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February 28, 2006

Leopard print thing

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Is there a leopard print thing going on nobody has mentioned to me? Probably safe to blame Prada; not that I am complaining. Jessica Alba looks fetching at Dolce & Gabbana and Keira Knightly even more svelte than usual in this Oscars piece (best to ignore FemaleFirst's "doggy style" innuendo). Sadly, the Toronto Star chose not to print a pic of Ozzy Osbourne's leopard print bathrobe.

Spots spotted Update: Victoria Beckham appears in Vanidad magazine.

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Annie: Chewing Gum

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Sub Commander

Sub Commander is a nice little submarine-themed distraction (possibly nsfw ads).

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February 27, 2006

Venemous

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The Daily Bugle reports Spider-Man is wearing a black suit.

You may think you're looking at a black and white photo. Look closely, Spider-Man wears a black suit in Spider-Man 3.
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Nina Hagen: New York, New York

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Katamari Damacy 2

Katamari Damacy 2. Oh yes. But it will drive me mad.

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Marky Maypo

In 1956, Heublein, Inc. approached animation artiste, John Hubley to create an expensive ad campaign for its Maypo maple-syrup flavoured hot cereal. Hubley was meant to spend a small fortune while Heublein aimed for nothing more than a tax write-off. The campaign backfired after a fashion when the ad went to air and sales increased "an average of 78% and as high at 186% in some markets". While I think Marky is a bit creepy subsequent ads and toy sales suggest the children of the late 1950s disagree; and thus were branding, animation and merchandising conjoined in the marriage they enjoy to this very day.

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Joss Whedon v Warren Ellis

Warren Ellis has come choice complaints about the San Diego Comics Convention. Joss Whedon replies in the comments (via average-bear). For example:

Who is this Ellis guy anyway? He thinks he all that cuz he wroted "Planety". The facts is, KomiKon is AWESOME becuz people dress up like stuff — but nobody dresses like Warner Ellis, I guess, mister sour grapes. I talked to Sumner Glou and she said nobody ever mailed her body parts except for one time an arm and then a messenger brought her a thyroid gland but big deal, SERENDIPITY fans happen to be the most tastefullest fans who have extra or redundant body parts.

The best thing about Comicvention is the girls are pretty and the younglings are pretty (is that a legal issue?) and the men is pretty when they are Jedi but not so much Sith. I like to meet the Comedy Books artists (Not everyone wants to meet Angelina Michelle Watts, you know) and to buy a picture of an elf or dragon already. So stay off this grumpity webcamsite becuz Warner Ellis is just a grouchypants! I met a real General Griefuss, who amongst you can say that?

Peace, dog.
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Jheronimus Bosch CartoonSpel

An intuituitive Dutch interface is all that stands between you and your very own Hieronymus Bosch.

Met het cartoonspel kun je een eigen strip creëren binnen de wereld van Jheronimus Bosch. In een zelf te kiezen achtergrond en thema plaats je monsters, mensen -en hemelse figuren die regelrecht uit de werken van Bosch zijn gestapt. Door objecten op de achtergrond te slepen maak je zo je eigen cartoon. Je brengt de figuren tot leven door tekstwolken in te vullen.
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February 25, 2006

FCUKing rip off

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A French Connection (FCUK) television spot featuring "women kung-fu fighting and a lesbian kiss" has attracted complaints from the folks whose job it is to complain about such things. More interesting is a Groovecutters complaint saying the French Connection ad rips off their "We Close Our Eyes" video, also featuring kung fu fighting partly-clad women and a woman/woman kiss. And a rip off it most clearly is. Though it is a bit rich making a fuss considering the track is a cover in the first place.

The French Connection advert shows a blonde and a brunette model fighting in a basement before getting soaked in water and sharing a passionate kiss. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it has received around 50 complaints since the clip was first aired on Sunday night.

A spokeswoman said: "Complaints have been on two points. Some believe it's offensive in its sexual nature, particularly the lesbian kiss. Others have complained about the violence."

The ad was directed by Duncan Jones, spawn of David Bowie, which fact goes some way to explaining its content, its success and its derivativeness.

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Laibach: Geburt Einer Nation

Annexia no! Sovereignia yes! Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Robots

Even I cannot fear the future quite so much after seeing Bennett Robot Works. Though something like one of these cute little guys may well be the last sight our final descendent will set eyes upon.

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Borg computer collective

Skynet does not have to be a HAL-style artificial intelligence to design and build its Terminator units. No personality required; just a sound emulation of an evolving ecosystem and a check list of end-user requirements.

Eighty PCs running artificial intelligence software used "survival of the fittest" principles to evolve a tiny antenna that will be used on a space mission next month. NASA called the group of computers a "Borg computer collective." After starting with a random antenna design, the hive of computers spent just 10 hours going through millions of possibilities for a space antenna.
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HMS Daring

Billing itself as "the most advanced warship in the world", HMS Daring was launched February 1. HRH the Countess of Wessex and the launch itself brought a tear to the eye. Daring is scheduled to come into service in 2009.

The Type 45 Anti Air Warfare Destroyer is of huge significance for the Royal Navy's capability to respond flexibly to challenges in the years ahead. In concert with the Future Aircraft Carrier, it will provide the backbone of the Royal Navy's air defences for much of the first half of this century.

Design and build Update: Just spotted this animated short about Type 45 development, assembly, sea trials and deployment. Fun. I used to get to watch defense procurement industry corporate videos all the time. I don't get free coffee or those mini-sandwiches watching one on-line but it is a start.

Posted by the Flea at 08:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Minsk Aircraft Carrier World

If you are looking to combine military recreation, a south China seaside lifestyle and have a spare US$16m, the Minsk might be just what you are looking for.

The Minsk, a decades-old, decommissioned relic of the Soviet era, was first bought by a Chinese company for scrap metal in 1998 but then sold to an entertainment firm, which poured millions of dollars into turning the ship into a tourist attraction. The carrier opened to the public in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen in September 2000 as the main draw of the military-themed Minsk Aircraft Carrier World amusement park.

A Chinese travel agency describes the theme park as "a harmonious combination of carrier appreciation, military recreation, typical seaside lifestyle in south China and military atmosphere."
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February 24, 2006

The Cake and Cigarette Diet™

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Casino Royale Bond Girl, Eva Green groks the Cake and Cigarette Diet™. Guaranteed to produce ripped abs for the Flea in '06!

Eva is quite comfortable with her body, and says that it’s somewhat of a natural gift for her. "I'm French and I'm lazy, which means I smoke and I don't exercise," she told the Calgary Sun last year. "This is the body I was given."
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Traci Lords: Control

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.* Warning: Bond-themed. Also, John Waters.

*YouTube is gold but often starts to play before it has loaded sufficiently. I usually pause the video until it is properly ready.

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All we are saying is give Bond a chance

I am baffled by these Craig Not Bond people. The Connery purists have a point - he really was the best - and I think it is fair to get stuck in the first iteration of a series. Change can be difficult; I am often the only booster for a new Who, for example. But Daniel Craig is the closest we have had to the real deal since Connery. Even for those who obviously disagree it is a bit much to say the franchise is threatened despite its having survived, say, Timothy Dalton. Fair dues, he was great in Flash Gordon yet what works well in one context does not always translate to another. Roger Moore's debonnaire Saint became an ever more cartoonish Bond.

Good of Toby Stephens to come to Craig's defense. Better yet for Christopher Lee and Roger Moore to do the same.

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Aston Martin DBS

MI6 hosts the first look at the new Aston Martin DBS. I gather the gadgets will all be on-board this time out so fans of pop-up machine guns are in for a disappointment.

Last month, Aston Martin confirmed that Daniel Craig visited the Aston Martin headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, on Friday 13th January to view the featured car. While there he met Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ulrich Bez, and members of the workforce and also took the opportunity to take a short test drive.

Dr Ulrich Bez said: "It is great news that Bond will drive an Aston Martin again and we have built him something special to enable him to do his job in style."
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Appalling old waxwork

While I agree his journal is probably entitled to the same privacy as "the humblest private citizen", putting things quite this way does not endear Prince Charles to me. It is all too easy to forget that behind the history, formality and responsibility lies a class of people who believe in their bones they are better than the rest of our humble selves. The business with the toothpaste puts the cap on it.

Prince Charles has had to endure more than his fair share of embarrassments. Mostly, they have made him seem either a bit of a twit (fantasising about being a tampon) or hopelessly spoilt and out of touch (having his valet put the toothpaste on his toothbrush each night).
Posted by the Flea at 09:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

February 23, 2006

The dialectics of Alyson Hannigan

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The other day I claimed that to Marilyn Manson, Dita VonTeese was a better approximation of Rose McGowan than Rose McGowan herself. "How postmodern", I said. I was joking about the postmodern bit, of course. It would be a mistake to think of VonTeese only as one of Philip K. Dick's replicants; a copy with no original, its makers so devoid of empathy they are not up to the work of authenticity. Such is only to beg the question: how is it that a gynoid replicant is fascinating in a way that "the real thing" cannot be. The ontological status of McGowan is not at issue but rather Manson's capacity to cathect the same object of desire though that desire is embodied in different persons. The movement of Manson's interest from one placeholder to another suggests an attachment to particular quirks of appearance - dark hair, bustiness and a porcelain complexion - and in an analytical context these idiosyncracies would be important to note. For my purposes, however, it is the structure of these sliding attachments and not their particularity that speaks to why I can't get a date. Hence, my focus. This movement of desire is strictly dialectical and nothing could be more Modern than that; replicants or no replicants.

I am using the term "dialectic" in its Hegelian and not its classical sense. Here thesis A becomes antithesis B which in turn becomes a synthetic AB. This synthesis of AB is not a denial of A or B but a fuller realization of the two; not a mere adding of B to A but a synergy that becomes more than the sum of its anticedents. AB is the sublation of B or, in proper Hegelese, its Aufhebung. While B is the denial of A - its contradiction - that was always already implicit in A, AB in turn is the "lifting up" of B as it has run the course of expressing this contradiction.

Take the case of Marilyn Manson:

A = a desiring attachment to Rose McGowan embodied in "not Rose McGowan";

B = the seeming attainment of Rose McGowan herself who, from the first moment she farts in bed, can no longer act as a placeholder for Manson's phantasy attachment (realized instead as an excremental monster who has taken the place of the "real" McGowan of Manson's imaginary), and;

AB = the McGowan-beyond-McGowan embodied in Dita VonTeese, whose pin-up simulation (now that's postmodern) has been sufficiently elusive to sustain Manson's desire thusfar.

VonTeese performs a femininity that is so over-the-top it may only typically be found in beards for closeted celebrities though this is not the case with Marilyn Manson as his neurosis lies elsewhere ("Gay? I wish! If I were gay there'd be no problem!"). Again, understanding Manson's particular neurosis does not help me get a date so uncovering its ontogenesis is not at issue. Suffice to say that in an analytical setting the first question would be along the lines of: Brian, describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind about... your mother.

The point is Freudian: desire exists as a lack and its fulfillment is necessarily its negation. Think of a dream where you are chasing after someone, trying to get somewhere or to reach for something. The chase is often frustrated by delays or side-tracks or distractions which give the appearance of keeping you from your goal while in fact carrying out their work of maintaining desire itself. Remember those instances where the process failed and you attained your goal. It immediately transformed into something or somewhere else or, worse yet, could be recognized for the piece of crap it was. We experience a similar phenomenon in buyer's remorse, after high school graduation and in the difference between Christmas gifts under the tree and the same gifts once the wrapping paper has to be tidied up. The actually existing object is never equal to its opposite number in the imagination. Unless, that is, some means of sustaining the phantasy can be found which prevents the object from ever being fully grasped. A cheating partner, say, may inspire greater obsession than a faithful one. A distant, cold lover may provoke more protestations of, and entreaties for, love.

All of which is to say that I can (and indeed must) continue to fantasize about Alyson Hannigan and to date women who in some way resemble Alyson Hannigan to me. But this is only possible in so far as I never date Alyson Hannigan herself. To do so would be to destroy her for me and I would end up in the precise predicament that befuddled Marilyn Manson. So props to Alexis Denisof for saving me from myself. Still, there is always Winona Ryder.

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Public Image Ltd.: (This Is Not A) Love Song

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Bend it like Beckinsale, Part Deux

The Flea's implacable commitment to Kate Beckinsale media studies continues with a nod to the merits of stretching exercises and the further merits of gym membership with Jessica Biel.

There is a mysterious place, hidden from the eyes of regular mortals. A magical place where dreams come true, and hearts are broken.

This place is a gym. And this gym is in Brentwood.

My body is my temple Update: Smoking and eating fries at the gym! I am telling you the woman is a goddess.

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Hoodlums

The Save the Hoodie campaign expounds on the history of the hoodie, offers a hoodie style guide and hosts a hoodie gallery. Such is to ruin the fun of kidulthood moral panic.

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Slime-controlled bot

One day I expect some Flea brain-tissue sample will be used to control a robot after the fashion of this Physarum polycephalum. Most probably substituting an Xbox360 controller for the hexapod bot (via Dean Esmay).

They grew slime in a six-pointed star shape on top of a circuit and connected it remotely, via a computer, to the hexapod bot. Any light shone on sensors mounted on top of the robot were used to control light shone onto one of the six points of the circuit-mounted mould – each corresponding to a leg of the bot.

As the slime tried to get away from the light its movement was sensed by the circuit and used to control one of the robot's six legs. The robot then scrabbled away from bright lights as a mechanical embodiment of the mould. Eventually, this type of control could be incorporated into the bot itself rather than used remotely.
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February 22, 2006

Incredible India

This Incredible India tourism promotion has music that makes me yearn for a holiday on Caprica.

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8-6-7-5-3-0-9 (8-6-7-5-3-0-9)

While I am not much for installation art I am even less for performance art. That said, Ketai Girl strikes me as quite clever (via Asiapundit).

In Keitai Girl (2003), Yamaguchi Noriko wears a body suit crafted from cell phone keypads, large headphones and is draped from head to toe with wires. Certain guests are given the phone number of her body suit and can dial her up from their own cell phones and talk with her during her performances.
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Grillz

When I saw Nelly's Grillz I decided hip hop had finally jumped the shark. Then I wondered where I could get a grill of my own (though still stumped how I would work it into the rest of my wardrobe). Now I discover the Vikings, no slouches when it came to crass, beat the rest of us to mouth jewelry some time ago.

Viking raids gave Norsemen a reputation in medieval Europe as bloodthirsty marauders. Recent archaeological finds show they may also have been vain - caring as much for the brilliance of their teeth as the bite of their swords. A study of skeletal remains from 1,000-year-old burial sites in southern Sweden suggests some Norsemen used iron files to carve grooves into their teeth, probably to insert colourful decorations, anthropologist Caroline Arcini said.
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Chewy

AAAAAAAAaaa rrrrrrrrrrrrrnnnnnnnnnnhhhh, HHHurrRRRRRRRRnhhhh. UUUHHHGGG-rrrr! UUUHHHGGG-rrrrRRR!* UUUHHHGGG-rrrrRRR! HHHurrRRRRRRRRnhhhh. AAAAAAAAaaa rrrrrrrrrrrrrnnnnnnnnnnhhhh!

GLLLRRR rrrrrrrr UGhRR! HRRR GLLLRRR UGhRR!

UUUHHH GGG-rrrr! UUUHHH GGG-rrrrRRR!nnnnn nnnhhhh! RRRRRRRRR-rrrrrrr! GGGGGGRRRR! Uhg-RRRR!!!

*With a hat tip to A Former Servant of Her Majesty.

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February 21, 2006

Of Winona Ryder as Objet Petit a

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You can't pay enough money to... cure that feeling of being broken and confused.

A friend once observed that my recurring relationship difficulties stemmed from the fact I "kept dating the same person" and should therefore not be surprised if I continued to encounter the same personality clashes, angst, Sturm und Drang and so forth. Not that this quite sensible observation stopped me from continuing to see the same person, quite literally the same person, over and over again. My learning curve being extraordinarily swift in these matters, it took only ten years to realize it was time to cut short my losses and find someone else just like her.

There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, that Marilyn Manson had a girlfriend who looked like Rose McGowan. This was before fame and fortune had blighted his otherwise placid existence and - no surprise here - before meeting someone who looked even more approximately like Rose McGowan, i.e. she herself. At which point goodbye to Rose McGowan lookalike the first and hello to Rose McGowan lookalike the second. Calling upon my psychoanalytic training, and in light of a structural approach to personality and desire described by Jacques Lacan* in terms of the ego-ideal and l'objet petit "a", I can offer two preliminary observations qua the McGowan Effect. First; it must be bloody marvelous to be a famous pop-singer and, second; I can only conclude that to Marilyn Manson Dita Von Teese looks even more like Rose McGowan than Rose McGowan does (how postmodern).

All this found its way into a conversation centred on the inevitable further speculation as to just which celebrity embodied one's own romantic ideal. Furthermore, would one follow Manson's somewhat caddish example and pursue said ideal to the exclusion of commitments made in a pre-fame and fortune life should some calamitous improvement in circumstances make it possible to date the girlfriend beyond all other girlfriends. I noted Winona Ryder as a sort of impossible ideal; the Ur-girlfriend not only of the Flea but of an entire generation. But would I actually date her if I had the chance? Ha, ha, I observed. Not for me; more-girlfriend-than-girlfriend would in this case mean the transformation from endearing quirkiness to tooth-grindingly annoying would take something less than two weeks rather than the usual decade. Something to be said in terms of efficiency but rather more to be said about the wisdom of seeking some quality other than impishness in a future loved one.

Though now I see Winona's appearance in Another Magazine I realize I was completely full of it.

"The one good thing to come out of everything that happened is that I realised I wasnt happy where I was. I wasn't happy being so famous and being written about all the time. Hollywood people associate movies solely with fame and I didn't enjoy working in that way anymore. I am so much happier now."

Damned if you don't Update: For reasons that are obscure to me, my Typekey comments defense system is giving Sean Kinsell a hard time. He offers the following clever observations:

(1) Winona Ryder hasn't done a mainstream romantic comedy? What about that horrible Autumn in New York thing with Richard Gere? She even got to play a cancer patient in that one. On one of the worst flights of my life, there was turbulence for-like-ever, my Discman batteries conked out in the middle of Parallel Lines, Autumn in New York was the in-flight movie, and that month's issue of Vogue wasn't quite pretentious-culture-y enough to laugh out loud and point at. I feel that I'm a better person for having triumphed over those 12 hours of difficulties.

Also, when she made Reality Bites, that pretty much was what mainstream romantic-comedies looked like, however much a period piece it may be now.

(2) It may be of some consolation to know that those of us with the opposite problem--all of my boyfriends have been very different from one another--get just as much flak. You know, "You don't know what you want" and stuff. I don't know what Camille or Jaques L. would say. Maybe Jeff has the right idea in that he picks 'em so they can't talk back.

* Felluga, Dino. "Modules on Lacan: On the Gaze." Introductory Guide to Critical Theory sums it up: "Lacan then argues in "Of the Gaze as Objet Petit a" that there is an intimate relationship between the objet petit a (which coordinates our desire) and the Gaze (which threatens to undo all desire through the eruption of the Real). As I stated in the previous module, "at the heart of desire is a misregognition of fullness where there is really nothing but a screen for our own narcissistic projections. It is that lack at the heart of desire that ensures we continue to desire." However, because the objet petit a (the object of our desire) is ultimately nothing but a screen for our own narcissistic projections, to come too close to it threatens to give us the experience precisely of the Lacanian Gaze, the realization that behind our desire is nothing but our lack: the materiality of the Real staring back at us. That lack at the heart of desire at once allows desire to persist and threatens continually to run us aground upon the underlying rock of the Real."

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Rihanna: S.O.S. (Rescue Me)

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Coil: Tainted Love

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

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Marilyn Manson: Tainted Love

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (v. slow loading).

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Tainted Love Doctors

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Fred Marshall: Tainted Love

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Write better without lifting a finger

Whatever offers writing tips for people who want to write better but who do not want to work at it. Now thinking to put together inspirational Flea-tips for the uninspired (via the Commissar).

What writing tips would you whisper to those who aren't aspiring professionals, but would like to write better? If I asked you about losing weight and you said "Diet and Exercise" you'd be a) correct and b) ignored. So no ideas that take work. We want the quick fix! Tips like "Edit your work" aren't useful. "Gerunds are your friend" are.
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February 20, 2006

Flea Towers

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Flea-readers with a spare US$12m kicking around might consider hitting the tip jar. Castello Scotti, located just outside Salsomaggior Terme, would make an excellent Flea Towers.

Castello Scotti with the proud walls and a high central tower with embattled top raise its severe beauty nestled among the sloping hills between the rivers Stirone and Arda. Stone houses, old sacred sites and the formidable "rivellino" with its powerfull entrance tower on quadrangular plan which remains a rare example of a fortified access point, reveal the history stretching out about thousand years.
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tori Amos: A Sorta Fairytale

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Move the Moai

You are the master of your cubicle domain: but do you have what it takes to be boss of Easter Island?

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM | TrackBack (0)

Cedar Creek Treehouse

The Cedar Creek Treehouse observatory at Mount Ranier combines science and a head for heights in equal measure. Also, Ewok.

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

Virgin's Tower

Enquiring historians have uncovered an explanation for a mysterious fifteenth-century painting in the Virgin's Tower at the residence of the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Though combining the fact the painting is of a partly-clad woman wearing a transparent dress with the fact it is located under the Bishop's bedroom would have allowed me to reveal the mystery without benefit of historical documents. Thomas Beckynton: you are so busted.

"The amazing thing is that this medieval manuscript accurately records what was on the wall. This included details of foliage and fruits which we then were able to find behind the heating pipes next to the image of the lady. It was rather like something out of the Da Vinci Code, creeping beneath the bishop's floorboards to come face to face with this incredible piece of medieval art."
Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

Flintroy was here

My greatest ongoing irritation with archaeology, or rather with archaeologists, is a tendency to state as fact much that is in fact conjecture. It is all too easy to ascribe contemporary motivations to people about whom we know next to nothing and to sound convincing when we do so; particularly when assumptions about said motivations are shared by a non-specialist audience. After all, it should be reasonable to assume archaeologists would not pass off supposition as science.

Take all those Stone Age cave paintings, for example. I cannot remember how many times I have read or listened to credentialed folk invoke shamanic representation, hunting magic and metamorphosis as explanations of the worldview of the artist; often with the caveat that these paintings were never meant to be "art", i.e. largely aesthetic in their intent. The simple fact is we know no such thing. A human mind capable of painting the Lascaux "shaman" is perfectly capable of enjoying it whether or not the image was also connected to a ritual practice rather than being a simple representation of one.

It is in this context I am delighted to learn about R. Dale Guthrie, a paleobiologist and artist who took the trouble to measure some hand-prints.

Using new forensic techniques on fossil handprints of the artists and examining thousands of images, "I found that all ages and both sexes were making art, not just the senior male shamans," Guthrie said. These included hundreds of prints made as ocher, manganese, or clay negatives and a few positive prints made with pigments or mud applied to hands that were then placed on cave surfaces. "The possibility that adolescent giggles and snickers may have echoed in dark cave passages as often as the rhythm of a shaman’s chant demeans neither artists nor art," writes Guthrie.
Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

February 18, 2006

All about Eva

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The new Bond Girl: French actress, Eva Green is to play Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale.

The 25-year-old will play femme fatale Vesper Lynd in the movie, which will also see Daniel Craig's first performance as the suave secret agent. Danish-born actor Mads Mikkelsen has already been confirmed for the role of Bond's nemesis, Le Chiffre. Syriana star Jeffrey Wright will play CIA agent Felix Leiter. Work on the movie is already under way in Prague.
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | TrackBack (0)

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain: Smells Like Teen Spirit

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Office Friends

I have linked to Office Friends before but the story has taken on new meaning for me this morning so I am reposting it. Also, now that I have seen Office Space I have a better idea what I am looking at.

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

The muse in museum

Kylie: An Exhibition is on through May 7 in Melbourne. Australian Flea-readers should realize what an exhition catalogue would mean to me (via Modern Fabulosity).

This is a unique glimpse into the costumes and techniques that go into creating the image of today’s pop star - the Velcro, duct tape, the wear and tear, and of course the designers – Dolce & Gabbana, Gaultier, McQueen and Chanel, to name a few.

While Kylie makes an exhibition of herself in Australia not everyone is enthralled at the idea of the same spectacle for Scotland. Glasgow's newly restored Kelvingrove Art Gallery is in negotiations to host three-hundred Kylie Minogue outfits from the collection. Julian Spalding, former director of Glasgow Museums and supergrump, believes the proposed exhibition is "not exactly intellectually stimulating or profoundly relevant to modern life." But who cares what he thinks. By all means, bring the show to Toronto instead.

Highlights include the white muslin dress by designer Jenny Bannister seen in the I Should Be So Lucky video and a pink and silver showgirl outfit from the "Intimate and Live" tour. The famous "50p" gold hot pants worn by the singer in the Spinning Around video are in the collection, as is the outfit from her role as the green fairy "Absinthe" in Moulin Rouge.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Prada Marfa

I find most installation art vaguely irritating. But Prada Marfa strikes me as quite clever.

The adobe building easily could fit in with the grazing cattle and mountainous desert Southwest landscape outside. But the leather bags and footwear on display inside aren't saddlebags and cowboy boots. The brand isn't Wrangler or Stetson. And the simple 4.6-by-7.6-meter cube structure is like nothing else around these parts.

Here in remote West Texas, where rodeo means bulls and broncos, is a tiny store adorned with canvas awnings carrying the logo of the Italian fashion house Prada. On view inside are 20 women's shoes and a half dozen handbags -- some in the four-figure price range.
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Gates of Hell

It turns out the current winter Olympics are situated about a hellmouth. No surprise there. Now if only the Devil could get people to start calling the place Turin. Unless you are Italian in which case Torino is just fine.

The angelic statue at the center of Piazza Statuto seems innocent enough. A lovely angel with a star upon his head and a feathered pen in his right hand soars majestically above boulders stacked with several souls suffering below in torment.

It's what is welded shut on the street nearby that is not that innocent at all: A pair of manhole covers, known locally as the gates of hell.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

February 17, 2006

Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex

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Superman's daydreams aside (see above), Batman is quite right. There is no way Lois Lane could carry Superman's baby. A Kryptonite condom is no answer, either (nsfw language). Larry Niven has further details.

What arouses Kal-El's mating urge? Did kryptonian women carry some subtle mating cue at appropriate times of the year? Whatever it is, Lois Lane probably didn't have it. We may speculate that she smells wrong, less like a kryptonian woman than like a terrestrial monkey. A mating between Superman and Lois Lane would feel like sodomy-and would be, of course, by church and common law.
Posted by the Flea at 10:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

Hilary and Haylie Duff: Our Lips Are Sealed

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

*Possibly the greatest video of all time.

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

Real Life Katamari

Someone has beat me to my real life Katamari plan. This Katamari Project is also most excellent.

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

Guns of the Patriots

These trailers for Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots are mind-boggling. I am curious whether we are looking at animated shorts or whether some or all of the images are generated using the game engine in real time (as were, for example, the promotional shorts for Unreal unveiled at last year's E3). Most impressive either way (hat tip to Porchboy).

Posted by the Flea at 10:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Monorail

Ray Bradbury claims the future of transport in Los Angeles is the monorail. Something he has been saying for four decades now.

More than 40 years ago, in 1963, I attended a meeting of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors at which the Alweg Monorail company outlined a plan to construct one or more monorails crossing L.A. north, south, east and west. The company said that if it were allowed to build the system, it would give the monorails to us for free — absolutely gratis. The company would operate the system and collect the fare revenues. It seemed a reasonable bargain to me. But at the end of a long day of discussion, the Board of Supervisors rejected Alweg Monorail.

I was stunned. I dimly saw, even at that time, the future of freeways, which would, in the end, go nowhere. At the end of the afternoon, I asked for three minutes to testify. I took the microphone and said, "To paraphrase Winston Churchill, rarely have so many owed so little to so few." I was conducted out of the meeting.
Posted by the Flea at 10:25 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

February 16, 2006

Blond Bond

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Egotastic! thinks Daniel Craig's biceps are too big for Bond; clearly an underestimation of the gruelling fitness regimen of the British civil service. Personally, I think the man looks the part in a tux. Remember: think Hoagy Carmichael, people. That guy could bench press a light aircraft.

Worst. Bond. Ever.

That's right, I said it. Daniel Craig looks like the worst James Bond ever. How much doesn't he look like the super-suave secret agent in these pictures. They may be a little small, but there is no doubt that he is wrong, wrong, wrong for the part. The crew cut, the super-huge biceps, oh, and let's not forget that he just looks like a dork. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Anders Manga: Shiver

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Lots more Anders Manga video angst here... "Burn" is my favourite track but the video is not cubicle appropriate.

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

Keep Britain tidy

Don't be a gimp (nsfw).

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

Elsa Benitez

This Elsa Benitez bikini shoot has many tips for Flea-readers who are aspiring glamour photographers. Warning: bikini golf + maracas = hot.

My style is to try to enhance what the girl already have.
Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

The greatest sf films never made

David Wong presents the ten best science-fiction films that never existed (via Dean Esmay who adds "a good adaptation of any Robert Heinlein novel").

Everyone remembers the exact moment when they realized that their Phanom Menace sandwich was filled with shit. For me, it was the scene on Tatooine where Qui-Gon is talking and Jar Jar is snatching fruit from the bowl with his tongue, eating like an insect. Annoyed, Qui-Gon reaches out and snatches his tongue out of the air and holds it in his fist while he talks. That was when I realized I was watching a cartoon.
Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Creative Home Engineering

Creative Home Engineering is second to none for Flea Towers' hidden passageway needs.

Pull a favorite book from your library shelf and watch a cabinet section recess to reveal a hidden passageway.

Twist a candlestick and your fireplace rotates, granting access to a hidden room.

Custom designed switches allow you to activate your automated feature any way you wish.
Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Operative




You scored as The Operative. You are dedicated to your job and very good at what you do. You've done some very bad things, but they had to be done. You don't expect to go to heaven, but that is a sacrifice you've made for a better future for all.

The Operative

94%

River Tam

69%

Hoban 'Wash' Washburne

63%

Capt. Mal Reynolds

56%

Zoe Alleyne Washburne

56%

Inara Serra

56%

Simon Tam

44%

Jayne Cobb

38%

Shepherd Derrial Book

31%

Kaylee (Kaywinnet Lee) Frye

31%

Which Serenity character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Via the Raging Kraut who appears to be blog from the dead.

Posted by the Flea at 09:19 AM | TrackBack (0)

February 15, 2006

London Fashion Week

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When the Flea was registered as a foreign correspondent with the British Fashion Council in the mid-1990s, London Fashion Week was dominated by recent Central Saint Martins and Royal College of Art graduates with Lloyds Bank the most obvious corporate sponsor. Frankly, I enjoyed the cosiness of the event and the opportunity to bump into interesting people like Owen Gaster or Alex McQueen (Vivienne Westwood was showing in Paris at the time). Even so, it is good to learn the show is attracting more attention.

International buyers and fashion journalists used to largely ignore it, but this year they will be taking notice of what has become a sparkling, multinational event. This week’s multicultural mix of designers seeking fame and fortune includes Manish Arora from India, Roksanda Ilincic from Serbia and Aganovitch and Yung, the Danish-Yugoslavian-Chinese duo based in Hong Kong.

With London Fashion Week underway the Flea turns to designers, stylists and models for clues to their favourite shops, cafes and bars. The Telegraph also thoughtfully includes some tips for enjoying the event without the trouble of becoming a fashion editor. London Fashion Weekend sounds the best bet. I gather the stars are not out for the catwalk shows in any event; choosing to save their energy for parties instead. Unless, of course, you are Paris Hilton in which case, and provided you can locate London, you are on the catwalk for Julien MacDonald.

Small sidebar on that Vogue parties link: for reasons that are a bit convoluted to get into, Patrick Cox is an ongoing source of personal irritation to me. I take no small pleasure to learn Elizabeth Hurley is not only representing his shoes but the American Dairy Council. That right there is what we call brand stretching.

People for the ethical treatment of heiresses Update: PeTA pelt Paris re. pelts! Flea issues fatwa against PeTA! Dirka dirka dirka! Bill Ardolino torn between loathing of PeTA and loathing of Paris Hilton! American Diva SondraK sides with Paris!

Designer Julien Macdonald and heiress Paris Hilton were pelted with flour by anti-fur protesters after his show at London Fashion Week. They were attacked by campaigners from PETA -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -- after a catwalk show which featured a series of models dressed in fur. Macdonald was covered from head to toe in flour as he posed for pictures with Hilton, who escaped with a sprinkling on her shoulder.
Posted by the Flea at 09:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Madonna: Sorry

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:50 AM | TrackBack (0)

Supermodel TV

Ripe TV presents a weekly Supermodel TV feature. How sensible. Take this illuminating piece on Canadian Yasmeen Ghauri, for example. I had never seen someone smoking on the runway until now. So chic.

Posted by the Flea at 09:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Dannii Minogue exposed

Those News of the World Dannii Minogue lapdance CCTV-images are now available on-line. I should warn Flea-readers everywhere these are definitely not safe for work unless you work in a pole-dancing related industry. And this business about being "slightly less attractive" than Kylie strikes me as a bit unfair. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all. Perhaps particularly if the beheld leaves nothing whatsoever to the imagination.

Dannii Minogue, the slightly less attractive sister of Kylie Minogue, was caught on tape by a closed-circuit security camera getting an X rated lap dance from a female stripper at London's Puss in Boots strip club. As you can see from the pictures, the lap dance was full on, breaking all the "no touching" rules.
Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Firefly

You scored as Serenity (Firefly). You like to live your own way and don't enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Serenity (Firefly)

94%

SG-1 (Stargate)

88%

Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)

81%

Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)

81%

Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)

81%

Moya (Farscape)

81%

Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)

69%

Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)

69%

Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)

63%

FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)

56%

Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)

38%

Enterprise D (Star Trek)

38%

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

The Flea is on the same crew as the Instapundit. No surprise there.

Posted by the Flea at 09:39 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

February 14, 2006

From Russia With Chav

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Surely Casino Royale producers have considered her for a Bond cameo? As Victoria Beckham graces the cover of the new Russian GQ in uniform chic her arguably impractical cycling gear ideas are worth some consideration. The same publication is offering £1.1million for David Beckham to pose in his underwear, apparently. It would be impolitic to reveal what they offered me (though GQ should know I budget half as much as Mr. Posh for pants).

Last month it was claimed David spends a staggering £1000 a month on pants. The dad-of-three allegedly splashes out hundreds of pounds on underwear every fortnight because he never wears the same pair twice.
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | TrackBack (0)

Pendulum: Slam

Happy St. Valentine's Day! Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

The View Through The Isenglass

I can relate to Abraham Lincohn's decision to stop blogging. My first thought is I should link to this for my next "free ice cream" post. My second is to wonder where I can find those Mary Todd ankle photos (via Quotulatiousness).

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

The highest function of ecology is understanding consequences

A word of advice to Stuart Price: I imagine Madonna's attentions must be extraordinarily flattering. Wealthy, famous, etc. and so forth plus the sly satisfaction of stealing her away from Guy Ritchie. Just remember, no matter how hot you think she is now in two weeks' time you are going to wish you had never heard the word "kabbalah".

Incitement Update: Contact Music reports "Madonna blasts Catholicism". Please note this is quite the opposite of saying Catholicism is a blast.

"There's nothing consoling about being a Catholic. They're all just laws and prohibitions."

This is the absolute limit. Time to form a rampaging mob and set fire to something.

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

Tied up at the office

Agent Provocateur presents "Tied up at the office", a film that is as blue as it is noir. Lingerie features as does a limited variety of gasping/moaning. As I type this, I am also noticing nipples (oh dear) so fair-warning for anyone cubicle-based. Just spotted the "full screen" button. Very handy, that. Now playing through to February 20.

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

Gothic Nightmares at Tate Britain

"Gothic Nightmares at Tate Britain" is subtitled "Fuseli, Blake and the Romantic Imagination" though Blake fans should know Richard Dorment says the show is essentially about Henry Fuseli. I would love to go but need to check the catalogue before committing myself. The last time I went to the Tate Britain one of my favourite paintings was not on display and consequently I had to go hungry.

While British artists were turning out conventional portraits and landscapes, Fuseli set out to thrill with outrageously camp pictures on themes of violence and morbidity. Though precedents for his fantastical art can be found in German prints and Michelangelo's paintings, in British art, Fuseli comes out of the blue, like a meteor that could have landed anywhere, but hit London.
Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM | TrackBack (0)

Aphrodite of Addiscombe

Marc Quinn is said to be best known for "Self", a self-portrait by way of nine pints of his own congealed and frozen blood. Vivid. The first I heard of the chap was in connection with Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth, perennially empty.

Now Quinn is set to sculpt Kate Moss as Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. Quinn has managed to convince Moss to pose with her legs behind her ears, a position meant to suggest the way "she is sculptured by the collective desire". You know, just as society sculpts, twists and manipulates her and her image. As lines go, you have to give the fellow points for originality.

Kate Moss is to be immortalised as Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, by the artist who sculpted a naked, disabled and pregnant woman on a plinth in Trafalgar Square. Marc Quinn is working on five life-size bronzes of the supermodel in contorted yoga positions with her feet behind her ears.
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

February 13, 2006

Alive In Joburg

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Neill Blomkamp follows up "Tempbot" and "Tetra Vaal" with one of the best short films I have ever seen. "Alive in Joburg"* is a documentary-style short exploring difficulties integrating extraterrestrial refugees in South Africa. Thoughtful, gorgeous and moving with a haunting score by Q Department.

Neill Blomkamp is a director of commercials in Vancouver in Canada. With a background in visual effects, he is most renowned for the first Transvaal film that gave life to the ‘robot police’ idea. The commercials he works on and directs tend to feature the edge of reality, introducing a virtually acceptable CG element to the sequences, with a cinema-veritae, documentary flavor.

*Higher-resolution version here.

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

Son of Dork: Ticket Out of Loserville

If I looked half as emo as these guys I would be Prime Minister of Japan not pillow swiping. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Possibly nsfw due to brief glimpse of warp nacelles.

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

Valentine's Day advice

Sean offers a step-by-step guide for those making Valentine's Day preparations. At Flea Towers I am thinking these will primarily consist of chocolate most probably in cake form.

If you tend to approach the tasks of daily life with a normal degree of competence, the steps below may not make any sense unless you get a trusted friend to whack you in the head real good with a 2X4. If they still don't make sense, you may need another whack. If you try a third whack and end up brain dead, be sure to contact me because we will then clearly be able to communicate as equals.
Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

Atari 2600 Adventure

This Atari 2600 Adventure is just the thing to address any cubicle-related Monday morning boredom difficulties.

Posted by the Flea at 09:26 AM | TrackBack (0)

Sentiment and the Sentinelese

Two Indian fisherman, thought to have been drunk, drifted too close to North Sentinel Island and into range of Sentinelese arrows; the Sentinelese being a "Stone Age" people distinctly unwelcoming toward outsiders. Attempts to recover the bodies by helicopter have thusfar been similarly repelled.

Fellow fishermen said they dropped anchor for the night on January 25 but fell into a deep sleep, probably helped by large amounts of alcohol. During the night their anchor, a rock tied to a rope, failed to hold their open-topped boat against the currents and they drifted towards the island.

"As day broke, fellow fishermen say they tried to shout at the men and warn them they were in danger," said Samir Acharya, the head of the Society for Andaman and Nicobar Ecology, an environmental organisation. "However they did not respond - they were probably drunk - and the boat drifted into the shallows where they were attacked and killed."

A five-kilometer "exclusion zone" is in place around the island in part due to previous worrisome receptions and in part to assuage the concerns of environmental groups demading the authorities leave the place undisturbed. It is unclear to me if the environmentalists favour what they imagine to be a low-intensity Stone Age subsistence system. More likely they believe denying the Sentinelese access to McDonald's and cable television is somehow akin to preserving panda habitat and their own unreconstructed racist ideas about "Noble Savages". One would hope if these two fishermen had been murdered by anyone else charges would be laid rather than treating the incident as an act of nature.

That said, there is surely some virtue in leaving people be and anyone taking pot-shots at anthropologists bearing gifts finds a warm place in my heart. In a remarkable document, Adam Goodheart relates one of only a few instances of contact with the Sentinelese; by whatever name they might know themselves.

In the spring of 1974, North Sentinel was visited by a film crew that was shooting a documentary titled Man in Search of Man, along with a few anthropologists, some armed policemen, and a photographer for National Geographic. In the words of one of the scientists, their plan was to "win the natives' friendship by friendly gestures and plenty of gifts." As the team's motorized dinghy made its way through the reefs toward shore, some natives emerged from the woods. The anthropologists made friendly gestures. The Sentinelese responded with a hail of arrows. The dinghy proceeded to a landing-spot out of arrow range, where the policemen, dressed in padded armor, disembarked and laid gifts on the sand: a miniature plastic automobile, some coconuts, a tethered live pig, a child's doll, and some aluminum cookware. Then they returned to the dinghy and waited to observe the natives' reaction to the gifts. The natives' reaction was to fire more arrows, one of which hit the film director in the left thigh. The man who had shot the film director was observed laughing proudly and walking toward the shade of a tree, where he sat down. Other natives were observed spearing the pig and the doll and burying them in the sand. They did, however, take the cookware and the coconuts with evident delight.
Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

February 11, 2006

The Cardigans: My Favorite Game (censored version)

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:55 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Denmark fashion

This directory of Danish fashion professionals should come in handy for all your Danish fashion shopping needs. Buy Danish!

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

It is all fun and games until somebody loses an eye

Swansea-based flag-maker, Mr Flag warns protestors against flag-burning. I expect this is as much to do with indemnity as altruism.

"Modern flags are now made largely of polyester and when they burn they melt," said Mr Flag. "That means if they are whirled around by a protester, his or her fellow protesters could be splashed by flying pieces of burning material. If it got into the eye it could do serious damage so we are about to issue a warning to this effect on our website."
Posted by the Flea at 08:49 AM | TrackBack (0)

February 10, 2006

Jolie good show

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Tom Ford was already an object of irritation for his recent ear nibbling and has caused further to do with his Vanity Fair editors. Quite wisely, he insisted Angelina Jolie's bare butt make an appearance. Several tattoos would make for intriguing reading provided the correct PhotoShop filters.

Ford was upset when he realized the editors were trying to cover up Angelina Jolie's naked buttocks. He reveals, "The picture kept getting cropped and I finally had to stick a Post-It on it in the planning room: 'Do not touch, leave Angelina's buttcrack.'"
Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Shonen Knife: Daydream Believer

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Cowboy builder

At a recent news conference, God denied any connection with Intelligent Design saying; "Self-replicating DNA, evolving organisms with random mutation - I mean, come on people, it is so obvious."

He went on to say, 'All this creationist nonsense is so embarrassing, especially as I'm supposed to be omnipotent. Intelligent design? Putting the sex organs and the excretory organs together on the same bit of body? You call that intelligent? What about the appendix, eh? Back-ache? Giraffes, even - I could have just made smaller trees. I mean, come on, do I look like a cowboy builder?'
Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

Big Daddy

Google fires a shot across the bow of companies employing search marketing firms and "black hat" search ranking schemes. It may be a coincidence but I have noticed a significant increase in referral traffic to archived posts this last week. Big Daddy may already be on the job.

Google, the search engine giant, signalled the first round of the battle this week after blacklisting the German site of BMW and yesterday Ricoh, the Japanese photocopier and office equipment manufacturer. Google found the carmaker guilty of employing a "dummy" website stuffed with keywords, which persuaded Google’s computers to place it at number one in its ranking of relevant sites.
Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

February 09, 2006

Intenso Project feat. Lisa Scott Lee: Get It On

One day all videos will feature girls washing cars. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Naked Ape: Fashion Freak

One day all videos will feature Flea Girls washing cars. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Lego Difference Engine

If the coming war with the machines means combatting Lego based artificial intelligence we may as well give up now. Buy Danish! But first think back to the days when mathematics was done by hand.

In the mid-19th century, people began to design machines to automate this error prone process. Many machines of various designs were eventually built. The most famous of these machines is the Babbage Difference Engine. ... Babbage's design could evaluate 7th order polynomials to 31 digits of accuracy. I set out to build a working Difference Engine using LEGO parts which could compute 2nd or 3rd order polynomials to 3 or 4 digits.
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

February 08, 2006

Hot Chip: Over And Over

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Something hot in the state of Denmark

Danish culture being of sudden interest to the world, the Flea presents HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark for your edification. Buy Danish!

Born on 5 February 1972. Mary Elizabeth, Crown Princess. Daughter of Professor John Dalgleish Donaldson and Henrietta Clark Donaldson. On 14 May, Mary Elizabeth Donaldson became HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark on her marriage to HRH Crown Prince Frederik.

Thanks to Zacht Ei for the Danish shopping list link.

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Smashed tense

A chapter closes in the history of the Flea as a teen as Smash Hits closes shop. Zut!

Smash Hits, which is to close after 28 years, was the bible for many teenagers discovering their musical tastes in the 1980s and 1990s.
Posted by the Flea at 07:45 AM | TrackBack (0)

Yutaka Loves London

A gorgeous Flash interface helps Yutaka convey his London experience; an important contribution to London literature as he includes spots most visitors miss. I am fascinated to read a Japanese chap describing a London eatery as having "the world's best sushi" even as I hesitate to admit I have had the good fortune of dining at Nobu. Uncooked sea creatures have less appeal than the beer-battered and deep-fried variety and consequently the experience was wasted on me.

The famous Nobu. Expensive, but truly marvellous. Saphire and I stopped in for the world's best sushi. The decor of the restaurant was minimal and contemporary, like the dishs presentation. Nobu signature black cod dish and the tuna sashimi melts in your mouth. I think a few new taste buds popped out.
Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

February 07, 2006

Vesper Lynd

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Barely supressed anxiety grips "the internet" as fans wonder who the next Bond Girl might be (hat tip to Jeff).

Sony's "Casino Royale" kicked off its long-anticipated production in Prague on Friday. Although the globe-spanning shoot has locked down exotic locales and an intrigue-laden script, at least two things are still missing: a leading lady and a worthy opponent for Agent 007.

I gather the new Bond is meant to be a Dark Knight-style tribute peeling away the gloss of earlier films to reveal an underlying Ian Fleming novel.* If so, the producers will have to step lightly: Vesper Lynd is the ur-Bond Girl. One is tempted to suggest an ingenue as this route worked frightfully well both for Jane Seymour and Live And Let Die. There are many established talents, of course. Angelina Jolie? Brilliant but too worldly for the part. Kate Beckinsale? Close. Very close. But a bit edgy for the rôle. No, for the Flea there is only one choice combining the character's beauty, competence and naivitée in equal measure: that choice being Scarlett Johansson.

*Though Fleming's description of Bond had him resembling Hoagy Carmichael so it is apparent the production has not decided to go overboard with the vérité. I regret to say my crime-fighting responsibilities as yet prevent me from accepting any Bond villain offers (though producers should feel free to sweeten the pot, I am not made of stone).

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

Death From Above 1979: Sexy Results (Remix)

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. This one is not safe for work due to being... well, it's a little creepy, actually.

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

Date Movie

I love Alyson Hannigan but now I am also a little scared of her. Which brings me to another Flea-fav Bond Girl possibility (hat tip to Porchboy).

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

Hello Kitty guitars

My interest in Hello Kitty is generally limited to a grim fascination with Hello Kitty devotees. That said, these Fender Hello Kitty guitars are so freaking goth. Tempting.

We always knew Hello Kitty fans rock - now they have the purr-fect guitars to do it with!
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Live steam creations

The Flea does not take a back seat to anyone when it comes to going on and on about the coming war with the machines. Even so, I cannot deny there is yet a place in my heart for remote-controlled, steam-powered robots. I especially like the look of this double-piston steam tank.

These steam machines are real miniature live steam engines. Principles are simple, heat + water = steam, steam pushes pistons and provides power in a circular motion.... how you harness that work is up to you :)
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Coffee soft drinks

Once again finding myself stranded on the wrong side of the Atlantic, the best I can do is report on the introduction of two coffee-flavoured soft drinks to European markets: Pepsi Max Cino in the UK and Coca-Cola Blak in France.

Marc Mathieu, vice president of global core brands at the Coca-Cola Company, said: "We believe we have created a new category of soft drink - an adult product in a carbonated beverage - and a whole new drinking experience." ... Andrew Marsden, category director at Pepsi manufacturer Britvic, said: "Pepsi Max Cino is about pushing the boundaries with innovation."

No word on how Pepsi's boundary-pushing innovation differs from the simulataneous coffee-themed innovation of its rival or indeed of its own discontinued Pepsi-Kona coffee-flavoured cola. I do sometimes wonder if marketing types bother to listen to themselves.

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

February 06, 2006

L is the word

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Kylie Minogue's younger sister Dannii, supportive through her sibling's illness, has allegedly been captured in all her presumably performative sapphic splendour (evidence below the fold). This thanks to the miracle that is CCTV technology so props to Mr. Blair for a culture of surveillance. Something about invasiveness of said technology, right to privacy, faux lesbianism, etc. and so forth. Now the details.

Images apparently showing the Aussie performer getting intimate with a stripper at the "Puss In Boots" nightclub were published in Britain's News of the World newspaper. The CCTV footage appear to show Dannii, the sister of cancer-stricken Kylie, writhing in pleasure with a pole dancer named Jupiter. Dannii took pole-dancing lessons in 2002 at the same club for the video of her hit song Put The Needle On It.

News of the World offers a teaser version of their expose while the BBC hosts a sample pole dance.

L is for "lapdance" Update: Dannii considers legal action. Jupiter breaks the news to the parental units.

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Dannii Minogue: Put The Needle On It

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Wonderfully Stupid Update: Loving this Garbage/Dannii mash-up.

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Betel nut girls

The Flea is a big fan of betel nut but for the fact of the devilish stain it leaves on the already not quite pearly whites. That and its being addictive and carcinogenic. I fear the government of Taiwan is right to claim the lure of betel nut girls may serve to reinforce the habit though Flea Tower's chilly clime leaves this a matter of pure speculation on my part (via Asiapundit).

The Taiwan government's plan to curb cancer faces tough opposition: about 60,000 women who sit in roadside glass booths, often wearing little more than a bikini, selling the island's oldest legal drug.

Given Taipei's "three nos" sumptuary policy, one suspects the betel nut promotion industry is blissfully untroubled vis-à-vis propriety or indeed a cold climate. Which may go some way to addressing any Flea-reader questions regarding the specific siren appeal of betel nut beauties.

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Coke Light

In Belgium, nothing goes with an ice cold Coke like the priesthood. Let us pause to wonder if hundreds of millions of Catholics may continue to practice their faith untroubled by this arguably cheeky representation of their clergy.

It's currently showing (again) in cinemas and possibly on TV in Belgium. Maybe in other countries too. It's for Coke Light (Continental Europe's version of Diet Coke!) and it starts with a girl in a dress on a beach, watching a hunky bloke getting dressed after a swim in the sea. But as the bloke turns round she see's his priest's white collar. He comes up to her and "crosses" her with the condensation from the Coke Light can.
Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

The rules about breasts

The Flea's occasional series in etiquette studies continues with Annabel Crabb's contribution to the subject. Specifically, in a formal interview setting, how soon is too soon to congratulate Scarlett Johansson on her breasts?

It's tricky, because Johansson is no ordinary double-D cheesecake. At only 21, she's already one of the most interesting and versatile actors of her generation. Her new film, directed by the fallible genius Woody Allen, displays bountiful evidence of her professional ability.

It also displays to eye-popping effect, however, the parts of Johansson that irrefutably identify her as a mammal. I found, watching a screening of the film, that I couldn't keep my eyes off them.
Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM | TrackBack (0)

February 03, 2006

The latest craze is worth a thousand bon mots

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Young Flea-readers often write to ask how they might comport themselves with grace at social gatherings no matter the formality or informality of the event. I am pleased to pass on Marvin Kitman's 1961 article, "Monocles". It is frightfully modern but in matters of style I have found it is often best to stay au courant.

Millions of American men lean on cigarettes and hang on to highball glasses to avoid falling down in social situations. If you are one of them, why not switch to a monocle? The avant garde college men currently reviving the monocle in the U.S. are finding there is no faster way to gain self-confidence, poise and identity.
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Doves: Sky Starts Falling

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Kylie in remission

Dannii Minogue reveals her sister Kylie is in full remission from breast cancer. There is more treatment to undergo, and fingers to be crossed, but this is most welcome news nonetheless.

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Aurora Australis

Props to NASA for an image of the the Aurora Australis, one of many attractive features of the southern hemisphere. The animated file is stunning.

From space, the aurora is a crown of light that circles each of Earth’s poles. The IMAGE satellite captured this view of the aurora australis (southern lights) on September 11, 2005, four days after a record-setting solar flare sent plasma—an ionized gas of protons and electrons—flying towards the Earth.
Posted by the Flea at 06:15 AM | TrackBack (0)

Nosferatu

Google Video hosts the entire F.W. Murnau classic; perhaps the ultimate creature feature.

Originally released in 1922 as Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie Des Grauens, director F.W. Munarau's (sic) chilling and eerie adaption of Stoker's Dracula is a masterpiece of terror which to this day is the most striking and frightening portrayal of the legend.
Posted by the Flea at 06:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Dracula's Guest

"Dracula's Guest" was a part of the 1897 original novel which went unpublished due to an overlong manuscript. The piece found a second life as a stand-alone short story published in 1914. Now thanks to the miracle of machinima, a part of Dracula that would not die finds new life once again as an animated short.

When we started for our drive the sun was shining brightly on Munich, and the air was full of the joyousness of early summer. Just as we were about to depart, Herr Delbruck (the maitre d'hotel of the Quatre Saisons, where I was staying) came down bareheaded to the carriage and, after wishing me a pleasant drive, said to the coachman, still holding his hand on the handle of the carriage door, "Remember you are back by nightfall. The sky looks bright but there is a shiver in the north wind that says there may be a sudden storm. But I am sure you will not be late." Here he smiled and added,"for you know what night it is."
Posted by the Flea at 06:10 AM | TrackBack (0)

February 02, 2006

High maintenance

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An AskMen.com poll concluded Jessica Alba is the celebrity most men would like to have as a girlfriend. This despite Alba's warnings she is "high maintenance". AskMen.com editor, James Bassil elaborates.

"We encouraged readers not to go on looks alone," he said. "I don't believe it's an entirely accurate reflection of what a reader strives for in their long-term relationships, but at the same time, it's not a surface appreciation."
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The Birthday Massacre: Video Kid

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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K-Fed: PopoZao (Peanut Butter Jelly Time remix)

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. One. More. Time!

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

Spider-Man 3

Just Jared has the first images from Spider-Man 3. The latest Spidey villain to make it to the big-screen is Flint Marko, better known as Sandman.

Enjoy these first pictures fresh off the set of Spider-Man 3! This picture set features 23-year-old actress Kirsten Dunst reprising her role as redhead Mary Jane Watson looking less stringy strawberry blonde weave and more girl-next-door-redhead- turned-prom-queen.
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Mystery of the Musk and the Tonka Bean

If someone had said to me, "Hey Flea. You have an opinion about everything. How about this: William Shatner vs Jean Reno. Who is kicking ass?" That would have been a hard one. What with Shatner setting out his shingle for ambulance-chasing law-firms I figure he has the cash for a Karate Kid training montage. But now my limited sanity must seek to emcompass the existence of Jean Reno Loves You I say all bets are off training-wise (via Needs To Be Glassed).

Jean Reno's passion for artistic creation and his love for women inspired him to create his own perfume Jean Reno Loves You, in honor of women. Generosity, distinction, sensitivity, curiosity, discretion. These are few of the words that define this emblematic personality of cinema. Today, by creating his new perfume, Jean Reno remains faithful to his values and Mediterranean origins, proving once again all the elegance that characterizes him.
Posted by the Flea at 08:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Moongates

Moongates, a traditional feature of Bermudian architecture, bear a suspicious family resemblence to Stargates. All we need now are some gate addresses.

This is not Bermudian originally but Chinese or Japanese or both, many centuries old. (In July 2004, a Japanese garden with a structure almost identical to what in Bermuda is called a moongate, won a Silver Gilt prize at the Royal Horticultural Society show at Tatton Garden in the UK). The first plan for one in Bermuda was brought from a Chinese garden in 1860 by a local sea captain. He drew the design of a circular, ornamental wooden gateway to a garden or place of inner repose and, once back in Bermuda, built one of his own. It was copied. It has since been adopted by Bermuda as a national symbol.
Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

UB313

German astrophysicists claim UB313 is a third larger than Pluto. This is either bad news for Pluto, potentially downgrounded to a mere planetoid, or good news for the as yet to be named Planet X (my money is on "Yuggoth").

According to their calculations it has a diameter of 3,000 km (1,864 miles), about 700 km (435 miles) bigger than Pluto, which would make it the largest solar system object found since the discovery of Neptune in 1846.

"Since UB313 is decidedly larger than Pluto, it is now increasingly hard to justify calling Pluto a planet if UB313 is not also given this status," Bertoldi added.
Posted by the Flea at 08:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

February 01, 2006

Kara Thrace

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Katee Sackhoff is interviewed by the Seattle-Post Intelligencer's Melanie McFarland regarding drama, femininity and the new Battlestar Galactica. Kara Thrace, cooler than Han Solo and hotter than hell, has nevertheless provoked some negative audience reaction. I am glad Sackhoff is not taking it to heart any more than would Starbuck.

I don't read them. My mom does. If there's a good one, or a funny one that's really bad, she tells me to read it. I think one time, someone said I was so ugly it looked like I fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down, and landed on my face. (Laughs.) And then, I climbed on top of a 10-story building, fell off of that, and landed on my ass. I was like, that's really funny! Obviously someone went through that much effort to figure out, you know, how my ass got flat and my face ... that's funny. You have to laugh about it.
Posted by the Flea at 07:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Errorplains: Girls in Boys Clothes

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Wait for the punchline

Britney Spears was reportedly horrified at K-Fed's plan to pierce their four-month old baby boy's ears.

She was terrified the tot would look like a girl - or "trailer trash" - if he wore the jewellery.
Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM | TrackBack (0)

For all your celebrity babywear needs

Gwen Stefani's £11k babywear Elias & Grace shopping spree produces an interesting factoid: Vivienne Westwood has a line of maternity wear. Who knew? But no news as to whether Stefani anticipates a girl or a boy.

A source said: "It was an incredible haul of gear. Gwen loved the Petit Bateau kids' clothes. She was holding them up to Gavin and saying, 'Aww, so cute. I want this in my size.' She was also holding up scratch mittens and saying, 'Look - so tiny!' Gwen with hubby Gavin Rossdale"She took pretty much the whole range in various ages. But she gave nothing away when it came to the baby's sex because she got everything in neutral colours."
Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Step Into A World

Flea Theatre presents emo poetry. Go on. Click the link. You know you want to.

For my next poem. I will state my feelings. That I feel. About the life.

While it is true "the internet" presents many learning opportunities I am delighted to be reminded its full expression waited until I was safely clear of being a teenager. Otherwise, my own gothic angst would be similarly immortalized (via Needs To Be Glassed).

He must be emo Update: Bill tells me I am having problems with my comments interface but was desperate to tell me about this emo-related music. Not to worry: I will have more K-Fed for his listening pleasure tomorrow.

Posted by the Flea at 07:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Dr. Zaius! Dr. Zaius! O Dr. Zaius!

With the cancellation of two preview performances it will be this Saturday before Toronto and the rest of the world will see The Lord of the Rings, the musical, in all its glory. Starring Troy McClure as Gandalf the Grey I am certain it is worth the wait.*

The first two preview performances of the $27-million stage musical The Lord Of The Rings, which had been scheduled for Thursday and Friday night at the sold-out Princess of Wales Theatre, have been cancelled. ... Rings producer Kevin Wallace said the show's second act, which the cast and crew rehearsed in its final form for the first time on Sunday, is more complex than they anticipated.

*With apologies to Brent Carver.

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