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February 28, 2007

Briskeby: Miss You Like Crazy

You know you've made it when you send Raymi a note explaining how she should make out with the lead singer of a band along with a link to a video and she writes back saying, "Somebody put a boner in my pants." I am also pleased by the email reply I got from Hugh Hewitt last night but that is another story. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

How can a square fish swim?

Like Monkey Fluids? You will love Married to the Sea.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

February 27, 2007

Death Drive

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Sharon Stone and Basic Instinct 2 swept the Razzies taking four nods for worst of 2006: Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Sharon Stone), Worst Sequel and Worst Screenplay. As Hecklerspray puts it; worse even than Nicholas Cage and The Wicker Man "even though one of those movies features a bee-fearing policeman dressed up as a bear punching a woman in the face and the other one has boobies in it."

Inevitably, I thought it was a fine feature. For extended thoughts on the subject I refer you to K-Punk who observes "a film with this many bad reviews must have something going for it..." His review of the film should win an award of some kind.

'Basic Instinct' was a poor title for the first film, but it is clear - within seconds - that it is spectacularly inappropriate for the sequel, which glories in the fact that, far from being 'basic' or 'instinctual', human sexuality is always mediated through fantasy, fashion, technology and social role. The proposed but abandoned subtitle, 'Risk Addiction', would have been much better, but you do wonder why they didn't go the whole hog and call it Death Drive.
Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM | Comments (6)

Prodigy: Smack My Bitch Up

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. This one is NSFW unless you are one of those people who goes around Soho sticking little cards up in telephone boxes in which case congrats on the wifi situation.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM | Comments (2)

Fuel injection

DefenseTech notes a seemingly innocuous tender for the United States Air Force meant to have a most ocuous effect, viz taking on integrated air defense systems. It turns out to be something auto manufacturers have been using for some time; a technology the USAF is calling "active combustion control."

Aircraft engines using active combustion controls should be able to fly longer distances at a lower rate of fuel consumption.

With today's engine technology, the flow of gas into the combustion chamber is fairly unrestricted, which is not very efficient. Many years ago, the automotive industry fixed this problem with fuel injectors, and now the aerospace industry wants to make a similar leap -- although at a far greater level of sophistication, of course.

Next up: Temperature controlled cup holders and a dvd player for the back seat.

Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM | Comments (3)

February 26, 2007

Bleed like me

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French-speaking Flea-readers may enjoy perusing commentary on Shirley Manson's natal chart. To sum up with my own gloss: Virgo Sun, Capricorn Ascendant and - just barely - a Capricorn Moon. Shiirley is rarely on time but she is organized. But let's face facts, there is much more to a book than its plot, themes and characterization. The cover, for example. Let us all now pause to consider Shirley Manson in a hospital setting.

Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM | Comments (4)

Faithless feat. Estelle: Why Go

Shockingly like me at work; and a fair assessment of what I am looking for in life. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

February 23, 2007

If a farmer fills his barn with grain, he gets mice. If he leaves it empty, he gets actors.

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Nice one, Sir Walter Scott; but sometimes you get something else. I have dreams that run exactly like this (via Rantburg).

Imagine you live in Portugal and you’re moving into a lovely farm house on a large swath of land. The place has been empty for 15 years! While exploring your new property you find a large barn in the trees. The door is padlocked shut and its all rusted solid. so you grind the padlock open…

Now open the door.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM | Comments (1)

Asmodeus X: Voices of the Fallen

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

(no subject)

"(no subject)" being the header of mail that made its way around Google's spam filter and into my in-box this morning. Intrusive spamming email. Check. No indication how these people came up with my email address or the fact I run a blog. Check. So enthralled with my opinion they made no effort to find out my name let alone the name of my blog. Check.* Note the peculiar minimum age range for adolescence settled upon by the University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. Remember this the next time you read about a survey, opinion poll or any claims whatsoever made by an academic psychology department.

Dear blogger,

We would like to invite you to participate in a research study that investigates blogging practices, motives for blogging and the ways in which people explore their identity through blogging. This research is being conducted by Associate Professor Ann Knowles (principal researcher) and Ms Danielle Williamson at the Faculty of Life and Social Sciences at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.

Your involvement in this research will contribute to increasing psychologists' understanding of blogging, as well as our understanding of the period of life between adolescence and adulthood.

Participation in this study involves completing an online questionnaire, which will take approximately 20 minutes. Your response is totally anonymous and confidential. The questionnaire is located at: http://opinio.online.swin.edu.au/s?s=1847.

To participate in this study you must be over 18 years old and have a blog that is at least one month old, that you update at least monthly. Further details of this study, including the complaints procedure, are provided at the beginning of the questionnaire.

If you have any queries regarding this research, please contact either Ann Knowles (aknowles@groupwise.swin.edu.au) or Danielle Williamson (Danielle.Williamson@justice.vic.gov.au).

Thank you very much for your time. Your completion of the questionnaire would be greatly appreciated. If you know of other people who maintain a blog that may be interested in completing this questionnaire, please forward them this email invitation.

Yours Sincerely,

Danielle Williamson

Faculty of Life and Social Sciences
Swinburne University of Technology

For your edification, my reply. I will keep you posted on developments in updates to this post.

Dear researcher,

Why would I want to contribute to increasing psychologists' understanding of blogging?

Yours,

blogger

* But wait: There's a cherry on top! Having got hold of my email address somehow and having asked for twenty minutes of my life with no remuneration offered for the trouble these high-handed (swearing deleted) append the following to their email. Normally I would strip even a spam email of names and addresses. I am making an exception.

PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL The content of this e-mail and any attachments may be private and confidential, intended only for use of the individual or entity named. If you are not the intended recipient of this message you must not read, forward, print, copy, disclose, use or store in any way the information this e-mail or any attachment contains. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately and delete or destroy all copies of this e-mail and any attachments. Our organisation respects the privacy of individuals. For a copy of our privacy policy please go to our website or contact us.
Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM | Comments (6)

February 22, 2007

Laibach: Anglia

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

From his left hand dangled Piggy's broken glasses

Shadow trade and industry secretary, and quite possibly the only Tory in Parliament, Alan Duncan has suggested it is time to "re-civilize" the United Kingdom. Promises. Promises. Let us see if enough people agree the land is worth taking back from the castaways and Droogs or if at long last it is time to turn out the lights.

"The collapse of authority cannot remain undiscussed. If there is no fear of authority, there is no respect for it," he said. "It cannot make sense in a civilised society for children of school age to face the discipline they need in court rather than in class or in the home."
Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM | Comments (1)

February 21, 2007

Somewhere in Stockholm town

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I have listening to "Above the Candy Store" over and over again; wonderfully simple. More tunes from the lovely Paola may be found at MySpace.

Posted by the Flea at 07:37 AM | Comments (4)

Wolfsheim: Find you're gone

Feeling a bit Euro today: Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:34 AM

A Miracle at Java House

(INT. NIGHT: Seated at a table in a gothic coffee house)

GOTH GIRL #1: I don't eat shellfish; I'm allergic. I don't eat lobster. I don't eat crab. I don't eat shrimp.

GOTH GIRL #2: I don't eat shrimp either but because I like them. I mean I used to like eating them but then I saw them alive and I liked them alive so now I don't eat them.

BEN: What are those...

NICK: Sea monkeys.

(Star-wipe and fade to next scene as the group marvels at "how did they do that" and "when I heard that I didn't think 'sea monkeys'", etc.)*

* I explained it was all down to Piscean psi powers and also that I knew Ben was thinking of sea monkeys because I was also thinking of battering and frying them.

Posted by the Flea at 07:31 AM | Comments (4)

February 20, 2007

Haute gothique

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Fashionologie got my attention with a word that pops up all too infrequently beyond the purview of Oswald Boateng corsets or John Galliano's closet. Certainly, Givenchy has not been down this road since the days of Alexander McQueen.

The Spring 2007 Givenchy haute couture collection is like opium for the eyes -- I just couldn't get enough. Very understated. Very mysterious. And my favorite -- very gothic.

Style has images of the Spring 2007 collection and the video which shows it off to best effect.

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

Garbage: Push It

I gather from Agent Bedhead that Garbage are getting back together; good news. Thing is, I do not link to Garbage much around these parts as I cannot bear to consider the existence of Shirley Manson too carefully. My all too impure thought might sully her perfection and in so doing I might commit an act of sacrilege against goddesses long unnamed or find myself brain-blind in too close an orbit to her beauty. Or something like that. But no reason you all should suffer for my failings. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM | Comments (4)

Crom likey

The New Hampshire Union Leader says the "snow god must have gotten her message." Given the worshipful prostrations on offer, and a precipitous result, it is difficult to disagree (via Rantburg).

Exactly four weeks ago, Carlene Sullivan did what any self-respecting snow lover with mystic powers over the universe would do in times of crisis: She put on her bikini and asked the snow gods to deliver. Bam! Everything's been coming up white stuff since.

"It's just been crazy. That first week I did snow salutations, we actually got 4 inches here, then 8 inches the second week. Now the blizzard," said Sullivan.

I believe that is the normal progression given the circumstances.

Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM

February 19, 2007

The last of Potter

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J.K. Rowling, who may be perfect, has completed the final Harry Potter novel at an Edinburgh hotel. A bit of whimsy on the way out the door is probably the first time the Balmoral will make money from vandalism.

The millionaire wrote the note to fans after completing the book at Edinburgh's five-star Balmoral Hotel. Before checking out, she wrote in black marker pen on an antique-style statue: "JK Rowling finished writing Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows in this room on 11 Jan 2007."

I realize this news may be unedifying to devotees of ostensibly serious literature though it seems to me too many people have forgotten what fiction is for. As a parallel for instance, the above "wilful excursion into the third dimension" is Stuart Pearson Wright's portrait of Rowling; it deserves better than to be exposed to the precautionary mummification that is art criticism. But then, so does everything else enjoyable in life.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM | Comments (2)

The Smashing Pumpkins:Tonight, Tonight

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

The Blogerati Files: Ghost of a flea

The Flea was recently featured as part of Blog TO's occasional series on Toronto bloggers. I have been in Toronto for a while but it is only recently I have felt of Toronto. So it is nice to be asked.

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

February 16, 2007

Now with extra impaling

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The Creative Assembly has released its much anticipated Medieval II: Total War; surely the definitive strategy game for PC. But with terrifying system requirements - and a monster 11Gb of uncompressed hard-drive space just to install the thing - I expect I am going to have to wait for my hypothetical computer of the future before I get to play. That and a few spare weeks when I do not need to eat or sleep.

The game is set between the years 1080 and 1530. Like the original Medieval, it focuses on medieval warfare, religion, and politics in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. However, unlike its predecessor, the timeframe stretches into the era of the historical discovery of the New World, and simulates the discovery and conquest of the Americas.

Now featuring castles, witches and tactical battlefield simulations sufficiently detailed to show your virtual troops impaling the hapless enemy. These screen captures give some indication of the juiced up detail in sets and setting. I am particularly impressed with this desert castle siege; that is not a painted back-drop, it is a rendered object. Curly-toed slippers don't fail me now!

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM | Comments (7)

Stromkern: Night riders

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

February 15, 2007

Renaissance 2054

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A Daniel Craig film you probably have not seen: Craig is the voice of Barthélémy Karas in Renaissance. This is the closest thing to Blade Runner since, uhh, Blade Runner.

Renaissance takes place in a futuristic Paris, where giant corporation Avalon has made a business out of the obsession for longevity. Ilona Tassueiv, their most brilliant researcher is kidnapped. Avalon’s CEO and the police want her found at any cost, so they get hostage retrieval specialist Officer Bartholomew Karas on the case. He soon realises he’s not the only one looking for her and that his rivals are prepared to go to any lengths to beat him to her.

There is something enormously appealing to me about an off kilter Paris of the future in French sf; with its debt to Los Angeles 2019 this Paris of 2054 is my favourite. But let's be clear about something: This is not Blade Runner. Maybe if Blade Runner was wearing beer goggles and made the beast with two backs with Immortel ad vitam its love child would look something like this. More important than the visuals - despite its visuals - this is a hard boiled crime story, not a film noir.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM | Comments (4)

Unter Null: Destroy Me

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

February 14, 2007

The real old time religion

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Doreta Peppa recently took the floor at the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It must have been something to see: For the first time since the dawn of Christian dictatorship, pagans are offering proper worship to the gods of Olympus.

To the astonishment of onlookers, Peppa also began babbling Orphic hymns, before thrusting her arms upwards into the Attic skies and proceeding, somewhat deliriously, to warble her love for the gods of Mount Olympus. But, then, for the motley group of modern pagans coalesced around the temple's giant Corinthian columns, this was a special moment. Not since the late fourth century AD, when the newly Christian Roman state outlawed all forms of pagan worship, had a high priestess officiated on the sacred site.

The Guardian notes the Orthodox Church is not happy about this situation but it seems to me the real problem for a revived paganism lies just across the water. At least Christians could pay the jizya through those long centuries of Ottoman rule; humiliated, alive and nominally "People of the Book". Ellinais would have a much harder time of it. Time for some careful note-taking from 300..

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM | Comments (12)

Blood: Orgasmatik

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

23

I am dreading The Number 23 because of the confluence of my general annoyance with Jim Carrey and the inevitability of future conversations in which I am lectured on the eerie recurrence of the number. Yeah. Thanks for that. Just so we are clear, and for the record, there are quite a few of us who have been aware of the problem for some time. Wikipedia does a fine round-up of the 23 Enigma. Further study is best pursued by a close reading of Illuminatus!; pay special attention to the page numbering. If Robert Anton Wilson is going to be ripped off once again his estate at least should benefit from some book sales.

Don't get me started on the number 5.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM | Comments (4)

February 13, 2007

Mark 13:24-37

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But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall He send His angels, and shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

The remainder of the passage may be found at Chamorro Bible. Alongside it: A high resolution image of two F-15 Eagles intercepting two Soviet MiG-29s on their way to Canada. Such was the contest between the Light and the Dark. Now the Power of the Unclean Spirits of the Air has gone to ground, his works to be found in box cutters and snuff films and someday soon the shipping container that makes its way across the line.

Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM | Comments (6)

Silke Bischoff: Felix in the Sky

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

* Hat tip to Montieth. Also via Montieth: Katie's Firearms Facts. I suspect we are looking at a future Prime Minister; this is the best of Canada.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM | Comments (4)

Crudelia Horror Artist

And you are also building vampire fangs? It takes a half hour to do some fangs? It is really that difficult? Not bad questions. A better question, you call yourself Crudelia? Dude: I know you are from Moldavia or wherever but you need to rethink the name lest Hasselhoff forever be your destiny.

In related news: Marry me German pink hair girl!

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

February 12, 2007

Too good to last

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Sad news for Flea-readers not already in the know. It occurred to me Sky One should have been thinking about releasing the next season of Hex by now and I went for a look. No luck. Hex has been canceled and season three is not to be. Such is the fate of occult horror in prime-time. Or indeed of any horror in any medium undiluted by comedy or romance.

It was marketed by Sky as "the British Buffy" and was also compared with Charmed, but in the June 9, 2006 issue of Entertainment Weekly, the creators stated that whereas Charmed and Buffy were send-ups of the horror genre, Hex took its mythology seriously and not for camp. The show depicted teen sex, alcohol and drug use, mental illness, abortion, and human sacrifice. It was eventually announced in April 2006, sometime after the end of the second series, that it would not be returning for a third.

Only one year out of date: An improvement on my Lawrence of Arabia lore, at least.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

Blutengel: Bloody Pleasures

There's a whole lot of Flea-dancing going on in this one: Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

Goth Sex

This MTV documentary about Goth Sex: Goth or not goth? Probably not safe work and if it is are you hiring?

Related: Prep to Goth. Prep to Metal actually but who I am to quibble. They do a great job on Emo.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM | Comments (4)

February 09, 2007

Rough Trade: High School Confidential

Possibly the second greatest pop single of all time.* Ladies and gentlemen: Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

* The greatest pop single of all time being Suspicious Minds.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM | Comments (2)

I think I shall never see

Transcendent goddess, Aishwarya Rai and Bollywood co-star Abhishek Bachchan are engaged to be married. But first, Aishwarya has to contend with a lawsuit from folks upset at her purported tree marriages (hat tip to Rantburg).

Over the last six months Miss Rai and Mr Bachchan, 30, have been spotted entering temples in the holy cities of Varanasi and Ayodhya to perform "puja" or prayer ceremonies. Astrologers have said that Miss Rai's astrological chart is "manglik", or Mars-bearing, which, according to Hindu tradition, can have negative consequences for their impending marriage.

Traditionally, "manglik" women are required to go through a ceremony marrying them to a peepal tree, a banana tree or a silver or golden idol of the Hindu god Vishnu in a ceremony known as "kumbh vivah".

You can see the problem. Though I gather we share something like 70% of our DNA with banana trees so this is nothing like as ridiculous as what Kirk would get up to in an average ST:TOS episode; and no lawsuits there.

Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM

February 08, 2007

The Exhibition

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The question: Can I get to London before June 10? I suppose I had expected the Exhibition to travel beyond Australia's shores. But somehow the thought never crossed my mind the Australian government would let the gold hotpants leave the country. If ever there was a national treasure... (hat tip to Agent Bedhead)

Focusing on the evolving image of Kylie Minogue, this exhibition features performance costumes, accessories, album covers and photographs, set against a backdrop of music and video.

The exhibition shows Kylie's continually changing image, from 1988 onwards, starting with the overalls she wore as Charlene in Neighbours. It also includes the infamous gold lamé hotpants worn in the video for Spinning Around and the white hooded jumpsuit featured in the Can't Get You Out of My Head video.

Best have another look at Spinning Around. It's the only way to be sure.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM | Comments (7)

The Streets: Prangin' Out

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (with a shout out to SondraK).

Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM

Not about sex

China takes to pole-dancing. You see? I am generally right about these things. Though I gather this is all meant to be in aid of exercise and not about sex. No matter. Socialism with Chinese characteristics still has a ways to go (via Danwei).

Treadmills are run-of-the-mill -- Luo Lan wants the Chinese masses to pole dance instead. As manager of Beijing's first pole dancing school, Luo says she is trying to make exercise fun -- and not morally corrupt anyone in a country where this kind of dancing is associated with seedy bars and sex is still a taboo topic.

But she admits she has had a tough time convincing people that pole dancing, which has a celebrity following said to include pop star Britney Spears and heiress Paris Hilton, is great for your health.

I cannot help but point out the seven pages of images accompanying the article strongly suggest uniform boots are a mandatory part of the curriculum. Quite right too.

Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM

February 07, 2007

Dance! Dance! Dance!

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Gabber is a form of Dutch hardcore techno distinguished by its ability to impel juiced up crap cars at speed through suburban housing developments in the small hours. That and a dance style all its own.

Originally the Gabber dance style called "hakken" was used to dance to the slower jumpstyle music which is inspired on breakdance moves performed by MC Hammer but later a new dance evolved called "Skiën" (to ski). Skiën means kicking your feet forward and backward on the bass-line, while your torso goes the opposite way (right foot forward, torso back), once in a while lifting (one of) your feet significantly higher than usual to indicate a break in the beat. The jitterbug also contains the typical kicking moves of "skiën". The dance is also called skank but is different from the Skank associated with Ska/goth/rock/metal genres. Often another variation of this dance called "Duo-Jump" is performed by two people who choreograph their movements and perform them in unison along side one another.

Which is all very interesting. This is one of those times, however, when a YouTube link is worth a thousand words. Flea-readers: Dance! Dance! Dance! Dance! Whether these latter day Swing Kids will have the mettle to face the Dark Times upon us is an open question. Jumping is not a crime, yet. Neither is music or flying kites or sending your daughter to school. And for the moment it remains a crime to throw acid in the face of a girl who has slighted your honour. So by all means dance while you can; but for the love of God pay attention. This could very well be the soundtrack for the mob when it finally takes up the torch against the enemy and then it will be jumping in earnest. For the moment, if I can convince my rivethead army to learn these moves we are going to fully own Savage.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM | Comments (2)

Kompressor: The Girl from Ipanema

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Rivet-media Update: I should confess this is my second favourite Kompressor single. My favourite is his Paul Simon cover.

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

Need I remind you, 007, that you have a license to kill, not to break the traffic laws

I suspect Louis Vuitton is about to discover running an auto manufacturer is about a good deal more than brand management. Though it will be fascinating to watch them try to do better than Ford; I hope they surprise me. There are deeply entrenched shibboleths in the auto sector that might only be challenged from the outside.

Aston Martin is being bought by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, the most high-profile luxury goods consortium in the world, joining the 60-or-so other brands that already make up the group. Aston Martin will be the first luxury car brand in LVMH's portfolio and it is the first to be run by a lifestyle/luxury goods group.
Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM

February 06, 2007

Immortel ad vitam

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How to describe this film? Basically, if The Fifth Element had inappropriate teenage sex with a mid-'80s Epic magazine on acid times a hundred it would be something like Immortel ad vitam. That's the visuals. The "plot" takes the same inspirations and throws them in a blender with Aleister Crowley channeled through a metric Ouija board. And for some reason New York of the future has the Eiffel Tower. I have never seen anything like it. This is one of the few films I have ever watched right through the end credits, stopped and then watched again from the beginning if only to be certain I did not accidentally write the thing in some parallel reality where I get production money.

I love this movie.

A summary of the graphic novel gives the gist of the thing.

"It's the year 2023 and Alcide Nikopol has been revived from a state of suspended animation after 30 years orbiting Earth. In the meantime, the planet has suffered two nuclear wars, and France is ruled by the ruthless dictator J.F. Choublanc. The immortal gods of Egyptian antiquity have also reawakened to revive their rule over humanity, and they now hover above the crumbling technopolis of Paris in a massive stone pyramid/airship. Horus, the renegade falcon god, takes possession of Nikopol's body, rendering him immortal, and concocts a conspiracy to overthrow the Choublanc regime. When Nikopol cracks under the pressure of Horus's possession, he is reduced to muttering the poetry of Baudelaire while he wanders the halls of a mental hospital."

Trust me, those aren't spoilers.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM | Comments (7)

Brazilian Girls: Talk to La Bomba

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

Dreadnaught

There has been quite a bit of speculation in the press following the newly revealed anti-satellite capability of the PLA. Commentary that is not motivated by celebratory nihilism, self-loathing and will to decline tends to take the line the downing of a satellite is nothing to be alarmed about*; any hostile action at the onset of hostilities might take out one or two birds and all that would be left of the launch site would be a smoking crater.

This line of argument strikes me to be flawed for two important reasons. First, no American administration in recent memory has demonstrated a willingness to deal firmly with this sort of contingency. Second, and just as important, the ChiComs are not stupid. An alarming revelation in the Air Force Times appears to support the second of these contentions.

As worldwide attention focuses on China’s first successful anti-satellite missile test, U.S. officials are questioning why some Chinese spacecraft are in orbits that bring them close to key U.S. satellites, according to military sources. The big question is the scale and progress of the Chinese anti-satellite program, including whether the Chinese spacecraft are benign or time bombs that can someday be used to threaten the space assets on which the U.S. military and economy depend for everything from reconnaissance and dropping bombs to logistics, communications and navigation.

The Chinese spacecraft don’t appear to be conducting any particular mission. Rather, “there is a menu of missions that could be performed that we are not yet clear about,” said one source. “These things aren’t being sent up there to be space rocks.”

Mr. President: How many Pearl Harbor's is the West meant to endure this decade?

* Excepting the pesky resultant debris. The Canadian media seem to believe the Chinese have created a traffic hazard or, worse yet, littered in orbit. Both inconsiderate acts though it would be impolite to point this out too strenuously. Back to sleep, Canadia.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM | Comments (5)

February 05, 2007

Non-fiction

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Dark Roasted Blend hosts images from the "American Memory project in a '30s collection: Pulp Fiction Comes Alive. Let's bring back this Chicago.

Library of Congress "American Memory" project contains a significant amount of Pre-War photography. Usually seen only in the movies and in the pulp fiction illustrations, this time period is gloriously reflected in genuine shots of real people and life situations, done in color and with exceptional clarity.

Also impressive: A frozen wave. Move over Lawren Harris.

Posted by the Flea at 07:37 AM | Comments (2)

Christina Aguillera: Candyman

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:34 AM | Comments (2)

February 02, 2007

The woman who doesn't exist

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Never underestimate the power of Lacanian analysis; or rather, of the logic of desire that can be graphed using Lacan's methods. Take Marilyn Manson as a for instance. Does the end of his relationship with Dita Von Teese signal a problem with my supposition of a McGowan Effect? The apparent difficulty was Manson's taking up with the wholesome Evan Rachel Wood. But not for long; I say. Oh, the relationship may last, I would suggest for approximately the same time as each of Manson's previous relationships. His psychic defenses appear to be capable of misrecognizing his beloved in another through a specific series of operations whose telos is as predictable as Rachel's forthcoming change of hair colour. It is not the persistence of Manson's neurosis which I doubt but the persistence of Rachel Evan Wood's supposed wholesomeness. Go Fug Yourself points to a transformation that is already well underway (hat tip to Agent Bedhead).

Oh, but before we go: WHAT IS THE DEAL, woman?

I mean, seriously. Has it escaped your notice that you appear to be shacking up with Marilyn Manson? And that you're 19, and he's, like, 38 or so, and also a horrific prince of doom? Did he give you beer goggles that make him look like Kiefer Sutherland? Does he turn back into a cuddly little pumpkin after midnight? Is his junk made of Diet Coke? WHAT? What is it?

Because it's rather well documented -- we're certainly not the first to say it -- that you are starting to turn yourself into his ex, Dita Von Teese.

For further details Flea-readers might refer to Joyce Huntjens "Vertigo. A vertiginous gap in reality and a woman who doesn't exist." Manson's neurosis is nothing exceptional.

Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM | Comments (3)

Qntal: Von den Elben

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM

Jesus is the Answer Cooling Spot

Having been asked to draw attention to a transcultural nursing expedition I confess to a moment of skepticism. Then I remembered the Flea's working day is basically a transcultural nursing expedition and I need to fear for my footing. And I must say the view - from the Okanagan Valley or the warmer vistas of Ghana - is impressive. Is it too late to pack my bags?

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

February 01, 2007

Nomenclatura

BlackParadeWednesdayMourning.jpg

For anyone who thinks "The Flea" is a bit OTT namewise, I suggest a quick look at Carpe Nocturne's Goth of the Month page.* Wicked Mina, Tryst and Dante Belmont are typical. My favourite is the extraordinary Wednesday Mourning. Though someone in Carpe Nocturne editorial needs coaching on the your/you're distinction, I hope we can agree her visage is as resplendent as her moniker.**

My name is Wednesday Mourning and I was born and raised in San Antonio although I currently live in Hollywood. I am a book geek that loves to model and I have been involved in Goth scene for more years than I can remember.

* Second from the left on their navigation bar. I cannot stand it when I cannot link to specific pages...
** And no naughty thoughts along the lines of "I've never heard it called a moniker before!"

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM | Comments (3)

Faun: Andro

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

Martial's epigrams

Joseph S. Salemi has engaged in the admirable project of translating previously Bowdlerized epigrams by Martial. Reaction to his work is worth remembering the next time you hear someone describe universities as places of learned debate and free enquiry. It is to laugh.

Responses were predictable: after reading some of my Martial translations in public, I was excoriated by the usual contingent of born-again Christians and militant feminists. Some academic careerists quietly urged me to drop the project of translating so repellent an author, lest I offend those inscrutable forces that dole out promotion and tenure. Editors showed even less spine; only six American journals out of fifty-four would publish selections from Martial--and this from a literary establishment that proclaims itself a defender of artistic freedom against Senator Helms. Typical was the comment of one trendy New York editor: "I enjoyed your translations immensely, but I could never print them."

Regrettably, the material is a bit risqué for the Flea. But well worth the look for anyone thinking Rome is misrepresenting the Romans.

Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM | Comments (4)