March 31, 2004


I'm a lesbian first lady. Woo
Which Famous Homosexual are you?
Brought to you by Rum and Monkey

I am not sure what to make of this result. The FDR connection is a complement but this would also mean I had a bit too much to do with the founding of the United Nations (via Discount Blogger, who is the rather more impressive Alexander the Great).

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM | Comments (2)

Bowling ball

At least it was not a Palantir.

A Brooklyn man is charged with attempted murder for allegedly dropping a bowling ball from the 17th floor of an apartment building Monday, nearly hitting three police officers.
Posted by the Flea at 06:46 AM

Night of the Zombie Kitties

The Flea's ongoing commitment to zombie-media studies lead me to this game and a nuke-dropping variant of the Zombie Infection Simulator. Both are great preparation for downloading the entire Night of the Living Dead off the internet.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM | Comments (1)


Just the thing for your Wednesday morning blahs.

Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM

World's flags

Some flags of the world are attractive (and easy to draw) and others are not. Getting the maple leaf right was the bane of many a Canadian childhood flag-drawing project. Thanks to "the internet" we can now judge the problem in international perspective with letter-graded national flags. The "graven image" and "corporate logo" problems are particularly well spotted though I was disappointed to see Flea-fav Albania only managed a B-. The failing grades are instructive (via Paul).

Posted by the Flea at 06:38 AM | Comments (1)

Airport Identifier Codes

The Journal of the Air Line Pilots Association explains those three-letter airport codes from ABE to ZRH. Neat! And we even find a clue to Toronto's peculiar YYZ designation (via ***Dave).

When the Wright brothers first took to the air in 1903, there was no need for coding airports since an airport was literally any convenient field with a strong wind. However, the National Weather Service did tabulate data from cities around the country using a two-letter identification system. Early airlines simply copied this system, but as airline service exploded in the 1930's, towns without weather station codes needed identification. A bureaucrat had a brainstorm, and the three-letter system was born, giving a seemingly endless 17,576 different combinations. To ease the transition, existing airports placed an X after the weather station code. The Los Angeles tag became LAX. Incidentally at the historic sand dune in Kitty Hawk, the U.S. National Parks Service maintains a tiny airstrip called FFA - First Flight Airport.
Posted by the Flea at 06:36 AM

Mech Cooper

A car and robot enthusiast details his "vehicle to autonomous biped robot conversion for the Mini Cooper r50."

I first had the vision to build a robot while working as an engineer on the old Mini Coopers in the late 1960s. There were no real robots at the time of course, so it was purely science-fiction. But I always believed a robot would be the most natural complement to the automobile - a full biped, intelligent version having great strength, dexterity and a library of mechanical knowledge. I imagined a robot with the ability to repair vehicles, direct traffic and watch over high-accident crossroads to preempt accidents.

And then... By contrast with British engineering we have the cool Japanese version in the form of a rescue robot. Sophia Sideshow wants a different driver.

This is a rescue robot that can free people from wreckage (such as earthquake or Godzilla wreckage). Now personally, I would attach a smart missile rack over it's left shoulder (for emergencies), and give it a better paint job. I'd also consider hiring an operator who is a cold loner with a haunting past but a heart of gold.
Posted by the Flea at 06:33 AM

March 30, 2004



Superman/Batman #8 "The New Girl in Town" is a must have issue. Great storyline. Stunning artwork. But I raise the subject to assuage the Chaos Overlord of any doubt about Superman. I quote the Batman for an expert opinion. In this scene, Superman is feeling slightly sulky for reasons to do with the plot...

Batman: Superman?
Superman: I'm not on this comm-link so I can't possibly hear you.
Batman: There is a job for you. G.P.S. my position in Gotham City and locate the automated dirigible before --
Superman: On it!
Batman (to self): And in a single moment, he shows us again why he sets the standard for so many. There are those who think of him as outdated, the "boy scout" whipped by his selflessness. They do not, cannot, see him for what he is...
... a hero.

And then... Check out the Daily Planet interactive screensaver.

Posted by the Flea at 07:35 AM | Comments (2)

UFO Procedures

Canada's new Prime Minister is reported to have had a close encounter with an unidentified flying object (hat tip to Fred via Gravity Lens).

Mr. Martin and his entourage were cruising above Alberta when their Challenger jet came within an otherworldly whisker of a luminous object streaking through the night sky. In a report to Edmonton air traffic controllers, the pilot of Mr. Martin's plane noted seeing a “very bright light falling” through the air, with smoke trailing, while the aircraft passed over Suffield, Alta., on Sun., March 21. People aboard at least two other planes also saw the plummeting object, which was travelling “at a very fast rate of speed” from a high altitude, says the report.

And then... Gravity Lens links to another article of interest. Census data reveals "Jedi" is now the fourth largest religion claimed by people in Scotland.

Posted by the Flea at 07:33 AM


Some Flea-readers may be familiar with the home version of Doom.

And then... Mmm. Link rot... I will see if I can find this one elsewhere.

Posted by the Flea at 07:32 AM

InuYasha Demon Tournament

This is my current favourite on-line game.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM | Comments (5)

Underwood No. 5

Truly the case mod for the Flea.

Quite a while back, one of my friends sent me a "photoshopped" picture of an old typewriter (it looked like a Remington) fitted with a monitor, mouse, and printer (the printer had the platten and carriage attached to it). I looked to see if "true" retrofit would be possible, but, at the time I researched the possibility, Mini-ITX motherboards were not yet available.
Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Extreme Ironing

This may be the extreme sport for the Flea. And this guy is a champion.

Welcome to the home of extreme ironing - the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt.
Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

Alistair Cooke

I am sorry to report Alistair Cooke has died. "Letter from America" was a Flea-favourite when I was growing up and I would like to second the words of Tony Blair (and remind Flea-readers of his excellent work in Masterpiece Theater).

The prime minister described Cooke, who presented BBC Radio 4's Letter from America for more than 50 years, as "one of the greatest broadcasters of all time" and said he would be "deeply, deeply missed".

"He was really one of the greatest broadcasters of all time, and we shall feel his loss very, very keenly indeed. "He was a remarkable man who was broadcasting the Letter from America right up to a few weeks ago. He will be deeply, deeply missed," said Mr Blair.

And then... Mark Steyn posts a tribute (via Tim Blair).

Posted by the Flea at 07:18 AM

March 29, 2004



The AK-MP3 attachment affords a user 600 rounds a minute and storage space for 9000 songs. An ammunition clip that plays MP3s strikes me as having a fairly specialized market.

A British-based company is selling MP3 players which can be attached to an assault rifle. The "AK-MP3" player is built into the ammunition clip of a Kalashnikov. It can be swapped with the real magazine carrying bullets and inserted into the weapon.

And then... And then there is the "world's most intelligent firearm" (via Warren Ellis).

Posted by the Flea at 10:36 AM | Comments (8)

Hans Island

Update: July 26, 2005 Canada's defence minister has a walkabout on Hans Island having arrived by kayak or some such conveyance while Viking rovers ply the seas in Thetis-class frigates (follow this link for the update).


Viking incursions into Canada's northern wastes are to be confronted with a northern walkabout by the Canadian military. Colby Cosh suggests this may be a step forward from our Liberal government's comprehensive danegeld foreign policy.

TINY HANS ISLAND, COVETED BY DANES TYPIFIES A REGION'S UNCERTAIN BORDERS: The arrow and circle at bottom right indicate Hans Island, which sits halfway between Ellesmere Island, left, and Greenlad, top right, just above the 80th parallel. Denmark has gone so far as to send warships to the island and plant it's flag on the frozen soil.

And then... Dr. Rob Heubert comments at Maritime Affairs.

Posted by the Flea at 10:32 AM | Comments (16)


A photo-diary of the raising of the Kursk.

Between May 18 and October 23, the eyes of the world focused on an extraordinary project carried out by two Dutch companies, Mammoet and Smit International: the salvage of the Kursk. This nuclear submarine, which sank following an explosion in August 2000, lay in 108 meters of water at the bottom of the Barents Sea with the bodies of more than 100 men and a substantial part of its weaponry still onboard.
Posted by the Flea at 10:31 AM


An helicopter training exercise discovers some not exactly safe for work goings on. I wonder how recordings like this make their way onto the internet?

"We have activity but I don't think we need to report it. It appears to be fornication in a convertible."
Posted by the Flea at 10:30 AM | Comments (2)


Samizdata reports on libertarian content in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series.

I am currently working my way through the Discworld canon, having started with The Colour of Magic a few months ago. At first, as I came across the odd libertarian-leaning comment, I thought it might be interesting to record them, as I found them, and publish them all on Samizdata once I had reached the last page of the last book. But there are just far too many for that. Once you have your eyes peeled, these covert anarchistic swipes pop up all over the place like magic mushrooms in a damp autumn wood. But some still stand out as giant white-spotted red caps, just begging for hallucinogenic consumption.
Posted by the Flea at 10:29 AM | Comments (1)

Ancient Mars

I have no doubt Mars will look like this again soon. And I have no doubt the moonbats will find something about the miracle to excuse the sour expressions on their faces.

Using topographical data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) instrument on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, Kees Veenenbos of the Netherlands has created scenes showing how Mars might look today. Putting his imagination to what might have been, he added water, stirred in a little color, and produced dozens of intriguing images.
Posted by the Flea at 10:28 AM

Duck type

Captain Quack Rubber Duck Quiz

My duck-type arrives courtesy of the inventive Sketches of Strain.

Posted by the Flea at 10:26 AM


Horrifying. The BBC reports a rise in female genital mutilation as parents send their daughters overseas for what would be illegal in the United Kingdom (via Black Triangle).

Leila was eight years old and on her first holiday abroad when her grandmother decided it was time for her to be circumcised. "Basically two ladies were holding my legs and they were both sat on me," she said. "One was sitting on my chest, holding me back, holding my mouth. There were pure towels, a knife and hot water, and the lady went inside me and started proper chopping me and I was screaming. ... "My grandma was, like, 'Shut up, you know me - what are you screaming for, it's for your own good at the end of the day'. It was just too much and I was in pain."
Posted by the Flea at 10:25 AM

March 27, 2004


What Flavour Are You? Cor blimey, I taste like Tea.Cor blimey, I taste like Tea.

I am a subtle flavour, quiet and polite, gentle, almost ambient. My presence in crowds will often go unnoticed. Best not to spill me on your clothes though, I can leave a nasty stain. What Flavour Are You?

The Flea's flavour is revealed thanks to pine-fresh Ith.

Posted by the Flea at 07:59 AM

Sheena Gothskull

I lack the skills necessary to get into Club Nightclub. I got the baking soda. I got the marker. I got the gum. I got nothing.

Posted by the Flea at 07:58 AM


Ain't It Cool News has a look at the new Batmobile. I like this one better.

Posted by the Flea at 07:57 AM | Comments (2)

Modified Librarian

Thanks to the miracle of "the internet", librarians can at long last share their experiences of body modification. Take Librarian X, for example.

I was so glad to get your e-mail about librarians with attitude. I thought I was alone on that score! I am a Librarian for a local authority in an rural area in the north of England, and since I moved here from a large city 18 months ago, I have certainly felt like an outcast. For a start, people here have a problem with a librarian who doesn't fit their stereotypical librarian image. The first point against me is being too young (25?) Secondly, nose studs and multiple earpiercings do NOT go down well. Tattoos and body piercings are another big no-no. And to cap it all, failure to wear a navy skirt, a 'nice' cream blouse and little court shoes has sealed my fate!
Posted by the Flea at 07:56 AM | Comments (1)

You are here

A view of the Earth from the surface of Mars.

Not only are earth-views aesthetically interesting, while offering a chance to test remote sensing scenarios, the rovers more practically depend on a daily sky view to navigate. The rover design does not possess any intrinsic way of knowing its orientation as north or south for instance, because Mars doesn't offer a strong magnetic field that might typically give a compass reading. So scientists point the rover's mobile panoramic camera to do a sun sighting daily, which also provides today's orientation.
Posted by the Flea at 07:55 AM

March 26, 2004

Posh nosh


No, not that Posh. The Scotsman reports on the latest in posh cuisine, a deep-fried chocolate sandwich.

The fried chocolate dessert - cheekily named "naughty but slice" - is being prepared by chefs at the Edinburgh hotel, part of a chain of 11 across Scotland. And since it was unveiled, the £4.95 stomach-filler has left fancy desserts such as caramelised apple and citrus sponge pudding in its wake, with sales outstripping all by a staggering 30 per cent.
Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Mortal Kombat

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM


So cute. And you too.

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (1)

The Bird and the Sea

An attractive game that netted me an unimpressive 140 points worth of fish on the first go.

Posted by the Flea at 08:13 AM


This is not Coupling. This is Coupling.

And while I am on the subject, this is not Queer as folk. This is Queer as folk.

Posted by the Flea at 08:10 AM

Razor strops

At least I come by it honestly. 18th-century razor strop king, George Packwood knew a thing or two about branding.

Sans doubte--Mr. Packwood, your elegant Strops
Are the best that e'er mortal invented,
We have nothing to do but to lather our chops,
The razor soon makes us contented.

Surely magic herself has been lending her aid,
To assist in the brilliant invention:
And the fam'd Composition you also have made
Should assuredly gain you a pension.
Posted by the Flea at 08:08 AM

March 25, 2004

Mr. Pointy


Jonah Goldberg relays a Buffy-incident called to mind by an NRO-reader. Buffy's observation makes a useful allegory for considering many of the current troubles.

buffy has just embarrassed a vampire in a fight:

Buffy: Wow, that was really funny-looking! Could you do it again?
Vampire: I'll kill you for that.
Buffy: For that? What were you trying to kill me for before?
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM

Chong Hwa High School

Chong Hwa Lifestyle is an Ecosystem microbe that deserves a link. High school life in Malaysia takes computer science (success), basketball (less success) and dating (hypothetical?) as its subjects. "Light-out during tuition" is a post suggesting a link between air-conditioner break-down and hallucinatory poetry.

A darkened sky, air filled with moisture, birds flying halter-skelther, a hoisted Malaysia flag moving according to the movement of the wind, water clogged clouds signifying torrents of rain, gushing wind wiping across the forehead, the hustle and bustle of the city can be heard atop this building.

The electricity broke down during my English tuition session today. Mr. Murugan take us out to the open area outside the classroom. "I'm so sorry but it's not my fault," he said. Well, nobody blame you. He is a great English teacher. Feel guilty to said that I enjoy study at the forth floor open area than air-conditioned room. Natural wind makes me feel energized. I should have persuade Murugan to sue Kasturi (He was a lawyer) for abandon our study. But at least we make full use of the time. He teach us how to elaborate the scene at that area. I added them in this post. Do you know which lines?
Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (3)


The Commissar blogs about blogging.

Comrade New Blogger, So you have new blog. What do you want to do with it? What do you want to be?
Posted by the Flea at 08:15 AM

Le blog de Polyscopique

I do not know how I missed this blog before. Laurent's writing is a must read for Canadian policy and current events. C'est smart comme un écureuil de la patte.

Posted by the Flea at 08:11 AM


Cup of Chica explains the problem of procrastinating procrastination (and blogging).

You can collect all the interesting links in the world at 5 am, too tired to paste them in MT, but too guilty over all your various forms of unproductivity to stop reading and fall asleep. But when you wake up at 2 PM and all those people doing under-cover blogging at their workplace snagged your bookmarked links in the AM, you realize: the laziness and procastination-tendencies that originally made blogging so appealing don't make you a good blogger. You can't procastinate procastination.
Posted by the Flea at 08:05 AM | Comments (1)

Roll up the rim

That indispensable Canadian institution Tim Horton's has one of its promotions on the go. Buy a cup of coffee and roll up the rim to see if you have won something. Trouble is, how to roll up that pesky rim? Picking away at it until the cup is half destroyed risks damaging the critical spot where it says "Please play again" and the hooking-teeth-under-the-lip method is lacking in elegance. It was in one of these latter Flea-moments a star student revealed to me the secret to doing this properly.

Step one: drink coffee.
Step two: fold the cup in half so that a crease is formed over the spot where the "Please play again" message is hidden.
Step three: unfold the cup and apply a rolling action with the thumbs upwards at the spot where the crease has formed...
Step four: ... et voila! The message "Please play again/Réessayez S.V.P." is revealed.

Actually, I have won two cups of coffee so far. And a sign at one of the three campus Tim Horton's claims a bicycle was given away. Keep hope alive!

Posted by the Flea at 08:01 AM | Comments (3)

March 24, 2004

Mrs. Martinez


Dannii reports her sister is to marry Olivier Martinez. The Flea extends heartfelt congratulations to the happy couple.

Dannii said: They've been thinking of Paris, Sydney and Barbados, but it's probably going to be where it's hottest.

"Kylie has told her friends in the US and our family at home but that's it. This is the happiest I've seen her - they really suit each other."

And then... That's Kermit, and not Olivier, in the above photo, btw. I will point to pics of the newly betrothed as they become available.

Posted by the Flea at 08:15 AM | Comments (4)

Find your ideal partner

The personality results for the Flea were creepy in their accuracy.

Posted by the Flea at 08:05 AM | Comments (1)

Monster Mart

It is so easy to relate to this short film.

Posted by the Flea at 08:00 AM


NASA presents a first tottering step toward a map of the Federation.

The 3D New Worlds Atlas is a virtual simulation of all planets that have been discovered around stars other than the Sun. Begin exploring our cosmic neighborhood by clicking the image at right.
Posted by the Flea at 07:55 AM


As many as one million celebrants made there way up the Temple of the Sun and the Moon at Teotichuacan to mark the spring equinox. Not much is known about the original Teotichuacanos, even the city's name is derived from the Aztec's reverance for the place centuries after it was abandoned.

"You feel the good vibrations of this place and a sense of peace with yourself and the world around you."

With vibes like these who needs, like, archaeology?

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

Biblical marriage

At last, a movement taking seriously the dos and don'ts of Biblical marriage. Take the books of Samuel, I Kings and II Chronicles, for example (via ***Dave).

B. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)
Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

March 23, 2004

Ladies of Star Trek


The Groovy Sixties Women webring presents a gallery of chic looks of the 24th century (please correct me if that is the wrong century). But wait... there's more!

Does anyone have good full-length pics of Uhura or Janice Rand? I can't find any! Also - if you took pics of Marina Sirtis at the Albert Hall 'Generations' convention, can you send me one or two? My film didn't come out!
Posted by the Flea at 10:07 AM | Comments (1)

The One Ring...

I have a feeling this is going to be going through my head all day.

... to rule them all!
Posted by the Flea at 10:00 AM

Palace skateboarding

This is more like it. And remember: Charlie don't surf!

Probably the last thing Saddam would have ever expected to see is two young Americans skateboarding on the roof of one of his palaces.
Posted by the Flea at 09:54 AM


Another resource for young minds. I am still waiting for AntiTeach.

Looking for free cliff notes, free book notes, or free book summaries online? AntiStudy.com is a search engine for free book notes and literature study guides online similar to Cliff Notes (aka CliffNotes) - including book summaries and literary analysis.

Some students wonder why I insist on essay submission through Turnitin. AntiEssay is one answer. Now... if only there were an AntiDissertation service.

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


Dr. Seuss identifies an amazing remedy to our current troubles (via the Chaos Overlord).

I was weak and run-down. I had circles under my eyes. My tail drooped. I had a foul case of Appeasement... then I learned about "Guts"
Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM

March 22, 2004

Beckingham Palace


Beckingham Palace in scenic Sawbridgeworth is to feature a purpose-built ruin for Posh and Becks.

The 45ft by 15ft DIY ruins are described on plans as "part-built garden walls built up to eight feet high with decorative features". It is thought the final design will give the impression that the walls are the remains of an old castle or church.

I like the look of the place already.


And then... More on the life and style of the happy couple - including Beckingham Palace - can be found here.

Posted by the Flea at 10:48 AM | Comments (3)


Limecat is not pleased. A Flea-reader wonders if there might have been gin involved.

Posted by the Flea at 10:38 AM

Invade Canada

Good idea.

Canada is the second largest country in the world, let's fix that.

And then... Michael points to a grim alternative.

Posted by the Flea at 10:36 AM | Comments (9)

Corinthian Arch

A sword-blade has been found under the floorboards in the Corinthian Arch, a monumental architectural feature of Stowe Landscape Gardens. The Arch is so big it has two four-story houses built into each flank. And no funny remarks about a glowing red dot tracking its way toward the archaeologist.

Project archaeologist Sarah Connor said the likely explanation was that the sword belonged to someone in the Bucks Yeomanry who lived in the arch, especially since drill camps were held in the park in front of the arch during the 19th century. She said: "It was a good quality sword. It is now corroded in places but you can make out some numbers that have been stamped onto the blade and that makes it a military blade. It could have been owned by the Bucks militia."

It is believed all of the items were placed in the loft of the arch at the same time, but it is difficult to know why. One possibility is the items were put there when the arch was being built to ensure good luck for the building and all its residents.
Posted by the Flea at 10:34 AM | Comments (2)

Launch keys

It's a funny old world. Something hardly conceivable is now collectible kitsch.

A set of Titanium** Soviet Russian Inter-Continental Nuclear Ballistic Missile Launch Keys. These are the real McCoy, what stood between life as we know it and Armageddon.
Posted by the Flea at 10:33 AM

City life

P. J. O'Rourke discusses the merits of city life by way of revealing his favourite city.

What attracted me to the vibrant chaos of urban life was its evident lack of quality control.

And Adam Gopnik discusses the history of Longacre Square.

This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the decision to take an hourglass-shaped traffic funnel between Forty-second Street and Forty-seventh Street on Broadway, which had been called Longacre Square, and rename it after the New York Times, which had just built its office there. This was less an honor than a consolation prize. The other, then bigger and brighter newspaper, the New York Herald, had claimed the other, then brighter and better square, eight blocks south, which still bears its ghostly name.
Posted by the Flea at 10:31 AM

March 21, 2004


The Flea's sojourn to the hip and happening world of the Drake Hotel transformed the virtual world of "the internet" into the face-time world of beer. Poliblogger Bash II afforded me the honour of meeting Relapsed Catholic, Being American in T.O., Canadian Headhunter, Spin Killer, Accordion Guy, Wickens.ca, Angua's First Blog, Ranting and Roaring and one-third of Tonecluster. Rick McGinnis was ensconced at the other end of the table so I had to settle for a wave. Meantime, I was sat next to guest of honour Damian Penny, a man whose blog should earn him the key to Corner Brook.

The enigmatic Angua retains her mystery in person! "Born to be wild" sounds great on a rocking accordion! And Debbye: "Ramming speed!"

Posted by the Flea at 10:12 AM | Comments (3)

March 20, 2004

New Who


The new Dr. Who is Christopher Eccleston (via die puny humans). A fine choice but let us get to the important business. Who is to be the next Who companion? The good news is we may be getting Daleks after all.

Eccleston, who starred alongside Nicole Kidman in the horror movie The Others, will be the ninth TV Time Lord to control the Tardis in a 13-part series.
Posted by the Flea at 10:11 AM | Comments (2)

Beer bubbles

Mmm. Beer.

More Beer Studies, this time after the beer had begun to thaw. I like the way some of these tiny bubbles look like little ball bearings. Again taken with the help of a reversed SLR lens macro system.

This and other alcholic beverages are to be featured at tonight's Poliblogger Bash II. Special guest: Damian Penny!

Posted by the Flea at 08:55 AM

British Kung Fu

A glimpse into the deadly martial arts of the people of the Flea.

We don't want any of that Jackie Chan Bollocks!
Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

One quarter. One play.

Ok, this is Asteroids. Wow. This is more Asteroids than original Asteroids.

Posted by the Flea at 08:35 AM

Number One Son

I am appalled by the Dune prequels being cranked out by the Herbert family. The writing is horrendous, plot-lines nonsensical and the attempted Frank Herbert-style epigrams frankly laughable. If only the Christopher Tolkien route had been chosen (and when can we hope to see the Dune Encyclopedia back in print?).

That said, Brian Herbert's desire to track down a particular first edition is a worthy cause. I shall keep an eye out for this book (and politely decline any title if I find it).

In the early 1970's, during my careless youth, I loaned a first edition hardcover copy of Dune to a friend. The book was signed and personalized to me by my father, and may have included the familiar reference to me as "Number One Son." Through a series of mishaps, including a divorce that my friend went through, the book disappeared. It may have traveled with his ex-wife to Europe. I am sure that none of this was intentional on his part, but the missing book has always left an empty place in my heart, especially since my father passed away in 1986.

If anyone has seen this family memento, I would appreciate your assistance in returning it to me. If this can be accomplished, I would be forever grateful, and would thereafter bestow upon you the official title of "Number One Dune Fan," along with other honors, and perhaps even a reasonable reward.
Posted by the Flea at 08:29 AM | Comments (2)

The Ghost's Leavetaking

You are Sylvia Plath! She committed suicide by
shoving her head in a gas oven.
Congratulations! She was mentally troubled
throughout her life, and toyed with the idea of
suicide many times. She wrote brilliant and
insightful poetry, although it was all
autobiographical; poor sylvia had a hard time
getting outside herself, and her connections
with members of the opposite sex were troubled
at best. She has been picked up since her
death in the early sixties as a champion of the
feminist cause.

Which famous poet are you? (pictures and many outcomes)
brought to you by Quizilla

My fetching headband arrives courtesy of the philosopher of Classical Values (who is Homer).

Enter the chilly no-man's land of about
Five o'clock in the morning, the no-color void
Where the waking head rubbishes out the draggled lot
Of sulfurous dreamscapes and obscure lunar conundrums
Which seemed, when dreamed, to mean so profoundly much,

Gets ready to face the ready-made creation
Of chairs and bureaus and sleep-twisted sheets.
This is the kingdom of the fading apparition,
The oracular ghost who dwindles on pin-legs
To a knot of laundry, with a classic bunch of sheets
Posted by the Flea at 04:57 AM | Comments (1)

March 19, 2004

Spooky Kylie


Kylie reports communication by Michael Hutchence... from beyond the grave! Other supernatural observations include the following.

"I believe I have lived before, but I'm not very advanced in my series of lives. I'm not even into double figures. I don't have a visual memory of my past lives, but I believe I came from somewhere," added the singer. "From experiences with the deceased and with the sixth sense there must be much more than the here-and-now. I believe in a universal power. I think we're very early in the evolutionary scale. We don't use a fraction of our brains yet. To be honest, mine is on economy some days.

"The soul is the endlessness of our beings. The soul is infinite and we're just passing through."
Posted by the Flea at 05:53 AM | Comments (4)

Star Castle

A bit of my childhood returns thanks to "the internet." One of the best moments on a long ago trip to Disney World was a discovery some Star Castle expert had left dozens of free games on a console at a hotel lobby in Florida. Thanks, whoever you were!

Posted by the Flea at 05:52 AM


It is 4:45 p.m. on Friday. How many nails can you hammer for your bonus? I managed just over £31.

Posted by the Flea at 05:49 AM

Seven Mile Boots

The latest attempt to merge the real world with the hapless world of the flesh.

"Seven mile boots, the magical footwear known from folk tales, enables its owner to travel seven miles with one step. With little effort one can cross the countries, to be present wherever it seems suitable and to become a cosmopolitan flaneur with the world as the street."
Posted by the Flea at 05:48 AM


The Flea has yet to master leet-speak. Thanks to "the internet" we now have an English to leet translator.

Being "leet" is to be cool with your online buds. To be cool or elite, you must be able to write messages and chat in a confusing code that is quick to type and decipher (to those who can read leet), also known as leet-speak. In this code, many letters are replaced with numbers and ASCII characters that vaguely resemble the original letter, as you will see below.
Posted by the Flea at 05:46 AM | Comments (1)


Archaeologists have located "Dick", one of three attempted escape tunnels from Stalag-Luft 3. I am certain most Flea-readers know the names of the other two.

The attempt to tunnel out of Stalag-Luft 3 was one of the most audacious episodes of the Second World War, immortalised in the movie The Great Escape. Seventy Allied prisoners toiled for months to get out of the German camp, but only three made it to freedom and 50 were executed as punishment for trying.

Now the only remaining tunnel of the three they dug, codenamed Dick, has been found and excavated by archaeologists after lying undisturbed for six decades.
Posted by the Flea at 05:44 AM

Will Shakespeare's will

The UK National Archives have made a million documents available on-line including Shakespeare's will.

Shakespeare's will reveals how he bequeathed his second-best bed to his wife, Anne Hathaway. Wills from Jane Austen, Sir Christopher Wren and Horatio Nelson - the latter's with a personal diary - can also be viewed at DocumentsOnline. The documents span six centuries of British history from 1384 to 1858.
Posted by the Flea at 05:43 AM

March 18, 2004

Action Comics, No. 1

This one is for the Chaos Overlord.

As a distant planet was destroyed by old age, a scientist placed his infant son within a hastily devised space-ship, launching it toward Earth!

Meantime, the Batman appears to be having difficulties.

Posted by the Flea at 09:50 AM | Comments (1)

Delta Lloyd Insurance

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

And then... Hmm. I wonder if we killed their bandwidth? Here are two more Delta Lloyd Insurance ads to be getting on with.

And then... And another link to the Booming Car ad. Dance! Dance! Dance!

Posted by the Flea at 09:45 AM | Comments (5)

Insane Orb

Best pong ever. Just the thing for the Thursday blahs.

Posted by the Flea at 09:40 AM | Comments (1)

Dawn of the Dead

As on-line games go, this one is very simple and very creepy.

Posted by the Flea at 09:39 AM

Space Imaging

The top ten Ikonos satellite photos of 2003 are worth a look. Bourtange, Netherlands is particularly attractive from space.

This one-meter resolution satellite image was collected by Space Imaging's IKONOS satellite on Sept. 20, 2003. The image shows Bourtange (originally Bourtanger), a 17th century, star-shaped fortress located approximately 26 miles (42 kilometers) southeast of Groningen, Netherlands. Bourtange—from the root word ‘tange,' meaning a sandy ridge in the moors— is Europe's largest peat moor and was constructed during the Eighty Years' War.
Posted by the Flea at 09:37 AM | Comments (1)


If students submit computer generated essays can we respond with computer generated grades?

9/25 - Despite your enthusiastic response, you have failed to develop a line of argument. You need to go back to the planning stage to develop a line of argument and decide how you are to include illustrations to support your views.
Posted by the Flea at 09:37 AM

March 17, 2004

Severus Snape

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

This insight into Flea's personality comes courtesy of Ith (who is also Severus Snape).

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM | Comments (4)

Holding Your Own Boobs Magazine

Finally, a magazine entirely devoted to boobs being held by hands. Sarah Michelle Gellar explains.

So what are you waiting for America? Someone to hold your boobs?
Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM | Comments (2)

Channel 4

Ahh... the famous English sense of humour manifests as a variety of UK celebs share their favourite swears. Probably not work safe for many. Fine around my office but for the lack of a sound card and all my pesky Unitarian work-mates (via AdRants).

Posted by the Flea at 08:46 AM | Comments (2)

Front page

Today's Front Pages lists 263 front pages from 36 countries presented alphabetically. What a good idea!

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Typographic illustration

Fonts and tunes together at last. What do Led Zeppelin and Times New Roman have in common? No idea. But it works.

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM | Comments (1)


Scott Fisher's trip to the People's Republic of Orwellian Place Names, North Korea.

As we got closer to the border I kept sneaking looks at my cell phone to see if we were within range of the South Korean service area. With the guides milling around the bus this probably wasn't too bright but I figured the risk was outweighed by a chance to make an 'illegal' phone call. So far, no connection. Maybe I just had to get closer . . .

Finally the bus pulled into a small compound and we were able to step out onto the North's side of the DMZ. To the right was a small building with a meeting room and gift shop (the South has a duty free shop on their side, of all things), to the left a row of trees and restrooms while to the front was a narrow road that led first into the actual DMZ, and then into the South.

I quickly headed for the restrooms to hide out and give my phone another try. Memo to SK Telecom: Your service is WEAK! My friend using another carrier was able to get a signal and put a call through to his girlfriend. I was left holding a hunk of useless plastic.
Posted by the Flea at 08:36 AM


The expectation of a degree of anonymity while surfing "the internet" may change with the outcome of a file-sharing case (via Fred). I am not sure what to make of this claim. Do we not lose our expectation of privacy whenever we traffic in stolen goods?

A ruling in favour of the Canadian Recording Industry Association would mean the loss of anonymity of anything shared using peer-to-peer software, including photos and text, for the 29 people named in the civil action, said Alex Cameron. Cameron is representing the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic in the Federal Court case pitting the recording-industry association against high-speed Internet service providers.

"(The) effect of the order would be to strip away anonymity," said Cameron. "Those documents were shared on the assumption the sharing was done anonymously . . . (if order is granted) people will perceive that online activities are no longer anonymous."
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM

March 16, 2004



I have failed to come up with an excuse for this link (nsfw). Feel free to make up your own!

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (3)


Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM

Ides of March

Yesterday's events included one of my colleagues running around in a toga levelling threats of red food colouring against students. I hope that Classics class appreciated the effort that went into the performance...

I knew I sensed a disturbance in the Force but could not put my finger on the cause until I learned it was Sketches of Strain's first blogiversary. Congratulations!

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM


The Flea's unending quest for the finest of men's haberdashery lead me to this Special Ops Tie.

Okay, don’t laugh! Tac-Tie is the world's first load-bearing necktie. Designed to keep necessary items close at hand, Tac-Tie solves a myriad of problems for the professional on or off duty. Unique duty features include the B.M.D.- Beverage Management Device - the ultimate “hands-free” drink management system. (Great for buffet lines.) Can and bottle compatible.
Posted by the Flea at 08:20 AM

Trump Toronto

Up to the suite or down to the street?

Introducing my latest project, Trump International Hotel & Tower, Toronto - a stunning hotel & residential comlpex of such scope and grandeur that it exceeds even the most imaginative expectations.

One of my money making ventures could make this the new Flea Towers.

Two years after his first attempt failed, U.S. real-estate mogul Donald Trump is planning to build a 68-storey luxury hotel and condo tower in downtown Toronto. At 308 metres, it will be the tallest building in the country, surpassing the 298-metre-tall First Canadian Place in downtown Toronto, Trump said today in a release.

First Canadian Place was until recently the tallest building in the Commonwealth. There is something satisfying to the idea of a Trump project taking that title as well but Malaysia's Petronas towers will still be substantially taller. According to this list, however, it will easily become the world's tallest residential tower.

And then... I notice this entry is the number Google hit for the search terms "Trump Toronto"... welcome! I have been trying to articulate what it is about Donald Trump that inspires such admiration in me. There are a number of reasons. Here is number one: this is a man who, after 9/11, is still building towers. Thank you, Mr. Trump. You are welcome here in T.O.

Posted by the Flea at 08:19 AM | Comments (1)

Chipping Campden

British Landscapes is a journey through the British countryside and heritage through the photography of David J. Osborn. Take Chipping Campden, for instance, a town near the country seat of the Flea's second-cousin once-removed.

Chipping Campden in the Cotswold's established itself as a busy wooltraders town in the 14th century. Wool from Cotswold Sheep, grazed on the surrounding farmland, was graded, sold and transported to London. The High Street contains many Cotswold stone buildings constructed between the 14th and 17th centuries and is now designated as a conservation area.
Posted by the Flea at 08:16 AM

March 15, 2004



The Flea's unflagging commitment to Kylie-media obligates me to bring her corset-look to the attention of Flea-readers everywhere. The image may provide a valuable lead to Hollywood law enforcement officials trying to puzzle out how a Kylie poster is related to four recent car crashes.

One LA motorist Jamie Lukanic said: "Kylie looked so hot, I couldn't take my eyes off of her. Now my Porsche is crushed."

In unrelated Kylie-news, it turns out Ms. Minogue auditioned for the part of Galadriel in Peter Jackson's screen adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. She was thought to be "too short" for the role. Tough luck for hobbits.

Posted by the Flea at 11:32 AM

The Lord of the Rings

The musical.

The epic story of Frodo's journey to Mordor through Middle Earth, which won 11 Academy Awards, will cost £8 million to stage - £1.5 million more than the current production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. A singing and dancing cast of more than 50 actors will play hobbits, elves, wizards and monsters, and Sauron, the evil Dark Lord, in complex battle scenes.
Posted by the Flea at 11:27 AM | Comments (1)

Halen Môn

A trip to Whole Foods and (undisclosed large amount of money) later and I have now replenished my heretofore dwindling sea salt supply. I settled on Halen Môn produced from the Menai Strait, off the coast of Wales. I was reluctant to spend (ludicrous amount of cash) on salt but the stunning oak flavour has borne out the expense.

Halen Môn is natural Sea Salt produced from the fresh Atlantic waters around the Isle of Anglessey. Gently smoked over 800 year-old Welsh Oak Chippings, this salt is delicious rubbed into meat and poultry, sprinkled onto fresh fish for the perfect gravadlax, and as a dippling salt for gull & quail eggs.
Posted by the Flea at 11:23 AM | Comments (2)

Eat an animal

March 15 is the second annual International Eat an Animal for PETA Day. I think cajun catfish is on the menu (and thanks to Wizbang for the reminder!).

Monday, March 15th: Post your menus, post your pictures, and we'll all have some yummy, meat-filled meals. I don't eat meat for breakfast, but perhaps I'll have waffles, which are prepared with eggs. Lunch at Brock's BBQ with Sarah and the twins. For dinner: Steak, I think. Ice cream for dessert, of course, since dairy products are forbidden by the ultra-vegans.

By the way, my cholesterol, and health, is excellent, thanks for asking.

And then... I settled on shrimp. Yum!

Posted by the Flea at 11:22 AM

Grand Challenge

Autonomous ground vehicles duke it out in DARPA's Grand Challenge route from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. The prize? One million dollars...

Congress and the Department of Defense view unmanned vehicle technology as a critical element of our future military capabilities. The Grand Challenge is a bold effort to draw widespread attention to the technological issues associated with autonomous vehicles and to generate discontinuous breakthroughs in performance. The format and requirements of the event are specifically designed to target the companies and entrepreneurs that define grassroots American ingenuity so that innovative new approaches can be found.

And then... One problem with my not publishing on Sundays is that ***Dave has pipped me to the post! But this way I can post the unpromising results.

Posted by the Flea at 11:20 AM


The University of Manchester has hired the Safeway poisoner, a man convicted of attempted murder for trying to kill his wife and spiking drinks at a supermarket chain as a diversion. What is he to teach? Ethics, of course. Another expert in ethics defends the decision and in so doing demonstrates the meaning of the expression "too clever by half."

Medical ethics lecturer Piers Benn told Reuters criminal convictions and teaching ethics were not necessarily mutually exclusive.

"Normally people who get into moral philosophy do so because they care about making the world a better place or putting things right," said Benn, of Imperial College London. "But I can't see any logical contradiction between being able to think about ethical questions and being able to do rather criminal acts."
Posted by the Flea at 11:19 AM

March 13, 2004


Tim Blair posts a sad postcard from Spain. These images are more than I can bear.

The images and testimonies that we’ve been watching are absolutely heart wrecking. Last night some of the people who were working in the mass morgue that was improvised in a convention center needed medical sedation because they couldn’t cope with what they were watching: dozens of people inside black plastic bags whose mobile phones kept ringing all the time. Several children in a school nearby one of the explosions were waiting for their parents to take them home. Their parents never came.

Tim Blair's post comes via Paul Jané who has been doing yeoman work on events. I want to second Jay Solo's thoughts and offer a prayer of my own for Alina.

And then... Good news at last (thank heavens).

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

Demon Balls

This would drive me mad if I had to do it again.

Posted by the Flea at 07:19 AM | Comments (1)

Run Leia Run

This is high concept and demonstrates the lengths some people will go to for the sake of satire (I confess I did not make it to the end).

And if you don't download and watch the whole thing you don't get to see Princess Leia in the metal bikini.
Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM | Comments (1)

Edinburgh Vaults

A forgotten city lies beneath Edinburgh forming an historic and literal underworld. The place sounds like Camden stables market catacombs. There is plenty more underground goodness to be found at Subterranea Britannica (note to self: return to London for shopping purposes).

"There are no written records of who lived in these vaults, although there is ample anecdotal evidence that thousands of people lived and died here, some probably never even seeing the outside world," said tour guide Jim Lennie. "The chances are that few of the people who lived in the Georgian part of the city above knew they were there. The existence of the vaults was wiped from the city's records until they were rediscovered in 1985," explained Lennie on a recent tour.

The vaults are formed by the 19 arches of the South Bridge, built between 1785 and 1788 across the Cowgate ravine as the cramped ancient city began to expand. Bricked in and built around, the vaults became a warren of nooks, crannies and tunnels forming the historic city's underworld.
Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM | Comments (1)

March 12, 2004

Nic's nicotine


This Flea-post tagline comes to you courtesy of an Herald Sun article and I run with the story for the same reason they do (see above). Smoking in film, you see, makes smoking look glamorous. Ok, and here is the hard part, then... or rather, then people will smoke because they think it is sexy. Frankly, I am appalled yet bored to learn this sort of intellectual flatulence qualifies as research in some corner of the University of California. Oh, and Dartmouth too but the BBC has no Kidman pics to back up the claim.

Posted by the Flea at 10:35 AM | Comments (1)

New normal

Yesterday's Flea was preempted by events. Anthropology and pop culture are fun for me and I hope the games and dancing are a plus for people in offices everywhere. It is with some unease I return to internet bubble wrap and such when we know that for so many people yesterday's horror is only now beginning to sink in.

And then... Debbye has parallel concerns writing on the day after. There has not been a day since 9/11 that I have seen the towers of downtown Toronto and not imagined an atrocity. And every time I am at Toronto's main railway or bus terminals I have an eye out for stray packages. That last reflex is one I cultivated living in London and Manchester in the days when nail-bombs were left for bands playing in parks. Before 9/11, it was a reflex I never used when I was in Canada. Such is the new normal.

"The death toll is now at 198. I marvel that I am now two people: one who can type that sentence with detachment and another who took several minutes to get past that sentence.

I am struck particularly by this sentiment.

Posted by the Flea at 10:34 AM | Comments (2)

Bubble wrap

I have never experienced the visceral joy many do when they get to pop bubble wrap. Basically, I can take it or leave it. This web version comes via blogger and a gentleman, Dean Esmay. He can't stop popping!

Posted by the Flea at 10:32 AM

Surf goth

Kembra Pfahler, best known for her band "The Voluptuous Horror Of Karen Black", has moved into fashion. Pfahler describes her look after a fashion (nsfw) sure to get the Flea's attention.

"I'm kind of H. P. Lovecraft meets Malibu Barbie."

Hey, just like the Flea is Batman meets P.G. Wodehouse! I am reasonably certain the Mythos has yet to appear in Barbie's wardrobe yet I am intrigued by the words "surf" and "goth" in the same sentence. I now need to work on my plan to be a "total high fashion" model like Kembra.

Posted by the Flea at 10:30 AM | Comments (1)


Your Elmo! You have your own segment in the show,
you refer to yourself in the third person and
your annoyingly cute

What Sesame Street Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I would have said the Flea was Oscar or possibly the Count whatever my tendency toward the third person. I like Elmo though and I would not kill anybody on the show no matter how annoying (with the possible exception of Super Grover).

And then... I learn the Raging Kraut has an affinity for Super Grover. The horror! The horror!

Posted by the Flea at 10:29 AM | Comments (1)

Giant rocks

Nettavien describes an attack on a house by giant rocks. "Menaced" by giant rocks would be more accurate. My sense is the rocks would have won in a fair fight.

Two huge stones, more than 20 meters across, came crashing down on either side of a home in Kvam Township Tuesday morning. The rocks stopped only few meters from the house.
Posted by the Flea at 10:28 AM


Yahoo! keeps track of its users with "web beacons". It is a neat idea and convenient and so forth vis a vis a personalized Yahoo! experience. For Yahoo!-using Flea-readers wishing to remain anonymous the company offers an opt-out link half way down this privacy page. Take care not to hit the prominent cancel opt-out button on the page that follows. Finally, this is a feature that is browser specific so you will need to opt-out on three machines if you lead a peripatetic existence such as mine.

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

March 10, 2004

Le Parkour

Flea-readers are advised not to try parkour at home. Is street climbing crazy? Yes. Is it setting a bad example for impressionable youth? Yes. Is Spiderman an "adventurer of a new type"? Yes. Could the Flea be a success as a "traceur"? Probably not. That said, the Dame du lac is a compelling structure to fling oneself from.

As I stood at the base of the Dame, I said to Sebastien - "You have got to be f***ing kidding me!!" He just laughed and began to climb up it while I looked on in awe. The structure is HUGE!!!!!!!! That aside, when you take a look at the very same side that David Belle ran up effortlessly, the gradient is almost impossible!

The moment in time reference is really aimed at the sheer scale of this work of art. If any of you are serious about your Parkour and get a chance to travel to where it all started, the Dame is a must see thing. A word of warning though.....The structure is closed to the public due to two people falling to their deaths. Surrounding the structure is a measly 6ft fence which is easily vaulted but if you do so, you do it at your own risk.
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

Soluble Song

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:26 AM

Bonfire 36

This week's bonfire is crackling away at Pragmatic Conservatism. It is time to repent!

Posted by the Flea at 08:25 AM

Mind Erasers

Now that's a mixed drink. I quote Sketches of Strain because Dispatches from Tanganyika does not have direct links to entries. The following is Poppy's recipe for, and sorry excuse for avoiding, Mind Erasers.

1 shot of Vodka
1 shot of Kahlua
Pour over ice. Fill cup with soda. Put straw in cup. Drink in one long gulp. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Lie down on the sidewalk in front of your French Quarter apartment. Cackle wildly while your long-suffering husband tries to make you go inside. Shriek so loudly that a biker dude riding a Harley up the street does a U-turn and comes back to see who is being killed. When biker dude says, "Little lady, yew wanna go for a ride on my Harley?", say "YEAH!!!" Get mad at your husband when he prevents you from doing this. Finally let him get you inside. At the top of the stairs, puke copiously and brownly all over the landing and your new pale pink dress. Suffer a 3-day hangover. Ten full years later, still come close to puking any time somebody says the word "Kahlua" within your hearing.
Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Rodenator Pro

This device hardly seems sporting.

Manufactured by Meyer Industries, the Rodenator Pro TM uses a controlled mixture of propane and oxygen that is injected into the rodent's burrow. A built-in, self contained ignition system then ignites the mixture, creating an underground shockwave or concussion that instantly eliminates the rodent and collapses the tunnel system.
Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM

Giant Tarpon

There is a lot of good eating on a tarpon. The sharks think so too. Just be careful with that camera... it would not do to fall in the water.

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM

Amish in the City

Al-Ra'is is not the only reality show to be cancelled in the face of religious protest.

American television viewers are unlikely to see a reality show about Amish youth facing the modern world following protests by members of the United States Congress. The program, tentatively called Amish in the City, planned to show five young people from the religious group living with mainstream youth.
Posted by the Flea at 08:20 AM

March 09, 2004


I figured if my academic career did not work I could start a Viking metal band, "Hand of Vecna" (or possibly, "Eye of Vecna") or turn to underwear modelling. This Cult Construction Kit means I now have something else to fall back on.

Is the glass half empty of half full? That all depends upon who is looking at it. The case is similar with the Bible. For thousands of years man has been putting his own spin on Religion and the Scriptures and now so can you. Simply select the beliefs that are most advantageous to you and ‘The Cult Construction Set’ will generate actual Bible scriptures to support these beliefs. Now you too can start your own Cult in the comfort of your home!
Posted by the Flea at 10:30 AM | Comments (1)

Mr. Nice

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:27 AM


Look, that is, but don't touch, "player". Flash technology encourages bad behaviour.

Posted by the Flea at 10:26 AM

Devil Duckie Drive

This is now on my shopping list.

He may be a representative of the dark side, but it's hard to resist those tiny horns and cute chubby red body. At 4 1/2 inches long, our stylish and strange Devil Duckie Drive is a High-Speed USB 2.0 (1.1 compatible) personal data storage device for people who are going places.
Posted by the Flea at 10:25 AM


I am curious if any Flea-readers have visited Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. Britannica reports the lake is commonly known by another name which, while perhaps more practical, is less evocative of human nature.

Lake, central Massachusetts, U.S.

Located in southern Worcester county, near the town of Webster, the lake's Indian name is reportedly Nipmuc (Algonquian) for “You fish on your side; I fish on my side; nobody fishes in the middle.” Not surprisingly, the lake is commonly called Lake Webster.
Posted by the Flea at 10:23 AM | Comments (4)

The Bruce

A bit of the Bruce has come to light at the Hunterian museum at the University of Glasgow. Quite what it is doing separated from the rest of the Bruce is a story in itself.

He stole into the abbey in the dead of night, intent on stealing a personal memento of Scotland’s greatest king. Not a thief nor a grave robber but a respected town dignitary and "man of science", Joseph Paton found himself irresistibly drawn to the body of this icon of Scotland’s 14th-century fight for independence.

Reaching forward, he snapped off a toe from the remains of Robert the Bruce and held aloft the trophy before wrapping it in a fragment of the king’s golden shroud. In satisfying his urge to steal the Royal digit, Paton was risking his reputation by defiling the Bruce’s skeleton, which had been uncovered by workmen in 1818 where it lay inside Dunfermline Abbey.
Posted by the Flea at 10:20 AM

March 08, 2004



The Raging Kraut and the Flea were talking at cross-purposes in comments to a recent Kraut post. Was or was not Jeff Murdock, a character from Coupling, a Welshman? It turns out Richard Coyle, the actor, is not though Jeff's accent is decidedly Cymric. And now I learn none other than Kylie Minogue herself is of Welsh extraction! Not that I am terribly surprised by the news.

The chart-topper's family are originally from Maesteg, where they ran the village post office. Her grandparents emigrated to Australia in 1955, taking Kylie's mum Carol with them. But Kylie admitted she still clings to her Welsh roots - and thought about taking up the family business.

She said, "I was born in Melbourne but my roots are in Maesteg. ... I think I would probably have been a very good postmistress."

In related happiness, I discover Coupling season one and two are available on dvd. If only some North American broadcaster would take pity on me and air Strange. Must consider my budget for the rest of the month...

And then... It was a horrendous oversight on my part to miss this Abraca-Pocus! farewell post to Jeff (sorry Rue!).

Posted by the Flea at 01:03 PM | Comments (4)

The Exorcist in 30 seconds

With bunnies! The title music at the end is particularly chilling (via Attu).

And then... And the same bunnies in Apocalypse Now.

Posted by the Flea at 01:00 PM


Not that the Flea would ever resort to such subterfuge.

Did you ever wish you could hide your location when talking on the phone? Ever wanted to give the impression you were somewhere else? SounderCover gives you the ability to add a background sound to any incoming or outgoing call, giving the impression that you really are in the environment where the background sound is normally heard. Did you wake up late for work and you want your boss to think you're caught in traffic? Select the Traffic Jam background and give him a call from your bedroom :).
Posted by the Flea at 11:58 AM

Spy Academy

This is too complicated for my addled brain just now. Brain. Brain.

Posted by the Flea at 11:56 AM

Get shorty

MI5, the British Security Service, has made it clear it will be discriminatory in its hiring practices.

New guidelines by MI5, the security service, state that men seeking work as field agents should not be taller than 5ft 11in so that they can "blend in to the background" more easily.

The rules, set out in a new application form sent to would-be officers, mean that all five actors who played James Bond, including Pierce Brosnan, the film's present star, would be rejected. A similar height limit will apply to women, who must be 5ft 8in or less. MI5's chief, Eliza Manningham-Buller, is 5ft 8in.
Posted by the Flea at 11:55 AM

Turing test

A BBC article suggests a source of artificial intelligence that regularly passes the Turing test.

Today we communicate with lots of machines via typed messages and lots of us have been fooled.

Take, for instance, spam.
Posted by the Flea at 11:50 AM

March 06, 2004


Sophisticated and classy, you take shitty-tasting liquid and make it look beautiful and glamorous!!
Congratulations!! You're a smart sophisticated and
beautiful martini!!

What Drink Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

The Flea remains a martini. The philosopher of Classical Values by contrast has morphed from a martini into a black velvet. It is so hard to shake off those school years...

Posted by the Flea at 12:58 PM | Comments (1)


Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 12:50 PM


I assume there is an obvious trick to this "8 Queens of Death" game but I have not yet spotted it. Or maybe not. I can place seven Queens but not eight.

Posted by the Flea at 12:48 PM | Comments (2)


The salty language is all this separates this lesson from my own teaching methods. Well, that and the guitar.

Posted by the Flea at 12:46 PM


That Black chimaera looks like it could cajun spices of some kind and those Gunard might work with breading and tartar sauce. It could just be me but there is something... yes, I will say it... fishy about the look of that Blob.

Posted by the Flea at 12:44 PM


Am I the last to learn of the existence of Carhenge? More henge goodness is available at America Unhenged. Clearly, we need a government program of some kind to pay me to build world beating Canadian henges.

Thirty-eight automobiles were placed to assume the same proportions as Stonehenge with the circle measuring approximately 96 feet in diameter. Some autos are held upright in pits five feet deep, trunk end down, while those cars which are placed to form the arches have been welded in place. All are covered with gray spray paint. The honor of depicting the heel stone goes to a 1962 Caddy.
Posted by the Flea at 12:42 PM

March 05, 2004



Kylie temporarily confiscated a camera from a "fan" who was attempting to take photographs up her skirt. The cad!

She revealed how the fan was taking "low-level" pictures from the crowd at London's GAY club last weekend.Kylie told Oxfordshire radio station Fox FM: "The crowd were so close. Pretty much everyone there had cameras. ... I put his to one side and said: "If you don't mind, I'm a lady"."
Posted by the Flea at 05:57 AM | Comments (2)

Gold Miner

For your Friday time-wasting needs.

Posted by the Flea at 05:48 AM

Submarine cables

And to go with the subway maps is this global rendition of submarine optical fibre cables.

Posted by the Flea at 05:47 AM | Comments (1)


Here are some subway systems of the world presented next to each other at one mile to two pixels. Neat! (via ***Dave)

Posted by the Flea at 05:45 AM


Custom made bloomers are just the sort of statement I would make if I were a woman. If only I could find a proper men's bathing costume.

Bloomers are not just in the Garden any more ! ! We Have Renaissance, Victorian, SCA, Medieval, even Civil War Bloomers.
Posted by the Flea at 05:43 AM | Comments (2)

Number 10

This one looks like a book cover.

Posted by the Flea at 05:41 AM

Samish-sex marriage

An obscure, middle-aged, heterosexual short-story writer offers his opinion on marriage.

Friends whom I have identified as being in Samish-Sex Marriages often ask me, George, given that we have scored poorly, what exactly would you have us do about it?

Well, one solution I have proposed is divorce—divorce followed by remarriage to a more suitable partner. K, for example, could marry a voluptuous high-voiced N.F.L. cheerleader, who would more than offset his tight feminine derrière, while his ex-wife, S, might choose to become involved with a lumberjack with very large arms, thereby neutralizing her thick calves and faint mustache.
Posted by the Flea at 05:40 AM

March 04, 2004

New media professional

Which Survivor of the Impending Nuclear Apocalypse Are You?
A Rum and Monkey joint.

It's funny because it's true. This vision of my bad post-apocalyptic self comes to the Flea courtesy of the Raging Kraut (who understands hippos).

Better shake off that radiation sickness and start preparing your IPO, because you're

A new media professional!

You missed the full-on war that caused the widespread death of so many people because you were making yourself another espresso at the company's snack kitchen. Your life isn't anything of value, but you're here anyway - might as well make the most of it and set up a .com to rent movies to half-melted soldier carcasses. A couple of banner ads and you'll be laughing, you sick new media parasite.
Posted by the Flea at 10:33 AM | Comments (2)

Mahna Mahna

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:23 AM


Joss Whedon moves the Firefly film project forward. The reported plot-line looks familiar (via the Sister of the Flea).

The film centers on a veteran captain of a galactic war, who, with a small crew, rents out his ship, Serenity, for the purposes of transport-for-hire and pulling off small crimes. When the captain takes on two new passengers, he soon learns that they are hotly pursued fugitives from the coalition controlling the universe. A whole host of trouble follows for the captain and his fearless crew, as they find themselves the prey of evil forces that they are ill equipped to evade.
Posted by the Flea at 10:21 AM

Go kart

This hydrogen pyroxide gas turbine go kart may appeal to Flea-readers with a need for speed.

Posted by the Flea at 10:17 AM


Here is that spike jewellry and other themed products from The Passion of the Christ. I am not sure what to this about this stuff. The website cites Isaiah 53:5. Is it wrong for Luke 19:44-46 to come to mind? Maybe I am just uncomfortable with Christ-themed knick-knacks.

Our mission is to reach the world with the message of hope by creating jewelry and gifts of exceptional quality, which will inspire people to express and share their faith.
Posted by the Flea at 10:11 AM


Scholars are mad about pushing back the first reliable date of the medical use of a plant.

They base their case on frescoes at Thera, a Greek island in the Aegean, that have been thought to depict a goddess overseeing the production of perfume or spice. Instead, the scholars say, the frescos, from 1500 or 1600 B.C. — the exact date is a topic of debate — show the goddess presiding over the manufacture and use of a drug from the saffron flower.
Posted by the Flea at 10:07 AM

March 03, 2004

Tower Blaster

Do some tower construction in answer to your hump day time-wasting needs. My 2422 point tower beat the Vikings' paltry effort.

Posted by the Flea at 10:58 AM | Comments (2)

Declare Yourself

Alyssa Milano is quite fetching but I confess I have never understood youth voter electoral registration campaigns. I find it difficult to believe these are any more effective than anti-drug and anti-sex campaigns. That said, the Declare Yourself people seem to have their hearts in the right place.

Almost 100 years after the Declaration declared our independence, Abraham Lincoln used it to declare the end of slavery in our country. And almost 150 years after the document was signed, women used it to fight for their right to vote. Its words and ideas were used as a tool in the Civil Rights movement as African Americans declared their rights as equal citizens. It is important for us to remember the words of the Declaration and the freedoms it gave us, and it is even more important for us to remember that the ideals of democracy - "consent of the governed" - are strong when we participate, but weak when we are apathetic.
Posted by the Flea at 10:56 AM

Your Concept Car

Volvo introduces a concept car designed by female Volvo people. Car Keys declares, "Cogito ergo comfortable." Might we have at last the answer to Freud's question: what do women want?

The YCC concept (Your Concept Car) was shown publicly for the first time Tuesday during media preview days at the Geneva International Motor Show. It's not just powerful and sporty, but also easy to park, maintain and keep clean. From the outset in December 2002, when Volvo's top executives approved the project, every aspect of the car's design and production has been overseen by women, a first in the automotive industry.
Posted by the Flea at 10:54 AM | Comments (1)


Local authorities in Hunan province are taking a renewed interest in nushu, a writing system developed and used exclusively by women from times when only men were taught to read and write Chinese.

What seems clear is that nushu was fostered by the region's ancient custom of "sworn sisters," whereby village girls would pledge one another fealty and friendship forever. The tight sorority, which included growing up together in cobbled village lanes and gathering with adult women to weave and embroider, inevitably was shattered when the time for marriage came. Tradition dictated that a bride go away to her groom's home -- and that is where nushu came in.

Three days after the wedding, the adolescent bride would receive a "Third Day Book," a clothbound volume in which her sworn sisters and her mother would record their sorrow at losing a friend and daughter and express best wishes for happiness in the married life ahead. The first half-dozen pages contained these laments and hopes, written in nushu that the groom couldn't read. The rest were left blank for the bride to record her own feelings and experiences -- in nushu -- for what would become a treasured diary.
Posted by the Flea at 10:50 AM | Comments (4)

Eel Point

Eight to nine-thousand year old stone tools recovered from California's Channel Islands resemble those used for boat-building much more recently by Chumash Indians. Some see this fishing equipment as evidence for boat-building technology that may have allowed for initial human settlement of the Americas by sea rather than by the Bering land bridge. Count the Flea among those sticking to received wisdom in the absence of further evidence. Coastal sailing techniques do not lend themselves necessarily to blue water exploration and colonization.

"The basic problem is that all boats are made out of organic materials that just don't preserve in the archaeological record," said Professor Knut Fladmark, of Simon Fraser University in Canada. Professor Fladmark believes humans were building boats 40,000-50,000 years ago and cites evidence that Australia was colonised by this time despite the fact there was no land bridge connecting it to South East Asia.

"Until you find the boats there will remain a cadre of archaeologists who will insist on not accepting this," Professor Fladmark told BBC News Online. "Sea level rise since the last Ice Age flooded much of the coastline of North America, presumably drowning any possible evidence of early coastal migrations," Prof Raab added.
Posted by the Flea at 10:48 AM

March 02, 2004


John's battle fishie kicked my battle fishie's butt.


Weather Loach

Battle Rating

Flea was created by a scientific experiment gone wrong

Can your fishy beat Flea ?

Posted by the Flea at 01:10 PM | Comments (1)

Find the car

Castle Argghhh!!! posts a fascinating on-line test suggesting gendered differences in processing visual stimuli. The Flea suggests sexual orientation may also play a role.

This is an interesting test. Stare at the photo and see if you can locate the automobile that is hidden somewhere in the picture. Time yourself. Interestingly, women tend to find the auto faster than men. Average time for men: 7 minutes, 22 seconds. Average time for women, 0.39 seconds.
Posted by the Flea at 01:07 PM | Comments (1)

Crunch Time

Fun with zombies! Only three levels of zombie-killing, unfortunately.

You know that feeling when you return from the restroom and all your co-workers' brains have exploded, and they have been tranformed into blood-thirsty zombies, infected by an intergalactic computer virus disguised as check-this-out mail attachment? This is it.
Posted by the Flea at 01:05 PM

La spada nella roccia

The Gothic abbey at Montesiepi was built to honour the memory of Galgano Guidotti, a medieval knight said to have plunged a sword into a stone. New archaeological investigations seek to uncover a chamber beneath the evocative sword-and-stone combination.

"The sword has been considered a fake for many years, but our metal dating research in 2001 has indicated it has medieval origins. The composition of the metal doesn't show the use of modern alloys, and the style is compatible with that one of a 12th century sword," Luigi Garlaschelli, a research scientist at University of Pavia, told Discovery News.

By the summer, Garlaschelli hopes to excavate the area around the stone, in search of the knight's body. Indeed, ground penetrating radar analysis revealed the presence of a 6 1/2-foot by 3-foot room beneath the sword. "It could well be Galgano's tomb, [sought] for about 800 years," Garlaschelli said.
Posted by the Flea at 01:03 PM


The remarkably named Mirek Smisek is interviewed (briefly) on his part in producing the ceramics used in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings.

For the Prancing Pony set, I created quite a few tankards, probably ten different species you might say. Goblets, jugs, wine bottles and bowls, literally the whole range of what might used in people's lives. I had to make, in most cases, two sizes and they had to look the same. In some instances I had to make three sizes because the size of the people - dwarves, normal and giant. That was a bit of a challenge because they all had to look the same.
Posted by the Flea at 12:59 PM

Huacos eróticos

The sexuality of the Moche, an early Andean civilization, is documented in their frank pottery dedicated to the subject. It seems odd to run an article on the subject without showing us any of the ceramics in question. Perhaps the print edition included pictures.

Nearly 40 years ago, historian Maximo Terrazos descended narrow stairs into a tomb-like chamber where, he says, he experienced a sexual awakening of sorts.

Then a 20-year-old university student, he was escorted along with his classmates to a subterranean room marked ''Private'' in Peru's Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History to see huacos eróticos for the first time. Before them were explicit ceramic depictions of sexual acts crafted more than 1,500 years earlier by the Moche, a highly organized, class-based society that dominated Peru's northern coast for 800 years until about 800 A.D.
Posted by the Flea at 12:57 PM | Comments (1)

March 01, 2004


You are Snoopy!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

This perceptive quiz arrives via Daimnation!

Posted by the Flea at 10:39 AM

Data's Second Emotion

Flash technology brings us Data's first and second emotions. This is in bad taste, not safe for work and I am a bad person for finding it funny. The second one especially.

There was a young lady from Venus
whose body was shaped like a...
Posted by the Flea at 10:36 AM | Comments (3)


A simple on-line game for the Monday morning blahs.

Posted by the Flea at 10:34 AM


Time to limber up those milking fingers but best get some coffee before trying this on a Monday morning. I managed 11.14 seconds.

Posted by the Flea at 10:33 AM

Public Toilet Map

Canada should follow Australia's lead and make a national public toilet map available on-line.

The development of the Map and Website was funded by the Commonwealth Government under the National Continence Management Strategy. Although the Map will be of use to all persons requiring information about public toilets, the Government recognises that incontinence can be an isolating condition which makes travel difficult. For this reason, the Map was designed specifically to assist persons experiencing incontinence with travel and daily living arrangements.
Posted by the Flea at 10:32 AM

Roman families

Analysis of Roman epitaphs demonstrates a broader conception of the family than had been previously considered. I am reminded of my favourite chapter of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, a list of thanks that hints at the strength of fictive kin in Roman society.

"It's not just accidental that you put up a tombstone for someone," she points out. "These people weren't millionaires and the stonecutter charged for each letter. I think it reflects real emotions and real attachment." The reason Roman families probably included so many individuals who were unrelated by birth was because the mortality rate was extremely high. With a life expectancy of not much beyond 45, a small family unit could not have survived.

"If you were a woman and you were 15 years old, you would be married to a man who was 10-15 years older than you. Then, because you had actually succeeded in living that long, you stood a good chance of living until you were 45. In that period you would give birth to five or six children, and half of them would die."
Posted by the Flea at 10:30 AM

Mordor by numbers

The Guardian wins for best The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King-themed tag-line (that's it stolen and/or ripped-off for this post). Peter Jackson may be the second happiest New Zealander today after one relieved gambler holds on to their stake. Annie Lennox was "stunned" by her Oscar win while the Flea remains stunned Andy Serkis was not even nominated for best actor.

And a happy fiftieth to Maker's Mark.

Posted by the Flea at 10:28 AM