Are you a fan of the biting social commentary and masterful irony of Jane Austen?
Ever wish she and Dawn of the Dead creator George A. Romero could have teamed up to bring one of her stories to the big screen?
Well, you'll have to wait a bit for that, but in the meantime, we have the next best thing...
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. <--- That's an Amazon link, btw; for some reason Dorkafork's superhandy dotted line solution is failing me (Update: Ooh look! Linky worky!). I expect it is something simple I am doing wrong. In the meantime, Amazon appears to have a (review?) copy for sale despite the novel having yet to be released.
Hat tip to the Sister of the Flea, who may now incorporate Regency etiquette into her zombie escape plan.
Lauryn Oates on universal values of the kind the left used to espouse. Some of us still do; we just vote differently (in so far as voting changes a damned thing). These days, it seems there is no barbarism the left will not march in protest to defend and no apartheid they will not try to impose on those of us who are still nominally free.
Every year, all over South Asia, hundreds of women have acid sprayed in their faces for committing the offence of going to school, or for going to work, or for merely walking down a street without covering their faces. In Bangladesh alone, an average of 228 women are subjected to such acid attacks every year.
But there is an important and very specific lesson to be learned from the Kandahar incident.
More than a dozen of the young Kandahari women were seriously injured, two of them blinded, and the victims have all defiantly returned to their classes at the Mirwais Mena school. One of the girls who suffered severe eye injuries is 17-year-old Shamsia: “I will go to my school even if they kill me,” Shamsia said. “My message for the enemies is that if they do this 100 times, I am still going to continue my studies.”
The lesson here is that millions of brave Afghan schoolgirls are dedicated to pursuing their studies, in sometimes perilous and hostile circumstances, and their devotion is heartfelt, homegrown and hardy. It has not been “imposed” upon them by the “West.”
Berkeley's public library will face a showdown with the city's Peace and Justice Commission tonight over whether a service contract for the book check-out system violates the city's nuclear-free ordinance. The dispute centers on a five-year, $63,000 contract the library wants to sign with 3M, an international technology company based in Minnesota, to service five scanner machines library patrons use to check out books.
But 3M, a company with operations in 60 countries, refused to sign Berkeley's nuclear-free disclosure form as required by the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act passed by voters in 1986. As a result, the library's self-checkout machines have not been serviced in about six months.
In world founded on unicorn farts, the sanctimonious have no need of books.
The producers of Battlestar Galactica have set a challenge: Design a steampunk Cylon. To the whalebone vats!
Imagine a Cylon Heavy Raider crashes in the 1800s somewhere on Earth. Only a single Centurion survives, and it's heavily damaged. Realizing its only chance at survival is to use the tools available, it repairs itself with the materials of the era.
The contest is not open to residents of Canada, sadly. But do keep me apprised of progress. Thanks too to the Flea-reader who purchased Watchmen. My first Amazon referral! :-)
Dwellers of Annexia - long used to shabby or indifferent Loblaws customer service - may share in the little thrill running down my leg at the thought of their Dupont store shut down with a vermin infestation (hat tip to the Sister of the Flea).
The Dupont and Christie neighbourhood will be without a Loblaws for the foreseeable future after city health officials shuttered the store Tuesday night for "heavy" vermin infestation.
Arsenic may see to the rats. Not sure there is sufficient pest control to deal with the yuppies...
Letter carriers in Cornwall, Ontario - a small town on the St. Lawrence seaway - had a long standing tradition. As they started their day they would say Merci Seigneur pour la belle journee, "Thank you Lord for the beautiful day." Nice. But no longer.
Someone complained and - thanks to our "human rights" apparatus - postal employees who use the expression are now to be suspended without pay.
For those of us unwilling to abandon the hard-won wealth that has been left us, perhaps we can use some of the enforced ignorance you mention to our advantage. Particularly the Latin deficit. I.E. These illiterates--these philistines!--forbid me from wishing my fellow postmen "Merci Seigneur pour la belle journée"? I give them, then, Benedicamus Domino!
I have no clue how the story can be told in two hours - and I have heard at least one rumour of a distressing plot change - but but this looks spectacular. If you have never got round to reading Watchmen, now is the time to do so; no matter how good a job they do, you do not want the film adaption interfering with the experience of the real deal.
The Timmies always has a line-up. Always. And it's full of Americans and Brits and Romanians and Dutch, as well as a healthy contingent of desert CADPAT uniforms. The only reason there's no queue in this shot is that we arrived before it opened in the morning (I know - that was my first thought too: there's a Tim Horton's somewhere in the world that's not open 24/7? Heresy!). Honestly, the base could support two, especially if they delivered like the Pizza Hut does.
And another report, this one from oh-dark-thirty in which Damian reveals he is not a morning person.
While Kathy and I may have been only fans of her short lived Bionic Woman reboot, Flea-readers may nevertheless rejoice at the news Michelle Ryan is to be the next Who Companion. For the Easter special, at least.
Michelle Ryan looks set to become the next Doctor Who companion after landing a plum role in the show's Easter special. The former EastEnders actress will appear in Planet of the Dead, which will be broadcast on BBC1 in April. She will play Lady Christina de Souza, who accompanies David Tennant's Doctor on a dangerous bus trip.
She was excellent in Jekyll too, btw. And by excellent, I mean hot as hell.*
* That last link is my first to Amazon.com. I hope not to annoy people with this sort of thing. I am giving some thought as to how best to incorporate my product recommendations into posts. The priority is to avoid sneaky links that look like they lead to something informative or editorial but are actually a form of advertising. That sort of thing irritates me and I expect annoys other people as well.
The rise-and-fall cycle of inheritance, greed, back-stabbing connivance and eye-for-an-eye warmongering culminates in the blood-and-bone wasteland glimpsed by Cate Blanchett's commanding and capricious Richard II in the first part of Act I. In a moment of sour-sweet reverie about graves, worms and epitaphs, the diminished, cornered ruler talks of writing with "rainy eyes . . . sorrow on the bosom of the earth" and of "the hollow crown that rounds the mortal temples of a king".
James Gunn discusses the protocols of science fiction*; that is to say, the reading conventions by which readers of science fiction expect to understand works in the genre. These differ from, say, the protocols through which one understands murder mysteries or Shakespeare.
As Gunn points out, James Thurber's "The Macbeth Murder Mystery" represents the paradigm case.** A mystery fan has accidentally picked up Macbeth as her vacation reading material. Lady Macbeth and her husband, she decides, cannot be the guilty parties; much too obvious.
"Oh Macduff did it, all right," said the murder specialist. Hercule Poirot would have got him easily." "How did you figure it out?" I demanded. "Well," she said, "I didn't right away. At first I suspected Banquo. And then, of course, he was the second person killed. That was good right in there, that part. The person you suspect of the first murder should always be the second victim." "Is that so?" I murmured. "Oh, yes," said my informant. "They have to keep surprising you. Well, after the second murder I didn't know who the killer was for a while." "How about Malcolm and Donalbain, the King's sons?" I asked. "As I remember it, they fled right after the first murder. That looks suspicious." "Too suspicious," said the American lady. "Much too suspicious. When they flee, they're never guilty. You can count on that." "I believe," I said, "I'll have a brandy," and I summoned the waiter.
My companion leaned toward me, her eyes bright, her teacup quivering. "Do you know who discovered Duncan's body?" she demanded. I said I was sorry, but I had forgotten. "Macduff discovers it," she said, slipping into the historical present. "Then he comes running downstairs and shouts, 'Confusion has broke open the Lord's anointed temple' and 'Sacrilegious murder has made his masterpiece' and on and on like that." The good lady tapped me on the knee. "All that stuff was rehearsed," she said. "You wouldn't say a lot of stuff like that, offhand, would you--if you had found a body?" She fixed me with a glittering eye. "I--" I began. "You're right!" she said. "You wouldn't! Unless you had practiced it in advance. 'My God, there's a body in here!' is what an innocent man would say." She sat back with a confident glare.
* A fine word whose connotations are ruined in perpetuity by the Tsar's secret service.
** Anthropology's favourite along these lines is Laura Bohannon's "Shakespeare in the Bush" in which Hamlet gets a good re-read.
When the Easterlings come for this woman's head and her daughter's hand in "marriage" she will no doubt be reminded of Tolkien's racism and how - but for our culture's prejudice - when might all have got along.
"There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for awhile. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach."
Hard headed Flea-readers may doubt my convictions regarding all things French as I bring France Appreciation Week @ The Flea to an early close. Au contraire. If anything, my love of France could fill a* book.** For example, how to do justice to Coco Chanel's Little Black Dress in the space of a regularly updated website with dated entries such as this "blog"? Non.
True fact: Pictured above is the flag of France during the Monarchy. Yes, a white flag for the king of France. Paris was a red and blue, hence the tricolour flag since the Revolution. So sayeth the internets and much to good to fact check.
Light posting and tweating for several days. An my apologies for any missed correspondence.
** Should the book prove to have been hollowed out after the fashion of those books one sees in films; the ones used to conceal a flask of whiskey, a Derringer or perhaps clues to the existence of the Matrix.
Ranking Canadian political blogs is, admittedly, a bit train-watchy as a way to spend one's time. Still, much appreciated. Thanks to Robert Jago for Canada’s Top 25 Political Blogs - January, 2009. Putting together such a post much be enormously time consuming and, inevitably, one is not going to please everybody. The comments to the post provide a useful caution as to the reliability of such a ranking process and a reminder that quantity and quality are not necessary the same thing.
I gather Stephen Fry is irresistible to the rare giant kakapo. That second link leads to an environmentally themed documentary on the subject (of kakapos, humping Stephen Fry's leg is another documentary). They are attractive beasts (again, kakapo) though I gather they a bit bit pungent (by contrast to Fry, who I expect smells of veviter and clary sage).
Though I am struck by a civilization prepared to spend millions to defend a flightless parrot but hardly able to lift a quivering finger of protest against the men who want to hack off our hands. I am funny that way.
Lest anyone doubt my sincerity or the ingenuity of the French people, France Appreciation Week @ The Flea provides me with the opportunity to thank the gods for French technology of cookery. Aubecq pots and pans have become a centrepiece of the Man Cave.
I had wondered if the Beeb would continue the Doctor's decades long journey toward adolescence. For the eleventh Doctor, the answer is yes (that second link is an extended version of the first).
Matt Smith has been named as the actor who will take over from David Tennant in Doctor Who - making him the youngest actor to take on the role. At 26, Smith is three years younger than Peter Davison when he signed up to play the fifth Doctor in 1981.
Smith will first appear on TV screens as the 11th Doctor in 2010. He was cast over Christmas and will begin filming for the fifth series of Doctor Who in the summer. Tennant is filming four specials in 2009.
Spot the difference between what this government is doing, and what they would be doing if they were actually building a police state (hat tip to Anonymous). Expect the sound of crickets from "the left".
The Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to hack into people’s personal computers without a warrant. The move, which follows a decision by the European Union’s council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs. They described it as a sinister extension of the surveillance state which drives “a coach and horses” through privacy laws.
The hacking is known as “remote searching”. It allows police or MI5 officers who may be hundreds of miles away to examine covertly the hard drive of someone’s PC at his home, office or hotel room. Material gathered in this way includes the content of all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging.
Under the Brussels edict, police across the EU have been given the green light to expand the implementation of a rarely used power involving warrantless intrusive surveillance of private property. The strategy will allow French, German and other EU forces to ask British officers to hack into someone’s UK computer and pass over any material gleaned.
A remote search can be granted if a senior officer says he “believes” that it is “proportionate” and necessary to prevent or detect serious crime — defined as any offence attracting a jail sentence of more than three years.
Roy Boehm, the retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander who started the Navy's first SEAL team, has died aged 84.
Even Boehm's cremation urn, which sat near a chest labeled "Davy Jones' Locker," spoke of his attitude toward death. Open the lid, and one would find a miniature ship's cabin, replete with a bunk and a sea bag.
"My ashes are going into the sea bag," Boehm had said in a 1997 interview. "How many people can hardly wait to get where they're going?"
Greetings, drones of Scientology.
Anonymous hopes you are still having as much fun with this as we are.
Almost a year ago now, Anonymous launched Project Chanology in response to your attempts at internet censorship. What started as just another raid became a full-scale war against the Cult of Scientology. Let us review the year in the spirit of auld lang syne.
Your attempts at dead agenting have repeatedly failed. Your laughable black propaganda has fooled only the unwary, while Anonymous has been widely spreading the truth about your cult's evil, malicious, and suppressive policies. The tactics you refer to as "Fair Game" are now common knowledge within law enforcement agencies worldwide. The treatment of your Sea Organization staff has become infamous, and has earned you the scorn of the entire world. Your subversive fronts have been exposed. Your elite members continue to leak damning documents to the internet. Everyone knows who Xenu is. Scientology has become a joke, and "David Miscavige" is the punchline.
Anonymous has wounded your organization, perhaps mortally. Sales of Dianetics have been cut almost in half this year, and your favorite recruitment tool, the stress test tables, are taken down by your own people at the mere sight of a Guy Fawkes mask. Your own celebrity members refuse to speak your name. Staff block their ears to avoid hearing Scientology doctrine read aloud. Anonymous is at cause. Scientology is, was, and always will be, at effect.
Nothing that you have done has stopped Anonymous. We are inoculating the public - those you contemptuously refer to as "wogs" and "fresh meat" - against the lies of your cult. Your libel litigation is ineffective, for you cannot prove false what is true. Your attempts to censor the facts have failed repeatedly. This is a lesson you have refused to learn. Scientology is powerless in the presence of Anonymous. You fear us because you fear the ubiquity of the truth. You fear for an organization founded on peddling deceit to the uninformed. You fear those you have ensnared will desert you. You should, for knowledge is free.
It is midwinter in East Grinstead. For many Scientologists, that winter has lasted a lifetime. Your orders are set out by L. Ron Hubbard, now long dead. You are bound to and by the tech. You cannot adapt. You cannot learn. The self-proclaimed homo novis is many decades out of date, trapped in the permafrost of your own dogma.
Outside, the world has changed. The habits that once made Scientology a ruthlessly effective organization now condemn you. Your persistence with obsolete, ineffectual practices yields ridicule, not results. You cannot win. Your tech has failed you. Scientology is imploding at its core, and this is evidenced by the increasing levels of desperation seen in your attempts to handle us. It is only a matter of time before humanity is purged of your malign influence.
We are the people you pass on the street. We are your friends, family, sons, daughters, and siblings. We are the person right next to you.
Scientology cannot win a war of information against the internet itself.
We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us... until you have lost the game.
I would be grateful if there is a Flea-reader who owns the soundtrack for a mid 1990s BBC television series called "The Choir". I gather much of it was filmed at Gloucester Cathedral; I am trying to find the rendition of Panis Angelicus as heard in the series.
My email link is in the sidebar immediately under the words "Flea Got Mail".
Eskimo legend: "Perhaps, they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy."
The first words I ever heard: King Richard II, Act 2 scene 1, attributed to John of Gaunt.
This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,--
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.
House Ravenclaw related: This map of Hogwarts and its surround should come in handy for prospective students of witchcraft and wizardry.
For comparison: J.K. Rowling's own sketch. As much as one defers to the author in these matters, I think it makes some sense for the Hogwarts Express to pull in toward Hogsmeade. Otherwise the townspeople would have an almighty trek to the station. But then there is always floo powder, I suppose.
Goottirock is Finnish for goth (rock). Potentially handy information should you find yourself in Finland.
Goth Sofi Oksanen, whose first book is called Stalinin lehmät, Stalin's Cows, lives in Helsinki. She brings new aspects to defining goths: "In my own gothness, I would stress the meaning of fetishism and feminism ."
From a young age, Oksanen has favoured purple and black, medieval conserts in addition to other music--and traditional goth aesthetics. She is equally attracted to PVC, seamed pantyhose and tattoos. To Oksanen, being a goth is fetishism which she implements in herself, and which fascinates in others.
She perceives gothism as a more feminine style and other genres of rock, and that is why she connects with it:
"Goth aesthetics is appealing because it doesn't attempt to minimise the signs of women's femininity, and thus it doesn't conflict with my political conviction. Part of my own feminist manifesto was for years not to wear trousers. I focused on skirts and high heels as a protest against your society becoming overtly masculine."