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October 31, 2005

Trick or treat

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The Flea-signal strikes fear into the hearts of Annexian evil doers!

Alone of its accursèd state,
One thing the hand of Time shall spare,
For the grim Idiot at the gate
Is deathless and eternal there.

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North American Hallowe'en Prevention Initiative

Do they know it's Hallowe'en?

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

Gorillaz: Dirty Harry

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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It's all fun and games

Divine Intervention is the only one of these Hallowe'en games I have played. It is quite violent, quite fun and not quite suitable for the office.

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

Be water, my friend

You could maybe be as cool as Bruce Lee if you were Robert Mitchum or William Shatner or something but no way could you be more cool than Bruce Lee.

Empty your mind. Be formless. Shapeless. Like water. Now you put water into a cup it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. That water can flow. It can crash. Be water, my friend.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Ninja New York

I am reasonably certain a Manhattan-based Flea-reader should offer to take me to Ninja New York (whatever the New York Times has to say on the matter). Would I like to follow the "easy" or "difficult" path to my table? Difficult, thank you.

The customary "Smith, party of four" is on the tip of your tongue -- until the shadowy lantern- and flame-lit lobby of Ninja New York located at 25 Hudson Street catches you a little off guard. Just where is this restaurant? But as your eyes adjust to the cave-like environs, the incongruously black-clad Ninjas -- or at least Ninja wannabes -- begin to appear.
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October 29, 2005

Amarantine

Ethereal pop songstress, Enya must be alarmed at the repeated castle-invasions she has suffered. There may be something to her unwordly, dare I say eldritch and tenebrous warblings, that attracts first-class nutters.

An Italian who walked Dublin`s streets with a framed photo of her around his neck, sent her numerous love letters while following her around for nearly a year, XFM reported. He later stabbed himself after her parents kicked him out of their bar.

Let us hope she has better luck with Amarantine, her new album said to include three songs "written in a language Enya made up" (or rather by her lyricist, Roma Ryan... possibly called "Loxian"). And possibly a nameless piping sound from beyond space. Or possibly just ice skating.

Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Midori Hamada: Catch 22

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Head In A Jar

Your own Head In A Jar can be yours by following a few simple instructions.

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

El baile de Yoda

Yoda busts a move in what I believe to be an Easter Egg from the "Sith" something or other dvd. If so, Lucas lawyers are probably swatting copies of it across "the internet" so best viewed sooner rather than later.

Posted by the Flea at 09:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

DKNY leather pants

I missed my chance to purchase these fine DKNY mens leather pants (hat tip to a former servant of Her Majesty).

I can explain these pants and why they are in my possession. I bought them many, many years ago under the spell of a woman whom I believed to have taste. She suggested I try them on. I did. She said they looked good. I wanted to have a relationship of sorts with her. I’m stupid and prone to impulsive decisions. I bought the pants.
Posted by the Flea at 09:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

Thou art thy mother's glass

While people have been rather mean about Kelly Osbourne's figure she turns out to be an admirer of Kylie Minogue's. Echoing the considered observations of countless communication studies essays I have read, Kelly believes that "sex really does sell". Kelly is right to credit Kylie some of her success to her pixie-like proportions but Kylie also claims a vast gay fan base to whom her pixie-like figure is secondary to some nebulous something else. This something else is what Kelly might better spend her time cultivating than surgery and botox and so forth.

Meantime, Kelly's mother, Sharon Osbourne has offered some less than charitable observations about rock and pop aristocracy. The fun bit is decoding all the asterisks.

Speaking of Madonna, she told GQ magazine: "She’s a t**t. I would like to punch her. She is so full of s***. ... She’s in Kabbalah one minute, she’s a Catholic the next — she’ll be a Hindu soon no doubt. F*** off you t**t."
Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 28, 2005

The Gospel According to Lestat

With her latest novel, Anne Rice tries "to get inside the head of a 7-year-old kid who's intermittently aware that he's also God Almighty".

Rice knows "Out of Egypt" and its projected sequels—three, she thinks—could alienate her following; as she writes in the afterword, "I was ready to do violence to my career." But she sees a continuity with her old books, whose compulsive, conscience-stricken evildoers reflect her long spiritual unease. "I mean, I was in despair." In that afterword she calls Christ "the ultimate supernatural hero ... the ultimate immortal of them all."
Posted by the Flea at 09:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The Cure: The end of the world

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Kal-El Cage

Nicholas Cage has named his son Kal-El. The name does not quite run in the family.

Nicolas - who took his stage name Cage from Marvel superhero Luke Cage - says he is so fond of comics because they taught him how to read.

He said of his son's unusual name: "We wanted a name that was exotic, was American and stood for something good. So Kal-el was a name we came up with, and then Kal for short".
Posted by the Flea at 09:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

Supermen

John Ruch asks why Superman did not use his powers to end the Second World War. Good question.

Superman debuted in 1938 and quickly became the most powerful comic-book character, possessing almost infinite strength, speed and invulnerability. But the outbreak of World War II put his writers in a pickle that was widely discussed in the popular press. It was impossible for Superman not to get involved in the war, but it was a war he’d win within minutes—and that would be absurd and insulting compared to reality. Time said of Superman in 1942, "As the mightiest, fightingest American, he ought to join up. But he just can’t."

The Nazis noticed the irony, too. A 1940 SS newspaper mocked Superman: "Once there was a man so strong that he could stop a speeding locomotive with his ring finger, but he didn’t do it."

The ersatz supermen of the SS were irked at a the thought of being smacked down by a chap in red underwear. One cannot help but notice their failure to mention the comic in question featured Superman hauling both Hitler and Stalin off for the judgement of the League of Nations. It is nice to learn the dictator's feelings were considered too touchy to withstand comic book mockery. One can only hope Kim Jong Il feels the same way about Team America: World Police. And whatever the brain trust at today's DC Comics might think, our updated League of Nations has sadly become an object of derision rather than a court of last resort (some nsfw language in that last link). Though I expect the same might be said for the efficacy of the original League of Nations.

Posted by the Flea at 09:39 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 27, 2005

Lipsync and karaoke

My favourite part of this boy band visual karaoke effort is the non-reaction of the roommate. I expect he is used to this sort of thing. No word on whether Ashley got her prom date. These Happy Boys and Girls best friends had no audience perhaps due to not having memorized the lyrics. They are going to need more practice before taking their show on the road. Some pointers from karoake sensei Fred Marshall are in order. His rendition of Always by Atlantic Star is particularly affecting.

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Jenn Cuneta: Come Rain Come Shine

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Tweaking

At least one CNN staffer is refusing to buy the new "Star Wars" Episode III dvd release, convinced the tinkering "won't end until George Lucas is dead."

That's too bad. He'll miss the new shock ending, in which Luke wakes up on Tatooine and it turns out that the whole six-movie series was a dream.

No! Stop throwing things! I'm kidding! Kidding!
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Episode IV

Star Wars in 168k.

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

Battle of Yavin

Beagle features Snoopy and Woodstock taking on the Empire. Lots more fan films where that came from.

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

TIE Fighter

Wanting this TIE Fighter case mod.

I started with the side panels (wings), which were cut from plywood. The cockpit of the TIE Fighter was most problematic part to build. After several failed attempts to create a ball out of Bondo, I finally found the perfect sphere—a Jolly Ball (a pet store item). A plywood cutout that I installed inside the ball holds all the computer components, and PVC piping connects the cockpit to the wings.
Posted by the Flea at 10:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 26, 2005

Higgins was not Robin Masters

I have a friend who claims Higgins was actually Robin Masters, fictional multi-millionaire novelist and man of mystery (portrayed in an uncredited performance by Orson Welles). Magnum P.I. foil, and true hero of the show, Jonathan Quayle Higgins III cut a fine Flea-ish figure of a man. But broke-ass journalism student, Shaun disagrees he was Robin Masters. He is quite right to do so.

It has to do with the relationship between Higgins and Magnum. Though there was certainly a mutual admiration between the two men, there was also a great deal of friction in their relationship. Higgins was constantly in arms about Magnum's use of the Ferrari and his access to the wine cellar, both of which Masters supposedly approved of. And Magnum, more often than not, got what he wanted. Were Higgins really Masters, either there would have been no friction over such trivial matters, or Magnum simply wouldn't have had the run of the estate he did. The relationship between Magnum, Higgins and Masters suggests that Higgins was a surrogate of Masters'.

Higgins may have confessed his true identity in the show's final episode but he was joking. Having already fooled Magnum about his identity at least twice over the course of the series this sort of joke was entirely typical of the character's sense of humour. If anyone was secretly Robin Masters it was in all probability Magnum himself. Perhaps he had suffered a psychotic break as fall-out from his experiences at Da Nang. More likely he did not want his homeboys, T.C. and Rick, to know he was writing novels.

Update: Criley3 argues Robin Masters is none other than Thomas Magnum II, Magnum's grandfather.

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El Presidente: Rocket

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Revolutionary

Nintendo has released an explanatory ad for its controversial new Revolution controller. Cute, but I remain to be convinced.

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

Transparent armour

In related news, the United States air force is field testing fashion-forward boxer-briefs as a replacement to traditional tightie-whities made obsolete by technological developments.

Engineers here are testing a new kind of transparent armor -- stronger and lighter than traditional materials -- that could stop armor-piercing weapons from penetrating vehicle windows.

The Air Force Research Laboratory's materials and manufacturing directorate is testing aluminum oxynitride -- ALONtm -- as a replacement for the traditional multi-layered glass transparencies now used in existing ground and air armored vehicles.
Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Dark matter

Calculations by University of Victoria physicists, Fred Cooperstock and Steven Tieu shed new light on purported dark matter. I had thought the whole "we cannot see it therefore it must be there" premise sounded a bit dodgy.

To their surprise, when he and Mr Tieu did the calculation with general relativity, they found that they were able to reproduce the observed speeds at which individual stars are orbiting the centre of a galaxy, without requiring the galaxy to contain dark matter. Indeed, the distribution of mass through the galaxy roughly followed the distributions of visible matter, with no need for exotic new particles.
Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 25, 2005

Ian Fleming at Camp-X

Some confusion as to the location of an hotel room, and the hotel room turning out to be a mock-up, do not take away the thrill of learning Ian Fleming trained at Camp-X during the War.

Author Ian Fleming’s failure in a wartime espionage test, described in a recently published biography as at variance with the deeds of his fictional character, James Bond, didn’t happen exactly as described in the biography, a former security chief says.

The Life of Ian Fleming, the biography by British author John Pearson, says Fleming was unable to carry out an order to kill a man, described as a dangerous enemy agent, in a Toronto hotel room during the Second World War when Fleming was taking intelligence training near Oshawa, Ontario.
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | TrackBack (0)

Goldeneye

Stay at Oracabessa, St. Mary on the northern coast of Jamaica. At Goldeneye.

Goldeneye is a Jamaican retreat built by "James Bond" novelist Ian Fleming in the 1950s. He spend nearly 20 winters at this idyllic spot and penned 14 of his famous "007" thrillers here. His hideaway is now available as a resort. Goldeneye is truly a magical place, providing simple luxury and casual comfort.
Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

Damian Marley: Welcome to Jamrock

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. More Damian Marley and walking bass goodness may be found here.

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Soccer Ball

Just the thing to help concentrate the brain juice of a Monday morning. I managed eighteen kicks and decided to pass the problem on to you.

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

Dabbawallas, The

Two church fair visits this last weekend have left me with an intense craving for food prepared with grandmotherly care. Especially, say, a south asian grannie. Paul Goodman's documentary about dabbawallas shows how people of limited means can manage the complex logistical problem of making certain no home cooked meal fails to find its proper object of affection. Or rather, how networks are capable of so doing. Dabbawallas are "box people" so named for the containers (called "dabbas" or "tiffins") holding the home cooking of the grandmothers of nothern Mumbai, formerly known as Bombey. The dabbawallas are a legion of delivery men who make certain each box makes its way by train to the specific city centre offices of each family member waiting for lunch.

More than 100,000-170,000 lunches get moved every day by an estimated 4,000-5,000 dabbawalas, all with an extremely small nominal fee and with utmost punctuality. According to a recent survey, there is only one mistake in every 6,000 deliveries. In fact, the American business magazine ForbesAlternate meaning: For the Boston Brahmin family associated with John Forbes Kerry, see Forbes family. Forbes magazine is an American business and financial magazine founded in 1917 by B. After his death in 1954 and his son Bruce's death in 1964, it was l gave a Six SigmaSix Sigma is a quality management program to achieve "six sigma" levels of quality. It was pioneered by Motorola in the mid- 1980s and has spread to many other manufacturing companies. It continues to spread to service companies as well. In 2000, Fort Way performance rating for the precision of dabbawalas. This rating indicates a 99.999999 accuracy percentage of correctness, meaning one error in every six million transactions—an astonishing (and perhaps unbelievable) degree of exactness.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 24, 2005

Kate Bush: King of the Mountain

Writing for the Guardian, Michael Berkeley discusses the precision fit of non-fit in the musical writing of Kate Bush, Female First has an exclusive on the reclusive chanteuse while Male First can address "King of the Mountain" without a hint of hyperbole:

In a world of disposable pop stars, manufactured bands and an obsession with celebrity, there are few artists who are truly original, fewer still who are acclaimed as an influence by almost anyone that has ever heard them and none who retain the mystique and aura of perhaps the greatest female musical icon and innovator this country has ever produced; Kate Bush.

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Miss Speed-O-Rama

The Flea's occasional series on Object Lessons in Objectification™ continues with this Speed-O-Rama Bikini Contest. Scandalous stuff. The appropriate contemporary English usage is, of course, Ms Speed-O-Rama.

Naked News gets up close and personal with this bevy of hot girls vying for Miss Speed-O-rama.

The Naked News promo at the tail end of the video features bare-breasted women so is probably not safe for work unless you are employed in a naked news organization.

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Ali G on fashion

Now fashion, it well important innit?

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

Quakecon

It is startling how many comely young women appear to be fans of Doom or Quake. Or are at least employed to appear interested in Doom or Quake.

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

Frumpy to foxy

Dress Phoebe and increase her foxitude for this book marketing viral. My result was less than promising.

Sorry, this outfit won't cut it, foxy! Clunky chunky loafers weigh down your look - try again.

The mix and match lingerie is definitely frumpy.

Not promising for the book, that is. What nonsense. The black evening number did not require a bra and my mix and match compromise was a fun improvisation on a frumpy selection. More important, the clunky loafers were hot. The only shaggable-making item in this poor girl's closet, in fact (excepting the champagne, of course).

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

October 22, 2005

Magician's assistant

Ad buyers and firms with expensive product placements are concerned at stalled ratings for reality television. Survivor is not doing that badly relative to its Thursday night competition though a 19% drop in viewership has got to hurt. I am forced to ask what they can possibly expect having voted magician's assistant, Morgan McDevitt off "the island" so early in the running. Some say a decorative appearance and an aptitude for not being sawn in two are hardly skills to boast about. I say, let them try it. My long-standing search for a qualified magician's assistant has convinced me of the rarity of her skill set. As for concerned ad buyers, it is time to invest in the Flea sidebar.

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

Laura Veirs

Watching Laura Veirs in a studio session for Australian radio I am thinking, "I have dated this woman." Hooking up to streaming music and the Galaxies video from Year of Meteors I am thinking, "Several times."

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

Röyksopp: What else is there?

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Some variation on another obvious tag-line

No, no, he's not dead... he's... he's restin'! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!

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

I'll Rochambeau you for it

By a peculiar coincidence, I was trying to improvise a substitute carpet beater earlier this week. Having seen the original, and implicitly gruesome, version of James Bond's first torture scene I am just as happy for the latest remake to give it a miss. And I doubt any remake could surpass the creepiness of Peter Lorrie as Le Chiffre.

James Bond movie-makers are struggling over the new version of Casino Royale - because the story features a scene where 007's testicles are hit with a carpet beater.

Producers want the 2006 movie to be as close to Sir Ian Fleming's novel as possible, so have committed to recreating the scene in which Bond is held captive by baddie Le Chiffre.
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

England expects that every man will do his duty

Soldier of Gondor: The beacon! The beacon of Amon Din is lit.
Gandalf: Hope is kindled.

A thousand beacons lit the sky in celebration of the 200th anniversary of victory at Trafalgar. Truly something to see.

May God bless Lord Nelson.

The Queen lit the first beacon on the dockside in Portsmouth in front of Lord Nelson's flagship, Victory. Flames shot 30ft into the air and were the signal to light beacons in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and at Nelson's birthplace at Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk.

Hundreds more were lit across the country, mirroring the beacons of 1805. Had Nelson lost the battle, they would have stood ready to give warning of an invasion by Napoleon's armies.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 21, 2005

Casino Royale with cheese

While my crime-fighting responsibilities precluded serious consideration of the idea, Lee Pfeiffer reveals the Flea was not the only star of stage and screen to decline the new Bond role at the last moment (hat tip to the Flea's Network Warfare Expert).

I speak, of course, of the acting dynamo Rikki Lee Travolta who, according to his publicist’s seemingly omnipresent press releases, had been the beneficiary of a groundswell of grassroots fan support, as evidenced by the tidal wave of editions of “Casino Royale” that his fan base allegedly sent to him. Over 135,000 according to his press release. An amazing feat given that it’s doubtful 135,000 copies of the book have been in print in the last quarter century.
Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Snack-Man

Snack-Man is a nice little diversion for a Friday. Except for you Agent C. You have far too much work to be getting on with.

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

Keyshia Cole: I should have cheated

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

GorillazGroove Session

Some rhythm required.

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

How the mind works

If I had not recently read Steven Pinker's "How the Mind Works" I would have been utterly baffled by My Humps. "Monkey business", indeed.

This arguments in the book are as bold as its title. Pinker rehabilitates unfashionable ideas, such as that the mind is a computer and that human nature was shaped by natural selection. And he challenges fashionable ones, such as that passionate emotions are irrational, that parents socialize their children, that creativity springs from the unconscious, that nature is good and modern society corrupting, and that art and religion are expressions of our higher spiritual yearnings.

Actually, whatever his publisher's copy has to say, Pinker does not argue "the mind is a computer". He spends a good deal of time distancing himself from this position instead arguing for the applicability of computational theory to a mind whose design is modular. From this starting point it is possible to account for rather complex behaviours arising from - quite literally - primitive rules.

It is not that Pinker demystifies difference in behaviour between sexes in species who reproduce sexually. It is not even that Black Eyed Peas have rendered consequently differing priorities with such brutal clarity. It is that despite knowing what I know that I cannot help but find the video fascinating. Enthralling.

Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

October 20, 2005

Male order

A variety of Flea-ish outfits by International Male, a once notoriously dodgy mail order catalogue, were field tested by Andrew Goldman for Radar Magazine.

Though I was having difficulty understanding how wearing a ruffled shirt might be considered any more masculine than, say, owning a Persian cat, I surrendered to Doonan’s counterintuitive premise. I’d always fantasized about being that tough, sleazy, straight man, but I never had the confidence to pull it off. I am at heart a highly insecure, fearful person. I’ve strived for invisibility in my dress, chosen conformity rather than running the risk of standing out and being scrutinized for my noticeable physical attributes: recessed hairline, hirsute paunch, one eye that sits on my face considerably higher than the other.

But on this, the eve of destruction of the International Male, I resolved that I would repress those feelings for a full week, wear International Male — from the white crochet driving hat down to the tan, strappy gladiator sandals—24 hours a day, and unleash the inner swinger that’s been hip-thrusting within. It would not be easy.

By the time I got to the mesh top ensemble for Jewish speed-dating I was laughing so I could hardly breath. The man is a hero.

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

Dress Kevin

He did not know what to wear, so he made a website.

You are picking clothes for: "Wear to Work (Meeting with my boss)"
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Juan Maclean: Give Me Every Little Thing

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Quite possibly nsfw due to Y-fronts. For a variety of reasons, actually. Best not to watch it unless you are wearing Hai Karate.

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

But especially speak no Evel

Mental note: do not mess with Evel Knievel.

Eval Kineval is the most ass-kickingest man in the entire known universe, and if you don't agree on that, he'll kick your ass.
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

Creative destruction

Chosunilbo asks if golfing sensation Michelle Wie might be a role-model for business management everywhere.

Recently Wie suffered disqualification due to her misjudgment of the location of ball drop at her pro-debut, but the report said still her cleverness stood-out when she managed to get out of the bushes without penalty by saying she had an allergy to bees. Besides this, Michelle Wie's stated aim to surpass Tiger Woods and found a new order as a woman golfer was analyzed as another that makes her stand out more than Annika Sorenstam of Sweden.

Here is footage of the controversial ball drop in question (no bee footage, regrettably). Further Michelle Wie research materials provided courtesy of Porchboy, the Flea's Interpersonal Skillz Development Coach.

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

October 19, 2005

Torchwood

Dr. Who supergenius, Russell T Davies is to pen a 13-part drama for the BBC. Torchwood is Captain Jack's very own spin-off series, a first for the Who franchise (hat tip to the Sister of the Flea).

"Torchwood is a British sci-fi paranoid thriller, a cop show with a sense of humour," says Davies. "It's dark, wild and sexy, it's the X Files meets This Life. It's a stand-alone series for adult audiences which will have its own unique identity."

Given the right strangled pronunciation there is a pun and, given Davies' sense of humour, a double entendre lurking in the title somewhere.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Eurythmics: I've Got A Life

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

Lost and found

The Flea's lost and found department is pleased to report the recovery of the anchor from the Mary Rose, a happy byproduct of preparation for the Royal Navy's next generation carriers expected in 2012. Exceptionally low tides on the coast of Suffolk revealed bits and pieces of sunken Dunwich. Shipping industries are suggested though the whole pervades with the sense of tentacles if you ask me. From underwater to underground, an aestal was recovered by a metal detecting enthusiast on an Aughton farm. Though I had no idea what an aestal was until I read the article I doubt I would have mistaken it for a milk bottle top. A most sensible device it turns out to be.

"I found out it was an aestel – it would have been used by people as a holder for a stick used to turn pages of religious books because they weren't allowed to touch them. ... I found other examples on the internet – two were priceless. One went for £102,000 and one for £42,000. I couldn't believe what I'd found."
Posted by the Flea at 07:19 AM | TrackBack (0)

Goddess, Princess, Whore

"Former Oxford University scholar", Bettany Hughes argues for the existence of an historical Helen of Troy. The Flea is unsurprised to learn "tawny red hair and blue eyes" feature prominently.

"I believe that all three incarnations — princess, goddess and whore — find their root in a Bronze Age Helen, that the template for Helen of Troy was provided by one of the rich Spartan queens who lived and died on the Greek mainland in the 13th century B.C.; a woman who slept at night and woke at dawn, a flesh-and-blood icon, an aristocrat responsible for orgia — secretive, mysterious fertility rites — a woman so blessed, so honoured, so powerful, she appeared to walk with the gods. A mortal who, down the centuries, has become larger than life."
Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

The House of Hermogenes

In 146 B.C., Priene is a Greek city-state and free ally of Rome. Some to do in Cappadocia behind them, the people get on with home building projects. Duly house proud Hermogenes takes an interest.

In 146 BC, just as Corinth is set ablaze by the Romans, Hermogenes, a young architect from Priene in Asia Minor, goes back to his home city to study the city-planning of Pytheos and especially to visit the old house of his ancestors, before it is torn down. This film is a 3D animated reconstruction of the city and that house, which is typical of its time. The reconstruction, based on the research of Dr. Wolfram Hoepfner, demonstrates the arrangement and functionality of a Classical Period residence.
Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 18, 2005

Paris apology

Jetsetter, Paris Hilton has reportedly apologized to Nicole Richie in a bid to overcome the gulf that has grown up between them (hat tip to Porchboy).

The multi-millionaire heiress wrote the letter to her 'The Simple Life' co-star after mutual friends persuaded her to put a stop to their "petty" row.

A source close to the blonde revealed: "Paris decided to do it after friends stepped in and told her she was being petty."

No word on whether the cause of the feud, hacked cell phones or sex tape pranks gone wrong, is to be definitively revealed. Even so, and while not in time to save the fourth season of The Simple Life on Fox, one can only applaud two young women doing their best to mend a friendship. Perhaps this means the two can go ahead will their plan to room with families featuring "frisky dads". Best not confused with "family entertainment".

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

Stereo MCs: Paradise

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Curry and rice girl

I find a peculiar solidarity within myself for MC Vickram and LudaKrishna in their quest for a curry and rice girl.

Posted by the Flea at 07:39 AM | TrackBack (0)

Peter Jackson's King Kong

While I cannot speak to the animation for the forthcoming Peter Jackson King Kong epic feature, its XBox 360 equivalent is stunning.

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The beginning is nigh

Virals for the XBox 360 demonstrate the "typical MS 'WTF is this supose to mean' marketing". Very clever, too (hat tip to Porchboy with thanks for this forwarded mail).

RUMOR #2: Halo 3 will ship on August 1, 2006.
Source: A forum thread on Xbox365.com.
The official story: "Microsoft does not comment on rumors or
speculation."--Microsoft spokesperson.

What we heard: Here we go again. It appears that Microsoft has started yet another viral marketing campaign. The first signs surfaced on the Xbox365.com forums on October 13. That's when a poster named "Lutz" started a thread titled "The beginning is nigh" above a photo of a curious, approximately 100-foot-wide symbol carved into San Francisco's Ocean Beach. The symbol is comprised of the roman numerals for 8, 1, and 6 in between a circle and a hexagon. Later on in the thread, Lutz posts two more pictures of the same symbol appearing in a field in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and another beach in Jacksonville, Florida.

When asked what the symbol was, Lutz's sole written reply was "I will enlist the help of the truly committed, but first you must solve my puzzle." That statement sounds very much like the puzzle challenges on Ourcolony.net, the teaser site which helped hype the release of the Xbox 360. So it was little surprise when, within a few posts, fans were already speculating that that the numbers were a date--8/1/2006--and that said date was the release of, in the words of one poster, "OMG! HALO3!!"
Yesterday, the connection between the pictures and the Xbox 360 became a clearer. That’s when the site Hex168.com went online. It purports to be the Lutz World Report, a conspiracy newsletter written by one Dr. Jason Lutz from his subterranean bunker in Saskatchewan, Canada. It warns of increased "sightings" of the crop circle-like "Hexes" and warns of the mega-powerful Hex, Hex 168. Turns out that name is a clue. A Xbox365.com poster of the number-crunching variety found that if one takes 168 as a hexadecimal value and then converts it into binary code, it becomes the sequence "0001 0110 1000." Put the three together into "000101101000" and that converts back to "360"--just the sort of nerd-friendly hint Microsoft's viral marketing campaigns are known for. The Hex168.com site also sports a countdown clock which ends on noon, October 18.

Today, members of the games press got proof positive that the whole Hex business is indeed another viral marketing ploy. Late this afternoon, members of the games press were sent an e-mail "tip" with pictures of the oh-so mysterious Hex sign on various objects and still more mysterious text that sounds like the mutterings of a half-crazed pagan prophet. "The sign is a puzzle, and it is a promise: 'I will bring them together to witness the New Beginning before the rest of the world. And I will reward them with a physical manifestation of the power of this sign.'" It also says the sign would appear at four college football games on Saturday, October 1: Duke University vs. Georgia Tech (Durham, NC); Syracuse University vs. Rutgers (Syracuse, NY); Rice University vs. Tulsa (Tulsa, OK); Connecticut vs. University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH). It also gives this bloated oath: "At noon on October 18, the true purpose of the sign will be revealed, and the truly committed will have their chance to experience the New Beginning before the rest of the world."

But for all the mysterious portends in the body of the "tip" e-mail, there's no question about its humble origins in Microsoft's hype machine. Bearing the subject line "TIP: the beginning is nigh for 360 fans," the e-mail was sent by none other than 4orty2wo Entertainment, the marketing firm which originated Ilovebees.com.

So what will be announced at noon on October 18? While not impossible, chances are it will not be Halo 3. A more probable outcome is the company will use the date to either unveil the Xbox 360's final games lineup or game price point. There's also the possibility of it being something along the lines of Origen360.com, which teased the world for weeks about ... a contest in Europe that Americans can't even play.

(Author's note to 4orty2wo Entertainment: I want the 76 minutes of my life it took to write up this rumor back.)
Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 17, 2005

Bond girl crumpet worry

Rachel Stevens, fresh from her contretemps with Marilyn Manson, has announced she too would like to be the new Bond girl for Casino Royale. Competition for the part of Vesper Lynd is reportedly fierce.

Director Martin Campbell added, "It's probably the best Bond girl role written. The two writers [Purvis & Wade] wrote it, the character Vesper Lynd remains intact from the book. We have to get a terrific actress. She has to look beautiful. She spends a lot of time with Bond, so whoever we pick, she has to have all of those attributes."

Blond Bond stallion Daniel Craig should be credited for eliciting interest in, and a potential bun fight for, the job from Jessica Alba, Sienna Miller and Kelly Brook. Oh, and Angelina Jolie. There is only one reasonable way to settle the matter: Jell-O wrestling. Marquis of Queensbury rules apply (except rule no. 2, naturally).

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

Rachel Stevens: I said never again (but here we are)

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Public service announcement

This Rachel Stevens public service announcement might be considered not safe for work for a variety of reasons. Flea-readers outside the UK who have forgotten S Club 7 may wonder just who this Rachel Stevens might be. Quite lovely (if also nsfw).

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

The remarkable pebble

Saying, "The time has come to live my life exactly how I want", Kylie Minogue plans to skydive over Ayers Rock. The image conjured defies description. Also known as Uluru, Ayers Rock is considered sacred to many Australian aboriginal peoples as well as a variety of new agers. And now possibly Kylie fanciers.

Posted by the Flea at 06:14 AM | TrackBack (0)

Playing the Angel

For those Flea-readers who cannot wait for the new Depeche Mode album, the band has thoughtfully streamed the whole thing to their MySpace site.

Close your eyes and you'd think we were back in the good old days of the concept album. From the title to the footnote on the back of the CD - "pain and suffering in various tempos" - Depeche Mode are in spiritual territory.
Posted by the Flea at 06:12 AM | TrackBack (0)

Some variation on the most obvious tag-line ever

War-hero and Canadian icon, James "Scotty" Doohan is to be beamed up this December.

James Doohan, who played Scotty in the Star Trek television series, will get his final resting place in space in December. Doohan's ashes are due to be blasted into space on a commercial rocket from California's Vandenberg Air Base, along with the remains of some 170 other people, a private company that organizes 'space burials' said Friday.

Doohan, a Canadian who died in July at age 85, is forever linked to four iconic words - 'Beam me up, Scotty,' the request by other Enterprise crew members when they returned from space adventures.
Posted by the Flea at 06:12 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 15, 2005

Einstein's Big Idea

If I had known about Einstein's Big Idea* in advance I would have alerted Flea-readers to it rather than writing about it after the fact. I came in half way through when I overheard the unique laugh that sets my heart on fire. Shirley Henderson was enthralling as Eistein's first wife, Mileva Maric. When Einstein became famous he ditched her, married his cousin and became a physics super-mac. The cad.

*E = mc2, by the way.

Posted by the Flea at 10:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Apocalyptica: wie weit?

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:12 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Formula One

A problem with F1 racing is that most venues make it difficult to apprehend just how fast the vehicles are moving and just how sharp a proper driver's reflexes must be. Here is an idea.

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

Spartan-117

Halo's Master Chief is seven feet tall, apparently. Installation 04 is ten-thousand kilometers in diameter and the Monitors are named after powers of seven. Nice.

The following three charts are many of the ships, vehicles, and weapons from Halo. Each chart is consistently scaled to itself, and the small item on each chart becomes the basis of the one following so you can see the very large down to the very small.

In related news, I want the flamethrower.

Posted by the Flea at 10:04 AM | TrackBack (0)

Pillar of Autumn

The Pillar of Autumn sculpted in the round using Lego. And in plexiglass.

The Pillar of Autumn is the starship that Captain Keyes was commissioned to fly to the Covenant homeworld, with his precious cargo of SPARTAN-II supersoldiers. But things went sour at the planet Reach when the ship was forced into a battle with some Covenant forces. All of the SPARTAN-II soldiers were killed (supposedly) except one, the Master Chief, and Keyes was forced to dutifully enact the Cole Protocol, which clearly states that, if under attack by enemy forces, a ship cannot return to Earth for fear of the Covenant finding the planet. So Keyes made a random light-speed jump into space, and ended up at Halo.
Posted by the Flea at 10:03 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 14, 2005

Alba, Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba would like to be the next Bond girl. What an excellent plan.

"I'm a huge fan of Bond - ever since I was little", Alba said. "I've looked at Bond women as being the most drop-dead gorgeous in the world. I love the variety of them - they've been black and Asian and white and Eastern European and everything else", the actress revealed.

Yes, I was a bit unclear on that last part. Nice to have the variety issue covered so succinctly. In related news, some chap has been named to be the new 007 for the forthcoming Casino Royale. He is the blond variety, apparently.

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

MI6

The Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6, is recruiting on its website. Their pitch is very mission statementy. Not sure how a coffee bar compares to, say, bo staff training as a hook for potential recruits.

In Vauxhall Cross staff benefit from modern air conditioned offices on the banks of the Thames with good public transport access to the rest of London and beyond. Facilities include squash and basketball courts, a gym, a restaurant, coffee lounge and bar.
Posted by the Flea at 08:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Killers: All These Things I've Done

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Objects in the mirror

Keira Knightley reportedly loved filming Pirates of the Caribbean thanks to some inventive, if in my opinion entirely unwarranted, special effects.

The 20-year-old beauty underwent a 45-minute make-up session daily to give her flat chest a boost.

She told US chat show host Jay Leno: "I got my cleavage painted in. They do it with a paint brush and lots of different colours and shades and it's great. I wish I could do it every morning."
Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

Flash-Ball

Flash-Ball is a "revolutionary defense weapon". Just the ticket for those seeking a non-lethal yet dissuasive looking alternative to conventional firearms. French, by the way, and most futuristic after a Luc Besson fashion (via the Flea's Career Development Liason).

Designed and produced by Verney-Carron, the leading French manufacturer of hunting firearms, the Flash-Ball generates the stopping power of a .38 Special. By virtue of projectiles studied to avoid, even at extremely short distances, penetrating a normally clothed person, the Flash-Ball provokes on impact the equivalent of a technical KO. The opponent is then disabled. This major advantage has been observed by security professionals as the Flash-Ball officially equips a large number of administrative agencies.
Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM | TrackBack (0)

BACKTO_1400-CENSORED

A little patience with statistics talk, and the mystery of some brittlecone pine data, are rewarded by a critique of the "hockey stick" data used to underpin too much talk about global warming (via Zacht Ei).

Today's temperatures are supposedly higher than at any time in the past thousand years. This claim is the central pillar of the Kyoto Protocol, which takes effect this month. It is largely based on the celebrated "hockey stick" graph of temperature history since the year 1000, published by Michael Mann and colleagues in 1998 and 1999. However, according to Canadian researchers Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, Mann's hockey stick is no more than a statistical artifact.
Posted by the Flea at 08:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

October 13, 2005

Sense and Sensibility

Because one can never have enough Jane Austen, she wrote six novels fyi, the BBC has announced a new television adaptation of Sense and Sensibility is in the works. Andrew Davis, writer of the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and who therefore is to blame, comments on charges Austen has been over-adapted for television and film.

"There is a different audience out there apart from 12- to 14-year-old boys and I think a lot of the stories that people like to see now were written in the 19th Century or before. You can mine them again and again. Well, at least I hope that's true, otherwise I'm in trouble."
Posted by the Flea at 12:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The Dead 60s: Loaded Gun

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (waving a lighter over my head in devotion to the delectable SondraK).

Posted by the Flea at 12:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Difficulties

The Hutchinson Dictionary of Difficult Words should come in handy.

Do you aim to become a member of the literati, or do you wish to be a savant? Do you want to avoid being verbigerative and be succinct instead?
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Metro Arts and Architecture

Subways need not be boring or dreary! Toronto has much to learn from Moscow and Berlin, undergroundwise.

Posted by the Flea at 12:03 PM | TrackBack (0)

Departing Metros

Subway trains of the world doing their thing. And some facts and oddities of metro rings should come in handy. Vaguely nice to see Toronto's TTC has the best old school logo.

Posted by the Flea at 12:01 PM | TrackBack (0)

Ethical dilemma

An ethical dilemma arrives courtesy of "the internet". Not quite the Prisoner's Dilemma but illustrative nonetheless.

You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus...

An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
An old friend who once saved your life.
The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.

Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car?

Think before you continue reading.

This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application.

You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first.
Or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back.
However, you may never be able to find your perfect mate again.

The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer.

He simply answered:
"I would give the car keys to my old friend and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the partner of my dreams."

Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought limitations.

Never forget to "Think Outside of the Box."

HOWEVER, the correct answer is:
Run the old lady over and put her out of her misery, have sex with the perfect partner on the hood of the car, then drive off with the old friend for a few beers.

God, I just love happy endings.
Posted by the Flea at 12:00 PM | TrackBack (0)

October 12, 2005

Late Flea

Dear Flea-readers, publication will be late to never today as my monitor experienced a catastrophic something or other last night. Time for a replacement. Working the problem!

Posted by the Flea at 11:57 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 11, 2005

All that glitters is not Goldfrapp

While it is true she is not Kylie Minogue, as a fan of vixen-fronted synthpop I would have been delighted to see Alison Goldfrapp perform at the Brixton Academy no matter the reviews.

Sporting a black catsuit and a crimson cape, Goldfrapp's stage antics consisted mainly of clutching at the air in a fair impersonation of Kate Bush begging Heathcliff to come home. For someone who's worked so hard at building her image as a vamp, her lack of charisma was both surprising and disappointing.
Posted by the Flea at 09:45 AM | TrackBack (0)

Goldfrapp: Number 1

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Halo Easter Eggs

A variety of small detail from Bungie's Halo. Haven't quite got the Seige of Madrigal to play yet.

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

Satanic yoga

Yoga and Satanism: can they be united? No probs, apparently. Though given the wall-eyed fanaticism of most yoginis and the crap music enjoyed by most Satanists there will be trouble at the wedding. Well done with the sly little pun about "yoga" and "united" there.

Posted by the Flea at 09:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

Grimoires

The Necronomicon was one of many grimoires both fictional and non-fictional to flap about in the margins of the writing of H.P. Lovecraft.

Frequently, Lovecraft made reference to ancient, mouldering tomes that contained secrets man was not meant to know. Most of these were fictional, but a few of them were “legitimate” occult works. By mentioning factual and fictional documents in the same context, this helped to make the false books seem real.
Posted by the Flea at 09:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Building a Mythos Tome

Make your own grimoire at home. A nice little project for an autumn afternoon.

So you want your own personal grimoire of eldritch lore? Not only a great item for disturbing relatives at the next family reunion, a well-crafted mythos tome is a terrific prop that can be used in one game after another. Ancient grimoires and books of forbidden knowledge are key elements and important props in many Cthulhu Live games and campaigns.
Posted by the Flea at 09:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

Bookbinding

Bookbinding, a tutorial.

This tutorial on bookbinding is oriented towards the preservation of the contents of decaying pulp paperbacks; the first step in this process involves photocopying the decaying book, but most of this applies equally well to making up limited editions based on photocopies of manuscript pages or typewritten material.
Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 10, 2005

I love Paris in the fall

ParisHiltonVanity.jpg

I could care less what that cad Valentino has to say. Witty, popular and pretty, Paris Hilton features very nicely on the cover of September's Vanity Fair. Most fetching. Sadly, her engagement to Paris Latsis was finished by the time this issue went to press. If we were hanging out and stuff I would buy her crème brûlée ice cream.

Posted by the Flea at 10:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

K-Maro: Femme Like U

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (via Beautiful Atrocities).

Posted by the Flea at 10:53 AM | TrackBack (0)

Mansion Impossible

It took me 30 years to buy my mansion.

Posted by the Flea at 10:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

Earthdance 2005

Because every time I dance I am thinking about peace and hope and unity through diversity and such like.

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

Eden projects

Because we can't get enough of that Canadian content. Flea-readers sheltered by the CRTC are being treated to a Thanksgiving Day marathon turkeyfest of Earth 2. While I am certain it does wonders to protect the 2.4 jobs created at Space ("The Imagination Station") I fail to see how rebroadcasting an American show does wonders for the fragile Canadian self-concept. I am told that as a pay-channel Space does not have to comply with Canadian content regulations so even that bastion of the local ideology provides no excuse for the cartel that keeps me from escaping to, say, a Brazillian sci-fi channel.

Meanwhile nothing protects us from this monstrosity. It is obvious not only that the show's characters would all be utterly useless in a survival situation but that its entire production team has never lit a fire or put up a tent. Instead of worrying about pesky details like food, shelter or marauding aliens the characters bitch about their lot while viewers are supposed to adopt the perspective of an unpleasant seven year old girl. This is self-indulgent eco-nonsense for people with no interest in actual sciences including and especially ecology. Thankfully, there were few to be found among sf fans. Earth 2 did not fail because it was poorly conceived, written and acted though its failure was exceptional by any of these standards. It failed because every character was so unsympathetic, so loathsome, that a casual reviewer can only hope these castaways perish to the last man, woman and child. Hopefully Tim Curry will oblige.

Posted by the Flea at 10:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

October 08, 2005

The silence of the lame

The continuing adventures of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have an edutational aspect vis a vis Dianetics and Scientology. Now Holmes is reported to be pregnant we learn of L. Ron Hubbard's injunctions regarding childbirth and neonatal care.

Tom and Katie are likely to follow the church's "silent birth" guidelines during delivery, which means no music and no talking during the birth, which also means no screaming during the pains of labor for the mom-to-be.

The doctrine also states that newborns cannot be poked or prodded for medical tests or even spoken to for the first seven days of their lives, believing that babies go through so much pain during the birth, they shouldn't have to experience any further discomfort or sensory experience that could return later in life to haunt them.
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Though only ages 12 through death

Overheard in Toronto:

"That's the problem with guys your age. All you want to do is smoke and drink beer and hang out with your friends and play video games."

(hat tip to Porchboy)

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

Armand Van Helden: When The Lights Go Down

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

The War of the Worlds (1953)

In 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies.

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

Loofah of the Gods

Saturn's moon Hyperion.

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

Milky sea

Satellite imagery has captured a region of the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia, "about the size of Connecticut", glowing for three nights on end. Very Jules Verne. I am not certain why it took ten years to report this finding. Though from the satellite image it is alarming to note how obviously electricity and democracy, and especially the civil rights of women, go together.

Mariners have long told of rare nighttime events in which the ocean glows intensely as far as the eye can see in all directions. Fictionally, such a "milky sea" is encountered by the Nautilus in Jules Verne classic "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."
Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

Batmaaaaaaan

It is simply irresponsible to tell me dolphins can do this and not provide an mp3 file alongside the story.

Scientists have taught dolphins to combine both rhythm and vocalisations to produce music, resulting in an extremely high-pitched, short version of the Batman theme song.
Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

October 07, 2005

Bellissima

Bellissima.jpg

Casting Wonder Woman was obvious in retrospect. Flea-reader Dorkafork sums up his winning suggestion for the ideal Amazon:

"Because Monica Bellucci can't not be nominated."

Posted by the Flea at 10:21 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

The Dissociatives: Horror With Eyeballs

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Caffé Latte with Natalie Portman

By a peculiar coincidence, I also put my problems on hold on Sundays (hat tip to Porchboy).

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

Sorry, my mixtape

Aziz Ansari challenged his roommate Zach to see who could come up with the worst mixtape. I bet I could come up with five worse tunes.

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

Mirabile indictu

Members of the Italian Committee for the Investigation of the Paranormal (Cicap) are out to debunk events popularly construed as miracles. In the case of the San Genaro event, however, church authorities seem willing neither to fully endorse nor allow unfettered scientific investigation of a twice annual bloody manifestation. Not sure what any of this spectacle has to do with Christianity. Best have a witch look into the matter.

Italy remains a profoundly superstitious country and there was uproar recently when a group of scientists queried a religious rite in Naples in which the dried blood of a saint beheaded in AD305 "miraculously" liquefies.

According to tradition, the transformation of the blood of San Gennaro, preserved in two phials, protects the city from disasters such as earthquakes or an eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
Posted by the Flea at 10:07 AM | TrackBack (0)

Saint Peter's panorama

Get your virtual Rome on.

The Centre of the Roman Catholic faith, St. Peter's draws pilgrims from all over the world. Few are disappointed when they enter the sumptuously decorated basilica beneath Michelangelo's vast dome. A shrine was erected on the site of St. Peter's tomb in the 2and century and the first great basilica, ordered by the Emperor Costantine, was completed around AD 349.
Posted by the Flea at 10:04 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 06, 2005

Holy cow

A rhyton is a drinking vessel typically taking an horned animal shape in a metonymous gesture to its function as an elaborate drinking horn. Gohar Tepe excavation team leader, Ali Mahforouzi has announced the discovery of some rather appealing cow rhytons left in an Iron Age rubbish bin in what is now northern Iran. He believes these cups demonstrate people living in ancient Iran "worshiped oxen and humped cows".

Mahforouzi believes that rhytons reflect the beliefs of the ancient people of the region. These statues are evidence that the people of the region worshiped oxen and humped cows 3000 years ago. "Even today we can see some kind of respect towards the animals in the region," added Mahforouzi, referring to kinds of cows being regarded as symbols of hard work and fertility.

Leaving aside any grammatical trickiness of Mahforouzi's statement, several caveats should also be raised. It is one thing to hold cows in considerable reverence and quite another to worship them. Furthermore, large predators, raptors and aggressive herbivores are always a safe choice as totemic figures for noble lineages or indeed contemporary nation states. This is not to say that Americans worship the bald eagle. Finally, there is the perennial archealogical habit of reading religious import, ceremony and ritual into objects showing a hint of artistic merit. Perhaps these decorative cups were part of a collection on an iron age cow fancier. Now that NHL hockey has returned, Canadians are going to be treated to all sorts of totemic displays but this is not to suggest Canadians worship hockey (ok, bad example).

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

Rammstein: Benzin

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

iiiiiiii

iiiiiiii

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

The Mary Rose

In a bid to raise her anchor the figurehead of the Mary Rose, pride of Henry VIII's fleet, may have been found.

The paddle-shaped piece of oak was brought up by divers on Sunday afternoon, covered in muck. The carving was a wholly unexpected discovery during survey work before a planned attempt next week to raise a five metre long iron anchor.

The Mary Rose was named after Henry's favourite sister and the royal Tudor rose which became its emblem. The Mary Rose was described by a contemporary as "the flower" of his fleet, and its humiliating loss one of the greatest disasters to befall Henry's navy.
Posted by the Flea at 10:05 AM | TrackBack (0)

C-evo

A fun freeware empire building game in the spirit of Sid Meier's Civilization.

With a time scope of several thousand years, it covers aspects of exploration and expansion, industry and agriculture, warfare and diplomacy, science and administration. C-evo follows the spirit of popular turn-based strategy games from the mid 90s, but with more emphasis on powerful AI and careful design of the rules, resulting in a true challenge.
Posted by the Flea at 10:03 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 05, 2005

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The Daily Mail is auctioning a bra previously owned by, indeed designed and signed by, Kylie Minogue. A snip at £6,900!

This beautiful bra was owned by Kylie Minogue and has also been signed by the Australian singer. With Kylie's blessing, the Daily Mirror is auctioning the bra for Breast Cancer Care, to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month which begins today, October 1. The delicate lace bra was designed by Kylie herself and is part of her own lingerie brand, Lovekylie.
Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

Paul Mac: Sunshine Eyes

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Update: Flea-readers who are residents of Australia can win the single from InTheMix (closes October 11).

Describe 'sunshine eyes' in 25 words or less. Best description wins!

Update: That link seems to have given up the ghost but the Yahoo! Australia has the video, if in miniature, that is still worth a look. This is the most gorgeous song I have heard in ages.

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

Plinx

On a deadline? Ignore this link.

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

Wyrd Sisters

Wyrd Sisters, a Winnipeg-based folk act have their brooms out of joint as a band with a similar name is to appear in the new Harry Potter film. Though I can hardly see how J.K. Rowling's Weird Sisters, not even to be named in their on screen appearance, could possibly infringe on whatever income a Winnipeg folk act brings in Warner's legal advice apparently wanted to settle any potential dispute by making a cash offer in adance to share the name. When I read "The Goblet of Fire", I assumed the name was a tip of the hat to Terry Pratchett. His Wyrd Sisters, a not unlikely source of inspiration for the folks in Winnipeg, was published in 1988, two years before they claim to have started using the name. And by this logic, shouldn't Shakespeare's sisters be due for a cut?

Much more encouraging news is the line-up for the wizarding world's most popular pop act.

If you’re excited about the release of the upcoming Harry Potter movie Goblet of Fire in November than you may know that the Hogwart’s Yule Ball will feature a live band. Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and Radiohead’s Phil Selway and Johnny Greenwood will play the band called the Weird Sisters in the film. In real life the rockers along with Warner Brothers Entertainment Canada and Warner Brothers Records are being sued by the real Wyrd Sisters.
Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | TrackBack (0)

Halo

While Bill Gate's anticipation of Halo 3 for next spring was a touch premature, gamers can celebrate the announcement of an executive producer for the forthcoming Halo feature film. There's a Lord of the Ring pun in here somewhere but it is not coming to me (hat tip to Porchboy).

As well as a raft of product announcements, Microsoft used tonight's X05 press conference to reveal that it has arranged for Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and his partner Fran Walsh to work as executive producers on the Halo film.

As well as contributing to its production, Jackson will also lend the use of his Weta film studio to work on the special effects. Like Jackson, Weta has previously worked on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and this Christmas's King Kong.
Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 04, 2005

We paint penguins pink

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Even the cover art for "Aerial", Kate Bush' first album in too many moons is engrossing fans. The artwork is said to conceal a soundwave image of a "visual representation of spoken, or sung words over music."

A source told this morning’s Daily Star: "Sound analysts and fans alike have been agonisingly attempting to work out the message. The current favourites are wildly different."

So far the leading suggestion are ‘We paint penguins pink’, 'Elvis is alive’ and 'Wind and waves of love’ although its not known if any of these are correct.

"King of the Mountain", first single from the forthcoming album, is already floating about the etheric byways of "the internet". And it is gorgeous.

Posted by the Flea at 10:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Jem: Wish I

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

SuicideGirls

A number of SuicideGirls, punk and gothic totty for the discriminating (if aging) gothic gentleman blogeur, have abandoned their positions. Ahem. They now feel exploited, apparently (hat tip to Porchboy).

A group of angry ex-models is bashing the SuicideGirls alt-porn empire, saying its embrace of the tattoo and nipple-ring set hides a world of exploitation and male domination.

Wired's article does not explore the reason semi-nude cheesecake photography including tattoos and nipple-piercings should be liberating one day and compromising the next. BoingBoing, sponsored by SuicideGirl ads, attempts to unravel some of the purported business concerning the FBI. AntiChris provides a list of grievances while UnPink offers a blog dedicated to recording "the jiggly fall of an alt porn icon". I am still uncertain quite what the difficulty is founded upon though contractual disputes, a reported hostile working environment and nebulous charges of "neocon" sympathies all figure prominently. Though in all seriousness, the site was hardly worth a look once Apnea left for Lithium Picnic so it is all a bit much of a muchness.

Posted by the Flea at 10:19 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

The Avengers

I confess it had never crossed my mind to wonder just what The Avengers were avenging. Shocking to learn Patrick Macnee's John Steed, perhaps the ultimate Flea role-model, was not always the character we came to know and emulate.

Debonair John Steed - bowler hat, red carnation - and his sidekick, Emma Peel, were The Avengers, whose camp, cool adventures helped define Sixties television. But how many viewers have stopped to ask exactly what was being avenged? The long-forgotten answer will be revealed later this year thanks to the rediscovery of The Avengers' first-ever episode, which was believed to have been lost for good.

Update: A Flea-reader writes with to highlight an important point I overlooked and am now looking over.

Posted by the Flea at 10:16 AM | TrackBack (0)

Spike

Joss Whedon has addressed the possibility of a Spike feature film.

The good news is that the creative side is moving forward: all of the "art guys" are being pulled together and are actively discussing ideas for the film. The bad news, though, is that nothing on the business side has been addressed - no contact with the WB, nothing more than casual conversations with Amy Acker, James Marsters, and Alyson Hannigan. Basically, it's just an idea that's percolating, like about a billion others in the movie world. As Whedon himself put it, "At this point it's still me and my buddies going, 'Wouldn't it be cool?'" So, yeah. Right now, it's a pipe dream for all of us.

Update: Oops. That would be a made-for-tv movie and not a feature. And that would make more sense. Good to see Amy Acker would sign on despite her Alias schedule.

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

October 03, 2005

Confessions on a Dancefloor

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Madonna is to launch her new album in Japan where I imagine her "future disco" sound will go over well.

"She has a dance halo over her head" says Madonna's co-producer and partner in crime, Grammy-award winner Stuart Price. "It's in her blood. The music came straight from the gut - no preconceived notions - unencumbered - not over-edited - just very spontaneous. We sat in my little studio at home and the songs just flowed very quickly," concluded Price.

While the music may not have been preconceived one cannot say the same for all the lyrics. One track, "Isaac", is said to be a tribute to Isaac Luria, 16th-century kabbalah supergenius. Not sure what they will make of that in Japan.

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

Tzimtzum and "Differance"

Sanford L. Drob considers Derrida and the Lurianic Kabbalah. Though I am certain both Isaac Luria and Jacques Derrida would be troubled by the "and" linking their hermeneutics of inscription.

Posted by the Flea at 10:15 AM | TrackBack (0)

Dannii Minogue: Perfection

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Kate Moss cocaine video

It took a week but video of Kate Moss and cocaine makes its way to you, the Flea-reader, thanks to the privacy obliterating wonder that is "the internet" (features nsfw ads). Cool fact: I am reliably informed cocaine use makes people glamorous, sexy and popular.

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

The Ballad of Sarah and Davey

Sarah decides to achieve closure on her relationship with Davey.

Dear Davey:

I have had a difficult time, over the past few years, achieving closure of our relationship. It is time for me to seek this. I have gone through the appropriate stages of anger, remorse, sadness. It is now time for me to close this chapter of my life.

Davey replies.

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

Complaint letter of the year

UK Flea-readers might consider this complaint letter before deciding to switch from BT to NTL.

Dear Cretins,

I have been an NTL customer since 9th July 2001, when I signed up for your 3-in-one deal for cable TV, cable modem, and telephone. During this three-month period I have encountered inadequacy of service which I had not previously considered possible, as well as ignorance and stupidity of monolithic proportions. Please allow me to provide specific details, so that you can either pursue your professional prerogative, and seek to rectify these difficulties - or more likely (I suspect) so that you can have some entertaining reading material as you while away the working day smoking B&H and drinking vendor-coffee on the bog in your office
Posted by the Flea at 10:03 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 01, 2005

When I Hie to Kolob

The QandO Blog spots an apparent continuity error in the revised Battlestar Galactica. But then, Glen A. Larson was a Mormon so the blunder might not be irretrievable.

The thing is, the humans in the series aren't from earth. They have their own religion, which worships the Lords of Kobol, who, interestingly, are named Zeus, Hera, Athena, Apollo, etc. So, apparently, the deal is that the lost 13th colony, Earth, bought the knowledge of the Lords of Kobol to Earth, when everybody migrated away from Kobol, way back in the dim mists of the past, and the LoKos were transmogrified into the gods and goddesses of Greek myth.

OK, it's an interesting conceit.

Or, at least it was, until Colonel Tigh blurts out in one dramatic scene, "Send down a search party for Chrissakes!"

"Moon-men, (Brigham) Young teaches us, dress like Quakers." Quite right, too.

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

Shining

The wonders of post-production editing and a well-known film finds a new life. Actually, I'd rather see the revised edit than Kubrick's version (hat tip to Porchboy).

Update: Here is an edit of the Titanic trailer. Time to rearrange some deck chairs.

Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

The Malibu Pyramid

The Malibu Pyramid: almost the perfect Flea-HQ. A snip at US$2,450,000!

Posted by the Flea at 08:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Stewie Griffin: Sexy Party

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:09 AM | TrackBack (0)

Bartenders

A sound word of advice: know your bartender.

They are more than mere dispensers of alcohol, if that was the sum of their worth they would command the same paycheck as a liquor store clerk. No, a bartender bears a much heavier burden—he is alchemist, host, entertainer, psychiatrist, enforcer, surrogate kin, social enabler and the keeper of the hearth.
Posted by the Flea at 08:08 AM | TrackBack (0)