January 31, 2004


Garak is probably my favourite Star Trek character so this works for me.

You're a Cardassian!
You're a Cardassian! Intelligent and devious,
you're a bit of an enigma to those around you
and scientific to the core.

What Star Trek Race Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by the Flea at 11:59 PM | Comments (2)


This IKEA walkthrough is a great help to players having difficulty puzzling out the game by themselves. It is important to add that choosing an appropriate character name is critical to an immersive IKEA rpg experience.


IKEA is a fully immersive, 3D environmental adventure that allows you to role-play the character of someone who gives a s*** about home furnishings. In traversing IKEA, you will experience a meticulously detailed alternate reality filled with garish colors, clear-lacquered birch veneer, and a host of NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS (NPCs) with the glazed looks of the recently anesthetized.


Your goal is to successfully traverse the five awesome worlds of IKEA before your patience runs out. On your first few tries this may seem like an impossible task, but with practice (and this IKEA Walkthrough!) you will soon be able to muster the sense of numb resignation necessary for victory.
Posted by the Flea at 02:03 PM


Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 01:27 PM

Mouse odometer

Now I have a mouse odometer I cannot imagine life without one. I have clocked up a mile in the last few days.

Face it, you know you work on your computer too much - but how much? Mouse Odometer is a mouse tracking program. It tells you how far your mouse goes, how many keys you've pressed, and how many mouse clicks you've had for every application you use. Mouse Odometer has tons of other special features, and best of all - it's FREE
Posted by the Flea at 01:16 PM


The Choas Overlord has located Golconda, a state of being heretofore thought to be transcendental which turns out to be in southern Illinois.

Few vampires are certain what Golconda means, how it can be achieved, or who can show them the way. Most consider it to be a dreams, a fairy tale made up long ago by some poor benighted vampire whom was moaning about the loss of his "human"side. The Sabbat actively denounce it as a lie perpetrated by the elders of the Camarilla, while most Camarilla elders dismiss it as the ravings of some forgotten lunatic. Behind the whispers and sneers, though, huddles a secret cabal (larger than some might think) that actively works to understand the mystery and hopefully achieve it. The mysterious Iconnu are all rumored to either be seeking Golconda or have already found it.

Golconda is said to be a mystical state of being in which the Beast and the Man no longer war with each other. The vampire has come to accept and master his Beast as a part of his soul no different than the Man, and both are considered halves of the whole. Some claim that it grants a portion of one's humanity back, while others believe that it allows a vampire to live without the all-consuming need for blood.
Posted by the Flea at 01:15 PM | Comments (1)

Harp of Ur

Three harps (lyres, actually) were recovered from a 1929 archaeological investigation of the city of Ur. Now an enthusiast is orchestrating the creation of a playable replica of these ancient instruments.

Andy Lowings, 52, from Cambridgeshire, wants the replica instrument to be as close to the 4,750 year-old original as possible, even down to the source of the wood. His £25,000 project caught the imagination of a nearby RAF squadron who agreed to collect two pieces of cedar wood from Basra and presented it to Mr Lowings on Wednesday. The musical director of the Stamford Harp Festival was moved to act last April when the harp's remains were among antiquities destroyed by thieves in Baghdad's main museum.
Posted by the Flea at 01:10 PM | Comments (4)


Numerous attempts have been made to have understand Inca "quipu" recording system. Geometrical "yupana" boards have remained yet more mysterious. It is now argued these functioned like an abacus making calculations in base 40. Ingenious!

Different in size and shape, the yupana had been often interpreted as a stylized fortress model. Some scholars also interpreted it as a counting board, but how the abacus would have worked remained a mystery.

"It took me about 40 minutes to solve the riddle. I am not an expert on pre-Columbian civilizations. I simply decoded a 16th century drawing from a book on mathematical enigmas I received as a Christmas present," engineer Nicolino De Pasquale said. The drawing was found in a 1,179 page letter by the Peruvian Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala to the King of Spain. A simple array of cells consisting of five rows and four columns, the drawing showed one circle in the right cell on the bottom row, two circles in the next cell, three circles in the other one and five circles in the last cell of the row. The same pattern applied to the above rows. According to De Pasquale, the circles in the cells are nothing but the first numbers of the Fibonacci series, in which each number is a sum of two previous: 1, 2, 3, 5.

Posted by the Flea at 01:04 PM | Comments (2)

January 30, 2004

Blame Canada


This looks much like the office of the Flea.

Posted by the Flea at 11:53 AM

Action figures

I have a Sigmund Freud action figure thanks to a jet-setting friend but did not know just how many famous figures have been immortalized in plastic until now. Pope Innocent III is only one of a number who should make their way into the Flea's curiosity cabinet. Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is the very model of a professiorial accomplishment and so would be first on my list (via the Melbourne Truth of blogs).

Introduce this Pope Innocent III Action Figure to your other figures and watch the spiritual sparks fly! Armed with his formidable power of excommunication and an intimidating scroll inscribed with Latin text, this 6" tall, hard plastic model of the 176th Pope will soon have all your other action figures lining up for confession. Read the back of the illustrated blistercard and you’ll find that Pope Innocent III was a good guy in all respects. He was a patron of the arts, cared about orphans, built a hospital and reunified the Papal States! Comes with removable fancy Pope hat.
Posted by the Flea at 09:00 AM | Comments (1)

We will rock you

The Flea reported a new barbaric Pepsi television advertisement two days before Entertainment Tonight. Now I am pleased to announce the ad itself is available on-line at PepsiMusic's UK site.

If you weren't in London last night (26th Jan) then you missed something great. Britney, Beyonce, Pink, Brian May and Roger Taylor turned up in Trafalgar Square for the launch of the Pepsi Music advert 2004.
Posted by the Flea at 08:59 AM


I thought of adding this outfit to my extensive wardrobe but then I thought, How many wookies have to die for the sake of fashion?

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM

Are you going to Heaven?

This quiz, based on someone's reading of scripture, places me firmly between "Maybe" and "Highly unlikely". It could be that is about right. Then again it could be my reading of scripture is right and their reading is wrong or that we both have things to figure out. But for the record, Darwinian theories of evolution hold that apes and humans are descended from a common ancestor, not that humans are descended from apes.

Posted by the Flea at 08:55 AM | Comments (12)

Visited states

I want to see Texas and Louisiana particularly but plan to visit all fifty as a matter of interest (via Chaos Central).

create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM

January 29, 2004

Up Helly Aa


I just cannot get enough of that viking bonfire action. Up Helly Aa looks like loads of fun.

Locals dressed as Vikings are silhouetted against a burning replica Viking galley, during the Up Helly Aa celebrations in Lerwick, Shetland, January, 27, 2004. The festival, introduced by men returning from the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January. The climax of the day comes with the participants, wearing costumes and bearing flaming torches, dragging a Viking galley through the streets of Lerwick to a designated point where it will be ceremonially burnt.
Posted by the Flea at 01:19 PM | Comments (3)

Haarscherp printen?

Ah yes, a question I have often asked myself in matters concerning Double A paper.

Double A paper. Double quality paper.
Posted by the Flea at 01:03 PM | Comments (5)


This is a tonic for the Thursday blahs.

Posted by the Flea at 12:59 PM | Comments (1)

Arctic ecology

Lake and pond sediment analysis has been used to demonstrate the effect of Thule Inuit whaling practices on Arctic ecosystems from four to eight-hundred years ago. The research is interesting in its demonstration of the potential for such analysis but is more important perhaps for pointing out the effects on non-European, foraging societies can have on the environment.

According to James Savelle, the McGill University archeologist on the research team, while the number of bowheads killed each year would have varied, during the more productive whaling seasons four to six animals may have been landed. The Thule were clearly very innovative, and developed methods to use well over 60% of the whale for food, fuel, and even building materials for their houses. “That’s a lot of biomass, and therefore potential nutrients, available for the surrounding ecosystem,” adds team member Jules Blais, a biologist from University of Ottawa.

It was the decomposing bones and flesh of the whale – and probably other sea mammals such as seals – slowly leaching nutrients into a nearby shallow pond and surrounding soil that permanently altered the area’s ecology. To reconstruct this history, the team collected sediment cores from the bottom of the pond and analyzed the fossil “markers” (tiny algal cells) preserved in each layer. As sediments slowly accumulate over time, they represent an archive of past environmental change.
Posted by the Flea at 12:57 PM

Witch bottle

A hidden relic of nineteenth century England has been found during building work in a Lincolnshire house. The practice does seem "a bit like voodoo" but I am not sure how Rue is going to like the Beeb's characterization of the object's place in history.

A chilling reminder of our superstitious past has been unearthed from a rural farmhouse. The "witch bottle" was discovered buried in old foundations in the Lincolnshire village of Navenby. Containing bent pins, human hair and perhaps urine, the bottles were supposed to protect a household against evil spells. Dated to about 1830, it is evidence the fear of dark forces persisted far longer than previously thought.
Posted by the Flea at 12:52 PM | Comments (3)

January 28, 2004

Kylie replica


The combined genius of modern science and technology could only ever reach the same conclusion the Flea did long ago: it is imperative that Kylie replicants... err... replicas be created for the good of all humanity. Even as I can only applaud the idea, I am not certain I can endorse the result.

Kylie Minogue has designed her own replica doll. The toy is modelled on the pint-sized singer, even down to her famous bottom. Its head is supposedly an exact replica of Kylie's - hers was scanned for a mould which was then scaled down. The toy sports a mini version of the Cheekies knickers from her best-selling Love Kylie range, and the outfits are based on real-life designs by Dolce and Gabbana.

Kylie said: "For years I have been asked about a Kylie doll. Well, she has finally arrived and I am delighted. I hope fans will agree it was worth the wait as we worked very hard to get every detail right."

Posted by the Flea at 06:14 AM | Comments (2)


Yet another useful time-keeping device courtesy of "the internet".

Posted by the Flea at 06:09 AM | Comments (1)

Supermodel meat

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (though this takes a moment to load).

Posted by the Flea at 06:05 AM | Comments (1)


Ok, this is not work safe and may be a bit racy for some Flea-readers. It is also extraordinarily appealling and the best on-line advertisement I have seen yet. The music is a plus too, transforming cheeze into boys will be boys. Or maybe it is just silly. You, the Flea-reader, be the judge!

Posted by the Flea at 06:02 AM


Père-Lachaise is one of the most famous cemetaries in the world. My visits to Paris were always consumed by other activities and so I have yet to set foot in the place despite its goth-tourism appeal. Now a virtual Père-Lachaise is available on-line. The English language version of the site is not yet available but the interface is intuitive so should not present difficulties. Jim Morrison's resting place, for example, is listed under "M". I like especially the friendly navigation arrows on the pathways.

Posted by the Flea at 06:01 AM

231 things

An enlightening list of 213 things "Skippy is no longer allowed to do in the U.S. Army." Number twenty-two looks especially wise to me.

Once upon a time, there was a SPC Schwarz stationed with the Army in the Balkans. SPC Schwarz was either very clever or very bored; but probably both, since he managed to attempt or be warned about 213 things he wasn't allowed to do. He collected those things into a hillarious list and posted them to the web. The site hadn't been updated in a couple of years and has since gone away; but the list is classic, so I saved it. A couple favorites: 2. My proper military title is 'Specialist Schwarz' not 'Princess Anastasia'. and 191. Our Humvees cannot be assembled into a giant battle-robot.
Posted by the Flea at 06:00 AM

January 27, 2004

Hoth and home


The Flea's spectral antennae have been wiggling in search of employment and adventure these last several months. Academic job applications are a cross between a complex, expensive lottery ticket and a reality tv ordeal so it has been fun, fun and more fun at Flea Mansions. Today's weather reminds me the process is all worth it.

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM | Comments (9)

Party People

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:20 AM

Bonfire 30

Week 30 of the Bonfire is now burning with the distinct aroma of toasted cheese goodness at Southern Musings.

Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM


The opening page of this sweater collection may be the most astonishing marketing I have yet to see on "the internet". But wait, there's more!

Welcome to the only place on the Internet dedicated to the art of GEM SWEATERS. This collection of GEM SWEATERS is one to master of beauty and art. The collection represents Gem Sweaters from around the world, including from the nearest and farthest corners of the United States. Without thyn shimmer you have no shine. A dream cannot travel till you have thy wand.
Posted by the Flea at 09:16 AM | Comments (4)

Motorolus interruptus

A useful list of Latin phrases comes to you courtesy of Mike Campbell.

"Sic semper tyrannus."

(Your dinosaur is ill.)
Posted by the Flea at 09:10 AM | Comments (1)


University of Michigan undergraduate student Robert Stephan found some untranslated papyri in the university vault. The are now providing a window into the life of a Roman soldier. My favourite part of the story is the local Cincinnati angle.

Nearly 2000 years ago a young Roman soldier wrote home, asking his father's permission to marry his girlfriend. In another letter, he asks for boots and socks to keep his feet warm during a cold winter. And he tells how he must violently put down those who revolt and riot in Alexandria. All this - and more - about life for Tiberianus, who lived in Roman Egypt, is being advanced through the work of a Princeton High School graduate now attending the University of Michigan.
Posted by the Flea at 09:09 AM

A murder in Carlisle

Seventeen-hundred year old remains of a murder victim are to feature in an exhibit considering death in Roman Cumbria.

The victim of a murder in Carlisle in the 3rd Century AD is to be part of an exhibition looking at the Roman way of death. His skeleton was found in a well in the city during the 1980s - he had been shot in the head and attacked with a sword. Archaeologists named him 'Duncan', and a £24,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will fund a reconstruction of his face and exhibition at the Tullie House Museum in Carlisle.
Posted by the Flea at 09:05 AM | Comments (2)

January 26, 2004

The end of the world

And I feel fine. House and Clan Tremere always survives through to the end no matter what White Wolf HQ has to say.

The End of the World for the Damned... the prophecies of Gehenna are true. The world teeters on the brink of an unead apocalypse, the night when the progenitors of the vampire race rise to consume their childer amid a rain of blood and fire. As their fated Armageddon arises, what can the Kindred do?

White Wolf is a publishing outfit based in Atlanta, Georgia known for role-playing games including Werewolf, Mage and Vampire. The games are set in an alternate reality known as "the World of Darkness," and, in an unusual move for any hopeful business, they promised us from the outset that one day that world would come to an end. Now the time of judgment is at hand. The first of three books detailing the end, or rather ends, of the world is "Gehenna", setting out several possible apocalyptic scenarios for the world's vampires. I confess I had stopped collecting WoD books as earnestly as I once did due to erratic storytelling and an increasingly much-of-a-muchness design. I was almost worried to buy Gehenna for fear of an anticlimax. It is with some relief I can report the book is excellent, among the best the company has ever produced. The Time of Judgment is here. Next up... Vampire: the Requiem, a new rulebook and new world of darkness featuring black and white illustrations by Tim Bradstreet. We can expect a debut in August 2004.

So why, then, have we “canceled” the World of Darkness? At least that’s how some people are translating what we’re doing. Either that or this is a gimmick to make money and then everything will go back to being exactly the same. I won’t deny that the ToJ makes both artistic and business sense, but though it’s been to our detriment many times in the past, the artistic usually wins out at White Wolf just as it does for you. Numbers have a place because White Wolf is now a “real” business with about 40 employees and many of those with families, but mainly, it’s irrefutable that the WoD has been leading to its own demise. It’s always been true that the thing that makes the best artistic sense for the legacy of the World of Darkness is that it end. As storytellers, if we don’t deliver on this fundamental promise, then what kind of integrity do we have in the future? None.
Posted by the Flea at 09:06 AM | Comments (1)

Sickness unto blech

Flu shot or no flu shot I am under the weather today. Some kind of cold, I expect. Time for some sweet Earl Grey cream tea and possibly garlic on toast for extra popularity points.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM

Hey ya, Charlie Brown!

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:55 AM | Comments (16)


It's Monday. I have got some stapling to do.

Stapler before dawn
Waiting in perfect silence
Dreams of loose paper

Rough clippings gather
Rustling in their loose embrace
Stapler brings order
Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM

Brand Marker

An interesting experiment in brand efficacy and Austrian drawing skills (via b3ta).

monochrom's attempt to evaluate the actual power of brands by making Austrian people draw a total of twelve logos (nine international, three typically European) from memory, 25 people per brand. Salut, share of mind!
Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM


This is the Peta Superbowl advertisement that was banned supposedly. I find Peta irritating and am skeptical as to the central claim this ad makes. That said, I cannot see why the ad was banned.

What’s a porn director to do when his carnivorous main man goes “soft?” Watch PETA’s newest ad, rejected by CBS for the Super Bowl, to learn why leading men should never eat meat.

Another advertisement supposedly banned is the MoveOn "Bush in 30 Seconds" spot. Again, whatever you make of the organization, its politics or its claims I am confused as to why the ad was banned. This is sane stuff in comparison with the moonbat Hitler material and makes its point in a fashion that is polemical but not overtly offensive. I would have thought this to be part of a welcome debate... or am I missing something?

Posted by the Flea at 08:49 AM | Comments (2)

January 24, 2004

Maximus poppus tottius


I do not care what this ad campaign is for, I am already sold on Pink getting ready to smite somebody. Pepsi has cast Enrique Iglesias in the part of an "evil Roman Emperor" against Pink as well as Beyoncé and Britney as somewhat less convincing gladiators. Apparently, Pepsi aims to "rock" us.

Pepsi returns this year with its most exciting line up ever for International Music. The thrilling new campaign, "Dare for More", will be fronted by four music superstars Pink, Beyonce Knowles, Britney Spears and Enrique Iglesias. The four artists embody the latest campaign as they dare to be challenged and encourage their fans to do the same.

This special collaboration of the hottest names in music today will see them appear together in a commercial which is out early this year. Pepsi and the fabulous four will be encouraging consumers to "Dare for More" through a series of exciting on-pack and in-store promotions, exclusive music content and unique experiences.
Posted by the Flea at 12:03 PM | Comments (1)


Last night was a momentous occasion: the Meatriarchy cocktail was born! Some Sidecars and an Old Fashioned contributed to the creative process but the Meatriarchy leads the way to the blog-connected cocktails of tomorrow. Of course, what we enjoyed last night was only a prototype because we aim to someday make a Meatriarchy the most expensive cocktail in the world.

Details to follow...

And then... Now the ingredients of a Meatriarchy cocktail are revealed at Mondo Sismondo, home of the blogosphere's cocktail expert. We are projecting a whopping E400 price tag.

The Meatriarchy:

One ounce Kobe beef stock.
Two ounces Belvedere Vodka.
One half ounce of Spanish sherry.
One half ounce of Cointreau.

Shake well with ice, strain and serve into glass with the roasted marrow of a veal shank resting at the bottom. Garnish with spring onions.


Posted by the Flea at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)

Why do people have to fight?

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 11:57 AM


Ok, the good thing about "the internet" is that it allows teenage stunts to be recorded for posterity. Also, that it was not invented early enough for me to leave evidence of my own teenage stupidities.

Posted by the Flea at 11:56 AM


I keep telling people about this but nobody will believe me.

Sakai, an award-winning tattoo artist, was tired of seeing sacred Japanese words, symbols of his heritage, inked on random white people. So he used their blissful ignorance to make an everlasting statement. Any time acustomer came to Sakai’s home studio wanting Japanese tattooed on them, he modified it into a profane word or phrase.
Posted by the Flea at 11:55 AM | Comments (4)

David LaChapelle

LaChapelle's imagery is startling in its intensity. I still love Drew Barrymore and Lara Flynn Boyle scares me. And there is Kylie on a bicycle too.

Posted by the Flea at 11:53 AM | Comments (1)

Good question

By the way, while we’re on the subject of defence procurement, why is it that every Army surplus shop in the world appears to have rack after rack of German army surplus shirts? Is this the result of a monumental purchasing error by the German Army or something?

Crooked Timber asks an interesting question by way of something or other about conspiracies. I like particularly an observation on warehousing G.I. boots someone makes in the comments to the post.

My son (14) wears US GI boots — pre-anti-pungee stake soles — that were made in June of 66, and bought new six weeks ago.

That’s nigh on forty years.

And they were unused, and unissued.

And someone’s absorbing the cost of storage for 40 years. At $30.00 US a pair, I don’t think it’s the retaileres

It makes the warehouse scene at The Raiders of the Lost Ark much more believable.

There are probably cavalry saddles out there someplace.

Posted by the Flea at 11:49 AM

January 23, 2004

Light Cycle

This is about right especially right now (via the Meatriarchy).

What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Light Cycle.I am a Light Cycle.

I drive fast, I turn fast, I do everything fast. I even breakfast. I tend to confuse people with my sudden changes of heart. Sometimes I even confuse myself, which tends to cause problems. What Video Game Character Are You?

Posted by the Flea at 09:59 AM

The Lord of the Rings: The RPG

I read as far as Game Two and was already subject to a grim feeling of recognition. The arrival of the GM's girlfriend in Game Three struck even closer to home (via ***Dave).

Game One
The GM proposes a new game to two of his friends. They'll be unlikely heroes on an epic quest. The pair agree and work out a hero-sidekick team named Frodo and Sam. The GM introduces them to the Shire, Gandalf, the One Ring, and their quest. They leave Hobbiton.

Game Two
Frodo and Sam mentioned the game to two friends who were also interested. The GM insists that they, too, play hobbits. "These characters suck," notes the fellow playing Pippin. "They have lots of room to grow," the GM insists. "You'll get to see them become heroes." The PCs successfully evade the Nazgul, but a random encounter nearly does them in. The GM is reduced to inventing Tom Bombadil as a deus ex machina to bail them out, so the campaign doesn't end on the second night.

Game Three
The GM's girlfriend has heard of the game and wants in. Being a long-time White Wolf player, she wants a character with many important secrets in his background, an angsty romantic subplot, and the ability to kick a lot of ass. The hobbit players nearly revolt when Aragorn is introduced at Bree, correctly noting that this character is far cooler than theirs. The encounter at Weathertop goes wonderfully, with the PCs getting beat up just enough to put some scare into them.
Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM | Comments (2)

Darque Dungeon

Yes, yes, Skinny Puppy and VNV Nation make up some percentage of my listening enjoyment. As a confirmed sad-old-goth, all I can say is that this is what you get for using LiveJournal. Hmm... I wonder what my saving throw against beatdown is?

Forget about that b****, Debbie. She was secretly collecting Nine Inch Nails rarities and bootlegs. We don't need her kind.

I once heard her telling someone that Stabbing Westward was "not so bad". She deserved to die!
Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM | Comments (3)

Penguin baseball

This is all over the place but I present it for your Friday time-wasting needs as a public service. Penguin baseball is an engaging diversion but I have yet to work out whether skimming the penguin along the ice or belting it through the air works better in purely quantitative terms.

Posted by the Flea at 06:52 AM | Comments (6)

Deep fried

This explains how Darth got his groove back.

Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM

The art of the brick

"Han Solo in Carbonite, May 2003" is an interpretation of a classic work in Lego (via Attu).

Again, wanting do something fantabulous for the folks over at the From Bricks to Bothans site, and also wanting to do something never been done before (to my knowledge), I decided to make Han Solo frozen in carbonite. Life size. It took about 10,000 bricks, almost all dark gray, and about three months of on and off building. I built the sculpture so it can break down easily into smaller parts, thus making it mobile. Because, like most people, I like to take large sculptures of people frozen in carbonite with me whenever I travel.
Posted by the Flea at 06:49 AM | Comments (1)

Richard Hillman

Richard was one of the most wicked characters I have even seen on television (right up there with Francis Urquhart or Flea-fav Servalan). The defunct Coronation Street character is set to turn up as another baddie in Where The Heart Is.

At first locals welcome him, believing he has come to save Goddards paper factory and their jobs. But viewers will soon suspect that he has a hidden agenda. A show spokesman said: “We are sure Brian’s addition to the cast will prove popular.” It will be Brian’s first major TV role since Hillman’s canal death plunge was seen by 19.4million viewers — making it the most popular show of 2003.
Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM | Comments (2)

Lewis and Clark

Harvard has turned up an old Lewis and Clark curio at long-last.

When a breathless Castle McLaughlin called last week to say she had found "the necklace," Gaylord Torrence knew exactly what she was referring to: the so-called grizzly bear claw necklace, acquired by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark during their fabled exploration of the American West.

The item had been donated to the Peabody Museum at Harvard University, where McLaughlin is the associate curator of Native American ethnography, but had been missing since the museum first cataloged it in 1899. "It's like finding a Vermeer in the attic," said Torrence, curator of Native American art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.
Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

January 22, 2004



These are my new favourite aliens. Andorians kick ass. I am delighted the Trek people have revived these guys from the occasional cameo appearance over the years and stayed true to the back-story of Vulcan/Andorian border conficts at the beginnings of the Federation. One minor point: for the record, most humans are not "pink skins" and it seems a peculiar term of abuse to choose on that basis.

Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM | Comments (3)


Winston Churchill's parrot, Charlie is 104-years old and still swearing a blue-streek. The news makes me want to Land of Hope and Glory or possibly Rule Britannia. Huzzah!

Her favourite sayings were "F*** Hitler" and "F*** the Nazis". And even today, 39 years after the great man's death, she can still be coaxed into repeating them with that unmistakable Churchillian inflection. Many an admiral or peer of the realm was shocked by the tirade from the bird's cage during crisis meetings with the PM. But it always brought a smile to the war leader's face.
Posted by the Flea at 09:26 AM | Comments (2)


At last it can be revealed why the InstaMan drives an RX8. InstaPundit... more than meets the eye! InstaPundit... robot in disguise!

Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM | Comments (1)

Mars Exploration Rover

Maas Digital offers an impressive Mars Exploration Rover animation. Beatiful. The sight of the Rover trundling up overa hill brought a tear to my eye. The short brings home just how astonishing this whole venture has been thus far (and I still cannot quite believe the airbags did the trick). I hope I am still kicking around to learn about the first footsteps on Mars. What a day that will be.

This room reconstructs a bit of the desert of Dune. The sandcrawler directly in front of you dates from the Atreides times. Grouped around it, moving clockwise from your left, are a small harvester, a carryall, a primitive spice factory and the other support equipment. All are explained at each station. Note the illuminated quotation above the display: "FOR THEY SHALL SUCK OF THE ABUNDANCE OF THE SEAS AND OF THE TREASURE IN THE SAND." This ancient religious quotation was oft repeated by the famous Gurney Halleck.
-Guide Announcement, Museum of Dar-es-Balat
Posted by the Flea at 09:20 AM

Witchking gauntlet

The peoples of the world should feel free to join hands in harmony, sing a song of joy and peace then pass the hat to buy me this example of gentleman's haberdashery. But wait, there's more!

These replica Nazgul/Ringwraith/Blackrider gauntlets from 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy are expertly hand forged from 16-20 ga. mild steel. The gothic styled beauty of these gauntlets starts at the fingers, each lame is hand cut and rolled for strength, then riveted to heavy leather strapping. The intimidating knuckle plate is hand forged from 16 ga. steel and attached to five articulated metacarpal plates on the back of the hand. The vambrace or forearm plate features a rolled edge and carries the same design as the proceeding plates, rivets also accent this plate. All of the riveting is done by hand using steel roundhead rivets. The steel is blackened and slightly distressed giving the gauntlets a decaying evil look.
Posted by the Flea at 09:18 AM | Comments (5)


An animated film based on a woodcut by M.C. Escher.

Posted by the Flea at 09:16 AM

Dream anatomy

The U.S. National Library of Medicine host an on-line exhibition of anatomical drawings including a gallery of Hellraisery fun.

The interior of our bodies is hidden to us. What happens beneath the skin is mysterious, fearful, amazing. In antiquity, the body's internal structure was the subject of speculation, fantasy, and some study, but there were few efforts to represent it in pictures. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century-and the cascade of print technologies that followed-helped to inspire a new spectacular science of anatomy, and new spectacular visions of the body. Anatomical imagery proliferated, detailed and informative but also whimsical, surreal, beautiful, and grotesque — a dream anatomy that reveals as much about the outer world as it does the inner self.
Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM

Firearms training systems

This is fascinating. I pepper-sprayed someone in an unwarranted fashion and shot someone in a way that was appropriate apparently.

Posted by the Flea at 09:08 AM | Comments (1)

100 books

It is another of those lists, this one via Argghhh!!! I cannot say I am any more impressed with this list than the films. Ok, lots of children's literature, 19th century chick-lit and some Booker list stuff. Shouldn't Margaret Atwood be on the radar of this booklist writer? My canonical reading includes G.K. Chesterton, P.G. Wodehouse and H.P. Lovecraft amonst other with double-initial first names (and Joseph Conrad despite the lack of initials).

One book list coming up in the extended entry...

1984, George Orwell
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Animal Farm, George Orwell

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
The BFG, Roald Dahl
Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
Bleak House, Charles Dickens
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
Catch 22, Joseph Heller
The Catcher In The Rye, JD Salinger
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett

The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
Dune, Frank Herbert
Emma, Jane Austen
Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
The Godfather, Mario Puzo
Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, JK Rowling
Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling

His Dark Materials trilogy, Philip Pullman
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Douglas Adams
The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

Holes, Louis Sachar
I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
Katherine, Anya Seton
The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, CS Lewis
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
The Lord Of The Rings, JRR Tolkien
Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blighton
Magician, Raymond E Feist
The Magus, John Fowles
Matilda, Roald Dahl
Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
Middlemarch, George Eliot
Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
Mort, Terry Pratchett
Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
On The Road, Jack Kerouac
One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Perfume, Patrick Suskind
Persuasion, Jane Austen
The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
Pride And Prejudice, Jane Austen
The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret History, Donna Tartt
The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
The Stand, Stephen King
The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
Tess Of The D'urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
The Twits, Roald Dahl
Ulysses, James Joyce
Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
War And Peace, Leo Tolstoy
Watership Down, Richard Adams
The Wind In The Willows, Kenneth Grahame
Winnie-the-Pooh, AA Milne

The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

Posted by the Flea at 09:07 AM | Comments (3)

January 21, 2004

Callgirl of Cthulhu

Some corporate art for Flea Industries.

This piece was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft with an extra healthy dose of squid and crab thrown in for good measure. She is painted with an iridescent 3 tone paint job, with clear urethane tentacles and spines.
Posted by the Flea at 10:21 AM | Comments (3)

Plastic drum kit

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:20 AM | Comments (1)

Design is war

sofake are the most professional design firm in the world.

it should be noted there is arguably nothing of value beyond this point. if you are a busy person. please turn
Posted by the Flea at 10:19 AM


Sidewalk art makes a welcome relief from street writing.

And then... The Campblog identifies the sidewalk artist.

Posted by the Flea at 10:17 AM


The 29th Bonfire of the Vanities has been lit at One Fine Jay.

Posted by the Flea at 10:16 AM


Archaeologists are taking a new interest in the Baltic Sea thanks in part to the discovery and reconstruction of Sweden's royal warship Vasa.

There could be as many as 100,000 shipwrecks in the Baltic Sea, said Stefan Wessman, a marine archaeologist at Finland's Maritime Museum. "The Baltic Sea has huge potential, and I believe this is recognized by scientists internationally," he said. "There is nothing comparable to it in the world." It's not just the number of Baltic wrecks that enthralls underwater researchers like Wessman and Mass. It's that so many are well-preserved -- veritable time capsules certain to expand understanding of the past.

"It's hard to imagine something telling us more," said Wessman, speaking by telephone from Helsinki. "You can get a whole cross-section of a society on one ship. The only equivalent on land I can think of is if you found a whole ancient library buried intact."
Posted by the Flea at 10:14 AM


A reproduction of Columbus' ship is set to sail as a touring maritime museum. As a long-winded professor I can only approve of this alternative teaching model. And for the record, ships are still built from the mind of a shipwright rather than from blueprints (though they tend to be called naval architects these days).

The Nina was the only ship of the original three to accompany Columbus on all three of his voyages to the New World. All told, the Nina logged more than 25,000 miles under the command of Columbus. Construction on the replica began in 1988 under the direction of American engineer and maritime historian John Patrick Sarsfield. Sarsfield decided the ship would be built in Valenca, Brazil, a location where shipbuilders could use techniques nearly identical to those used by the builders of the 1400s. The shipbuilders also used only traditional tools to construct the vessel.

Ships of the Age of Discovery were built from the mind of a shipwright, instead of blueprints. Shipbuilders had to match the specifications of the designer. More details for the modern Nina's design were provided when discoveries of sail specifications were made from 15th and 16th century Spanish shipwrecks in the Caribbean.
Posted by the Flea at 10:12 AM

January 20, 2004

Kylie's prints charming


I could not come up with a better tag-line than this Daily Mail article so I shall steal/rip-it-off instead. Regrettably, the Sunday Mail does not think to include an image of their dressed-up Kylie so I include the one above and take their word for it she looks smashing in Saunders.

Jonathan Saunders, 26, of Rutherglen, near Glasgow, has his own designer line and Kylie's stylist William Baker is a huge fan. William said: ''Jonathan's clothes are so vibrant. His prints are so strong and graphic. He cleverly usedthem to emphasise the waist, exactly what we are trying to do with Kylie, and the colours were fantastic sci-fi, modern and really showy.''

Jonathan was snapped up by top designer Alexander McQueen just after his MA show at top London fashion college Central Saint Martin's two years ago.

"Vibrant" is a good word for Saunder's second collection and the work would certainly not be out of place in a ST:TNG episode so the sci-fi comparison works for me too. Landing a job with Alex McQueen is impressive and the Flea wishes Saunders the best of luck. That said, the colours hurt my eyes. I expect Kylie would look quite fetching in any part of the collection, however, particularly in comparison with some mannish catwalk models.

Posted by the Flea at 10:01 AM

Undercover Cartman

Maybe this will teach us all to respect authority.

Sometimes upholding the law is messy. But you get by, one day at a time.
Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM

Oil Klash

Annual oil wrestling in the town of Borr makes for intriguing ethnographic viewing.

Posted by the Flea at 09:41 AM

Omar Sharif

This Who's Alive and Who's Dead site means no more late-night bar arguments over whether a given celebrity is among the quick or the dead. Take Omar Sharif, for example.

Omar Sharif Date of birth: 04/10/1932 Status: alive Age: 71

Another one that almost brought the table to fisticuffs was the status of French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss. Remarkably, he remains alive almost ten years after the dispute went unresolved by the time the place kicked us out.

Claude Levi-Strauss Date of Birth: 11/28/1908 Status: alive Age: 95
Posted by the Flea at 09:37 AM | Comments (1)


A collection of aerial photos of American landmarks appeals to the architectural voyeur.

Posted by the Flea at 09:35 AM | Comments (1)


And what appears to be an Iranian related note the following was left as a comment to a Flea-post on Afghan radio. I hope someone will be so kind as to translate it and let me know what it is I am currently publishing. Generally speaking I would delete materials whose content I cannot in some limited sense endorse but I am hoping this statement is worth supporting.

za staasi radio awram kho mutaasifaana pashto barkha ye deera kama da , , khabari kho bekhi pa pashto na kawai , pa dari ki 2 daqiqi wazhaghezhai pa pai ki ye seirf wawayast ho , hamdaa raaz tar pashto sandaro Iranai sandari ziyaati khparawai kho I hat Iran and Irani
da khudai pa amaan
Posted by the Flea at 09:34 AM | Comments (2)

January 19, 2004


You are Jacques Lacan! Arguably the most important
psychoanalyst since Freud, you never wrote
anything down, and the only works of yours are
transcriptions of your lectures. You are
notoriously difficult to understand, but at
least you didn't talk about the penis as much
as other psychoanalysts. You died in 1981.

What 20th Century Theorist are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

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


Awesome. Terrifying. Also, belated. Canada only now gets to see the Battlestar Galactica mini-series a couple months after the U.S. broadcast. This is space opera with the grandeur of Children of Dune, as moving as the epic moments of Babylon 5 and a space battle on par with the TIE fighter swarm at the end of Return of the Jedi. More than anything I have seen to date this convinces me speculative fiction is the only context that has managed to evoke the scale of what happened on 9/11. Galactica makes multiple references to the day in the form of apocalyptic destruction, burnt fire-fighters and the grotesque immediacy of bodies tumbling into space. Hand-held shots suggest impromptu journalism rather than something scripted and acted out. The comparison is horrifying yet there is something reverential in this portrayal. It could be these stories are the best memorial and inspiration for the actions we now need to take.

The broader cosmological frame of the story is peculiar. The Cyclons appear to have some notion of deity that may be comparable to the Borg Collective's persuit of perfection. While the show lacks the Mormon back-story of the original there is a satisfying and important element of faith in the belief-system of the Colonials that is evident when they face adversity. One lesson is this: the Cylons have to be destroyed. This is clear and obvious to anyone who is sane. But Gaius Baltar is evil and I do not have words for the fate he deserves. That may be for the Lords of Kobol to decide.

Posted by the Flea at 12:16 AM | Comments (11)

Tom Bombadil

Ring ding a dello! This explains that Tom Bombadil fellow! Ha hey nonny nonny, la la!

Before going on, I must acknowledge that I cannot be truly objective in what follows. I have done my best to base every claim on rational arguments supported by original texts and to avoid bias in my presentation, but I do prefer one answer to the question: I have long advocated the idea that Bombadil is in some sense the incarnation of Arda itself. Despite my best efforts to treat all reasonable possibilities equally, some subtle bias in that direction may be inescapable. I do not expect such bias to affect which theories I label as truly not viable: I will not make that strong claim unless the evidence appears inescapable.

And, in all seriousness, I think Bombadil is certainly an avatar/incarnation/metaphor for Arda, the created world. The Ring binds the great, be they Maia, Eldar or descendents of Númenor to Middle Earth. Sauron wished to tie himself to the world after the fashion of his master the corrupted Valar, Morgoth. The Ring's power to do so echoes the Ring of the Nibelung. To claim the power of the Rhinegold and fashion it into a power to rule the world the bearer must first curse love as does the ringmaker, Alberich. This is the same Faustian pact made by those who choose temporal power over eternal life and presents a temptation to any incarnate being. Hobbits present a greater challenge in Tolkien's world to the same power, and same temptation, of the Ring thanks to their love of second breakfast. Yet even Hobbits fall prey to its power given time. Arda, an avatar of the world itself, is by definition the only being that could remain unaffected by this temptation. It seems to me this is the only coherent explanation for Bombadil's total indifference to the Ring, its power and the wars surrounding it.

I have a bigger question: why does the Ring render its wearer invisible? The Ring is related clearly to Wagner's interpretation of the Nibelung myths. Wagner attributes the power of invisibility to the Tarnhelm... is Tolkien simply conflating the two (rhetorical) devices? Or is invisibility an accidental hold-over from the children's book The Hobbit? One thought is that the Ring does not render the wearer invisible to everyone. Indeed, the Ringwraiths and Sauron's eye can only properly perceive the Ringbearer if he is foolish enough to don the Ring. The Orc Gorbag described the tortures of Ringwraiths, saying "they skin the body off you as soon as look at you, and leave you all cold in the dark on the other side." So, is invisibility itself a side-effect of the Bearer stepping "sideways" into the Wraith-world?

Another thought concerns the opposition of rings and towers. The tower of Orthanc is surrounded by the ring of Isengard, both child's toys compared to the ring of mountains surrounding Mordor and its Barad-Dûr. Minas Tirith, the Tower of Guard, is ringed by seven terraces. Middle Earth itself is ringed by surrounding waters. Here the structural relationship to Wagner is more clear... the Ring of the Nibelung is the last part of the price paid by Woton in payment for the construction of Asgard.

And then... The Chaos Overlord collects further evidence supporting the contention Bombadil is in some sense Arda itself.

Posted by the Flea at 12:14 AM | Comments (5)

Egg run

It took me a minute to figure out how to move the egg at all.

Posted by the Flea at 12:10 AM

Life on Mars

This is the time of year when the Flea reconsiders life in Canada. Might there not be somewhere warmer? Mars comes to mind (via the Meatriarchy).

For the third consecutive day, it has been colder here than it has been on Mars, with the same holding true for much of the country. Vancouver, practically in the throes of spring, is the exception, with temperatures reaching 12 C on Thursday and 8 yesterday, and people sipping coffee on patios and strolling the beaches of English Bay.

By comparison, the lowest temperature on Mars as measured this week by the rover Spirit was -15, while midday yesterday it was -16 in Ottawa, -20 in Halifax and -21 in Moncton. Add in wind chill and it felt closer to -40 in Halifax.
Posted by the Flea at 12:09 AM | Comments (1)

I am a Windoze user myself

The Emperor reflects on Apple users in response to a Bleat.

I'm a Windoze user, and you'll find me bitching, kvetching and p***ing all over the place over the bugs, user-unfriendliness and sheer nerve of Bill Gate$ when he charges us out the wazoo to be beta-testers for his unfinished crap, but you'll never EVER find a devotee of Jobs' brainchild uttering as much as a peep about the Holy Grail of Mac, no matter what. It'd be sacrilege, heresy and surely a one-way ticket to OS Hell to do so, and there is no END to the excuses that Mac users will come up with to explain away the flaws and failings of their systems.

Lack of available software? "But ours is so much better, and who NEEDS choice anyway? Apple knows what's best for us."

And then... I notice the Emperor has included a public service announcement important to the dietary needs of your whole family and the hard-working farmers of the Empire.

Posted by the Flea at 12:08 AM | Comments (3)

Food timeline

This food timeline would have been most useful to me before I taught an history course on food and culture recently. Bon appetit!

Ever wonder what the Vikings ate when they set off to explore the new world? How Thomas Jefferson made his ice cream? What the pioneers cooked along the Oregon Trail? Who invented the potato chip...and why? Food is the fun part of social studies! The tricky part is finding recipes you can make in a modern kitchen, with ingredients bought at your local supermarket and bring into school to share with your class.
Posted by the Flea at 12:07 AM

100 movies

Any suggestions for film viewing to make up for a gap in my education? The seventy films I have seen from this list are highlighted in bold (via the Raging Kraut).

1. Godfather, The (1972)
2. Shawshank Redemption, The (1994)
3. Godfather: Part II, The (1974)
4. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003)
5. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002)
6. Casablanca (1942)
7. Schindler's List (1993)

8. Shichinin no samurai (1954)
9. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001)
10. Citizen Kane (1941)
11. Star Wars (1977)

12. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
13. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
14. Rear Window (1954)
15. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
16. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

17. Memento (2000)
18. Usual Suspects, The (1995)
19. Pulp Fiction (1994)
20. North by Northwest (1959)

21. Fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain, Le (2001)
22. Psycho (1960)
23. 12 Angry Men (1957)
24. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
25. Silence of the Lambs, The (1991)
26. Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (1966)
27. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
28. Goodfellas (1990)
29. American Beauty (1999)
30. Vertigo (1958)

31. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
32. Pianist, The (2002)
33. Matrix, The (1999)
34. Apocalypse Now (1979)

35. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
36. Some Like It Hot (1959)
37. Taxi Driver (1976)

38. Paths of Glory (1957)
39. Third Man, The (1949)
40. C'era una volta il West (1968)
41. Fight Club (1999)
42. Boot, Das (1981)

43. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001) (Spirited Away)
44. Double Indemnity (1944)
45. L.A. Confidential (1997)
46. Chinatown (1974)
47. Singin' in the Rain (1952)

48. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
49. Maltese Falcon, The (1941)
50. M (1931)

51. All About Eve (1950)
52. Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957)
53. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
54. Se7en (1995)
55. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

56. Cidade de Deus (2002)
57. Raging Bull (1980)
58. Wizard of Oz, The (1939)
59. Rash?mon (1950)
60. Sting, The (1973)
61. American History X (1998)
62. Alien (1979)
63. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
64. Leon (The Professional) (1994)
65. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

66. Vita bella, La (1997) (Life Is Beautiful)
67. Touch of Evil (1958)
68. Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)
69. Wo hu cang long (2000) (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon)
70. Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)
71. Great Escape, The (1963)
72. Clockwork Orange, A (1971)
73. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
74. Annie Hall (1977)
75. Amadeus (1984)
76. Jaws (1975)
77. Ran (1985)

78. On the Waterfront (1954)
79. Modern Times (1936)
80. High Noon (1952)
81. Braveheart (1995)
82. Apartment, The (1960)
83. Sixth Sense, The (1999)
84. Fargo (1996)
85. Aliens (1986)
86. Shining, The (1980)
87. Blade Runner (1982)
88. Strangers on a Train (1951)

89. Duck Soup (1933)
90. Metropolis (1927)
91. Finding Nemo (2003)
92. Donnie Darko (2001)
93. Toy Story 2 (1999)
94. Princess Bride, The (1987)

95. General, The (1927)
96. City Lights (1931)
97. Lola rennt (1998) (Run Lola Run)
98. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
99. Notorious (1946)

100. Sjunde inseglet, Det (1957)

Posted by the Flea at 12:05 AM | Comments (7)

January 17, 2004


Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (thanks to EverythingBritney.net!).

And then... Animated gifs are not enough... Flea-readers need music to dance!

"Britney bathing nude in a trove of diamonds and jewels...emerges in a black leather dominatrix catsuit, her hair a shocking red...Moving with the music, Britney's body bends and flexes...it's an erotic, catlike dance with the music as she twists and tumbles...It becomes an epic, eye-popping moment, as the entire building shatters..."

And then... New Flea-readers may want to take a dance tutorial. I recommend starting with the two-step.

Posted by the Flea at 11:07 AM | Comments (4)


I think the soundtrack makes the film (via b3ta).

>> Surrealist claymation spectacular << Kvetching plasticine-wrangling genius Threeheadedanalbaby and friend produced this rather fine specimen. Like Wallace & Gromit directed by David Cronenberg.
Posted by the Flea at 10:50 AM


This nail gun kicks ass.

Posted by the Flea at 10:09 AM

A network called "Internet"

The CBC reveals "the internet" to the amazed world of 1993.

Punctuation marks that look like smiley faces express happiness on a new communication tool known as "Internet." The computer network is already being used by 15 million people worldwide — to chat or do important research. Communication may be anonymous and isolated, but there's always someone to talk to about sports, recipes or politics.
Posted by the Flea at 10:07 AM | Comments (1)

Alphaville Herald

The Alphaville Herald chronicles crime in a virtual city of Sims. And this despite its professorial author having been booted from the system by Maxis for revealing rampant organized prostitution, racism and theft in Alphaville (hat tip to Mondo Sismondo).

In "The Sims Online," prostitution is, necessarily, an occupation that is more of the mind than of the flesh. "Sex" in this world consists mostly of dirty talk. "It basically involves typing to each other in descriptive ways -- typing with one hand, let's put it that way," Ludlow says. Evangeline told him that she would pleasure other characters that way, and they would give her simoleans in return -- sometimes as much as 500,000 simoleans, which at the time was more than $50. (Due to massive inflation in Alphaville, the value of the simolean has since plunged.)

What bothered Ludlow and Bolter about this was that Evangeline asserted that, in real life, he was a minor and that many of the "girls" he hired to talk dirty in his brothel were also underage. Bolter wondered whether the characters were breaking any laws or doing anything else immoral or unethical. She says she acknowledges that, because the characters weren't having real sex, it's hard to say they were involved in "prostitution."
Posted by the Flea at 10:03 AM

That's the spirit

Canadian astronauts Marc Garneau and Chris Hadfield express a bold vision. Too bad there is not a prayer we will decided to pay for it.

Marc Garneau, Canada's first man in space two decades ago, said that Canadians could join the historic flights if the federal government makes a major financial commitment. "There's the tantalizing possibility that a Canadian man or woman could go to the moon as part of that effort sometime in the second part of the next decade and then on to other places," Garneau said in an interview.

But he warned that the federal government would have to contribute major sums of money for the dream to become a reality. "Over the next 20 years, it would be in the billions of dollars. There's no free ride."
Posted by the Flea at 10:01 AM

January 16, 2004



Ever since I saw the last episode of the first series of Blakes 7 I have wanted my own Orac. For those that don’t know, Blakes 7 was a 70s/80s British SciFi series and Orac, the box in the picture above, was this intellectually snobbish, difficult and incredibly brilliant computer. I just thought it looked cool (in a cheap retro-futuristic way).

The Flea is not normally a case-modification fancier. Of course, it had not crossed my mind someone could combine the hobby with Blake's 7 fandom. The prospect of my own Orac at home changes things.

BLAKE: It's exactly as though Ensor were speaking.
ORAC: Surely it is obvious even to the meanest intelligence that during my development I would naturally become endowed with aspects of my creator's personality.
AVON: The more endearing aspects by the sound of it.
ORAC: Possibly. However similarities between myself and Ensor are entirely superficial. My mental capacity is infinitely greater.
JENNA: Modest, isn't he?
ORAC: Modesty would be dishonesty.
VILA: What's wrong with being dishonest?
ORAC: Is that a question?
VILA: Yes.
ORAC: The question is futile. Were I to say that I am incapable of dishonesty how would you know if I was being dishonest or not?
Posted by the Flea at 08:49 AM | Comments (2)

Going wobbly

The Campblog does an round-up of Captain Jonathon Archer's performance as captain of Enterprise NX-01. I am sorry to report signs of distinct wobbliness in this week's episode, Chosen Realm. Paramount's teaser blurb does not reveal the ending (and neither shall I) but I think Archer fails to satisfy in what may be the most blatant post-9/11 parallel plot-line to date. It might as well have been Janeway in command.

A Triannon crew which Enterprise rescues from a crippled ship turns out to be a group of religious extremists who hijack the NX-01 to eradicate the "heretics" on their homeworld. Furthermore, when the group's leader, D'Jamat, learns that Archer's crew has dared desecrate the Expanse's mysterious Spheres — which the Triannons consider holy shrines of the "chosen realm" — he demands that Archer choose a crewman to be put to death.
Posted by the Flea at 08:39 AM | Comments (1)

We look like two siblings?

Xinhua runs a disturbing article that looks to me to be somebody else's advertising campaign.

Posted by the Flea at 08:38 AM

Face on Mars

James Lileks describes the quintessential American moment as a visor is lifted to reveal an astronaut's face. And a Navajo Marine sounds good to me too.

It has been too long since a human hand put a flag on another planet, and I’d like to see that happen again. It will happen; it's just a question of who does it. I would prefer that the hand be American.
In other words, I’d rather that hand represent the world.
Huh? You say. Wha? A UN flag would represent the world.
No, a UN flag would represent bureaucrats and governments. When I think of an American astronaut on Mars, I can’t imagine a face for the event. I can tell you who staffed the Apollo program, because they were drawn from a specific stratum of American life. But things have changed. Who knows who we'd send to Mars? Black pilot? White astrophysicist? A navigator whose parents came over from India in 1972? Asian female doctor? If we all saw a bulky person bounce out of the landing craft and plant the flag, we’d see that wide blank mirrored visor. Sex or creed or skin hue – we’d have no idea.
This is the quintessence of America: whatever face you’d see when the visor was raised, it wouldn’t be a surprise.
To prove I am a rank sentimentalist: I say the first foot on Mars belongs to a Navajo. No: a Navajo from the Marine Corps. Just because. I can’t think of a reason why not. Can you?
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | Comments (2)


Warren Ellis takes on critics of genetically modified crops and an hippie assertion that food should "have a story." The result is vulgar to the extreme, hilarious and difficult to summarize so I shall leave Flea-readers to investigate at their own risk (via Colby Cosh).

I've got a food with a story for you. Soylent f****** Green. It's got a story, a soundtrack and Charlton f****** Heston. Soylent Green is made out of people, and thank Christ for that because I f****** hate lentils. All the books say that people taste like pork.

Yeah, that's the story I want to hear. Organically-reared hippie, humanely slaughtered while making wicker basket. Presented to you freshly washed of all weak-minded b******* intended to annoy the living f*** out of fragile writers first thing on a Thursday morning.

This has been a public service announcement on behalf of actual humans.
Posted by the Flea at 08:35 AM


An economic explanation for the habit of walking on moving walkways and standing when taking escalators gives me a pain in the eye (via Broken Timber).

Using indifference curve analysis to show why people stand still on escalators but walk on moving walkways helps establish the near-universal applicability of economic theory. Working with contrasting preference maps (such as those in Figures 1 and 3) to deal with an issue where the student's own intuition is fully in play may help the student to read indifference curves in less intuitive cases. And challenging the students to apply basic economic tools to similarly frivolous issues can result in fun and even learning.

The only down side to exposing students to this armchair view of escalators is that they may never again be able to ride an airport escalator without thinking of indifference-curve analysis.
Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM

January 15, 2004

Liberty, I Write Your Name


The Atlasphere publishes an interview with a voice of today's authentic French resistance, Sabine Herold (via Merde in France).

Herold: For example, in France right now there's actually a political debate about whether civil servants should be paid depending on what they're doing and whether they're good or bad. Some people, especially the unions, are simply opposed to that; they think that when you're in public service, your level of productivity shouldn't be considered. To me that makes no sense. If a civil servant is not efficient, there's no reason to keep paying him. (Pause.) France is still a communist country.

TA: France is?

Herold: (Laughing). Almost. I think in America, some people consider us one of the very last remaining communist countries. Some people are saying that about France.
Posted by the Flea at 10:21 AM | Comments (2)

De re coquinaria

Isicia omentata, a kind of burger described in a Roman cookery book by Marcus Gavius Apicius is only one of many antique dishes you can prepare in the comfort of your own home.

Instructions: Mix minced meat with the soaked french roll. Ground spices and mix into the meat. Form small burgers and put pine kernels and peppercorns into them. Put them into baking foil and grill them together with Caroenum.
Posted by the Flea at 10:17 AM | Comments (3)

Girl Scout Cookie

Jay Solo is eating Girl Scout cookies. I confess I never enjoyed them myself. Perhaps they are better in the States.

Evil, addictive, bad cookies. It is their fault I can't control myself and I eat too many, which is bad for me, so therefore someone must pay.
Posted by the Flea at 10:14 AM | Comments (4)


Direct the mice to the cheese, if you please.

Posted by the Flea at 10:12 AM

To the dogs

Anthony posts on impressive dog breeds.

Banning dog breeds is an easy copout for the real problem: Irresponsible backyard breeders. Pick up any paper and you can find plenty of ads for pit bulls (some for free). I am more or less a libertarian. I don't believe in government interference. At the same time however I have to reconcile the fact that there are idiots out there.
Posted by the Flea at 10:11 AM | Comments (2)


A Reason interview with Bruce Sterling ranges from technology to the environment to terorrism. Sterling's prescriptions may have it wrong but the subjects at interest at least seem to be right (via Jay Currie).

reason: Not long after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, you wrote a cri de coeur about how the attacks signified the end of a belle époque, during which the government is relatively technocratic, competent, and bland -- providing basic services but otherwise uninteresting -- and the rest of the world is peacefully progressing, partly as a function of technological advance. Are we going to see that kind of era again?

Bruce Sterling: It depends on who "we" are. For the U.S., the belle époque is over. It lost its steam under this tremendous necromantic thing that bin Laden pulled, and also it’s over because this huge surge of energy that was in the dot-com world failed at the last mile. Socially, policy makers have made a series of choices very similar to what preceded the collapse into World War I. There’s the same kind of massive gung-hoism for acts of violence and the same kind of irrationality. We’re in a very dark time. It’s dark enough that it cannot lift overnight.
Posted by the Flea at 10:09 AM | Comments (1)

January 14, 2004


My most recent vanity googling revealed the Flea has now moved up to 22 out of 9,360,000 returns for the word "ghost." I hope the blog will soon have an admirable view of an intriguing British fashion design firm parked in the 20 spot. Perhaps I should expand on the Flea as a "blogging concept" that transcends "blog".

Ghost is a styling concept which transcends fashion. As a result, Ghost can be found in the wardrobe of every major fashion editor, stylist and journalist. The label's signature fluid silhouette and delicate colour palette has found favour across the celebrity board of age and beauty, with Madonna, Liv Tyler, Catherine Zeta Jones, Kate Hudson and Meryl Streep to name a few.
Posted by the Flea at 09:09 AM


A little something for your time-wasting needs.

Posted by the Flea at 09:06 AM

Get high

I feel a responsibility to report on cultures of "internet" and consequently pass this on.

This is episode 'Get Hi'
The Romp ran the series 'Won & Twoo', the first product of Bunsella Films. This two-headed Siamese twin Chinese cook has one homophobic head (Won), and one ravenously gay head (Twoo) . . . and only one genetalia. It was featured on 'Best of the Internet' on Channel 5 in the UK.
Posted by the Flea at 09:03 AM

Babel's children

An article in the Economist suggests languages are more distinct than thought previously (hat tip to a Flea reader). The challenge to models assuming "deep structures" in language takes on the dominant paradigm in contemporary linguistic. This is a good thing in itself and not only because it might be gratifying to find Noam Chomsky wrong about this as in so much else.

It is hard to conceive of a language without nouns or verbs. But that is just what Riau Indonesian is, according to David Gil, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, in Leipzig. Dr Gil has been studying Riau for the past 12 years. Initially, he says, he struggled with the language, despite being fluent in standard Indonesian. However, a breakthrough came when he realised that what he had been thinking of as different parts of speech were, in fact, grammatically the same. For example, the phrase “the chicken is eating” translates into colloquial Riau as “ayam makan”. Literally, this is “chicken eat”. But the same pair of words also have meanings as diverse as “the chicken is making somebody eat”, or “somebody is eating where the chicken is”. There are, he says, no modifiers that distinguish the tenses of verbs. Nor are there modifiers for nouns that distinguish the definite from the indefinite (“the”, as opposed to “a”). Indeed, there are no features in Riau Indonesian that distinguish nouns from verbs. These categories, he says, are imposed because the languages that western linguists are familiar with have them.
Posted by the Flea at 09:01 AM

January 13, 2004

Don't call me babe


This installment of the Flea Presents Great Canadians™ features the star of Baywatch, VIP and the auteur work of Tommy Lee. Pamela Anderson came to mind last night when I discovered an unrated copy of Cancon masterpiece Barb Wire on sale at Zellers for C$8.97. Reviews of the work tend to be harsh. All I can say is the critics should try escaping some future Casablanca with nothing but Canadian dollars and see how they like it.

Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM | Comments (4)

Bonfire 28

This week's Bonfire of the Vanities burns with zealous fervour at the evangelical outpost.

Posted by the Flea at 09:10 AM


The Transfiguration of Harold Maines is an odd idea to begin with but an inexplicable Guernica reference sends it over the top.

Harold Maines was an elusive figure. Especially now, in his abscence (or the absence of his human vocal cords anyway), only a precious little can be known about this man's motivations. The little that can be known is drawn from a letter he left at the site of his disappearance. In this letter he discusses his family, his friends, his desire to become a horse and why he believed his desire was possible.
Posted by the Flea at 09:09 AM | Comments (1)

Cannon Fodder

Test your ballistic skills with this game. You know you want to!

Posted by the Flea at 09:07 AM | Comments (1)

Caesar's Palace

This Las Vegas panorama reminds me I would rather be on holiday.

Posted by the Flea at 09:05 AM

Monte Rosa

Swiss scientists are studying long-term climate change by examining air trapped in ice near the summit of Monte Rosa. Their particular aim is to find lead and copper emmissions from classical Greek and Roman mining activities with the broader agenda of retreiving data back to the last Ice Age. I like the look of their geodesic tent but would rather take in the view from the revolving restaurant at Piz Gloria.

Posted by the Flea at 09:00 AM

January 12, 2004


I have not read this one (via ***Dave).

You are Coraline! You are quirky, strange, and
charming. Some people may find you a little
alarming and not always get you... But they can
p*** off, right? You are the kind of person who
always needs to be entertained, otherwise you
get uncomfortable. You probably still enjoy
everything you did when you were little, such
as childrens books and Disney movies. You're fun
to be around and are usually the life of the

*~Which Neil Gaiman book are you?~*
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by the Flea at 08:40 AM | Comments (1)


Apple has its famous "1984" Macintosh advertisement on-line as a twentieth anniversary commemoration. This is one of the most powerful ads I have ever seen.

Posted by the Flea at 08:38 AM | Comments (5)


Yet another language I do not have time to learn.

Rihannsu is a living language, and so is not static; but it changes much more slowly then English. Four major periods may be discerned in its development. First, of course, was the creation of the language from Old High Vulcan. The grammar and syntax developed at this time are still in use today, as well as nearly all the vocabulary. The main effect of history has been to build and expand on this base rather than to transform it.

Next was the Journey from Vulcan to the Homeworlds, a period of about two hundred years (ships’ time -- much more time elapsed for the non-relativistic universe.) The Journey’s main effect was a smoothing out of the original language, as it was put into practical and exclusive use for the first time. Additions to vocabulary related mainly to astronomical phenomena which the Travelers encountered for the first time, and to the developing religion/philosophy of the Elements and “matter as god.”

I could double-up by learning Vulcan at the same time I pick up Romulan. Of course, Klingon learners can get a leg-up with the Kor Memorial Scholarship.

Posted by the Flea at 08:36 AM


I love it that the hydrogen people think they need an ethereal redhead to sell their scooter.

After 10 years of research and development, Josef Zeitler from Speinshart in Germany, the owner of Independent Energy Systems (INENSY), has developed the first Hydrogen filled 2 stroke-engine scooter with technical approval from the German TÜV.
Posted by the Flea at 08:35 AM

Reverse astrology

This reverse astrology test thinks Leo (my midheaven) is my best Sun sign fit while Virgo (my Moon) is my worst. I shall leave my actual Sun and rising signs out of the equation...

If you feel the results of this form are incorrect, you must be mistaken as to your actual birth date, or maybe it has something to do with your rising sign. In such a case I'd suggest you contact a professional astrologer, or I could take another stab at it if the price is right ;-].
Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | Comments (1)


All we are missing now is worm sign.

We came from Caladan—a paradise world for our form of life. There existed no need on Caladan to build a physical paradise or a paradise of the mind—we could see the actuality all around us. And the price we paid was the price men have always paid for achieving a paradise in this life—we went soft, we lost our edge.
-from "Muad'Dib: Conversations" by the Princess Irulan
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM

Black Assizes

Two Elizabethan judges, a clerk, the coroner, the sheriff and a number of jury members are among the purported victims of "a very effective curse."

Archaeologists have uncovered a mass grave which may throw lights on one of the strangest and most gruesome events of the Elizabethan age: the curse of Roland Jenks.

More than 60 skeletons have been discovered between Oxford's former prison and its old castle. It is thought that many of them could be related to the fate of Jenks, a 'foul-mouthed and saucy' bookbinder who was convicted in 1577 of supporting the Pope. For his temerity he was sentenced to be nailed by his ears to the local pillory and responded by laying a curse on the courtroom and city.

'It appears to have been a very effective curse,' said archaeologist Dan Poore of Oxford Archaeology, which carried out the dig. Contemporary reports indicate that within several days hundreds of local men - but no women or children - had dropped dead.
Posted by the Flea at 08:32 AM

January 10, 2004



His proposal rejected out of hand, Ivan the Terrible fired off a letter to Elizabeth I before he was added to her blocked-sender list.

According to a contemporary translation discovered by Mr Pryor, the tsar questioned Elizabeth's authority. "Wee had thought that you had beene ruler over your lande, and had sought honor to your self and proffitt to your Countrie, and therefore we did pretend those weightie affairs between you and us.

"But now we perceive that there be other men that doe rule, and not men but bowers [boors] and marchaunts [merchants], the wich seeke not the wealth and honnor of our majesties, but they seeke there owne proffitt of marchandize.

"And you flowe [flourish] in your maydenlike estate like a maide," he added, insultingly.
Posted by the Flea at 11:03 AM

Somebody to love

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 11:01 AM | Comments (4)


The Scotsman hosts a haggis hunt (and watch out for that Golden haggis!).

But fear not, to win you do not need to go out onto the hills, nor will you have to harm one of these rare creatures (haggishunt.com is totally environmentally friendly). You can hunt the haggis from the comfort of your computer.
Posted by the Flea at 10:59 AM


Yesterday, the Campblog had its first blogiversary! Cruachan!

Posted by the Flea at 10:58 AM | Comments (1)

Killing joke

I have been looking for the English and German versions of Monty Python's "killing joke" without success. Does anyone have it ready to hand?

Posted by the Flea at 10:57 AM | Comments (5)

Sorcerer's cave

One pre-decorated cave for sale, a snip at one million "euros."

In 1969, Paluzzano, a farmer of Italian descent, bought the site in the town of Saint-Cirq, which owes its name - "the sorcerer's cave" - to a drawing of a human figure detailing the face, back and limbs. The cave, discovered in 1952 by a dentist and amateur archaeologist, is home to drawings dating back to the Magdalenian period, or between 22 000 and 15 000 years BC, according to French experts.

Paluzzano told AFP he had received a barrage of telephone calls from interested buyers since he posted a "for sale" sign near the entrance to his cave a few days ago.
Posted by the Flea at 10:54 AM

Viking patio

This one is self-explanatory (via the Melbourne Truth of blogs).

Archaeologists have admitted to having been made to look "very silly" after mistaking a 1940s sunken patio for a 9th century Viking village. Fife County Archaeologist Douglas Spiers says his team concluded the slabs found in the back garden of a Buckhaven home had originally been hauled by Norse settlers from a nearby beach.

Even the discovery of a Second World War gas mask on the plot failed to deter them from their theory that this was the first evidence ever seen of Viking homes built on mainland Scotland, reports the Daily Mail.
Posted by the Flea at 10:52 AM | Comments (1)

Viking and Pathfinder

NASA has photographed the 1976 Viking 1 lander and 1997's Mars Pathfinder at their landing sites on the surface of Mars.

The photographs were made with NASA's Mars Global Surveyor (MGS). Normally it can resolve features only down to about 3 feet (1 meter) per pixel, not good enough to discern a typical landing craft from its surroundings. The new technique involves "pitching the spacecraft at a rate faster than the spacecraft moves in its orbit around Mars," said scientists at Malin Space Science Systems, which operates the orbiter's camera. The resolution of images -- across one dimension of the photograph only -- is improved to about 20 inches (50 centimeters) per pixel.

The method, called image motion compensation, was developed during 2003 with the goal of photographing the Mars Spirit rover, which landed earlier this month, and its twin, Opportunity, slated to arrive later in January.
Posted by the Flea at 10:50 AM

January 09, 2004

Truth, Justice & the American Way


Keanu Reeves and Viggo Mortensen are both rumoured to be in consideration for a starring role in biopic about television Superman, George Reeves. Reeves was not the first or the last to wear those noble cape and tights but he may be the best loved.

George took the role of Superman seriously and knew he had a responsibility to his young audience. He got upset when he heard stories of kids pretending to be Superman and getting hurt. He thought that Superman himself should make the point perfectly clear. In an episode titled The Unlucky Number, when young Bobby Exbrook asks Superman if he could teach him things, like how to bend and melt a barbell, Superman states emphatically that "no one, but NO ONE, can do the things that Superman does, and that goes especially for FLYING!!"

And then... The Chaos Overlord has Superman-themed plans for the state of New Hampshire.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (2)

Tatu inned

Wait a minute... it turns out tATu are not lesbians after all!
Lena also reveals she will quit Tatu in spring for a solo career and hasn’t yet told Yulia. She said: “We are very tired of each other and it’s not fun playing lesbians any more. I believe it will be a shock to my friends and family and to Yulia. I can’t wait to get rid of the schoolgirl outfit, jeans and T-shirt that were Tatu’s trademark.”
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | Comments (2)

Sweetest Thing

This not exactly work-safe film clip explores the hazards of motorcycles and lane-closures in combination with Christina Applegate and Cameron Diaz.

Posted by the Flea at 08:39 AM


An impressive Flash interface.

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | Comments (2)

2 hours 45 minutes

Fascinating images drawn by a man under the influence of LSD.

'I am... everything is... changed... they're calling... your face... interwoven... who is...' Patient mumbles inaudibly to a tune (sounds like 'Thanks for the memory).
Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM

Flood control

A solution for some of your Friday time-wasting needs.

Posted by the Flea at 08:32 AM

Saint Lucia

The Flea rattles its ghostly chains in glee to discover a visitor from lovely Saint Lucia, home of a picturesque drive-in volcano. I would have added the island nation's coat-of-arms to this post but it "may not be used or reproduced in any form without the approval of the Government." Nice anthem but, respectfully, we should have a blogosphere contest to redesign the flag (yes, even the revised 1979 flag).

Sons and daughters of Saint Lucia love the land that gave us birth. Land of beaches, hills and valleys, fairest isle of all the earth. Wheresoever you may roam, love, oh love, our island home.

Gone the times when nations battled for this Helen of the West. Gone the days when strife and discord, dimmed her children’s toil and rest. Dawns at last a brighter day, stretches out a glad new way.

May the Good Lord bless our island; guard her sons from woe and harm. May our people, live united, strong in soul and strong in arm. Justice, truth and charity, our ideals forever be.
Posted by the Flea at 08:29 AM

U.S. Army

A year in photos for the United States Army, a slide-show with a metal soundtrack.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

January 08, 2004

Iron Man

Tom Cruise reportedly wants to star as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man (via Attu).

When the project first surfaced, Cruise and comic fan Nicholas Cage were both keen to sign, but now that the main elements, such as the screenwriters, the script and the villain have changed, only Cruise is still eager to don the tights.

Ok, Iron Man does not wear tights. But at least we are not looking at another Clooney or Affleck debacle.

Posted by the Flea at 07:18 AM

The Apprentice

There's no voting. There's no jury.

Best reality show ever? I will be checking this out tonight.

You're fired!
Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM


I had no idea how quirkyalone I am.

How quirkyalone are you? Your score was 96. Very quirkyalone: Relatives may give you quizzical looks, and so may friends, but you know in your heart of hearts that you are following your inner voice. Though you may not be romancing a single person, you are romancing the world. Celebrate your freedom on National Quirkyalone Day, February 14th!

And then... Andrew Sullivan calls this stuff a manifesto for singles in cities, wondering if this is the real Dean base. Shuddersome.

Posted by the Flea at 07:11 AM | Comments (1)

Ashley, of course

Which Olsen twin is for you?

You best match up with Ashley, the party girl. She can be impulsive but knows how to be serious when the need arises. She's much more comfortable in the company of others and doesn't like to be alone. Although her fun can get her in trouble it balances out well with Mary-Kate's sometimes reserved demeanor.
Posted by the Flea at 07:09 AM | Comments (1)

Hipster of Swords

FIRE OF AIR. Serious and intellectual, you live in the world of thoughts and ideas. You grasp things quicker than most and are a master debater. Your verbal skills are unparalleled; your conversations are stimulating. You are concerned with issues of justice. Your standards are high, so there is danger of becoming too moralistic. While truth is generally an honorable thing, chew on this: "Why Yes Herr Strudel, my neighbor IS hiding Jews in his basement!" You're Christopher Walken in Suicide Kings.
created by Polly Snodgrass.

This Major Arcana-type card is courtesy of Abraca-Pocus!. My hipster quiz results are disclosed in the extended entry due to vulgar language content!

The Elitist Prick.  So consumed with being on top of indie trends and posing, the Elitist has completely forgotten how to enjoy his once-hipster status.  It's probably too late for him.
You are the Elitist Prick. You're so consumed with
being on top of indie trends that you've
completely forgotten how to enjoy your once-
hipster status. It may be too late for you.

What Kind of Hipster Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by the Flea at 07:08 AM | Comments (1)

Fun with death rays

This baby was developed for the first Martian war in 1949. It should definitely be considered for a home in the blogosphere's arsenal.

Posted by the Flea at 07:06 AM | Comments (2)

Meditational woodland

They say left-wing firing squads are circular. I believe distressed ivy-fanciers instigating a regulatory charge against a woodland meditation group is a good example of the phenomenon.

Edward James, 51, from Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, bought the half-acre wood overlooking the Crouch estuary near Hockley so that he and a few friends could sit cross-legged and meditate among the trees for about half an hour at a time. However, an objection was lodged with the council. The Essex Wildlife Trust objected because it feared trees were being damaged, including the removal of "old and long-established ivy". A local resident expressed concern because several vehicles were turning up at the site with would-be meditators.
Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

January 07, 2004



At long last a toilet worthy of the history and traditions of Flea Mansions.

A throwback to the medieval era of knights, castles and fairy tale romance, this throne toilet with French Merovingian style (8th century) is highlighted by hand painted earthenware accessories (Musset poem, ashtray...) Its high-profile seat back with a gothic-arch top and full armrests give the toilet a majestic appearance. Inscribed on the seat back is a poem by the French poet, Alfred de Musset (see the "product specifications" button to the left for French and English versions of the poem). The musical chime "Le Bon Roi Dagobert", with a voice reciting the Musset poem, starts when you raise the lid and a bell is coupled with the flush, making a visit to the bathroom an unforgettable experience.

And then... I now realize I should have titled this post "The Merovingian".

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM | Comments (3)

Source criticism

The Lord of the Rings, a source criticism analysis (via Andrea Harris).

Experts in source-criticism now know that The Lord of the Rings is a redaction of sources ranging from the Red Book of Westmarch (W) to Elvish Chronicles (E) to Gondorian records (G) to orally transmitted tales of the Rohirrim (R). The conflicting ethnic, social and religious groups which preserved these stories all had their own agendas, as did the "Tolkien" (T) and "Peter Jackson" (PJ) redactors, who are often in conflict with each other as well but whose conflicting accounts of the same events reveals a great deal about the political and religious situations which helped to form our popular notions about Middle Earth and the so-called "War of the Ring.". Into this mix are also thrown a great deal of folk materials about a supposed magic "ring" and some obscure figures named "Frodo" and "Sam". In all likelihood, these latter figures are totems meant to personify the popularity of Aragorn with the rural classes.
Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM

Times Square

This panoramic view of Times Square on New Year's Eve includes ambient noise. Beautiful, and you have got to love all that orange.

Posted by the Flea at 06:55 AM | Comments (1)

Bonfire 27

Boots and Sabers hosts this week's Bonfire of the Vanities where this week offers plenty of toasted cheese goodness to keep warm by through these winter nights.

Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM

Bog people

Any website with a link to "clothing and hairstyles of the bog people" is worth a look.

No one knows how these people ended up in the bogs, but it seems that the bodies are not the remains of unlucky people who fell in after losing their way. According to classical authors, the Roman Iron Age people of northern Europe offered human sacrifices to celebrate military victories, and to recover from illness, and executed people as punishment for crimes or perceived social imperfections such as homosexuality. Many of those found in the bogs died violent deaths
Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM | Comments (1)


The California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory hosts press release and raw images from NASA's Mars rover Spirit (via lgf). A Flash-animated description of the surface mission is impressive and an exploration of the rover's "body" is fun too.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

Royal Navy

This is so horrifying I am going to post the same quote as Andrew Ian Dodge.

The Royal Navy is to lose at least four destroyers in the next three months, taking the number of surface warships to below that of the French navy for the first time since the 17th century.

It will now have only 28 escort ships compared to the French navy's 32 and will no longer be able to mount major operations unless it is fighting alongside either the Americans or the French.
Posted by the Flea at 06:45 AM | Comments (4)

January 06, 2004

Saigon. ****. Still in Saigon (via She Who Will Be Obeyed). And my famous leader test can be found in the extended part of this post...

What Famous Leader Are You?

Posted by the Flea at 11:50 AM | Comments (4)

President tATu

It has been too long since the Flea got a fix of tATu media. Now Russia's most famous "lesbians" are planning to run against Vladimir Putin to become joint presidents of Russia.

Yulia and Lena will have to convince officials they are eligible to run as rules state candidates must be at least 35 years old. But the pair insist they are old enough because their combined age is 37.
Posted by the Flea at 11:48 AM | Comments (2)


Warner Brothers has a Cthulhu-themed on-line game that looks interesting. Unfortunately, the day job of a Flea means no time for play-testing this week...

Posted by the Flea at 11:47 AM


A Super Hard penguin.

Posted by the Flea at 11:46 AM | Comments (1)

Yub Nub

Yub nub, eee chop yub nub,
toe meet toe pee chee keene, g'noop dock fling oh ah.
Yah wah, eee chop yah wah,
toe meet toe pee chee keene, g'noop dock fling oh ah
Coat ee chah tu yub nub,
Coat ee chah tu yah wah,
Coat ee chah tu glo wah.
allay loo ta nuv
Glo wah, eee chop glo wah, ya glo wah pee chu nee foam,
ah toot dee awe goon daa.
Coat ee cha tu goo (Yub nub!)
coat ee cha tu doo (Yah wah!)
coat ee cha tu too (ya chaa!)
allay loo tu nuv (3 times)
Glo wah, eee chop glo wah.
Ya glow wah pee chu nee foam,
ah toot dee awe goon daa
allay loo tu nuv.

And translation from the Ewok is here.

Yub nub, eee chop yub nub,
Freedom, we got freedom,

toe meet toe pee chee keene, g'noop dock fling oh ah.
and now that we can be free, c'mon and celebrate.

Yah wah, eee chop yah wah,
Power, we got power

toe meet toe pee chee keene, g'noop dock fling oh ah
and now that we can be free, c'mon and celebrate.

Coat ee chah tu yub nub,
Celebrate the freedom

Coat ee chah tu yah wah,
Celebrate the power

Coat ee chah tu glo wah.
Celebrate the glory.

allay loo ta nuv
celebrate the love

Glo wah, eee chop glo wah, ya glo wah pee chu nee foam,
Power, we got power, and now that we can be free,

ah toot dee awe goon daa.
it's time to celebrate.

Coat ee cha tu goo (Yub nub!)
Celebrate the light (Freedom!)

coat ee cha tu doo (Yah wah!)
celebrate the might (Power!)

coat ee cha tu too (ya chaa!)
celebrate the fight (Glory!)

allay loo tu nuv (3 times)
celebrate the love

Glo wah, eee chop glo wah.
Glory, we found glory

Ya glow wah pee chu nee foam,
The power showed us the light

ah toot dee awe goon daa
and now we all live free

allay loo tu nuv.
celebrate the love.

Posted by the Flea at 11:45 AM

January 05, 2004

Flea Jerusalem


Michelle has a thing for Spider Jerusalem. Better not mention my glasses (via Venemous Kate).

Posted by the Flea at 07:11 AM | Comments (6)


The history of vending, or "automatic retailing," is a venerable one.

Vending machines, otherwise known as “automatic retailing” machines, have a long history. The earliest documented existence of the world’s first vending machine dates back to 215 B.C. in Alexandra, ancient Egypt, where the Greek mathematician Hero, invented a device to dispense holy water in temples for ritual cleansing.

Worshippers would insert coins through an opening at the top of the device, which would then fall on and depresses a pan below. The depression of the pan would in turn lift up a valve and allowed water to flow out. As the pan tilts, the coins would fall off and the reduction in weight to the pan forces the pan back to its original position. This action then causes the valve move in the opposite direction and shut down the channel for the water to flow.

There are plenty of things on sale in vending machines aside from newspapers, cigarettes, food and drink (and the machines can be interesting too). Unicorn coins are an odd choice but ready-made poached eggs strike me to be a bad one. The lobster-catching game machine down and the left on this page suggest others are less squeemish about their vending food options. It may be a cultural difference. Most of the fun to point at vending machines are Japanese where there is apparently one vending machine for every 23 people. And, because I know someone will ask, Snopes has the scoop on the panty machines. Of course, vending is not just about lobster, poached eggs and underwear. Sometimes automatic retailing equals death!

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

King Arthur

Ith calls our attention to the new King Arthur trailer. Fun for leather bra fans everywhere!

Posted by the Flea at 07:09 AM | Comments (1)


There are 000001 people in the UK with my name (via b3ta).

You are unique. You are one with the angry Squirrel. Shout 'I am the unique. I am unified with the badger overlord.' People will run away. That's because they're jealous. JEALOUS.
Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM | Comments (2)

The Electric Company

Hey you guys!

We're Gonna Turn it On (do do do)
We're Gonna Bring you the Power (do do do do)
We're gonna tell you the truest words that you heard anybody say
Posted by the Flea at 07:05 AM

Our Lady of Perpetual Resistance

Andrea Harris has moved to a new home at Twisted Spinster. Alongside her usual excellent Middle Earth coverage is a link to an Austrian church of Borg. No luck finding plans for it on-line.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM


An exhibit of porphyry at the Louvre through February 16 reveals the "restraint" of artists ancient and early modern when working a difficult material.

Perhaps the rarity that made porphyry so desirable had its part in this restraint. Until the mid-18th century, the only known quarries were in the eastern Egyptian desert, the Gebel Dokhan. Intensively exploited from the first to fifth century, the mines were then abandoned. For more than 1,000 years, Ancient Roman porphyry pillars scattered across Europe and the Near East, chopped up for the material to be reused, were the only source of supply.
Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM


Same reservations, and same result, as ***Dave.

"The Shepherd"

Which Firefly character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

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

January 03, 2004

I never drink... soda.

You's a vampire, bi-yatch!
Which Typical Anti-Hero Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

I cannot say these quiz-writers know the truth of vampiric existence. The Redneck Vampire tells it like it is.

Anne Rice? F*** her. She doesn't know **** about being a ****** vampire! Writing. Oh, uhh, Bram Stoker? That guy's full of **** too. That ain't nothing like it. I thought I'd known life when I was back out in the field, out in the war. Bull****. It sucks, man.
Posted by the Flea at 11:37 AM | Comments (4)


My lottery-ticket winning needs keep adding up (hat tip to Fred Kiesche).

The All Terrain Scout Transport (AT-ST) Walker is a cousin of the AT-AT. While smaller ("only" 8.6 meters) and less difficult to destroy, the AT-ST is quick, agile, and able to traverse areas the AT-AT cannot enter. It is often used to supplement the AT-ATs, providing maneuverability to the larger Walkers. The AT-ST, while not as impervious to heavy blasters as are their larger relatives, can resist most handheld blaster bolts and smaller laser cannons. It packs two chin-mounted heavy laser cannons, with a double light blaster on the port of its "head" and a concussion-grenade launcher on the starboard. These weapons are intended for use against ground troops and thus sacrifice some damage (compared to the AT-AT's heavy laser cannons) for accuracy.
Posted by the Flea at 11:31 AM | Comments (2)


The Flea scored a respectable 108 in an on-line typing game with a variety of typing incentives.

Posted by the Flea at 11:27 AM | Comments (2)


David Byrne has trumped the Flea's inchoate thought on PowerPoint. Vexed again! At least I get to use the Gettysburg Cemetary Dedication for my Digital Media and Culture course.

In his book and DVD compilation, "Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information," Byrne twists PowerPoint from a marketing tool into a multimedia canvas, pontificating that the software's charts, graphs, bullet points and arrows have changed communication styles.

"I just got carried away and started making stuff," Byrne said. "It communicates within certain limited parameters really well and very easily. The genius of it is that it was designed for any idiot to use. I learned it in a few hours, and that's the idea."
Posted by the Flea at 11:23 AM


Nobody believes a weather prediction twelve hours ahead. Now we're asked to believe a prediction that goes out 100 years into the future? And make financial investments based on that prediction? Has everybody lost their minds?

Michael Crichton offers another informative public lecture (via InstaPundit). This time he takes on the Drake equation, SETI, nuclear winter and global warming alongside this critical evaluation of "consensus science". Consensus is indeed the first refuge of scoundrels (talk of galactic "suburbs" notwithstanding).

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.
Posted by the Flea at 11:21 AM

January 02, 2004


The NS-5 bills itself as a "3 laws safe" fully-automated assistant that is "more intellegent than most PhD graduates". The commercial is brilliant. What will you do with yours? I chose the Champagne skin option along with Chestnut musculature, Bronze cladding and Lilac eyes (and I can hardly wait for the movie).

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Posted by the Flea at 11:17 AM | Comments (4)


I fun, enjoyable robot-arm game that I am not very good at.

Posted by the Flea at 11:15 AM


The Flea is not quite a blogaholic (via Venemous Kate).

76 points is in the 51 through 80 precent
You are a dedicated weblogger. You post frequently because you enjoy weblogging a lot, yet you still manage to have a social life. You're the best kind of weblogger. Way to go!
Posted by the Flea at 11:14 AM | Comments (2)

Out of season

Rare Exports Inc. are film-makers with a peculiar sense of humour. The training scene makes the movie.

Following their instincts, they head for the wilderness of Lapland.
Posted by the Flea at 11:11 AM


This one is self-explanatory.

A grandmother has spoken of her relief after suffering a heart attack on a plane full of cardiologists. Dorothy Fletcher, 67, was flying to her daughter's wedding in Florida when she collapsed with chest pains. A stewardess asked "Is there a doctor on board?" and 15 heart specialists stood up to offer help. The doctors were en route to a cardiology conference in Orlando.
Posted by the Flea at 11:10 AM

Tolkien hard boiled

Get out of my way you flame of Udûn!

I hope Flea-readers will indulge me if I have already posted a link to the original film rendition of The Lord of the Rings. Casting Peter Lorrie as old Smeagol was inspired.

The road goes ever on,
and on towards the dawn...

Posted by the Flea at 11:09 AM

Middle Earth coinage

I had forgotten this Flea-post of June 18 reporting New Zealand's collaboration with the Royal Mint to produce Lord of the Rings coins. Now we can have a look at the result. The coins are impressive but I am uncertain of the symbolism of a fifty-cent Gollum piece let alone one with the Queen on one side and Sauron on the the other. And then there is this yet more problematic symbol. They know the Ring is evil, right?

First release in the 'Scenes in Silver' Proof series will be an eye-catching design featuring a gold-plated "One Ring" in relief over a frosted background.

And then... A Flea-reader reports the best prices for these coins are to be found here.

Ian McKellen's on screen character Gandalf is available on a 50-cent coin as part of three sets of character coins being produced. Ian McKellen says "I am delighted with the way Gandalf has been captured on the coin. It is a wonderful reflection of the success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy that one of the world's leading coin producers, the Royal Mint, is striking a series of coins, which capture key characters and scenes from the films."
Posted by the Flea at 11:08 AM

January 01, 2004

Anita Mui


I am very sorry to report Anita Mui has died of cancer at the age of 40. A Channel News Asia article describes her as a Cantopop diva but I knew her best as an actress from A Better Tomorrow III, Moon Warriors and the indescribable genius of Heroic Trio (let us overlook her role in Rumble in the Bronx). The Straight Times features a news-clip while the People's Daily offers a more elegaic tribute, quoting Mui:

Instant shining is not eternity. Show business is a hard life. I wonder how many people will remember me after I leave the business for good. My hope is that when they feel bored and look at the stars in the sky, people will think of my name.
Posted by the Flea at 10:23 AM

Steve Harvey's Big Time

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Happy New Year!

Posted by the Flea at 10:17 AM

Cold reading

Television necromancer John Edwards claims to communicate with the dead. "Demystifying John Edwards" explains Edwards apparent ability is no more than cold reading, a technique whereby someone uses fast-talk to convince an audience of psychic ability.

The site also includes a fascinating discussion of Harry Houdini's pact with his wife Bess to attempt to communicate from beyond the grave. Should either survive the other they would be able to recognize a genuine message by means of a secret code they shared only with each other. No con-artist could crack their code.

By the way, Houdini's ten word secret code was: "Rosabelle - Answer - Tell - Pray, Answer - Look - Tell - Answer, Answer - Tell." It was based upon an old Vaudeville mindreading routine. "Rosabelle" was the name of the song Bess was singing when the two first met. The other words correspond to a secret spelling code used to pass information between a magician and his assistant during a mind reading act. Each word or word pairs equals a letter. The word "Answer" stood for the letter "B", for example. "Answer, Answer" stood for the letter "V". With this unique code within a code, Houdini's secret spelled out the word, "BELIEVE."
Posted by the Flea at 10:11 AM


The Wilhelm scream was first recorded in 1951 for Warner Brother's "Distant Drums". Since then, and thanks in part to sound designer Ben Burtt's peculiar fixation, it has turned up in many popular films since.

Ben has adopted the scream as sort of a personal sound signature, and has included it in many of the films he has worked on. He and a small circle of sound effects people, including myself and Richard Anderson, continue the crusade to keep Wilhelm alive. The Wilhelm Scream continues to be heard in new films every year.
Posted by the Flea at 10:09 AM

Ancient maps

Lots and lots of ancient maps (via Rocket Jones).

(Interactive Ancient Mediterranean) is an on-line atlas of the ancient Mediterranean world designed to serve the needs and interests of students and teachers in high school, community college and university courses in classics, ancient history, geography, archaeology and related fields.
Posted by the Flea at 10:03 AM


A treasure hoard from the Roman fort-town of Augusta Raurica on display in Basel, Switzerland weighs in at an impressive 58kg making it the largest haul of "Late Antique" silver ever found. More impressive still is the haunting impression of the lives of the men who owned the silver in life.

The objects date back to the tumultuous era between 294 and 350 AD. The name Marcellianus appears on 13 items. It is possible that he and an unnamed owner buried their belongings together and only Marcellianus labelled what was his. Both men were undoubtedly army officers. An inscription on one of the dishes shows Marcellianus to have been a tribune – a unit commander or staff officer. His candelabrum, made to be packed together like a telescope, hints at a life of frequent travel.
Posted by the Flea at 10:02 AM


Here is a quiz to help settle on a New Year's Resolution. The Flea's resolution is revolutionary.

Take the What Should Your New Year's Resolution Be? Quiz

Posted by the Flea at 10:00 AM