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November 30, 2006

Saturnalia

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Remember: Saturn is the reason for the season!

Don't even ask what they do down the Temple of Mithras Update: It's a war on Christmas! That isn't the baby Jesus he is eating is it? Saturn: Why does he hate us?

Posted by the Flea at 07:33 AM | Comments (3)

Regina Spektor: Samson

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:31 AM

November 29, 2006

Gillian Anderson with Corset and Mirror

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This self-explanatory post arrives via Magdalene Veen; recently shorn.

I think all that time spent in hideous suits and bad hair on X-Files effectively castrated her career. I adore the ol' X-Files, but Scully is not a role that exactly screams "GET ME GILLIAN ANDERSON FOR THIS LEAD" to casting directors.

An excellent point; corsets for everyone!

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

Clock DVA: The Hacker

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

Really? I was very briefly in a band called Clock DVA.

This gets a billion points for the Coil reference alone. "Munchausen" is the single of the year. And about time too; we only have a few weeks to go. Not safe for work, by the way (via Warren Ellis). There is a video at the No Bra website but it has somehow yet to migrate to YouTube.

Ahh, just watched the video. Ok, NOT safe for work. Not safe for YouTube. Pretty much not safe for anywhere. I'm pissing myself laughing though.

Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM | Comments (2)

November 28, 2006

Wolfsheim: Find You're Here

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

There and back again

My fears Peter Jackson may not direct the so-called prequel to The Lord of the Rings have been assuaged by two pieces of news. First, the film rights revert away from New Line Cinema in short order; Jackson may be back in the director's seat. Second, rumours of his only possible replacement: Sam Raimi (with a nod of the hat to Elvis).

As another director that started out making over the top comedy tinged horror films, then to graduate to Hollywood blockbusters, one could hardly find a director with more in common with Jackson, short of cloning. But could anyone really fill these particular shoes?

Considering how differently The Hobbit reads from LOTR there is a certain sense to different feel to the film. Colour me cautiously optimistic.

Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM | Comments (1)

November 27, 2006

Handicapable

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The Flea's coverage of Trafalgar Square's empty plinth continues with reference to Mark Steyn who notes an important observation on the subject; this one deserves the widest possible audience. Scroll down to Monumental Significance.

A year ago, London's Mayor "Red Ken" Livingstone unveiled a new statue on the famous "empty plinth" in Trafalgar Square. Sharing the heart of the capital with King George IV, General Sir Charles Napier and Major General Sir Henry Havelock these days is Alison Lapper, an armless woman heavily pregnant. At the unveiling, Miss Lapper said the new statue would force Britons to "confront their prejudices" about disability. As my old editor, Charles Moore, pointed out, Trafalgar Square already has a monument to persons who've overcome disability: the one-eyed one-armed Admiral Lord Nelson standing on his column and no doubt bemused by the modish posturing below.

Related: The Captain of HMS Victory comes face to face with Nelson. Tangentially related: The disturbing statuary of Oslo.

Posted by the Flea at 07:10 AM

Rob Zombie: Living Dead Girl

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
Non-Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

This apparently accurate quiz arrives via Agent Bedhead. They got my accent right too.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.

Philadelphia
The Inland North
The Midland
The South
Boston
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes
Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM | Comments (2)

November 24, 2006

Lyudi Invalidy

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Once again making a roaring success of manufactured controversy, t.A.T.u. are being threatened with legal action as a result of their latest single. Beware cheap sensationalism or forever shall it be your destiny: I am looking at you Yulia and Lena. No, seriously.

An ombudsman in Russia’s northern province of Komi is set to sue the pop group T.A.T.U. as he seeks compensation for damage allegedly inflicted on the disabled by the duo who have titled one of their songs “Lyudi Invalidy” or “Invalid People”. ... The ombudsman said the defendants could also face criminal charges for libel. But even if the court refuses to uphold libel charges against T.A.T.U. the singers will have to compensate society for moral damages, he said.

Mmm. Moral damages.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM | Comments (3)

Takako Minekawa: Plash

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

The Company of Barber-Surgeons and Robotics notwithstanding

Goth or not goth: Montieth's mutton chops. A small hint: I am extremely jealous of Montieth's mutton chops.

There are often so few photos of me that I have to contrive chances for photos. In this case, I grew out mutton chops for Dragon Con. While not strictly correct for WWII, the idea was something unusual and interesting. It seems like everyone is wearing goatees now. I still have the chops and they've filled out a bit since Dragon Con. I'm not certain if I want to keep them or not. I've had good and bad reactions. The most annoying was a Lynard Skynard comment from one of the more bohemian people at work.

If this one leaves you stumped you might considering helping your robot escape a maze. It becomes stress inducing as Friday becomes shorter and shorter.

Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

November 23, 2006

Not By Strength, by Guile

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Babbling Brooks reviews Casino Royale, pointing to the film's website and an MI6 dossier of the new double-O. Flea-readers who have yet to see the film should exercise caution as a harmless detail for some is a spoiler to others. One biographical fact deserving particular attention is Bond's record of service with the SBS; a nice compromise which accounts for his special forces training while keeping his Royal Navy pedigree intact.

The novel really is excellent too, btw. Virginia Postrel quotes from Simon Winder's The Man Who Saved Britain and a vignette I had forgotten. We latter-day Bond fans have developed palettes sufficiently jaded to forget the meaning of the word "exotic".

The book teems with now almost invisible digs--indeed the whole idea of the casino with its theoretically limitless stakes and winnings must have seemed derangedly heady to the book's first readers. ... For me the heart of the book, though, must be the scene when Bond tucks into an avocado pear. An avocado! These were exotic in 1939 but they could at least be bought. Avocados only really became available again in Britain in the late 1950s and had a desirability status akin to that felt (rather more democratically) for bananas by East Germans. The sense of the exotic which Fleming had to work for really hard in later books is won here with a mere oily tropical fruit on the windswept Channel coast.

Small point of Flea biographical interest: I consulted for Vickers for two years. I was working submarines but I did know the head of Land & Armaments procurement. Good times. Good times.

Posted by the Flea at 07:41 AM | Comments (1)

Vanessa Paradis: Commando

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Bad news

New Line Cinema prepares to sacrifice the goose which laid the golden egg on an altar of stupid. First, unless they are planning to dramatize bits of the Silmarillion two prequels to The Lord of the Rings is a bad idea. Second, any film version of The Hobbit that does not feature Peter Jackson in the director's chair risks heresy. Tread carefully, New Line.

First the video game adaption "Halo" was dropped by its studio backers, and eventually moth-balled. And now it looks like "The Hobbit" (or actually Hobbits plural, as there are plans to slip in a further, seemingly non-canonical prequel to "The Rings"), will trundle down that long road to adventure without the man who made it all possible.

New Line Cinema hold the rights to the property. And Peter Jackson's production company Wingnut Films have been in talks to produce the films, with Jackson in the director's chair. But it looks like old grudges have come between them.
Posted by the Flea at 07:31 AM | Comments (2)

November 22, 2006

Jabberwocky Division

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Is it just me or can you sing along to Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" to the words of Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky"? "And the mome raths... outgrabe."

I must be in a mood or something. A space mirror would sort that out.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM | Comments (2)

Diamanda Galas: Gloomy Sunday

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM

Coffee-punk

At last, the coffee maker of the Flea. A Cafetino is on my list of things to acquire once my schemes come to fruition: Just the thing for a morning brew on my crime-fighting zeppelin. I admit they could work on the name; "vac pot" is insufficiently steam-punk sounding (via Last of the Kuiper Bedouins).

The vacuum brewing method is based on developments made around 1835. The siphon coffeemaker is recognised as the best vacume or mocha (mocca) brewer ever made. Also known as vac pot.

In related news, this shopped image of Magdalene Veen. Wonderful.

Posted by the Flea at 07:09 AM | Comments (8)

November 21, 2006

White Town: Your Woman

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Suffering from LDDS?

Losticil may be right for you.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

November 20, 2006

That's more like it

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Jeff Simon writing for The Buffalo News calls the Bond reboot Bond Reborn. There are a couple quasi-spoilers at the linked article but no real surprises if you have read the novel; this is a remarkably faithful adaptation of Ian Fleming's work. Cautious types have this quote to be getting on with until they see the film.

What you have to remember about James Bond is that Ian Fleming's novels only really took off when the world discovered that one of their biggest fans was John F. Kennedy. Here was a guy who had all the money in the world, was married to Jackie and would sleep with Marilyn Monroe and HE was caught up in James Bond fantasies. And if you think that fact tells you in 2006 what a hopeless anachronism James Bond is now, guess again.

In fact, I think it tells you how completely independent of era James Bond fantasies really are.

Quite. For fear of aforementioned spoilage I shall say nothing except that this is the best Bond film ever made. Yes, I am including all the Sean Connery films. Yes, that means this a better Bond than From Russia With Love, a better Bond than Dr. No. Time to see the film if you have not already done so. Cubicle-bound Flea-readers wishing to adopt a more secret-agenty lifestyle might peruse cars, cocktails, watches and other assorted marketing. Not to forget a careful consideration of Eva Green and, of course, the Judi Dench lesbian scene that was not to be.

One last thing, I admit Ace is mostly right about Act Four. Mostly. Now going to watch Dr. No again to test my absurd claims of the above paragraph.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM | Comments (3)

The Flying Lizards: TV

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

PS - Money don't get everything it's true.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

Draconian regulation

Trading standards officers force a name-change on Welsh Dragon sausages as “(t)he product was not sufficiently precise to inform a purchaser of the true nature of the food.” It turns out the sausages are made from chili, leak and pork and not dragon as naive consumers might be lead to believe (via Rantburg).

The sausages will now have to be labelled Welsh Dragon Pork Sausages to avoid any confusion among customers. Jon Carthew, 45, who makes the sausages, said yesterday that he had not received any about the absence of real dragon meat. He said: “I don’t think any of our customers believe that we use dragon meat in our sausages. We use the word because the dragon is synonymous with Wales.”
Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM

November 18, 2006

Women

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Will someone please explain women to me?
Thanks in advance.

- The Flea

A woman's guess Update: SondraK says tonight is not the night to ask.

Two solitudes Update: Agent Bedhead is also having a day.

Posted by the Flea at 02:08 AM | Comments (8)

November 17, 2006

Fashion claims another victim

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Brazil mourns as another model is lost to anorexia and, supposedly, the remorseless exigencies of fashion. Sad, indeed. But does Brazil mourn for the loss of fat people to a bewildering variety of consequent health problems? It does not.

And I do not expect Brazil mourns for the Posh that was. Victoria Beckham is not so much transhuman as transcontrived. Spare a moment for Bryony Gordon in your prayers, an intrepid soul who followed Beckham's That Extra Half an Inch style prescriptions for a week such that the rest of a yearning humanity might be spared the task. Flea-readers considering the Beckham style-plunge might first consult Simon Mills' assessment. It isn't pretty.

There is one sentence in Victoria Beckham’s book that made me laugh out loud. It’s the bit where she claims that her ultimate style influence is, wait for it, Audrey Hepburn.

Oh come on, love. You really can’t be that deluded can you? Can you?
Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM | Comments (8)

Lady Sovereign: A Little bit of Shhh!

She's sick... No, she's ill! Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.*

* Love Me Or Hate Me has a more corporate look and a more corporate sound; somebody has decided Lady Sovereign is worth the investment and I expect they are right. She looks well fit. Still, there is a sad inevitability to an artist putting out a love me or hate me, I am not polished looking or sounding tune just after they have slimmed down, had their hair professionally styled and juiced up the production.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

My love for you is like a truck

I looks as though Xbox 360 has made a massive on-line ad-buy to coincide with the release of the PS3. Always willing to do my bit, I have just watched the new trailer for the only first-person shooter I want to play this side of Halo 3, Gears of War. While the trailer has camera angles I would not expect to find in game-play the whole was rendered using the same Unreal Engine. Stunning. The story-line is also worth pondering; the Xbox 360 site summary does not do it justice.

Gears of War® is the first game developed by Epic Games exclusively for Microsoft Game Studios and Xbox 360™. Gears of War thrusts you into a deep and harrowing story of humankind’s epic battle for survival against the Locust Horde, a nightmarish race of creatures that surface from the bowels of the planet.

In this third-person tactical action/horror game, live and breathe the role of Marcus Fenix. A disgraced former war hero, Marcus seeks personal redemption as he leads his fire team against an onslaught of merciless warrior fiends. Immerse yourself in an experience so intensely emotional and gut-wrenching that playing will be like controlling a blockbuster action movie.
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | Comments (3)

November 16, 2006

Revolutionary

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I should make it clear I have not ordered anything from G. Gedney Godwin but their stock looks extraordinary. 18th-century spectacles, bronze swivel guns... even period medical instruments. More Flea than Flea.

Whose establishment is against Bass on Welsh Road, at the Valley Forge, in Pennsylvania Province, Wishes to announce that he is importing a complete line of items useful to the military man; such as muskets, bayonets, leather goods, uniforms, cocked hats, diverse sorts of brazen sundries, &c., all done in the neatest manner. Those gentlemen who will favor him with their custom, may depend on their work being dispatched and their favors gratefully acknowledged, by their most humble servant.

~ G. Gedney Godwin

Also worth a look, or at least a listen, is this BBC World Service documentary on the archaeology of patriotism. I particularly enjoyed the interviews at Williamsburg in part two.

Posted by the Flea at 11:54 AM | Comments (2)

Front 242: Headhunter

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 11:37 AM | Comments (2)

Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque

Sure it is expensive but if it is not a Taittinger or a Bollinger I am still not interested. I will leave this Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque business to the hoppers.*

French drinks group Pernod Ricard has announced plans to launch the world's most expensive bottle of champagne. To be sold under the Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque name, it will retail in wine shops for 1,000 euros ($1,276; £670) for a standard-sized bottle.

* Unless Posh and Becks like it.

Posted by the Flea at 11:33 AM | Comments (3)

November 15, 2006

Ani DiFranco: Untouchable Face

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (nsfw due to F-bomb).

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

November 14, 2006

Kirsten Flagstad: Brunhilde's Battle Cry

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. And maybe team up with Bob Hope and go kick some ass.

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM

November 13, 2006

Transylvania's finest

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I sensed a disturbance in the Force and sure enough it was the Cheeky Girls auditioning for Geri Halliwell. For Flea-readers with short attention spans, here are the Cheeky Girls on Top of the Pops. If anyone has access to a high-res version please to let me know. Then there is this toothache of an interview; worth it for the accents of the twins, single and beautiful (possibly nsfw due to swearing Irish puppets).

Also, the Cheeky Girls at MySpace. OMFG there is a Right Said Fred cover... ok, give me a minute here. "Text Me I Love You" could be huge.

Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM

Enigma: Age of Loneliness (Carly's Song)

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM

It is called a utility belt

Sgt Tony Smith and PC Mike Holman successfully apprehended a drugs suspect thanks in part to their ingenious Batman and Robin disguises. I note the senior officer got to be Batman.

Sgt Smith added: "Last year police officers dressed up as carol singers, which worked well. This was my first costumed acting experience.

"The Batman costume was quite comfortable and not too restricting. I still managed to jump over the fence. But it was difficult finding somewhere to put my CS spray. There was nowhere for the handcuffs, but then Batman does not need handcuffs."
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (4)

November 11, 2006

Singing with Elvis

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Ardolino thinks linking to a Life of Brian clip equals geek. Yet this is as nothing compared to Hawk the Slayer linkage. Strange how the primal D&D urge can overcome the simple biology of sexual reproduction; hence the decline of the West. Someone should get Mark Steyn on the problem. But I digress.

Hawk the Slayer was only one of countless immortal screen appearances by Jack Palance (though regrettably he appears in neither of the above clips... have a little Sudden Fear instead). The Flea worships at the altar of cheese but before Jack Palance I am as nothing. Truly, he stood alone.

Posted by the Flea at 08:59 AM | Comments (2)

November 10, 2006

Flea-dance tips

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I am working on a little piece (more or less) about gesture in Roman public speaking but my brain juice is flagging on this, the last day of the working week. So I present instead Planearium's improved South Park character generator (with a tip of my coachman's hat to Agent Bedhead).

Which brings me to this contentious South Park clip: Goth or not goth?

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

Yaki-Da: I Saw You Dancing

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM

Everything is better in India

Even if they are not quite clear on the Marvel vs DC thing.

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

November 09, 2006

A little bit showbiz

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Flea-readers who have wondered what Kylie might be like were she within smelling distance need wonder no more: La Minogue has launched a signature fragrance. Shame it is by Coty as I have been underwhelmed by their previous celebrity tie-in products. I have no trouble imagining Kylie wears her LoveKylie line. I do have trouble believing a whiff of Darling equals of whiff of Kylie up close; possibly due to the missing suspension of disbelief factor. One can only hope the Thierry Wasser connection gets the balance right.

Perfumer Thierry Wasser of Firmenich, in collaboration with the pop star, developed the fragrance that aims to reflect the singer's personality and Australian heritage. The scent therefore incorporates notes of Australian sandalwood, star fruit, freesia and Boronia flower, a plant that flourishes throughout Australia.

Dar' Update: More Kylie here.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta: You're The One That I Want

Before Kylie Minogue there was Olivia Newton-John. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

November 08, 2006

Dead Can Dance: The Host Of Seraphim

Baraka's an amazing film. And this song is great. I never thought poverty could have such a great soundtrack.

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Mere anarchy Update: Not ready to listen to the inevitable BBC Tourette's reading of today's new world quite yet. First, a White Stripes enabled Kate Moss pole dancing to Philip Glass's Violin Concerto No. II. Much better.

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

If not now, when?

Seeing the Unseen is the first installment of Bill Whittle's latest. I agree the importance of the following (as with much else).

This is probably the most useful thing I’ll write in this essay:

Doves think the choice is between fighting or not fighting. Hawks think the choice is between fighting now or fighting later.

Also worth a look: Flight Patterns. It might as well have been called Civilization; is the Enlightenment, animated.

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM

November 07, 2006

Fashion is a vitamin for style

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Pink Tentacle reports on the Hyper Space Couture Design Contest. These looks are so hot they are from the near future.

Winners of the contest, which is organized by Tokyo-based fashion designer Eri Matsui with the support of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and many others, will help design the clothes for use on Rocketplane’s space tourism flights set to begin in 2008.

The 11 garments appearing in the show were selected from over 880 designs submitted by college students. The clothes incorporate a variety of features designed for zero gravity, such as ruffles that expand under weightless conditions or small air-jet propulsion systems in the sleeves to help you change direction while floating.

I am holding out for Wilma Deering. Ripped abs, don't fail me now!

I don't drink... wine Update: Ok, I am not saying I am a space vampire. I am only saying I can relate to space vampires.

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM | Comments (5)

Silver Jews: How Can I Love You (If You Won't Lie Down)

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Thames Town

The Scotsman reports Chinese pirates have made off with bits of Lyme Regis as an eerie simulated England has appeared an hour outside of Shanghai. Thames Town hosts a pub, a chippie and a bronze Winston Churchill against a backdrop of newlyweds looking for a picturesque location.

"I can't find such unique buildings in Shanghai's city centre," said Emily Ma, before having a wedding picture taken. "I just love Western-style buildings," she gushed.

Yet that copycat feeling has irked some people, not least Gail Caddy from Lyme Regis in Dorset, southwest England. She said her pub and fish-and-chip shop have been replicated in Thames Town. Her establishments, the Rock Point Inn and Cob Gate Fish Bar, have both been reproduced almost exactly, though Caddy's fish-and-chip shop is spelt "Cobb". "As you can imagine, the jokes are absolutely rife here," she told Reuters in Britain. "They are as follows: 'I have been Shanghaied' and 'My business is on the Chinese take-away menu'".

I will trade them for more Blade Runner at Dundas and Spadina.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | Comments (3)

November 06, 2006

South Korea moving to legalize miniskirts

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The headline speaks for itself.

Hot pants and miniskirts will soon be legal in South Korea. The country is in the final stages of revising an indecency law that prohibits people from wearing revealing outfits and was once enforced by ruler-wielding police during authoritarian governments in the 1970s, officials said. "The law for excessive exposure does not match our current society," said Kim Jae-kwang, an official with the Korea Legislation Research Institute.

Thank heavens for that. Careful though: It could lead to dancing.

Related: This fantastic new Pocky ad.

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

Psychic TV: Message From The Temple

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:08 AM

November 03, 2006

She's lovely, really

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Hard on the heels of a new fashion Bible book launch, Perez Hilton tracks down an appealing interview with Victoria Beckham, not as transhuman as her still photos often make her out to be.

Victoria Beckham smiling! And laughing!! Click here to see a brazilliant clip where Posh is interviewed by two adorable kids. She should show her teeth more often. It's quite fetching!
Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM | Comments (2)

Dwight Yoakam: Suspicious Minds

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

On while we are on the subject... "Honky Tonk Man": goth or not goth? Grades are assigned on the basis of how you reach your proof rather than the answer itself.

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

Strange new worlds

When I first heard Paramount was tinkering with original Trek with the aim to produce an "enhanced" version I can only describe my reaction as incredulous skepticism shading into trembling outrage. Visions of a Greedoesque farce with yet another George Lucas-style banalization of a cherished classic left me dreading the result. It was, therefore, with some trepidation that I started to watch the enhanced version of "Balance of Terror", my favourite ever Star Trek episode.

It is a tour de force. Paramount has left the original cheese-factor intact. If anything, these new versions max-out the cheese-factor rendering the enhanced Trek more original than the original. So what has been "enhanced", exactly? First, this post post-production punches up the blacks. Deep space now looks properly deep and every interior shot has the satisfying contrast of a multi-million dollar per episode contemporary effort such as the revamped Battlestar Galactica. Every time Uhura swivels on her communications station chair the rich luster of its pleatherette surface glints in the light of the bridge. The re-engineered sound of the enhanced Trek is also Immediately noticeable. Corridors and inter-ship announcements have been re-mastered with a subtle reverb, photon torpedoes detonate with a juicy thump and incidental music sounds richer; all of this without substituting new sound effects for old or replacing period music with some ludicrous contemporary version. Visual effects have been seriously juiced up. Planetscapes and exterior shots of various ships, most importantly Enterprise herself, are careful CGI reproductions of the original models. These new versions, however, are more detailed and have richer contrast. We can now see the turning of Enterprise' warp nacelles and phaser blasts light up the underside of her saucer section. The result is frankly wondrous. This is how the show was always supposed to look.

Where the enhanced version takes liberties with the original it does so in ways that are respectful and true to the aim of making the show more Trek than Trek. The original circular dots that stood in for passing stars in deep space are still circular dots passing for stars in deep space. But now each lovingly reproduced "star" produces depth of field with a subtle parallax motion in relation to its peers. My favourite addition so far is nictitating membrane action in "Arena"; Gorns can blink!

Flea-readers who have yet to see the enhanced Trek can check out side-by-side comparisons of original verses enhanced visual imagery at StarTrek.com. The enhanced title sequence demonstrates a number of the points I have outlined.

Humana humana Update: Just watched the enhanced "City On the Edge of Forever" featuring the enhanced Joan Collins, so hot she is from an alternate reality.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (8)

November 02, 2006

Jitterbug Party

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Imagine it is a Harlem night at 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue; the year is 1935. Five years ago a new house band took over a venue that had hosted Duke Ellington and where audiences first heard a sixteen-year old Lena Horne. Tonight Paramount Pictures brings the stark light for the cameras is making the scene even hotter than usual. We are here for a return appearance of Cab Calloway’s Cotton Club Orchestra and, if we are lucky, an invite to a Jitterbug Party after hours. If we stay up late there may be time for some shim sham shimmy...

Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM | Comments (3)

Lena Horne: Stormy Weather

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM | Comments (1)

November 01, 2006

Laurie Anderson: O Superman

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

When love is gone, there's always justice.
And when justice is gone, there's always force.
And when force is gone, there's always Mom.
Hi Mom!

Posted by the Flea at 07:37 AM | Comments (1)

Choose your next witticism carefully

Former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove (the spy formerly known as "C") says Canada needs its own foreign intelligence service. An excellent idea; if anyone in the know is recruiting down the line, do keep me in mind. I am available for training/consultancy in the finer points of baccarat and champagne-selection that are sure to come up.

Dearlove says Canada could make an important contribution to its own national security interests as well as its major allies. He points to Australia, saying its external spy service has achieved a high degree of sophistication and success, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. Dearlove says Canada’s CSIS has evolved into a world-class security service but lacks a clear-cut mandate to gather intelligence overseas.

On a related note: This hideously misconceived James Bond 007 TX Spy Gear Bundle from Sony. I see this one is missing its "needs to be glassed" sticker.

Posted by the Flea at 07:34 AM