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December 31, 2009

Margaret Thatcher, 2009

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Richard Stone, 1951-.

In progress. Completed.

Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM

Charity begins at home

Minutes of a July 1979 meeting with foreign secretary Lord Carrington and home secretary William Whitelaw show Lady Thatcher privately complained that too many Asian immigrants were being allowed into Britain.

Mr Whitelaw entered the debate, suggesting to the prime minister that refugees were a different matter to immigrants in general. He said that according to letters he had received, opinion favoured the accepting of more of the Vietnamese refugees.

Lady Thatcher responded that “in her view all those who wrote letters in this sense should be invited to accept one into their homes," the minutes disclose.

Directly related: There is no such thing as public money.

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM

Nearer the real America

David Bowie's reply to his first fan letter from America (via Agent Bedhead).

I hope one day to get to America. ... I was watching an old film on TV the other night called "No Down Payment" a great film, but rather depressing if it is a true reflection of The American Way of Life. However, shortly after that they showed a documentary about Robert Frost the American poet, filmed mainly at his home in Vermont, and that evened the score. I am sure that is nearer the real America.
Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM

Taj Mahal: Johnny Too Bad

Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM

December 30, 2009

View of Brancusi atelier, c. 1925

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Constantin Brancusi, 1876-1957.

Posted by the Flea at 07:58 AM

Alan Wake - Sam Lake Interview

There may be a rule of some kind... you know you are working in a mature medium when videogame writers use a writer as a main character. I gather Alan Wake is a novelist, however, so we are still a step away from using a videogame writer as a videogame protagonist.

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

Christopher Lee: Choose Your Poison

Hat tip to Ben, no stranger to setting fire to his pants in public places... with explosive results!

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

December 29, 2009

Perseus and Andromeda, 1891

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Frederic Lord Leighton, 1830-1896.

Posted by the Flea at 09:28 AM

The blue clouds of the red planet

Emil Kraaikamp uses a 10″ telescope to capture astonishing images of Mars, Venus and Jupiter.

The fourth cloud to the lower right is actually marking the spot of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system. The image inset here is from NASA, showing Olympus Mons up close; but you don’t need to go to Mars to see it.

After all, it can be captured with a ten inch telescope.

Related: Joseph Shoer considers the physics of space battles, hoping modular spacecraft will be used for exploration, not for crushing the dreams of Martian colonists.

First, let me point out something that Ender's Game got right and something it got wrong. What it got right is the essentially three-dimensional nature of space combat, and how that would be fundamentally different from land, sea, and air combat. In principle, yes, your enemy could come at you from any direction at all. In practice, though, the Buggers are going to do no such thing. At least, not until someone invents an FTL drive, and we can actually pop our battle fleets into existence anywhere near our enemies. The marauding space fleets are going to be governed by orbit dynamics – not just of their own ships in orbit around planets and suns, but those planets' orbits.
Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM

Martha and the Muffins: Delicate EPK

Hit tip to Mr. MacDonald.

For all of our fans,
A short history of Martha and the Muffins and the making of the first new album in 18 years, Delicate.
Directed, photographed & edited by James Brylowski/Solid Porcupine
Happy Holidays and all the best in 2010,
from Martha & Mark.
Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM

Lillian Allen's Riddim an' Hard Times, 1983

Mixdown of dub poet,Lillian Allen song with Clive Robertson and Quammie Williams at Voicespondence studio in Toronto in 1983.Also present are dub poets, Clifton Joseph and Devon Haughton.
Posted by the Flea at 09:22 AM

December 28, 2009

Gold and garnet scabbard boss fitting, 7th century

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The Staffordshire Hoard.

Official. Also.

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Contempt for economic realities

A difficult lesson is in store for the United States. Will she learn from history or will history teach her the same lesson by hard example. This is not an abstract question; it is the future of the West.

In the early 20th century, Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world. While Great Britain's maritime power and its far-flung empire had propelled it to a dominant position among the world's industrialized nations, only the United States challenged Argentina for the position of the world's second-most powerful economy.

They must have felt invincible.

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM

History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes

Publius offers an all too apt comparison.

The only truly global power was in rapid relative decline. Not long before, it had won a pyrrhic victory in a costly colonial war. New great powers were on the rise. An arms race was under way, as was competition for markets and resources in undeveloped areas of the world. Yet people still believed in the durability of the free trade and free capital flows that had nurtured prosperity and, many believed, had also underpinned peace.

Let's pretend this is an unrelated note: "In the week that Britain's high speed rail link closed down because the wrong sort of snow interfered with the engine's electronics, China unveiled the world's fastest train service on one of the coldest days of the year." Click through for inspirational/depressing imagery. I am just as happy the Chinese still believe in scientific, technological and industrial progress. Like we used to.

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

Justice: Phantom pt.2

Posted by the Flea at 08:18 AM

December 27, 2009

Christ appears in the New World, 1952-55

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Arnold Friberg, 1913-.

Posted by the Flea at 03:23 PM

Lada Gaga Behind-the-Scenes ELLE Cover Shoot January 2010

Posted by the Flea at 02:08 PM

Hardknox: Attitude

Posted by the Flea at 02:07 PM

December 26, 2009

Jesus walking in the heart with a lamp whose light exposes all sins and vices, 1585-86

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Antonius Wierix, c. 1555/59-1604.

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM

Grand Theft Horse

Boxing Day: Want this. Not yet available.

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | Comments (1)

Dunhill Tradition

Boxing Day: Want this. Too dear.

The making of the Dunhill Tradition Double Document Case, a snip at £1,880!

For the first time in over a hundred years, we get an inside view of how Dunhill manufactures its beautiful leather goods. Never before has Dunhill shown the outside world how the world class craftsman create their products. In this clip we get to see a portion of the film demonstrating the making of Dunhill's Double Document Case.

Related: Dunhill by Design: A Very English Story

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

Tim Burton MoMA Spot

Boxing Day: Want to see this. Not in New York (a problem I can solve!).

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM

December 25, 2009

Christmas in the Stars, 1980

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Ralph McQuarrie, 1929-. Christmas in the Stars.

Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM

John Bongiovi: R2-D2, We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM

December 23, 2009

Ghost of a flea: May His passing cleanse the world


May His passing cleanse the world

Ghost of a flea | MySpace Music Videos

Merry Christmas.

Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM

December 22, 2009

Church Sunday

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Ray Prohaska, 1901-1981.

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM

Defensible Dress

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

Florence + the Machine: You've Got The Love

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM

December 21, 2009

Reflection of Sunlight off Titan Lake, 2009

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Cassini Equinox Mission, NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/DLR.

Posted by the Flea at 05:47 AM

A fatwa against false Jedi

The heresiarch George Lucas takes a well deserved kicking for trying to prevent Andrew Ainsworth from manufacturing Stormtrooper helmets.

Mr Ainsworth, from Twickenham, south-west London, made the original Stormtrooper helmets for the Star Wars film in 1976 as a favour to a costume designer friend. In 2004, he found one of the helmets gathering dust on top of a cupboard and realised he was sitting on a potential goldmine.

He dug out the original moulds from the cellar and began producing them through his company, Shepperton Design Studios, along with suits of Stormtrooper armour which cost up to £1500. They are highly sought after by Star Wars devotees, who wear them to fan conventions.

The Imperial Gunner Helmet was my first thought but then I noticed this Shadow Armour.

Also, Han fired first.

Related: Comments to Star Wars Ep. V- Final Scene & End Credits demonstrate the entire fanboy internet checking to see if Family Guy was right and that Lando Calrissian wears Han Solo's clothes at the end of Empire. He does.

Posted by the Flea at 05:43 AM

Hooray!

venn.jpg

I link this BoingBoing piece not so much for its content, interesting as it is, but for the Venn diagram they chose to illustrate it (reproduced above). I think it is not only clever but useful to think with.

Posted by the Flea at 05:37 AM

Unkle: Lonely Soul

Posted by the Flea at 05:34 AM

December 20, 2009

Plague, 1898

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Arnold Böcklin, 1827-1901.

Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM | Comments (1)

Kitani Mohabbat Hai - Episode # 99

While I won't pretend I watched the whole thing carefully, I am delighted to report Indian courtroom dramas now appear in full on YouTube (with subtitles). Killer clown warning at the 8 minute mark.

At the court hearing, the verdict is given - Arjun Punj is to be hanged to death.

Ganga Rai requests the judge to give her a chance to prove that Arjun is innocent but the judge refuses and asks her to appeal to the supreme court.
Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM

Riverside: Learn The Dance!

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM

December 19, 2009

Embryo and Womb, c. 1511

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Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519.

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

The Cloud Mystery

In this film, the UN climate concensus is seriously challenged - watch it, and judge for yourself.
Posted by the Flea at 06:42 AM | Comments (1)

Gene Pitney: 24 Hours from Tulsa

Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review

Allahpundit calls it the best movie review you will ever see. He is correct.

Finally it's here! The truly epic review/critique/analysis/film making educational video of the 1999 film "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" There was so much to discuss with this film it had to be long so please don't complain. If you think it's too long then don't watch it. In this opening segment I discuss the major flaw of The Phantom Menace which is the characters and the lack of connection with the audience.
Posted by the Flea at 06:33 AM | Comments (3)

December 18, 2009

Dr. King preaching at Old St Paul's before James I, 1616

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John Gipkyn, 1594–1629.

Diptych.

Posted by the Flea at 06:28 AM

TypePad comment system farce

Update 2:49pm: Hello again, everyone. Comments were on the blink over the weekend, have been working again until this morning and now I find I cannot log in to my own blog to leave a pithy remark. I just sent a note to TypePad asking for their assistance but I am not expecting any help from them whatsoever. TypePad is introducing a "New TypePad!" which I suspect is the immediate source of the problem; the system has been sufficiently erratic over the years it is difficult to tell.

I am edging closer to disabling comments altogether. ("Welcome to the Ex-TypePad!")

In the meantime, this publication is provided free of charge (excepting the Amazon and Google eyeball fee), is published entirely at my expense and is the best I can do given my other responsibilities. I would therefore appreciate everyone fucking off about my non-functioning comments unless you have something constructive to suggest or hit my tip jar so I can hire someone to address the problem (excepting Jeff, who is sufficiently witty to entertain on this subject).

Now back to grading essays.

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

The Passenger

A film by Chris Jones. The facial expressions are priceless.

Posted by the Flea at 06:22 AM

Kraftwerk: Europe Endless 1977

Posted by the Flea at 06:21 AM

December 17, 2009

The bi-weekly ablution of 'The Ritz', 1915

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Herbert Ponting and Frank Hurley,

The link. The exhibition. The Heart of the Great Alone: Scott, Shackleton, and Antarctic Photography.

With the ship surrounded by impenetrable ice on all sides, Shackleton decreed that it should become a floating station for the duration of the winter. The stores and cargo were removed from the main hold and the space turned into living quarters, known as "The Ritz".
Posted by the Flea at 07:34 AM

The Cassandras from the Panglosses

Niall Ferguson asks, given this last year - and if they had e-mail in the hereafter - which of the great thinkers of the past would be entitled to send us a message with the subject line: "I told you so"? It is a tedious piece but a handy write up if you are after a brief introduction to big names in economics.

It has, for example, been a bad year for Adam Smith (1723-1790) and his "invisible hand," which was supposed to steer the global economy onward and upward to new heights of opulence through the action of individual choice in unfettered markets. By contrast, it has been a good year for Karl Marx (1818-1883), who always maintained that the internal contradictions of capitalism, and particularly its tendency to increase the inequality of the distribution of wealth, would lead to crisis and finally collapse. A special mention is also due to early 20th-century Marxist theorist Rudolf Hilferding (1877-1941), whose Das Finanzkapital foresaw the rise of giant "too big to fail" financial institutions.
Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM | Comments (1)

Blame: the final taboo

Zombietime explains the moral objection to universal health coverage.

Now, I really don’t care if you overeat, smoke like a chimney, hump like a bunny or forget to lock the safety mechanism on your pistol as you jam it in your waistband. Fine by me. And as a laissez-faire social-libertarian live-and-let-live kind of person, I would never under normal circumstances condemn anyone for any of the behaviors listed above. That is: Until the bill for your stupidity shows up in my mailbox. Then suddenly, I’m forced to care about what you do, because I’m being forced to pay for the consequences.

Not that this sort of argument cuts any ice with the left; if you object to paying for someone else's stupidity, you are immoral and your opinions count for nothing (but they still want your money). Read the whole thing. Trust me, you will want to learn about Dr. Earl Sunderhaus.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

Robert Mitchum: From a Logical Point of View

Hat tip to Ben.

Discuss: Hollywood Hi-Fi: Robert Mitchum Sings.

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

December 16, 2009

The Blue Mandarin Coat, 1922

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Joseph Rodefer DeCamp, 1858-1923.

Posted by the Flea at 07:58 AM

Never have so many shown so little gratitude to those few still willing to fight

More than a quarter of the Royal Air Force's frontline force is to be scrapped; nominally to pay for the war in Afghanistan but in reality to pay for the excesses of a country one suspects is hardly worth defending.

I would say how Her Majesty's government actually spends its treasures but I would be up on charges the next time I step off a plane at Heathrow.

Bob Ainsworth yesterday took the axe to the Royal Air Force to pay for the war in Afghanistan. It bore the brunt of brutal £1.5billion cutbacks unveiled by the Defence Secretary.

Up to three squadrons of Harrier and Tornado fighter jets – more than a quarter of the frontline force – will be scrapped.

The Harrier airbase at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland will be closed.
Posted by the Flea at 07:57 AM

Embarrassing dad dance explained

Psychologist Dr Peter Lovatt of the University of Hertfordshire believes he has found the secret to the "embarrassing dad dance"; older men are signalling their sexual incompatibility with younger women.

He is mistaken, obviously.

My comment to the Daily Mail:

Dr Lovatt might usefully consider how evolution works before reaching the conclusions he does from the data he has collected. While there may be an evolutionary advantage to young women able to choose the "green apple" over the "brown apple" such an ability would be counter-adaptive to those middle aged "brown apples". In other words, even if young women have evolved to see through the confidence and the awkward dance moves, every middle aged man has evolved to either fool such an adaptation (mate with me despite my age) or to be impressive despite it (see how confident I am).

Despite his background in psychology (mine is in anthropology), Dr Lovatt must realize older men are perfectly capable of fathering children; as a man Dr Lovatt may have noticed older men do not lose interest. Even if the older man is physiologically weaker compared to a young man, his appeal is backed up by the increased status, economic and social power enjoyed by older men, all of interest to a younger woman.

It isn't Mad Men, it's biology.

Posted by the Flea at 07:54 AM

Shorthand for all the feelings that they're not ready to deal with yet

Stephen King says Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn. An outraged Twilight fan replies.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Flea, behold!, an immortal instance of the art of rhetoric.

I think he's such a JERK! I'd like to say other things but we can't go swearing on here. What a moron! I haven't read his books, but what the heck?! He goes dissing Stephanie Meyer- I HAD to read all of her books b/c they were sooo good- and I'm 27- i have a complete life- the fact that he's like 'she writes pg material for hs girls" is such krap! What a donkey! Stephanie is OBVIOUSLY talented. WHo the heck asked for his opinion in the first place and why would he think he's qualified to critique her just b/c he's an author. What a limited mind he has!!! I feel like never picking up one of his dumb books! He is a machovanistic PIG! I had respect for him before b/c he's written so many best selling books but PUHLEASE! He's totally classless. He writes different types of books- why would he even comment on a totally differ type of book? I even went on his website and the way he answers his readers questions- he does it SoOO ARROGANTLY! AND he doesn't even have facebook or myspace or even a section on his website besides stupid Message forums (which I AM NOT GOING TO SIGN UP to just leave him a comment) so that we could leave him a COMMENT about his stupid CRITIQUES because he DOESN'T CARE WHAT THE PUBLIC THINKS (just look at the way he answers his fans' questions)! I could say more nasty things about him, but why even bother wasting my own personal time!
Posted by the Flea at 07:53 AM | Comments (3)

Some dudes living in the woods

This had better be good. I am still wiping Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves off my brain.

Posted by the Flea at 07:52 AM | Comments (2)

LCD Soundsystem: Get innocuous

Posted by the Flea at 07:51 AM

December 15, 2009

The sun had closed the winter's day, c. 1904

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Joseph Farquharson, 1846-1935.

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

The blindingly obvious

Martin Cohen asks some sensible questions about climate change and public policy. Pity the rational man in an age of post-rationality; surely a thankless existence.

Is belief in global-warming science another example of the "madness of crowds"? That strange but powerful social phenomenon, first described by Charles Mackay in 1841, turns a widely shared prejudice into an irresistible "authority". Could it indeed represent the final triumph of irrationality? After all, how rational is it to pass laws banning one kind of light bulb (and insisting on their replacement by ones filled with poisonous mercury vapour) in order to "save electricity", while ploughing money into schemes to run cars on ... electricity? How rational is it to pay the Russians once for fossil fuels, and a second time for permission (via carbon credits) to burn them (see box page 36)? And how rational is it to suppose that the effects of increased CO2 in the atmosphere take between 200 and 1,000 years to be felt, but that solutions can take effect almost instantaneously?

Read the whole thing.

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

I suppose I'm obligated to say a few words about Tiger Woods

Dan Savage makes a sensible observation.

I suppose I'm obligated to say a few words about Tiger Woods. First, let's pretend that Elin Nordegren cheated on Tiger and that Tiger went after Elin with a golf club. Would Elin be viewed as the sole transgressor in the marriage then? Probably not.
Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

Three sacred words: LEGO. Digital. Designer.

I started downloading LEGO Digital Designer before I started typing this post. Design, purchasing and assembly; I almost don't care if it works.

This is LEGO Digital Designer. The program that lets you build with LEGO bricks on your computer.
Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

Olly Murs & Robbie Williams: Angels

Think Morcambe circa 1950 - possibly Blackpool - as a reference for my favourite moment in this season of The X Factor. There is nothing intentionally upleasant about the show, nothing nasty; just a talent competition.

Not the strongest singer on the show, Olly Murs' competitive position has been down to his likability from the start and, I dare say, the fact there is something old fashioned about him, this emphasized in the linked duo performance with Robbie William, a Mancunian man of the people with wide boy appeal. It is all too easy to imagine these two as Tommies, spear carriers on the Elizabethan stage or, for that matter, half-listening to a speech on St. Crispin's Day. I am glad there is something left of England.

Also delighted to see a Christmas tree on stage. Good on you, Simon Cowell.

Posted by the Flea at 07:41 AM

December 14, 2009

Sacrifice of Isaac, 1401-2

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Lorenzo Ghiberti, 1378-1455.

Gates of Paradise
. Images.

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

Comprehensiveness

These days I am only involved in virtual crisis management. Just as well, I shudder to think of all those underemployed social scientists grinding out report after report using hot keys for the word "comprehensiveness" and names involving specialized fonts if this Finnish defense meme spreads (pdf file).

Comprehensiveness is about mindsets. This book presents one possible way to initiate dialogue, compare mindsets and perhaps move towards a Finnish approach. On the other hand, it should be noted that to achieve one single language to cover the whole domain of crisis management may not be feasible – or even preferable, since it would take us eternity to define such a language. What is required is to identify some acceptable common ground for working together. Comprehensiveness is not a goal in itself, but can serve as a powerful means to a prioritised end.
Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

Climate Change: The Prequel

The CIA enters the climatological fray with a study suggesting a "detrimental global climatic change" threatens "the stability of most nations". The fear? Global cooling.*

‘A Study of Climatological Research as it Pertains to Intelligence Problems’, written by the CIA for ‘internal planning purposes’ in August 1974, goes a little way towards explaining why some people over a certain age experience a sense of déjà-vu when climate change is mentioned; in the mid-1970s there really was a lot of scientific discussion about global cooling. With the benefit of hindsight, reading it makes one feel wry and embarrassed. So many of the terms bandied about 35 years ago are still being employed by today’s fear-mongers, about the very opposite phenomenon.

* Reflecting the 1974 consensus. And my own vague anxiety.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

Settled science

Much as people who advocate multiculturalism do so because they neither know anything about nor care to learn anything about cultural difference, the people who are most strident about anthropogenic climate change neither know nothing about nor care to learn anything about climate science. "Caring" they can manage; the work of learning, not so much.

Forward this to the slow witted and tell them to stick their absurd Chicken Little fantasies where the sun does not shine. Via.

Related: "Cuba, a model of sustainable development."

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM

Kleerup ft. Lykke Li: Until We Bleed

Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM

December 13, 2009

Portrait of Bela Legosi, c. 1932

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Geza Kende, 1889-1952.

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Comments on the blink

Update 12:28: Hi everybody, my pain in the ass comment defense system is once again malfunctioning. Am considering removing comments altogether given my technical incompetence in this area.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

The war on Christmas, cont.

Christopher Hitchens is concerned at unconstitutional goings on in the White House. Unfortunately, he appears to be more concerned about the Christmas tree than the rest.

The following is a fair point, however.

I never cease to be amazed by how little the Bible-believing Protestants, who constitute most of the soldiery in the Christmas wars, know about their own tradition. Under the rule of the Puritan Revolution in the England of Oliver Cromwell (ancestor in many ways of the Pilgrim Fathers) the celebration of Christmas was banned outright. This was for three reasons: the December fiesta was actually the honoring of Paganism in disguise, and a descendant of the old rites of the Winter Solstice. Then, it was also a manifestation of Popery and superstition (the "Christ-Mass"). Finally, it was an excuse for the riff-raff to get drunk and over-indulge in general. Only the last part seems to have truly survived into our present day.
Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Animal Slaves: Save Me From Ruin

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

Green TD turns Dail air blue

I realize this exhibits bad behaviour, coddling of said bad behaviour and is all over the tubes. Still, as an enthusiast for rhetoric, I believe it merits mention here (nsfw Irish Parliamentary disocurse featured).

The Green Party's Paul Gogarty has released a torrent of abuse at Labour's Emmet Stagg during a Dail Budget debate. Stagg and the Green TD had been exchanging verbal blows in the chamber. But nothing prepared Stagg for the outburst. Gogarty later apologised for his language claiming it was patriotism that had fired him.
Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

December 12, 2009

From Dusk Til Dawn, 1986

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Frank Frazetta, 1928-.

Related.

Posted by the Flea at 10:28 AM

Harlan Ellison & Robin Williams discuss L. Ron Hubbard

In case I had never posted this little revelatory gem. So good I am irked it does not continue.

Posted by the Flea at 10:18 AM

Bombay Monkey: Are the stars?

Posted by the Flea at 10:17 AM

December 11, 2009

Barfüsserkirche II (Church of the Minorites II), 1926

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Lyonel Feininger, 1871-1956.

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Vlad the Impaler, a 15th century badass

While you may have heard Brad Pitt has a vampire film project crusading hero film project - Vlad - in the works, you may not have heard the screenplay was written by buddy from Sons of Anarchy.

Yes, Vlad the Impaler, a 15th century badass whose penchant for brutality and fighting at night were meant to strike fear in the heart of the Ottoman Empire and give his outnumbered forces an advantage on their home battlefield, was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And yes, the Vlad screenplay, written by Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam, will be produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Summit Entertainment, the studio behind Twilight. But no, you will not be seeing vampires. In fact, that was a non-negotiable point for Hunnam, who became fascinated with Vlad, a national hero of Romania, when he spent five months traveling the country during downtime filming 2003’s Cold Mountain.
Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM | Comments (1)

Big Daddy and Little Sister

These Bioshock costumes make for the best cosplay ever.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Goths Make Better Lovers (2003)

It is time we accepted a dark, disturbing truth.

"A short film about the love too miserable to speak its name. Goths Make Better Lovers asks why do Goths always have boyfriends? Goths, so often the victims of wry asides, mild pity or open scorn have much to teach their more colourful bretheren when it comes to affairs of the heart. Because Goths always appear to be in a relationship - and obtusely, these relationships appear to be happier than the non-Goth kind."
Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Underworld: Beautiful Burnout

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

December 10, 2009

Moses by the Nile, 1878

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Gustave Moreau, 1826-1898.

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Social animals

Gizmodo hosts a handy visual representation of the genesis and growth of social networking sites.

It all started with Classmates.com, which apparently has 50,000,000 users now. On the top of the pyramid is Facebook and its 300 million users, followed by MySpace’s 263 million. In the middle you have a huge constellation of sites, most of which I just can’t recognise. Trombi? Vampirefreaks? Bigadda? Cafemom? Geni? Itsmy? Qzone? Xanga?

Related: How huge is the internet on an average day?

The internet is, like, big. So's this infographic showing just how crazy huge it is, and what 210 billion emails, 3 million Flickr images, 43 million gigabytes (on phones) sent on an average day really means. It hurts.
Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Gothgirl Adora BatBrat like a white fairy modelling Hellstorm hat

The latest from Adora BatBrat. Could be more moi than thoi.

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

Skepta: Rolex Sweep (Vandalism Remix)

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

December 09, 2009

Listening to the Sphinx, 1863

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Elihu Vedder, 1836-1923.

Posted by the Flea at 10:48 AM

I don't need a cloak to become invisible

Harry Potter: The Exhibition is coming to Toronto, its first venue outside the United States, on April 9, 2010 running through until August 22, 2010.

Which seems hardly fair given the book's author, characters and settings are almost entirely British (an epic win for the Flea notwithstanding).

Immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter by trying on the Sorting Hat™, pulling a Mandrake from its pot in the Herbology vignette, and playing a game of Quidditch™ as you experience elaborate settings such as the Gryffindor™ common room, Hagrid's hut and the Great Hall.

You'll also come upon authentic artifacts from the movies-including Harry's wand and glasses, the Marauders' Map, Professor Dumbledore's robe and more!
Posted by the Flea at 10:44 AM

Red Dead Redemption

Time to shell out for the high definition screen, folks.

Posted by the Flea at 10:43 AM

Burial: Fostercare

Posted by the Flea at 10:42 AM

December 08, 2009

Star Wars, 2003

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Andrey Timofeyevich Kuznetsov, 1966-.

More. LiveJournal.

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM | Comments (1)

The Hegelian monster

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says it is a return to the Star Chamber as Europe finally tramples Magna Carta into the dust.

The founding texts of the English Constitution – charter, petition, bill of rights – have one theme in common: they create nothing. They assert old freedoms; they restore lost harmony. In this they guided America’s Revolution, itself a codification of early colonial liberties.

Europe’s Constitution – the Lisbon Treaty, as we know it – began as a sort of Magna Carta. EU leaders agreed at Laeken in 2001 that the Project needed restraining after Danes and Swedes rejected EMU, the Irish rejected Nice, and youth torched Gothenburg in anti-EU riots.

People do not want Europe inveigling its way into "every nook and cranny of life", they said. Needless to say, insiders hijacked the process. A Hegelian monstrosity emerged.
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

Black Hawk, Corsair 6: Amazing landings in Afghan South

A compilation of three clips showing a UH60 Black Hawk landing on a mountaintop in Zabul, Afghanistan, to insert coalition ground forces Nov. 6. Lt. Col. Carey Wagen and co-pilot Chief Warrant Officer Jesse Ashhurst, both members of 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, or Task Force Pegasus.
Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | Comments (1)

Aura Dione: I will love you Monday (365)

Hat tip to Jeff.

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM

December 07, 2009

Madonna Enthroned, c. 1310

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Giotto di Bondone, 1267-1337.

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

Buffy vs Edward: Twilight Remixed

Hat tip to Varenius.

Posted by the Flea at 06:42 AM

Benga & Coki: Night

Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM

December 06, 2009

The Extraordinary Adventures of Saturnino Farandola, 1914

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Albert Robida, 1848-1926.

The film. Details. Stills. Large image.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

How Twilight Works

The Oatmeal explains the structural appeal of Twilight, a must read for would be hack writers everywhere (via jvon).

First off, the author creates a main character which is an empty shell. Her appearance isn't described in detail; that way, any female can slip into it and easily fantasize about being this person. I read 400 pages of that book and barely had any idea of what the main character looked like; as far as I was concerned she was a giant Lego brick. Appearance aside, her personality is portrayed as insecure, fumbling, and awkward - a combination anyone who ever went through puberty can relate to. By creating this "empty shell," the character becomes less of a person and more of something a female reader can put on and wear. Because I forgot her name (I think it was Barbara or Brando or something like that), I'm going to refer to her as "Pants" from here on out.

An excellent point, if one that might be made of many lead characters who were also pants (Luke Skywalker, Seinfeld, Ted from How I Met Your Mother); we have the rest of an ensemble cast to represent Galenic personality types. Read the rest, of course, I only want to emphasize it is the unreality of Edward Cullen that makes it possible for him to be perfect in the eyes of Twilight fans. He is a vampire, he does not exist and consequently he may assume the form of a Platonic ideal; flawless and with no life of his own he is entirely unthreatening.

It is not as though this is a particularly new approach to marketing fiction to girls. I spent my undergraduate years being hectored by a variety of harpies in positions of authority power about unrealistic male expectations of women produced by pornography. A bit rich considering Jane Austen and the quivering mess that is the feminist literary canon.* The Twilight franchise only adds a few more volumes to a heap of Lucy Maud Montnography, a genre dedicated to the idealization of imaginary love interests and the generation of unrealistic female expectations of men, not least of which is the denial of biology. Men think about sex pretty much all the time and enjoy pictures of naked women and no progressive utopia will change the fact short of neutering every man alive and turning to a future of genderless English, tofurkey basters and human cloning.

Edward Cullen has no balls. Next they will elect him President.

* Nothing against Jane Austen, you understand. She would have skewered contemporary feminism on a sly rhetorical darning needle.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | Comments (2)

Small science

Christopher Essex, Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Western Ontario, replies to Daniel Henninger's Wall Street Journal article on the climate change scandal. False environmental science was created by and for politicians and a public who cannot be bothered to do the work of appreciating actual science.

A milestone in this mess can be said to be when John Houghton of the IPCC said it was the IPCC’s job to “orchestrate” the views of science. Everything that has happened flows as an inevitable consequence of that.

Some important research fields have been “orchestrated” out of existence. Even before Climategate, I have been saying that we have set ourselves back a generation by taking the money from governments with so many strings attached.

Governments leaders wanted something where they could absolve themselves of the responsibility for making informed decisions. They would have to read science stuff otherwise. They ordered up a kind of unnatural scientist that would tell them precisely what they wanted to hear.

But they gave the puppeteers clubs to deal with those of us who remained true. And the perps of Climategate are what they got. All of my colleagues have had to endure these bullies and criminals for a very long time.

You should understand that (real) scientists have had to pay the heaviest price for the creation of these monsters for decades. And they were not created by us.

Update: Rumblings it was the Russian security services who hacked into and released records from the University of East Anglia's climate fraud unit. If so, civilzation owes the Russian security services a debt of gratitude.

Suspicions were growing last night that Russian security services were behind the leaking of the notorious British ‘Climategate’ emails which threaten to undermine tomorrow’s Copenhagen global warming summit.

An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has discovered that the explosive hacked emails from the University of East Anglia were leaked via a small web server in the formerly closed city of Tomsk in Siberia.

Update: Too good to summarize.

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM

Michael Bay: Victoria's Secret Commercial

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | Comments (1)

Evanescence: Lithium

Posted by the Flea at 08:32 AM

December 05, 2009

Diastylis stygia - Cumacea, 1887

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W. Schlachter of Stockholm (lithograph) for Report on the Cumacea collected by H.M.S. Challenger during the Years 1873-76 by Professor G. O. Sars, Diastylis stygia - Cumacea.

About. More. Also.

Posted by the Flea at 08:08 AM

The mystery of steel

"Its totaly on IMDB which means its real."

Posted by the Flea at 08:07 AM | Comments (2)

With towels they fixed pillows to their heads, as protection against the falling stones

The ruins of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii have been added to Google Street View.

Italy's culture ministry says it hopes the move will boost tourism to the site, state news agency Ansa reports. Among the ruins visible on the search engine's free mapping service are the town's statues, temples and theatres.
Posted by the Flea at 08:04 AM

Cher: Half Breed

Quite possibly the best thing I have ever posted.

Posted by the Flea at 08:02 AM | Comments (3)

December 04, 2009

The Mysterious Sphinx, 1897

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Charles van der Stappen, 1843-1910.

Posted by the Flea at 07:58 AM | Comments (1)

The state of the art

£400million of the £1 billion cost of each Type 45 destroyer is the Sea Viper missile system. HMS Dauntless has set to sea with hers on the blink.

Like its sister ship, HMS Daring, Dauntless is fitted with iPod chargers, internet connections and the most luxurious accommodation in any of the Royal Navy's 99 ships and four submarines.
Posted by the Flea at 07:57 AM

The single greatest advance in punitive liberalism

Mark Steyn on documents leaked from East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit and the greatest scientific scandal of our times. Old news to the sort of people who read this blog but well worth it for the tag line.

Phil Jones and Michael Mann are two of the most influential figures in the whole “climate change” racket. What these documents reveal is the greatest scientific scandal of our times—and a tragedy. It’s not just their graphs but their battle lines that are drawn all wrong. Science is never “settled,” and certainly not on the basis of predictive models. And any scientist who says it is is no longer a scientist. And the dismissal of “skeptics” throughout the Jones/Mann correspondence is most revealing: a real scientist is always a skeptic.
Posted by the Flea at 07:54 AM

The Master

Paul Thomas Anderson is set to direct The Master featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Master, a "charismatic intellectual" who starts up a new religion in 1952. While Variety is careful to suggest this is not a film about Scientology (or the Mormons?) but "the need to believe in a higher power, the choice of which one to embrace and the point at which a belief system graduates into a religion" New York Magazine is less sanguine, citing Philip Seymour Hoffman's physical resemblance to L. Ron Hubbard - and that Scientology (and not Mormonism) was founded in, for example, 1952.

We wonder if, to any degree, the idea for Master was inspired by Anderson's friendship with Jeremy Blake, the visual artist with whom he collaborated on 2002's Punch Drunk Love. As you'll recall, Blake and girlfriend Theresa Duncan took their own lives in 2007 under mysterious circumstances, with Duncan alleging they'd been harassed by Scientologists after the couple's friend Beck told them he was thinking about leaving the religion (Beck, of course, denied this).
Posted by the Flea at 07:53 AM | Comments (1)

The tour

"Expedition 20 Flight Engineer Michael Barratt provides a 20-minute tour of the International Space Station, documenting the full 167 feet of the space station's pressurized modules."

Posted by the Flea at 07:52 AM | Comments (3)

Robyn: Be Mine!

Posted by the Flea at 07:51 AM

December 03, 2009

The Destruction of L'Orient at the Battle of the Nile (1st August, 1798), 1825-27.

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Mather Brown, 1761-1831.

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM | Comments (3)

Ferry Corsten: Rock Your Body

Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM

December 02, 2009

Bruges - Snow Effect

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Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer, 1865-1953.

Posted by the Flea at 09:28 AM

The thin red line

We need a strong India. Record gold prices, an overseas labour market hit by the Dubai crunch and a whopping 15% inflation rate are not helping.

Despite the brave front put up by the Indian government, the debt crisis that has enveloped Dubai World threatens to hit the struggling Indian overseas labour market that is largely dependent on short-term Middle East job contracts. The latest crisis comes at a time when official estimates have admitted that unemployment rates have spiraled to 30% in the Middle East in the last one year. As a consequence remittances to India are certain to be much lower then last year, 2007-08, $43.5 billion. It is well known that when Dubai sneezes, south India, especially Kerala, catches more than just a cold.

Funny I have not encountered that Middle East jobless figure before. You will be shocked to learn I believe our news media is covering the wrong stories.

Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM

Go Away

When I first clicked through to 27b/6 I wondered if the Neighbour of the Flea was trying to tell me something. Then I clicked again.

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM

The Good Book

I post this not so much for the commentary - which is asinine - but for the selection itself. Feeling vaguely Protestant now.


You're The Bible!
by ?
One of the most controversial, misunderstood, and yet powerful people alive, you spark extensive discourse wherever you go. People think you hate a whole lot of things, and you probably do, but people forget about your hatred for shrimp. Mostly, you like to tell stories and then be overwhelmed by how many different ways people interpret the things you tell them. The older you are, the less forgiving you become. While few can argue you're trying to do good, most would say that you've wound up doing a good deal of ill. After all, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Maybe you should just beget while the begetting's good.
Take the Book Quiz II at the Blue Pyramid.

Posted by the Flea at 09:22 AM

Brotherhood of Man: Save Your Kisses

This one goes out with an entirely unironic hat tip to Jeff because it reminds me of my Mum.

Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM | Comments (2)

December 01, 2009

The Silence of the Woods, 1885

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Arnold Böcklin, 1827-1901.

Posted by the Flea at 09:54 AM | Comments (2)

Where no MAN has gone before

Recently voted "Blogger or Pundit most likely to be charged under Hate Crime Laws", has Kathy Shaidle capitulated to identity politics? Or are there designated "victim" groups too terrifying to confront head on?

Most libertarians I've met are twitchy overgrown adolescents who are one step up from Trekkers on the appealing personality scale.

Come and get me you pansies!

Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie.
Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie.
Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie.
Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie.
Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie.
Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie. Trekkie.

Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM

Would you like to play a game

The love of man and money: Computer hacker arrested (in real life) for theft in online medieval fantasy game RuneScape.

Police believe the hacker obtained password details through a so-called phishing scam where a fake internet page tricks users into handing over their personal information. The hacker can then gain control of the player's character - or avatar - and sell off his or her weapons, skills, equipment and clothing, which can be worth tens of thousands of pounds in the real world.
...
One RuneScape account was recently sold on eBay for £46,000.

The love of man and elf: Players have dirty 'gay' sex in hit game.

A popular role-playing combat video game featuring graphic homosexual sex between a man and an elf has hit store shelves just in time for Christmas.

"Dragon Age: Origins," released Nov. 3 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, depicts two men in various sex positions in a secret scene of homosexual seduction.

The love of man and avatar: First-ever marriage between man and videogame character in Japan: Nintendo DS "Love Plus".

Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM | Comments (1)

St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold Trailer

Flea-readers may find it difficult to believe I could not watch the whole of the first St Trinian's outing. Boring, despite emphatic indications to the contrary.

Posted by the Flea at 09:42 AM

Terry Poison: Smack Snack

More (via Agent Bedhead).

Posted by the Flea at 09:41 AM