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June 30, 2008

Oingo Boingo: Bim Bam Boom

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

Society for Creative Rock Anachronism

Picture the word "Flea" burned into the Moon with a death ray (hat tip to Quotulatiousness).

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

June 27, 2008

Miles Davis & John Coltrane: So what

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM | Comments (1)

The spirit of resistance

The Supreme Court says Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting in a decision which I gather is the first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history. Rantburg comment takes the decision to task: Self-defense and hunting are fine but they are not the point of the 2nd Amendment. Deacon Blues sums up the problem.

I'll have to read the two opinions but it sounds like the supreme Court has limited the owning of weapons to self defence and hunting, not what the constitution or the framers of the Constitution said. Thomas Jefferson wrote, 'The 2nd Ammendment shall never be construed as to give Congress the power to deprive law abiding citizens of their arms'. He also wrote, 'What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms'.
Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM | Comments (1)

The name of action

Victor Davis Hanson channels the ghost of Hamlet's father and the "can't do society".

Action entails risks and consequences. Mere thinking doesn’t. In our litigious society, as soon as someone finally does something, someone else can become wealthy by finding some fault in it. Meanwhile, a less fussy and more confident world abroad drills and builds nuclear plants, refineries, dams, and canals to feed and fuel millions who want what we take for granted.
Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM

June 26, 2008

Nicholas needs

1. Nicholas Needs YOU!
2. Nicholas Needs A Loving Family
3. Nicholas Needs Your Help
4. Nicholas needs lots of adult attention and may occasionally exhibit attention-seeking
5. Nicholas needs a predictable schedule and quiet atmosphere.
6. Nicholas needs to go to the doctor!!
7. Nicholas needs to see "Remake of the Jedi".
8. Nicholas needs to make it on his own
9. Nicholas needs money fast to provide for his mother and sister.
10. Nicholas needs her, too.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM | Comments (8)

Enduser: Your Drawings

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

June 25, 2008

Doctor Horrible

Not only the trailer for Joss Whedon's web mini-movie but a harbinger of what is quite possibly the best film of all time (hat tip to the Sister of the Flea).

Posted by the Flea at 12:04 PM

Zero 7: Destiny

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

Who killed Lilly Kane?

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This Amanda Seyfried layout in Italian Vogue - and the fact I have finally finished watching season three** - means this is a good time to mention Veronica Mars. If you have not seen the show, please consider doing so. The first season is some of the best television in any genre, ever.*** Think 90210 produced by David Lynch and directed by Joss Whedon.

Also, Kristen Bell.

* Courtesy of Agent Bedhead who also forwards this Pajiba review of Veronica Mars season one. I did not read the piece until I had watched all three seasons but I am funny that way.
** The Sister of the Flea told me to watch it several years ago. It took me a while to catch up.
*** Yes, including Deadwood, Rome and The Wire. I also think the Fantasy Island pilot kicks ass.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM | Comments (3)

June 24, 2008

Letter to the Ephebians

Terry Pratchett creates gods all the time. He now suspects one might exist.

There is a rumour going around that I have found God. I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.

But it is true that in an interview I gave recently I did describe a sudden, distinct feeling I had one hectic day that everything I was doing was right and things were happening as they should. It seemed like the memory of a voice and it came wrapped in its own brief little bubble of tranquillity. I'm not used to this.

I know the feeling.

Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM

Ernesto vs Bastian: Dark Side of the Moon

This right here is what we call high concept. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM | Comments (3)

June 23, 2008

The Wizard of Northampton

Pádraig Ó Méalóid talks to Alan Moore (Part I and Part II). Worth the read for all the usual Alan Moore goodness and for the expression "over the radar". Also, the observation that as the world becomes more virtual, physical artifacts become all the more precious; a thought I had had myself. I am also delighted to learn of The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic, a "clear and practical grimoire of the occult sciences that offers endless necromantic fun for all the family."

... there are pages of theoretical essays upon what magic is and how it works. There’re practical articles on how to actually do the different things that magic can do. There’s this bestiary of demons and gods and other things that you might be lucky or unfortunate enough to bump into.

... there’s a Kaballah board game which we’re struggling with at the moment. It’s do-able but we’re just got to work out some layout problems. There’s the Tarot deck that I shall be commencing with José Villarubia…

Wonderful stuff, though to me the whole point of magick is "the pretentious, shadowy, gothy atmosphere". Consequently, I will approach this new work with a certain skepticism.

Posted by the Flea at 05:47 AM

Minnie Driver: Invisible Girl

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 05:44 AM | Comments (1)

June 20, 2008

Notes on Religion

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"Compulsion in religion is distinguished peculiarly from compulsion in every other thing. I may grow rich by art I am compelled to follow, I may recover health by medicines I am compelled to take against my own judgment, but I cannot be saved by a worship I disbelieve & abhor."

- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Religion (October, 1776)

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM | Comments (1)

David Bowie & Sonic Youth: I'm Afraid of Americans

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

June 19, 2008

Whiiped

A word of warning to Flea-readers thinking of purchasing a Wii Fit. Yes, their are incentives. But consider this: The device tracks your progress and keeps a log. All fun and games until your girlfriend decides to keep tabs on your diet.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

Malice Mizer: Kioku to Sora

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

June 18, 2008

By all possible means

Cannot quite believe I am reading a critique of the Lisbon Treaty, Ireland's rejection of said treaty and Gordon Brown's illegal attempt to circumvent the democratically expressed will of the Irish people in the Telegraph. Remember: Ireland's four million voters may appear to represent only a tiny voice of extremists considering the half billion people effected by the result of their vote. But then they were the only Europeans who could express their opinion of this evil treaty as only Ireland asks its people to vote on the subject. This might just be the sound of a door being wedged open.

The argument that 4m Irish should not thwart the will of 500m people would be more compelling if it were remotely true. But at least parliaments are ratifying the treaty by due constitutional process, so the legal formalities have until now been observed. But the expulsion of Ireland is not legal. Any attempt to proceed without Irish compliance is a Putsch.

One cannot remain a member of a union that engages in putschs and scoffs at international treaty law, especially one that is about to create an EU supreme court (ECJ) with sweeping jurisdiction over all Union law - including justice - and that beyond appeal.

We may all have to tax out consciences very soon and decide whether to resist this Putsch by all possible means.

That last sentiment is gaining currency across what is left of the West.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM | Comments (5)

Cabaret Voltaire: Just Fascination

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

Idea showers

The BBC compiles some helpful management speak that should come in handy to Flea-readers everywhere (hat tip to the Parental Units of the Flea).

"My employers (top half of FTSE 100) recently informed staff that we are no longer allowed to use the phrase brain storm because it might have negative connotations associated with fits. We must now take idea showers. I think that says it all really."
Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM | Comments (3)

June 17, 2008

Duran Duran: Secret Oktober

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

A career-threatening display of professional integrity

The Arjun battle tank acquires a growing fan club.

In a series of interviews with the army, including the present Director General of Mechanised Forces, Lt Gen D Bhardwaj, and with the MoD top brass, Business Standard has learned that opposition to the Arjun remains deeply entrenched. This despite the soldiers of 43 Armoured Regiment declaring that if it came to war, they would like to be in an Arjun.

Minister of State for Defence Production, Rao Inderjeet Singh recounts: "I've spoken, off the record, to officers who have gone through the trials. Even the crews (from 43 Armoured Regiment)… who have been testing the tank… I forced them to choose between the Russian tanks and the Arjun.

I said, you've driven this tank and you've driven that tank (the T-90). Now mark them out of ten, which tank is better? And I've found that the Arjun tank was given more numbers than the T-90 tank."
Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM | Comments (2)

June 16, 2008

Fisking revisionism

Victor David Hanson replies to backs a truck over Pat Buchanan.

Patrick J. Buchanan got upset that I wrote a column about the World War II revisionists, especially his book, and that of Nicholson Baker’s on the allied “crimes” of bombing German cities. I produce his column by paragraph and then comment in brackets.
Posted by the Flea at 07:33 AM | Comments (1)

Witt/Heppner: Die Flut

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

Paris Hilton's secret shame

You have no idea the effect this has on me. I'm cereal.

(via Agent Bedhead)

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

June 14, 2008

Oceania has always been alllied with Eurasia

Is France America's new best friend? Umm. No. But good news from Ireland and a blow to the EUSSR.

For all its benefits, many people feel, the Union is remote, undemocratic and ever more inclined to strip its smaller members of the right to make their own laws and decide their own futures.

Clinging to guns and religion and the blindingly obvious too, no doubt.

Posted by the Flea at 10:17 PM

June 13, 2008

Why you should buy your girlfriend a Wii Fit

I was behind the curve on this one.

Posted by the Flea at 01:29 PM | Comments (7)

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission

So said Eleanor Roosevelt, a champion for universal human rights back in the day when the left still believed in the idea, believed such rights were innate, were morally superior to cruelty and ignorance and barbarism, were worth fighting and dying to preserve, protect and extend to every man, woman and child on earth. Today she is quoted by free people sneered at as racists for refusing to endorse the submission of women made evident in sexual-mutilation and child "marriage", refusing to accept apartheid law in place of common law, refusing to accept medieval sumptuary law in place of self-expression or blasphemy law for freedom of speech. Most grotesque of all, dismissed as racists by neo-Nazis and their allies and their apologists for the new crime of opposing genocidal anti-Semitism; this in living memory of the Holocaust.

With every concession to the forces of Dark Ages reaction we are conceding to the annihilation of what we are. Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary Jackson and Kathy Shaidle are right: Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission. We must not pander to the assumed superiority of those who would intimidate us. We must live as if the revolution has already happened.

I will not accept my opposition to an ideology dressed up as a religion is "racism". It is not. Accepting the submission of people far away about whom we know little is racism. I will not accept any excuse for the continuing mistreatment of hundreds of millions of people for their misfortune to have been born into political and spiritual bondage. I will not accept the rights my ancestors fought and died for - my close relatives fought and died for - can be ceded in favour of some cult's gibberish. My rights are granted by God and a firm resolve, not some Dark Ages fever dream. And I will not under any circumstances accept the authority of jumped up drumhead trials run by my moral and intellectual inferiors no matter the content or provenience of their particular lying holy scrolls.

Perhaps I am another American born in the wrong place becasue I quite literally take these truths to be self-evident:

... that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

The hell with their blasphemy laws dressed up as "human rights"; they have twisted those words into a great evil and Eleanor Roosevelt is turning in her grave. If they are going to charge me with something they should charge me with sedition.

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

The beclowning of io9

Lest anyone take it seriously, io9 beclowns itself with an absurd list of the top ten most realistic planets in science fiction. These people know nothing whatsoever about sf.

One of the worst examples of unrealistic science in movies is the overly simple alien planet. Oftentimes, our heroes will visit the desert planet, or the Irish planet. But the best extraterrestrial worlds in science fiction are the ones with variety and a realistic ecosystem. They have cities as well as countryside, and a range of environments. Here's our guide to the most realistic — and interesting — planets in science fiction.

First of all, the Ringworld - while awesome - is not a planet. Second, exsqueeze me but where is Arrakis? Medea? Compared to the io9 list, Gor?

Finally, and most importantly... Naboo? I mean, they have included freaking Naboo? A planet whose core is made of water? At least Tatooine and Coruscant had the decency to be ripped off of interesting science fiction planets, even Kashyyyk is a more credibly rendered Lucas world (in the suppressed Christmas special version if not the heretical "prequels").

Related: The all too realistic clouds of Venus.

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM | Comments (5)

Flyleaf: Sorrow

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:37 AM

Saint Anthony, Patron Saint of Bacon

My co-workers at St. Elsewhere found this Saint Anthony figurine and proclaimed, "It's Nicholas!"

Based on the circumstances surrounding them, some Saints become "patrons" of people, occupations, places or things. It's never been easier or more affordable to bring the power of a Patron Saint to your aid. Each 3-3/4" tall, hard vinyl Saint comes with a 3" base and a removable backdrop that includes a Prayer to Assist with the Enjoyment of Quality Bacon.
Posted by the Flea at 06:33 AM | Comments (3)

June 12, 2008

The chains of history always rust away

David Warren writes that while in the long run the pen may very well be mightier than the sword that in the short run power does indeed grow out of the barrel of the gun. Despite this dispiriting observation we must not despair, must remember "the chains of history always rust away."

This is a point worth recalling, as we head into a period in Canada when, owing to malice from an ideological camp, to cowardice on the part of our elected representatives, and to indifference on the part of the people, free speech and freedom of the press will disappear in Canada. Those who deviate from the officially-sanctioned lies of "political correctness" will emigrate, perhaps mostly to USA, or experience that peculiar form of internal exile -- of enforced silence -- that good men have shared in many times and places.

My own political education was provided in part by several impressive Czech exiles from Communism, with whom I fell in as a young man. What I learned from them is that under an ideological regime, the best men live in jail, or are assigned to work in tanneries and collieries, where other good men may be found. The worst men live in luxury and power.

I have bad days like this too. And why not? For all the paper thin guarantees of the Charter, Canadians have no more rights before the law than Czech dissidents did forty years ago. This is not only the province of those few singled out for the extremity of their views or, increasingly, those singled out for their audacity to mock the Canadian Establishment. This is also about the systematic silencing of what used to be Canada across entire professions, academic disciplines, the federal and provincial civil service, the arts and the media. To merely hold as private opinion what was until recently the law of the land can now produce fines, imprisonment and - worst of all to my mind - public recantations.

There was a lot I did not like in what used to be Canada: A priggish, self-satisfied narrow-mindedness, the public imposition of private morality and a nose in every window. Much of which, I suspect, would not have bothered David Warren in the least, transparent as the imposition of his religious views on the rest of us might have been to him at the time. But it dawns on me now not a thing has changed; Canada's clothes are new but the sour expression remains.

Yet we must not despair. I share a conviction with David Warren if not the particulars of his faith. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierces me that in the end the Shadow is only a small and passing thing: there is light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.

Related: Which element of the Periodic Table do you think should be taxed next?

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM | Comments (8)

Crush the fat bastards

I "detect" grounds for a human rights complaint as the obese of the world are attacked by the United Nations. Occam's Carbuncle, however, is in rare agreement with that august international body.

Go U.N.! Crush the fat bastards!

I'm thin and I eat like a pig! Yeah! They'll never catch me! Nevaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!
Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

Joy Division: She's Lost Control

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With a shout out to Agent Bedhead, whence the Eva Green pictorial. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM

June 11, 2008

Yes, it gets worse

Free Dominion has discovered the mediator assigned to their first Richard Warman defamation case just happens to be...

... ok, here is a brief interlude for Flea-readers south of the border. Think of Free Dominion as a publisher in a Kafka novel or possibly of a noiresque PKD plot-twist or better yet a particularly unrealistic Alan J. Pakula Sunday afternoon offering on TBS. Now think how this might apply to the actually existing legal system of the country just north of you. Seriously, Canadian Flea-readers should no longer be surprised but we can get popcorn while you think about it.

Doo dee doo dee doo.

Ready? To continue:

Free Dominion has discovered the mediator assigned to their first Richard Warman defamation case just happens to be... a co-worker of Richard Warman! Imagine the odds.

RTWT/AW

Posted by the Flea at 07:02 PM

§ 111. enormity / enormousness

J.K. Rowling - who is a babe - delivered a commencement address to the ungrateful of Harvard. NPR reports.

A reluctant public speaker, Rowling began her address alluding to the enormousness of her task. "The first thing I'd like to say is thank you," she said. "Not only has Harvard given me an extraordinary honor. But the weeks of fear and nausea I've experienced at the thought of giving this commencement address have made me lose weight!"

Good news. Which brings me to my point: Enormousness? I gather NPR editors are a part of the stickler fifty-nine percent. But surely to deliver a speech requires no act of immensity and, given the audience, a sense of enormity is entirely appropriate. And screw Bartleby's committees besides, the big brains are still against them: Down with prescriptivism!

Posted by the Flea at 12:04 AM | Comments (2)

The Birthday Massacre: Looking Glass

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 12:03 AM

South of Hambantota

The Chinese military builds a listening post on a Burmese island while the Chinese government builds a billion dollar port facility in Sri Lanka. India, meantime, has an airbase in Kazakhstan and has built a space monitoring post in Mongolia. The Great Game continues with new players and a new focus: Control of the shipping route south of Hambantota.

This battered harbor town on Sri Lanka's southern tip, with its scrawny men selling even scrawnier fish, seems an unlikely focus for an emerging international competition over energy supply routes that fuel much of the global economy. An impoverished place still recovering from the devastation of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Hambantota has a desolate air, a sense of nowhereness, punctuated by the realization that looking south over the expanse of ocean, the next landfall is Antarctica.

But just over the horizon runs one of the world's great trade arteries, the shipping lanes where thousands of vessels carry oil from the Middle East and raw materials to Asia, returning with television sets, toys and sneakers for European consumers. These tankers provide 80 percent of China's oil and 65 percent of India's — fuel desperately needed for the two countries' rapidly growing economies. Japan, too, is almost totally dependent on energy supplies shipped through the Indian Ocean.

The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) has concluded China is close to beginning the production of aircraft-carriers.

Posted by the Flea at 12:02 AM

Too bad

Rosie DiManno introduces Malalai Kaker; wife, mother . . . and pistol-packing deputy police commander in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Malalai Kaker wears a headscarf and a shoulder-holstered pistol. A broad leather belt holds up the trousers of her stock issue blue-grey police uniform – clearly not designed for a female's contours, and most especially not a female who's barely five feet tall.

Shucking off the scarf impatiently, Kaker fires up a cigarette and inhales deeply. It's the first time I've ever seen an Afghan woman smoking. But Kaker is a woman of many firsts.

Via Damian at The Castle, citing Kaker: "For men, it is particularly insulting to be arrested by a female officer. Too bad."

Posted by the Flea at 12:01 AM | Comments (2)

June 10, 2008

I have never written science fiction

Describing himself as the heir to Edgar Allan Poe and Jorge-Luis Borges, Harlan Ellison is interviewed for the Studio 360 podcast. Look, I enjoy Ellison enormously and want to be like him when I grow up. But this is a bit much. Also, having finally seen Soldier and Demon With a Glass Hand, I think James Cameron has nothing to apologize for re. The Terminator.

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

Kerli: Walking On Air

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (hat tip to an As Yet Unrecognized Creative Genius).

Related: An interview with Estonian pop princess, Kerli Kõiv. They had me at "Estonian".

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

Affected nonsense

Ace considers the affectations of Liberal Urban Professionals. His critique of Starbucks coffee - and Starbucks coffee drinkers - is exactly right; its consumption is purely symbolic. The people who claim to enjoy it prove they do not know what a real cup of coffee tastes like, thereby beclowning themselves.

Many liberals are much concerned with setting themselves apart as members of the socio-cogno-cultural elite, and yet don't have any particularly strong claims on such status, to wit, either aristocratic lineage, high accomplishment in one's field, or (as ever) a big stinking heap of money.

And thus these idiotic cultural/tribal signifiers -- an otherwise inexplicable romance with rather overpriced and often-burned coffee sold in strip-malls and walking-malls by a vendor with some light European pretensions, a rage about this or that independent movie that all of the smart-set agrees is a must-see, which hot new vodka is currently the only one to drink, etc. -- occupy such a disproportionately large part of the Luppies' mindspace.

They're not just buying coffee at Starbucks, you see. They are, for just $3.99 per Venti, establishing or reinforcing, they think, that craved position in the social/cultural/cognitive elite that otherwise eludes them. Renting status at a steeply-discounted price, considering the various other ways -- either difficult or expensive or both -- to actually obtain it.
Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM | Comments (6)

No surprises here


Find out Which Marvel Superhero Are You at LiquidGeneration.com!

Via Agent Bedhead, who is a DC girl.

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM | Comments (4)

June 09, 2008

Pink Floyd: Point me at the sky

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:44 AM

June 07, 2008

An axe for the frozen sea inside us

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn't wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? ...we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us."

- Franz Kafka, Letter to Oskar Pollak (27 January 1904)

Posted by the Flea at 08:11 AM | Comments (1)

AC/DC: For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)

With a shout out to Ezra Levant who aims to misbehave. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

This is what democracy looks like Update: What could Mark Steyn's punishment look like, if he's convicted by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal? It could look like this.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM | Comments (3)

June 06, 2008

A nice knock-down argument for you

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Jay Currie asks us to remember Alice as she stepped Through the Looking Glass - "as we have this week" - and met Humpty Dumpty.

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master— that’s all.”
Posted by the Flea at 07:33 PM | Comments (5)

Tribeless, lawless, hearthless one

Jon Schaff asks whether vampires have rights.*

Let's consider the ontological status of the vampire. The vampire is certainly non-human, but is it sub-human? The vampire has certain characteristics in common with humans, suchDracula as the ability to reason, self-awareness, the capacity to experience pain (especially in the day time). By the standard advocated by many ethicists (especially defenders of abortion and euthanasia), it is not humans that have rights, but persons. It is self-consciousness and ability to reason that, they say, defines a personality. Vampires are not human, but they are persons. By this measure, vampires have rights and it should be wrong to kill them without due process. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, far from being a heroine, is in fact a genocidal maniac.

Quick, paging Faiza Hirji to the human person's rights phone!

* This via Jonah Goldberg, who argues:

I don't have time to dwell on this ... But it seems to me that the founding fathers would unequivocally say that vampires do not have rights because rights come from God (or our creator). Vampires are undead and exist solely thanks to satanic or other demonic forces. They shy from God and God's love and therefore do not deserve the protections all of God's creatures are entitled to.

Carl Pham points out, I believe correctly, Goldberg is advancing a Manichaean and therefore heretical position.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM | Comments (2)

Highland: O fortuna

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM | Comments (6)

If it's true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the others here for

From an email: "I have some questions".

Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety-one?

If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhea...does that mean that one out of five enjoys it?

Why do croutons come in airtight packages? Aren't they just stale bread to begin with?

If people from Poland are called Poles, then why aren't people from Holland called Holes?

If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist, but a person who drives a racecar is not called a racist?

If it's true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the others here for?

If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, then doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?

If Fed Ex and UPS were to merge, would they call it Fed UP?

Do Lipton Tea employees take 'coffee breaks?'

What hair color do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men?

I thought about how mothers feed their babies with tiny little spoons and forks, so I wondered what do Chinese mothers use. Toothpicks?

Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What are we supposed to do, write to them? Why don't they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the mailmen can look for them while they deliver the mail?

Is it true that you never really learn to swear until you learn to drive?

If a cow laughed, would milk come out of her nose?

Whatever happened to Preparations A through G?

As income tax time approaches, did you ever notice: When you put the two words 'The' and 'IRS' together, it spells 'THEIRS'?

Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM

June 05, 2008

The Viceroy and the Monarch

PrawfsBlawg considers academic obscurantism and the studied prose of Judith Butler (via Instapundit).

This is not to say that obscurity is always unnecessary: Sometimes tough ideas call for tough prose. (Again, think of Kant's transcendental deduction, which cannot easily be translated into plain language, because it asks difficult questions about the most basic grounds of experience and language. Of course, it does not help that Kant was German: The Teutonic style famously lacks the light touch). To my mind, Butler's prose mimics this necessary obscurity like a Viceroy mimics a Monarch butterfly -- to avoid being devoured by predators who are scared off by the appearance of tough ideas that are hard to swallow.

Related snark: Andrew Coyne covering the witch-trial in British Columbia, emphasis added. This one goes with a shout out to Cartoon U. grads everywhere.

McConchie sums up for the tribunal: getting a PhD from a “reputable Canadian institution” — I believe he’s talking about Carleton — is a worthy achievement, but she hardly has the expertise claimed, particularly as she’s barely started her career.

Tangentially related: The "idiot bloggers" at the Western Standard. I have aired some of my disagreements with the Shotgun but somehow I find I am now proud to have been involved.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

Nico: It has not taken long

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

It was all beginning to feel like a bad night in an opium den

The gothic revival of 1994 and a peculiar - to my mind, at least - refusal to describe oneself as goth.

Maybe we dreamt it all -- the swirling black dresses, the long, teased rats nest hairdos, the overabundant eyeliner and lipstick, the bone earrings and belts, the death-pale faces. But no, they were real enough, and there were crowds of them, shrouding the clubs in London in murky gloom, staring at the stage... But at whom did they stare? At all those self-respecting bands, of course, not of whom were gothic.

All a bit strange to me. Once you have the outfit and the eyeliner, embarrassment is no longer a creditable indulgence. Something like horror writers describing themselves as "writers", "novelists" or, if pushed, as proponents of "dark fantasy". Fine, ok, but more interesting is to credit Nico with the first goth album, either The Marble Index or The End.

"Nico was in there, too," Ian Astbury confirms. "Because there's a lineage between the Velvets [The Velvet Underground] and punk. But Nico just ended up in Manchester on heroin. Southern Death Cult supported Bauhaus at Salford University when she did 'Waiting for the Man' with them, and Pete Murphy had to hold her up, she was so smacked out!"

Murphy himself sensed something else, though. "Nico was gothic, but she was Mary Shelley gothic to everyone else's Hammer horror film gothic. They both did Frankenstein, but Nico's was real."

Related: The Bromley Contingent.

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM | Comments (4)

June 04, 2008

Be one of 18 million

American Flea-readers: You know what to do. Stand with Hillary.

Related: June 12 is Carbon Belch Day.

Smoke cigars, do a partial load of laundry, drink bottled water, and feel no shame. That's what a campaign against a carbon trading bill is urging.
Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM | Comments (4)

Timelords: Wow!

The Church of England considers Doctor Who as a teaching aid and, hopefully, a means to boost its popularity (hat tip to a Celtic Warrior Queen). I await word on the theological ramifications of hiding behind the sofa.

A conference of Church of England vicars watched a handful of episodes from the sci-fi series to study its religious parallels, particularly its themes of evil, resurrection and redemption. Similarities between the Doctor and Christ, as well as whether the evil Daleks are capable of changing, were also examined.

Yes, the Daleks. Because examples of metaphysical evil are in such short supply in today's England. A good idea nonetheless.

Related: Tissue of dead humans to be cloned. Soon Ghola Churchill will be back... and he will be pissed. Time to put some stick about.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM | Comments (4)

Siouxsie and The Banshees: Face To Face

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM

Bikinistar Galactica

BikiniStarbuck.jpg

I almost decided to borrow Ace's flaming skull for this one but I figure a picture is worth a thousand words. Or skulls and that.

I don't know what the publication is, and to tell you the truth, I don't care much.
Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM | Comments (4)

June 03, 2008

Steyn Showtrial Day 2.2

Steyn Showtrial Day 2.2: Andrew Coyne calls it a day that will live in entropy.

Posted by the Flea at 11:16 PM

Air: Run

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

To have her, please, just one day wake

Bear McCreary, conducting cue 4m21 of episode 10 of this season's "Battlestar Galactica" at Henson Recording Studios in Hollywood on a recent Monday afternoon.

"Crescendo into bar 46. Much more dramatic -- get to the forte in 45. Bar 34, subito piano on beat two."
...
'Galactica' offers some of the most innovative music on TV today. A glance at the score for 4m21 shows why: Chinese membrane flute, Indian bansuri flute, duduk (a soulful Armenian woodwind), erhu (Chinese violin), yialli tanbur (a Turkish lute), dumbek (Middle Eastern drum), Japanese taiko drums -- plus four brass players, those 30 strings and a 12-voice choir.

Related: McCreary interviewed at Galactica Live.

Also related: McGill grad, Alessandro Juliana performs Gaeta's Lament and thereby provides plot clues for viewers more attentive than I have been.

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

Posterity

L.E. Modesitt Jr. considers the posterity of todays SF&F writers: Will any of them outlive J.R.R. Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe or Mary Shelley? Sales and popularity are poor indicators of potential influence.

Because critics seldom seem to consider history, although they've doubtless read about it, readers tend to forget little things like the fact that Shakespeare was NOT the pre-eminent playwright of his time, and that Beaumont and Fletcher ended up interred in Westminster Abbey long before the Bard did. Rudyard Kipling won the Nobel Prize for literature, but few today read anything of what he wrote anymore, except for The Jungle Book, Just So Stories, and a handful of poems.
Posted by the Flea at 06:21 AM

June 02, 2008

Tolkien gots to get paid

Claiming the Tolkien family is owed £80m by New Line Cinema, Christopher Tolkien is engaged in "one last crusade" to stop The Hobbit film(s) from going ahead.

... at a hearing on June 6 Christopher Tolkien will ask a Californian judge to back his claim that he can “terminate” film rights to The Hobbit. He is said to be furious with the New Line studio, which earned £3 billion from the Rings trilogy. Tolkien’s lawyers accuse New Line of “accounting chicanery”. Warner Bros, owner of New Line, declined to comment.

In an internet press conference last night, Jackson and del Toro answered questions about the new films, which will cost about £150m to make over the next three years.

The first will be rooted firmly in the original book The Hobbit, following the naive young Bilbo on a quest for dragon’s gold and showing how he obtained his all-powerful ring. The second will cover the 50 years between his return home and the events of The Lord of the Rings. That period is described in The Silmarillion, a collection of notes and tales assembled by Christopher Tolkien and published four years after his father’s death in 1973.
Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

Aimee Mann: Wise Up

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM | Comments (2)

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen

Christopher Hitchens addresses an open letter to President Bush reprinted in the Spring 2008 issue of World Affairs (via the Drink Soaked Trots). His subject, North Korea.

Dear Mr. President,

I can still remember with what great satisfaction so many of us viewed your decision, on June 13, 2005, to receive Kang Chol-Hwan at the White House. His name is not yet as well-known as it might be, but his book, The Aquariums of Pyongyang, has become a classic in a minor key for its unsparing depiction of life in the penal colonies of North Korea. It’s quite possible that this network of camps represents the most ghastly system of inhumanity currently operating on the planet, and thus that it confronts our generation with a challenge that is of Gulag proportions. One day, its victims will want to know what we were doing while they were confined in it, and we had better be ready with a respectable answer.
Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

June 01, 2008

Quickly! Back to the village!

How we carefully observe and protect the last uncontacted tribes.

Posted by the Flea at 10:27 AM | Comments (1)