February 28, 2004


What lesser-known Simpsons character are you?

Brought to you by the good folks at sacwriters.com

The good news provided by this quiz is courtesy of the philosopher of Classical Values. I think I am really Sideshow Bob at heart.

Posted by the Flea at 10:19 AM | Comments (1)

Stalin's crabs

A red army of Pacific king crabs is marching its way south along the coast of Norwary. Scientists are alarmed at an environmental catastrophe. Now is the time for all good garlic butter to come to the aid of the party.

Millions of giant Pacific crabs, whose ancestors were brought to Europe by Joseph Stalin in the 1930s, are marching south along Norway's coast, devouring everything in their path. The monster crabs, which can weigh up to 25lb and have a claw-span of more than three feet, are proving so resilient that scientists fear they could end up as far south as Gibraltar.

And then... Anthony and I are so on the same page with this one.

Posted by the Flea at 10:15 AM | Comments (2)


Fun with bubbles. Extreme time-waster warning! It might be an idea to leave this one until after Lent.

Posted by the Flea at 09:56 AM | Comments (1)


I got 3 out of 10 on this Kansas quiz though I am sure I would do better next time.

Posted by the Flea at 09:52 AM | Comments (1)


A short history of swearing has a few choice examples from the last century. Thursday's broadcast of the Daily Show on Comedy Central missed a variation on the F-word (though it bleeped another later in the show). This would seem to be a problematical oversight after the recent Jackson/Timberlake cultural intervention and an increasingly unserious politics. Welcome to the sleepwalking world of the late '90s (that last link via Daimnation!).

Posted by the Flea at 09:47 AM | Comments (2)

Sarehole Mill

The Royal Mail is releasing a stamp issue in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Lord of the Rings.

The author's great nephew, Tim Tolkien, has launched the set which features his uncle's own illustrations of Bag End, Fangorn Forest and the Forest of Lothlorien, as well as a map of Middle Earth drawn by JRR Tolkien's son Christopher.

The hand drawn images of Middle Earth were being shown at Birmingham's Sarehole Mill, one of Tolkien's childhood haunts and the inspiration for his writing.
Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM


Flea-readers familiar with Gaulish geography may have shared my assumption that the Île de la Cité was the capital of the Parisii and the foundation of modern Paris. It turns out the fishing village on the island was less impressive than another site of Lutetia six miles to the west in what is now relatively sleepy Nanterre. Another site twenty miles to the north comes to mind.

"Nanterre is the only agglomeration of size identified on the territory of the Parisii. Until now no significant remains from an occupation predating the Roman conquest have been found on the Ile de la Cite," said Alain Bulard, of the directorate for cultural affairs for the Paris area.

The Nanterre site, discovered near the bank of the river Seine at the end of last year, has revealed a rigidly planned urban area constructed around two parallel cobbled streets and a market square, Le Monde newspaper reported.
Posted by the Flea at 09:40 AM

February 27, 2004

Where's Bula?

Does anyone have the lyrics for mid-80s Ottawa anthem "Where's Bula?" by Eight Seconds? Why aren't the lyrics to Rough Trade's "High School Confiential" on "the internet"? Carol Pope may be the greatest living Canadian (in LA, of course) so these is a significant oversight. And while I am asking, does anyone have the lyrics to the song for Ottawa? This is all the Sister of a Flea could remember from the latter:

Ottawa it's plain to see-ee-ee
Why it's the country's capital ci-i-ty
Ottawa, you'll agree-ee
It's beautiful
Come see!
Posted by the Flea at 12:10 PM | Comments (7)

I don't

This one is nightmare provoking. For both of them, apparently.

At this weekend's Indiana Pacers-Washington Wizards game, a woman's reaction to a man's marriage proposal stuns an expectant crowd.
Posted by the Flea at 12:09 PM

Superball 3

Four-sided pong is a good answer to Friday time-wasting needs. That last block calls for a sure hand.

Posted by the Flea at 12:07 PM | Comments (1)


Doesn't this miss the point of a blog? Excepting Bill Whittle, of course.

It is quick, easy, and affordable to turn your blog into a printed book. All it takes is a few easy steps:

Provide information about your blog account
Select a type style and design the covers
Optionally write an introduction
Review automatically generated proof
It's that simple! In under a week, your book will arrive.
Posted by the Flea at 12:04 PM | Comments (1)

Graf Spee again

The first of the Graf Spee has been recovered from the water.

After weeks of failed attempts a 27-ton section of the command tower, including the first embryonic radar antenna installed on a warship, was brought to the surface of the River Plate estuary using a floating crane.

Germany's Graf Spee, equipped with 11-inch guns and a prototype diesel engine, was one of the most advanced vessels of its time. It was smaller and faster than a traditional battleship and caused serious unease in the Royal Navy.
Posted by the Flea at 12:03 PM | Comments (2)

12 reasons

Civilization has not collapsed and anarchy has failed to reign since we have had gay marriage in Ontario. I blame Thomas Jefferson. Actually, I kind of agree about that polyester thing in reason No. 1. Aside from the polyester, arguments on this issue are so well rehearsed I am not opening comments for this one (via Not your average kind of girl).

12 reasons why gay people should not be allowed to get married
1. Homosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control.
2. Heterosexual marriages are valid becasue they produce children. Infertile couples and old people can't legally get married because the world needs more children.
3. Obviously, gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
4. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if Gay marriage is allowed, since Britney Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful.
5. Heterosexual marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are property, blacks can't marry whites, and divorce is illegal.
6. Gay marriage should be decided by people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of the minorities.
7. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire counrty. That's why we have only one religion in America.
8. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
9. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
10. Children can never suceed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why single parents are forbidden to raise children.
11. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and we could never adapt to new social norms because we haven't adapted to things like cars or longer lifespans.
12. Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a "separate but equal" institution is always constitutional. Separate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as separate marriages for gays and lesbians will.

And then... Ok, I changed my mind. Comments are open. Please play nice. And for pity's sake, do not tell me this state of affairs is unprecedented in history. It is not. Marriage has taken a wide range of forms in different cultures at different times. Here are eight different Hindu forms of marriage. Some forms are not voluntary. Would that not be a better cause for outrage?

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

February 26, 2004

Upstairs at Graceland

The Holy of Holies of American popular culture may now be revealed. At last we may see what is upstairs at Graceland (via Attu). The Elvis jumpsuit database is also worth a look.

Actor Nicholas Cage, a lifelong Elvis fanatic, managed the impossible by using the unique approach of marrying Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis' daughter. His secret visit took place during the week of the 25th Anniversary of Elvis' death, at which time it is said he sat on the King's "throne", assumed the prone posture in which Elvis died, laid on the singer's bed and tried on a leather jacket.

Many celebrities have requested private tours but all have been declined. Even President Clinton was refused.
Posted by the Flea at 10:46 AM

Finnish disco lesson

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:34 AM


This deceptively simple game gives me the chills due to my difficulty with gymnastists.

Posted by the Flea at 10:28 AM


S... h... o... p-p... i-n-g. We're shopping. The jet-set author of Mondo Sismondo does a round-up of contemporary shopping lore, including Virginia Postrel's latest, at the Toronto Star (via the Meatriarchy).

Posted by the Flea at 10:24 AM

Rabban Bar Sauma

This is the first I have read of Rabban Bar Sauma, a Mongolian Christian and "reverse Marco Polo" who travelled west to the Holy Land as Polo was on his way east to Beijing. Polo met Kublai Khan while Sauma received the Eucharist from the pope. Perhaps most interesting is a history that might have been.

In 1287 Iran's Mongolian ruler tapped Sauma to lobby Europe's kings for help in conquering the Middle East. Sauma shared mass with Edward I of England, visited King Philip IV in Paris, and stayed at the Vatican. His descriptions of Italy still resonate: It "resembled paradise; its winter was not [too] cold, and its summer not [too] hot. Green foliage is found therein all the year round."

Yet he failed to broker a deal between Europe and the Mongols and returned to Baghdad, where he died in 1294. "If Sauma had been successful, history would have been very different," says Jack Weatherford of Macalester College. "Europe would have ruled Jerusalem and Egypt, and they would not have sailed around looking for a new trade route," he says. In other words, no Vasco da Gama, no Columbus--and a world as strange to us as Europe appeared to Sauma.
Posted by the Flea at 10:23 AM


It turns out the Duke of Urbino was behind the grassy knoll at Florence's cathedral in April of 1478. The Flea privately suspected the Pazzi were not up to the job on there own ever since seeing that PBS special on the Medici a couple weeks ago.

"One of the prime movers in the plot was none less than Federico da Moltefeltro, Duke of Urbino, always portrayed as a good friend of Lorenzo," Marcello Simonetta, a historian at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, told Discovery News.

The proof lies in a secret letter to Urbino's ambassadors in Rome that lay forgotten in the private Ubaldini archive. The letter was encrypted, but Simonetta had one advantage when he tried to decipher it: a 15th-century booklet written by an ancestor of his, explaining how to decode diplomatic correspondence.
Posted by the Flea at 10:17 AM

February 25, 2004

Taking the Mickey


The Magic of Wales shop at Disney's Epcot should be a boon to Welsh culture. Unfortunately, the store is full of goods from Scotland. It could be these English-speakers think the Celts are all the same. After all, dydy'r Saeson ddim yn gallu canu'n dda.

The "Tartan Army" has taken over Wales - on the other side of the Atlantic. According to a North Wales businessman Scottish goods are dominating the shelves of a Welsh gift shop in Florida. Tartan ties, scarves and even a map of the Scottish clans fill the window of the Magic of Wales shop at Disney's Epcot Centre.
Posted by the Flea at 08:50 AM | Comments (1)

Ludus Gladiatorius

Ludus Gladiatorius is a living history society "recreating gladiatorial games and life through gladiatorial reenactment and research." I had a friend who went on Iron Age reenactment weekends in the north of England. He described the primal thrill of chopping his own wood to brew his cup of coffee in the morning. Welcome to my childhood (minus the coffee).

As well as trying to recreate gladiatorial combat for the public to enjoy members of Ludus Gladiatorius spend considerable time investigating various aspects of gladiatorial life and death. The society hosts the Roman Combat Sports forum which is a growing community of people from around the world interested in this fascinating aspect of Romes entertainment.
Posted by the Flea at 08:45 AM


Thanks to "the internet" we can now sing along to tv theme songs that turn out to have lyrics. I am surprised they do not include one tune in particular.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a TV theme song that conjures up countless memories is priceless! Edith and Archie caterwauling at the piano. The adventures of a three-hour tour. The funky bass of Barney Miller. These and many more are collected here for your listening pleasure. Choose from Windows, Mac, or RealAudio formats. Sing along with TV Land's greatest hits!
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM


Andrew Sullivan has it exactly right.

Beat up on the Samaritans; let the Pharisees off the hook. For some people, that's a literal reading of the Gospels.
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | Comments (1)


It turns out stuff sent across the border is subject to Canada's Goods and Services Tax whether or not it was paid for. Colby Cosh just got charged for a book he is reviewing. Good thing nobody checks the mail headed into university departments.

Good news: the postman finally arrived with the latest book I'm supposed to review for The American Spectator! The bad news: he held out his hand for $7.51 when he handed it over. Huh? Surely they don't send packages postage-due anymore... No, the $7.51 was a smidgen of GST, plus, naturally, a $5 "handling fee", because it requires rather a lot of work for Customs to do the math of figuring out 7% of the price of a book.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | Comments (1)

February 24, 2004

Bonfire 34

The week's beacon of blogging excellence has been lit someone in central Asia or the Caucasus.

Posted by the Flea at 11:38 AM


Non-Practicing Productions presents a film with one of the best superhero origin stories ever.

The brothers decided to use their newfound abilities to fight crimes of an anti-semitic nature and thus were born the Ninjews!
Posted by the Flea at 11:37 AM | Comments (1)

Great day

Glad we could make your day (via Attu).

Posted by the Flea at 11:33 AM

Camp Babylon too

A comment was left at September, 2003 post asking for information about Camp Babylon. I would be grateful if Flea-readers who know something about the place could check out that earlier post and consider leaving useful thoughts and impressions.

And then... I have had some reservations about this idea. They are posted with the earlier entry.

Posted by the Flea at 11:26 AM | Comments (1)

February 23, 2004

MI5: The Security Service


It is difficult to generalise about the type of people we are looking for or the sort of attributes they should possess. But in addition to any relevant specialist abilities and qualifications, it is essential that our staff are of the highest integrity, resilient, sensitive to others and open to new ideas and working practices.

MI5 has gone on a recruiting drive. I wonder if the Flea has what they are looking for... I think I have already blown one requirement.

Please note that it is important from the outset that you should be discreet about your interest in joining the Service.
Posted by the Flea at 06:07 AM

Fantasy Bedtime Hour

I think this qualifies as "high concept" even it if is not entirely work-safe.

Two girls in bed ill equiped to handle fantasy novel concepts... discuss Lord Foul's Bane
Posted by the Flea at 05:46 AM | Comments (1)

Holy Grail

Another tale told in Lego.

Posted by the Flea at 05:42 AM

Triumph again

Mark Steyn has the last word on Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (via Andrew Coyne).

Just for the record, Canadians are not humorless. We're humourless, OK?
Posted by the Flea at 05:39 AM

Micropolitan Museum

The Institute for the Promotion of the Less than One Millimeter
proudly presents the Micropolitan Museum of microscopic art forms.

For several centuries artists have depicted the human figure, still-lifes, landscapes or non-figurative motives. One subject has been widely neglected all those years: Micro organisms!
Posted by the Flea at 05:34 AM

Football boots

Thanks to a record left by the royal cordwainer, we learn Henry VIII owned a pair of football boots. The news does not fit a conventional image of Tudor fashion but at least it is not another socks and sandals situation.

As they were more expensive than the type of shoes that the king wore for other sports, such as jousting, Dr Hayward says that they might well have been heavier and used stronger leather. Although it's not likely that the king's boots had studs and a fancy design from a commercial sponsor - it is possible that there was a European connection, as Spanish leather was considered of premium quality at the time.
Posted by the Flea at 05:30 AM

February 21, 2004

Stairway to Heaven

A thoughtful soul has taken the time to make a backwards playing version of Led Zeppelin's classic available on "the internet". I listened to the backwards clip before reading the backwards lyrics. So... who had the spare time back in the '70s to play their LPs backwards in the first place? I can now tick the box next to one more cultural experience. Next up: watching The Wizard of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon playing in the background. The bells! The bells!

Years ago someone told me that if you played Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven song backwards that you could make out "satanic messages". It is not my opinion that Led Zeppelin was given the power to make these backwards sounds have a satanic message. And, no, I did not create this to show the evils of Rock and Roll. Instead I made this flash piece for two reasons: 1. I was new to flash and wanted to be better at it and 2. The backwards file sounds cool.
Posted by the Flea at 12:14 PM | Comments (1)

56% (Dixie)

I credit my mid-Atlantic English for this result. British parents, Canadian upbringing and life in England make me sound * so * much like Madonna.

56% (Dixie). Barely into the Dixie category.
Posted by the Flea at 12:11 PM | Comments (2)


It turns out the Flea is blocked by some prude software called SonicWall. Yay, me!

Posted by the Flea at 12:07 PM | Comments (1)


The Isle of Wight County Press offers great local archaeological news. This latest discusses a Labrador with "nose for history." I gather history smells a lot like rabbit.

Harvey Jones, of Cranleigh Gardens, Northwood, was walking boisterous two-year-old Dexter on Bembridge Down when he ran off into a massive gorse bush, dragging Mr Jones along with him. The Bronze Age artefact was lying on the top of a rabbit hole in the middle of the bush - catching the eye of Mr Jones, who said: "It was only thanks to Dexter that I actually saw it. The thing about National Trust land is that you have to keep your pets on a lead, so wherever your pet goes you go and that meant accompanying Dexter into the bushes. When I picked up the axe head it was in perfect condition and looked almost brand new, like someone had dropped it there yesterday."
Posted by the Flea at 12:03 PM | Comments (1)


New archaeological work at Naachtun seeks to discover the role the city played in centuries of conflict betweek Tikal and Calakmul. Naachtun, or "distant stone," is a misleading modern name for a place which these days is remote but in the Mayan Classic period lay directly between warring powers.

"Tikal and Calakmul hated each others' guts, fought wars, captured each others kings and more to the point they generated alliances around them," said project co-director, Peter Matthews. Naachtun was located directly en route between the two great powers and came to be vitally important to both the war and trade strategies of the rival kingdoms.

"If Tikal or Calakmul ever needed to launch an attack directly on the other they would have to go through Naachtun," said Reese-Taylor. Archeologists are not sure whether Naachtun was neutral territory like Switzerland where people from both sides would come in and discuss with each other or more like Afghanistan, a strategically placed entity where warring third parties would vie for influence.
Posted by the Flea at 12:00 PM

February 20, 2004

The Guns of August

You're The Guns of August!
by Barbara Tuchman
Though you're interested in war, what you really want to know is what causes war. You're out to expose imperialism, militarism, and nationalism for what they really are. Nevertheless, you're always living in the past and have a hard time dealing with what's going on today. You're also far more focused on Europe than anywhere else in the world. A fitting motto for you might be "Guns do kill, but so can diplomats."
Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

This quiz courtesy of Linda who is Dune.

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


I picked out the right box eight times but only because I did not blink.

Posted by the Flea at 08:30 AM | Comments (1)

I love you You love me

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM


This car carrier ad sort of makes me want a Chevrolet. I like the SSR though I am not sure how to make full use of a roadster/pick-up hybrid.

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM | Comments (3)


Animals on the Underground demonstrates the inventiveness of morning commuters.

The Animals, made up using tube lines, stations and unctions were spotted by Paul Middlewick some 15 years ago. The original Animal, the Elephant' was 'discovered' while Paul was staring at the tube map during his daily journey to work.
Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM

Hope you enjoy

Some family friendly animation on the internet. This makes me think someone should run a blog dedicated to internet toys for kids.

Posted by the Flea at 08:13 AM

100 greatest films of all time

A list of films made its way through the blogosphere recently only to be followed by a list of 100 books. I was pleased to report my response to the film list but was a bit sniffy at the chick-lit evident in the books. When I pointed the film list out to a friend she described it as a boy's list so small wonder I would like it better. Gendered listing behaviour has been a tricky subject in our many conversations about psychoanalysis so further investigation seemed to be in order. It turns out it was generated by regular voters at IMDb. Boys after all? IMDb does have top lists for women and men but a quick scan does not turn up obvious differences.

We decided to make our own list of interesting and important films. We chose fifty each and present them for your consideration. Our combined efforts might have produced something with broader appeal. The book list will be a bit trickier because, as has been observed, I have never read anything...

And so without further ado: Mondo Sismondo and the Flea present the 100 greatest films of all time!

Metropolis (1927)
The Thin Man (1934)
Secret Agent (1936)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Alexandr Nevsky (1939)
Gone with the Wind (1939)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Casablanca (1942)
Roma Citta Aperta (Open City) (1945)
The Lost Weekend (1945)
Notorious (1946)
The Thing From Another World (1951)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Ikiru (1952)
Roman Holiday (1953)
Rear Window (1954)
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Vertigo (1958)
A Touch of Evil (1958)
Quatermass and the Pit (1958)
Auntie Mame (1958)
North by Northwest (1959)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
West Side Story (1961)
The Parent Trap (1961)
Dr. No (1962)
Les yeux sans visage (Eyes without a face) (1962)
Blow Up (1966)
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
To Sir with Love (1967)
Barbarella (1968)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Kurotokage (Black Lizard) (1968)
Cromwell (1970)
Cabaret (1972)
The Day of the Jackal (1973)
Logan’s Run (1976)
Una Giornata particolare (A Special Day) (1977)
The Boys from Brazil (1978)
Alien (1979)
The Shining (1980)
Raging Bull (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Blade Runner (1982)
Tootsie (1982)
Fitzcarraldo (1982)
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983)
The Bounty (1984)
Les Nuits de la pleine lune (Full Moon in Paris) (1984)
E la Nave Va (And The Ship Sails On) (1984)
Sixteen Candles (1984)
Repo Man (1984)
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
Brazil (1985)
Tampopo (1985)
Lost in America (1985)
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
A Room With a View (1986)
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Aliens (1986)
Barfly (1987)
Jean de Florette (1987)
Hellraiser (1987)
Working Girl (1988)
The Last of England (1988)
Babette’s Feast (1988)
Crimes and Misdemeanours (1989)
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989)
Henry V (1989)
Die xue shuang xiong (The Killer) (1989)
La Femme Nikita (1990)
GoodFellas (1990)
Metropolitan (1990)
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
Wild at Heart (1990)
Metropolitan (1990)
The Unforgiven (1992)
Lashou shentan (Hard boiled) (1992)
Sliver (1993)
Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
Richard III (1995)
Dolores Claiborne (1995)
Irma Vep (1996)
Trees Lounge (1996)
Secrets and Lies (1996)
Jackie Brown (1997)
Gummo (1997)
The Ice Storm (1997)
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
Babe: Pig in the City (1998)
The Straight Story (1999)
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Monsters Inc. (2001)
Rat Race (2001)
The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

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

February 19, 2004

Smile Time


I did not set out to blog a series of creepy kids programs but this latest Angel forces me to add another to the list. Self esteem is for everybody! Self esteem is fun! Hilarious!

When a popular children's show begins to steal the life forces of children by hypnotizing them, Angel (David Boreanaz) goes directly to the studio to uncover the evil doings. Upon entering the building, Angel triggers a spell that transforms him into a puppet.
Posted by the Flea at 09:34 AM | Comments (3)

Gotham Public Works

Gotham Public Works enjoy "geeking out, dressing up, and acting like the total weirdos." Strangely, none of them is dressed up as Superman (via Attu).

For many people fortunate enough to open their imagination to it, there is at least one character in fiction who especially captures their interest and whose story provides that occasional, essential escape into a different world. Some of us relate extremely closely to a favorite character and they become a sort of alter ego or fictional soul mate.
Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM | Comments (1)

Bonjour monsieur

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (not exactly work safe toward the end).

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM

Bonfire 33

Kin's Kouch hosts the doquinquagennial Bonfire of the Vanities film festival. Vive le feu de joie libre!

Posted by the Flea at 09:22 AM

Coffee table

Now I know what my hypothetical coffee table of the future looks like. The index page linked from this coffee table image has lots of stuff including an interesting equation. One small quibble. The formula should read "girls = time + money".

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

Spell checker

Note to self: this on-line spell checker will not help me convince my students they are at a Canadian university and should therefore follow Canadian spelling conventions.

"colour" is misspelled.
Here are some suggestions:

co lour
Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM | Comments (3)


I post whenever I spot something Inca or Olmec related when it comes to writing and counting systems. Time for Egyptian math.

In ancient Egypt mathematics was used for measuring time, straight lines, the level of the Nile floodings, calculating areas of land, counting money, working out taxes and cooking. Maths was even used in mythology - the Egyptians figured out the numbers of days in the year with their calendar. They were one of the ancient peoples who got it closest to the 'true year', though their mathematical skills. Maths was also used with fantastic results for building tombs, pyramids and other architectural marvels.
Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM | Comments (2)

Boat burial

Viking boat burials have been unearthed in Ireland and Scotland. Now England may have its first.

Dating from the late ninth century AD, the hoard includes silver coins, fragments of two swords, weights, a belt buckle, strap ends as well as the boat nails. Also among the 130 artefacts is a complete set of folding scales with round lead weights suggesting that the individual buried alongside it was once a tradesmen.
Posted by the Flea at 09:05 AM

February 18, 2004

Minogue squared


There is another... a sister...

North American Flea-readers may be surprised to learn of Dannii Minogue. Yes, that Minogue. She is Kylie's younger sister. I dared Toronto's frozen streets, the crazy lady popping bubble wrap and a guy muttering to himself in the second hand cd store to find copies of both Kylie and Dannii's new albums. Kylie counts as an import in Canada and as much as I appreciate her oeuvre I was not about to pay import prices. The wait was worth it. Not only do I get the bargain hunter thrill of picking up both cds at once but I now get to play Dannii's disco music as well as the more experimental effort that is Kylie's latest.

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM | Comments (7)

Infrared Riding Hood

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (via Warren Ellis).

Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM


First Buffy, then Firefly and now Angel. Boo!

Whedon responded to the news with typical wry humor, releasing a mock statement celebrating the series' sixth season pickup ("It's really wonderful...Angel is hitting new strides in terms of creativity and appeal, and everyone is so full of energy...") before saying the cancellation "sucks."

"Angel is as strong as it's ever been, except for that's it's dead," said Whedon. "I'm heartbroken."
Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM


Freedom to move sounds like a reasonable aspiration.

Posted by the Flea at 09:12 AM


Maybe it is time to host a Tupperguns Party of your own.

Ever attend a Tupperguns Party? Chances are you have... or at least know someone who has. Since its start more than 50 years ago, the Tupperguns Party has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, providing an enjoyable one-of-a-kind experience for millions around the world. Over the years, the Tupperguns Party has continued to evolve to offer timely solutions for today's lifestyles.
Posted by the Flea at 09:04 AM

1000 styles

I especially like Drunken Temple Boxing style (via Tim Blair).

You may have defeated my Southern Hook Palm technique, but can you defeat the 1000 styles of Rumsfeld?
Posted by the Flea at 09:02 AM | Comments (1)


The British National Trust is calling for a proposed Stonehenge tunnel route to be lengthened. It is argued that current motorway bypass plans would "bisect important barrows and approaches to the monument."

The Ł192 million plan for a tunnel would also widen the A303, which is choked with traffic during the tourist season, and grass over the A344, which runs just yards from the stone circle. Other features include a bypass for the village of Winterbourne Stoke, a flyover and several new roundabouts.
Posted by the Flea at 09:01 AM

February 17, 2004


My place in the Marvel multiverse was obvious (via Cup of Chicha).

Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM | Comments (1)

Smoking plaza

Arnold Schwarzenegger strikes a blow for freedom. This is more like it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, California's cigar-smoking governor, is to tear a roof off the state capitol so that smokers can enjoy their vice inside the legislature.
Posted by the Flea at 09:09 AM

We love the subs

"We Like The Moon" is a beautiful tune. I feel a strange, blogospherical possessiveness about it and am a bit disappointed it is being used for a Quiznos ad. I am not sure it makes me want to eat a sub.

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

South Pole

This South Pole station walk-th(r)ough might usefully identify the room where the Thing makes its final assimilation. Or was that at McMurdo?

Posted by the Flea at 09:06 AM | Comments (5)


Enter the Cathedral... there is a creepy moment in the Crypt.

Posted by the Flea at 09:05 AM

Winged sandals

The University of Melbourne Centre for Classics and Archaeology introduces Greek mythology with Flash technology and peculiar video games. Neat.

Take the tour with Hermes the messenger god, through a magical place filled with awesome gods, daring heroes and fabulous monsters.
Posted by the Flea at 09:00 AM

February 16, 2004



The eighth season of Kylie Minogue's LoveKylie lingerie collection includes on undergarment sealed with a kiss. Chanteuse, designer, chef... truly, there is no limit to Kylie's inspirational talents.

The singer kissed a piece of paper with her favourite red lipstick and the imprint was then emblazoned on the new undies in the Love Kylie range.
Posted by the Flea at 10:16 AM | Comments (1)

867-5309 (Jenny)

Early '80s reminiscences are underway at Wizbang. And for anyone sceptical of "meme" theories, I present you with the following Tommy Tutone lyrics that will be in your head all day. Of course, younger folk get the number wrong...

Jenny Jenny who can I turn to
you give me something I can hold on to
now you think I'm like the others before
who saw you name and number on the wall

Jenny I got your number
I need to make you mine
Jenny don't change your number
867-5309, 867-5309, 867-5309, 867-5309
Posted by the Flea at 09:55 AM


Robots of the Victorian Era offers retro design inspiration for automatons of the future.

Read illustrated accounts of the world's first robot, the Steam Man, created in 1865! Subsequent automatons such as the Electric Man and the Automatic Man are also profiled. The most comprehensive section, with more than 20 pages, concerns the mechanical man known as Boilerplate--described as "charming" by U.S. News and World Report and declared "cool" by NASA!
Posted by the Flea at 09:52 AM


I scored 4200 growing an odd device but I do not know how or why.

And then... ***Dave's crack research team figured this out.

Posted by the Flea at 09:49 AM | Comments (6)

Von Braun

This is the first I have read about Von Braun's Mars novel or his plans for a Mars expedition. Does anyone know anything more about the novel? This NASA biography makes passing mention that Von Braun's rocket team "found themselves" developing Hitler's vengeance weapons and subsequent arrest by the SS... The space station illustration looks remarkably like the one in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Perhaps the Colliers article had a bigger influence on Kubrick than Von Braun's sketch.

In 1948, with the US Army's V-2 test project winding down, Wernher Von Braun was ensconced in isolated Fort Bliss. He had, unusually, some time on his hands. He occupied himself by writing a novel concerning an expedition to Mars, grounded on accurate engineering estimates. As an appendix to the novel he documented his calculations. The novel was reportedly awful and has never surfaced.
Posted by the Flea at 09:46 AM | Comments (7)


Beagle, the ship that carried Charles Darwin to the New World, may have been located.

The ship's fate has been a mystery for more than a century. Using advanced ground-penetrating radar, archaeologists believe they've found the Beagle under more than three meters of mud in a river estuary near a long-abandoned dock in Essex, England. A radar image of the spot shows a vessel similar in size to the famous ship.

The evidence suggests the bulk of the ship is intact and could be raised and restored. Scientists are hoping the hull will have some remnants of Darwin's historic journey across the world, during which he developed his theories of natural selection.

And then... Yahoo! News has more details (hat to to Fred).

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

North Sea

The rise of sea levels with the release of glacial waters at the end of the last ice age flooded the plain between what is now the UK and Europe. Now an archaeological team from the University of Birmingham has started to produce a map of that sunken world.

The team used earthquake data to devise a 3D reconstruction of the 10,000-year-old plain. The area, part of a land mass that once joined Britain to northern Europe, disappeared about 8,000 years ago. The virtual features they have developed include a river the length of the Thames which disappeared when its valley flooded due to glaciers melting.
Posted by the Flea at 09:37 AM

February 14, 2004


It is Valentine's day. I am not sure what I am doing with the day, have no clear direction in life, do not know where I will be living next year and my diet and budget do not offer any tempting immediate non-romantic prospects. But it doesn't matter, I feel great!

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM | Comments (1)


Because nothing expresses affection better than creeping out the one you care for.

Posted by the Flea at 09:10 AM

Smuggest Canadian

Look, a potential blog reader! A warm welcome to the world for Ada and warmest congratulations to her parents.

Posted by the Flea at 09:08 AM


Stoli Brides promises to find a match for all sad vodka drinkers. At least Stolichnaya is the good stuff.

Posted by the Flea at 09:03 AM | Comments (2)


Mad Tv's Snuggle sketch does not approach the horror of the famed British sense of humour. Yes, this actually made it to air.

The sketch opens with Zippy peeling a banana.....

Zippy: " One skin, two skin, three skin, four "
George: " Zippy, where is Bungle?"
Zippy: " I think Geoffrey is trying to get him up"
We see a view of the door and hear Bungle moaning from behind it.
Bungle: " Geoffrey, I can't get it in"
Geoffrey: "You managed it last night"
Bungle: "I know, lets try it round the Otherway. Ooooooh, I've got it in"
Bungle and Geoffrey enter the studio with Bungle carrying a hammer and peg kit
Posted by the Flea at 09:02 AM


50 Calaber Nemesis
What Gun Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Hey, Classical Values and the Flea have different results! Sorry about the swear... it is in the image file and I cannot edit it directly.

Posted by the Flea at 09:01 AM


An Egyptian tour operator is offering visitors a 10 to 22 day excursion to look for remains of the 50,000-man army of King Cambyses II.

Herodotus reported that after the Persian occupation of Egypt in 525 B.C., Cambyses, the son of Cyrus the Great, sent 50,000 soldiers west from Thebes to attack the Oasis of Siwa and destroy the oracle at the Temple of Amun, who, according to legend, would have predicted his death. After walking for seven days in the desert, the army got to El-Khargeh, presumably intending to follow the caravan route via the Dakhla Oasis and Farafra Oasis to Siwa. But after they left El-Khargeh, they were never seen again.

"As they were at their midday meal, a wind arose from the south, strong and deadly, bringing with it vast columns of whirling sand, which entirely covered up the troops and caused them wholly to disappear," Herodotus wrote.
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM

Ave Maria Gracia V

A silver ring discovered on the Isle of Wight makes me want to go treasure hunting.

(Isle of Wight) Council archaeological officer Frank Basford told Tuesday's inquest the 13th or early 14th century silver ring was faceted to form 16 concave panels each containing a single letter of the inscription Ave Maria Gracia V - Hail Mary (full of) Grace - a religious inscription commonly found on medieval rings. He agreed with Mr Matthews that the ring would have been worn by someone of status in society at the time, possibly the lady of the manor.
Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM | Comments (1)


Guenter Dreyer, director of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, suggests a reason for the architectural leap from mastabas to pyramids with the step-pyramid of Djoser. The plan at Saqqara followed an earlier example at Abydos where the pharaoh's burial place was covered by a flat mound, or mastaba (Arabic for "bench"), and the complex enclosed by a wall. The surrounding was at Saqqara was too high and too close to the mastaba for the burial mound to be seen...

"This was a problem, because this mound I think represented the primeval mound of creation and guaranteed the resurrection of the king," said Dreyer. The architects of the Saqqara complex solved the problem by building another smaller flat mound on top of the first and then decided to extend it upwards by adding more mounds.
Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM

February 13, 2004

Barbie Millicent Roberts


"Barbie® and Ken® have always been an extraordinary couple with so much on- and off-screen chemistry," said the pair's business manager, Russell Arons, Vice President Marketing, Mattel. "In fact, they just finished wrapping their fourth movie together, 'Barbie(TM) as The Princess and the Pauper,' which debuts this fall. And now they feel it's time to spend some quality time -- apart."

Ken is ditching Barbie for an Australian boogie boarder (that's him with the shades). The news is not surprising given Ken's inexplicable reluctance to... excuse me? Oh, my bad. Barbie is ditching Ken for an Australian boogie boarder (and this site claims he is from NYC).

Barbie and Ken have gone the way of J. Lo and Ben. Following much public speculation about Ken's sexual orientation and Barbie's busy schedule (she does, after all, have 90 careers), the pair have decided to split.

"After 43 years of dating, Barbie and Ken have drifted apart," said Russell Arons, vice president of marketing at Barbie and Ken's parent company, Mattel. "There are a lot of successful career women out there who don't want to get tied down," she added.
Posted by the Flea at 06:33 AM | Comments (2)

When biscuits go wrong

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

And then... Yet another dance with bandwidth problems... vexed again! This is Joel Veitch though and I expect things will be running again in short order.

Posted by the Flea at 06:17 AM

Hello Kitty

For the person who thought they had everything, a platinum Hello Kitty (via the Melbourne Truth of blogs). I suppose platinum was the only way to go after the same jeweller released a gold Helly Kitty last June.

Now 30 of the wealthier admirers of the popular puss have an opportunity to get their paws on something a little more exclusive. For just three million yen, they can buy a three centimetre high platinum Kitty, her dress and hair ribbon studded with 131 diamonds.
Posted by the Flea at 06:16 AM

Lingerie bowl

Flea-readers offended by rather too much Janet Jackson may take solace in the other football event of the season.

Posted by the Flea at 06:14 AM

Age maps

This project pairs photos from early in life to an all too disburbing present.

Two photographs of the same person, from different periods of time (child and adult) are spliced together. In this fusion a jump-of-time is established at the tear.
Posted by the Flea at 06:11 AM

Rich Hatch

Richard Hatch (no, not that Richard Hatch) is reminding me why I liked him so much in the first Survivor. He is only one to truly understand the game and still appears to have a better idea of what is going on than the producers. It may be time to shell out for his book.

Rich's Rules for A Better Life: (1) Quit your pathetic job. (2) If you don't love yourself, change until you do. (3) Worry is a wasted emotion. (4) Happiness is success. Success is happiness. (5) If it really is your "only" vice, get rid of it. (6) Stop pretending to be so damned polite. In fact, just stop pretending. (7) For me, being fat sucked. (8) You aren't doing anything you don't want to be doing. (9) Diplomas and degrees won't make you a better person. (10) Find friends who challenge you. And when they stop challenging you, find new friends.
Posted by the Flea at 06:03 AM

February 12, 2004

Trash compactor

And now at long last we can turn our attention to the Trash Compactor Debate.

The Death Star clearly has a garbage-disposal problem. Given its size and massive personnel, the amount of waste it generates — discarded food, broken equipment, excrement, and the like — boggles the imagination. That said, I just cannot fathom how an organization as ruthless and efficiently-run as the Empire would have signed off on such a dangerous, unsanitary, and shoddy garbage-disposal system as the one depicted in the movie.
Posted by the Flea at 09:59 AM | Comments (1)

Johnnie Walker

It took me a moment to figure out what Fish, if beautiful, had to do with convincing me to drink Johnnie Walker.

Posted by the Flea at 09:54 AM | Comments (1)

Bird on a wire

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (and can someone tell me which Scorpions tune this guy is covering?).

Posted by the Flea at 09:49 AM | Comments (1)

Time capsule

George Orwell buried a time capsule at Southwold, Suffolk seventy years ago. Now an Orwell biographer thinks it should be dug up.

The existence of the time capsule was revealed only recently by Cyril Doy, an 84-year-old retired corn and seed merchant, who was smoking a cigarette with a friend on the common in 1932 when they saw two men digging. He recognised one of them as Eric Blair (Orwell's real name), who was living in Southwold while working on the final draft of his first successful book, Down and Out in Paris and London. The other was Dennis Collings, the son of the local doctor.

"At first we thought that they were doing some archaeological digging," said Mr Doy yesterday. "They did not see us and we just watched. They had brought some artefacts. Some were from the First World War, including a British steel helmet, and they put these into the hole which they had dug. I realise now they were leaving what we know today as a time capsule."
Posted by the Flea at 09:45 AM

Wind power

I do not know enough about this case to make any informed comment about the Bronze Age archaeological site vs the environmentally friendly wind power generation site. I think this is an interesting case for public policy faced with decisions about how best to make use of a place. This sort of thing presents a particular problem for the UK where building anything means building it on top of something else. Are there any Flea-readers out there who know Denshaw Moor?

Ken Booth, Trustee of the Saddleworth Archaeological Trust, said: “We do not oppose all wind farms but we do object when they are going to destroy archaeological landscapes. ... A wind turbine will last 20 years, but once you destroy a site like this it will be gone forever.”
Posted by the Flea at 09:35 AM

February 11, 2004



It was only a matter of time before the creator of the Man of Steel would be featured in the Flea Presents Great Canadians™. I can vouch for Toronto the Good as the inspiration for Metropolis. It could be this is why I yearn to live in Gotham City. Now, how are we going to break the news to the Chaos Overlord?

Yes, Superman had Canadian origins, Joe Shuster, the comic strip artist who created Superman, was Canadian and his early drawings of Metropolis were fashioned after the buildings and skyline of Toronto, his hometown.
Posted by the Flea at 10:45 AM | Comments (3)

Light saber

This light saber replica is licensed by Lucas apparently. Perhaps I could use one to slice open the dvd box set promised for September 21. I would be more enthusiastic at the prospect if I thought we would have the option of watching the original Episode I before Han Solo's Cantina shoot-out was bowdlerized.

There are 390,000 of them in the UK (according to the 2001 census) and they're the guardians of peace and order throughout the galaxy. Want to be a Jedi knight, too? If so, you'll need one of these. Just ignore those who say hokey weapons and ancient religions are no match for a good blaster at your side. The lightsaber's not as clumsy or random as a blaster – it is an elegant weapon from a more civilised age. And this version: the torch with a white tube attached. It's blue (a good start), makes whooshing noises and allows Obi Wan (now there's a name I've not heard for a long time) to talk through it. It even extends and retracts. So forget whingeing about wanting to go to Tashi to pick up some power converters. Saber –up instead.

And then... ***Dave has the answer to my speculation as to Lucas' intentions.

Posted by the Flea at 10:31 AM | Comments (1)

Bonfire 32

The fire is crackling away at the electronic home of Josh Cohen. I love the smell of toasting cheese in the morning!

Posted by the Flea at 10:30 AM


Dr. Toast's tasty toast recipes offer plenty of toasty goodness.

Posted by the Flea at 10:27 AM | Comments (1)

Scandanavian cooking

Andreas Viestad introduces his joy of mushrooms. Time to travel to Norway for the crayfish.

Host, Chef and Guide Andreas Viestad combines the elegant simplicity of Provencal and Tuscan cooking with the northern ingredients of his native Scandinavia. The result is a whole new approach to cooking - a range of delicious modern dishes with a history dating back to the Vikings.
Posted by the Flea at 10:23 AM | Comments (1)


The burial of the Amesbury Archer (no, not that Archer) turned up one-hundred objects, an unprecedented number for other remains of the period. The Archer lived four and a half thousand years ago, about the time of the first construction at Stonehenge three miles from his grave. This is a morning stroll relative to his orginal home in the Alps.

Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick, of Wessex Archaeology, said: “This was a time of great change in Britain – the skills of metalworking were being brought here from abroad and great monuments such as Stonehenge were being built.

“We have long suspected that it was people from the continent of Europe who initiated the trade that first brought metalworking to Britain, and the Archer is the first discovery to confirm this. He would have been a very important person in the Stonehenge area and it is fascinating to think that someone from abroad – probably modern day Switzerland – could well have played an important part in the construction of Britain’s most famous archaeological site.”
Posted by the Flea at 10:17 AM

February 10, 2004

The Mao of Pooh

Comrade Pooh directs that one hundred flowers bloom in the One Hundred Acre Wood.

Imagine Pooh's surprise when Tigger proudly displayed his pots of money.

"Well, they're not quite pots," explained Tigger hastily. "They're futures on pots. And although they smell like paper at the moment, they'll smell much sweeter soon. Next month, the price of pots doing what they are, I'll have more pots than sense".

"How many pots will you have?" asked Pooh, discounting the future somewhat.

"Three", said Tigger.

And so it was that Pooh discovered that his friend Tigger was merely the representative of a reactionary class, and needed to be overthrown.

The lesson of the story was that from a long-term point of view, all reactionaries are paper tigers. It is not Tigger but Pooh as the embodiment of the will of the people who is really powerful.
Posted by the Flea at 12:47 PM | Comments (2)

Ripley the cat

Ripley the cat lends a new meaning to the term cat-blogging.

Posted by the Flea at 12:39 PM

Peter Jackson

Good luck!

Posted by the Flea at 12:35 PM


The Flea's commitment to gentleman's haberdashery meant this turban-tying tutorial was a treat.

One time I went to Reading, Pennsylvania with my brother Tim and my friends Pat and Dan. We had a good time, but it was time to head back to Harrisburg. We had been drinking profusely, but somebody wanted a Pepsi. So we stopped at a 7-11 to get a Pepsi. The Pepsi drinkers went to the machine outside. My brother and I went inside and there was a nice fellow inside wearing a turban. I remember being fascinated by this turban. So, I said "What exactly is that, anyway? Is that like, one piece, and you just put it on your head? Or do you wrap it around your head? Or what?" The nice gentleman offered to show us, step by step, how to properly construct a turban. Of course, my brother flew out the door to grab the camera. And after we went back out to Dan's van, he said "What in the hell were you guys doing in there?" And we told him that the gentleman working inside showed us how to construct a turban. "We want to see too!" So the gentleman came out and repeated the performance, tying the cloth to Dan's van's side view mirror as an anchor. It was quite impressive. It was very educational, too.
Posted by the Flea at 12:29 PM


Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 12:27 PM

Why your Movable Type blog must die

James A C Joyce has choice words for MT bloggers. Hey, my allusions to mythology are direct, my picture is extra pensive and I never go never an iMac (and a commenter leaves a charge of plagiarism). Also, this fellow is quite rude to Venemous Kate. The cad!

You are all pretentious t****

Every last one of you. You're all latte-sipping, iMac-using, suburban-living tertiary-industry-working WASPs who offer absolutely no new insights on anything whatsoever apart from maybe one specialist field if we're lucky. Most of you think that you're writing original content and that you're making a contribution by licensing your spewings under Creative Commons "Some Rights Reserved" licences, just because it's the hip thing to do. You think you know all there is to say about blogging because you understand the concept of HTML and CSS, but the horrible truth is that 40% of you are all using the same shitty default layout. Then you take pictures of yourselves looking pensive or making vague allusions to mythology.
Posted by the Flea at 12:23 PM | Comments (5)

Isthmian revisited

The Baltimore Sun elaborates on an ongoing dispute over the decoding of Isthmian, a writing system whose linguistic base, let alone characters, are unclear.

Unraveling ancient writing systems is much more than a linguistic party trick, researchers say. "It's a window into the minds of the people who wrote it. That's something that archaeology alone can't give," said George Stuart's son, Harvard University linguist David Stuart, who has played a central role in decoding Mayan script.

Houston and Coe's case rests largely on a recently discovered jade mask whose back is carved with Isthmian writing. (The civilization is named for its location, on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.) The mask, in a private collection, was unknown to researchers until Coe heard about it last year. Coe and Houston realized that they could use the writing on the mask to test the accuracy of their colleagues' decipherment. "When you apply the supposed key, it turns out to be total nonsense and gobbledygook," said Coe. In the Mexicon paper, they offer several examples, including passages they translate as: "Take he take cloth sun?" and "Your cloth he your take throne bludgeon."
Posted by the Flea at 12:20 PM

February 09, 2004

Thanos #6


Thanos, the Mad Titan, starred in a tale that helped define the cosmology of the Marvel multiverse. Following the failure of his bid to woo Lady Death by assembling the Infinity Gems and later the Infinity Gauntlet he was left at loose ends. Now he has returned in his own series and aims to make right some of the mad slaughter for which he is responsible. His new adventures brought him into conflict with Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds. Galactus' misguided attempt to assuage his diet of crunchy inhabited planets almost resulted in reality itself being eaten by a rather poorly thought through villain of the piece, an interdimensional entity named Hunger. Thanos saves the day and, not content with having saved reality, proceeds to hector Galactus on his behaviour. I do not believe I will be alone in inferring a message intended to bridge the gap between the Marvelverse and another plane of reality. Thanos may be a Mad Titan but I am not certain he deserves to be a mouthpiece for the disputes of a universe beyond his own.

Thanos: Yes, the gratitude of kings. But I understand. Mighty Galactus has been humbled. I will depart. But only after I have my say.

Galactus: Then speak.

Thanos: Galactus, you are truly a force to be reckoned with in this universe. An intrinsic element of our reality. Few in this realm can challenge your power. You are easily capable of operating on a unilateral basis. What you wish for usually comes to be. But for you there is wisdom to be found amidst this day's chaos.

Galactus: What wisdom?

Thanos: That no matter how awesome the entity, it has a social contract with the rest of the universe. You currently consume without any regard to the effects of your ravaging. The inhabitants of the heavens have little sympathy for your gluttony. The time with come when they will join forces to put an end to the peril that is you.

Galactus: I am to be lectured by one who once slaughtered half the universe merely to impress Lady Death?

Thanos: But my victims did not remain dead. Seeking to rid yourself of your gruesome hunger was the proper thing to do, Galactus. Your error lay in seeking this end without considering the price others would pay for your salvation.

Galactus: I am Galactus. Mine is a manifest destiny. The very fates have declared that others must die so that I may live.

Thanos: That is indeed a dubious claim many would challenge.

Galactus: Then what would you have me do, Titan? Embrace your former icy lover?

Thanos: No. Live, but realize that your monstrous ego almost destroyed you and the universe. Your narrow vision nearly proved your end. You have been given a second chance, Devourer. There are certain immutable laws in the universe. One is that anything that grows too big... eventually collapses in on itself. Continue on as you have and a day of reckoning will find you. All things inevitably come to an end, Galactus. As mighty as you are, you cannot stand against an entire universe. Stay your course and this alliance will come to be. They will be forced to destroy you, Devourer. And know you this, Galactus, on that day... I will stand with your enemies.

Posted by the Flea at 06:11 AM | Comments (2)

Crypt Raider

I linked to this on-line game as an aside on Saturday. Now a Flea-reader has pointed me to the full-screen version of a great little time-waster.

Posted by the Flea at 06:07 AM


The Campblog had a truly terrifying bunny themed day on the weekend. I humbly submit the Bunny Man as an addition to bunny blogging. Oh, and some tunage.

(Anya) I've got a theory, it could be bunnies... all pause [crickets chirping] (Tara) I've got a theory (Anya) Bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposes, They've got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses. And what's with all the carrots? What do they need such good eyesight for anyway? Bunnies, bunnies it must be bunnies!
Posted by the Flea at 06:06 AM | Comments (1)

Mark Twain

Mark Twain in His Times is an on-line "interpretive archive".

This interpretive archive, drawn largely from the resources of the Barrett Collection, focuses on how "Mark Twain" and his works were created and defined, marketed and performed, reviewed and appreciated. The goal is to allow readers, scholars, students and teachers to see what Mark Twain and His Times said about each other, in a way that can speak to us today. Contained here are dozens of texts and manuscripts, scores of contemporary reviews and articles, hundreds of images, and many different kinds of interactive exhibits
Posted by the Flea at 06:03 AM


National Geographic runs a piece on ancient catapults claiming it is one of the few ancient technologies whose development, if not origins, we know in some detail. I like the hint at a relationship between politics and technical experts in the form of catapult engineers as an example of early technocratic governance. Unfortunately, this is not elaborated in much detail. I also like the pop-over polar bear ad...

The making of catapults, known as "belopoietics" (poietike meaning "making of"; belos meaning "projectile or projectile-throwing device") required an ingenious combination of geometry, physics, and technology. The fearsome machines terrorized battlefields and sieges until the proliferation of gunpowder. Their power was impressive and terrifying. Roman catapults could hurl 60-pound (27-kilogram) boulders some 500 feet (150 meters). Archimedes' machines were said to have been able to throw stones three times as heavy.
Posted by the Flea at 06:02 AM


Orkut and Friendster claim their social network building software enable new forms of social relationship. It turns out 17th-century dove breeders developed a social network of their own featuring trust metrics to deal with "pranksters, fakesters, and bogus friendship links."

The oldest club in Europe, an exclusive French society of dove breeders, used social networking tools since the late 17th century to connect its members via a handwritten newsletter, circulating from member to member, and being amended along the way. A special trust metric had been established, which allowed each breeder to rate his peers, a process in which each vote carried weight based on the casters own ratings. In addition to the mailing, which took roughly one year to travel each of the members, shortcut routes were established, usually between counties, through which smaller groups could reach other groups. To create the shortcuts, each breeder was required to name at least two “sponsors” and four breeders he sponsored. Communications between unlinked individuals had to be established by finding a connection via ones own sponsor. Sponsors could, similarly, only communicate with their sponsors or sponsored individuals, making the initial contact a matter of knowing and being known. Once an initial contact was established, the following newsletter circulation was amended to reflect the newly linked breeders, who now were free to communicate and refer directly.
Posted by the Flea at 06:01 AM

February 07, 2004


Which Angel would you be?

The Angel of Annunciation was my second result thereby almost mirroring the philosopher of Classical Values. The balance of the universe was restored when I discoverd I too am a complete psycho.

 Congradulations! you're a Complete Psycho!
'Complete Psycho' PLEASE VOTE!!!

What Type of Lunatic are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by the Flea at 09:55 AM | Comments (2)

Raging Kraut

The Raging Kraut turns one today... congratulations!

Posted by the Flea at 09:52 AM | Comments (1)


My never-ending quest for pop culture excellence revealed an Ananova story about Prince Harry "pulling" a Page 3 girl (and a nsfw version at the Sun). Now that's a Flea-feature. The best part is the location. Chinawhite Bar has attractive decor but exemplifies a obsession with hipness that is expensive to develop.

Sad, fake and boring... and that's just the reviewers. The vapid obsession with this place is seriously unhealthy

And then... It turns out Lauren Pope also loves gizmos.

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM

Chicken dance

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (a bit of an internet in-joke).

Posted by the Flea at 08:19 AM

Shards O'Glass

This Shards O'Glass freeze-pops ad was not shown during the Canadian broadcast of the Superbowl so I link to it now (hat tip to the Sister of the Flea). Also, this Crypt Raider game is fun (with thanks to the same source!).

Thank you for your interest in Shards O' Glass Freeze Pops and thank you for visiting us on the World Wide Web!

There are lots of exciting things happening here. Our glass pops are the nation's leading consumer frozen treats containing glass shards and we are currently shipping our products to many third world countries with more relaxed health codes and legal restrictions. And next year we're introducing a whole new line of Shards O' Glass freeze pops with larger chunks o' glass-even bottlenecks!
Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM


The last of the Bloomsbury Set has died, aged 103. Frances Partridge was an unofficial biographer of a circle of writers and artists (plus a noted economist) attached to my favourite neighbourhood anywhere.

Married into the group in 1933 - to the writer Ralph Partridge - Frances went on to write seven volumes of diaries and memoirs, unintentionally becoming the chronicler of the Bloomsbury artists and writers - the Bells, the Woolfs, the Stracheys and Grants - whose work and tangled relationships challenged and shocked post-Victorian Britain.
Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM


This network map of book sales shows a country divided by what it reads. I am curious to know if networks of blogs show a similar failure to communicate (via Absinthe and Cookies). A white paper explains the logic of the network:

One of the cardinal rules of human networks is "Birds of a feather flock together". Friends of friends become friends, and coworkers of coworkers become colleagues. Dense clusters of connections emerge throughout the social space. The usual pattern found throughout social structures[and many other complex systems] is dense intra-connectivity within clusters with sparse inter-connectivity between clusters.

One day, while searching for a book on amazon.com, I started thinking about Amazon's value-added service -- Customers who bought this book also bought these books. Amazon lists the top 6 books that where bought by individuals who also bought the book currently being browsed. I wondered...
Posted by the Flea at 08:10 AM


Remains from a recently unearthed burial chamber of a Saxon king have gone on display at the Museum of London. Glass jars found in the burial are particularly lovely and this is the first I have read of a custom of leaving gold foil crosses in a grave.

"This is extremely significant because it is so rare to find an Anglo-Saxon burial chamber, let alone one that is so well preserved. To find an intact chamber grave and a moment genuinely frozen in time is a once-in-a-lifetime discovery," Ian Blair, senior archaeologist on the dig said. "This will open new windows on our understanding of that period. You can draw arrows all over Europe and the near east tracing the origins of the grave goods. ... The fact that copper-alloy bowls were still hanging from hooks in the walls of the chamber, where they had been placed nearly 1,400 years ago, is a memory that I'm sure will remain with all of us forever," he added.
Posted by the Flea at 08:08 AM

February 06, 2004


"A Shoggoth on the Roof" is a production of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. They had me hooked at "Tentacles". I have already ordered the Shoggoth Super-Pak including the cd, libretto and an intriguing documentary vcd.

There are some things man was not meant to adapt to musical theatre...
Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Kids Show

Mad Tv's Snuggles was one thing. This Kids Show pilot for MTV is another. Ok, this is in very, very bad taste but the down and out letter N is brilliant. You mean, you need me? What can I say? That's the dark nature of capitalism.

The following 14-minute masterpiece is the pilot for "Kids Show," a deranged version of Sesame Street developed by comedy writers Vernon Chatman and John Lee for USA Networks, but recently sold to MTV for a six-episode contract. The quality of this video isn't very good, but it doesn't matter. (Warning: Not for the easily offended.)
Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM | Comments (1)

Axis of evil

Axis of Evil combines missile defence and typing speed in one fast paced game.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM


Flea-readers no longer have to travel to the Cantina at Moss Eisley to test their sabbac skills.

Sabacc is a game of skill and chance played in gambling halls and casinos across the Star Wars galaxy. It is the preferred game of the infamous gambler Lando Calrissian, who participated in some of history's most talked-about games, including the one in which he reportedly lost his ship, the Millennium Falcon, to the equally infamous Han Solo. Perhaps now it is your turn to earn your place among these well-known figures.
Posted by the Flea at 07:15 AM

The Lords of the Rhymes

Quickbeam and Bombadil are the Lords of the Rhymes... straight outta Hobbiton!

In honor of the release of the Return of the King we dug deep into our vinyl crates, found a dope Bakshi battle-music sample and a German vocoder ode to Tolkien, and came up with this --Black Riders-- our heavy metal anthem. Picture the hosts of Mordor at the city gates, nazgul wheeling overhead... You get the idea. Rock it loud!!!!!
Posted by the Flea at 07:12 AM


Can anyone tell what Orkut is and why I should care? This looks like Friendster-style market research. Frankly, I have plenty friends and I see no need to feel desperate to hand that network over to Google.

We are committed to providing an online meeting place where people can socialize, make new acquaintances and find others who share their interests.
Posted by the Flea at 07:08 AM

February 05, 2004

Tainted love

You have a lot going for you, but most people will
only remember you for one thing, and a lot of
them will try to copy it. They'll all suck at
it, though. Besides, you've got better stuff.

What band from the 80s are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sometimes I feel I've got to... run away. I've got to... get away from the pain that you drive into the heart of me. The love we share seems to go nowhere. And I've lost my light, for I toss and turn I can't sleep at night (via An Experiment in Scotch).

Posted by the Flea at 11:07 AM | Comments (3)


This quest for the crown game is sure to reduce office productivity among Flea-readers everywhere (with apologies to Mr. Barnett for MOTAS!). The Peter Celera title track is a real addition.

I am a man who will fight for your honor
I'll be the hero you're dreaming of
We'll live forever
Knowing together that we
Did it all for the glory of love.
Posted by the Flea at 11:01 AM | Comments (2)


What would Malcolm Reynolds do?

When Malcolm Reynolds was Out of Gas
and missing a crutial part..
He got it replaced, but took a slug
And stuck a needle in his heart..
When Malcolm Reynolds was on Ariel
Stealing Allied drugs..
He used his phony ID cards
And saved the Tams from thugs..
Posted by the Flea at 10:59 AM


This is beautiful even though it was unhappy with my video-card drivers.

Posted by the Flea at 10:57 AM

Austrian kilts

Traditional Austrian kilts have reportedly become popular now archaeologists claim the style was invented in what is now Carinthia.

Thomas Rettl, whose clothing company is based close to where scraps from the original Celtic kilt were found, said: "Ever since we found out that Austria was the true home to tartan we have been doing a roaring trade. "It was found not in Scotland but in a place called Molzbichl in Carinthia in Austria. The Celts who conquered Scotland originally came from Europe, which would back our claim to have had the kilt first. "The tartan sample found in Austria was dated to at least 320 years BC - over 1,600 years earlier than the oldest Scottish tartan which was made in 1,300 AD."
Posted by the Flea at 10:53 AM

Graf Spee

Plans to raise "as much as possible" of the Graf Spee would result in an enormous tourism draw for Uruguay.

"It was a masterpiece in its time," said Mensun Bound, a marine archaeologist from Oxford University. "And it doesn't have a dark history. Its captain was a man of great dignity and honour. It was a battle in which both sides came out with their honour intact."

I am not so sure I accept this distinction between regular military units and the SS. That ship was still used to murder in the service of Nazi race and empire and I am delighted it was removed from action.

I am curious about its radar system. The ship projects I was connected to were carriers and submarines while destroyers were manufactured elsewhere. It is interesting to me that the profile of a WWII German pocket battleship should resemble a British Type 45 next generation missile destroyer. I suppose this is on of those shark/dolphin homology of design issues.

And then... Further googling reveals no merchant marine sailors were killed by the initial predation of the Graf Spee. Thank heavens for that, but not the Nazi government or the people who fought for them.

Posted by the Flea at 10:40 AM | Comments (16)

February 04, 2004

Cheeky TV


Gabriela and Monica Irimia, better known as the Cheeky Girls, are set to star in their own reality tv show alongside their dear old mum. Time fo practice my Cheeky Dance.

Mad Transylvanian twins THE CHEEKY GIRLS and their equally eccentric manager and mother Margaret have signed a deal for a warts ’n’ all reality TV show. I shudder to think what sort of things they will get up to. In what is sure to be the weirdest TV insight into family life yet, the two, er, singers have agreed to be followed by cameras as they continue their dodgy pop career.
Posted by the Flea at 05:59 AM | Comments (2)

Rover blog

Blogging from Mars. Interesting, but Opportunity has not said anything about Janet Jackson. What up with that?

Posted by the Flea at 05:58 AM

Mystery of time and space

The stereo soundtrack makes this game. I managed to escape the first room, catch a head in a box and cross a bridge but am now concerned my other time and space needs mean I have to leave it there for the moment.

For us, time and space has no mysteries, no end and no beginning...

And then... Ok, I spent some more time and space contemplating the mysteries. I got stumped at the computer in the room after the dead alien... An extreme time-waster warning is in effect for this one.

Posted by the Flea at 05:57 AM | Comments (7)

Milk and cereal

One of my favourite internet tunes from last year now has a cover version.

Posted by the Flea at 05:55 AM

How to dance gothic

This is a useful primer for people not hanging out with Skinny Puppy or Gene Loves Gezebel in the mid 1980s (via rebecca's pocket).

You went out to your local goth club in your black velvet frock coat, your hair teased up bigger and rattier than Edward Scissorhands’, and lace dripping from your wrists and throat. You looked fabulous. But as soon as you got on the dance floor, everyone started laughing — eventually, they had to toss you out of the club for being “deleterious to the proper level of angst.”

You need to learn to dance gothic.
Posted by the Flea at 05:53 AM


The Raging Kraut expressed reservations about television gore and the Flea could only agree. Thanks to "the internet" I have now seen the dubious Mad Tv spot and, sad to say, LMAO. Die, you devil bear!

Posted by the Flea at 05:51 AM

Red Sea

Yet another miracle "explained" by science. Good thing the Lord of Hosts has Russian science to rely on or the parting of the Red Sea might have too difficult a task. Add this to the same file as the Star of Bethlehem. Of course, we already had Charlton Heston.

"If the wind blew all night at a speed of 30 meters (about 98 1/2 feet) per second, then the reef would be dry," Volzinger told The Moscow Times. "It would take the Jews — there were 600,000 of them — four hours to cross the seven-kilometer (4.4 mile) reef that runs from one coast to another. Then, in half an hour, the waters would come back."
Posted by the Flea at 05:48 AM

February 03, 2004


You should be dating a Leo.
23 July - 22 August
This mate is honest and loyal, with a sunny
disposition. Though this lion has the tendency
to be arrogant, sulky or smug, he/she is
unrestrained in bed.

What Zodiac Sign Are You Attracted To?
brought to you by Quizilla

This astrological advice is courtesy of the philosopher of Classical Values.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (1)

She Bangs

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (even though we do not have any professional training).

And then... Vexed again! Another dance too popular for its own good. Now off to find a mirror...

And then... William Hung's performance is available here for now. And now with music!

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


15.532 seconds makes me some kind of Jedi or something.

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | Comments (3)


Crooked Timber is aghast that a newspaper as, get this, reputable as the New York Times would run a story discussing the current Democratic field in astrological terms. One might say, if only the Times used so rigorous a system of thought for their editorial line on global warming or foreign policy.

If the implied view is anything other than that astrology is too silly to be taken seriously, isn't this insulting to every reader of the NYT who has even a high school level of scientific literacy? No doubt there is some ironic postmodern stance that is appropriate here, but I can't quite locate it.

Typical Ares.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM


The Raging Kraut, who was not making it up, reports David Hasselhoff's outrage at the misunderestimation of his role in the collapse of East German communism. Despite Hasselhoff's more recent oeuvre that may indeed play a significant role in resolving current world conflicts, I am sure Ray is right to credit K.I.T.T. with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Foundation's most important asset in achieving its goals of fighting crime and protecting the innocent is a top-secret super "car" known as the Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT). In addition to being virtually indestructible, KITT possesses advanced artificial intelligence capable of accepting voice commands, as well as interacting with its operator and making decisions on its own. In fact, KITT's artificial intelligence is so advanced, that it has formed a kind of personality. This human characteristic has enabled KITT to gradually form a unique bond and partnership with Michael and the rest of the FLAG crew. Although his purpose is to fight criminals, KITT by nature is benevolent and compassionate. KITT is programmed in such a way that his top priority is to protect human life, and thus he does not utilize lethal force.
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | Comments (1)

February 02, 2004



Recent Up Helly Aa coverage provoked a question from son of Norway, Eric Schie: where does the Flea stand on the issue of horns and viking helmets? The historical inaccuary of the horns provokes strong comment from some scholars. Personally, I am in favour of them especially when they are put to their best use. Hand of Vecna, my metal band of the future, will probably take operatic interpretation of Norse fashion as a standard.

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM | Comments (1)

Full English

An hypothetical future where the Flea picks up sticks for the UK would afford the pleasures of a full English breakfast. This is a tempting thought even if now more likely to be a weekend treat instead of dreadful daily deskfast fare. I would keep clear of the quorn so-called sausages for my fry-up, mind you.

Posted by the Flea at 06:26 AM | Comments (3)

Hey ya, Charlie Brown!

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (via the better misinformation of the Scrutineer).

Posted by the Flea at 06:25 AM

Name of the Rose

Mystery of the Abbey is reportedly complex, devious and bizarre. Time to poison some monks!

When asked about the genesis of The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco famously remarked, “I desired to poison a monk.” Apparently the good Professor is not alone. I first heard about Mystery of the Abbey from a visitor to Porta Ludovica, a kind soul who informed me that a certain game in Europe was quite busy poisoning monks. Well, actually one monk – Brother Adelmo, the same unfortunate fellow from The Name of the Rose.
Posted by the Flea at 06:21 AM

One Hand Clapping

Rev. Donald Sensing offered a free Blogads spot to the first reader to ask as a way to kick off this new feature at One Hand Clapping. Guess who wrote first? We were having some issues with the Blogads interface so I am not certain when the ad may appear.

I have been thinking about advertising at the Flea as a means of offsetting server costs and will be watching carefully... My hosting service had a hiccup this morning and a jump to another provider might need to be paid for!

And then... The Flea ad has appeared! Welcome to everybody from Rev. Sensing's blog!

Posted by the Flea at 06:20 AM | Comments (2)

XM8 Assault Rifle

A proposed new weapon for the United States military comes in a number of shapes and sizes all of which look like they would be handy on a bug hunt (via Rocket Jones).

The XM8 (M8 if it's adopted) assault rifle is a proposed replacement for the current M16 rifle and M4 carbine, the standard infantry weapons in today's US military. The XM8 action is based upon the Hechler & Koch G36, a tried and true infantry weapon with a reputation for toughness and reliability
Posted by the Flea at 06:18 AM | Comments (2)