comes to chasing the chimera of healthfulness, pick lard.
Posted by the Flea at 08:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

L.A.M.B.

The debut of the new L.A.M.B. fashion line, "everything from track suits to evening gowns" left Gwen Stefani defending her role.

She gets riled by any suggestion that she's just a celebrity figurehead who doesn't pick out every single button or bead.

"I feel very defensive about that question today," Stefani says. "I'm very, very hands-on. I sewed the rhinestones on the wedding dress today. It's my passion, and every bit of the collection starts here."
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White Stripes feat. Kate Moss: I just don't know what to do with myself

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Snowed under

Actress and chanteuse, Jennifer Love Hewitt keeps abreast of the Kate Moss cocaine scandal saying, "Coffee's one thing, but coke is another" and that high-street retailers, Hennes & Mauritz may have done Moss a favour by distancing themselves from their spokesmodel. H+M are not alone as Chanel, Burberry and Rimmel scramble to protect their brands. The Daily Mirror may have kicked off this nonsense but it is the behaviour of these companies, and not Moss, that is truly scandalous. I find it difficult to believe anyone attracted by the image of sex, glamour and a little danger these brands wish to project is going to be startled at the thought of a supermodel behaving badly. Burberry is a Chav favourite, H+M sell knock-offs of proper clothing and Chanel has not produced anything interesting excepting advertising since the 1950s. So, while Jennifer Love Hewitt is correct to say they have done Moss a favour she has got the favour backwards. Moss is well rid of the lot of them.

Update: Not that any of the above makes me less curious about the reported incriminating video footage itself. At least one Flea-reader has requested a link and I would be grateful if anyone spotting it could let me know. In the meantime is Kate Moss' reported reaction.

Asked about our exclusive video clips of her hoovering up the Class A drug, she said: "A video? What video? F*** off, I don't want to know."

Questioned if she wanted to talk about taking drugs, the 31-year-old supermodel then raged: "F*** off, f*** off, f*** off, f*** off! Just f*** off!"

And quite right, too.

Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Fashion (look to the left)

Vogue's China promotion has triggered a thriving market in the illegal sale of promotional items and kicked off a fashion magazine war fought out in the kiosks of Shanghai.

Vogue, just now entering the Chinese mainland market, may be the first to stir up the domestic fashion magazine market by sending a golden bag and a purse with its latest two issues.

Feeling the pressure, many other magazines have followed with their own promotions and gifts and created a chaotic situation. The big bag given by ELLE is in high demand. Some Oriental kiosks charge 25 yuan or 30 yuan above the original 20 yuan, or ask customers to buy back issues of unpopular magazines.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Made in Jail

Italian convicts find a way to contribute to the dolce vita from behind bars through Made in Jail, a prison fashion co-op. A most sensible idea. Vado per la limosina per fare carita.

Prisoners have long produced such things as olive oil. But the fashion trend has taken off only recently, with Made in Jail inspiring prisons across Italy to offer courses in fashion design. It's part of a growing effort to reduce recidivism by giving convicts real-life experience, as well as a path to a paying job, before they're released.
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

September 21, 2005

Canada's own J.D. Fortune

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It ain't pretty
After the show
It ain't pretty when the pretty leaves you with no place to go
And if you think you need it
Here's the place to feed it
It ain't pretty

Canadian rock star, J.D. Fortune joins INXS and in so doing makes the genius innovators Canadian of dance-rock a complete band Canadian once Canadian again. J.D. Fortune Canadian Canadian Canadian. Canadian.

Fortune said: "It's an understatement to say this is a dream come true. Growing up, INXS were a huge musical influence on me. I'd listen to their songs and wonder what it would be like to be in this band. That they've chosen me to be their new lead singer is just mind-blowing."
Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

New Order: Waiting for the Sirens' call

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Wonder Woman

Hot hot hot Amazon action... this Friday only at Ghost of a flea!!!

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Group Sounds

Japan Times reports on a Beatles inspired, '60s revival in Japanese pop music.

Hundreds of bands sprang up between 1966 and 1969, and this mushrooming movement became known as Group Sounds, with some of the most famous combos being The Spiders, The Mops and The Golden Cups.

Why Group Sounds? Legend has it that when singer/actor/TV presenter Yuzo Kayama invited Jackey Yoshikawa & The Blue Comets on to his show, Kayama ribbed Yoshikawa about his pronunciation of "rokku ando rorru." Kayama then challenged Yoshikawa to come up with a term that could easily rorru off the Japanese tongue. Yoshikawa replied: "Let's call it Group Sounds." And the name stuck.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Burning Man

People keep telling me I need to treat Burning Man as a business expense and seek out the loose Google dollars I need as venture capital. Also, it is difficult to express how much I need this outfit. The one of the right is pretty cool too.* I figure my Cake and Cigarette Diet™ should leave me buff enough to pull it off well before Hallowe'en.

*There, see how I did that? I made it sound like I wanted to wear the one of the left. Hilarious!

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

Louvre 360

Panoramic views of the Louvre. Magnifique!

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Igor and His Princess

A nice little puzzle.

RAY: ... Here it is. I didn't change much. The beautiful young princess had a dilemma. She was in love.

TOM: Now, you think I didn't remember this.

RAY: I knew you remembered. Of course, I did. She was in love with Igor, a blacksmith's son and a hunchback, but she wanted to marry him anyway. However, she knew that her father, the King, would not approve. Moreover if the King knew of their love, he would surely have the young man executed. Wouldn't he?
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

September 20, 2005

Popinjays of the world unite

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I was recently described by the vulgar term "metrosexual" by an equally vulgar little man. Absurd. It should be obvious to even the casual observer that I am in fact a "gin-soaked popinjay".

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

The Dead 60s: Riot Radio

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (with a shout-out to Antonia... kick some desks over at the Toronto Star!).

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

Airport lounger

Having some neat films come to town is almost certainly a good idea. Plenty of people enjoy them, lots of people are employed as a result and some films that would otherwise languish in obscurity are provided much deserved attention. But it is not all popcorn and berets as the celebrity stalkers both amateur and professional contrive to ruin a good thing. I am pleased, therefore, to report that even the industry parasites of the Toronto film festival are good for some entertainment value (via Gay Orbit).

Just chatting with my brother on MSN. He is at the airport in Toronto using a computer in the AC VIP lounge. Leaving aside the question of how he got in there, which perplexes me, he made a sweet find the machine he's using
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Tork

Tork is a challenging little game. Just the ticket for the Tuesday blahs.

Hmmm, Your Pinto 4000 is stuck, very stuck. You'd better take a look around.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Hans Island again (hint: choose "rock")

Let's do the mature thing and agree that I'm right. Failing that, let's try rock-paper-scissors.

Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew promised Monday a “mature” resolution to Canada's spat with Denmark over control of a tiny Arctic island.

But Mr. Pettigrew also insisted that Canada is not prepared to let Hans Island go, saying Ottawa's position remains clear – the island is a Canadian territory.
Posted by the Flea at 08:36 AM | TrackBack (0)

Ninety-Nine Nights

Microsoft demoed a level of the forthcoming Ninety-Nine Nights at the Cerulean Tower in Tokyo, Japan. The trailer looks sweet.

A third-person action title, Ninety-Nine Nights will feature a multitude of main characters, each with specific abilities and weapons. Aside from Inphyy, we caught a glance at five addtional characters through the amazing CG rendered trailer: a male warrior-knight, an orc, a female elf wizard, and a barbarian. One additional character, which appeared to be the main villain, was shown briefly at the end of the trailer, however, no info on this mysterious figure was released.
Posted by the Flea at 08:30 AM | TrackBack (0)

Neighbornodes

Node thy neighbour. Almost afraid to link this lest Flea Towers and its environs adopt it as a message system.

Neighbornodes are group message boards on wireless nodes, placed in residential areas and open to the public. These nodes transmit signal for around 300 feet, so everyone within that range has access to the board and can read and post to it. This means that with a Neighbornode you can broadcast a message to roughly everyone whose apartment window is within 300 feet of yours (and has line of sight), and they can broadcast messages back to you.
Posted by the Flea at 08:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

PC video problem

Sometime last week I started having a problem playing back video files with Windows Media Player 10 (and find the same problem with WinAmp). Every fifteen seconds or so the video skips/stalls/jerks and then proceeds. This is infuriating. Now I am noticing a problem I think is related: every fifteen seconds or so as I type these words the entry of letters stalls for a second or so and then starts up again. This leads me to believe I have something hinky going on with my video card. Or something. Any ideas? I have run virus/worm scans with two programs and that does not seem to be the problem...

Update: I think I have found the problem. I had disabled the 3D refresh rate override and this was producing a conflict between some applications and the desktop refresh rate. Crossing fingers this was actually the problem.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

September 19, 2005

Divinitus

If you have found yourself playing Rome: Total War and singing along in Latin you can now finally be certain of the lyrics. Divinitus by Angela van Dyck is more toward being emotive than making sense per se. Even those who have never played the game might usefully download and play the tune on an continuous loop for an improving office environment. Best to have it memorized by the time Barbarian Invasion is available.

hellatorius victorialis (warlike; victory)
erastus necessitas (lovers; death)
honararius despondeo (honour; despair)
spiritus obdormio (life; death)
patriota gladiator (country; fighter)
afflictio ommento (pain; waiting)
divinitus salutaris (heaven; salvation)
furtivus libertas (furtive love; freedom)
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Paul Van Dyk: The Other Side

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Harry Potter Cockroach Cluster

Mmm. Cockroach clusters.

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Chris Tallman's Batman

Hey, Gotham City. Let's go. Tonight. I share his angst. This one explains why the Flea with never feel entirely at home in the Canadian blogosphere's Hall of Justice.

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

Henchling Throttle

Henchling Throttle is a nice little time-waster.

Posted by the Flea at 08:19 AM | TrackBack (0)

Jack Kirby Museum

The Jack Kirby Museum is "organized exclusively for educational purposes". Perhaps there is an answer in here somewhere about all those super square-jaws.

Although Jack Kirby is currently more known for his work with Stan Lee at Marvel Comics, he had a long, successful partnership with Joe Simon - Captain America, Boy Commandos. Newsboy Legion and Sandman were big hits in the early 1940s.
Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

Stonehenge watch

Time to investigate the Flea finances and invest in this Stonehenge pocket watch.

Now, you too can hold the legend and ageless wonder of Stonehenge in the palm of your hand by claiming The Stonehenge Watch as your own. By owning The Stonehenge Watch, you will quickly learn that Stonehenge is, at once, the oldest and newest way to tell time.

So take "A Great Leap Backward in Time" with The Stonehenge Watch!
Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM | TrackBack (0)

Kiss my apse

Time to keep it real with the arch the olo and the G.

The editor of the American Journal of East-Mediterranean Archaeology has announced the publication of the youth-oriented American Journal of East-Mediterranean Archaeology E-X-treme!!

"We gonna get nasty with the academic study of ruins stretching from antiquity through the Byzantine period...yo," stated the editor, Prof. Arnold Feldman, who was "bringing the bling" with a new batch of gold coins discovered near Ephesus in Turkey and displayed during the "banging launch party."
Posted by the Flea at 08:11 AM | TrackBack (0)

September 17, 2005

Mobiles

Expect Toronto stupid to step up a notch as the beautiful people decide "cell phones" are now to be referred to as "mobiles". The culprit, the roach-like celebrity stalkers of the Toronto International Film Festival.

TIFF engenders some good lingo. This year, FYI, "cellphone" is out; "mobile" in. And when a star wants to smoke, she says she "needs some air".

Or "needs a life". What a pathetic spectacle. Thanks to recent life changes, I have at least spared myself the tooth-grinding irritation of listening to a would be academic jetsetter with a tortured Madonna accent. The kind who refers to Toronto's subway as "the tube" and imagines this suggests cultural capital rather than, say, idiocy. UK Flea-readers will already know what a "mobile" might be and without having to strike a pose. I blame Gwyneth Paltrow.

Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Bon Jovi Concert

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog reports from a Bon Jovi concert. The comedy value is mitigated somewhat by the band being such good sports. Also, Heather Locklear.

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

The Wall

A Pink Floyd case mod. Sweet.

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

MiG-15

This MiG-15 might come in handy.

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

Zorro Tank

Zorro Tank is suited to people with much better aim and driving skills than I possess.

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

Flood area overlay

A website offers some sense of the scale of the inundation of New Orleans using comparison overlays with other city maps. Like Toronto, for example.

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

Office productivity

These tips for white collar slacking were forwarded to me by a Flea-reader who had best remain anonymous. A precious boon in my quest to reduce office productivity everywhere.

Gadgets, such as BlackBerrys and cell phones, and software, including email and instant messaging programs, can be tweaked to appear as if you’re a diligent workaholic when all you want to do is enjoy a round of golf, a three-martini lunch or to surf the Web at the office for fun and games.

These include downloadable “panic buttons” to click so the boss won’t catch you playing Solitaire at your desk to ways of logging onto your home PC from the office so you can surf the Net undetected, to computer programs that look like you’re installing an important program so you can take an extra long coffee break.
Posted by the Flea at 08:40 AM | TrackBack (0)

September 16, 2005

Alison Lapper Pregnant

Is it too late to ask for Diana and Dodi dancing with the albatross? The last empty plinth in Trafalgar Square has been filled by an image of Alison Lapper, pregnant. Sculptor, Marc Quinn explains.

"I felt the square needed some femininity, linking with Boudicca near the Houses of Parliament," Mr Quinn told BBC News. "Alison's statue could represent a new model of female heroism."

Because a pregnant woman is somehow a "new model" of "female heroism" as opposed to being, say, a "Victorian model" of the limit of "female heroism". Quite by accident, a sculpture one can only imagine was meant to provoke controversy is an anachronism. Though I am certain Alison Lapper herself is a tough cookie.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

London Markets

This map of London Markets should come in handy. Upmarket Camden Passage and downmarket Chapel Market are close to the London home of the Flea and Camden Lock is one of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon.

Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Fat Duck

Wolfram Siebeck's adventures in snail porridge and yuckerie should put to rest those tired old canards about English cuisine. The Fat Duck is now creeping toward the top of my lifetime to do list. Especially the crab risotto (hat to the Foodie of the Flea).

Finally it's official. The best restaurant in the world is called The Fat Duck. To thank for this revelation are 600 experts (chefs, critics and connoisseurs) who were surveyed by the British newspaper The Guardian. And because 600 experts could never be wrong, we finally have the conclusive list of the fifty best gourmet restaurants in the entire world. An exceptionally high number of them – 14 to be precise – are in England. Which doesn't surprise anyone who has ever succumbed to the culinary seduction of English family hotels.
Posted by the Flea at 07:00 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Checks: What You Heard

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance like we're trying to get laid in New Zealand.

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

Azerbic

Antonia Zerbisias offers some suggestions for good Toronto-based blogs. It is to blush.

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

Slow loading times

Gay Orbit has been having the same problems the Flea has experienced with site loading times. The culprits: Blogads, Sitemeter and Bl*gr*lling. I would have lifted the Blogads script entirely if I did not have a (single) live ad running. And as of last week I am done with Bl*gr*lling. Sitemeter provides a useful, if undercounting, guestimate which has been a guide for potential Blog-advertisers. But if I drop the one there will be no need for the other. When some significant portion of my Flea-related email now relates to slow loading times I can only guestimate the number of Flea-readers are giving the blog a miss.

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Google Blog Search

A first run through of the Google Blog Search beta turns up a lot of fake blogs run by spammers. The company is going to have to filter out "blogs" whose content consists of nothing but "diet pill" or "investment scheme" links if it is going to be useful for anything.

Posted by the Flea at 06:46 AM | TrackBack (0)

September 15, 2005

Sweet Suzie McNeil

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Suzie McNeil would have made a great new lead singer for INXS. Much better than that anime-looking MiG fellow, better suited to an INXS nostalgia musical. Attention all Canadians: our vote splitting must cease! Time to mindlessly vote as a bloc against all those Australian dead-enders. Now wishing I had seen Abba-Mania...

Update: Suzie McNeil live!

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

Dandi Wind: Balloon Factory

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Click through for a close approximation of some busting the Flea moves.

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

Football Season Is Over

Rolling Stone is to publish Hunter S. Thompson's suicide note.

"No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67," it read. "That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun - for anybody. 67."
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Check Out My Subaru

The Flea's ongoing commitment to Chav Studies (and the cognate field of Chav Parody Studies) compels me to link Check Out My Subaru despite some profoundly unworksafe content.

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

Coverville

I am no podcasting enthusiast (even I don't have that much free time) but I am tempted by this week's Coverville if only to hear the musical stylings of The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain as they cover Le Freak's "Chic".

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

My social fabric

The Social Fabric allows you to keep track of all those personal ads you replied to and never bothered to follow up on. Even the ones where you were offered a shot of bourbon. Those should be marked with a flaming neon halo or something. Expect forthcoming social network analysis based dissertations to be submitted in pda format.

What it is: The Social Fabric is a representation of your social world, displayed as a single visual array on your mobile phone. It does not replace your address book or calendar but keeps you subtly informed about which relationships are prospering, which you have neglected, and the overall state of your social fabric.
Posted by the Flea at 08:35 AM | TrackBack (0)

November 22

Microsoft chose the Tokyo Game Show to announce the launch dates (in North American, European and Japanese flavours) for the much anticipated Xbox 360. Gamers take note: you will be buying more than a souped up game console.

"Our view with Xbox is that it's an overall program, which is a combination of the console, software and services," said Mitch Koch, Microsoft's corporate vice president for worldwide retail sales. "We have an outstanding online proposition through Live, and I think if we execute on that software, services and hardware strategy, we have a differentiated offering which should allow us to be very successful in the marketplace."
Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

September 14, 2005

J.D. Fortune: Canadian bad ass

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Bad boy Rock Star INXS contestant, J.D. Fortune wore a naughty T-shirt that slipped by the CBS censors (not pictured above). A gentle reminder to independently wealthy Flea-readers everywhere... I am soliciting donations for the Buy The Flea Wing Tattoos (Sweet) Fund™.

Posted by the Flea at 10:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

t.A.T.u.: All About Us

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Takes a moment to download. Uncensored version. Crank those speakers!

Update: New (tiny) video link... I shall not be denied my t.A.T.u fix! If anyone has a better one please let me know. Otherwise, the video is available for registered members at the t.A.T.u website.

Posted by the Flea at 10:41 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Infect. Evolve. Repeat.

A truly viral web game. Fun. Nasty.

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

Ninja cats

Ninja cats. Kick ass!

Posted by the Flea at 10:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

Half-Life 2

This Half-Life 2 machinima is worth a moment if only for its strangely appealing Dutch rap.

Supposedly, this video is funny if you're Dutch because it pokes fun at rich students, or something. That part is lost on us, but they get major points for using the Half-Life 2 engine to totally creep us out, Lawnmower Man style.
Posted by the Flea at 10:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

September 13, 2005

Willow

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Alyson Hannigan must have done something newsworthy lately. Let's see. Umm. Nope.

Posted by the Flea at 10:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Franz Ferdinand: Do what you want to

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Slow loading

Thanks to all for your notices about the Flea's slow loading in Explorer today. Any suggestions as to what might be the cause would be most welcome. I have been nuking exterior page-building type links (Bl*gr*lling, Technorati profile, etc.) but the problem seems bigger today.

Update: Crooks and Liars reports the same problem and believes BlogAds is running slow.

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

Misbehavin'

The new international Serenity poster (via Quotulatiousness).

Posted by the Flea at 10:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

Star Wars Collectors Archive

Gus Lopez' Star Wars Collectors Archive combines an obsession with collecting and an obsessive-compulsive attention to detail. Take this discussion of Canadian vs US packaging for Darth Vader's Star Destroyer, for example. Most satisfying.

Whereas the packaging for the U.S. versions of some of the larger Kenner vehicles and playsets, consisted of white boxes onto which color-printed sheets were glued in order to carry the graphics, the packaging for the Canadian versions of these toys was quite different. In Canada, such larger toys as the Millennium Falcon and Darth Vader's Star Destroyer, featured boxes that had the graphics printed directly onto the cardboard. Consequently, the primary surface color of the boxes for these items is black, rather than the off-white of the U.S. versions.
Posted by the Flea at 10:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Alien in the room

Alien in the room is too complicated for my small brain.

Posted by the Flea at 10:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

Scolopendra gigantea

Aaron Balick heard something scampering around behind his television set. It was a venomous giant centipede.

"Thinking it was a mouse, I went to investigate the sound. The sound was coming from under some papers which I lifted, expecting to see the mouse scamper away," the 32-year-old psychotherapist said Wednesday. "Instead, when I lifted the papers, I saw this prehistoric looking animal skitter away behind a stack of books."

He trapped the 9-inch-long creature between a stack of books and put it in a plastic container.

The centipede has now been returned to its "exotic pet enthusiast" owner. Lucky Islington.

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

Trilobite cookies

Trilobite cookies are my next project. "So bake a batch of 'bites..."

Trilobites are extinct marine animals which lived gazillions of years ago. Real trilobites may or may not have tasted like chicken. (who knows?) These cookies are the result of my most recent research into what ancient trilobites would have tasted like if primitive biochemical processes were based on jam/chocolate/cookie molecules. Independent paleoconfectionary laboratories often ask for my formula, so I have placed it here for the world to enjoy.
Posted by the Flea at 10:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

September 12, 2005

Zizek!

Thanks to the Flea's Film Festival Expert, I have now seen the frankly delectable Astra Taylor's documentary feature, Zizek!, a biographical piece on Slovenian theory star, Slavoj Zizek.

In Zizek!, a fascinating portrait, we follow the spellbinding lecturer to Rio de Janeiro, Boston and New York City. He orates to overcapacity crowds on his favourite themes: ideology, psychoanalysis, religion and love. "Love is a cosmic disbalance," he says. Back in his hometown of Ljubljana, where Zizekek ran for president in Slovenia's first democratic election in 1990, we enter his tiny apartment. Amid kitchen cupboards stuffed with socks, underwear and bed sheets, the professor speaks about the magnificence and modesty of philosophy. While lying in bed topless, the philosopher declares that he does not solve problems, he redefines them.

While Zizek's Vertigo pose will be a fan favourite, it is that last topless bed scene which is the key to the piece. An anxious audience can only wonder if the wild-eyed, nose-pinching, arm-waving gesticulations will be completed by a grostesque spectacle: the professor pitching a tent with his duvet. It does not happen and, by its absence, forms a neat homology with his writings on Lacanian anamorphosis and the dependence of any signifying relationship on that element which escapes symbolization.

Better yet was the loathsome film festival audience, none of whom could pronounce the professor's name in the ticket-holder's line and every one of whom will now claim the knowledge as a scenester bragging right. Shame that almost none of them are likely to, say, read any of his books (start with Looking Awry). I was fortunate to have the same idiot who sat behind Zizek at The Matrix sitting behind me for the documentary. Every quote was greeted with a performative "hmm" or "ahh" and every middle-class in-joke with a knowing "har har". This despite the fact the entire film was a running rant about the importance of denying the position of theory-star as "the one who is supposed to know" and a series of two-finger salutes to everyone expecting a philosophy prof to have the answers his audiences are expecting to hear.

Card-carrying Lacanians will find the price of admission worth it for his take-down of a typical sneering Derridean question at a public lecture. Lacanians are smart, interesting and sexy. Derrideans are lock-step cultists following a hack. (My own card-carrying Lacanian gloss, so please not to blame him.) The director has done an excellent job of maintaining Zizek's monstrousness and making accessible material that takes time to read let alone approach as a non-specialist introduction. Unfortunately, this meant a focus on the more approachable work rather than the less fashionable, and more interesting, recent discussions of Marxism, community and Pauline Christianity.

Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Crash:War: The Skull

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

John Coltrane

Click through to the official John Coltrane website and chill.

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

Keira Knightley on corsets

Keira Knightley enjoyed her corsets in the latest film version of Pride and Prejudice. Does she need a corset? I think not. No reports of Matthew Macfadyen's thoughts on the subject.

"These new corsets were fine," she told us. "I loved them. I think what was really important for me with Pride And Prejudice was that you got a sense that these girls could run around a field, walk for miles, they could do anything they wanted in those clothes."
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Lost in translation

Writing in Japan Today, Kevin McGue discusses the subtleties of subtitling.

In his essay "Cultural Ventriloquism," French subtitler Henri Behar recalls seeing Sam Peckinpah's war epic "Cross of Iron" in Paris. In one scene, exhausted soldiers crouch in a foxhole, awaiting battle. One soldier sees heavily armed vehicles coming their way. "Tanks!" he yells, calling his comrades to action. "Tanks!" The French subtitle? "Merci! Merci!"
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

At last the Dodo said

The unedifying spectacle of the self-esteem generation making their lemming plunge into employment has begun. I watched a 60 Minutes piece on the "echo" generation as they find their way through college. Yes, this is a cohort who almost uniformly expect to be rewarded for participation and not for achievement, who have never driven a car without a seat-belt and who have enormous difficulty in situations without flashing lights, positive feedback and all their decisions made for them. "Everyone is above average in our generation," observed Columbia University's student newspaper editor, oblivious to the meaning of the word "average".

"Everyone is above average in our generation," says Summers.

"Everybody gets a trophy at the end of the year. It's something you're used to," adds Gissing. "And you have the rows of trophies lined up on your windowsill, or whatever."

I have met exceptional students. Unfortunately, I have had little opportunity to recognize, let alone encourage, them for all the time lost to defending below average grades for papers written by students who have not bothered to address the assignment. In fact, some could not be bothered to spell my name correctly. It is only a question of time before a BA is considered a waste of time and an impediment to employment. Perhaps at the point the steaming wreckage of higher education can be rebuilt by people who are actually there to learn something.

At last the Dodo said, "EVERYBODY has won, and all must have prizes."

Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

September 11, 2005

Linda Linda Linda

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"Like a rat, I want to be beautiful
Because there’s beauty that can’t be photographed.
"

Might be the coolest film ever. If Jack Nicholson and Jean Reno had a light saber duel it would be less cool than this movie (with a sincere hat tip to the Flea's Film Festival Expert).

What distinguishes Nobuhiro Yamashita's Linda Linda Linda from the crowd is a refreshing modesty. Rather than the usual underdog struggle against the odds culminating School of Rock style in the obligatory spectacular stage show and a fat recording contract, Linda Linda Linda's story revolves around four highschool girls for whom learning how to play a single song in time for the school festival is the ultimate challenge.

Creepy fact: lead-singer Bae Doona ("Son") played Sadako in "The Ring Virus", Korea's Ringu remake. The Blue Hearts' "Linda, Linda" lyrics, and an English translation, can be found here.

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

Gorillaz: Dare

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Canadair bombardier d'eau

Time to get me some fire fighting. Too tough for me. Chris Taylor's mad piloting skillz may be the only thing to save us now.

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

September 11, 1940

Winston Churchill speaks to the people of Czechoslovakia, broadcast September 11, 1940.

In this hour of your martyrdom I send you this message. The battle which we in Britain are fighting today is not only our battle. It is also your battle, and, indeed, the battle of all nations who prefer liberty to soulless serfdom. It is the struggle of civilized nations for the right to live their own life in the manner of their own choosing. It represents man's instinctive defiance of tyranny and of an impersonal universe.
Posted by the Flea at 08:11 AM | TrackBack (0)

Arbeit ist Scheisse

There is something to be said for publicly sponsored air time for political ads. Take this German anarchist tv spot, for example (nsfw).

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

September 09, 2005

Children's books of the early Soviet era

Much the same ideology of the north featured in the children's books of my Canadian indoctrination.

Among the many radical changes in the Soviet Union after the 1917 Revolution, the transformation of children's books offers one of the most vivid reminders of the vast ambitions of the new social order.
Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Troy's mixtape of love

Mental note: mixed tapes are a risk in the new normal of "the internet" (with a shout out to the Travelling Pants Society).

Update: Looks like Troy managed to get this evidence expunged from "the internet". No wait, here it is.

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

A real fighter

Dannii Minogue says her sister is managing "amazingly well" with her treatment.

Update: The Showgirl Tour is a priority.

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

All about French directors

You are looking for a French director to shoot a commercial? How about a director of photograpy? Take the too good to be true, Jean Poisson. His work on this Korean "One Shot" ad is impressive.

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

Guy Bourdin

The films of Guy Bourdin featured at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Perhaps Madonna can find some futher inspiration in the catalogue.

Bourdin's high profile years, in the 1970's saw his images featured on the pages of top fashion magazines. Already in his mid forties by this time, his editorial and advertising photography broke with conventions of fashion imagery in radical ways. His photographs of carefully staged narratives plunge the viewer into a fantasy world of glamour, pleasure, danger and suspense.
Posted by the Flea at 08:32 AM | TrackBack (0)

Edvard Munch

Street life of Dresden in 1927 and much else documented by Edvard Munch using a Pathé-Baby film camera is available courtesy of the Munch Museum. The museum film programme is also worth a look.

"When I cast off on the voyage of my life, I felt like a ship made from old rotten material sent out into a stormy sea by its maker with the words: If you are wrecked it is your own fault and then you will be burnt in the eternal fires of Hell."
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

September 08, 2005

The Geek Hierarchy

My path to the summit of geekdom is now clear. Having recently been quite taken with a Ren Faire denizen I am probably close to that bit of the chart though I am easily geeky enough to know it is "trekker" not "trekkie". And to write about it in my blog.

Oh God. I am never going to have sex again, am I.

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

White Stripes: Blue Orchid

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance courtesy of Floria Sigismondi.

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

Neuro

Neuro is an animated short about apartment life by Bruno Bozzetto. Love the music.

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

Not without my anaconda

Glenn Reynolds has a list of preliminary suggestions vis a vis emergency preparedness that look sensible to me. I am particulary struck by a letter from one of his readers.

One important item you missed is providing evacuation plans for citizens with pets. One reason many people remained behind in New Orleans was that the emergency shelters barred pets, as did the buses, etc. for transporting evacuees. For many pet owners, especially childless and/or older people, pets are surrogate children. It is cruel, heartless, and unnecessary to insist, as a condition of rescue, that one's beloved dog or cat be abandoned to its fate. Were I to be told I must abandon my dogs in order to get out of a life-threatening situation, I, too, might choose to remain behind and take my chances.

Whether or not anyone thinks this is a rational choice the fact is many, many people would rather face death than abandon their pets. I am baffled why someone should be barred from shelter or transportation because of a dog or cat travelling with them.

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Messenger

Messenger, en route to Mercury, made an outward bound series of tourist shots comprising a complete rotation of the Earth. Right out of a movie.

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

Spirit

Mars Rover "Spirit" solar panels were apparently cleaned by the djinn of Gusev Crater.

NASA's Mars rover Spirit has caught a bevy of dust devils racing across the surface of Mars, which researchers compiled into a stunning new movie.
Posted by the Flea at 07:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Enceladus

Property developers for the moons of Saturn should note this impressive active water feature.

Four fissures in the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus are spewing out a plume hundreds of kilometres high, the Cassini probe has revealed, and the ejecta is leaving a vapour trail that rings Saturn.
Posted by the Flea at 07:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Indecent exposure

The colour x-ray vision reportedly provided by X-Reflect is not to be abused!

The X-Reflect Camera is able to see through thin and tight clothes, swimwear, sundresses. Yes, you may actually see a person's body or underwear through the external clothes that the person is wearing. Therefore, those parts that are not meant to be seen are made to be seen by the use of the X-Reflect Camera, you may also be able to see through make up on a woman's face as if they have no make up on at all. You may see right through the foundation of the face, the lipstick and so on.

The act of invading someone else's privacy should be avoided.
Posted by the Flea at 07:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

September 07, 2005

Suzie McNeil

Suzie2.jpg

Rock Star INXS
Australian is missing
Canadian wins

(hopefully)

Update: Suzie McNeil live!

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

Brakes: All Night Disco Party

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Mr. Figgles

Remember that work you were planning to get done today? Welcome to Mr. Figgles.

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

Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet is the UK's top "yummy mummy". And quite right too.

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Grand Theft Auto

Anticipating Grand Theft Auto for Xbox 360. The urge to run something down must have been overwhelming. My only quibble is these guys must have at least one leggy friend to make an appearance in high heels.

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

Obi Wan

A priceless relic of the days before the ruining has come to light. Obi Wan Kenobi's orginal robes from 1977 classic, "Star Wars" has been found in a London fancy dress shop.

It was kept among hundreds of monks’ robes which were later transferred to the firm’s fancy dress shop in Shaftesbury Avenue. The history of the robe was only discovered during a routine stock check. Company boss Tim Angel said: "One of the guys was sorting through this pile of monks’ robes and saw this brown one with an odd-shaped hood.

"He put it on and the manager said; 'Oh my God, it’s Alec Guinness’s cloak from Star Wars. It’s unmistakable, an iconic piece.' All this time we have been renting it out to customers wanting to hire a monk’s outfit for a fancy dress party."
Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Crazy making

There are many people to left of centre who believe the mainstream media is reactionary, one-sided and serves only the interests of its corporate patrons. Strangely enough, there are many people to right of centre who believe the mainstream media is hopelessly biased, one-sided in fact and serves only the interests of its "liberal" social agenda. Small side bar here: many will be surprised to learn these propositions are not mutually contradictory.

Fine. Here is what drives me crazy. So many of these same people will cheerfully rely on fragmentary, hurried reports by this same mainstream media as a basis from which to indict, try and convict, in no particular order, the President of the United States, the Governor of Louisiana, the Mayor of New Orleans, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and others for what is at base an act of God. While I am quite certain we shall learn in the fullness of time of more than enough incompetence to go round I find it difficult to express my feelings on the matter while there are so many bodies still lost to the waters.

Here are some issues about which I have yet to make up my mind: culpability for the loss of a sailor to a newly acquired Canadian submarine, the extent and character of corruption evident in the contracting out of federal ad dollars in the run-up to Quebec's referendum and the loss of a commuter on the London Underground. None of these are in the news right now because of the nature of a beast whose focus is relentlessly directed toward current events. More important to my point, none of these are hot issues in the blogosphere. This is also appropriate because none of us yet know the results of commissions and inquiries into their causes and, hopefully, how best to avoid such problems in future. But sober second thought is not the reason for their absence. Rather, because none of these issues are in the news and thus provide little mileage for the various partisan axes that are always on the grind.

Here is a suggestion. Take a moment to investigate your own municipality's emergency preparations, give some thought to their strengths and weaknesses and start raising questions with your elected officials now rather than the minute you realize that, impossible as it seems, the worst has arrived and you never got round to checking if the batteries in your radio were still working. Because at that point you may be certain that fingers will be pointed and outrage will be expressed but you will still be up the proverbial creek without a paddle. And the blame will not rest entirely with those brave folks who are on their way to help you.

Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

September 06, 2005

I love the nightlife

ChloeFace1997.jpg

As soon as I have got my time machine fixed up I shall travel into the past with Chloė Sevigny as my Flea companian. First stop is one of these Allan Tannenbaum photographed scenes from New York in the 1970s. Some not remotely work appropriate. This look achieves fashion meltdown with the shoes. Everyone knows heels are inappriate to construction party dancing. All must worship at the altar of Klaus Nomi. But Mick and Bianca are the bomb.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Smog: I feel like the mother of the world

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance with Chloė Sevigny, all forlorn.

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

Crying while eating

Perhaps someone might be so kind as to explain crying while eating to me. Though recent experience suggests it is unwise to experiment with sentences combining the words "fish-sticks" and "sandwich" I cannot recall the last time a meal left me in tears.

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

Lust for Bust

The Flea's occasional series, Object Lessons in Objectification™ continues with this Lust for Bust game. I found I could not stop until I had achieved my goal and so it is probably best not to be tempted into this one at the office (hat tip to the Porchboys).

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

That's hot

Another reenactment of Paris Hilton's car wash commercial arrives thanks to the erotic power of "the internet".

Posted by the Flea at 08:38 AM | TrackBack (0)

Britney says pregnancy is a burden

Look, I know the world seems like it is going to hell in a handbasket. And we all know how few handbaskets we have to spare. But when "Britney says pregnancy is a burden" is a tag-line in Pravda I believe it is fair to say we are making progress.

Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

Smoothies

Smoothies have been enlisted in Kylie Minogue's battle with the effects of chemotherapy. One can only hope they have their intended therapeutic effect.

Combinations of of carrots, chilli peppers, broccoli, garlic, kale, papaya, raspberries, rosemary, seaweed, tomatoes and turmeric are reportedly her main arms in the natural fight against cancer, even though some of them may leave a little to be desired by the tastebuds.
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

Time to reactivate the house wards

Time for a move into the new Flea HQ.

This thin house requires a bankroll that's fairly fat. A home in London that measures just over 5 feet at its skinniest and 9 feet, 11 inches at its widest is up for sale for $933,868, estate agents said Tuesday. The narrow home is spread over five levels and used to be a hat shop before being converted into living quarters.
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

September 05, 2005

Simple Minds: Home

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

The Goblet of Fire

"Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy."

The website for the new Harry Potter film is now on-line. And it's all about Clémence Poésy, folks.

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

Aerial

Kate Bush's new album is to be a double-disc set. Oh yes.

Pianist/songwriter Kate Bush will break a 12-year album drought this autumn with the double-disc set "Aerial."

The album will arrive November 7 in Europe via EMI and a day later in North America via Columbia. First single "King of the Mountain" will be available September 27 at a host of digital download sites.
Posted by the Flea at 08:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

The importance of being self-indulgent

David Amsden reviews Brett Easton Ellis' new novel, Lunar Park and writes a spirited defense of self-indulgence.

For all the clichéd jokes about writers and their egos, we still feel the collegiate desire to equate the act of writing (as opposed to the writing itself) with something holy and pure—an impulse closer to that of the selfless humanitarian aid worker than the self-centered rock star. Which is ludicrous. Writers are rock stars—playing on a stage in their minds to a sold-out show of themselves, hoping to make enough noise that others have no choice but to listen and, ideally, start singing along in vague recognition. In so many Great American Novels, this urge is precisely what we admire: that the writer had the gumption to universalize the personal, to publicly and articulately act the way the rest of us do in front of the mirror.
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Street Parade Zürich 2005

The most dull-witted, vulgar complaint about Gay Pride parades follows the form of "you don't see straight people running around with nipple clamps" or "my wife doesn't dress up in latex and flaunt herself in the street", etc. and so forth. Which begs a simple question: just whose fault is that? Zürich's house and techno parade 2005 offers an inspirational example by way of rebuttal (nsfw, obviously). 2003 and 2004 provide further detail for those who find joined up writing a challenge.

No, for me it is Austria's World Bodypainting Festival that crosses the line. If the Good Lord had wanted women spray-painted in Mozart motifs He would have delivered them pre-wrapped as chocolate gift boxes. And this disco ball accessory might prove tragically conflicting to gay men everywhere. There ought to be a law.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

September 04, 2005

Pompeii on Ole Miss

An essay republished at Winds of Change is the best summary of the scope of the disaster I have yet to read. This is the first statement I have seen that not only addresses the scale of what has happened (and is happening) but takes on every easy criticism of the response to the hurricane and its aftermath.

Some way into the argument a single line stands out: "By now, you are hopefully beginning to understand the error in trying to fix blame, at least this early." People who have never worked in logistics, planning or policy need to read that line and take it to heart.

To those who would blame the mayor of New Orleans, I would ask you to prepare, in the course of three days, to completely evacuate and rebuild a city of approximately one million people.
...
Not only do you have to plan and build a new city in three days, that will house one million people, you must also facilitate the traffic flow of 800,000 of those people to an area that will not be affected by the rain of 450 kiloton nuclear weapons the storm will drop after it leaves your city.

You have to find, and physically force some portion of the 100,000 remaining persons to leave, and you have to find and transport the remainder of that 100,000 people who cannot do so on their own.

Whatever routes you choose to get to your brand new one million person city will be shared with mandatory evacuees from the entire two or three state region.

Beginning on the second day of your one million person new city construction project, every asset you and your staff possesses, cars, houses, offices, telephones, computers, and basic necessities, will be unavailable, under water.

Those wishing to develop an informed opinion would be well advised to consult an an expert in the subject whose thoughts are available at the Castle. Next stop should be the much criticized Federal Emergency Management Agency to develop some idea of the range of challenges they face on a day to day basis. And because it is remotely possible this is not the last hurricane the world shall ever know, or that hurricanes are not the only disaster that will ever again befall humanity, it might behoove some of the critics to prepare their own hurricane kit or bug-out bag by way of taking some small responsibility for their own survival such that the authorities might better concentrate on those who for reasons of illness, infirmity or impoverishment are not able to help themselves.

Update: More welcome and sensible thinking may be found at Babbling Brooks (thanks, John!) and more yet at Taylor & Co. The Toronto blackout has also been on my mind.

Posted by the Flea at 12:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Ray Nagin

New Orleans mayor, Ray Nagin, a man whose disposition is reportedly that of a "calm technocrat" in normal circumstances, made a passionate statement in a WWL-AM radio interview critical of reported delays in action in the aftermath of the hurricane. While Nagin has also faced criticism for his failure to issue a mandatory evacuation order until less than 24-hours before Katrina hit, his September 1 statement already seems to be one for the history books (hat tip to a Flea reader).

I have no idea what they're doing. But I will tell you this: You know, God is looking down on all this, and if they are not doing everything in their power to save people, they are going to pay the price. Because every day that we delay, people are dying and they're dying by the hundreds, I'm willing to bet you.
Posted by the Flea at 12:07 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Live feeds of public safety communications

Radio systems coordinating emergency operations on the Gulf coast are available thanks to the all hearing ear of "the internet". Perhaps someone could explain the legality of this stuff to me. I can think of numerous contexts where this sort of information might prove all to useful to the wrong people.

NOPD's Wide Area EDACS ProVoice system is currently DOWN and NOT operational. The system survived the initial hurricane, but subsequent flooding has knocked out generators. Currently, NOPD is working off of NPSPAC-1 and NPSPAC-2, with 1 being dedicated to all east bank operations, and 2 being dedicated to west bank operations. NOFD and EMS operations are unknown at this time.
Posted by the Flea at 12:04 AM | TrackBack (0)

September 03, 2005

Flea dance party

Time to dance, my droogies!

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Flea dance

Anyone still developing their own Flea dance should refer to Amanda Congdon for pointers (via Alfons').

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

They're taking the Hobbits to Isengard

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Kennedy: Your Mama

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM | TrackBack (0)

Tally Hall: Banana Man

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Backstreet Boys: Just Want You to Know

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

The Diplomats: Push It

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

The Rawker: Whole lotta love

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:16 AM | TrackBack (0)

Tex Haper: Country New Wave

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Young-hae Chang: Super Smile

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (and do a little light reading).

Posted by the Flea at 08:12 AM | TrackBack (0)

Haddaway: What is love?

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Because "the internet" kicks. So much. Ass.

Posted by the Flea at 08:11 AM | TrackBack (0)

September 02, 2005

Flea Bowl

London’s Museum of Garden History hosts Cloud & Vision, the response of eight artists to William Blake’s stint in Lambeth, until September 4, 2005. Brian Catling's Fleabowl, inspired by Blake's notable Ghost of a flea, "conjures up images of demon barbers and leeching blood into basins". A decorative accent for any home.

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

Bloodhound Gang: Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

British troops on LSD

British troops on LSD... the efficiency of the rocket launcher team was very impaired. Though feeding the birds was an excellent idea.

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

Abandoned Russia

Some abandoned buildings of Russia. I expect we shall be seeing rather more of the same thing all at once in the days to come.

Future is waiting for us. With hollow skeletons
or downsized ugly creatures with bulgy eyes - it's not important.
Important thing is that there will be a footprint left.
Footprint of civilization. Cement, metal and dust not claimed by anyone.
They are eternity.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Chaos in Louisiana

Members of British Columbia's Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team (USAR), on the ground in Louisiana, say their work cannot be carried out until law and order are restored (via Free Will who comments).

"It's far too dangerous for even the state troopers and police to wander out," said USAR member Brian Inglis in a statement Thursday on his team website.

"It's absolutely crazy, the devastation is unreal -- the gunfire, the shooting, the looting is like something you see in a movie."

Update: Here is an important caveat to my views on looting. The difference between "looting" and "finding" may often have more to do with racism than with the particular act in question.

Update: Snopes comments on the "looting" and "finding" images.

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

Perfect hindsight

I watched a CNN report this morning about a Gulf coast town that had been flattened as far as a mile and a half inland by a 40 foot storm surge. Having apparently ignored every post facto network homily on how everyone except, say, the media should have been paying attention to hurricane risks, the correspondent ended his piece by saying it would take a lot of work to put the town's name back on the map.

The only way this town's name should find its way back on the map is through a tasteful commemorative national park. Otherwise, whether it is next week or in 40 years time the next 40 foot storm surge will offer us the all too avoidable spectacle of further illogical, sanctimonious and sentimental reportorials informed only by perfect hindsight.

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

September 01, 2005

The Survival of New Orleans

A former soldier "who’s holed up with a crew of data warehousers high up in a Central Business District office tower", now Outpost Crystal, blogs from New Orleans (via Donald Sensing). Please read it all.

In case anyone in national security is reading this, get the word to President Bush that we need the military in here NOW. The Active Duty Armed Forces. Mr. President, we are losing this city. I don't care what you're hearing on the news. The city is being lost. It is the law of the jungle down here. The command and control structure here is barely functioning. I'm not sure it's anyone's fault -- I'm not sure it could be any other way at this point. We need the kind of logistical support and infrastructure only the Active Duty military can provide. The hospitals are in dire straights. The police barely have any capabilities at this point. The National Guard is doing their best, but the situation is not being contained.
Posted by the Flea at 06:51 PM | TrackBack (0)

When the levee breaks

Many media outlets, politicians and pundits are asking why more was not done to improve, amongst other things, shoring up New Orleans' levee system. A quick search of public pronouncements made by any such media outlets, politicians and pundits should reveal just how much attention they had paid to the issue before last week. Or indeed, before today's finger-pointing news cycle. I can think of a dozen equivalent risks faced by emergency planners that by all appearances still do not occupy the minds of these savants of hind-sight.

Posted by the Flea at 06:41 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

A prayer for Poppy

Poppy Z. Brite is alive.

Hell

Or the closest thing I have ever known.

No word on our house or cats. The situation in New Orleans is dire, what's left of us. People are trying to help with the animals, and God bless them, but I don't know if any of them will be able to get in -- we hear they're letting almost no one in -- and I've already given up so much of my hope. Last night I had the first dream of being home, of seeing their faces. Thank God for our nurse friend who lives near my mother; if not for the array of pharmaceuticals she has been handing out, I believe I would have run outside and grabbed one of those live wires the PSAs are always telling you not to touch.
Posted by the Flea at 05:54 PM | TrackBack (0)

By all means shoot them

This is very simple. If the duly constituted authority cannot or will not act in defense of the community the people will take the law into their own hands. It is not only in defense of the weak that the state must act. It is in defense of the principle of law itself. Vigilante justice is otherwise the inevitable fate of those who would take advantage of lawlessness. For those concerned that an innocent might come to harm as a result of stern action I can only point to the innocents who have already come to harm as a result of failure to take such action.

Ted Frank and Glenn Reynolds both say that looters should be shot. Reynolds:

Normally, you don't shoot people for stealing because we value life over property. But when people are, as Frank notes, looting hospitals for drugs at gunpoint and the like, things are out of hand and life-threatening violence looms.

When I was on Grand Cayman last month, several people told me that looting became a problem after Hurricane Ivan, but quickly stopped when the police shot several looters. That's because looters usually value life over property too.

As I've said before, I don't think that people helping themselves to emergency supplies are to be blamed, but that's not what we're talking about here. Those who don't get this are either sadly uninformed or deliberately obtuse.

There is a common misconception that America is a violent place and Americans are a violent people. In fact, Americans should be noted for the extraordinary lengths to which they go to avoid inflicting needless harm in armed conflict. And this is to say nothing of a long history from the Revolution on down demonstrative of a near constant movement toward greater liberty, greater emancipation and greater dignity of the person. A Canadian government presented with a calamity on the scale of the hurricane would have to resort to firm measures much sooner and for much longer than the Americans. We have nothing like the resources necessary to show the discretion thusfar demonstrated by the United States federal government. But even their might appears to be insufficient to the immediate task of overcoming the disaster while tip-toeing around the rights of those who have chosen to pillage the survivors. Judging by fragmentary news reports I would guess the balance of judgement is about to take a turn toward order.

Posted by the Flea at 12:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Help

Glenn Reynolds hosts the mother of all link round-ups for suggested hurricane relief organisations.

Posted by the Flea at 12:47 PM | TrackBack (0)

Jürgen Trittin

German environment minister, Jürgen Trittin had this to say. Perhaps someone would be so kind as to provide me with the German equivalent of "go to Hell" for inclusion in my forthcoming letter to the German ambassador.

Apparently the Americans had it coming: "The American president has closed his eyes to the economic and human damage that natural catastrophes such as Katrina -- in other words, disasters caused by a lack of climate protection measures -- can visit on his country."

There are important questions that must be raised regarding coastal development and the responsibilities of government and home buyers in the wake of this catastrophe. The urgent question, however, is how to restore order and help those in need. But for so many the only urgency is in choosing the precise note upon which to gloat.

Posted by the Flea at 12:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Anne McLellan

Canada's Deputy Prime Minister, Anne McLellan issued the following statement.

"On behalf of all Canadians, I wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to those who have lost loved ones as a result of Hurricane Katrina, as well as our sympathies to those who have suffered great losses and personal hardship ... During this difficult time, we are offering our support to our friends and neighbours."

Update: The Canadian armed forces have been placed on stand-by to offer any possible assistance. Chief of Defence Staff General Rick Hillier: "If conditions were reversed, they would be the first to step up to help us if we needed it."

Chief of Defence Staff General Rick Hillier said Thursday the Canadian Forces have been put on standby to help the United States deal with the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

Gen. Hillier said he notified his American counterparts that Canada was prepared to offer whatever assistance was needed. He also noted that the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), which was deployed in the Asian tsunami earlier this year, was put on a one-hour notice in Kingston, Ont.

"They have but to ask and we in the Canadian Forces would have it rolling or sailing or flying southward as quickly as possible," he told reporters Thursday.
Posted by the Flea at 12:41 PM | TrackBack (0)