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November 29, 2008

Sasha Dith meets Daagard & Morane: The Second Beat is Mine

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (1)

November 28, 2008

Lady GaGa: Poker Face

Poker Face - Lady Gaga

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

The Haunted Mansion

Disneyland meets Counter-Strike.

And the original.

(Via Dave Does the Blog)

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

The verdict

Does the new/old Enterprise suck? Shatner speaks.

I cannot say I agree with him. The original design was of a piece. The new design is not.

Related horrors: Twelve upcoming/ill advised remakes/reboots/retreads of classic pictures (via Agent Bedhead). Logan's Run I can live with. Creature from the Black Lagoon I can live with.

Forbidden Planet? No. The film was perfect. A remake is an abomination.

Tangentially related: Sony is having fun with its Terminator promotion.

Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM | Comments (1)

November 27, 2008

Not meant to be

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No sooner do I learn of the existence of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tarot than I discover Dark Horse are not going to release the thing.

Zut! Almost as disappointing as when I figured out the Carnivale tarot does not exist. Will have to settle for the Conversations with Dead People ouija board.

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

Prepare for the worst, pray for the best

A concerned Flea-reader writes regarding the Survivalist Militia community. He, Fenris Badwulf, wrote the following.

Nobody ever says much from the Survivalist Militia point of view. Where is the Survivalist Media? Is there a main stream Survivalist Media? Are they more or less biased than the main stream media?

What about funding? Is inadequate arts funding for Survivalist culture spending the root cause of the negative aspects of Survivalism? Do Survivalists feel unappreciated by the society at large.

I am concerned, a concerned citizen. I am outraged. Mayor Miller and his Toronto cronies should address spending initiatives for Survivalist cultural groups, let alone the inadequate number of programs for Survivalist senior citizens.

It is time that we, your money and my spending, take a stand against things we oppose.

Send me your money.

I care.

Your trustworthy ally and no questions asked trucking agent,

Fenris Badwulf

Excellent questions. Will Mayor Miller or his Toronto cronies respond? They will not.

Fenris Badwulf is a community organizer in Mitchieville.

Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM | Comments (1)

Grace Jones: Williams' Blood

Twenty years on, Grace Jones has released a new album, "Hurricane". Still astonishing at sixty, btw. Interview here and here.

Related: A Grace Jones/Adam Ant Honda ad. Also, Grace Jones interviewed by Johnny Carson in 1985. It was a more civilized time.

Finally, the studio version.

Posted by the Flea at 07:00 AM | Comments (1)

November 26, 2008

Batman kicks Superman's ass into next week

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Kryptonite gloves: Allow me to introduce you to them.

To elaborate on the point: Yes, Superman is faster and stronger and - with one notable exception - invulnerable. Batman, by contrast, has no superpowers whatsoever. Technically, he is not even a superhero. I get it. I get the point. In a fair fight, Superman wins.

So in what universe is Batman going to give Superman a fair fight? This is my point. Batman's superpower is being a pissed off white guy. I mean seriously pissed off. John McCain plus Die Hard to the power of Dirty Harry over 9000.

Batman is MY hero.

Posted by the Flea at 03:45 PM | Comments (1)

The philosophy of Batman

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Supergenius, Grant Morrison is set to kill off the Batman. While I regret to point out (the blindingly obvious point) this "fate worse than death" cannot possibly be a permanent feature of the DC continuity, the news has already lead me to some interesting fan rumination.

Morrison isn't interested in complexity for its own sake: The stakes are much higher than that. As his intoxicated performance at the 2000 Disinfocom indicates, Morrison believes that writing comics is magic that can literally alter consensual reality. In Watchmen, Alan Moore surpassed every prior comics writer at imagining the "real lives" of superheroes. Morrison upends the genre in another way. Batman, lacking super powers, achieves his dark mastery by adhering to the magus Aleister Crowley's Nietzschean maxim: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

I confess I had never thought of Bruce Wayne as a Thelemic Superman but I do like the sound of the idea.

Reminder: Middle class Batman.

Related: Batman would still kick Superman's ass into next week.

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Also related: The aforementioned Grant Morrison appearance at Disinfocom 2000. Think the Flea but with a Scottish accent.

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

t.A.T.u.: How soon is now

Posted by the Flea at 07:54 AM | Comments (1)

November 25, 2008

Tata Golosa: Micromania

This hits the floor around 1:30.

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

November 24, 2008

Shiny

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Firefly Ship Works, Ltd. are offering the first ever comprehensive map of the Verse. I am going to have to exercise restraint with this one. As the map is double-sided, the temptation is to purchase two copies for display purposes.

Over two years in the making, the Map of the Verse measures 25 inches by 38 inches and is printed on both sides of a sheet of 65 lbs cover stock (believe me, we needed the space). It documents the names, positions, sizes, populations and other never-before-published details of the 215 terraformed planets and moons orbiting the five star systems that comprise The Verse of Joss Whedon’s Firefly and Serenity.
Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

Ketch Harbour Wolves: Words

Via Damian.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

November 23, 2008

Commenting at the Flea

As long time Flea-readers will have inferred, for the sake of my blood pressure I make it as awkward as possible to leave comments. No spam and no idiots equals a serene blogging experience.

Unfortunately, it is now time to consider an alternative to TypePad. I am arriving via a different computer than usual this morning and, having been refused permission four times before I could post a comment to my own blog, I have to agree with reports the system has got wonky. Here is the unfortunate part: I have no clue how to get rid of TypePad and either install something else or default to MT's comment system (I am running version 3.2).

If someone could point me to on line instructions such as could be implemented by a five year old I would be most grateful.

Update: Halls of Macadamia reminds me why I make it difficult to comment.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

November 22, 2008

These are the rules

You laugh? You lose.

Via.

Posted by the Flea at 06:10 PM

V.I. Day

The Instapundit links to news of V.I. Day. It is good news on one front of our eternal struggle against the enemies of Oceania but if we are ever going to really win this thing what we really need is Victory on the Internet Day.

Posted by the Flea at 01:34 PM

A note on steampunk aesthetics

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Gluing sprockets and gears to a mouse does not make it a steampunk mouse. Given the role of the Bauhaus in killing off Victorian embellishment, it is with no small irony I say that form must indeed follow function. Replace the scroll wheel on the mouse with a gear and we are talking steampunk.

Take Frank Buchwald's lamps, for example. These are the business.

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

This is your brain on Flea

This Typealyzer gadget should come in handy. I am not unhappy for the Flea to be classified as "INTP - The Thinkers"; not that the Flea holds with Apple, mind you. This insight via Will who links to the personality types at issue.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need to stop whining and bout.

Yes, I am impatient with those people. They are also known as people who need to stop whining and read a book.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

Rick Astley: Sleeping

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:37 AM

November 21, 2008

The Unfinished Swan

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The scariest thing I have ever seen.

Or heard.

(On the internet, at least.)

Seriously.

More interactivity: Just keep the volume down. The compression on the music track annoys the neighbours. Trust me on this one.

Posted by the Flea at 12:07 AM | Comments (3)

The Chemical Brothers: Out Of Control

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 12:01 AM

November 20, 2008

Vote Flea

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For Favourite Guy Infidel Blogger. Get your dead relatives to vote too: Hope. Change. You know it is the right thing to do.

You may also know Ezra is going to take this in a walk - and quite right too - so think of me as a sympathy vote. In return: SMX-24 advanced concept submarine, Stone Age temple, Tom Cruise Nazi salute.

Lando Calrissian approves this message.

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

Schiller: Nachtflug

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

November 19, 2008

Testing

This is apropos of nothing in particular. It has just been a while since I tried to post an embedded YouTube video. Once upon a time these were auto-playing in some browsers; a source of some irritation. I would quite like to posting links this way, however, so would be grateful for feedback on mileage.

In return: Tetris.

Posted by the Flea at 06:12 PM | Comments (5)

Mia: Mein Freund

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM

The Matrix runs on Windows

Take the red pill. Get the blue screen.

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM

November 18, 2008

Noisuf-X: Hit Me Hard

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. For reals.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM

Fool me once

The Indians take a pass on the Nerpa.

The Russian Navy will commission the Nerpa nuclear submarine, on which 20 people recently died, rather than sell or lease it to India, the chief of the General Staff told a Russian daily on Tuesday. ...

"The sum of $650-780 million, which Rosoboronexport and the Amur Shipbuilding Plant had negotiated over a long period of time with the Indian Ministry of Defense, will now be found in Russia, either within the state weapons procurement program or somewhere else," the Rossiiskaya Gazeta quoted General of the Army Nikolai Makarov as saying.

Now the Indians decide whether to throw good money after bad on the Gorshkov.

"Pay up $2 billion more for the aircraft carrier Gorshkov, or else we call off the deal" - that was the Russian threat on Friday. But if the Russians had expected the Indians to whimper and comply, they were sadly mistaken. Former Indian Navy chief, admiral (Retd) Arun Prakash said, "This is nothing but sheer, bare-faced blackmail."

Russia suddenly upped the price three years after it signed a $750 million contract for supplying the refurbished Admiral Gorshkov to India. However, the Navy Chief gave enough indication that India's patience with Russia was running thin.
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | Comments (2)

November 17, 2008

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The new trailer. Just watching it I can smell popcorn.

Posted by the Flea at 07:59 PM

Fighting for her rights

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It took me a while to get round to watching the Wonder Woman dvd release; several people have told me the show is nowhere near as good as we remember from our childhoods.

Those people are wrong.

Pic related. Is evidence.

Exit observation: A Wonder Woman reboot seems to be in order. Upon reflection, casting the next Amazon is easy.

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

Lady Sovereign: Random

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

November 16, 2008

YouTube Pro Tip

If you add "&fmt=18" to the end of the url you do not need to push the "watch in high quality" link.

Compare and contrast: Adora BatBrat making cat ears in and high quality. In the high quality version that cross nail polish just pops.

Don't ask me to explain the scatological humour. I am going with "German" on this one.

Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM

November 15, 2008

Emilie Autumn: Girls just wanna have fun

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With a shout out to Agent Bedhead. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:07 AM | Comments (1)

A Goofy Movie

A film by David Lynch. It is a very me soundtrack.

Posted by the Flea at 10:04 AM

Silver screenage

A first look at the new look original Enterprise with extra styling nacelle action, James Bond's Lotus Esprit - the original Fleamobile - is for sale at auction, and Titus Pullo is potentially awe inspiring as the Punisher.

The nacelles I am fine with, leaving the geometry of the saucer section unchanged to reflect the new nacelles not so much. Pullo should kick ass - or rip out tongue - as the Punisher but the trailer is not doing it for me. The Lotus, by contrast, still rates an unreserved endorsement.

Posted by the Flea at 10:03 AM | Comments (1)

Peter Schiff was right

A bit dry for a Saturday morning but Peter Schiff's analysis is (analyses are) worth your time..

"The party is over for the United States. We cannot continue borrowing to live beyond our means and consuming foreign products."

The bad news is that Schiff was right. Ben Stein, not so much

Posted by the Flea at 10:01 AM | Comments (1)

November 14, 2008

Assembler

Do not follow this link.

I am looking at you Damian Brooks. And you Agent C.

It is possible to complete the whole set; I just did. You have been warned (via AoSHQ).

Posted by the Flea at 12:41 PM | Comments (3)

Kaiserschmarrn

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Does anyone know where I can find authentic Kaiserschmarrn in Toronto? After watching that Roland Kickinger interview, I have decided this is the breakfast/light lunch/dessert of heroes.

Indirectly related: Chevron over 9000 locked!

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

Pink Floyd: Welcome to The Machine

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

November 13, 2008

Sleeping in light

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The Hubble Space Telescope captures the first image of a planet outside the solar system. Le Monde has a helpful diagram to point out the dot in question: the size of Jupiter, Fomalhaut b is twenty-five light years from Earth.

"I nearly had a heart attack when I confirmed that Fomalhaut b orbits its parent star," said Paul Kalas, a professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley. "It's a profound and overwhelming experience to lay eyes on a planet never before seen.

"There is plenty of empty space between Fomalhaut b and the star for other planets to happily reside in stable orbits.

"We'll probably have to wait for the James Webb Space Telescope to give us a clear view of the region closer to the star where a planet could host liquid water on the surface."

The James Webb Space Telescope infrared observatory will be on line by 2013 at the earliest...

Posted by the Flea at 06:25 PM | Comments (2)

Ab urbe condita MMDCCLXI

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Google Earth has added a three dimensional simulation of ancient Rome to its interface. Based on the Plastico di Roma Antica, Ancient Rome 3D is a virtual replica of a physical model of more than 6700 buildings.

The model was created by archaeologists and model-makers between 1933 to 1974 and housed in a special gallery in Rome's Museum of Roman Civilisation. The new map was unveiled at an event in the Italian capital, and the modern day Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, praised the project.

"It's an incredible opportunity to share the stunning greatness of ancient Rome, a perfect example of how the new technologies can be ideal allies of our history, archaeology and cultural identity," Mr Alemanno said.

Though as a perfect example of texture mapping, sadly, not so much. Still, these stills and video of Google Rome are impressive and I would love to see much more like it. I expect the detail will come in time.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

Idle Eyes: Tokyo Rose

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

Technology transfer and some Indian public relations

The UK lifts ban on nuclear exports to India, the Indian navy sends an armed helicopter with marine commandos to have a word with some pirates and the Russians consider ordering French aircraft carriers. In an ideal world, I would have linked those three ideas in a clever sentence using the navy, nuclear and India as the pertinent tropes. But it was not to be.

More on those carriers.

The idea being floated is that all indications are Russia would like to build 6 aircraft carriers similar to the 60-70 thousand ton CVF design being developed for the British and French Navies. Ilya Kramnik's idea is to build the lead ship in France with foreign assistance, including some experience for Russian shipbuilders, then do follow on serial construction of the rest of the class in Russia.

The linked piece suggests the sale is unlikely due to technology transfer issues with the Americans, though quite what those might be is not spelled out. I would have imagined the British would have a rather larger objection to make.

Related: Taylor & Co. offers a much more detailed account of the INS Tabar's encounter with pirates. I am also pleased to note HMS Cumberland has also been doing what the Royal Navy is supposed to do

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

November 12, 2008

Mark Steyn responds to John Miller

Yes, John Miller. The John Miller.

(via Kathy)

Posted by the Flea at 03:32 PM | Comments (1)

Crowleyana

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Chemical Wedding director, Julian Doyle interviews the son of one time Aleister Crowley devotee, Gerald Yorke. His collection is much more impressive than mine. This one is not safe for work due to racy clips from the film and a severe cheeze factor.

A small but important point for John Yorke: Not a good idea to let the Scientologists know you are in possession of potentially damaging paperwork on LRH. In case anyone is not au fait with the Crowley/Hubbard link, his name was Jack Parsons.

Pic related. Is Marjorie Cameron.

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

Junkie XL: Beauty Never Fades

So wish this was my track. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

November 11, 2008

Bring history home

The family of Cdr Ted Simmons needs our help to return his medals from England and exhibit them at the CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum.

In September of 1941, HMC Ships Moose Jaw and Chambly sank a German U-boat that was attacking a convoy off the coast of Greenland. Lt. Ted Simmons led a boarding party over to the stricken sub and attempted to seize cipher equipment and code books before the boat sank. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for that action. A year later, while in command of HMCS Port Arthur, Simmons sank the Italian submarine Tritone, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. In 1989, Simmons died and was buried at sea from HMCS Huron - a true Canadian naval hero, typically unsung and practically unknown outside the small Canadian military family circle.
Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM

The Cardigans: Erase and Rewind

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM

November 10, 2008

Nancy Nova: No No No

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 05:54 AM

November 09, 2008

It seems that the initial reports that one of our submarines was missing were not completely accurate

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More than twenty people have reportedly died aboard a Russian nuclear submarine due to the accidental activation of a fire extinguishing system. While the vessel was reportedly undergoing sea trials in the Pacific, details regarding its name and class have yet to be released.

My question: Was it the Nerpa, set to be the INS Chakra come January 2009? If so, this is a tragedy with strategic implications. The following was published last Saturday: how many nuclear submarines does the Russian fleet have undergoing sea trials out of Vladivostok this week?

Batches of Indian naval personnel are to shortly leave for the Russia's far eastern port of Vladivostok to train on board the Chakra, (formerly the Nerpa) a Russian Akula-2 nuclear powered attack submarine which is to be transferred to India on a 10-year lease next year.

The Nerpa was launched at the Komsomolsk on-Amur shipyard in June this year after which she began harbour trials. Earlier this week, the shipyard announced that the submarine had been shifted out of the shipyard to a maintenance facility in the Primorye territory near Vladivostok for trials in the Sea of Japan.

The 12,000 tonne submarine, said to be the quietest and deadliest of Russia's attack submarines, has a crew of 100 personnel is currently being operated by the Russian Navy.

India is set to launch three of its own indigenously built nuclear powered SSBNs. Even if their ostensibly indigenous reactor design is inspired by the Russians, the Indians might consider training with the United States Navy instead.

Better yet, it seems to me some work accidents aboard the PLAN's nuclear fleet are in order. I can always stock up on jelly beans.

Update November 9: It is the Nerpa. The deaths appear to have been caused by the activation of the ship's freon gas fire extinguishing system.

... a source in the Amur shipyard administration named the submarine as the K-152 Nerpa, a nuclear-powered submarine of the Project 971 Shchuka-B type, or Akula-class by NATO classification, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Related: Major Russian submarine accidents since 1991. Also, a BBC graphic illustrating the submarine accident.

Posted by the Flea at 12:01 AM

November 08, 2008

Shiver me timbers

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Every few months a thoughtful Flea-readers sends me a link to Kylie's Agent Provocateur mechanical bull ad. I appreciate the gesture every time. Now I am delighted to pass on the news Helena Christensen is following in Kylie's... let us say... footsteps with the new Agent Provocateur Pirates campaign.

That last link? Choose your own adventure. And so not safe for work.

Even less safe for work? Agent Provocateur's Season of the Witch ad and Witches lingerie.

PG-13 but arguably far hotter: Heidi Klum and her body double interpret Risky Business.

Posted by the Flea at 12:23 AM | Comments (2)

Crystal Castles: Crimewave

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 12:21 AM

November 07, 2008

Try to be Ugly

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Ugly the cat.

Everyone in the apartment complex I lived in knew who Ugly was. Ugly was the resident tomcat. Ugly loved three things in this world: fighting, eating garbage, and shall we say, love.

The combination of these things combined with a life spent outside had their effect on Ugly. To start with, he had only one eye, and where the other should have been was a gaping hole. He was also missing his ear on the same side, his left foot has appeared to have been badly broken at one time, and had healed at an unnatural angle, making him look like he was always turning the corner. His tail has long since been lost, leaving only the smallest stub, which he would constantly jerk and twitch.

Ugly would have been a dark gray tabby striped/type, except for the sores covering his head, neck, even his shoulders with thick, yellowing scabs. Every time someone saw Ugly there was the same reaction. ´That’s one UGLY cat!!´

All the children were warned not to touch him, the adults threw rocks at him, hosed him down, squirted him when he tried to come in their homes, or shut his paws in the door when he would not leave.

Ugly always had the same reaction. If you turned on the hose on him, he would stand there, getting soaked until you gave up and quit. If you threw things at him, he would curl his lanky body around feet in forgiveness. Whenever he spied children, he would come running meowing frantically and bump his head against their hands, begging for their love. If you ever picked him up he would immediately begin suckling your shirt, earrings, whatever he could find.

One day Ugly shared his love with the neighbor’s huskies. They did not respond kindly and Ugly was badly mauled. From my apartment I could hear his screams, and I tried to rush to his aid. By the time I got to where he was laying, it was apparent Ugly´s sad life was almost at an end.

Ugly lay in a wet circle, his back legs and lower back twisted grossly out of shape, a gaping tear in the white strip of fur that ran down his front. As I picked him up and tried to carry him home I could hear him wheezing and gasping, and could feel him struggling. I must be hurting him terribly I thought.

Then I felt a familiar tugging, sucking sensation on my ear. Ugly, in so much pain, suffering and obviously dying was trying to suckle my ear. I pulled him closer to me, and he bumped the palm of my hand with his head, then he turned his one golden eye towards me, and I could hear the distinct sound of purring. Even in the greatest pain, that ugly battled-scarred cat was asking only for a little affection, perhaps some compassion.

At that moment I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I had ever seen. Never once did he try to bite or scratch me, or even try to get away from me, or struggle in any way. Ugly just looked up at me completely trusting in me to relieve his pain.

Ugly died in my arms before I could get inside, but I sat and held him for a long time afterwards, thinking about how one scarred, deformed little stray could so alter my opinion about what it means to have true pureness of spirit, to love so totally and truly.

Many people want to be richer, more successful, well liked, beautiful, but for me, I will always try to be Ugly.
Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM | Comments (3)

Cliff Richard: Carrie

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

November 06, 2008

Goths

These are proper Goths. Most kids these days are doing it wrong (and I can't be asked explaining it to them, if I'm honest).

Posted by the Flea at 05:23 AM | Comments (4)

Fischerspooner: All we are

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 05:21 AM

November 04, 2008

Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown.

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Posted by the Flea at 10:11 PM | Comments (6)

The short term memory checker

A diversion should the pressure gets to be too much today. I left it at Level 5 but expect I will return to the problem later.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM | Comments (1)

Ladytron: Runaway

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

November 03, 2008

Time to decide

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Posted by the Flea at 09:59 PM | Comments (1)

Don't Stop The Music

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I recognize an intemperate tenor to my remarks as we approach America's moment of decision. Let us take a moment to appreciate Rihanna. No culture that would put a bin-bag over her head can be allowed to advance one more inch. Not on the battlefield. And not, for the love of God, into the White House. Let no one tell you defending this woman's honour makes you a racist. It is apologists for the rape cult who are racist.

Don't stop the music. This is Why We Fight.

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Related: The Umbrella variations.

Posted by the Flea at 02:07 PM

There are no grassroots revolutions

KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov claims there was a process of demoralization and destabilization of US society through the use of the "active measures" by Soviet intelligence.

"Actually there are no grassroots revolutions, period. Any revolution is a by-product of a a highly organized group of conscientious and professional organizers. It has nothing to do with grassroots."

I am not certain which is more disconcerting: The idea that what he says may be true or the cynicism it takes to imagine all those grassroots revolutionaries did not aspire to something better no matter what the KGB may have intended. There are revolutions of the heart the secret police could never apprehend.

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

Sermo datur cunctis; animi sapientia paucis

Local authorities have decided slow-witted foreigners, no hopers and the lowest common denominator shall henceforth rule the English - and Roman - language.

Bournemouth Council, which has the Latin motto Pulchritudo et Salubritas, meaning beauty and health, has listed 19 terms it no longer considers acceptable for use. This includes bona fide, eg (exempli gratia), prima facie, ad lib or ad libitum, etc or et cetera, ie or id est, inter alia, NB or nota bene, per, per se, pro rata, quid pro quo, vis-a-vis, vice versa and even via.

Its list of more verbose alternatives, includes "for this special purpose", in place of ad hoc and "existing condition" or "state of things", instead of status quo.

In instructions to staff, the council said: "Not everyone knows Latin. Many readers do not have English as their first language so using Latin can be particularly difficult."

The average eleven year old Harry Potter reader can do better than this. It is our fault for allowing ourselves to be governed by half-wits instead of placing them in the stocks where they belong.

Handy: This Latin motto generator.

Posted by the Flea at 05:43 AM

The War of the Flea

Preliminary reading on guerilla warfare and counter-insurgency lead me to a Time magazine article published July 31, 1972 in the wake of an IRA ceasefire in Belfast. Citing Robert Taber in passing, one observation from "The War of the Flea" struck me as particularly surreal and absurd. Such was life in an urban war zone before cable television, before the internet and in the day when news often travelled at the speed of the paper on which it was printed.

After midnight, Bogside TV sets stay tuned for another sport: listening to British army headquarters issuing orders and receiving reports from units on patrol. The army's transmitters happen to be on the same frequency as a local TV station. British HQ is aware of this. Messages that could tip off Provo patrols are cut short by clipped instructions "to use other means" of communication. Such lapses as "We don't want another calamity like Lima's [code name for a British patrol] shooting on our own men" or "Can you claim a hit?" are met with the sort of hilarity among Bogsiders that Americans reserve for a good quip on the Dick Cavett Show.
Posted by the Flea at 05:41 AM

November 01, 2008

Kiss a wookie, kick the droid

An a capella tribute to John Williams.

Posted by the Flea at 10:39 AM