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January 31, 2006

Be seeing you

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Prince Charles is concerned Britons are putting on pounds, saying, "We are perhaps not far behind our American cousins in the 'supersizing' epidemic." The answer? More pedestrian friendly town centres, apparently.

Reffering (sic) to the research, the Prince of Wales said "it might help if the built environment was more attractive and appealing to the pedestrian". ... Dr Jackson and his colleagues have pointed to a disturbing link between the built environment, physical inactivity and what he terms a 'syndemic' of diseases including, perhaps most worryingly, childhood obesity."

This goes some way to explaining the name of Prince Charles' planned community; Poundbury in Dorset. Some sort of Illuminati in-joke though I expect the locals just call it The Village.

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Louis Bertignac et Carla Bruni: Les Froleuses

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Dos and Don'ts

In case there is anyone who is not familiar with Vice magazine's Dos and Don'ts column. The Dos are particularly good this month.

Posted by the Flea at 08:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Beowulf

Ray Winstone, Angelina Jolie and Anthony Hopkins star in a new screen-adapation of Beowulf co-authored by Flea-fav Neil Gaiman. Grendel is scary. Grendel's Mum is scarier. Scariest? Anthony Hopkins naked.

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

More relationship advice from sex god Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn's obsessive fascination with gay sex continues with this Spectator article; ostensibly lessons for UK Tories from the recent limited success of their Canadian counterparts. The piece is, in fact, an attack on Liberal Democrat hypocrisy by way of Steyn's usual febrile adolescent innuendo. I do not generally draw attention to bathroom stall graffiti but for the occasional one-liner. This one is funny.

Even Mr Hughes's current claim of "bisexuality" has the whiff of artful centrist positioning about it: bi- is the proportional representation of sexuality in a world where most of us - straight or gay - operate a first-past-the-post system.
Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

January 30, 2006

UNIFEM

Movies are not like real life, they say. But what do they know? Not much that's what. Take Nicole Kidman, for example. One minute I am watching her in The Interpreter hanging around the United Nations talking in a cute southern African accent and the next I am looking at pics of her at the United Nations talking in what I imagine is her usual cute Australian accent (via Egotastic!). I should admit I had not heard of UNIFEM but I am nevertheless certain Ms. Kidman does a bang-up job as Goodwill Ambassador for the outfit.

Academy Award–winning actress Nicole Kidman has been appointed Goodwill Ambassador of UNIFEM in January 2006. As UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador, her efforts will be geared toward raising awareness on the infringement of women’s human rights around the world.
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Kevin Federline: PopoZao

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (blame INDC Journal).

Does this mean I had a shot with Britney Spears Update: K-Fed explains his struggles. Ain't nobody giving him a helping hand.

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A thirst for knowledge

Google gulp! is the taste sensation I have been searching for.

At Google our mission is to organize the world's information and make it useful and accessible to our users. But any piece of information's usefulness derives, to a depressing degree, from the cognitive ability of the user who's using it. That's why we're pleased to announce Google Gulp (BETA)™ with Auto-Drink™ (LIMITED RELEASE), a line of "smart drinks" designed to maximize your surfing efficiency by making you more intelligent, and less thirsty.
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"Restoration is a lie"

Few visitors to Stonehenge are informed about the heritage industry's century-long monument make-over. The information centre certainly gives the impression that visitors are witness to a primaeval vista; minus the motorway and carpark.

But now, as if to head off a potential great archaeological controversy - and following interest displayed by historical researcher Brian Edwards and a local newspaper, the brochures will be re-written, to include the 'forgotten years'. The years when teams of navvies sat aboard the greatest cranes in the British Empire to hoist stones upright; drag leaning trilithons into position, replace fallen lintels which once sat atop the huge sarsens. As Mr Edwards - the erstwhile enfant terrible of British archaeology following revelations that nearby Avebury was a total 20s and 30s rebuild by marmalade millionaire Alexander Keiller - says: "What we have been looking at is a 20th Century landscape, which is reminiscent of what Stonehenge might have been like thousands of years ago. It has been created by the heritage industry and is NOT the creation of prehistoric people. What we saw at the Millennium is less than 50 years old."
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January 28, 2006

Fashion forward

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With the Telegraph's Clare Coulson citing a move from "frothy femininity" to "crisp minimalism" in women's couture, I am pleased to report some movement toward more grown-up clothes for men. Take Christopher Bailey's work for Burberry Prorsum, for example. Yes, some of these guys look like they are on their way to work in the fashion camps but this is nothing a few weeks of World Health Organization minimum caloric intake diets could not put right.

Under the design direction of Christopher Bailey, Burberry Prorsum reinforces the distinctive qualities of British culture such as wit and eccentricity and calls on its heritage of functionality, fabric innovation and hand tailoring.

The man worked for Donna Karan back in the day when their fabrics were both richer and plainer than the rest and it shows. Very new Who, if you ask me. Also good to see the good folks at Burberry attempt to take their brand back from the chavs (Burberry flag included). By contrast, Christian Dior sticks to their traditional Who alien motif. So last millennium.

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Smoosh: La Pump

Music was banned long ago! There won't be any rocking here! Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Yarteries

Some things are too good to explain before you see them (hat tip to A Former Servant of Her Majesty).

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Economics that matters

Would someone please explain "cost of living" and "labour laws" to Sarah McLaghlan. She is clearly a well-meaning soul but, in all seriousness, every needy person she cites would be much better off with responsible government, a trustworthy police force and a living wage than hand-outs from people who feel guilty that their hair and make-up cost US$5000 a day.

Posted by the Flea at 11:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 27, 2006

How to net a footballer

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Victoria Beckham suggests high heels, tight jeans and slinky tops for women on the pull for a footballer of their own (not pictured above) (the outfit, that is... footballer as pictured). Probably sound advice though somewhat lacking in ideas for how to pull a former Spice Girl. In related news: South Asian Women's Forum reports Beckham made her catwalk debut in Milan for Roberto Cavalli. Beckham has been sighted drinking champagne and smoking cigars on the designer's yacht after agreeing to be the face of his women's range. Cavalli is reportedly possessive about the relationship.

"I certainly did not chase her, she came to me. Now I am her designer. She is mine."
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Slut-O-Meter

I am a bit crestfallen at the Flea's risible Slut-O-Meter results.

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Jezus: I Will Survive

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

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Sortie de voitures

Of everything I miss on British television, Top Gear is close to the top of the list (along with Pets Win Prizes, of course). Ensconced in the Northern Wastes and being unclear about BBC digital I am reduced to scouring "the internet" for clips. Like this one. Jeremy Clarkson and sidekick having difficulties with the ins and outs of French parking.

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The difference between a cactus and a Camaro

Say what you will about Camaro drivers, I like the look of this Camaro concept. It has all the stupid that has made Camaro famous. Though its F-22 Raptor inspired design makes it is more "stealth stupid" than "retro stupid".

Muscle: That's the first word that comes to mind upon seeing Chevy's concept Camaro. Big-time muscle. Enough to possibly make Arnold think about switching allegiances within the GM family. Build it and they will come; drop the 500-plus-bhp Corvette Z06 engine into a Z28 version and name your price.
Posted by the Flea at 08:45 AM | TrackBack (0)

A burger by any other name

Tokyo's Shibuya district now hosts Mamido's Burger, a confectionary franchise that combines all the health benefits of sugar with the aesthetic appeal of greasy fast food.

The Mamido burger, for instance, which sells for ¥390 ($3.25 at ¥120 to the dollar), is a highlight of the menu. The "bun" is actually a sponge cake, the "patty" inside is chocolate cream, and the "pickles" are kiwis. The deep-fried fish burger, meanwhile, priced at ¥440 ($3.70), features a banana shaped like a fish fillet in sponge cake. It is topped with "tartar sauce," which is actually fresh cream. And the gratin burger, also at ¥440, is a sandwich with a cream cheese and fruit filling.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 26, 2006

Crotch-grabbing Fortune

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To be, or not to be: INXS asked the question:
deciding it 'twas nobler for the band to hire
The stylings and gyres of crotch-grabbing Fortune.

A joyous, reborn INXS rocked into a world tour with a new Canadian frontman and an anthem. J.D. Fortune was so excited to be performing at home with his favourite band, he led the crowd in a heartfelt, bilingual O Canada. "He fit in so well!" screamed Stacey Jannigan, a longtime fan of the band.

Tattoo fund still at zero, btw. Fortunately, I am a patient man.

Bard of Avalon Update: How long must we wait for Rock Star Queen? I realize Freddie Mercury is irreplaceable but it would be something to see people try. Suzie McNeil could have another shot at Bohemian Rhapsody, for example.

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Justin Alt: Tron vs Depeche Mode

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Peerflix paparazzi

The most red carpet fun I have had in ages (hat tip to Porchboy).

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

The latest from Bayswater Films

Harry Hutton corresponds with Garry Bushell regarding a television pilot project. While it is profoundly satisfying to read someone making a spirited rejoinder to one of Harry's epistles there are few details I may relate here due to the Flea's publishing conventions vis a vis vulgarity and so forth.

Dear Garry,

Would you be interested in presenting a reality crime show called You Thieving C**t? Some friends and I have just set up a production company, and this is our first venture. You are our first choice for presenter.

It’s basically a candid camera programme. We’re going to chain a bike in an area notorious for bicycle thieves, and wait. Sooner or later a thieving c**t will come along and steal it. But what the c**t doesn’t know is that the bicycle is booby-trapped! The front wheel will fall off, landing him on his arse! Or the seat will conceal a big spike, tearing his trousers or impaling him up the jacksie!
Posted by the Flea at 07:05 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 25, 2006

Aston Martin DB5

James Bond's Aston Martin from Goldfinger and Thunderball would have made an ideal Fleamobile but for the price-tag. Christie's sale is still worth a look.

The legendary 1965 DB5 model, complete with a host of high-tech gadgets, went under the hammer in Phoenix, Arizona. Driven by Sean Connery, the car boasts built-in Browning machine guns, tyre slashers, an oil slick ejector and a retractable rear bullet-proof screen. It was bought for $2,090,000 by a European collector. When last sold in 1970, it fetched £5,000.

In related news, Bond's ride for Casino Royale is to be the Aston Martin DBS (rumoured to be a modified Vanquish), last featured in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

In semi-related news Update: The Flea is only one massive lottery win and short boat-ride away from Phing Kan island and a new base of operations. To the Bath-O-Sub! Black tie, dress uniform or national costume is a must but mind the pet rocks.

Posted by the Flea at 09:51 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Unfabulous: Bitter

Truly a depressing time of year. Best ignore it. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Seconds from disaster

I cannot decide whether this Greenpeace ad is profoundly offensive or pointing out a serious problem (whatever their implied conclusion) or possibly both. Either way, it is a kick in the gut.

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

Firefly-Serenity Chinese Pinyinary

This Firefly-Serenity Chinese Pinyinary should come in handy for dealings with Alliance and Reaver alike. Well, perhaps not so handy with the gorram Reavers, dong le ma?

Joss means Luck Update: I imagine I am the last person to realize Joss Whedon himself performed the theme song for "Firefly". How cool is that?

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

Further etiquette for life in Japan

This Japan Tobacco ad should clear up any confusion about smoking etiquette in Japan. For example, a lit cigarette is carried at the height of a child's face. This is most sensible advice unless, of course, you are dealing with an unusually short/tall child in which case you must fall back upon your own judgement.

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

The rings of Earth

J-Track 3D is a NASA Java applet representing real-time tracking of 500 satellites. Sweet.

Imagine a Java applet that shows hundreds of satellites in their actual real-time orbital positions around the earth -- in 3D. Imagine selecting specific satellites to track from a menu of over five hundred. Imagine accelerating the time frame by 1000x with a refresh rate of one-quarter second. Zoom in and out, then grab it with your cursor and flip the whole scene to view it from any angle.
Posted by the Flea at 09:38 AM | TrackBack (0)

What's an ottowa?

INDCBill does not care about Canadian politics and yet he keeps writing about it. I am certain there is a psychoanalytic term for this sort of behaviour.

EsmayDean: Tories are kicking ass.
INDCBill: "Tories?" That's some Canadian party moniker ripped off from the Brits, right?
EsmayDean: Yeah.
INDCBill: I dont pay attention to canada
INDCBill: I hate it
EsmayDean: I loved them until they hated us.
INDCBill: did you ever read my post explaining why?
EsmayDean: no
INDCBill: Read it and go.
EsmayDean: But the America-hating party is getting its ass kicked. INDCBill: whatever
EsmayDean: In fact BOTH the America-hating parties are getting their asses kicked.
INDCBill: did you read my post?!
INDCBill: I DONT CARE. I HATE THEM
EsmayDean: Yes, but ...
INDCBill: HATE HATE HATE
INDCBill: ee-OW! eeHeeHOOOH! ee-OOW! ee-HOW! yep yep yep yep yep yep ee-OW! yepyepyepyepyepyep ee-OW! yepyepyepyepyepyep ee-OW! ee-OW!
Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

January 24, 2006

O Matrix, so much to answer for

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The trailer for Mila Jovovich vehicle, Ultraviolet in now on-line. Oh yes. She hates humans, apparently.

In 'Ultraviolet' the ever-yummy Mila Jovovich plays one of a sub-race of vampire like offshoots of humanity who's job to to kick ass and chew bubble gum on anyone (well the U.S. government mostly) who seeks to kill a young boy that may hold the key to end a civil war between humans and 'vampires' in the late 21st century.
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Bif Naked: Nothing Else Matters

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

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Colin Farrell's hero sword

For anyone who had been speculating whether the rumours were true, Colin Farrell's hero sword from The New World is for sale at auction by New Line Cinema. And a fine looking sword it is.

Here's your chance to own one of the most spectacular items from The New World, John Smith's (Colin Farrell's) hero sword. This fantastic prop sword has metal detail at the handle and comes with the leather sheath and belt buckles.
Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Venus unveiled

Don P. Mitchell rounds up the best available images of Venus both from space and from the Soviet Venera 9 landing. I am most struck by radar imagery showing Ishtar Terra, a continent-scale highland at Venus' north pole. It is all too easy to imagine a terraformed version with bays and oceans. Also, fjords.

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

A note to some of our friends in the American blogosphere

Of the many silly things I expect to read following Canada's federal election there are few sillier than then notion Captain Ed had anything to do with the outcome. Damian Brooks explains. Then he gets testy. You don't want to make him testy.

Well, it's about time somebody said it, and I might as well be first: when it comes to Canadian politics, Glenn Reynolds doesn't know his back end from a hole in the ground.

My own two cents are available in the comments at the Castle. Endangering the success of criminal proceedings as a rubber-necking thrill is dumb. Doing it for a spike in traffic is dumber. Claiming these hijinx have anything to do with my vote is dumberest.

Feeling a bit testy myself Update: Bob Tarantino points out "the Canadian electorate hivemind (including me) just doesn't have that long a memory." Some issues raised by the publication ban that our hivemind should spare a thought for include whether a Canadian resident in Canada but publishing a blog in the United States is still subject to the court order (that would be me) and whether linking to material subject to a publication ban, or naming an internet source for such materials, would be a violation of the court order (see Gen-X at 40 for thoughts on indexing). I realize this sounds less thrilling than taking to the blog barricades but we are going to have to sort this out or find ourselves in the same position again. I am also curious to learn whether any prosecutions have been undertaken against those Canadian bloggers who chose to violate the court order and if not, why not. Such would seem to put the lie to ill-informed charges of censorship.

Posted by the Flea at 08:38 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

The other red, white and blue

I hope someone will be so good as to tell me why the United States Marines are having trouble identifying the British Union Flag? Perhaps this is a joke of some kind (via Zacht Ei).

US commanders were so worried that their men were shooting at the British because they failed to recognise the Union Jack or other distinguishing military markings that, in an unprecedented move, they asked the British Army to supply vehicles, men and flags to teach their soldiers what their allies looked like.

It is understood that the British supplied several “snatch” armoured Land Rovers, the most common vehicle used by British troops on patrol and senior non-commissioned officers, with Union Jacks, to instruct the Americans.

Avast! Update: I would love to have been a fly on the wall for pirate conversation upon sighting guided missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill.

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

January 23, 2006

This is the highest step in the world

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Ace of Spades HQ writes about Joe Kittinger. The man had balls of steel (via Dean's World).

So, in 1960, this cat ascends to 30km above the earth in a balloon and.... jumps. He accelerates to 900 mph (I guess terminal velocity's a lot higher when the air is thin) He actually broke the sound barrier, without a vehicle.

He was testing to see if high-g acceleration would kill him, by the way. It didn't, but he didn't know that when he agreed to try it.

990 kph, actually, but such is to quibble. This is a man I should have learned about in school and did not.

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

Sid Vicious: My Way

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Face it tiger...

So what is the logic of casting a blonde as Mary Jane Watson and a redhead as Gwen Stacy? Though I expect Bryce Dallas Howard will do as good a job as Kirsten Dunst.

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

A diamond in the rough

William Shatner has sold his kidney stone for charity.

The stone was so big, Shatner said, "you'd want to wear it on your finger. ... If you subjected it to extreme heat, it might turn out to be a diamond," he added.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

This is Free Trader Firefly, calling anyone. . . Mayday, Mayday. . . we are under attack... Main drive is gone... Turret number one not responding... Mayday...

So much fun with the dvds. The first episode of Battlestar Galactica reveals a familiar ship coming in for a landing outside President Roslin's window (via Unbeknowst to Me).

Does that silhouette look at all familiar? Well it should. That's a Firefly class ship baby! What is it doing there? Well it seems the folks who did the effects for Firefly went onto work on Battlestar Galactica. As a little joke they dropped a Firefly ship into the mix for one brief moment. Happens all the time. For instance there are little Star Wars nods all over the Indy Jones movies.

I have my own sighting to report from the pages of Robert Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy where "Firefly" turns up as the name of a Free Trader ship. I gather a Firefly also appears in The Rolling Stones and "Space Jockey". It would not surprise me if any of these were an inspiration to Joss Whedon.

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

μολων λαβε

Frank Miller and Lynn Varley's 300 is in production as a feature film. The film's concept art looks extraordinarily faithful to the graphic novel.

Based on the epic graphic novel by Frank Miller, 300 is a ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army. Facing insurmountable odds, their valor and sacrifice inspire all of Greece to unite against their Persian enemy, drawing a line in the sand for democracy. The film brings Miller’s (Sin City) acclaimed graphic novel to life by combining live action with virtual backgrounds that capture his distinct vision of this ancient historic tale.
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 21, 2006

Bummed out

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Kate Beckinsale thinks her bum is fat and describes her body as "mis-shapen". Pshaw, I say! In all seriousness, this is a tragic thing to learn and yet more tragic for Beckinsale if it is true (hat tip to Gordo).

"It feels like I have somehow managed to cover up the mis-shapen strange child for an evening and fool everybody. ... But I have days when I feel great, and I have days when my a**e won't fit in my jeans and I won't leave the house. ... I guess when you become an actress you hope those fat a**e days will go away, but of course they don't."
Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Rush: Subdivisions

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Tokyo (red pill and blue pill versions)

Project Gotham Racing 3 stands up well to "the real Tokyo". Though thanks to the limitations of weather and hand-held digital photography the game has more convincing lighting effects.

Posted by the Flea at 09:07 AM | TrackBack (0)

How to not vote

BlogTO offers a useful guide on how to not vote in Monday's federal election. Method 3 is probably the most important as it is the one of which most Canadians remain unaware. The Mother of the Flea having been a returning officer, I have known about the option of refusing a ballot and this might be the time I take the Elections Act up on the deal. It is not as if I do not have a speech ready.

To refuse your ballot, go up and register just like you would if you were voting, and then once they give you your ballot: hand it back. They don't get many of these (a handful each election each poll) so expect to be stared at blankly for a moment, but that will subside. When you're handing back your ballot, tell them that you're choosing to refuse your ballot - you can make a grand speech about it if you want, but it doesn't get recorded.
Posted by the Flea at 09:03 AM | TrackBack (0)

Unwanted dead or alive

Katra resident, Raju Raghuvanshi returned from a short spell in jail only to discover his family and friends thought him dead. "Help! Ghost!", etc. they shouted. Now Raghvanshi struggles to prove he is among the living... I sense a sit-com!

The best proof he had - that his feet were still properly attached, not turned backward as ghosts' feet are thought to be - was dismissed by villagers. He said his brothers even "argued that they had completed all religious death ceremonies" and he should not have come back to haunt them.

(hat tip to Porchboy)

Posted by the Flea at 09:02 AM | TrackBack (0)

The story of the eye

With a nod to Darwin made unawares, Creationists often cite the eye as a problem for those espousing a theory of natural selection. It turns out that not only has the miracle of the eye evolved twice but it seems the cephalopods, having no "blind spot", are in possession of the superior model. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu ftagn!

So, if there is a Creator, He seems to have done the job twice, once poorly (with vertebrates), and once well (with the cephalopods). It's unreasonable to consider the poor design as the final one. It seems clear that the vertebrate eye must have been a prototype, and the cephalopod eye is the improved design.

This by itself is suspicious, but it's not the whole story. Consider that, while we humans claim that the planet was built for us, it is roughly 3/4 salt water. If you measure the areas that we humans actually inhabit in any significant numbers, we are talking about maybe 5% of the globe. The giant squid (Architeuthis dux) is at the top of the food chain over roughly 70% of the globe. When you consider the actual volume of the inhabited space, the giant squid has a home range many thousands of times greater than ours.

(via Chapel Perilous)

Posted by the Flea at 09:01 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 20, 2006

The Cardingans: I need some fine wine and you, you need to be nicer

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Honda Civic

If this choir is not 100% made up of Flea-readers it certainly should be.

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

God bless Jeremy Clarkson

If you have never played Halo 2 you will not be familiar with the joy that is driving a Warthog while trying to avoid fire from an incoming Banshee. Of course, you could always take a Lotus Exige out on the track and try to avoid an Apache helicopter gunship instead.

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

Tatler Schools Guide

For Flea-readers who cannot wait for the latest Tatler Schools Guide they have an (perhaps not quite up to date) edition on-line. I expect things have not changed much at Harrow and I am still not holding my breath for word of Hogwarts fees.

Endowments, stonking fees and Harrow School Enterprises (selling branded goods such as champagne at £195 a case) mean it has buckets of money - all facilities are stellar, and trips read like a Cazenove + Loyd brochure. Jonty likes climbing? He's off to Mount Kilimanjaro. Rory's a chorister? He's off to Prague. Socially, Harrow is premier league but can be a tad Footballers' Wives.
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Time traveller

Oskar Karlin attempts to redesign the London Underground map representing the distance between stations by the travel time instead of prioritizing distance or for the sake of simplicity. Neat. Though it reminds me rather forcefully that I am not in London.

Well, I knew couldn’t just do a normal re-design; something had to be added. I started thinking what’s different in the world now from when the map was designed and one thing that are different today is time. No one has any time left any more. Time is money. Time is everything and so on. Today you never tell anyone how far away in miles you live, but in minutes or perhaps hours if you’re unlucky.
Posted by the Flea at 08:45 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 19, 2006

Yet more Supaidaman

First I learned of its existence, then I found the title-sequence and now at long last I have seen the complete pilot episode of the amazing Supaidaman. Props to Toei: they do everything better in Japan. A Canadian version would have featured, like, beachcombing or something.

To fight against the evil Iron Cross Army, led by the space emperor Professor Monster, a daredevil motorcyclist transforms into the famous Marvel Superhero, with a racecar and giant transforming robot at his disposal.
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HINOI Team feat. Korikki: Night of Fire

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

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

Not so big in Japan

A comparison of box art for American and European videogames and their Japanese releases is informative if only because North Americans are so used to considering the version of a Japanese product that has been packaged for us. One hesitates to admit noticing such things but I think Sudeki has lost a bit of something in translation.

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

Unazukiya

While I am glad Tokyo TV has been duly castigated for making out someone to be an unazukiya I am more curious to learn how I can get a ¥10k gig nodding and pretending to listen to someone for a couple hours. In university teaching we calls these "office hours".

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

Superconducting Maglev Train

I am reasonably certain some government body or international consortium should pay my airfare to Japan, put me up in a couple nice hotels and send me for a ride on the Superconducting Maglev "Linear Motor Car" Train at the Yamanashi Test Line. This blog gig has yet to pay the dividends it should.

Superconductive Update: Google Video also hosts video of the Shanghai to Pudong International Airport maglev train. This is the fastest passenger train in the world at 400+kph.

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

Cherry Blossom KitKat

My weakness for KitKat is such that I try all the novelty flavours no matter how manifestly repellent. I am thus somewhat vexed to learn of this cherry blossom variety. Must do some Toronto exploration and see if anyone carries it. Meantime I must content myself with a maple syrup flavoured Caramilk bar.

At first bite you can hardly taste the maple at all; it just seems like a normal Caramilk bar. But no worries are in order because after a bit of chewing the maple flavour appears, although only for a little while. The maple flavour only seems to last for a few seconds, and then as quickly as it appears, it's gone. I can't say I'm disappointed though, at least they used a flavour that works well with the original idea of the treat. I mean, caramel is burnt sugar, and so is maple syrup.
Posted by the Flea at 08:45 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 18, 2006

Super voice girl in racy poses

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I do not care what Liu Binjie, vice minister of the General Administration of Press and Publication, says. Doilies and fishnets, however fetching Ye Yiqian might make them, are inappropriate downhill skiing gear. Though I suppose she is skiing uphill in the above image so that might be all right then.

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

Ferry Corsten ft. Simon Le Bon: Fire

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Zing

I scored 3279 at Zing. Much better than Agent C will be able to manage given how much work she has to do.

Posted by the Flea at 07:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

Miami Vice

Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell star in Miami Vice. I am willing to give the remake a chance but Michael Mann is going to have to seriously juice up the trailer. It is missing jai alai and flamingos, for example. Small sidebar: I think Heat is one of the most over-rated films of all time.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

My advice is to only date someone with common interests

Kate digs World of Warcraft and currently plays a 52nd level undead rogue. This would be the same Kate from Kate's Playground (nsfw), a website with which I am unfamiliar. She is right, of course; compared to undead rogues, undead priests are sucky and incredibly boring.

Posted by the Flea at 07:19 AM | TrackBack (0)

Two birds with one stone

You know you are in trouble when your pet parrot calls out another guy's name. Time to get rid of the girlfriend (and the parrot).

The African grey parrot kept squawking "I love you, Gary" as his owner, Chris Taylor, sat with girlfriend Suzy Collins on the sofa of their shared flat in Leeds, northern England.

But when Taylor saw Collins's embarrassed reaction, he realized she had been having an affair -- meeting her lover in the flat whilst Ziggy looked on, the UK's Press Association reported.
Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Kelly Clarkson: ungrateful wench

Kelly Clarkson has thus far refused to allow her songs to be sung by the incoming field of American Idol contestants. Tell it like it is, Simon:

"No matter how talented Kelly Clarkson is, she would not be in the position she's in now without winning this show. It's the public who bothered to pick up the phone to vote for her. I don't care about me; I don't think she was ever interested in me. I was interested in the fact that she was a great contestant. ... If she refuses to give songs to be used on the show, it's like saying to every person who voted for you, 'You know what, thank you I'm not interested in you anymore.' That is a big mistake."

Actually, I don't care either. I am much more anxious at how many times my American Idol viewing will be interrupted by Canadian Idol* host, Ben Mulroney asking who will be the next Melissa O'Neil.**

* Yes, the idea is laughable.
**We have never heard of her either.

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

January 17, 2006

VILF

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Publicity for Kate Beckinsale's new vampire movie lives on as femalefirst recycles the story with the husband and the web-cam and the saucy superhero outfits. Though I was fascinated to learn Beckinsale twice won the W.H. Smith Young Writers' competition. I also find myself curious to learn more of the Beckinsale rules of life.

"It was Len's idea to get the cameras and he set them up. He tells me what to wear each evening. It really helps our relationship. ... There's no way we are keeping it clean. That's the whole point. It's just like when you get a photocopier and you just have to do one of your bum. It's just one of those rules of life."
Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Hexstatic: L'Virata

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. It's a short one so here is Chase Me as well.

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

Mario vs Master Chief

Ok, Halo is in some respects better than Donkey Kong. It is still wrong to diss him. Respect the ape, people. Respect the ape.

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

Simon Cowell

It is that special time again; that precious time at American Idol before the carnival is shown the door and the producers get down to the schmaltz that is their goal. My only wish regret is that the Simon Cowell we see on this side of the Atlantic is the watered down version.

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

Laguna Seca (red pill and blue pill version)

Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson asks if can you really learn your way around a racetrack on a Playstation thing. He decides to have a go with North America's most fearsome tracetrack: Laguna Seca with its corkscrew corner.

It's that part of your brain that makes you frightened. That's what racing drivers don't have. They don't have imagination. They're not thinking: what if a wheel falls off now. What if I push the brake pedal and nothing happens. What if a giant meteorite lands in front of me.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Volkswagen GX3

Combining crime-fighting with a night on the town has never been easier with the introduction of the Volkswagen GX3. Its twin-seat delivers you and your dazzling sidekick to black-tie event and scene of the crime alike.

Conceptually and visually the Volkswagen GX3 differs from anything currently on the roads in the U.S. And that’s a tradition at Volkswagen. It was with exceptional and unique products – today all of them legends – that Volkswagen propelled itself to the top in the USA during the 50’s and 60’s. Whether the Beetle, the Thing (Type 181) or the Microbus, all were the cult cars of their time and still are. In 2006, with the GX3, Volkswagen once again presents something totally unexpected and exceptional, a VW in every sense. VW – Being different.
Posted by the Flea at 08:35 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 16, 2006

The Last Sentinel

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Katee Sackhoff stars in an independent science fiction film, The Last Sentinel, now going into production. Sackoff's Starbuck is already the coolest sf character since, like, Han Solo so it is a wonder to learn she thinks "Girl" will be a juiced up version.

"My character's a lot harder, though ... She's got blue hair and a scar down her face, and she's covered in tattoos, and she's pretty much just a renegade. Like, she's really bad. She's got knives like hidden all over her body. Yeah, so I'm excited."
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | TrackBack (0)

Dev2.0: Whip It

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Aquaman

The WB is taking an Aquaman television series into production; the King of Atlantis to be played by a healthy looking chap named Will Toale. I gather he enjoys mangos.

What -- besides the ability to make orange spandex pop -- qualifies an actor to play Aquaman? Let's check in with Smallville co-creator Al Gough, who just signed newcomer Will Toale to star as the King of Atlantis in a pilot he's devloping for The WB. "Like all great WB stars, he comes from the Great White Way," Gough quips of the Streetcar Named Desire vet. "The fact that he's good-looking is just an accident."
Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM | TrackBack (0)

Robot uprising

Daniel H. Wilson's primer on how to survive a robot uprising is sure to come in handy for those wishing to survive the first days of our coming war with the machines.

Today, scientists are working hard to bring these artificial creations to life. In Japan, fuzzy little real robots are delivering much appreciated hug therapy to the elderly. Children are frolicking with smiling robot toys.

It all seems so innocuous. And yet how could so many Hollywood scripts be wrong?
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Porsche Design pipe

Flea-readers with recent lottery winnings might consider picking up this Porsche Design pipe for me. I am certain it would help concentrate my thoughts. The Porsche Design 907 or Porsche Design 909 would also do the trick.

This first generation model was actually designed by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche himself. He was the creator of the legendary Porsche 911 and all his designs are of the form follows function mantra and therefore all his designs seem to have a perfect modernist combination of high performance and aesthetics. This should surely be considered one of the great modernist tobacco pipe designs ever.
Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Section 113

Under Section 113 of the "Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act" it is now a federal crime to annoy people on-line unless you do so under your actual name. As the Flea is published in the United States, I wonder if I will now have grounds for action against a variety of trolls. Probably not a good idea no matter how satisfying the thought.

It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 14, 2006

Dark Corners Of The Earth

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The Flea's limited mastery of platform gaming will surely wax in puissant haxxortude with the revelation of The Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners Of The Earth for Xbox (and some other console). Game music is most promising while this Hexus review was clearly written by a Cultist who has laboured long laborious years to master Lovecraft's eldritch and preterite style. The game seems to have been an inspiration.

The game begins with a vision of Arkham asylum in 1922, it's hard to see exactly what is happening on screen due to the darkness which blankets certain parts of the game, but the initial scene gives a foreboding insight into the strange world you are about to embark on. Immediately after the episode you are told it is now Massachusetts 1915, some seven years earlier. You meet up with some local policemen who inform you of a mysterious cult who are in town, you then anxiously head towards a gloomy building where gun shots can be heard. As the police stay firmly out of the way of this potential madman you are informed that the man in question, Victor Holt will only speak to you. But how does he know my name? Why me? These were the initial thoughts running through my head as the game slowly introduces you into a paranoid state of mind that becomes more intense the deeper you delve.
Posted by the Flea at 10:54 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Otherwise Orange: Cthulhu

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Ia! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat with a Thousand Young!

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

Dear Cthulhu...

My column format does not sit easily with a handy form made available by the Armored Facilities Manager. Cultists should check in there for a job performance review.

Posted by the Flea at 10:36 AM | TrackBack (0)

The right to buried arms

400-years after it had been lost, archaeologist David Phelps uncovered the first evidence at Hatteras Island, the ancient kingdom of Croatoan, supporting a link to Sir Walter Raleigh's "Lost Colony" on Roanoke Island some fifty miles away. The evidence; a gold signet ring depicting "a lion, a symbol of English authority that would typically be worn by a nobleman."

"This doesn't necessarily mean the Lost Colony was here - but this begins to authenticate that." Sir Walter Raleigh's settlement on Roanoke Island - 112 men, women and children - disappeared without a trace after 1587. Historians and scholars have long debated what happened, but many believe at least some colonists moved about 50 miles south to the Native American capital on Hatteras Island, as the message "CROATOAN" on a fence post hinted. Croatoan was the name of the village.

Later investigation revealed the arms of the walking lion belonged to the Kendall family and presumably to "Master" Kendall, a colonist known to have been at Roanoke Island in 1585 to 1585. The trouble is David Phelps, now retired, took the ring to Florida and despite repeated pledges has yet to bring it back. But who could blame him? After what he has seen, with everything he now knows, I too would scramble after any touchstone as even now the stars wheel into alignment over Croatoan.

February 3 Update: The return of the ring.

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

Dealing with tissue gas

"Dealing with tissue gas" and other tips of the trade should come in handy for all your embalming needs.

You probably already know that Clostridium perfringens, better known as “true” tissue gas, is one of the biggest nightmares for all embalmers. I would say most embalmers are never sure if they have a case with tissue gas or not, but the wise thing to do is to treat each case as if it may have Clostridium perfringens.
Posted by the Flea at 10:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

Lu Pan Ching

As the title might suggest, Philip Kuhn's "Soulstealers: The Chinese Sorcery Scare of 1768" is a study of sorcery and society in eighteenth-century China. Men were in a panic at the idea of losing their queues (or women, their collars) to servants of sorcerers who might then steal their souls. Fascinating stuff and ripe for borrowing into a Call of Cthulhu campaign. But what I want to get my hands on is an English-language translation of the Lu Pan Ching (or Lu Ban Jing), a grimoire nominally attributed to Lu Pan, a Chinese god of carpentry. Not that I would ever open it, of course.

Possibly because of feng shuei, carpenters and masons were associated with sorcerers. Proper ritual construction of homes was essential. It was believed that bridge-builders could steal a man's soul by clipping off his queue, or take a woman's soul by clipping a piece of her collar; the stolen soul was placed on a piling of a bridge under construction and hammered into the river-bed, killing the victim but ensuring a sturdy bridge. Soulstealers were believed to operate in gangs, paying petty thieves to collect pigtails, with evil sorcerers lurking somewhere to use the stolen souls.

The Lu-pan-ching was a popular carpentry manual in Ch'ing times; it contained rules for proper ritual construction, but also baleful charms for builders to hide atop rafters or under floors; and also charms to be used against such evil builders. This manual was thought so powerful that when a copy was sold, the bookseller always faced away from the book; anyone who opened the pages had to inflict magical harm on someone, or else himself suffer.
Posted by the Flea at 10:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 13, 2006

A fatal attraction to cuteness

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Pleased not to be treated as "a celebrity wannabe fashion designer," Gwen Stefani was a style icon of 2005. Now "Gwen's big fantasy" continues with Harajuku Lovers, a fashion line inspired by her solo album. Let the cuteness begin!

Harajuku Lovers: A Fatal Attraction to Cuteness is based on graphics and allover prints of the two first groups draw directly from this year's hit songs and videos from Stefani's platinum-selling solo effort "Love. Angel. Music. Baby."

"This is part of Gwen's big fantasy," Sara Scargall, design director at Jerry Leigh, who is collaborating on the line with the pop superstar, told WWD. "Gwen wants to give back to her fans. She wants everybody in the family to access this in terms of price points, silhouettes and categories."

Kawaii Update: The Village Voice finds a logic uniting Memoirs of a Geisha and Stefani's Harajuku Girls, "(at least one of whom is from California)". Any non-Germans seen having fun at Oktoberfest will be spanked! Green beer for Irish only! Everyone back in your box!

Super-kawaii Update Japanese Alice cosplay is theft! Lewis Carroll did not write in Engrish!

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Mu: Paris Hilton

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Spoke too soon

10 hrs ago: happiness at Flea Towers as The Sun reports an all-clear for Kylie Minogue's breast cancer following treatment in Paris.

6 hrs ago: the Flea sleeps as the Sydney Morning Herald makes a sobering report; Kylie Minogue's Australian publicist says "There's no validity to this. It's not true."

Too soon to stop crossing fingers and toes then.

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

Micro Fashion Network

Burak Arikan and Ben Dalton set up a camera and deployed custom software to track colours worn by people moving through Cambridge. The result is a visual representation of a "micro fashion network". A video clarifies what is otherwise inevitably obscure 60s French semiotics.

the system of fashion is set on the continuous change of styles and speculations of the image of clothing that are represented through mass media and network of individual expressions. This work aims to explore the effect of the fashion system by creating a micro fashion network with the basic elements of color and time.

I would like to see one of these images conjured up using cameras pointed at different Toronto intersections; the grey/blue cluster around Bay and King W., a black nexus at Queen W and Spadina and some weaving project mess hovering over Annexia.

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM | TrackBack (0)

Zoom in and watch attack ships on fire

NASA scopes out the Orion Nebula. No word yet on the latest in C-beam research.

This turbulent star formation region is one of astronomy's most dramatic and photogenic celestial objects. More than 3,000 stars of various sizes appear in this image. Some have neer been seen in visible light.
Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 12, 2006

Moving Here

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Moving Here explores communities that have immigrated to the United Kingdom over the last two centuries. An ecclectic collection of stories include a World War II Dutch Resistance fighter, a black RAF officer from Guyana and the more recent troubles of a Nigerian woman whose "future is known to God". This is stirring, haunting stuff; a kind of contemporary Mass Observation project. A wide-ranging gallery is a great addition.

The vision of Moving Here is to explore, record and illustrate why people came to England over the last 200 years, and what their experiences were and continue to be. The site mainly looks at the Caribbean, Irish, Jewish and South Asian communities.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Nizlopi: My JCB

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

HMS Belfast

The on-line presence of HMS Belfast, famed for her role in the Battle of North Cape, includes a virtual tour.

HMS Belfast served throughout the Second World War, playing a leading part in the destruction of the battle cruiser Scharnhorst, and also the Normandy Landings. In service with the Royal Navy until 1965, she was saved for the nation in 1971 as a unique reminder of Britain’s naval heritage.

Travellers through London may take advantage of the Commonwealth Navies Exhibition on-board through March 31. The exhibition features WWII photographs and artifacts including this messdeck scene from Canadian destroyer HMCS Niagara, formerly USS Thatcher.

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

January 11, 2006

Bend it like Beckinsale

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The Flea's unflagging commitment to Kate Beckinsale coverage, and news about Kate Beckinsale, compels me to point to the latest in latex reportage (via A Socialite's Life).

Kate Beckinsale has been driving the male crew members wild on the set of new film 'Underworld: Evolution' by parading around in top-to-toe latex. The beautiful actress - who has a threesome with two vampires in the movie - says she forgets the effect her rubber suit has on men.

She told America's Giant magazine: "You actually forget you are wearing it after a while but other people sure don't. ... I'd bend over to tie my shoes and four guys behind me would be making groaning noises and suddenly I'd be quite aware again."
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Metallica: The Unforgiven

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

What ho, Hermione!

Beautiful Atrocities reports from the trenches of the Potter Wars. The Death Eaters are out in force and out to get Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. The blighters!

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

I also talk shoes

Is murderball a tender thing? It is too rough, too rude, too boist'rous; and it pricks like thorn. Antonia, consider me thoroughly chastised.

Tonight, in an email exchange with my very favourite popcult blogger, the impossibly handsome, witty and charming Ghost of a Flea, I chastised him for not tagging me.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Lady-bazzers sighted

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is a Flea-fav from feel good "Bend It Like Beckham", feel bad "Titus" and feel a little funny "Gormenghast". Recently rubbishing reports of a contretemps with his girlfriend, Rhys-Meyers now admits to "sneaking a peek" at the breasts of his Match Point co-star, Scarlett Johansson (Church of England Newsletter film review here). Well, the man is hardly made of stone; Irish, etc.

"I remember (Scarlett) telling me not to look at her t**s. And I was trying to be a gentleman and sort of asking for a glimpse. ... But I did sneak a peek - I couldn't help it, they were in my face."

Or, as MegaStar reported the incident, "Scarlett asked Rhys-Meyers not to cop a gawp at her lady-bazzers but, hey, what’s a man to do?" Quite right. A sad note for dandies everywhere is news Johansson has confessed she holds no romantic interest in Rhys-Meyers despite his being "intense, gorgeous and funny", with a working interest in shoes and gossip.

"He's a really sexy, brooding guy but he's very gossipy. He likes shoes, and it was like having a girlfriend on the set," she added.

That first C in Celtic sounds like a K Update: Given his surname, I had assumed Rhys-Meyers' accent was a RADA-ish, marble-mouthed Welsh and was surprised to learn the chap is a Dubliner. I now find he was born Jonathan Michael Francis O'Keeffe and chose a Welsh-sounding name when he went into acting. It is somewhat hard to fathom just why. As someone once uncharitably observed to me; taking two undistinguished names and slapping them together with a hyphen does not make them posh.

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

For modesty's sake, let's turn our attention elsewhere

Chris Sims reviews World's Finest Comics #289 and believes he has spotted a homerotic subtext. What, in a Batman comic? Of course, one wonders why he and his buddy Chad feel compelled to read to each other about Batman and Superman's night together over and over again (hat tip to the Flea's HR Office).

World's Finest Comics #289 is one of those gems. Chad told me about it a long while back, and every now and then we'll find one down at the shop, and that's pretty much it for the rest of the day. None of us can resist going through it whenever it pops up, for one simple reason: Superman and Batman spent almost the entire issue about three seconds away from just making out in the Fortress of Solitude. Seriously, if you've ever wondered where the people who write slash fiction get the idea that it's something they should be doing, it all starts right here.
Posted by the Flea at 08:40 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 10, 2006

Kathleen Edwards: In State

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Kabbalah

Until recently, Emily Stern starred in "Kabbalah", an off-Broadway production, sporting a bright yellow cone bra. This right here is the problem with what we call "art" (nsfw).

"Kabbalah," a satirical take on the celebrity crowd's embrace of Jewish mysticism, closed shop this week when its lead actress walked off the job — because fans of shock jock Howard Stern had discovered her identity.

It turns out that the Emily Stern who played Madonna in the show also happens to be the daughter of the "King of All Media." The show, a production of The Jewish Theater of New York, is rich with racy material, as Stern's Madonna goes from being scantily clad to completely nude.
Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Geek Gorgeous

The "women of technology" Geek Gorgeous 2006 Wall Calendar addresses both an important market niche and an underserved style tribe.

The calendar showcases young ladies who are not only beautiful and stylish, but can also fix your computer, normalize your databases, discuss the advantages of polymorphism, and beat you at Doom.

Take Neta, for example: "Neta conducts her experiments by writing applications in Macromedia Flash using ActionScript 2.0, an object-oriented ECMA scripting language whose event listener model and data binding classes allow for an implementation of robust Model-View-Controller architecture." Object-oriented ECMA scripting language... so hot.

Posted by the Flea at 09:37 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Ross 128 in 80 days

The United States Air Force Z Machine, capable of generating intense magnetic fields, is being harnessed in a study of an hyperspace engine capable of a three-hour trip to Mars or an 11 light year trip in 80 days. That is only a 30 day trip to Proxima Centauri...

The theoretical engine works by creating an intense magnetic field that, according to ideas first developed by the late scientist Burkhard Heim in the 1950s, would produce a gravitational field and result in thrust for a spacecraft.

Also, if a large enough magnetic field was created, the craft would slip into a different dimension, where the speed of light is faster, allowing incredible speeds to be reached. Switching off the magnetic field would result in the engine reappearing in our current dimension.
Posted by the Flea at 09:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 09, 2006

Facing facts

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This face recognition software finds an uncanny resemblence amongst George Soros, Fidel Castro, Pervez Musharraf, Audrey Tautou and the Flea. It would appear that for the moment I am secure from tracking by security cameras and a not-quite-clever-enough AI. Though I am happy to accept even a far-fetched Raymond Chandler comparison.

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

Zu (feat. Okapi) vs. Dälek: Spiritual Healing

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (massive QT file but worth a look).

Bandwidth congestion update: Ok, that is taking forever to load. Here is a Depeche Mode cover instead: It Dies Today, "Enjoy the Silence".

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

Ali G in the country

Ali G reports on countryside concerns (nsfw ads and content).

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

Unknown Pleasures

Beyond the Implode appreciates Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures". Beautiful (via k-punk).

If you could have seen the 6am sun dapple the piece of lined A4, crudely attached to a boarded up house near the town centre : "THANKS TO SOUTH BEDS COUNCIL THIS ILL WOMAN HAS BEEN HOUNDED TO DEATH COUNCIL TAX IS A FUCKING CON". My friend would turn around in the car and say how Luton Bus Station, fogged up with a haze of swirling August rain, turning the lights into globs of burning sodium , reminded him of wartime Berlin, just before the Russians rolled in. Of course, how would he have fucking known, but maybe he was right. I didn't see the point of questioning him, because surrounded by the gloom, what wasn't there to fantasise about?
Posted by the Flea at 08:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

Five weird things about meme

The blogosphere was struck by a pernicious case of "five weird things about me" over the weekend. Your humble correspondent was tagged by Mike Campbell, Jay Currie and Bob Tarantino; a fact which suggests my earlier renunciation of these things has not stuck. But even the rocky soil that is my heart cannot fail to be touched by so many expressions of interest in my habits and so, without further etc. and so forth:

i - This is deuced difficult, actually. I do not consider any of my habits or lifeways particularly weird. Oh, here's something: someone once told me she would not want to be the mother of my children because I would teach them to say weird words like "Cthulhu". As any reasonable person would know that word cannot be pronounced with a human vocal apparatus it strikes me to be more of a moot point than a potential source of weird behaviour. So you see my problem.

ii - I was exorcised by an evangelical congregation. Not that I felt anything at the time or knew anything about it until someone told me several years after the fact. Though I think that suggests something weirder about the congregation than it does about me.

iii - I am not joking about about Paris Hilton as Übermensch. Other people seem to find this weird whereas to me it is the only conclusion of an impartial, calculating logic. Such is to dance along the tightrope.

iv - I enjoy doing the dishes and will often sing or otherwise comment as I do them:
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

v - I have a pet peeve: while it is useful for these little blog games to be called something I wish they had not been called "memes". The word meme, as used by Richard Dawkins and elaborated most notably by Susan Blackmore, is a useful term in neo-Darwinian discussion of biology and natural selection. Not only that, thinking in terms of memes opens up a new approach to cultural ecology, economics and marketing; in fact, almost any social science problem involving cultural change. But thanks to Grant Morrison and that sentient meme gag, or possibly Dawkins' own clumsy "earworm" metaphor, people are reduced to a retarded usage. The word "meme" is a meme. The letter "m" is a meme. The convention of leaving spaces between words in this sentence is a meme. I would not mind so much if use of the word sparked interest in Dawkins' work but, much as "postmodern" and "deconstruction" do not inspire fashion journalists to read Baudrillard or Derrida, I expect people will cheerfully continue to use the word without knowing what it meant to the people who coined it. Such is the expression of a meme.

Following a "why should I suffer alone" logic; I hereby tag Beautiful Atrocities, Dean's World, Knowledge is Power, Spirit Fingers, White Peril.

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

January 07, 2006

When Canadians go bad

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Living up to a variety of stereotypes Canadians hold about themselves*, J.D. Fortune admits he was a jerk on "Rockstar INXS" thereby negating any hard won bad-boy points he had built up what with the "I love INXS more than they do" and the tattoos and the cake.

"Really everybody on that show taught me to see things using my peripheral," Fortune explained. "I was very much focused on becoming a part of INXS from the very beginning to the very end and for the rest of life ... so that's where my heart was at, my mind and my body were kind of going, 'Well, maybe I have to do this 'cause there's this guy who does it this way, and she sings like this and he sings like that.' And I had to forget all that and just be myself again. And I was trying to do the 'Oh, I'm in Hollywood, check me out, check me out,' and meanwhile I just needed to be myself."

Which reminds me; my tattoo fund remains at zero. Time to start work on making this the blog of choice to performance art funding bodies, the super-rich or possibly tattoo artists with too much time on their hands.

*These stereotypes are rarely held by non-Canadians who, having more than one neighbour, rarely find Canadia interesting enough to merit any prejudices one way or the other.

Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

Wax Tailor: Our Dance

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Renova Black

Renova Black addresses all your gothic toilet paper needs. Though considering the lack of sunlight which is a goth fashion hazard I cannot see it catching on with the bronzed, square-jawed nude model Renova set (via Yummy Wakame).

Discover today which tissue product is more Fashionable & Unique, just right for your sensual needs. The very best in luxury bath tissue has a name: Renova Black
Posted by the Flea at 09:10 AM | TrackBack (0)

Here be monsters

National Geographic features ancient sea monsters. Once again the words "tempura" and "genetic engineering" go hand in hand.

They were the bad boys of the world's waters, prehistoric predators whose size and might spun legends that live on today.
Posted by the Flea at 09:09 AM | TrackBack (0)

Submersibles and bunkers

The Flea is pleased to recommend Exomos submersibles: Exomos; for all your submersed crime-fighting needs. I fancy the look of the Proteus.

There is an astonishing world under the sea - you'll fit right in.

The Flea can also recommend U.S. Bunkers, Inc. U.S. Bunkers, Inc.; for all your portable, aerodynamic, monolithic concrete structure needs.

U.S. Bunkers, Inc. is a corporation established in 1998 in Miami, Florida USA, it is a company dedicated to the manufacturing of portable, aerodynamic, monolithic concrete structures for the sole purpose of protecting and saving lives.
Posted by the Flea at 09:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

January 06, 2006

Now that's just mean

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I am beginning to suspect I am Paris Hilton's only fan; ein Rufer in der Wüste, as it were. But does she ever return my calls? The hell she does. Das ist Jacke wie Hose (via Beautiful Atrocities).

Posted by the Flea at 11:17 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Kitten War!

May the cutest kitten win (via Yummy Wakame).

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

Cats in Sinks

It's about cats in sinks.

What is Cats in Sinks? It's obvious. It's about cats. And kittens. Who like sinks. And basins.
Posted by the Flea at 11:11 AM | TrackBack (0)

Quiero Club: No Coke

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 11:09 AM | TrackBack (0)

It's snow business of theirs

Kate Moss, fresh from climbing the icy slopes with her dodgy hairdo sporting/nose ring wearing toyboy (the Flea wishes them all the best), is being urged by the Metropolitan Police to return to England and help with their enquiries.

Tarique Ghaffur, an assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has taken the unusual step of appealing to the model via a newspaper. Mr Ghaffur told The Sun he wanted Moss to tell police "her side of the story" ... "For everybody's sake, and for her to move on, the sooner she speaks to us the better," he said.

I am not certain I trust the police with this fair and proportionate investigation business and peculiar notion of treating Kate Moss like anybody else. For one thing, she is much leggier than most people and for another the Met is not in the habit is communicating with subjects of interest through the press. Bring lawyers, guns and money, Kate!

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

Falcon Beach

Anyone wondering what a Canadian knock-off of The OC might look like need wonder no more. Falcon Beach has all the sex appeal and glamour that comes from the sunny coast of Manitoba.

Producer John Murray says he and his partners came up with the idea back in 2001, long before The O.C. debuted on U.S. television, although he concedes they were thinking of a home-grown equivalent of Dawson's Creek or Beverly Hills 90210.

"The idea of a beach town, I thought there was a certain romance to that," says Murray. "It never really occurred to me 'Oh, this is second-best to a California show.' California never really entered my mind."

Of course it didn't. Because Lake Winnipeg, thirteenth largest lake in the world and home of exciting ecosystem, algal flora and climate change research, is no second best to the California Pacific coast or anywhere else. Excepting those other twelve lakes, I suppose. Algal blooms aside, I should not be overly harsh with the project. Any Canadian television that strays from zero-budget Air Farce vaudeville comedy, turgid and derivative court-room drama or ersatz blue-collar regional colour is to be encouraged. The show would even look good if only they could avoid that weird washed out effect common to all Canadian television production meant for domestic consumption. But we should not set our hopes too high.

Posted by the Flea at 11:07 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 05, 2006

First Peoples National Party of Canada

I like the sound of the First Peoples National Party of Canada "Smokepipe" newsletter even if it seems to only consist of one issue to this point. Though I think the First Peoples National Party of Canada might be well served by rethinking their name into something featuring the virtues of brevity and snappiness. My suggestion: the First Nations Party.

Posted by the Flea at 09:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

Libertarian Party of Canada

The Libertarian Party of Canada thinks the federal government is too big. They may be right about that. Though I do still wonder how I would convince all my neighbours to go in with me on the fire protection we would have to hire in any coming Objectivist utopia. Or perhaps I can save and hope my neighbour's private-hire fire brigade will splash some water on my bit of Flea Towers by accident.

Good government only has three legitimate roles:
1. To settle disputes among individuals, but only after private, voluntary arbitration has failed
2. To protect us from criminals
3. To protect us from foreign invaders

Such is the milquetoast libertarianism of Canada. The idea that government has a responsibility to "protect us from criminals" is clearly the thin edge of the statist wedge. Though seatbelts are probably still a good idea.

Posted by the Flea at 09:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada

The Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada is a ruse meant to circumvent Canadian law against third-party endorsements of registered political parties during an election campaign. For American Flea-readers, this would be something like, say, the Audubon Society forming an independent political party so it could support a Democratic presidential candidate. Moonbatologists may be fascinated to watch an election spot featuring party leader and sole candidate, Liz White plus some baby seals, seal clubbers and dramatic piano. We are meant to vote NDP, apparently. Thank goodness we have the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada to encourage our democracy to do "what is right" instead of what the electorate wants.

In democracies, where a politician's career depends on being elected, policy decisions are not based primarily on what is right, but on what will win votes at the local, constituency level, no matter how environmentally destructive.
Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Marijuana Party

The Marijuana Party website features a mesmerizing rotating marijuana graphic. I could stare at it, like, for hours. It is surprising to learn there is a lack of, like, focus in the Canadian cannabis community.

The Marijuana Party is an independent Federal entity with no necessary connection to any provincial party. In fact, the Federal Marijuana Party is united with the Bloc Pot in Québec, but is divided from the B.C. Marijuana Party, due to their support of the Federal NDP. The other provincial pot parties are very small, and none actively support the Federal Marijuana Party, but rather tend to support other political parties, like the NDP or Greens, or perhaps the Libertarians. Taking as given the current political landscape, the Canadian cannabis community is not united.
Posted by the Flea at 09:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

January 04, 2006

BloodRayne

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BloodRayne the video game becomes BloodRayne the movie. The trailer looks promising even if the film synopsis reads like a pitch to a non-video game playing/non-movie going executive.

BloodRayne is a genre all to itself. It is packed with action, but it's not an action film per se. It is a mighty adventure, but it's not a pure adventure film. There are mythical and immmortal creatures of great power and evil, but it's not a typical vampire movie.

Well, that clears that up. Except for the typical vampire movie bit: any film featuring Udo Kier and Meatloaf is a typical vampire movie.

Posted by the Flea at 09:57 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Minnie the Moocher (1931)

Betty Boop + Cab Calloway = perfection.

Heedee heedee heedee hee update: NPR's Jazz Profiles features interviews about Cab Calloway, the Cotton Club and the development of this famous tune. One more thing: now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:46 AM | TrackBack (0)

Virgin

Virgin Mobile is pushing that slimline Razr phone by the ingenius ploy of Kate Moss wearing a phone and not much else. She really does have lovely legs.

Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Dark Prison

Human Rights Watch alleges Afghan detainees were subjected to torture. Reader advisory, folks: this is right up there with the hazing.

The group claims that music by Eminem and Dr. Dre were used as instruments of torture.
Posted by the Flea at 09:39 AM | TrackBack (0)

Ménage à trois

An Austrian publicity campaign to make Europe more appealing to Europeans has produced a seemingly inevitable selection of posturing counter-culture twaddle. While it is the ménage à trois (nsfw) with masks of Jacques Chirac, the Queen and an out-of-context President Bush that has drawn the most attention, I should point out one potentially successful marketing ploy though I cannot reproduce it here due to a nipple (also nsfw).

Posted by the Flea at 09:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

January 03, 2006

Norisiam-X: No Good (dame dame)

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Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (large QT file). Because it is remotely possible Flea-readers will enjoy rapping in combination with anime thought-bubbles and cheerleaders and such.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Geometry Wars

Sixteen minutes of Geometry Wars is at turns impressive, mind-numbing and mesmerizing.

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

Wax on, wax Hoff

This is a game of skill, designed not only to challenge one's hand-eye coordination but to stimulate strategic thinking as well (hat tip to SondraK).

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

Dead Man's Chest

The trailer for the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel is on-line. The movie site also includes concept art for the set-inclined and behind the scenes images for those who cannot wait for Jack Sparrow.

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

Tongzhi palari

The 2005 Beijing Gay and Lesbian Cultural Festival was shut down under the apparent pretext of difficulties with the plumbing at the event venue. This despite the fact of state-owned publishers cranking out the Chinese equivalent of a palari dictionary. Danwei offers an observation that might equally be directed at many Western counterparts to the official line in mainland China.

The message from the government is quite clear: be as gay as you want, just don't try to organize a large group of people to get together and talk about it too loudly.

That said, the ongoing Falun Gong protest outside the Chinese consulate a few streets over from Flea Towers suggests the issue here is more to do with the "don't try to organize a large group" part than the don't "talk about it too loudly" part.

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

January 02, 2006

Self-defence with a Walking-stick

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Young Flea-readers often write to ask how they too might take up the crime-fighting life. The finer points of sleuthing and forensics are a constant source of interest but it is often Flea-ish pugilism that is the point of greatest curiousity: how to address the issue of fisticuffery.

While the secrets of the Welsh martial arts must remain an enigma, I can point interested young people to E.W. Barton-Wright's classic primer for gentlemen; "Self-defence with a Walking-stick: The Different Methods of Defending Oneself with a Walking-Stick or Umbrella when Attacked under Unequal Conditions" (and Part II). I have found Pierre Vigny's fighting-method, incorporated into Barton-Wright's bartitsu style, to have been most effecacious in seeing off hoodlums and ne'erdowells under most circumstances. The only caveat I would offer is that, while a silver-mounted Malacca cane is certainly to be desired, I have found my trusty Tanzanian ebony walking-stick has been more than sufficient to the business.

Imagine that you are walking in a lonely part of the country, carrying a light switch or an umbrella, when suddenly a foot-pad bars your way, carrying a stout stick, with which he threatens you. It is obvious that under these conditions if you gave your assailant time to assume the offensive, he would have no difficulty in breaking down any slight guard you might offer, and in felling you to the ground. Knowing this disadvantage, and without giving him time to realise it, you must at once attack.
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Massive Attack: Protection

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

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

Radio Flea

Alan McLeod claims to have a mole inside Flea Towers. The photo is nothing but a reasonably clever forgery, of course. Small sidebar: if any Flea-readers are feeling flush they might consider acquiring this rather fine Bruyere-finish Belge Dunhill pipe as a gift toward my health and well-being.

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

La plus que change

Recent events in Paris have had pundits up in arms at the youth of Paris, well, up in arms. Comment from the National Police Gazette, October 21, 1905* suggests the horse, or Citroën as it happens, has long since bolted from that burning barn or multi-story carpark as contemporary metaphor might have it. Flea-readers should be alerted to the bewildering variety of offense offered by the article in question; but then I suppose prejudices have not changed much either.

It sounds like a tale from the Mexican order. In the Rue de la Roquette some twenty toughs were fighting together with knives and pistols-two bands, one against the other. Eight policemen, requisitioned by the frightened shopkeepers, tried to separate them.

Then what always happens, happened. The thugs at once forgot their personal differences to make common cause against the "agents'" and one explanation of their insolent daring is found in a really too humane police regulation. While the toughs use knives and pistols freely, the police may draw their revolvers and sword bayonets only in the last extremity; and then they often hesitate, fearing to hear the next morning a veritable howl set up in the Socialist newspapers and the "Extreme Left" of the Chamber of Deputies - enemies of all authority.
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Signal-Man

With last season's appearance of Charles Dickens in "The Unquiet Dead" it transpired that Doctor Who was a fan and quite right in his enthusiasm for Dickens' "The Signal-Man" too. Spoooky! Nice one, Mark Gatiss.

"OI! Follow that coach!"
"I'm afraid I can't do that sir!"
"And why's that?"
(Furious) "I'll tell you why, because this is MY coach!"
"Do you want me to get rid of him, Mr Dickens?"
"Dickens?"
"Yes?"
"Charles Dickens?"
"Yes."
"THE Charles Dickens?"
"Yes!"
"You're brilliant! Absolutely fantastic! I've read all your stories.... the one with the ghosts, what's it called?"
"Christmas Carol?"
"No no, the other one...The Signalman, that's it! Brilliant!"
"Do you want me to get rid of him, sir?"
(Calmed down and proud) "No, he can stay."
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)