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December 31, 2005

Be it resolved

I am not much for New Year's resolutions for much the same Quaker-related reasons I am not much for elaborate doctrines regarding sin and penetence. To sum up: if you feel bad about doing something you should probably not be doing it regardless of the day of the week let alone the time of the year. That said, some pause for reflection is not a bad idea even if it does happen to be New Year's Eve.

i. I will be a bit more patient with people.
ii. I will be much less patient with some people.
iii. This year I will get better at sorting out which kind of people I am dealing with.
iv. I will worry less about people thinking I am cool.
v. I will become more cool each day than the day before.
vi. This is the year the Flea becomes famous for being famous.
vii. I will become better reconciled to the aging process.
viii. I will stick with my slimming regimen.
ix. This will be "The Year of the Ripped Abs".
x. I will finally work out the trick of being at least two places at once.

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Sarah Silverman: Amazing Grace

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Happy New Year!

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De profundis

The School of Textiles and Design at Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University is trying to get to the bottom of one of life's most profound mysteries (via SondraK).

It is one of the most fundamental -- and, for men, potentially hazardous -- questions of modern life, for which academics now hope to provide the definitive answer: "Does my bum look big in this?"
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Entrance to Halifax Harbour

As a welcome nod to the Year of the Veteran, the Tate Britain will be loaning A.Y. Jackson's Entrance to Halifax Harbour to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

Jackson, an official Canadian war artist, produced the painting in 1919 as troops were returning from the First World War. It shows Canadian navy ships packed with men steaming into Halifax harbour.

"Entrance to Halifax Harbour is one of Jackson's most renowned paintings and a sentimental favourite image reflecting the naval and military traditions of Atlantic Canada," said Jeffrey Spalding, director and chief curator of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

One side-effect of the loan being that some folks will get a chance to see what the painting, for example, looks like. The Tate Britain does not host an image for unspecified "copyright restrictions". Well, this is all voodoo to me. The British High Commission to Ottawa does an end-run around these restrictions by showing an image of what looks to be the cover of an exhibition pamphlet and I am sorry to say that from the squinty view thereby afforded the work looks to be a bit of a dog's breakfast. Non-Canadian Flea-readers having not been indoctrinated in the works of the Group of Seven are best referred to some much more interesting Lawren Harris paintings.

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December 30, 2005

Wonder Wear

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The Flea stays on top of Kate Beckinsale reportage with this costumed cavorting update. It turns out the Wonder Woman costume was not just Len Wiseman's fever dream.

Read into this one as you will, but British actress Kate Beckinsale, whose most famous role was in the hit movie Underworld, is said to be in talks to play Wonder Woman in the movie of the same name.

She apparently told IOL.com, "I dressed up as her last Hallowe'en so it would be good to do it again."
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Dog-Eyed Welders: My Humps

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Kwanza challenge

This Kwanza word search took 3 minutes, 37 seconds of my life I will never have again.

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New bottles for some old whine

Madonna's "Confessions On A Dancefloor" has reportedly inspired a line of wines. I believe this fits both the technical and the aesthetic meanings of "brand stretching".

California's Celebrity Cellars' new limited edition collectable wines bear a label that shows the album's artwork. The winemakers promise a drop "as complex and sophisticated as the artist herself".
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Once upon a time

It is all very simple really. Instead of being stranded in Annexia, I should be living in a Slim Aarons photo.

As a chronicler of the good life, as lived by the upper classes and aristocracy in the 1950's, 60's and 70's, Slim Aarons has no peer. Born in New Hampshire in the early years of the century, he was a classic outsider looking in, and as such he idealized the rich.
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December 29, 2005

Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder

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The divine SondraK offers a penetrating insight into the enigma that is Marilyn Manson and Dita von Teese. Though her theory does not quite account for the couple representing Vivienne Westwood's spring/summer 2005 ad campaign. Such are the vagueries of taste.

It's amazing how Absinthe makes you lose your inhibitions.
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Zanger Bob: Als de zon weer gaat schijnen

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.*

*With a shout out to Jeff, Bill and Ashlee Simpson haters everywhere. You all need some L.O.V.E.!

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Don'ts

The Sun reviews ten style crimes of 2005. Two words: Kelly Osbourne.

Stars are always sleek, sexy and uber-stylish, right? Er, wrong!
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Guinevere One

A website explaining the Guinevere One Mars mission is a nice complement to what turned out to be a splendid episode of Dr. Who, "The Christmas Invasion". Yes, a ballsy British Prime Minister demonstrates her independence after the fashion of every inconsequential, petty nationalist from Canada to Venezuela on down; i.e. by squeeky disagreement with an American President. But, no, and whatever the press had to say, firing on a retreating alien warship is not an obvious reference to the Belgrano. If anything, Prime Minister Harriet Jones is made out to be quite hard-headed and Blairite vs an old Labour Dr. Who. James was right to say I should have held my fire. So, my apologies to doubting supergenius Russell T Davies, even if he misses the moral point of his own writing.

The Prime Minister's pacifist instincts are overridden when, in an echo of Margaret Thatcher's decision to attack the General Belgrano during the Falklands conflict in 1982, she orders the destruction of a retreating alien spaceship. The Doctor, who opens the drama regenerating in bed, while his assistant Rose Tyler faces an evil trio of masked Santas and a killer Christmas tree, is disapproving and ensures that she is swiftly declared "unfit for duty."

According to Mr Davies: "She [Prime Minister Jones] does that very easy speech about not listening to the American president, but at the end she's out of her depth and she does the wrong thing."

The Prime Minister decides that allowing an alien warship to retreat is too great a risk. Funny thing here; these aliens had just threatened to murder one third of humanity so many might imagine her action to be quite the right thing. Funnier still; she had watched two of her advisors murdered by these same aliens even as they pled a pacifist cause and tried to explain why Earth should not be conquered on Christmas. Funniest yet; the cause of the Prime Minister's subsequent downfall is the Doctor's intervention. We are perhaps meant to understand the Doctor knows best but he is not human, let alone a citizen of the UK, and so it is difficult to see how he is in a position to judge. Especially being it was a very British cup of tea wot revived him in the first place.

Also a plus: a sneak peak at forthcoming episodes featuring Giles, catwomen and some hard-looking Cybermen. Better yet, K9! References to the forthcoming Torchwood were promising; particularly their firm action in destroying that pesky alien warship. It was great to see U.N.I.T. back on the job. Oh, and David Tennant will do very nicely.

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December 28, 2005

Ne plus ultra

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Milla Jovovich stars in Ultraviolet*, a vampire flic shot in HK and China by Equilibrium director, Kurt Wimmer. What's not to like? Radical chic political commentary, that's what. Though Jovovich may be forgiven for ignoring the dumb conspiracoid subtext of a popcorn thriller.

"My character ... [has] this sickness. It's an epidemic that's spread in the world where all sicknesses have been cured, ... except for this one epidemic that the government has created and in a way [is] using for their own benefit. But it gets out, and they're trying to annihilate everybody that has it. I'm on my last 36 hours of life when the movie starts, ... and my last mission before I go, because I'm a revolutionary, is to strap bombs to my chest and explode this huge government building".

*No, not that Ultraviolet. That Ultraviolet had a smart conspiracoid subtext.

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Ashlee Simpson: L.O.V.E.

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Abdul-Ben Hassan

A Former Servant of Her Majesty pointed out a small Blade Runner mystery to me: nobody seems to know who played the snake dealer. If anyone can point out the identity of Abdul-Ben Hassan that would make them, like, a geek hero of some kind.

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The temptation of Eve

Enterprising church youth group leader, Stefan Wiest demonstrates the enduring appeal of mainstream Lutheran Protestantism (via Beautiful Atrocities).

In April, the youth group of the Lutheran congregation of Katzwang decided to come up with a fundraiser; the youth center rooms needed a new coat of paint. Somebody thought of making a calendar, one that could be sold in the community. The members of the youth group would be the models, depicting scenes from the Bible, but in a modern interpretation. Oh, and the calendar should be erotic, too. Why not, after all?

Nude photos it was.
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I always feel like

Oh sure, but when I asked for a restraining order against David Letterman its not like I got one even temporary like. This is costing me in tinfoil, folks.

In her request filed on 15 December, Colleen Nestler asked for Mr Letterman to stay at least three metres (yards) away from her and not "think of me, and release me from his mental harassment and hammering". She accused the host of using code words, gestures and "eye expressions" to send her messages since she began sending him "thoughts of love" after his Late Show programme began in 1993.
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December 27, 2005

They what you will

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One reason for my considerable respect for Ricky Martin has been his frak-off attitude regarding inquiries into his sex life. Though it may seem unwise for a man ducking questions about his preferences to go on about spanking; with Sky Showbiz apparently unable to translate code, his privacy would appear to be assured.

"I'm the love of their life! I'm the best man that they've ever had, a gentleman who treated them like a lady."

I bet they felt the same. Puh-leeze. Though I admit I am stumped by "human trafficking". Time to check my urban slang dictionary.

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Alizée: La Isla Bonita

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Prince of Persia

A great little web viral for Prince of Persia. Warning: gore.

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Go topless

There is something vaguely obscene and Next Generation-ish about these topless sandals.

Topless sandals are basically topless flip flops, but so much cooler. You'll be amazed at how many heads you turn while wearing your topless sandals. People will literally think you are barefoot and so will your feet.
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December 26, 2005

Love, Angel, Music and a Baby

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Gwen Stefani announces she is three months pregnant... congratulations! One can only wish her and "Bush" lead-singer, Gavin Rossdale all the best.

Stefani has often talked about wanting a baby, and made reference to it in songs such as "What You Waiting For" (with the clock ticking) and more explicitly in "A Simple Kind of Life," in which she wishes for a "mistake" with her birth control: "I always thought I'd be a mom/ ... You seem like you'd be a good dad."
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Joanna Newsom: Sprout and the Bean

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. With more ethereal warbling at the BBC.

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December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas to Flea-readers everywhere!

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Wham: Last Christmas

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Santa's wingmen

The Canadian Air Defence Sector Operations Centre will alert NORAD when Santa enters Canadian airspace where he will then pick up a CF-18 fighter escort. Children wishing to follow Santa's progress can call NORAD direct.

Four fighter pilots Capt. William Radiff and Lieut.-Col. Patrice Laroche, of 3 Wing Bagotville and Capt. Dave Monk and Maj. Alex Day of 4 Wing Cold Lake, are this years official escort pilots for Santa Claus while he visits Canada during his annual Christmas Eve trip around the world. Canadian fighter pilots will gather the first pictures of Santa and his sleigh as he arrives over the continent using special NORAD SantaCams mounted on their aircraft.
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The collectivization of gaiety and the compulsory infliction of joy

White Peril calls it a "James Thomson" act. I will settle at "Scrooge routine". Christopher Hitchens shows his usual lack of hesitation in choosing sides in the War on Christmas; truly, a Decembrism no ex-Trotskyite can support.

... the whole business becomes more vile and insufferable—and in new and worse ways—every 12 months. It also starts to kick in earlier each year: It was at Thanksgiving this year that, making my way through an airport, I was confronted by the leering and antlered visage of what to my disordered senses appeared to be a bloody great moose. Only as reason regained her throne did I realize that the reindeer—that plague species—were back.

It is Hitchen's remarks about Cromwell that stand out for me and I can only say I agree completely. Can it be there are people who honestly think coniferous trees, Yule logs and the 25th of December have anything to do with Biblical Christianity? Celebrate however you like but do not imagine you are standing up for revealed truth when you boo a man off stage for pointing out the obvious. Christmas springs as much from accident, expediency and convention as it does from a (pleasant) reflection of (quite sensible) mid-winter festivals. That this pagan paraphernalia should be sanctified by the folks castegating Hitch for pointing out historical fact would beggar belief but for the low opinion I have come to develop of the self-proclaimed Christian "literalists". So perhaps I am feeling a bit bah-humbuggy myself. I am not opposed to pagan paraphernalia or sentiment per se, in fact I am quite enjoying both this time of year, but this remains yet another reminder how many Christians have never bothered to read Scripture.

Humbug update: Denis Leary offers comment for those wanting to feel more Grinchy (nsfw).

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December 23, 2005

Sarah Silverman: Give the Jew Girl Toys

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (with a jingley hat tip to Matoko).

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Tokyo Game Show 2005

I am not certain how I missed these images of the Tokyo Game Show 2005. Here they are then. The show also featured video games apparently.

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Lego Imperial Star Destroyer

I shall not rest until I have built my own Lego Imperial Star Destroyer.

I first saw a Lego Imperial Star Destroyer at the Power House Museum during the Star Wars Magic of Myth exhibition.

Of course I immediately wanted one.
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Jingle hells

The BBC considers working to a festive playlist. I used to be an assistant manager at A&A Records and Tapes, some Flea-readers may wish to google "records" and "tapes", and had the joy of a month-long Michael Jackson/Celine Dion non-stop back-to-back rotation. I know from Christmas music.

Iona, 33, recalls her time at the Chester branch of a toiletries chain, which had Pavarotti's Christmas CD on a loop from mid-November to January.

"I went mad, and was constantly accosted by lovely old grannies asking about the music, saying wasn't it wonderful to work in such an environment. I was reduced to dribbling like a child and smiling politely. ... This nightmare of music was compounded on Christmas Day - my one day off - when it turned out someone had bought my mother the CD. It was the first thing that went on the player. I cannot listen to Pavarotti to this day."

Xmas update: Even in lunch there may be no escape.

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Atheist Agenda

Calling the Bible "a very negative force in the history of the world", University of Texas at San Antonio student group Atheist Agenda invited students to exchange their Bibles for pornography. Only five takers, apparently.

Overall we had a lot of fun doing this, talked to a lot of interesting people. I learned that there are grown adults who believe that dinosaurs and people existed on this planet at the same time. Had a professor of the women and gender studies yell at us to take a course in logic and ethics -- without giving us a chance to respond (she stormed off and proceeded to call us names in front of her class). We got plenty of smirks and thumbs up. It was a success beyond our dreams and prayers (ha!).

No word on whether the group was accepting other sacred scriptures for porn. Say, the Koran. One suspects protests at that sort of thing would be a trifle more vociferous.

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December 22, 2005

I have been all my life, a victim of my senses

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I have it on (captivating, curvacious and) reliable authority that lingerie is not for (the pleasure of) men but rather (the secret enjoyment of) women. Furthermore, as (an authority with a different perspective) Porchboy observed during a viewing of the 2005 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, there seems little point in the more elaborate gear as it all ends up on the floor regardless. With these thoughts in mind I forward reports that Sienna Miller's Casanova corsets "gave her breasts she never knew she had". Even a cursory image search suggests she had little cause to wonder in that department but (and hence the preamble) what do I know.

"I got to wear corsets in the movie. They are so romantic, they look fantastic, although they are agony. They squeeze you to within an inch of your life. I loved the cleavage, though. I never realised I had breasts until the movie."
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The Pogues/Kirsty MacColl: Fairytale of New York

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Lynxmas greetings

The Flea's hard-hitting series, Object Lessons in Objectification™, gets into the Christmas spirit with this Lynx viral. Tssk. For shame. Etc.

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Old fashioned

Modern products in a vintage light sum up much of the Flea's Existenzphilosophie.

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Bleak House

It is Charles Dickens seasons: just the time for his animated life story. Wonderful. Once you are done with that, it is time to see if you can survive Charles Dicken's London...

Charles Dickens is much loved for his great contribution to classical English literature. He is the quintessential Victorian author: his epic stories, vivid characters and exhaustive depiction of contemporary life are unforgettable.
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December 21, 2005

Soviet gothic

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I never understood what was up with Siouxsie and the Nazi-chic. And I have difficulty conjuring an image of a Soviet goth. Contradiction, meet terms. Terms, contradiction. Though I suppose Laibach are circling around in there somewhere.

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80's Dances Instructional Video #44

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Useful pointers for anyone still unclear about the Flea-dance.

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Soviet champagne

Soviet champagne has the same effect as something shambling about at the bottom of the stairs. You have read Lovecraft: you know it is a bad idea; but you have to open the door regardless.

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Ministry of Spoof

When he offered comment on Madonna's European MTV Music Awards moment she had the good sense to leave well enough alone. Now the government of Kazakhstan has managed another stunning publicity own goal by closing Borat's website.

Reporters Without Borders condemned censorship by the Kazakh government, which has removed the right to use the .kz suffix (equivalent to .uk) from two websites it finds troublesome, including that of British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, or "Borat".

For anyone still still thinking the rest of "the internet" is best handed over to UN administration; it is time to think again. Following earlier complaints he was perpetuating negative stereotypes about Kazakhs, Borat responds to the government of Kazakhstan. I shudder to think he will react to the closing of his web domain. Wounded Kazakhs should at least rest assured Borat is giving them better press than he does Britain (possibly nsfw ads).

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Better with mint sauce than cranberry

Thanks to remains uncovered from the permafrost of Siberia, roast mammoth is one step closer to reality.

Scientists have taken a big step towards helping the woolly mammoth to walk again. Researchers have pieced together part of the genetic code of one of the extinct beasts which died 27,000 years ago. They hope in time to work out the whole of the creature's genetic blueprint.
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December 20, 2005

The centre cannot hold

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First worn to a Tarts, Nerds and Tourists fancy dress party, Kylie Minogue's stylist ransacked her closet for them the day before her "Spinning Around" video shoot. Purchased for 50p at an Oxfam charity shop, insured for £1m and now touring Australia: Kylie's famous gold hotpants are said to be unraveling.

The shorts are being transported in a climate-controlled glass case but they are so delicate now, handlers must move them wearing white gloves, the Sunday Mirror reported.

"The pants just can't take any unnecessary strain," said a spokeswoman at Powerhouse museum in Sydney. "The gold coating lifts off every time they are touched."

All should note my restraint in foregoing comment on that last bit.

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Kylie Minogue: Spinning Around

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Mini Nitros

Option the first: get some work done. Option the second: drive a Mini.

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Woomba

Sure, Woomba seems like a good idea now but in the War With the Machines this is only the thin end of the wedge.

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This post brought to you by

Marketers of the world take note: the Flea stands ready for all your product placement needs. Not like those tv writer artistes.*

TV networks are turning to product placements to fight back against ad-skipping technologies like TiVo, but now some writers are putting up a fight, demanding more pay in exchange for scripting product plugs into their shows.

*The Flea is also available for all your television writing needs.

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Sticks and stones

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Former Buffalo Sabres coach and National Hockey League coach of the year, Ted Nolan was greeted with racist taunts at a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game between the Moncton Wildcats and the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. Nolan is an Ojibwa of the Garden River First Nation in Ontario.

"Some fans started doing the war cry, the tomahawk chop, the shooting of the bow and arrows and saying some derogatory statements about my native background right from the get go," Nolan told CTV. "It hurt when I was seven years old and 17 years old, and I just turned 47 and it hurt as much as it did it back then."

Television images of the game suggest these were not scattered insults but most of the crowd, including security, deciding it was appropriate to support their side with racist insults directed at the opposing coach. The linked CTV article suggests the abuse continued after the game while SooToday reports police assistance was needed to get the team to their bus. This latter would appear to cast doubt on the credibility of those who claim Nolan mistook the meaning of the "tomahawk chops". While the Saguenéens club has issued an apology I think this incident is a reminder of a wider problem; one that gives many of us who might otherwise be sympathetic to Québec nationalism reason for pause. I believe it would be appropriate for Québec's Premier to address the issue.

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December 19, 2005

He had a dream

There has been much ado about the choice of lead actresses in the film adaptation of Memoirs of Geisha. Ziyi Zhang, Michelle Yeoh and Gong Li play geisha; the erstwhile problem being that none are Japanese. Now, this is an absurd non-problem. Or rather, an actual problem masquerading as a non-problem. The non-problem being why on earth this should be an issue in the first place. Patrick Stewart managed to play a French starship captain with a RADA accent, for pity's sake. I do not recall anyone batting an eye, or any other sensory appendage, as a result.* Equally, I would be appalled if anyone were to suggest Michael Dorn could not play an excellent Henry V. I would pay to see that.

Behind this non-problem lurks the actual problem that all too many people believe identity is intrinsic and further that identity dictates ability. SFGate, for example, uses the vile phrase "ethnic slippage" to explain their objection to the casting decision. Yes, I expect there are plenty of people who think "all Asians look alike", as the article puts it. And yes, I imagine the studio was after actresses who might be taken for Japanese by an international audience and to this extent the identity police at SFGate have a point. But then I see no reason Keira Knightley or Reese Witherspoon would not have been interesting choices for a part so their rhetoric on that score fails to convince me. Perhaps the studio reflected some racist bias in its apprehended audience but this is no reason to claim a progressive authority in a position that is yet more racist. It strikes me to be a far more troubling idea that simply because a woman is an actress and Japanese that she should have an intrinsic ability to put herself in the kimono of a girl sold into sexual-slavery in the 1930s. Yes, some people do think "all Asians look alike" but it is a more serious question by far why some should think "all Japanese think alike".

Equally absurd was a CBC Hot Type interview with Arthur Golden which consisted of asking/marveling/sneering how an American Harvard graduate could possibly write a book in the first person about the experiences of a geisha. I offered some sarcastic commentary to my television set; to whit: How could Tolkien possibly have imagined he could write a character from the perspective of a talking-tree? How could Tanya Huff dare to write from the perspective of an undead bastard son of Henry VIII? How can I, as a non-Narnian, possibly empathize with the plight of those troubled by the Ice Queen?

Because ideas are not intrinsic and imagination is more important than identity, folks. A passage from "What I Tell Librarians" in Scatterbrain, another fascinating collection of Larry Niven laundry lists, seems à propos.

Why should librarians give special consideration to science fiction?
I can tell you something specific.
It's very difficult for a black man to get out of South-Central Los Angeles, and get out civilized. Women may find it easier, for all I know. The only men I know who have escaped, all began reading Robert Heinlein at age ten.
Of those men, I've written nine books with Steven Barnes. I see Ken Porter every few weeks. The third guy was installing my copier when the subject came up. It's a tiny sample, and all three men were in their forties.
So even if I'm right, the book that rescues a ten-year-old child from a bad environment may not be Heinlein anymore.
Robert Heinlein's planets have become fantasy due to half a century of exploration by NASA probes. He was always a teacher of moral lessons, but if his worlds have become unrealistic, his lessons will be suspect too - though to me they still hold true.
Forty years ago, Ken Porter was a black kid growing up in South-Central. Ken's peers tried to tell him that no white man could ever understand what he was going through. Ken knew they were wrong because he had read Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert Heinlein. Robert Heinlein was white, but he understood Ken Porter perfectly, and Ken knew it.

*I find it hard to imagine a pre-Tony Blair American television audience accepting a very British starship captain on the Enterprise and expect some Revolutionary War romanticism dictated a French identity for an obviously Shakespearian fellow. Though it is equally hard to imagine Patrick Stewart playing his supposedly French captain with an actual French accent. "We have engaged, ze Borg!" has a different ring to it, for example.

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Faithless: Muhammad Ali

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

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Penultimate

Thanks to everyone for your Weblog Award votes! Second to last, oh yeah: Type like a butterfly! Blog like a bee!

Runner-up update: Harry Hutton considers the merits of faint praise.

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Bikini Bandits Go Dutch

In case there is anyone left who still thinks television is better than "the internet", the Flea presents for your attention: Bikini Bandits Go Dutch. This video has everything. I have nothing to add to it. It is complete. An exemplar of a neo-Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk. Also, bikinis (nsfw language and content).

Look out Amish country, the Bikini Bandits are going to raise your barn! What could be better than Pennsylvania Dutch and boobs?
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Deliciously evil

IGN ponders the top ten villainous moments in comic history. No. 5 and No. 2 both came to mind when I considered the problem.

This wasn't an easy task. There are a surprising number of great moments to choose from. In fact, there were quite a few that held personal favor. However, we've avoided the obscure moments we loved, because in truth they don't hold the power of our top ten. Not only are these moments unforgettable, they made a difference.
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Deliciously puzzling

About.com ponders the top ten puzzling artifacts of ancient history. And the answer to the following question is "no", btw. At least not in the sense they are implying.

The Bible tells us that God created Adam and Eve just a few thousand years ago, by some fundamentalist interpretations. Science informs us that this is mere fiction and that man is a few million years old, and that civilization just tens of thousands of years old. Could it be, however, that conventional science is just as mistaken as the Bible stories?
Posted by the Flea at 08:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

December 17, 2005

Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS

David Beckham and Robbie Williams team up in a UK Committee for UNICEF campaign to raise HIV/AIDS awareness. A worthy cause even if the resulting ad is a bit earnest.

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

Kings of Convenience: I'd Rather Dance with You

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Star Wars

Star Wars in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies.

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

Yes, they have more money

Spirit Fingers identifies a market segment I should definitely be exploring. Perhaps there is some room for collaboration on the project.

Looking at this blog over the past year, I've noticed that my posts have a tendency to alienate a very important part of the population. It was completely unintentional on my part and I apologise for neglecting the very very rich. Going forward, all that's about to change. In the new year I hope to pander to the seriously wealthy. Maybe some of them will let me into their gilded world and make me their token poor friend.
Posted by the Flea at 10:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

Vincent Gallo's sperm

Ok Gallo, that thing with Chloë Sevigny in Brown Bunny? That was a problem. But this. This thing with the sperm is stepping right over the line.*

Vincent Gallo's Sperm

$1 Million

Price includes all costs related to one attempt at an in-vitro fertilization. (A $50,000 value) If the first attempt at in vitro fertilization is unsuccessful, purchaser of sperm must pay all medical costs related to additional attempts. Mr. Gallo will supply sperm for as many attempts as it takes to complete a successful fertilization and successful delivery. Sperm is 100% guaranteed to be donated by Mr. Gallo who is drug, alcohol and disease free. If the purchaser of the sperm chooses the option of natural insemination, there is an additional charge of $500,000. However, if after being presented detailed photographs of the purchaser, Mr. Gallo may be willing to waive the natural insemination fee and charge only for the sperm itself.

*Scroll down for the full horror.

Posted by the Flea at 10:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

December 16, 2005

The means must justify the end

Reports that downtown Toronto Liberal incumbent and candidate for re-election, Tony Ianno tried to barge into Flea Towers yesterday* on a vote-sucking errand offer a valuable lesson to reality television contestants everywhere. Refusing entry to peddlars and snake-oil salesmen is our habit here and this Lilliputian of federal affairs should have thought twice before putting himself in the same category. Aside from lacking Olivia Chow's alarming competence and courtesy I doubt Tony could pull off the knee-high Xena-style strappy sandals I spotted Olivia wearing down Kensington Market way the last time we went through this popularity contest a year and a half ago. Those were great sandals. But it is to digress.

My point is that Tony was trying to reach out to Annexians with a (first ever) visit and instead succeeded in losing three votes (count them, three votes, ha ha ha!). Sure, his bullying lawyer friend may have known the rules of the game but in following them managed to alienate the very people his candidate was trying to impress, i.e. the denizens of Flea Towers. Which brings me to reality television and the perils of mistaking Richard Hatch for a genius.

Hatch is a clever fellow and one would hesitate to best him at destructive gossip. His central insight into Survivor, one of the shows that got the reality ball rolling, was that while its premise and setting suggest jungle survival its core is office politics. That is to say, a context where lying, screwing people over and betraying your friends is often a path to success. Sure, people may dislike you and you will not have many friends but screw them because they will be doing your work for you while you lounge in your corner office or, better yet, gear down as you drive by the office on the way to the golf-course or your hair appointment. By the time new victims figure out what you are up to you will have the million and it will be too late for them to do anything about it.

Small group interaction does not only reward scoundrels, blowhards and the amoral but it does so often enough to be depressing to the rest of us. Perhaps this is the appeal of reality television: there is the little justice of knowing that the one keeping the car is going to be voted off the island. And I suppose the villainy of a Richard Hatch was entertaining provided his island-office was comfortably far off even as, horror-movie like, his bad behaviour expressed a truth about many people we have met.

When screwing people over in an office setting the screwed most often lack the power to do anything about their plight. The jerk's actions are often carried out with no witnesses, no paper trail and a twisted exactitude about the rules. Bad behaviour, however, is not everywhere and for everyone rewarded. It should be obvious that what works in an office, or what worked in Survivor season one, is not going to work with tens of millions of prime-time witnesses who now know what to look out for. Sure, Jim's Nietzschean ramblings might have accounted for his early success in The Apprentice: Martha Stewart but he should have anticipated these same ramblings made it impossible for Martha to hire him. And while Donald Trump hired Randal, the latest Apprentice's ungracious refusal to endorse the Donald's thoughts about also hiring Rebecca threw away the three months of good will the candidate had earned in front of an international television audience. Last night's selfish performance almost certainly cost him a fortune in future book sales alone. Saying there was only one Apprentice and not several "Apprenti" showed something unpleasant and ungenerous in his nature. Frankly, knowing this about the man I would not piss on him if he was on fire.

That goes double for federal candidates who want to earn my vote by bullying my neighbours.

*Correction: these were two Ianno minions... the man himself remains elusive.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Louis XIV: God Killed The Queen

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (nqsfw).

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

The Cobblebot Caper

This Batman 2D side-scroller is a fine Friday diversion and offers some insight into the Flea's nightly patrol of Annexia (hat tip to Dodgeblogium).

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

There is a pun here involving Bobby waking up in the shower but it is not coming to me

Dallas hottie, Victoria Principal is reportedly set for space tourism.

The actress has reportedly splashed out £115,000 to be rocketed 70 miles above Earth when Sir Richard Branson launches commercial space flights in 2008.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Sushi etiquette

I was all set to ask the next Taisho I saw how I might identify the panda sushi on the menu but C. Buddha seems to think the whole matter is hilarious. So, they are joking about the panda then? No panda for me.

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

Bombay TV

Bollywood TV should come in handy for aspiring Bollywood producers everywhere.

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

A stately pleasuredome

Ski Dubai combines the thrill of skiing with the pleasures of plutocracy; without the inconvenience of nature or representative government. Surely a Bond villain locale in the making.

Ski Dubai is the first in-door ski resort in the Middle East and offers an amazing snow setting to enjoy skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing or just playing in the snow. Young or old, there is something for everyone, from the beginner to the snow sport enthusiast. Ski Dubai is a unique mountain-themed attraction that offers you the opportunity to enjoy real snow in Dubai all year round.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

December 15, 2005

This is where a pomegranate comes in handy

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There is news that inspires comment and there is news that confounds it. I imagine people will have quite a bit to say about news Kate Beckinsale "cavorts naked" for her director husband, Len Wiseman via webcam. But learning Kate Beckinsale dresses up in her gothic gear from Underworld to "keep the spark" in her marriage alive... well, the rest is silence.

"That costume goes down quite well with the husband. ... In fact I think that suit is the reason he was so keen for us to do the sequel Underworld: Evolution! What can I say, guys like it. That costume is really just sex fetish wear."

I gather she draws the line at dressing up as Wonder Woman. It is good to learn even Kate Beckinsale's husband still has something to to aspire to (via Egotastic!).

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

Supergrass: St. Petersburg

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Manole

I managed 1123.2m with this wing-flappy game. Possible time-waster alert for the cubicle set.

Posted by the Flea at 08:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Stuff and nonsense

Having a go with bullet points today. Your patience is much appreciated.

If the fetching scarf is any indication, Kylie is doing much better.

Fans are shocked to learn Madonna considered the lyrics to her single "Super Pop" too arrogant for her public image.

Posh gives a Rolls-Royce Phantom to Becks. I imagine it is a great ride.

Gwen Stefani, still in need of two names, is keeping her second solo album on hold and taking some much needed me time instead. What an excellent idea.

List action update: Hmm. These "ul type="circle"" and "li" html tags do not seem to be agreeing with my MT set-up. Any ideas what the difficulty might be? Hollow circle bullet points would be such a nice addition.

Posted by the Flea at 08:18 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Everybody's looking for something

It isn't boorish for Annie Lennox to have snubbed an obsessed fan; I expect being pestered for autographs must be enormously irritating. Rushing to apologize when she was told the obsessed fan was in fact Orlando Bloom: that's boorish.

She allegedly told him: "I just want a quiet night. Please leave me alone and get a life." A source told Britain's Daily Star newspaper: "It was like watching a car crash unfold. Nobody could understand why she was being so rude to Orlando of all people."
Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

December 14, 2005

Puddlejumping the shark

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For reasons that remain obscure to me, Canadians are being treated to the second half of the second season of Stargate: Atlantis before our American cousins south of the border. Canadians who have a neighbour with digital cable, that is.

It is with a heavy heart, and some care to avoid plot spoilers, that I report on the outcome of what should be a bit of luck, media-wise. Season one of Atlantis was some of the best science-fiction ever produced for television: fast-paced, suspenseful and witty. If not for the masterpiece revision of Battlestar Galactica it would have been the best sf on the air. It was not to last. Whatever has happened at the exec level or the writers or the drinking water in Vancouver has replaced an over-arching Wraith war story arc with quick hit ST:TOS knock-offs. Yes, we finally learn if puddlejumpers may be piloted underwater but we do so in an episode so derivative it is cribbed from a season one installment of the same freaking show. There aren't enough Heinlein or PKD plots to pay homage to? Worse is a newfound bad habit of dragging in references and characters from the original SG-1 vehicle; both lazy and confusing to new viewers. But it was last week's excuse for a montage with Teyla singing that took the puddlejumper over the shark. "Eat all the fruit and throw away the rind; Yea brother, yea", etc.

Posted by the Flea at 09:00 AM | TrackBack (0)

Metallica: Nothing Else Matters

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.*

*And will again, if someone can point me to an on-line video of the Bif Naked cover.

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

Halo Zero

Halo Zero should address all your 2D, side-scrolling evolved combat needs. The stills look great but the game gives my video-drivers indigestion so I cannot quite report on game play.

And here the greatly awaited day, the release of Halo Zero in its final version!

In tangential news, the new version box that Bungee built is off to a slow start in Japan.

According to a study by leading Japanese game magazine Famitsu, less than half of the estimated 159,000 360 consoles in stores sold in the first weekend of sales.
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Let's terminate it (piracy)!

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan co-star in an anti-piracy public service announcement launched in the Hong Kong market. Because when you buy pirated movies and music the criminals have already won. Or something like that.

"Who wants to really create or invent new technologies . . . if we cannot safeguard the outcome of the final product?" Schwarzenegger told the gathering. "Entertainment is a $30 billion industry in California, and Hong Kong, of course, is the movie capital of Asia. We have a lot at stake."
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

December 13, 2005

Grade X

London's Number 1 Westminster Bridge is one of my favourite buildings anywhere and would make for an excellent FleaHQ if only the powers the be were to turn it over to my care. I am therefore sorry to see it only manage eleventh place in a most undistinguished competition: Demolition, a four-part Channel 4 series dedicated to Britain's worst buildings. 10,000 public nominations have been narrowed down to a top twelve list* further mulled over by architectural boffins including those wise heads of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The winner: the Cumbernauld shopping centre, a Cybermen command post glowering over a Carbuncle award winning Glasgow satellite town.

Cumbernauld's shopping centre is eight storeys high with a dual carriageway running beneath. Prospect magazine, which has twice voted Cumbernauld as Scotland's most dismal town, described the shopping centre as a rabbit warren on stilts.

Yes, the place is hideous. But it is a bit rich for the experts to be putting the boot in now given that Cumbernauld New Town was short-listed as a world heritage site by an United Nations brain-trust and its hangers on in the British architectural establishment. That and involving Janet Street-Porter in the judging process. Surely there is a Grade X listing for talking heads.

*Those twelve being:
1. Cumbernauld shopping centre
2. IMAX cinema, Bournemouth
3. Bus station, Northampton
4. Crown House, Kidderminster
5. Cement works, Rugby
6. Park Hill estate, Sheffield
7. Gateshead car park
8. Scottish parliament, Edinburgh
9. The Tower, Colliers Wood, London
10. Lodge's supermarket, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire
11. No 1 Westminster Bridge
12. Westgate House, Newcastle

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

Collapsing new buildings

Einstürzende Neubauten's Blixa Bargeld offers home-improvement direction for Hornbach do it yourself customers (hat tip to Jeff and his anonymous source).

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

Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto: Berlin

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:07 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Cheers, Helen

I may have left my horse parked in an awkward spot but after a pint or three I probably should not be driving.

Posted by the Flea at 08:05 AM | TrackBack (0)

Why can't I own a Canadian?

Jim asks Laura Schlessinger cogent questions regarding Scripture (via Yummy Wakame).

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
Posted by the Flea at 08:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The undiscover'd country

Steven Malcolm Anderson, a blogger best known for an incisive wit and enthusiasm demonstrated in the comments sections of Classical Values and Dean's World, has died. His writing was distinct, even peculiar, and suggested a heart of gold. He will be missed; or as a friend of mine used to put it, he is already missing (via White Peril). Eric quotes a final comment to Classical Values:

Surely, civilizations more advanced, more ethical, more Godly than our own must be out there amid the billions of stars, the billions of galaxies, this infinite universe.

Were they to visit Earth, I can imagine what they might say:

"You Objectivists: You have a noble ethic of selfishness, but your values must have a high spiritual base and source, the Divine. Worship, above all, the Most High Goddess, the Queen of Heaven.

"You Christians: Be more dogmatic in your theology. Continue to worship the Divine Christ. Worship, above all, the Most High Goddess, the Queen of Heaven.

"You Communists: Stop robbing, enslaving, raping, and murdering or else we will smite you. Repent. Turn back to God, the Christ. Worship, above all, the Most High Goddess, the Queen of Heaven."
Posted by the Flea at 08:00 AM | TrackBack (0)

Imprimatur: Notice of copyright

Sorry it has come to this folks:

All rights, including copyright, in the content of "Ghost of a flea" web pages are owned and controlled for these purposes by "Ghost of a flea". In accessing "Ghost of a flea"'s web pages, you agree that you may only download the content for your own personal non-commercial use as follows: you may make one machine readable copy and/or one print copy that is limited to occasional articles of personal interest only.

You are not permitted to copy, reproduce, distribute, publish, display, broadcast, download, store (in any medium), transmit, show or play in public, create derivative works, modify, adapt or change in any way, or in any way exploit the content of these "Ghost of a flea" web pages for any other purpose whatsoever without the prior written permission of "Ghost of a flea". This especially includes a certain Canadian newspaper wishing to republish my work without paying me for it. You know who you are.

Feel free to quote brief excerpts of my posts for purpose of comment or parody. Any such quotes must attribute "Ghost of a flea" and provide a link to the orginal article from which the quote appears. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, you may not distribute any part of this service over any network, including a local area network, nor sell nor offer it for sale. In addition, these files may not be used to construct any sort of database. "Ghost of a flea" RSS content is also subject to copyright. No permission is granted to republish content of this website using aggregator software. Anyone wishing to do so must first obtain my written consent. I would be grateful if anyone who finds content from "Ghost of a flea" being republished by a thieving aggregator to notify me at once.

Some names, text and images are quoted at "Ghost of a flea" for purposes of comment or parody. All copyrights and trademarks of proprietary names, text and images are retained by their original owners.

Posted by the Flea at 07:53 AM | TrackBack (0)

December 12, 2005

Marie Antoinette

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Teaming up with Sofia Coppola for the first time since The Virgin Suicides, Kirsten Dunst stars as Marie Antoinette, an Austrian hottie who loses her head over fancy clothes.

Sofia Coppola's eagerly awaited follow-up to 'Lost in Translation' is clearly no BBC yawner. Who else would set the trailer for an 18th-century biopic to New Order's 'Age of Consent'?

18th-century Update: Now featuring a new improved Antoinette teaser-trailer screen-capture lifted from A Socialite's Life.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

PussyCat Dolls feat. Will.I.Am: Beep

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (hat tip to Antonia).

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

Columbian Santa girls

Hot Columbian women in spikey-heeled pvc boots and Santa outfits: that might get people's attention, I thought. After all, I expect everyone is sick to death of sweeps season here in the blogosphere. Not to fear. The votes are in for the Canadian Blog Awards and I will not be pestering you again* until possibly next year assuming I am still publishing this thing. I am pleased to say the Flea took top marks for Best Culture Blog. Thanks for your votes and your patience. Now about those Columbian Santa girls... Harry Hutton has the details.

Trade ministers are gathering in Hong Kong for a crucial round of talks aimed at liberalising free trade. Who gives a toss, right? Here are some Colombian girl santas instead.

*Though your continuing support in the American Weblog Awards for Best Culture/Gossip Blog version is still appreciated.

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Bring Me the Head of Darth Vader, 1998

Current Flea-financing does not stretch to these Clive Barker artworks but it is satisfying to internet windowshop regardless.

Clive Barker's artwork expresses an unseen world of fantasy, co-existing with our own reality. His characters, while often physically misshapen and outrageous, portray very human emotions. Perhaps it is for this reason that many people find a deeper meaning within Clive's artwork in a genre too often prone superficiality.

Authorship update: It looks like that first artistically inclined Clive Barker addressing fanciful themes is different from the second artistically inclined Clive Barker addressing fanciful themes. Who knew? Not me at least. This is what I get for pining after the Darth Vader candy dish/ashtray and not reading the rest of the page.

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

Revolver

Relics from high profile crimes in the history of New York City, including the gun used to murder John Lennon, are on display at the Forensics Investigative Division in Queens. When officers are not busy playing with them on the shooting range, that is.

Most of the weapons confiscated in the city are not held on to and end up at "the burn," where they are melted down. Others are archived: Currently, the ballistics bunker in Queens has about 800 guns, which are hung on bars, skewered through their trigger guards. But a few weapons, those that were used in significant crimes, are put on display in a bulletproof-glass case. Chapman’s .38 is on view alongside David Berkowitz’s handgun and a bazooka that was used to fire a shot at the U.N. in the sixties.
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

December 10, 2005

A nice cup of tea

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George Orwell demonstrates how subtilized the whole business of making tea has become by contributing eleven points on the subject. He is quite wrong about sugar, of course, but even very clever chaps make mistakes.

Some people would answer that they don't like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need sugar to take the taste away. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.

In so far as the man has a point, it might equally be made about ruining a cup of tea by adulterating it with milk; something I never do. I may take him on his challenge for the satisfaction of proving him wrong.

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

Rammstein: Rosenrot

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Hood ornaments

Spirit Fingers comments on fashion foibles among Babes of the VIP Auto Fashion Show. The Babes of Number 5 are right up my street.

Now don't get me wrong here. If I'm at an event which is likely to be attended by men who can afford expensive cars, you bet I'm going to put myself out there, even if it means wearing fishnet gloves with finger cut-offs and panties over my stockings.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Ho Ho Ho

Designer and celebrity tresspasser, Joe Moretti has beaten the Flea to the punch with his Paris Hilton-themed Xmas lawn display. There is no point in trying to improve on SondraK's tagline for this story. She has pics too.

See Paris Hilton in all her seductive splendor, striking a provocative pose for passing motorists and spreading hot Christmas cheer in a chilly Rhode Island winter.

Blown-up images of Hilton and strings of pink Christmas lights adorn the front lawn of a home in a middle-class neighborhood of this city, part of a head-turning holiday display that pays homage to the famed hotel heiress.
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

Line-Kill Spirits

Inverted Castle discovers the most Japanese fighting game ever; by which he means up-skirt "panty-shots" have been seemlessly integrated into the action. Furthermore, he has video to prove it (via Gewgaw).

You don’t believe me, do you? Then watch the VIDEO. That’s it. The Japanese are done. They can now return to planet Japania, leaving all the people of Earth horribly confused and scarred for life.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

December 09, 2005

Turn the lights out

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I was looking at the Elton John video for "Turn the lights out when you leave" and, through a mind reeling with preterite horror, managed to formulate several questions. My first was to wonder who the guy in the video might be because he seemed strangely familiar; as if he perhaps drinks at my bar in the Annex but being out of context I did not recognize him. It turns out I am not the only one to ask this question and, thankfully, further reflection provided the answer: he is that guy from the movie with the shark. No, not that movie with the shark. The other movie with the shark; the one with Samuel L. Jackson. Though he also looks like a bit like this guy Alex who drinks at my bar.

The precarious balance humans term "sanity" as yet unshattered in my consciousness by the horror to follow, I managed another thought. The thought being that video directors should try to avoid making these promotional efforts more interesting than the songs they are meant to promote. I do not know from surreal and arty but I found I could not look away no matter how much some remaining vestige of my waking self would have wished it so. It took me a moment to realize the triste yet French-word-for-compelling woman who looked like Teri Hatcher to be none other than she herself. Other questions shambled forth: what is Teri thinking starring in a video whose effect is that of cyclopean vistas of soul-rending horror (getting to that bit) and, more to the point, how does she manage to keep in such good trim? It turns out for the latter we may thank pole-dancing, an exercise I understand is "recommended by professional strippers", while the former is almost certainly down to Elton John's desperation to appear on "bitchy and funny" television sensation; Deperate Housewives.

It all is to fall into place. A bid to appear in television's contemporary masterpiece of gnostic horror, often mistaken for a camp distraction, can only be explained as another instance of the unceasing labour of those cultists who pick away at the crumbling foundations of the Watchtowers as all the while their tenebrous masters scratch at the feeble cat-flaps of what I shall laughingly call reality; these cultists seemingly unaware or unconcerned they will be the first to be taken by the Abyss as the Old Ones reclaim what once was theirs. The Guardian might think Elton John's effort is "pure pithy Nashville" but in the man's utterly unconvincing Southern twang I could only hear the warbling of pipes given life by the dancers about the unseeing Chaos at the centre of all things. Some certainties of the universe are discomfitting but may be born in time given the failure of the human mind to correlate its contents. Such was not to be my fate. The placid island of ignorance upon which my particular mind sheltered was overtaken by the revelation to follow. I would relate the moment but to do so would only be to demonstrate the inadequacy of human language. Be warned: my tale would have included the words "Elton John" and "cowboy hat".

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

Two votes good, four votes better

Today is your last chance to vote Flea for Best Culture Blog (head-flappy Canadian version). Let no computer be spared! Vote from work! Help your cats vote from home!

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

Franz Ferdinand: Walk Away

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

The War on Christmas

INDC Journal features hard-hitting photojournalism from the history of the War on Christmas.

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

Chulalongkorn School of Wizardry and Witchcraft

Having taken flak for her criticism of the latest Harry Potter film installment, Xiaxue poses a cogent question; "is it thus true that you can only criticise others when you yourself is any better?" Her recasting of the "Goblet of Fire" is inspired.

I can say GOF sucks if I want to, because I was a paying consumer! Even if I didnt pay, I can still say it sucks. Hell, even if I didn't watch it, I can still say it sucks if I want to! :D It's my mouth.

But since the angry mob dictates that I direct a GOF better than Mike Newell did, I SHALL! SEE, I'M SO NICE.
Posted by the Flea at 08:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Geek crush

I suppose there is no getting around the fact it was an image search that lead me to "Early Crushes of a Male Geek". But that will not stop me from passing on the link to this inciteful article making good use of the RetroCrush gallery*.

Often, people think back nostaligically about their first date, first kiss, and first significant others. While scrambling for an additional article to fill this week's quota, I began reminiscing about my first geek crush: Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.

*Though how Nastassja Kinski can feature sans serpent is beyond me.

Posted by the Flea at 08:03 AM | TrackBack (0)

December 08, 2005

Secret shoe fetish

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The Sun reports Keira Knightley's "secret shoe fetish" but does it run a picture of Keira's footware? It certainly does not. Honestly, the things some publications will do to drive traffic.

She told Grazia magazine: "I have shoes I’ve never taken out of the box. I even have shoes that don’t fit. ... I look at them and go: 'Oh it doesn’t matter that I can’t wear them – they’re so pretty!'"
Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Green puppy!

Green puppy!* ** ***

*Please vote Flea for Best Culture Blog... so close... need... every... vote!

**If that does not convince you watch this and tell me you are not getting your vote's worth of culture!

***Remember: your co-workers can vote from their computers... every cubicle counts!

Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

A little mix up

Land Securities Retail invites their exclusive cocktail party guests to try a hand at mixing a Cosmopolitan. While my first effort knocked the bartender to the floor I expect many Flea-readers will have already mastered this critical art.

Welcome to our pre-party cocktail mixing game for cocktail connoisseurs... or not, as the case may be!
Posted by the Flea at 09:09 AM | TrackBack (0)

More of the gin-soaked popinjay

Christopher Hitchens pines for a bibulous, cynical and slothful journalism. No matter James Bond's opinion of the profession (via A&L Daily).

"What-might-have-been was a waste of time. Follow your fate and be satisfied with it, and be glad not to be a second-hand motor salesman, or a yellow-press journalist, pickled in gin and nicotine, or a cripple - or dead."
Posted by the Flea at 09:07 AM | TrackBack (0)

Smoke signals

The Himalyan Times reports concerns about Hollywood and cigarettes. Though an image of Sharon Stone lighting up is only liable to compound the association between movies and ice-pick murder, surely a risk at high altitude.

Researcher Stanton Glantz says, "The science is very solid. Smoking in the movies has a very substantial effect on the risk that kids will get addicted to nicotine."
Posted by the Flea at 09:04 AM | TrackBack (0)

December 07, 2005

Veni Vidi Victoria

I considered live-blogging the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on CBS last night but decided the event required a more fixed attention.

It's sweeps month again, time to put up your feet, lower your standards, and scrape the bottom of your barrel of shame. Last night, CBS continued its merry reign in the ratings with this year's edition of the oxymoronic Victoria's Secret Fashion Show —oxymoronic, of course, because "fashion" normally implies the presence of some sort of garment or other, and Victoria's Secret has not made its name by displaying how good women look in clothes.

While I confess I might have observed something similar myself it is merely to quibble. And besides, candy bikinis probably count as clothes in a warm climate. While some have lamented the relative lack of protest to this year's installment I am happy to report the spectacle did not disappoint.

The Heidi Klum fembot delivered a note-perfect, if squeaky as ever, performance as Barbie-in-Chief while Mr. Klum, aka 1.5 hit wonder "Seal", was there to lend his support and warble something about not surviving unless we get a little crazy. An excellent context-specific proposition. For example, that crazy Ricky Martin sported a fauxhawk, a daring sartorial maneuvre in mixed-company. But the jiggling capstone of the event was Tyra Banks' final runway appearance for VS
complete with triumphant V sceptre. Her thoughts about her success as a top-model despite her weight were surely an inspiration to us all.

Finally, the Flea-fav moment of the evening: full marks to the model who lost a shoe but kept high-stepping it without breaking stride. A perfect Cinderella as I have no idea who she was.

Urgent Update: This just in... Seal is a 5.5 hit wonder! (hat tip to Bill)

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

I see you baby

Having given great thought to what might be a sufficient bribe for your continued votes for Best Culture Blog and, if you have a moment, Best Culture/Gossip Blog I settled on this mash-up of Groove Armada with the 20 Minute Workout. There is no reason Flea-readers cannot surf, drink coffee and keep fit at the same time.

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

Armand Van Helden: Into Your Eyes

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. And wonder why They Live has not appeared on my cult movie lists.

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

Roller Rapper

While the Flea is generally attended by at least four women wearing rollerskates I have to tip my hat to Robby Love for the sax section. I was singing along with the chorus by the end (with another hat tip to the Flea's Mad Interpersonal Skillz Advisor).

Robby Love
He's our Superman!
Go go Robby Love!
Posted by the Flea at 08:19 AM | TrackBack (0)

The better and worse angels of our very nature

X-Men 3 promo pictures and the X-Men 3 teaser trailer are now available. Both look promising.

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

Shedboatshed

Turner Prize objets d'art for 2005 included a shed, an electric bicycle and what appears to be a painting of someone's rear-end. The winner: Shedboatshed. This counts as only a small step up from shark-pickling and elephant dung-painting Turner Prize recipients of yesteryear. At least shed-assembler Simon Starling intends to put his prize money to good use.

Asked what he intended to do with his prize money, Starling said he wanted to throw a replica Henry Moore sculpture into Lake Ontario. "There is a big problem with zebra mussels in the lake which have invaded and taken over and there is a Henry Moore in Toronto called Warrior with Shield. I thought it would be nice to grow some mussels on the Henry Moore for six months, then take it out and exhibit it in a museum." But, he added: "I don't like to be thought of as an eccentric. It's a serious business."
Posted by the Flea at 08:11 AM | TrackBack (0)

December 06, 2005

Underworld: Evolution

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MTV's list of butt-kickin' women in film includes Underworld's Selene, saying the sequel fills MTV-peeps with glee for a simple reason: "the prospect of more footage of a goth Kate Beckinsdale". Quite right. And not to forget the latex. The trailer for Underworld: Evolution promises plenty of that too.

The sequel to worldwide hit, Underworld:Evolution continues the saga of war between the aristocratic Death Dealers and the barbaric Lycans (werewolves). The film traces the beginnings of the ancient feud between the two tribes as Selene, the beautiful vampire heroine, and Michael, the lycan hybrid, try to unlock the secrets of their bloodlines.
Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Sigur Rōs: Glōsōli

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Gorillaz Mahjong

This Gorillaz-themed mahjong is just the thing to relax with after voting Flea for Best Culture Blog and Best Culture/Gossip Blog! Especially that first one, please.

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

Rubber machete (slightly used)

NewLine is making Jason's rubber machete available at auction. Just the thing for your rubber-related personal security needs.

Scare your friends with this realistic looking prop rubber machete used on the set of Freddy Vs. Jason. Jason used it to slash his victims every Friday the 13th and now it can be yours simply by placing your bid.
Posted by the Flea at 08:30 AM | TrackBack (0)

The props must flow

Costumes and props from the Sci Fi Dune mini-series are most tempting. Especially the Reverend Mother's Retract Ring. Your very own home gom jabbar death-alternative test-kit!

The Reverend Mother’s retractable ring used in the 2000 TV mini series Dune. This unusual object can be seen when the Reverend Mother tests Paul Atreides by making him put his hand into a box and holds the ring with the spike sticking out of it to his neck.
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

We are the moon squad and we're coming to town

This guide to the changing tides of space suit fashion should come in handy for those planning to venture into the nether regions of pressure. Personally, I fancy the cut of this S-2 pressure suit though the Grumman Moon Suit is better for those preferring a relaxed fit.

Above the 19,000 m threshold, humans must wear spacesuits that supply oxygen for breathing and that maintain a pressure around the body to keep body fluids in the liquid state. At this altitude the total air pressure is no longer sufficient to keep body fluids from boiling.
Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

December 05, 2005

The Flea's Laws of Universal Natural Justice

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It was Grade 10 when a best friend of the Flea, who shall remain nameless, complained to me his cheating had failed to earn him any extra credit. It is not fair, he observed o so bitterly. But it was fair, I replied o so incisively. In fact, it is one of the few entirely fair assessments in the educational process: the better you are at cheating the more marks will result. And if your cheating skills are poor you may be caught and earn no credit whatsoever. In this way was discovered the first of The Flea's Laws of Universal Natural Justice (PLUNJ).

But it is the fourth of these immutable Laws to which I draw your attention upon the announcement of the forthcoming nuptials of "goth rocker" Marilyn Manson and aptly named burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese. While the fourth law was derived from the existence of ABBA its utility as a maxim is entirely applicable in this instance. If you are in a band - if you are the drummer in a band - it does not matter what you look like: you will still get laid. So, full marks to Brian Warner for the transformation then.

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

Democracy inaction

Voting continues today in the Canadian Weblog Awards. It was a tight race over the weekend and I would appreciate your continued support for the Flea in the Best Culture Blog category. Every click counts!

In related news are the polls, opening today, for the Wizbang hosted Weblog Awards. I will provide a direct link as it becomes available. Why, you ask? The Flea has been nominated for Best Culture/Gossip Blog. It is stiff competition what with the delectable SondraK of Knowledge is Power in the running alongside other Flea-favs including A Socialite's Life and Spirit Fingers. I will be pleased to have my ass kicked in the democratic process by anyone on the list. But please vote Flea regardless!

Democracy update: Voting is now open!

Posted by the Flea at 09:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The Sun: Lost At Home

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:40 AM | TrackBack (0)

Planets27

It is not as if you were planning to get any work done on a Monday morning.

Posted by the Flea at 09:38 AM | TrackBack (0)

How To Be An Internee Without Previous Training

P.G. Wodehouse has taken some stick for his wartime radio broadcasts due to their having been broadcast from rather the wrong side of the line, i.e. Berlin. I am not certain such criticism is entirely fair. This first attempt has an air of taking the mick about it sure to have flown below the radar of German humour.

Young men, starting out in life, have often asked me "How can I become an Internee?" Well, there are several methods. My own was to buy a villa in Le Touquet on the coast of France and stay there till the Germans came along. This is probably the best and simplest system. You buy the villa and the Germans do the rest.

One hesitates to judge the mood of the period. Things were going badly for England while Wodehouse rested up at the Adlon Hotel in Berlin. That said, George Orwell was probably right to say "the events of 1941 do not convict Wodehouse of anything worse than stupidity". His own Bertie Wooster, indeed.

Posted by the Flea at 09:35 AM | TrackBack (0)

Just don't mention the metaphor

Tolkien was opposed to allegorical readings of his work but the World War II metaphor seems ever more apt with ever increasing retrospect.

Various attempts have been made to interpret The Lord of the Rings in analogical or metaphorical terms. One of the most persistent of these sees the book as a metaphor for the Second World War; but isn't it precisely the other way around?
Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

December 03, 2005

This sporting life

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The late lamented George Best was the first celebrity footballer and had an income to match. It did not last. "I spent a lot of my money on booze, birds, and fast cars - the rest I squandered."

And that was without Victoria to support. David Beckham reportedly earns £47,500 per day: it is to scrape by.

The £17million consists of his image rights for Real Madrid, his sponsorship income and the royalties he makes from sponsorship based on sales.

In 2004, Beckham earned an estimated £6million from Vodafone, £2million from Gillette, £1.25million from Adidas, £3million from Pepsi and £1million from Police sunglasses in addition to smaller sponsorship deals.
Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

You can overcome any adversary no matter how bizarre their powers may seem

Voting in Round 2 of the Canadian Blog Awards is now open and, thanks to your votes, the Flea is still in the race for Best Culture Blog. I would be very grateful for your continued support!

Update: If you are visiting on Sunday please take a moment vote today. It is a close race!

Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

The Streets: Could Well Be In

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Baby porcupines!

Baby porcupines!

Posted by the Flea at 09:20 AM | TrackBack (0)

New Sumptuousness

Danwei points to the inaugural issue of a supplement to mainland China's Lifestyle magazine. Let's see if I have this right: luxury is now an index of social responsibility. If so, then quite right. This is clearly the communism I have been waiting for. One can only marvel at the Mickey Mouse hairstyles.

Our solemn declaration: We disdain those whose lives of mere material extravagence.

But we esteem those high-quality, deeply meaningful luxuries that follow society's economic development and technological progress. They excite a desire in people to pursue lives of beauty, and to use this desire to create wealth. This is the "new sumptuousness" - concern for social responsibility, attention to quality of life, a bright and healthy consumer outlook, and a physical-based mental enjoyment with which to share the material satisfaction and spiritual wealth that come from luxury goods...
Posted by the Flea at 09:19 AM | TrackBack (0)

Me and the motorcycle

Tokyo Times considers motorcycle content at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Equally enticing was the blue and white Suzuki below. A cheeky little number that garnered a lot attention with its compact frame and petite but perfectly formed carburettors. Which unfortunately you’ll have to take my word for, as the bike was obscured somewhat by a company employee.
Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

December 02, 2005

Showgirl interrupted

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Despite a recent lull in Kylie-themed reportage, I remain adamantly committed to bringing you, the Flea-reader, the latest in Kylie-media. Conflicting reports about Ms. Minogue's health and holiday plans have not been helpful and, considering her battle with breast cancer and the difficulties attendant to cancer treatment, I have not been certain about the propriety of passing on speculations by the press. Absent reliable news it is worth once again expressing my hopes for her swift recovery and the happiness and well-being of her family. In the meantime, the Showgirl dvd release and the miracle that is "the internet" combine to provide highlights from Kylie's Showgirl tour 2005: Especially For You, Hand On Your Heart and On A Night Like This.

"Showgirl is not only a celebration of pop songs and my career, but of a long time relationship with my audience. This is my way to say thank you and to share some of the most important moments of my journey so far, a trip down memory lane. It's been so much fun putting the show together. The set list was the starting point and the biggest challenge was to represent my finest records and also my personal favourites. The show has taken just under a year to design and build, but it has been a lifetime in the making. I hope you enjoy this special evening!"
Posted by the Flea at 10:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

Ozzy Osbourne: In My Life

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Aeon Flux

CulturePulp presents Mike Russell's Not-So-Secret-History-of-Aeon-Flux; sure to come in handy what with Charlize Theron flitting about the place in a confusing, hard-to-follow black corset.

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

Your Future President and Eternal Ruler

A veritable throng welcomed General Zod's announcement of his forthcoming Presidential run. Vote Zod in 2008!

"I am General Zod!" he bellowed, surveying the masses. "Listen to me, people of the Earth! Today I bring a new order to your planet! Your lands, your homes, your possessions, your very lives -- all of this and more you will gladly give to me! In return, I promise you lower taxes and cheap gas prices!"
Posted by the Flea at 10:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

C'etait un Rendezvous

Claude LeLouch's Rendezvous belatedly reminds me I am not in Paris, it is not 1978 and I do not own a Ferrari 275 GTB. Zut!

On an August morning in 1978, French filmmaker Claude Lelouch mounted a gyro-stabilized camera to the bumper of a Ferrari 275 GTB and had a friend, a professional Formula 1 racer, drive at breakneck speed through the heart of Paris. The film was limited for technical reasons to 10 minutes; the course was from Porte Dauphine, through the Louvre, to the Basilica of Sacre Coeur.
Posted by the Flea at 10:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

December 01, 2005

Jennifer Love Hewitt sells her body for sex

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Enquiring Flea-readers want to know: what does Jennifer Love Hewitt behind bars have to do with blog awards season? And what does this have to do with selling her body for sex? Is Jennifer in danger of imprisonment should the Flea fail to take Best Culture Blog? Hardly (and I will get to the sex for money part in a moment). For one thing, I doubt Jennifer Love Hewitt reads blogs let alone has any idea of the average blogger's role in fighting crime or defending the democracy I am certain she holds dear. No, dear readers, ours is a lonely task. Made all the more lonely, I am afraid, by the fact the Flea has been nominated in the American version of the weblog awards in the very same Best Culture Blog category or that the Canadian version has a second round of voting starting this Saturday. So it is groans of frustration all round then for this seemingly interminable process.

Now, far be it from me to bribe the Flea's discerning readership with the promise of a Jennifer Love Hewitt Week if you all keep the faith but let's just say... oh yes, I was forgetting the "sex for money" issue. It turns out that in moving on from her last screen appearance in Garfield Ms. Love Hewitt has decided to take on a comedic role as a home-maker hooker in She Had Brains, a Body, and the Ability to Make Men Love Her. So this counts as news then.

The Hollywood Reporter describes the project as "fact based", which we presume to mean there will indeed be some true things in it... but not enough to make it boring. The original magazine article, written by Katy Vine, is the story of a 22-year-old Odessa housewife and former homecoming queen who becomes the most popular hooker in her little Texas community. That is until she and 68 of her fellow prostitutes and prominent Odessa citizens were arrested in the midst of a city-shaking scandal.
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Broadcast: Tender buttons

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

A parkland walk

Derelict London details a parkland walk from Finsbury Park via Stroud Green and Crouch End to Highgate. Sure to be some narls back there but watch out for the Wobbly.

Follow the old railway line from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace and see deer, bats, foxes and a variety of birds and butterflies.
Posted by the Flea at 08:26 AM | TrackBack (0)

Skeksis by any other name

This guide to the language of the Skeksis should come in handy for anyone working on their tenure track application.

"'...around the circle, while the chorus of slaves chanted quietly, each Skeksis intoned the same phrase, which then all repeated, in a rite consigning their Emperor's soul, which had never existed, to the protection of a higher being, in which none of them could have tolerated belief...'"
"Kekkon, Kekkon, Yazakaide, Kasdaw."
"Hokkvatta, skaun Skerron."
"Kekkon, Kekkon, Yazakaide, Akura, Teedkhug!"
"Haakhaon!"
Posted by the Flea at 08:25 AM | TrackBack (0)

CYA

Not that I mean to encourage anyone to be surfing "the internet" using a web proxy when there are more productive things they might be doing such as their gainful employment and so forth.

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

More human than human; that's our motto

Not that I subscribe to this sort of thinking, of course, but according to the Man Code we are expected to wait ten minutes for every point on the classic 1-10 hotness scale. So that would be an hour and a half then in this case. Not safe for work, btw, unless your work involves producing snake-oil advertising.

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