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August 31, 2007

Eloi Eloi!

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Kate Beckinsale is hesitant at the idea of a (public) appearance as Wonder Woman for the same reason she turned down a Bond Girl role. It turns out... oh, so difficult to type these words... she is concerned about embarrassing her family.

"I do feel like I've embarrassed my daughter enough, and notice you always have to be in your underwear at some point in a James Bond film. I'm becoming elderly, for that sort of thing. Maybe not me so much, but I think once the child gets into third grade…that was the whole question with Wonder Woman, because it's still essentially underwear. So I don't know, but…you never know."

Catwoman remains a possibility for Beckinsale "Because I have a thing for black latex. I do, I know we all do." So there remains a star to be seen through Mordor's gloom.

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

The Smiths: Oscillate Wildly

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Three Little Pigs

As read by Christopher Walken.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

August 30, 2007

Keep the faith

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To get to Eagle Mountain, go to Lehi and drive west. The Deseret Morning News calls it Utah, only more so. The weekend starts with Fetish Friday, apparently.

To understand Utah you might also look for Eagle Mountain's polar opposite. And you might think you've hit the jackpot when you stumble upon an advertisement that reads "Club @ Fetish Fridays. Blue Boutique Fashion Show. Naughty Nurse Give-Aways. '80s mod, inds & Gothic."

And so you write it on your calendar: Wednesday morning at Eagle Mountain. Friday night with the Goths.

Though, being Utah, the place is alcohol free. Which is twisted.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM | Comments (11)

Pinback: Fortress

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

Greedo Does T-Dot

There is something about Greedo on the TTC I find enormously appealing. A little local colour for anyone curious about Toronto too.

Related: No Doubt performing The Imperial March; I like the little ska twist at the end. Sadly, no Gwen Stefani in Stormtrooper armour. Imperial Death Star Gunner armour, say. Hot.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

August 29, 2007

Pete Heller: Big Love

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:21 AM

She blinded me with science

Cambridge mathematicians have identified Jessica Alba as having the perfect wiggle. Funny, I was just thinking earlier that there is probably more than a coincidental resemblance between a wiggle and an infinity symbol...

The academics found that it is the ratio between hips and waist that puts the sway into a woman's walk - and the nearer that ratio is to 0.7, the better.
This ratio provides the body with the right torso strength to produce a more angular swing and bounce to the hips during the walking motion. Therefore, a woman with a 25in waist and 36in hips would have just the right proportions to carry off a sexy swagger as she walks.
The Jessica Alba sashay beat off competition from Kate Moss, Angelina Jolie and even Marilyn Monroe, whose walk along a railway platform in Some Like It Hot is one of the most famous in film history. While Monroe was a fraction off the target ratio with 0.69, the Cambridge team said that Alba had the perfect proportions.

Via WWTDD? who illustrates the case for Jessica Alba rather forcefully. Related, Jessica Alba swimming in slow motion.

Posted by the Flea at 06:17 AM | Comments (1)

August 28, 2007

Vex'd: Thunder

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

God, Honour and Homeland

The Polish Army; a tribute. I suspect you could put this music* over me standing in line at Tim Horton's and it would be (more) epic but, still, this is awesome. Love the F-16s. I will take one Polish ally over the rest of Western "Europe" put together.

* That being "Lux Aeterna" by Clint Mansell.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

August 27, 2007

Pro bono

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Warren Ellis' Sunday Hangover column is up at Suicide Girls. It has the usual dose of exemplary snark. What it does not have is any acknowledgment of the Suicide Girls lawsuit against photographer Philip Warner, aka Lithium Picnic; this despite my note to Ellis' literary agent a week ago. I can only conclude Ellis either believes Suicide Girls is right in its case or that he is not much bothered so long as he keeps getting paid for his weekly column.

Aside from the immediate tragic of an Apnea-deprived internet is to learn this case has been dragging on for months. The PVC Straightjacket pictured above was sold at auction months ago toward legal fees. And so a door closes until the end of time (more on that subject re. archaeology and supposed anthropogenic global warming tomorrow).

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

Common feat. Dwele: The People

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

Slave Leia

Slave Leia makes it on E! Countdown. Slave Leia photo shoot at DragonCon. Leia Live at ConnectiCon 2006. Slave Leia bellydances to Tusken Raider's drum at MegaCon. These posts write themselves.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

August 24, 2007

Kirk would know what to do

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It terrifies me there are Flea-readers who knew of the existence of Casey McKinnon and said nothing, assuming I too must know of her existence. But no. No cable; which is no excuse given her podcast fame*. Somehow my psychic abilities had let me down... until now.

Casey McKinnon is a new media producer and actress who was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. She has worked and appeared on three internet TV shows: A Comicbook Orange; Galacticast and Kitkast.

Her work has been documented in The Hollywood Reporter, BBC News, Rolling Stone Magazine and The Guardian, among others. Her recent work on Galacticast has also garnered five Vloggie awards: favorite fictional entertainment, favorite collaboration, favorite web site design, and two awards for special effects.

Well earned, I am certain. Casey McKinnon has a blog, btw. Loads of A Comicbook Orange to be found on YouTube; I loved her thoughts on Frank Miller. Just engrossing.

* Arguably nsfw link, but who cares, you only live once; also these interview questions.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM | Comments (5)

Paul Oakenfold feat. Brittany Murphy: Faster Kill Pussycat

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Also, some H.R. Giger: Ready Steady Go.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

Not your typical Myers-Briggs personality types

The benefit of science. Still, reassuring to have ones intuitions confirmed. Now looking for a Mad Scientist...

ENTJ: The Evil Overlord

The ENTJ is best characterized by his charisma, his ability to grasp complex situations and to think flexibly and creatively, his keen and active intelligence, and his overwhelming desire to crush the world beneath his boot. ENTJs are naturally outgoing and love the company of other people, particulalry minions, henchmen, slaves, and the others they rule with ruthless efficiency.

ENTJs usually die at the hand of secret government agents in a fiery cataclysm that destroys their entire underground fortress. Often, Evil Overlords will have a secret clone whose implanted memories contain all the knowledge and ambition of the original, stored in cryonic suspension in a safe location. The clone will appear in a sequel.

RECREATION: ENTJs enjoy spending their leisure time in groups, seeking out the company of others with whom they can exchange strategies and ideas, and test their mind control rays. They also enjoy competitive games which challenge them intellectually, such as chess, go, and "tell me where the missiles are or I'll open the pirhana cage and the girl dies."

COMPATIBILITY: Ideal companions include ENTPs, whose inventive natures often most useful; and ESTJs, who make excellent henchmen once the neural realignment is complete. ENTJs often employ the services of ISTJs but don't usually make good romantic partners with them. Under no circumstances should an ENTJ ever date an ENFJ; no good can come of it.

Famous ENTJs include Ming the Merciless, John Bigboote, and Charles Montgomery Burns.
Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM | Comments (3)

August 23, 2007

L

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Showing its usual flair for reducing the inherently interesting to pablum, ABC News considers celebrity fashion lines. Eva Mendes, Eva Longoria, Liz Taylor, Sarah Jessica Parker, Britney Spears, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, J. Lo, P. Diddy; these are just a few names about which no analysis need be offered. Keywords! Branding! Sex sells! And how they conclude Gwen Stefani's line is in any sense Vivienne Westwood-inspired is beyond me. Note to Phillip Blotch: Analogy is not the same thing as homology.

Admittedly, Gwen Stefani's own characterization of her work is a bit rocky.

The initials of her first album gave her the name for her fashion label, L.A.M.B. When the line debuted on the New York catwalk in Fashion Week of September 2005, Stefani described it as 'a little bit Sound of Music. A little bit of Orange County. A little bit of the Rastafarian rasta girls. A little bit English Great Gatsby garden-party girls. Pretty much the same thing I always do, but different versions of it.'

Yes, all those English Great Gatsby garden-party girls... still, such confusion is to be expected. I have always contended artists should avoid comment on their own work. Flea-readers need not despair on informed comment, however, Stefani's new L.A.M.B. frangrance, "L" is well represented by the auteuse. Agent Bedhead has the video.

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

Nina Hagen: Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen

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

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

Megnézed a bélyeggyûjteményem?

Something interesting is happening in Hungary. Take Sturmast, Larrnakh and Romokon, for example.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM | Comments (1)

August 22, 2007

Clippers of the clouds

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"Distinguished inventors of marvelous machines in the line of steam and electricity," the Reade Family - Frank Sr., Frank Jr., Frank III, and Kate - were the original steampunks.

These aeronuatic adventures directly inspired Jules Verne's stories such as The Steam House, Robur the Conqueror, and Master of the World. Reade's helicopter airships predate Verne's "Albatross" by several years. Manufactured entirely at the Reades' foundries and machine works in Readestown, Pennsylvania, the ships were constructed from a bullet-proof aluminum/steel alloy of Frank Reade Jr.'s own invention. Chemical generators powered the rotors and the vessel's electrical systems, such as sources of light and heat. The ships were airtight and could be pressurized for high-altitude flight. The craft were well-armed, and their decks were electrified to repel boarders. Fully loaded, the ships were capable of traveling around the world without making a single stop.

Big Red Hair offers a thrilling introduction including an astonishing profile of robots of the Victorian era; Boilerplate must be the best robot name until R2D2.

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

Garmarna: Vanner Och Frander

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

Shoewawa Report

The Manolo reports on Moscow, St. Petersburg and Berlin's High Heel Racing events (via LGF).

Manolo says, for those of you who do not follow the sporting pages, in Eastern Europe July is the month for the sport of High Heel Racing!
Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

August 21, 2007

Imperial Moon

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Francis Drake, Henry Hudson, James Cook and, of course, Robert Scott; that is how we used to make them. Greg3 presents "steampunk in 1/6th" with a Victorian space explorer and a tale of the first Moon landing (hat tip to Gregorgoth). Now not only counter-factual but sadly, entirely fictional.

In 1899, Britain added the Moon to it's Empire. The mission was the result of decades of work by the Empire's greatest engineers, scientists and mathematicians and culminated with Captain William Harland (Royal Navy) planting the British flag on the lunar surface. Over the following week, he explored the area around his landing site - collecting samples of rock and dust (to study back in his spacecraft) and making observations of the nearby highlands. ... Unfortunately, there was no plan for getting him back to Earth, and after transmitting his final findings back to Earth by wireless, he was never heard of again...
Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM | Comments (2)

Spiritual Front: Slave

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

* More here.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

A very British Olympiad

Eddie Izzard presents a case for performance debilitating drugs (nsfw language).

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

August 20, 2007

A game of chants

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RugbyHeaven calls it "a game of chants' - rather clever, that - and lists some varying responses to New Zealand's national rugby team pre-game ritual; purportedly the words of Ngati Tao chief, Te Rauparaha, by all accounts a charming fellow. There are varying degrees of disapproval.

But this New Zealand All Blacks vs Ikale Tahi, Tonga's Sea Eagles demonstration of the Haka* and Tonga's Sipi Tao is perhaps the most awesome thing I have ever seen on the internet (via the Drink Soaked Trots). Related: A Samoan Siva Tau, a Fijian Cibi and, last but not least, Scotland's response to the Haka.

* Loving the Flea-ish version from 1924.

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

New Order: Everything's Gone Green

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

The tip of the iceberg

A news crew lands by helicopter on an iceberg off the South Island of New Zealand. Spectacular.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

August 17, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen; it is almost midnight!

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While I would hesitate to agree it is a masterpiece of architecture*, I will concede BMW Welt is impressive as US$275m showrooms go.

Strolling through BMW Welt, with its cyclone-shaped entrance and billowing, cloud-like facade, it is easy to forget why the carmaker built this more than €200 million palace: to hand over cars to customers. Starting in October, about 170 vehicles a day will be delivered to the cathedral-like showroom at BMW Welt (BMW World, in English). Rather than picking up a new car at a local dealership, drivers who pay a little extra for the privilege will come here to take delivery of their vehicle, finding it bathed in a spotlight and rotating on a turntable.

Even in a country famous for its worship of the automobile, rarely has so elegant a form been harnessed to so mundane a function. "Our dealers are like local churches, while BMW Welt is St. Peter's Cathedral," said Michael Ganal, BMW's director of marketing.

Which is to hyperbolize. The central cyclonic feature is certainly suggestive of a numinous presence - I too would have been watching construction with interest - and what with my brand proclivities there is some part of me which finds it difficult to imagine owning anything but a BMW.** But turning an auto purchase into a religious act is a bit of a stretch even in these post-moral times; especially at €457 ($630) for the privilege. Though I expect the place will make nice mosque down the line.

* Blogging should involve something slightly more than reprinting corporate press releases.
** I shudder as I type these words.

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

Trentemøller: Evil Dub / Moan

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Update: Remix.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Now with less Basra

The British Army updates its recruitment ads; love the regional accents. Still, they are going to find it hard to compete with the Royal Navy in fleeing the field. Though I notice civilians are doing a fine job of that task without the benefit of the Queen's shilling.

Britain is facing a mass exodus of people looking to escape the crime and grime of modern living. The country’s biggest foreign visa consultancy firm has revealed that applications have soared in the last seven months by 80 per cent to almost 4,000 a week. Ten years ago the figure was just 300 a week. Most people are relocating within the Commonwealth - in Australia, Canada and South Africa. They are almost all young professionals and skilled workers aged 20-40.

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

August 16, 2007

She's like so whatever

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I have been meaning to write about Avril Lavigne because she is AWESOME. (Seriously.) What Would Tyler Durden Do explains.

Avril Lavigne acts like some hardass and lectures everyone else in music and yet her own music is the most empty headed pop nothing imaginable. The Wiggles are like devil music compared to her sugary nonsense. Even dudes at pride week would call her record "faggity" and tell her to butch it up a little. But she does have a hot body and surprisingly big boobs, and as it turns out, girls with big boobs are really interesting and have well thought out opinions. Not to mention, tales of adventure and storytelling so vivid and awesome, it's almost like being there! Please, please go on, you're fascinating! Kelly did what? With Brad right there? OMG LOL!

Paris is our Vietnam Update: k-punk's latest withering attack on pop-ism or, to his mind, more properly a species of Deflationary Hedonic Relativism seems à propos. Particularly given my anarcho-dandyist tendencies, so readily confused with a "Wildean/ Warholian celebration of superficiality."

Perhaps those a little deeper into middle age than I am were still subject to the proscriptions and prescriptions of a Leavisite high culture. But it seems to me that popists now are like Mick Jagger confronted with punk in 1976: they don’t seem to realise that, if there is an establishment, it is them.
Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM | Comments (11)

Nelly Furtado: Do It

Also vivid and awesome: Nelly Furtado. I have been studying this video as if it was for an exam. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal

A fine view of Sydney Harbour and a rather closer look at Sydney Harbour Bridge than I have the stomach for.

Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM

August 15, 2007

Coming out of the coffin

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Fans of Deadwood and, to a lesser degree, Rome, having wandered far in the deserts of HBO, may now at long last hold out some small hope for True Blood, which looks to me to be their rejoinder to Blood Ties (no matter what reading the book purely by chance and could not put it down as HBO tanks and, oh, look, Lifetime is doing well with this Tanya Huff property Alan Ball says). Anna Paquin is set to play Sookie Stackhouse, sure to irritate fans of Charlaine Harris' novels, but I think an excellent choice.

The series follows Sookie Stackhouse, a barmaid living in Louisianna who can read people's minds, and how her life is turned upside down when the Vampire Bill, walks into her place of employment two years after vampires 'came out of the coffin' on national television.

More developing news may be found at the True Blood LiveJournal community, itself a clue to the women-with-cats fanbase of the series. Here's to hoping Anna Paquin's tits* will bring in the X-Men side of fandom. Also set to feature? Utilikilts. I gather these give utilikiltarians a sense of "freedom".

* I struggled with this expression, but not for very long. On a related note: Is Snape good or bad... What? More in this vein tomorrow, I'm afraid.

Posted by the Flea at 04:44 AM | Comments (1)

Digital Mystikz: Haunted

Dump your low-end speakers. Get into sub-bass... Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 04:43 AM

August 14, 2007

Every boy who reads at all

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Christopher Hitchens reviews Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. But for an entirely unnecessary - if inevitable - foray into God not being great, it is a fine summary (via the Drink Soaked Trots). I am particularly grateful for his pointing to a corner of Orwell's oeuvre that had escaped me.

In March 1940, in the “midnight of the century” that marked the depth of the Hitler-Stalin pact (or in other words, at a time when civilization was menaced by an alliance between two Voldemorts or “You-Know-Whos”), George Orwell took the time to examine the state of affairs in fantasy fiction for young people. And what he found (in an essay called “Boys’ Weeklies”) was an extraordinary level of addiction to the form of story that was set in English boarding schools. Every week, boys (and girls) from the poorer quarters of industrial towns and from the outer edges of the English-speaking Empire would invest some part of their pocket-money to keep up with the adventures of Billy Bunter, Harry Wharton, Bob Cherry, Jack Blake and the other blazer-wearing denizens of Greyfriars and St. Jim’s. As he wrote:

“It is quite clear that there are tens and scores of thousands of people to whom every detail of life at a ‘posh’ public school is wildly thrilling and romantic. They happen to be outside that mystic world of quadrangles and house-colors, but they can yearn after it, daydream about it, live mentally in it for hours at a stretch. The question is, Who are these people?”

Quite. One might ask the same of all these Muggles reading about magick. George Orwell's "Boys' weeklies" is available on-line.* It is an astonishing read... Orwell has anticipated the heart of Hogwarts with uncanny accuracy.

* My favourite passage:

These people are patriotic to the middle of their bones, but they do not feel that what happens in foreign countries is any of their business. When England is in danger they rally to its defence as a matter of course, but in between-times they are not interested. After all, England is always in the right and England always wins, so why worry? It is an attitude that has been shaken during the past twenty years, but not so deeply as is sometimes supposed. Failure to understand it is one of the reasons why Left Wing political parties are seldom able to produce an acceptable foreign policy.

Orwell goes on to address another question, viz why is there no such thing as a left-wing boys' paper? With her pro-Muggle, pro-House Elf and Slytherinophobic leveling ideology, one might argue J.K. Rowling is the first to achieve something close to it with Harry Potter.

Related: Christopher Hitchens is not just for breakfast.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM | Comments (7)

Laurie Anderson: Smoke Rings

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

Oh wait, is that the maid's house?

The Daily Show considers Big Wind in Nantucket.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

August 13, 2007

Free Apnea

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Apnea is off-line thanks to a reported lawsuit launched by alternate totty empire, Suicide Girls against independent photographer Philip Warner, aka Lithium Picnic. Apnea explains.

Hi everyone,

This is Apnea with some not-so-happy news.

As a result of the ongoing pressure and financial losses incurred from defending against Sean Suhl of SuicideGirl's $100,000 lawsuit against Philip for shooting me for my site apneatic and the emotional stress and damage this has done to his business, Philip is taking the Lithium Picnic site offline until further notice.

I've taken it over for now so he can focus his time and resources on his case and raising funds. Please contact him at lithiumpicnic at gmail dot com if you have a paid project that you would like to discuss with him.

SG is now making the preposterous claims that they taught him photography and web design and they are going after the profits of my site.

You can read my response to their recent public statement HERE.

Apnea goes on to explain Philip is selling his Houston studio and much of his photography gear. Nightmarish. Due to his writing a regular column for Suicide Girls, I sent a note to Warren Ellis about the controversy. Flea-readers with pertinent legal expertise might also consider volunteering some time to the cause; surely there is none better.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM

Emilie Autumn: Dead is the New Alive

Live at Wave Gotik Treffen... something to shoot for.* Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

* I'm melting!

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM | Comments (1)

August 10, 2007

The bourgeoisie and the rebel

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Brownfield formed/spawned/congealed in the Golden Horseshoe, Toronto-based VOSQQ (pictured above) claim to "redefine the state of unified, renewable undeath." Love it. Wishing they had a video to link; I am a fan of violinists.

Soon to be Ottawa-based Synkro "started making noisey music in his mothers womb. No wait...in his fathers testicle." He is also shares the Flea's mastery of Jägermeister shots.

The entrancing Notaform is a self-classified "sample junkie". Must ask what she sampled for the introduction to "Venus"...

John Kameel Farah is redefining electronica by drawing from "Middle Eastern and Western Baroque to 20th-century serialism and minimalism, as well as the deep, complex percussion loops of the dance floor." Which is a lot of isms to bodyguard subtle, beautiful music.

Notaform and John Kameel Farah play Savage Garden, August 30 while VOSQQ and Synchro are booked to play Savage this coming September 27; both nights are Toronto Noise Promotion Technical Glitch events. Also awesome, September 13 a new harsh noise night begins at Savage begins, F*ck'd. And for my sins, I will be playing all three nights.

Posted by the Flea at 06:34 AM | Comments (2)

Depeche Mode: Strangelove

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:33 AM | Comments (4)

The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead

What may be a life preserver from the Edmund Fitzgerald has washed ashore 200 miles from the cite of the famous wreck. James Lileks elaborates in verse (via Instapundit).

A farmer in socks was out huntin’ for rocks
In the land they call the Keweenaw
He spied a big log in the depths of the fog
And could not believe what he then saw

A round thing quite old and all grotty with mold
With a name a songwriter had heralded
A ship that held ore and had passed into lore
‘Twas the ring of the Edmund Fitzgerald!
Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM | Comments (4)

August 09, 2007

Good artists borrow

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Saying suicides are "given less of a grace period than those who die young in accidents or from illness", the New York Observer reports from Jeremy Blake's funeral and references some of the lurid reportage following the death of Blake and Theresa Duncan (via The Seaword*). While not discounting the more unfortunate accounts of her life, this passage about Theresa's blog moved me.

Paranoid postings aside, the blog most often chronicled her relentless curiosity. She quoted Walter Benjamin and praised Charlotte Gainsbourg and would give only enough personal detail to leave the impression that she and Mr. Blake inhabited a strange, dark, fragrant other world, where Lunar Societies meet at midnight and one wakes up naked at dawn in a pink masquerade-ball mask.

There are some people who would read irresponsible fantasy, even duplicity, into creating a second life like this. Oscar Wilde had a different name for the practice, viz Art. William Blake, the Imagination.

On a related note, my comment especially.

* The image lifted from another post at The Seaword, "young, sexy & dead". A propos Theresa argument, I am fully expecting a film about the couple... vampires will continue to feed, even on the dead.

Ibid Update: The Seaword offers a sensible rebuttal. Though I should add Americans - and Canadians - tend to take the view that every reference must be made explicit in order to be legitimate. This is not the case in French scholarship. In a country where it is still possible to assume a readership with a classical education there is no need to telegraph an allusion to Plato. Sadly, the English-speaking world has a created a culture where sensible people can quote Scripture or Shakespeare and have not a clue they are so doing.

Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM | Comments (5)

Tenjo Chiki: Piranha

Not claiming to be deep here. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM

Satan versus Her Majesty The Queen

The Rhino Party is back. Or it will be once Satan sorts out Elections Canada.

The Rhinoceros party is trying to fight its way back from political extinction with a $50-million lawsuit against the federal government. Self-appointed party president Brian "Godzilla" Salmi filed suit in Federal Court in Montreal Tuesday over the 14-year-old election reform laws that stripped the Rhinos of registered party status. Salmi says he will run under the Rhino banner in a federal byelection in Montreal's Outremont riding, slated for Sept. 17.

The party lost status after federal electoral reforms came into effect in 1993 requiring parties to run candidates in at least 50 ridings at a cost of $1,000 each. Salmi promises to rename the country Nantucket, if elected. He has legally changed his name to Satan and, officially, the lawsuit is filed under Satan versus Her Majesty The Queen.
Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM | Comments (3)

August 08, 2007

Nina Hagen: Habanera

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (via Unicorn Bacon).*

* And, once again, the masterpiece.

Posted by the Flea at 07:41 AM

The latest from the dextrosphere

John Hawkins posts the results of his latest poll of right-of-center blogs on the subject of most and least preferred Republican presidential nominees. Fred Thompson takes it in a walk.

Posted by the Flea at 07:39 AM

August 07, 2007

They are building a clone army

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Or, rather, air force. Gateway Pundit observes Iran's recently announced Azarakhash "Lightning" jet (above) holds an uncanny similarity to their Saegheh "Thunder" jet (below) announced last September. As commenters to Rantburg note, Xerxes' descendants appear to have mastered a new manufacturing process using Photoshop. Note to Iran: your saber-rattling works best if you crib pictures of something with more oomph than an F-5, let alone pictures of the USAF flight demonstration team.

Slightly more serious is the possibility of two-hundred and fifty Su-30MKM Flankers and twenty Il-78MKI Midas aerial tankers supposedly on order from the Russians. Though even this prospect fails to impress comment at DefenseTech. Cynics there suggest a six billion dollar appropriation for sixty F-22s may have incentivised the story for the USAF and/or Lockheed Martin. The whole of the DefenseTech piece is worth a read particularly for discussion of "Cope India", a joint air combat exercise between the USAF and the Indian Air Force featuring Su-30s.*

The Su-30 is now flown by the air forces of China, India, Malaysia, Russia, and Vietnam. In February 2004, U.S. Air Force pilots flying the F-15C Eagle fought against Indian pilots in an exercise with several types of fighter aircraft participating, including the Su-30. The U.S. pilots lost the exercise, named "Cope India." However, the U.S. pilots did fight against odds of 3:1 and the F-15s did not use their AN/APG-63(V)2 electronically scanned array radars nor did they simulate using the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile. Still, the effectiveness of the Indian Su-30s did surprise many American observers.

* More on Cope India from Aviation Week & Space Technology. I believe it would be a mistake to write this incident off as a budget scare; particularly given my assumption the PLA air force would be as flexible as the Indians. Not to mention using rather more "grey market" tech than the IAF and asymmetric tactics disallowed in an exercise and, apparently, in the thinking of Western defense planners.

"The outcome of the exercise boils down to [the fact that] they ran tactics that were more advanced than we expected," Snowden says. "India had developed its own air tactics somewhat in a vacuum. They had done some training with the French that we knew about, but we did not expect them to be a very well-trained air force. That was silly.
Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM | Comments (1)

Doc Walker: Driving With the Brakes On

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

August 06, 2007

Vanessa Paradis: One

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:07 AM

Sometimes I feel like

Because we don't have enough to worry about with ceiling cat. Popular Mechanics offers tips on preventing hackers from peeping in via your webcam (via Instapundit). Their solution is reassuringly lo-fi. William Gibson is with us in truth.

Of course, the most secure piece of hardware is the one that isn't plugged in, so if you're really sketched out by the idea that someone might be spying on you, simply unplug your camera from the USB port. If, like me, you have an unpluggable webcam embedded in your laptop screen, you may want to blindfold it with a piece of tape.
Posted by the Flea at 09:04 AM

August 03, 2007

Sang-froid

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Writing for Newsweek, Jerry Adler describes a new practice of cooling patients so as to interrupt the complex process of dying from a heart attack.

Dr. Lance Becker, director of Penn's year-old Center for Resuscitation Science, frequently dreams about mitochondria: tubular structures within cells, encasing convoluted membranes where oxygen and glucose combine to produce the energy the body uses in moving everything from molecules across cell membranes to barbells. Recently mitochondria have been in the news because they have their own DNA, which is inherited exclusively down the female line of descent, making them a useful tool for geneticists and anthropologists.

But Becker is interested in mitochondria for another reason: he believes they are the key to his audacious goal of tripling the time during which a human being can go without a heartbeat and still be revived. That the five-minute rule is not absolute has been known for a long time, and the exceptions seem to involve low temperatures. Children who fall through ice may survive unexpectedly long immersions in cold water. On Napoleon's Russian campaign, his surgeon general noticed that wounded infantrymen, left on the snowy ground to recover, had better survival rates than officers who stayed warm near the campfire. Becker is hoping to harness this effect to save lives today.

So, God bless Dominique-Jean Larrey for that. It takes a rare mind to actually observe about the world, make reasoned inference from observation and act on it. He is long in the grave and still saving lives. More thoughts on the creation of the flying ambulance. Yet more on the man for French-speaking Flea-readers.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

Faithless: God is a DJ (live)

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Sixty children on the bus. Sixty children alive.

James Lileks writes about the Minneapolis bridge collapse.

10:21 PM I’m listening to a story on the news about a man who survived the fall – then ran to help the kids on the bus. I’d guess the fellow never considered what he might do in such a situation. Never thought about it much. Who would? But then you find yourself on a bridge that’s crashed down into the Mississippi, and you’re struggling with the seat belt buckle. It works , but your hands feel thick. You’re alive – which doesn’t seem that odd, really, you’ve always been alive, so this is just different, but you have strange thoughts about insurance and a mad swirl of panic and there’s blood in your hair but you can stand – and then you see a school bus. So you go to the bus. Of course you go the bus.
Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | Comments (3)

August 02, 2007

The Lunar Society of Los Angeles

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Jeremy Blake's body has been identified. Kate Coe's piece on the life and death of Theresa Duncan appears in LA Weekly. Quoting Duncan:

“Because competition contains so many shades of human behavior, including altruism, love and kindness, it makes the question ‘Are we winning?’ central to any entertainment.”

There is more than a touch of the Great Gatsby about the tale; I have always been a fan of the Great Gatsby. One thing I know for a fact: Having publicly, strenuously disagreed with Theresa I found her gracious not only in the course of the disagreement but once we realized we were never going to agree. In fact, I was most surprised by my own reaction to the encounter. I have, it has been observed, a Mercurial nature.* Theresa managed to side-step it by sheer charisma.

I expect once I am in the ground it will be easy for people to characterize me as having had a with-me-or-against-me temperament; I cannot say I found this to be true of Duncan whatever her disagreements with others. Heaven knows I have irritated enough people who will be glad to take a shot once they think they are clear of me.** Particularly if a summary of my life were to rely on the wrong former business partner and the wrong ex-girlfriend.

Kate Coe introduces her article by explaining she knew Theresa Duncan. Yes, at parties. But we can say what we like once people are gone and I expect Coe is best placed to tell this side of the story. Such are the second acts of American lives.

* And I appreciate those of you who choose to put up with it.
** They are wise to wait. Otherwise I suggest approaching from beyond my line of sight and by stealth.

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

Tegan and Sara: Back in Your Head

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

August 01, 2007

Baphomet, etc.

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My ongoing investigations into places nobody can hear you scream lead me back to the Giger Tarot, more properly the Baphomet Tarot, the product of an off-the-wall Swiss occultist, Akron and H.R. Giger. Flea-readers may be unsurprised to learn I own a copy; mine was purchased at a hobby store in wind-swept, storm-tossed and becastled Lancaster in the darkest north of England. I am a collector of these things so could hardly turn it down but given the deck consists of repackaged Giger paintings and is limited to the Major Arcana its utility as a working tarot deck is strictly limited.

Nonetheless.

I found an interview with the delightfully creepy Mr. Giger on the subject of tarot and this lead to something yet more interesting; an awesome take-down of pomo anti-occultism.* Having come to a post-Hermetic phase in my thinking, I am nonetheless committed to the idea one needs to study something properly before attempting to improvise on one's own. Picasso, after all, could paint like a Master when the mood struck him. It seems the braintrust behind the Baphomet Tarot is yet another of today's tarot establishment arguing for feeling over proper study: All Jung (without having read, let alone understood, Jung) and against Crowley (without having read, let alone understood, Crowley).

Akron's desire to disenfranchise Crowley from his work is nothing new of course. As I've outlined before in several pieces the work of numerous pomos (Nicholls, Arrien, Greer, for example) has been focused upon minimizing the importance of occultists and claiming a superficial respect for the Tarot artist as archetypal eruptor. In this view, the occultist can never do anything more than burden naturally free images with a ponderous personal crust of obscurantism, intentionally indecipherable to most readers. The pomo, egalitarian as always, reacts against this elitist complication, by demanding that the occultist has no legitimate authority to tell others what the images mean, even if he has designed them with specific meanings in mind. Of course, the pomo habitually follows up this declaration of independence by peddling his or her own dumbed-down interpretations of what it all means to the very people who are supposed to be naturally gifted enough to figure that out for themselves.

Quite right. It is amazing how people who talk up a relativist line manage to conclude with lock-step, unvarying and utterly inflexible platitudes as their bedrock. I hear the words "healing" or "consensus" and I reach for my gun. Though in fairness Mary Greer is very nice.

* Sometimes called "newage"... to rhyme with sewage.

Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM | Comments (3)

Bryan Ferry: Limbo

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:31 AM