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October 31, 2009

Biomechanoid III (1974)

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H.R. Giger, 1940-.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM

The Resort

"I was six when I arrived. I definitely remember that much and the island... the island I arrived at, it was crumbling away. There was nothing left here. No jobs. Everyone was leaving out into that... thick fog... and then it was like I said, that's when they came. They came and they built it; they built the Resort."

More by George Thomson "heavily based around J.G.Ballard's writing, the film La Jetee, and other good things" here. Astonishing work both visually and in the sound design... The Resort Documentary is by turns heart wrenching, menacing and perceptive in equal measure.

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM

Imaginetics: The New Pipe-Dream Of Modern Mental Make-Believe

Fictionology offers real hope to any left confused or depressed by the complexity and rigour of Scientology.

Hollywood actor David McSavage, who converted to Fictionology last year, attempted to explain.

"Scientology can only offer data, such as how an Operating Thetan can control matter, energy, space, and time with pure thought alone," McSavage said. "But truly spiritual people don't care about data, especially those seeking an escape from very real physical, mental, or emotional problems."

McSavage added, "As a Fictionologist, I live in a world of pretend. It's liberating."

Amen to that, my fictional brother.

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

The Vampires of Dartmoore: Hello Mr Hitchcock

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | Comments (1)

October 30, 2009

The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in the Sun, 1805-1810

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William Blake, 1757-1827.

Posted by the Flea at 10:33 AM | Comments (1)

Dartmoor

If you have never had the opportunity to visit Dartmoor you may find it added to your itinerary after viewing a film by James Watson.

Dartmoor is a national park about 30 miles away from where I live. Until now I've never properly visited the area, so in September 2008 I took my camera and explored.

It now has a special place in my heart, love it!
Posted by the Flea at 10:31 AM

Yoshinori Sunahara: Love Beat

Posted by the Flea at 10:21 AM | Comments (1)

October 29, 2009

Self-portrait as the Ecce Homo (c 1500)

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Albrecht Dürer, 1471-1528.

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM

Robert Anton Wilson: A simulation of Enlightenment

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM

Holes in Earth's defences

A high altitude explosion reveals the Indians and the Chinese have some work to do getting the planet's asteroid defences in order.

As the US government ponders a strategy to deal with threatening asteroids, a dramatic explosion over Indonesia has underscored how blind we still areMovie Camera to hurtling space rocks.

On 8 October an asteroid detonated high in the atmosphere above South Sulawesi, Indonesia, releasing about as much energy as 50,000 tons of TNT, according to a NASA estimate released on Friday. That's about three times more powerful than the atomic bomb that levelled Hiroshima, making it one of the largest asteroid explosions ever observed.
Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

Justice by the sword

Just as I begin to wonder if I might be publishing the Daily Mail of Canadian blogs - politically incoherent, prurient and alarmist - yet another instance of the real world pushes me further over the edge.

“Little Rats of Tepic” is a Mexican homebrew "torture film" briefly posted to YouTube showing the enhanced interogation of five burglars by incensed locals. In Mexico, vigilantism has taken the place where justice is meant to stand.

Lest our progressive betters mistake the lesson: This is not about Mexico. This is what happens anywhere when the Establishment is either incapable of or unwilling to enforce the law.

“The government is failing to provide security and people are turning to some brutal alternatives,” said Rossana Reguillo, who studies crime and violence at the Jesuit University of Guadalajara. “This is not something that has always been around in Mexico. It is a new phenomenon that has been growing since 2000.”

In the latest case, the five teenagers were abducted after they allegedly robbed a house in the town of Tepic in the Pacific state of Nayarit.

The boys — all students of a local high school — were taken to an abandoned building where they had their heads shaved and then were beaten by fists and rifle butts and threatened at gun point, as shown on the video. One of the torturers is heard on the film saying he is the man whose house was robbed.

It gets worse.

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM

Chihiro Yamanaka (山中千尋): One Step Up

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM

October 28, 2009

Black Madonna of Częstochowa

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"The Black Madonna of Częstochowa is a holy icon of the Virgin Mary, that is both Poland's holiest relic and one of the country's national symbols."

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

Commercial harassment

A French court has convicted Scientology for fraud, fining the French office over $900,000 for the "commercial harassment" of potential cultists. Pity they could not also convict potential recruits for their gullibility. But then I expect $30,000 of moronic Scientology crap is its own reward.

The case was brought by a woman who was recruited to join the Church of Scientology, which is headquartered on Hollywood Boulevard. The woman subsequently spent $30,000 on books, classes and "purification packages." When she later wanted to leave the organization and asked to be reimbursed, the church refused. A judge found that that church officials profited handsomely while this woman and others were essentially made financial servants of Scientology.
Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM | Comments (1)

Dalekettes

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The best costumes ever.

Closely related: Lingerie Lightsaber Fight (also via My Disguises).

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

The Gathering: Saturnine

Posted by the Flea at 07:41 AM

October 27, 2009

The Conversion of St. Paul (1601)

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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, 1571-1610

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

Faith no more

YouTube runneth over with Christopher Hitchens proselytizing for skepticism but this has proved no bar to the release of Collision, "a buddy-and-road movie" featuring the Hitch and sparring partner Pastor Douglas Wilson, a senior fellow at New St. Andrew's College.

Newsweek's reviewer beseeches you not to go and see the film, largely on the grounds that it features two middle-aged white men trying to establish which one is the dominant male. I would have thought that this would be reason enough to buy a ticket...

And that right there is why Hitchens is worth the price of admission and why so many evangelicals pay the man the respect of taking him on in debate.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM | Comments (1)

White people keep out

The BBC calls them "no go for white people" in Oldham. I prefer the technical term "colony" though "beachhead" or "foothold" would do just as well.

Read the report if you have the stomach: True to form, the Beeb cannot cover a story about religiously motivated violence and segregation without blaming the victim - "Unlike their parents they will not tolerate being victims of racism." - or proffering an apologetic for the perps - "Many Asian youths say they take the law into their own hands because they have no confidence in the police." On that last point, if nothing else, we might find common ground.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Moscow clad in snow (1908)

I would be grateful if a better educated Flea-reader might identify the accompanying music. Prokofiev?

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM | Comments (4)

October 26, 2009

Cross and cathedral in the mountains (1812)

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Caspar David Friedrich: 1774-1840.

Posted by the Flea at 06:49 AM | Comments (1)

What are you going to do about it

Melanie Phillips musters the appropriate scorn for Labour's stealth policy of social (and electoral) engineering through mass immigration. As a "Canadian" I can hardly muster the appropriate surprise.

Britain is already one of the most overcrowded countries in Europe. But now look at the real reason why this policy was introduced, and in secret. The Government's 'driving political purpose', wrote Neather, was 'to make the UK truly multicultural'.

It was therefore a politically motivated attempt by ministers to transform the fundamental make-up and identity of this country. It was done to destroy the right of the British people to live in a society defined by a common history, religion, law, language and traditions.

It was done to destroy for ever what it means to be culturally British and to put another 'multicultural' identity in its place. And it was done without telling or asking the British people whether they wanted their country and their culture to be transformed in this way.

Spitefully, one motivation by Labour ministers was 'to rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date'.

Related: They say if you're lucky enough to be Irish, then you're lucky enough. IrishCharmer84 asks: Do we agree with Ireland's Anti-Leprechaun Emmigration Policy?

The Irish Government have passed a new law that makes it illegal for the country's indiginous leprechaun population to leave the country, claiming that if the leprechauns begin to leave in search of higher wages, then tourist revenue will drop. Is this a xenophobic measure, or is it a measured way to help the Irish Economy?

ChloeM replies.

Oh I entirely disagree. Leprechauns should have the same rights as all other Irish, not to mention EU citizens; Including the right to travel, work and capitalize on their talents! I am outraged at the Irish Government! As this is a complete violation of all Leprechaun's person rights and freedoms; I think their next step should be to the ECtHR and the ECJ! Good Luck!

SmellyPete has the last word.

I think that either way it doesn't matter. It's totally un-enforceable. Since the development of the rainbow super highway, the Leprechauns have really been able to put their pot of gold where ever they want.They would do much better if they just offered incentive schemes, like a free pint of Guiness with every new born Leprechaun, or a potato subsidy to keep them happy little Leprechauns.
Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

Saving a place

I used to work in book stores; this scene is all too familiar.

A woman came in last night looking for a book by some feminist author that I had never heard of before, no big surprise there. So, I look it up in our search engine and the computer says that we might have it in the store. MIGHT have it, not WILL. So I tell her that I can check our inventory and see if it’s there and show her the section it would be in.

“No, that’s fine, I’ll find it myself. I’m going to look around a bit first”

Now off to Life in 3D. Trust me, you are going to love the punchline.

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM

Robert Anton Wilson on the acceleration to 2012

"I get about as far as 2012 in my future projections, then I can't imagine beyond that. So much is going to change by then."

Asked 'What do you see coming along up to 2012', he answered:

"In Leary's terms, I think about one-third of the West now understands the neuro-somatic circuit, and some techniques for activating it. I think that's going to reach fifty to fifty-one percent pretty soon - and that will be a major cultural change. I think more and more understanding of the neuro-genetic and meta-programming circuits are coming along.

"It's very obvious that quantum physics, parapsychology and all the work they're doing attaching brain scanners to Yogis and Zen masters means we're going to learn a great deal about the non-local quantum circuit. I think the history of mysticism has been sort of like a bunch of firecrackers with two or three going off every century. With the LSD revolution it became two or three every month and now it's moving up to two or three every week. I see a real acceleration in consciousness, just like in technology."
Posted by the Flea at 06:42 AM

Supertramp: Give A Little Bit

Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM

October 25, 2009

Climate Change Bedtime Story

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 PM

GeForce 9500GS Graphics Card Replacement Program for HP & Compaq Desktop PCs

If, like me, you purchased an HP Pavilion desktop computer thinking, "hey, that printer at the office worked most of the time" you may have experienced the same irritation I did upon hearing the desperate rattling sound of a defective fan cowling.

Do not be fooled by the linked instructions: Let us assume the on line interface will not take your CT number and Manufacture number on the first pass. The helpful telephone helpers will not only need the CT number and Manufacture number (circled in the linked instructions) but will also need your HP part number (not circled in the linked instructions). If you do as HP's instructions direct, you will have to shut down your computer and pop it open again on the phone to get the missing factoid. Best get that HP part number while you have it open the first time.

Here is the good bit in case you are not already having fun. Provided your particular defective part is covered, HP will then ask for your credit card number - or the defective video card - before shipping you a replacement. The manufacturer screws up but will charge you 65 dollars if you do not return their defective video card within 15 days of the (supposedly) working replacement arriving via UPS. This for me is the bridge too far.

Ahem.

Dear Hewlett Packard:

When I have dropped a couple thousand dollars for your defective piece of crap, you might do me the courtesy of shipping me my replacement graphics card fan cowling with an apology, not a bill for the replacement. You can expect an invoice for my labour.

As to my loss of productivity, we will call it a wash; I will bill your karma instead. With luck anyone reading this post will think twice before purchasing a Hewlett Packard desktop computer. And, once I have forwarded this post to Hewlett Packard, it is remotely possible HP will smarten up, apologize for the inconvenience and find some way to make it up to their customers for the trouble.

Posted by the Flea at 04:06 PM

No Mr. Bond, I want you to die

The life expectancy of British nuclear experts at the United Nations just took another dive (via Mark Steyn).

A British nuclear expert has fallen to his death from the 17th floor of the United Nations offices in Vienna. The 47-year-old man died after falling more than 120ft to the bottom of a stairwell. He has not been named.

No suicide note but no suspicious circumstances either, at least according to the UN. But this is the best part.

Four months ago another UN worker also believed to be British fell from a similar height in the same building, it has been reported.
Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM

Dick Van Dyke, Sally Howles and the kids: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

I liked England better when it had flying cars and there were Rube Goldberg machines to help with breakfast.

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

October 24, 2009

Two Minutes Hate unplugged

Question Time becomes an add for the British National Party as the BBC sets up Nick Griffin to be martyred. This is an own goal for democracy, an affront to Britain's working class and a harbinger of worse to come.

If Nick Griffin is the monster he is made out to be - and let's face facts, the BNP is nothing if not an exercise in self-parody - and it if it is in any sense the place of the BBC to vet the political choices set before the public, it would have been far better to invite Griffin to Question Time in its ordinary format and let the man flounder in the policy subtleties of postal strikes and the like.

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 PM

Variability is one of the virtues of a woman

This Liaison Dangereuse promotion is posted with a grateful tip of the hat to a Celtic Warrior Queen.

Powered by liaison-dangereuse.com

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Let one thousand words bloom

Remember to never cede the moral high ground to a progressive; for all the posturing, they do not have a leg to stand on. A case in point is this useful primer on socialism and the environment.

October 14, 2009, the 30th annual awards ceremony of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund took place at the Asia Society in New York City. Lu Guang (卢广) from People’s Republic of China won the $30,000 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography for his documentary project “Pollution in China.”

This is how they made my monitor, my speakers, my keyboard, my mouse, my shirt, the chair I am sitting on and so much else so cheaply. That and forced labour, obviously.

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

Grace Jones: Private Life

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

October 23, 2009

Cate Le Bon: Hollow Tree Houses


Posted by the Flea at 08:01 AM

October 22, 2009

Battlestar Babes: The Plan

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I looked at this Girls of Maxim Battlestar Galactica photo set and thought to myself, hey, guy, I bet what works for Maxim will work for the Flea.

When SyFy (’sup with the new spelling, fellas?) announced the two-hour movie, Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, a prequel-ish take from the Cylon’s point of view, we practically fraked ourselves—Tricia and Grace are gracing our flat-screens for two more precious hours.

Content warning: Gratuitous video; underboob.

Posted by the Flea at 07:57 AM | Comments (3)

Once more, with gushing

Joss Whedon is set to direct an episode of Glee.

“Joss directed one of the great musical episodes in the history of television on Buffy,” gushes Murphy, “so this is a great, if unexpected, fit. I’m thrilled he’ll be loaning us his fantastic groundbreaking talent.”

(Hat tip to the Sister of the Flea.)

Posted by the Flea at 07:54 AM

Remind me again why we went to war for Kuwait

Kuwaiti women will be thrilled to learn they are now entitled to their own passports and to travel without the prior consent of their husbands. Sadly, this counts as progress for Kuwait, a cretinous little country with little to recommend it.

Our allies.

The constitutional court abrogated an article in the 1962 passports law that prevented a woman from getting her own passport without her husband's prior approval. The court said that the article was in violation of a number of provisions in the constitution which guarantee personal freedom and gender equality. The decision came after a Kuwaiti woman complained that her husband had refused to give her and their three children their passports and other personal identification documents so he could prevent them from leaving the country.
Posted by the Flea at 07:53 AM | Comments (1)

Lady GaGa: Viva La Vida

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM | Comments (3)

October 21, 2009

Bond: Victory

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

October 20, 2009

Gorillaz: Deltron Zero

Posted by the Flea at 06:14 AM

Giorgio Armani Spring 2010 Ready to Wear

Spring 2010 is looking safe and samey. I don't think any of the big design houses have a clue what to do with a major recession; most appear to be keeping their heads below the parapets. I can't say much for Armani this time out but this is at least a step up from phoning it in.

Posted by the Flea at 06:11 AM

October 19, 2009

Too good to be true

Scientists claim the giant atom-smashing Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is being jinxed from the future to save the world.

In a bizarre sci-fi theory, Danish physicist Dr Holger Bech Nielsen and Dr Masao Ninomiya from Japan claim the LHC startup has been delayed due to nature trying to prevent it from finding the elusive Higgs boson, or "God particle".

They say their maths proves that nature will "ripple backward through time" to stop the LHC before it can create the God particle, like a time traveller who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.

“One could even almost say that we have a model for God,” Dr Nielsen says in an unpublished essay. “He rather hates Higgs particles, and attempts to avoid them.”

Tongue, one suspects, firly in cheek.

Posted by the Flea at 06:28 AM | Comments (1)

Too late for goodbye

An illegal immigrant was allowed to stay in Britain because he had a cat, it was revealed yesterday.

The unnamed Bolivian was spared deportation after he told a court that he and his girlfriend had bought the animal as a pet.

Immigration judges ruled that sending him back home would breach his human rights by interfering with his family life.

And this is not even close to being the least rational policy endorsed by the British government. Before breakfast.

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

Aural Floats: Dreamer's Dream

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

October 18, 2009

Strategery

The Republic of China (Taiwan) has carried out its largest ever missile test, following two weeks on from mainland China's national military parade.

The missiles were launched on Tuesday from the secretive and tightly guarded Chiupeng base in southern Taiwan and could strike major Chinese cities, the United Daily News reported.

President Ma Ying-jeou, who has been criticised for being too friendly with China, was among the observers of the exercise, the paper said, citing a "reliable military source".

The test came after China, which has vowed to take back Taiwan, celebrated 60 years of communist rule on October 1 by parading high-tech weapons including intercontinental ballistic missiles through the streets of Beijing.
Posted by the Flea at 12:14 PM

Anjulie: Rain


Posted by the Flea at 12:11 PM

October 17, 2009

Lily Allen: Not Fair


Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM

October 16, 2009

The power of positive thinking will kill you

And an excess of self-esteem will not make you happy claims sociologist Barbara Ehrenreich in Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America.

There's an ad for Volkswagen being shown in cinemas at the moment. A good-looking man is driving an elegant car; in the background the soundtrack plays a song saying: 'With positive thinking, life won't let you down.'

Harmless enough, you may think, but what makes the advertisement suddenly sickening is when the car passes a load of sheep on their way to the abattoir - they are all nodding their heads cheerfully in time to the music.

Yes, I know it's a joke, but there is still the implication that if you look on the bright side you, too, will be able to have a glamorous VW like the man in the ad, and, even if you're on your way to be slaughtered, a positive mind-set will make that jolly, too.

It won't. Indeed, this pre-occupation with thinking positively, with self-esteem and with the conviction that our thoughts somehow shape our futures is actually a dangerous obsession that leads not to happiness and fulfilment but rather disappointment and failure.

Much as I suspected.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM | Comments (3)

Mondotek: Alive

It's Friday, yo. I think the rule is if you work in an office you have to crank this.


Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Ever dream this man?

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No. But I have seen FlashForward and think the idea has legs and wish I had come up with whatever this is viral marketing for. Just speculating here; I would much rather This Man were legit. I think sleep research is inherently creepy... (hat tip to Agent Bedhead).

The psychiatrist decides to send the portrait to some of his colleagues that have patients with recurrent dreams. Within a few months, four patients recognize the man as a frequent presence in their own dreams. All the patients refer to him as THIS MAN.

From January 2006 until today, at least 2000 people have claimed they have seen this man in their dreams, in many cities all over the world: Los Angeles, Berlin, Sao Paulo, Tehran, Beijing, Rome, Barcelona, Stockholm, Paris, New Dehli, Moskow etc.

Update: Now with viral video (and another hat tip to Agent Bedhead).

At this point, the mind-screw - if you still wish to engage - is trying to figure out what the hell Natella and Guerriglia Marketing are actually promoting here. If it ends up being cider, I'm going to be pissed. If, on the other hand, it's a mind-screw for giggles alone, it still deserves some marks ... although points are coming off for the sloppy execution with the domain.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

The time has come to smell the Hope

Auto-Tune the News #9: Nobel. health care. United Nations.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

October 15, 2009

Neither racked by guilt nor enslaved by passion

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Robert Harris cites a debate in the Roman Senate dated December 5, 63BC - and the words of Caesar, Cicero and Cato in particular - by way of comparison with the moribund, kleptocratic technocracy at Westminster. I shall life his Cato quote but with a different target in mind.

It is long pat time we set aside our guilt and our passions and turned instead to ancient custom.

... the speaker who really won the day was Marcus Cato. His is the first parliamentary speech in history that has come down to us more or less intact, thanks to the scribes who took it down in shorthand. 'In heaven's name, men, wake up!' he thundered. 'Wake up while there's still time and lend a hand to defend the republic!

'Our liberty and lives are at stake! At such a time does anyone here dare talk to me of clemency and compassion?

'Do not imagine, gentlemen, that it was by force of arms that our ancestors transformed a petty state into this great republic. If it were so, it would now be at the height of its glory, since we have more subjects and citizens, more arms and horses, than they ever had.

'No, it was something else entirely that made them great - something we entirely lack.

'They were hard workers at home, just rulers abroad, and to the senate-they brought minds that were not racked by guilt or enslaved by passion. That is what we've lost.

Read the whole thing for context. Or pause to consider the news, the effect will be similar.

I fear the wonderful words of the late novelist J. G. Farrell are only too apt: 'We look on past ages with condescension, as a mere preparation for us - but what if we're only an afterglow of them?'
Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM | Comments (1)

John Barry: On Her Majesty's Secret Service - Main Title

Quite possibly the most awesome thing ever recorded. John Barry is God.

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

October 14, 2009

Letting the freak flag fly

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With the latest news of the commodification of the deaths of Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake, Tony Lang poses an excellent question.

Gus Van Sant teaming up with Bret Easton Ellis to make a feature out of a tragic suicide pact; Can you imagine something more blood-chillingly depressing?

I can think of one, actually; that within days of hearing (from a journalist asking questions, no less) Theresa Duncan had committed suicide, I wondered who would be first to cash in on the story of their tragedy. Congratulations, Nancy Jo Sales. You win.

With a big boo hoo for Kate Coe.

Posted by the Flea at 03:08 AM

So Called: You Are Never Alone



Posted by the Flea at 03:01 AM

October 13, 2009

German, early 19th century

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The winds of memory (?) waft me back to 1998, a year I was in London and would have had no difficulty borrowing £12,000 for Young Girl in Profile in Renaissance Dress.

Art experts believe a new Leonardo da Vinci portrait may have been discovered - thanks to a fingerprint. The painting, titled Young Girl in Profile in Renaissance Dress, recently sold for a mere £12,000 ($19,000). It was billed at a Christie's sale in 1998 as 'German, early 19th century'.

Now a growing number of leading art experts agree that it is almost certainly by Leonardo da Vinci and could be worth about £100 million.

I am sorry to say "Kill Hitler as a baby" has lost pole position in my hypothetical time travel itinerary with "Step on prehistoric butterfly" falling to third place.

Update: Mr. Ash via email. Touché!

At least you weren't the one who sold it for 12,000 quid, or the equivalent thereof. I'd have to kill myself if I were that person.

And besides, everyone kills Hitler on their first trip:
http://www.ghostofaflea.com/archives/010295.html
Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (1)

In their turns, to tyrants fall

First verse: Nato commander warns of conflict with Russia in Arctic Circle.

Competition for resources in the Arctic Circle could provoke conflict between Russia and Nato, a newly appointed commander at the alliance warned yesterday.

Second verse: Chinese ambitions may be to give its carrier air wing an air-to-surface role from the outset.

Numerous images of an intriguing facility claimed to be at the Wuhan ship design institute have appeared on the internet in the past few days. The images show a building on which an aircraft carrier’s main superstructure is being fabricated, along with a large roof area that could be used to practise aircraft and helicopter deck handling.

Third verse: Cutbacks for both the Royal Navy and the RAF.

The navy is certain to lose its fourth Trident submarine and Stanhope admitted that even the two new carriers were not safe.
Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM

Gresham’s law of culture

Theodore Dalrymple asks "What’s Wrong with Twinkling Buttocks?", observing "the bad drives out the good, unless the good is defended" (via The Steynian).

...the boundless prurience of the British press concerning the private lives of public figures, especially politicians, has an ideological aim: to subvert the very concept and deny the possibility of virtue, and therefore of the necessity for restraint. If every person who tries to defend virtue is revealed to have feet of clay (as which of us does not?) or to have indulged at some time in his life in the vice that is the opposite of the virtue he calls for, then virtue itself is exposed as nothing but hypocrisy: and we may therefore all behave exactly as we choose. The loss of the religious understanding of the human condition—that Man is a fallen creature for whom virtue is necessary but never fully attainable—is a loss, not a gain, in true sophistication. The secular substitute—the belief in the perfection of life on earth by the endless extension of a choice of pleasures—is not merely callow by comparison but much less realistic in its understanding of human nature.

My secular friends never understand the point - having never been taught it (explicitly) and having been taught by the Franfurt School to reject it (implicitly) - until I explain how and why Frodo failed in his quest. The light turns on.

Related (and with another hat tip to the increasingly indispensible Binky the Elf): It’s Only Anti-Social - In Britain, the seriousness of an offense depends on who the victim is.

The rule of law is fast evaporating in Britain; we are coming to live in a land of men, not of laws.

Gloss in the margin: That Mitchell and Webb Look and the Good Samaritan.

Posted by the Flea at 08:12 AM | Comments (1)

Sun Kil Moon: Like the River

Posted by the Flea at 08:04 AM

October 12, 2009

Miss Plastic Hungary 2009

Via Hot Air.

Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM

Enumerated Powers Act

I remain in awe of the Constitution of the United States of America; divinely inspired for all it is routinely ignored.

Rep. John Shadegg has been trying to get a bill enacted for 15 years that would simply require legislators to cite the constitutional authority for any legislation that is proposed. His bill is called the Enumerated Powers Act (HR450). It now has 52 co-sponsors, but there is very little chance that it will ever get to the floor for a vote.

Why? Because the Democrats in Congress will not allow it.

This bill would not be necessary if the Democrats would simply follow their own rules. House Rule XIII (3)(d)(1) requires:

"Each report of a committee on a public bill or public joint resolution shall contain the following: A statement citing the specific powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact the law proposed by the bill or joint resolution."

That's right. The rules of procedure in the House of Representatives already require that every bill or resolution cite the constitutional authority for the proposed legislation. This rule is routinely ignored.
Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Mary J. Blige: The One

In which Mary J. rocks the gated voice thingee.


Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

Jean-Paul Gaultier Spring 2010 Ready to Wear

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

October 11, 2009

Jonathan Saunders Spring 2010 Ready to Wear

Posted by the Flea at 09:57 PM | Comments (1)

One of these things is not like the others

David Axe considers Iran's motives for sending its navy out amongst the pirates and anti-piracy patrols.

There's just one country plying East African waters that refuses to cooperate. In December, Tehran announced it would send warships to protect Iranian shipping from attack. The first Iranian flotilla apparently departed in May, and a second group set sail several months later. But the deployed vessels never integrated into the international coalition, and therefore do not benefit from the international cooperation. The Iranian ships operate alone, in silence and secrecy, leading some to question Tehran's motives.

To deter and interdict pirates, to remind the world it has a navy or to spy on the navies of the West as much as the pirates; all possibilities, yes. But there is another, and rather more obvious, possibility Axe does not raise: The Persians are there to support their corsair allies. Six of one, after all (via Information Dissemination, raising another possibility).

Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM

Sébastien Tellier: Kilometer

Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM

October 10, 2009

T.A.Z.

PirateBay_CyberBunker.jpg

The Pirate Bay moves to a bunker complex the Netherlands.

CyberBunker is located in a former military nuclear warfare bunker in The Netherlands. The facility was built by NATO in the 50s to survive a nuclear war, but after the nuclear threats were over it was sold to its current owners. The bunker is now used as a webhosting data center.

The bunker is equipped with Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) shielding and Nuclear/Biological/Chemical (NBC) air filtration to guarantee that the servers they host stay up no matter what happens. As of this week it is also the new home of The Pirate Bay.
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM

England jumps the shark

Time to turn out the lights.

A new internet game is about to be launched which allows 'super snooper' players to plug into the nation's CCTV cameras and report on members of the public committing crimes.

The 'Internet Eyes' service involves players scouring thousands of CCTV cameras installed in shops, businesses and town centres across Britain looking for law-breakers.

Players who help catch the most criminals each month will win cash prizes up to £1,000.
Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

Atrium Carceri: Blue Moon

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

October 09, 2009

Lanvin Spring 2010 Ready to Wear - ELLE

Thump. Thumpy-thump, thump.

Posted by the Flea at 04:54 PM

How to make a Lord of the Rings sword

Via NRO.

Posted by the Flea at 02:30 PM

Pilate washed his hands. If he had washed his old black heart he would have been all right.

Pious hypocrites amongst the environmentally correct? You could knock me over with a feather. Welcome to Annexia; land of high moral credentials and where low moral expectations are considered a virtue (via The Register).

Just being around green products can make us behave more altruistically, a new study to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science has found.

But buying those same products can have the opposite effect. Researchers found that buying green can lead people into less altruistic behaviour, and even make them more likely to steal and lie than after buying conventional products. Buying products that claim to be made with low environmental impact can set up “moral credentials” in people’s minds that give license to selfish or questionable behavior.
Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM | Comments (1)

I:Cube: Adore

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM

October 08, 2009

Lotte Lenya: Die Moritat von Mackie Messer

Rosa_Klebb_shoes.jpg

Mark Steyn on Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht and Marc Blitzstein.

A man's name is as central to his identity as you can get, but, since his premature death, even that's been taken away from Weill. In a remarkable act of cultural appropriation, he was in effect posthumously extradited to Berlin and reGermanicized - as the in-house composer for the decadent vamping soundtrack of Weimar. The composer's personal and professional efforts to assimilate were in vain: He worked with Ira Gershwin, Ogden Nash, Alan Jay Lerner; he wrote musical comedies for Mary Martin and Danny Kaye. "He was very interested in money," sneered Otto Klemperer. "He got too involved in American showbusiness and all the terrible people in it."

To listen to twits like Klemperer, you'd think that Weill, torn between the devil and the deep blue rinse of Broadway matinee ladies, should have stuck with Hitler as the lesser evil. Better a death camp in the Fatherland than a camp death on Broadway.

Posted by the Flea at 07:58 AM

There is no proletarian, not even a Communist movement, that has not operated in the interests of money

Spengler is at his gloomiest when addressing the economy.

The parallels between America in 2009 and Japan in 1989 are uncanny. An asset price bubble has collapsed, just before a tsunami of prospective retirements that the asset bubble was supposed to fund. Demand for savings is bottomless, and the government satisfies demands for savings by running a huge deficit and issuing debt. The crippled banking system borrows at an interest rate of zero and buys government securities. And the economy shrivels up and dies.
Posted by the Flea at 07:57 AM

Of course there's a lot of knowledge in universities: the freshmen bring a little in; the seniors don't take much away, so knowledge sort of accumulates

Times Higher Education releases its global ranking of the world's top 200 universities. The news: Oxford clings on to the top five as Cambridge moves to second place behind Harvard. At eighteenth place, Canada's McGill University is our sole contributor to the top twenty.

Posted by the Flea at 07:54 AM

October 07, 2009

Unknown Pleasures

UnknownPleasuresCape.jpg

But for a spare £870 this large grey and black wool Joy Division cape with removable hood would be mine. For the win.

Via Coilhouse, with further details for anyone not getting the reference.

Related: Further to a recent request for more steampunk content... this guide to eleven sci-punks should come in handy. Now considering Mannerpunk.

A tongue-in-cheek term used to describe any comedy of manners with fantastic elements, like Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners or Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton. (Some critics also consider Mervyn Peake's first two Gormenghast books to be the first mannerpunk novels.) Literary cousins to swashbuckling books like The Scarlet Pimpernel and the romantic comedies of Jane Austen, these tales study the social interactions between their characters, usually within a rigidly hierarchical social structure, but those characters may as easily be dragons, demons or faeries as human beings.
Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

Metonymy

Long suspected from the example of Chichen Itza's El Castillo, the Moon Pyramid's second example at Teotihuacan now suggests Mayan architects intended visiting footsteps to sound like raindrops.

Sit on the steps of Mexico's El Castillo pyramid in Chichen Itza and you may hear a confusing sound. As other visitors climb the colossal staircase their footsteps begin to sound like raindrops falling into a bucket of water as they near the top. Were the Mayan temple builders trying to communicate with their gods?

The discovery of the raindrop "music" in another pyramid suggests that at least some of Mexico's pyramids were deliberately built for this purpose. Some of the structures consist of a combination of steps and platforms, while others, like El Castillo, resemble the more even-stepped Egyptian pyramids.

A minor quibble: While El Castillo is a Post Classic period Mayan construction, it is not clear what language was spoken at Teotihuacan. What is certain is that the Pyramid of the Moon predates El Castillo by centuries and that, if there is a direct relationship, it is Chichen Itza that owes the debt of influence.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Greg Weeks: One True Song

Waving a lighter over my head for SondraK. This one goes to eleven.

"One True Song"

Rise/
to meet the dawn/
oh and sing/
the one true song/
Endless tacts/
entry contracts/
will burn your soul/
a bible black/
Some/
will try to hide/
oh some will run/
their ins outside/
before they'll rise/
to meet the dawn/
oh and sing/
the one true song/
Oh Lord/
where will we hide/
now that you/
have taken sides?/
I want to sleep

Also: Made.

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

October 06, 2009

That Mitchell and Webb Look: Bad Vicar

I am looking for this parish.

Posted by the Flea at 10:02 AM | Comments (1)

The Temper Trap: Sweet Disposition

Hat tip to Jeffypoop.

Posted by the Flea at 10:01 AM

October 05, 2009

Regarding fairy tales

In which Cheryl Cole reveals a tattoo I did not know about.

The brunette singer, who posed in a black leotard and sailor’s hat for Elle, said the whole concept of a dream marriage was not correct.

‘That's why it's called a fairy tale isn't it? It's not real,’ she said.
Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

Annie: I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me

Posted by the Flea at 06:21 AM

October 04, 2009

MGMT: Electric Feel


Posted by the Flea at 12:47 PM

October 02, 2009

From The Commentaries Of Muad'Dib

Schoenherr,_John_-_The_Illustrated_Dune_-_Stilgar_And_His_Men.jpg

Pulphope illustrates a parable of M'uad Dib. It is a nice job though I never grokked this one, if I'm honest.

"It is said of Muad'dib that once when he saw a weed trying to grow between two rocks, he moved one of the rocks. Later, when the weed was seen to be flourishing, he covered it with the remaining rock. 'That was its fate,' he explained."

The linked work credits the visionary John Schoenherr as an inspiration. I don't believe Schoenherr ever illustrated this particular parable so I have posted "Stilgar and His Men" as a point of comparison (via Warren Ellis).

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

Memories of the Future 1

Dubstep audio mix by Andy Lieberthal aka Grafik. Visual mix by Chuck Przybyl. A mix shot live in the studio with two cameras and then remixed and then video mixed over. Featuring tracks by Gravious, Skream, Scuba, and Nightwalker.
Posted by the Flea at 06:17 AM

October 01, 2009

I see what you did there

cheryl-and-dannii.jpg

The Daily Mail spies trouble brewing between X Factor judges Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue; A double plus good observation if only for coining the term "Tron-esque".

Tensions on the X Factor judging panel could be a little higher when Dannii Minogue sees the video for Cheryl Cole's first solo single. The promo for Fight For This Love, which was released last week, bears an uncanny resemblance to the Australian star's 2002 video for single Put The Needle On It.

Both videos see the X Factor judges posing in front of a black and white, Tron-esque, grid background.

There is only one way to be sure.

Cheryl Cole - Fight For This Love - Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM | Comments (2)

Goose-stepping into the future

Mainland China celebrates sixty years of communist dictatorship with flowers, fireworks and a parade.

It was the Middle Kingdom, the world's most cohesive and enduring society, which pioneered not just the compass, gunpowder and printing, but porcelain, paperback books and a medieval postal service that would put today's Royal Mail to shame.

Normally, I can't stand this sort of fawning, majestic history of the Ewoks lie but given the state of the Royal Mail one is pressed to disagree.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM | Comments (1)

Rip Van Winkle à la française

François Desouche ponders the impressions of a man falling into a coma in 1978 and awakening in 2009.

He would now be called a "Gaulois", a term he remembers only vaguely as a folkloric memory from his youngest years in elementary school.

Read the whole list.

The same for England: The sorry truth is we live in the twilight years of a social experiment that has failed.

In the caring, sharing culture of our social services, one fact gets forgotten. In order to protect the vulnerable, you have to take a stand. But our Government and our institutions are uncomfortable at exercising authority.
Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

Ghostland Observatory: Sad Sad City

Posted by the Flea at 07:37 AM