May 31, 2006

David Sylvian: Silver Moon

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM

The earliest drawing of the Moon?

Fun fact: The Moon only came into existence approximately six-hundred years ago.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM

Live from the surface of the Moon

The Eagle Has Landed uses television footage, film and photography to provide an "eye-witness perspective" of the Apollo 11 mission. "Tranquility Base here"... fantastic.

This film tells the story of the historic first landing of men on the Moon in July, 1969. It depicts the principal highlight events of the ... all » mission from launching through post-recovery activities of Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Michael Collins. Through television, motion picture and still photography, the film provides an "eye-witness" perspective of the Apollo 11 mission.
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

I, for one, welcome our Triffid overlords

Global warming*: Now with extra itchy Manbearpig!

If you thought that global warming has exhausted its unpleasant surprises, well...think again. Researchers from Duke University have proven that global warming has benefic effect on poison ivy, making it grow up to three times larger and produce a more allergenic form of urushiol, the substance that causes itches and rash.

*I thought we had agreed to call it "climate change".

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM

May 30, 2006

Dyonisos: Song for a Jedi

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (large file for YouTube).

Posted by the Flea at 09:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

Tune in and prosper

Yo, welcome to the Flea Casa! A Former Servant of Her Majesty sends on the best Star Trek 2.0 extended bumper yet. Playin' Halo, oh yeah. Well, it should be Halo.

Posted by the Flea at 09:48 AM | Comments (1)


Ok, so I have punked out* on my hypothetical Viking metal band of the future by posting some Coil-inspired "Ghost of a flea" tracks. But Hand of Vecna** is totally my first side project. In the meantime, here is Vintersorg. Kick ass!

*Thus far.
**Which is more of a black metal band name now that I think of it. Need to give some thought to something Viking sounding.

Odin Wow! Update: So many nerds. So few nerd women. The odds are stacked against me.

Posted by the Flea at 09:47 AM

Living in a material world

Continuing a series of posts on last week's Slavoj Zizek lecture at Birkbeck College, London, K-Punk makes a telling observation about Deleuzians.

What Deleuzianism overlooks - what is has to overlook - is that it is precisely the invocation of an intense, unmediated non-cognitive and non-linguistic experience that introduces an element of transcendence and lack. That is because the philosophical call for an unmediated Real must always repress the Real of the writing and thinking involved in that call itself. (By the by, many of the Deleuzians I've known are exactly the sort of people least able to give themselves over to immediate, noncognized experience - they are those who will be jabbering about philosophy when they are on a drug trip, or taking notes when they are in a nightclub - real examples both).

I used to attend a Deleuze reading group at the now long gone Toronto restaurant, Fabulous Nobodies. One night we were on about embodiment and a refusal of narratives of transcendence. I looked up from where I had been following along with a reading at the chap across from me, the fellow responsible for that week's discussion, who was reading aloud a passage from the bottom of the page of the book he was holding.

"Excuse me," I said. And louder again, "Excuse me, but your book is on fire." While the bottom of the page was fine he was holding the top of his book over the flame of a decorative candle. When I say his book was on fire I do not mean smouldering but dancing flame and black smoke. I credit a Lacanian psychoanalytic perspective for noticing the fact. Not so for the Deleuzians. Having taken a stand against structuralist semiosis and having refused a fixed meaning for referands there is little room for irony in Deleuzian discourse. The book was doused and the reading continued.

Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM

May 29, 2006

Faithless feat. Dido: One Step Too Far

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Check out Flea-tunes at MySpace!

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

The scent of celebrity

The extraordinarily glamorous Agent Bedhead posts an unsolicited letter of advice to parfumiers. It seems she is motivated not only by aesthetic rigour and a sense of altruism but by a truckload of celebrity branded waters claiming shelf-space once held by proper perfumes.

What I’m trying to say here is that we’ve had enough of celebrities tossing their own uncultured olfactory palates into the bouillabaisse.. It pisses me off enough that my absolute favourite perfume, Elizabeth Arden’s Splendor, was recently discontinued, despite the fact that no other perfume has ever drawn so many compliments from even the least observant members of both sexes.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM

De fvrtivis

In the course of making a case for Francis Bacon as Shakespeare, Paul J. Dupuy offers insights into early cryptology. Though I should confess I had figured out Leonardo Da Vinci's encoded message spelled out "I AM VOLDEMORT" even before I read this.

Throughout the Middle Ages, ciphers were used by monks "for scribal amusement, and the Renaissance knew from its study of such classic texts as Suetonius that the ancient world had used ciphers for political purposes". Around the middle of the 13th century, the English monk Roger Bacon wrote "Concerning the Marvelous Power of Art and of Nature and Concerning the Nullity of Magic". He listed seven cipher methods and asserted that "a man is crazy who writes a secret in any other way than one which will conceal it from the vulgar".
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 27, 2006

Bean Sopwith


Yes, I found Jack Osbourne's self-improvement quest inspirational but Adrenaline Junkie coach Bean Sopwith was even more so. She climbs things, runs marathons, jungle treks and so forth. And yet she retains an aura of mystery due to the striking absence of a BeanSopwith.com! Will be looking out for Extreme Archaeology in the meantime.

Posted by the Flea at 12:51 PM | TrackBack (0)

Propaganda: p Machinery

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 12:31 PM

Ecce ancilla Domini

"Stillat min sjel": Wow.

Posted by the Flea at 12:29 PM

The Real World - Metropolis

Robot Chicken presents Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Catwoman and The Incredible Hulk in their own reality show. Catwoman: I am love you.

Posted by the Flea at 12:27 PM

Check out my MySpace

TechNewWorld claims that - for teens - MySpace.com is so last year.

MySpace recently eclipsed more traditional Web sites to become one of the Top 10 Internet destinations. The site has also raised concerns about user safety, thanks to several widely publicized incidents of cyberstalking.

However, the biggest social-networking spot may not stay on top for long. Teens like Larios are increasingly finding other social networks that meet their needs -- and that aren't as well known to their parents.

For all I know they may be right. But who says this is for teens? In only a few days I have found networks of people who dress up as home-made superheroes, oddball Japanese electronic musicians and aspiring Russian models. I think we can form a consensus on the contribution this makes to the world (especially the last one).

Check out my MySpace Update: MySpace - THE MOVIE! explains the angles.

Posted by the Flea at 12:24 PM


You are LaFawnduh. Why are you so sweaty?

Which Napoleon Dynamite character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

This is about right.

Posted by the Flea at 12:21 PM | TrackBack (0)

May 26, 2006

Ashwariya Rai at Cannes


After the brief Ashwariya Rai scare of a couple days ago, and yesterday's "Ashwariya Rai car crash" traffic spike, it only makes sense to consider Ashwariya Rai at Cannes. Ahh, much better (via Modern Fabulosity who is now "rethinking the whole gay thing").

Posted by the Flea at 07:54 AM

Chicks on Speed ft. Peaches: We don't play guitars

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Liquid skies Update: Dave Clarke ft. Chicks On Speed with a little Bauhaus twist (hat tip to the Flea's Network Warfare Expert).

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Pixies: Hey

Heya all! Dancing stupid is fun. Yeah, I know, DARPA and all that. But this is pretty much what the internet was invented for.

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Forest in Winter

Agent Bedhead describes this Russo-Japanese Little Red Riding Hood adaptation as "utterly bizarre". I think The Forest in Winter is lovely. Until the snack-food ad part when it more or less loses me. Though I am definitely impatient for flavour so they have me there (via Jeff).

Posted by the Flea at 07:41 AM | Comments (2)


Bill thinks these Canterbury University ninja have "totally lame execution" but his kung-fu is so much weaker than my kung-fu that it is difficult to judge how seriously to take his opinion in these matters. I mean, he has 80,000 volts and I have over 2 million volts.

" You always, as a young man, want to be a ninja or a pirate. I guess we just made it a club and people thought, `That looks like fun'," he said. "There are clubs like the Lawsoc and Ensoc, but they are for law students and engineering students and you didn't have to be anything in it."

The website for the club, which went on its first group outing to central Christchurch pubs on Saturday, promises "the only thing cooler than your mum in this crazy world is a ninja".

And possibly pirates.

Posted by the Flea at 07:37 AM

Purchasing power patty

The twentieth anniversary of the Economist's Big Mac index suggests the Canadian dollar is currently slightly over-valued. Much as I had suspected.

The Economist's Big Mac index is based on one of the oldest concepts in international economics: the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), which argues that in the long run, exchange rates should move towards levels that would equalise the prices of an identical basket of goods and services in any two countries. Our “basket” is a McDonald's Big Mac, produced in around 120 countries. The Big Mac PPP is the exchange rate that would leave burgers costing the same in America as elsewhere.
Posted by the Flea at 07:33 AM

May 25, 2006

Beckham as Christ-figure


Towelroad is calling it "the scent of a metrosexual."

David Beckham enlisted Annie Leibowitz to shoot this dark and stormy ad for his new fragrance, Instinct. "The Real Madrid star obviously wanted to show a darker side to his character in the photo" said British tabloid Hello!. The Times online just this week ran a story lamenting that the Real Madrid footballer's star is on the wane, yet it also said that he's the "perhaps the closest thing that modern Britain has to a Messiah figure."

"'Beckham the brand is all about salvation, redemption, even resurrection,' Carlton Brick, of the politics and sociology faculty at the University of Paisley, said. 'It is not me saying that Beckham is a pseudo Christ-like figure but it is how he is often portrayed and it is how he portrays himself.'"

Quite right. At least something like this was on my mind when I rushed to the Instinct display at Shoppers Drug Mart (where they do an excellent deal on whole milk in the grocery section). I am sorry to report the cologne is an inoffensive citrous-based affair with nothing in particular to commend it to me.* That said, the packaging is impressive with the first magnetic stopper I have encountered. I was also pleased to note a horizontal wrinkle across Beckham's forehead. A figure of lesser stature might have been tempted to PhotoShop that sort of thing into non-existence.

*Instinct is a concoction of orange, mandarin, Italian bergamot and white amber fragrances; presumably synthetic. Not for me. I wear Penhaligon's Love Potion No.9 whose top notes of hand-squeezed bergamot, orange, lemon and mandarin, while a superficially similar list, are offset by sandalwood and vetiver as well as amber in the base notes. It is a totally different product not only for this choice of base scents but because Penhaligon's uses proper ingredients. I would be astonished if Beckham ever wore his own branded product by Coty.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM | Comments (9)

Lady Sovereign & Ordinary Boys: 9 To 5

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. More Lady Sovereign musical stylings at MySpace (hint hint).

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

No this is not an Onion feature

Yes, there was the time his team - and those Indian airforce pilots - risked their lives to save him and he would like to think people would stop to save him again and he understands there are moral issues here and hobbling over a dying man to get to the summit of Everest might make it a "hollow victory" thereby harshing his buzz BUT Climbing Everest is "an egotistical thing to do."

Everest is said to be littered with corpses. In my 30 years of climbing, I never saw a dead body on a mountain but I know I would have found it deeply shocking to have been brought so close to the prospect of my own death in this way. Objectively, climbers accept their mortality - but there is an inevitable element of self-deception and self-belief at play: subjectively, they don't think it will happen to them.

Not to worry, Stephen Venables. After reading this nasty little screed I would not piss on you if you were on fire.

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

Conspicuous compassion

Charlie Brooker considers celebrity activism. It may be some people are too annoying to save the world (via K-Punk).

Faced with a photo of a fly-encrusted child, the natural reaction should be to reach out and help. Instead, I start hearing Bono and Coldplay in my head. It's the most mind-mangling act of branding in history. I agree with what they are saying - I just wish THEY weren't saying it. How can I open my wallet while my fists are curled with rage?
Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

Truth in advertising


"Meet these girls from your area!" is what the ad said. But when I clicked through was Radie 25/f anywhere to be found? She was not. I should have been made suspicious by the Lara Croft outfit. But one lives in hope.

Posted by the Flea at 07:11 AM

May 24, 2006

Ashwariya Rai RIP

11:14 a.m. Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai has been killed in a car crash. This is very sad news (hat tip to the Sister of the Flea).

So far all I am looking at is a "breaking" report from BBC Report (Global) and nothing yet on the Google news aggregator. Some bad spelling here so this is a possible hoax (let us hope). Will update here as news comes in.

11:23 a.m. The story has been picked up by Global Associated News. Not an obviously reputable source. "(did someone get you with a fake story? - it's just a joke!)"

This is somebody's idea of a joke. Not funny.

Posted by the Flea at 10:23 AM | Comments (1)

Les Rita Mitsouko: C'est comme ça

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:23 AM

2401: A Jack Odyssey

Dorkafork's 24 historical series continues with 2401: A Jack Odyssey.

Posted by the Flea at 10:19 AM

Backward Films - Films Backward

The Awful Forums run some famous films backwards (via Dodgeblogium).

Battle Royale
Two young Japanese children go around shooting corpses with a reanimation gun. Then they all go back to school and one particularly helpful young man removes a knife from his teacher's buttock.

That's Royale Battle, surely.

Posted by the Flea at 10:17 AM

Writing Is Easy!

According to Steve Martin, writing is especially easy in California.

I would like to recommend that all writers live in California, because here, in between those moments when one is looking into the heart of a rose, on can look up at the calming blue sky. I feel sorry for writers - and there are some pretty famous ones - who live in places like South American and Czechoslovakia, where I imagine it gets pretty dank. These writers are easy to spot. Their books are often filled with disease and negativity. If you're going to write about disease, I would say California is the place to do it. Dwarfism is never funny, but look at what happened when it was dealt with in California. Seven happy dwarfs. Can you imagine seven dwarfs in Czechoslovakia? You would get seven melancholic dwarfs at best - seven melancholic dwarfs and no handicap-parking spaces.
Posted by the Flea at 10:15 AM

Unemployed Skeletor

Say what you like about MySpace but there is some amazing culture happening out there. For example, Unemployed Skeletor (with pink slip fist action!!!). You would never get that on the regular internets.

What can I say about me? Well I once ruled the entire planet Eternia.That only lasted for about 2 weeks,because He-Man went to the planet Earth and got help from Cortney Cox(suffice to say "Friends" is my least favorite sitcom) and a bald cop. Shortly there after I recieved my first pink slip(posted in the blog section)shortly there after I recieved another one.Why? Well the first pink slip was due to the fact that the cartoon was cancelled.Cartoon? Heh,don't they realize that this is a real war that has been going on for centuries!

Check out the Flea at MySpace!

Posted by the Flea at 10:14 AM

May 23, 2006

Command performance


Dita Von Teese is to perform striptease for the Beckhams. Not so much news as a visual image, I admit.

"The party has a slightly naughty theme and Victoria and David just feel that Dita will be perfect." The fetish model, who recently married risque rocker Marilyn Manson, has reportedly been told that nothing is forbidden. The source added: "She's well known for her outlandish on-stage routines so guests can expect a few whips to be flying around. The do is already the highlight of the showbiz calendar, and David and Victoria are making sure it's a night to remember."
Posted by the Flea at 09:48 AM

The Birthday Massacre: Blue

This really is a masterpiece so I am going to play it again. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Check out the Flea at MySpace!

Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM

The all-purpose Muzak of modern life

Clive Adams considers the huge a gulf separates rap from the best pop music. He can say what he likes. Chacarron is growing on me.

We’re not supposed to say things like this, obviously. Admitting to disliking hip-hop is, we are told, a sure sign that you have entered middle age. But it’s not necessarily so, is it? I thought rap had run out of steam when I was 23, yet I never grow tired of discovering new musicians from the realm of world music or — less often, admittedly — jazz. I love Motown and blues too. After journeying through those soundscapes, listening to the latest rap hit is like being invited for a five-course dinner at the local Burger King.
Posted by the Flea at 09:40 AM

Forewarned is forearmed (but eight-armed is better)

At first glance robotic tentacles seem like a very bad idea future-of-the-human-species-wise. But if you factor in the potential Dr. Octopus-suits it is a fair trade.

Most robots rely on mechanical gripping jaws that have difficulty grabbing large or irregularly shaped objects. Replacing these with tentacle-like manipulators could make robots more nimble and flexible, say the scientists.
Posted by the Flea at 09:37 AM

The truth is out there

My favourite idiot conspiracy theory about September 11, 2001 was related to me by a self-described aviation expert. She claimed to have calculated the flight times for USAF F-19s from their bases and determined a shoot-down order must have been executed against Flight 93. Sadly, I doubt the fact that F-19s do not exist dented her belief in her expertise once said fact was pointed out to her. Even so, I hope she had the minimal sense to amend this pesky detail the next time she decided to make a mockery of common sense, the memory of the dead and her own precarious credibility.

With the release of video from the attack on the Pentagon the barking of moonbats once again echoes across the internets. Thank goodness for Popular Mechanics.

To investigate 16 of the most prevalent claims made by conspiracy theorists, Popular Mechanics assembled a team of nine researchers and reporters who, together with PM editors, consulted more than 70 professionals in fields that form the core content of this magazine, including aviation, engineering and the military.

In the end, we were able to debunk each of these assertions with hard evidence and a healthy dose of common sense. We learned that a few theories are based on something as innocent as a reporting error on that chaotic day. Others are the byproducts of cynical imaginations that aim to inject suspicion and animosity into public debate. Only by confronting such poisonous claims with irrefutable facts can we understand what really happened on a day that is forever seared into world history.

Two thoughts. First, it is sad that any of this should have be spelled out though, to paraphrase a wise man, the stupid will always be with us. Second is something said to me by every fire safety professional I came across in my former consulting life with reference to steel construction: Don't trust a truss (pdf file).

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) review of available documents related to the design and construction of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers indicated that the fire performance of the composite floor system of the WTC towers was an issue of concern to the building owners and designers from the original design and throughout the service life of the buildings. However, no fire resistance tests of the WTC floor system were ever conducted.

Let us be perfectly clear about something. It is difficult to conceive how any commercial structure could have survived direct hits at speed by an almost fully fuelled passenger aircraft; in this case passenger aircraft that were larger than any in service at the time the WTC was designed. That said, it should not be unreasonable to assume, to take absolutely for granted, that the WTC designers, builders and owners would have conducted such tests. Or failing them, that some combination of municipal, state and federal regulation and oversight would insist they do so.

And this right here is an important reason for the popularity of conspiracy theories. They are often more reassuring than the truth. Many people would rather believe (even a sinister) cabal knows what is going on than face facts: So much of what we rely on is criminally half-assed.

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

May 22, 2006

Robert Cary-Williams in armchair outside next to pet cow Francis Bacon watching tv


Agent Anonym has been making gloves under the Glovedup label since 2001. I am particularly impressed with her bespoke work for the Spring Summer 2006 London Fashion Week catwalk show of the Flea-ish Robert Cary-Williams' .

Leather sleeve stitched with wire and fastened with rusty hardware found in Hackney Wick car park, and chain tassel. "ROBERT CARY WILLIAMS" anagram: "LIBERTY IS AMORAL RCW" is stamped into sleeve.

Canadian Flea-readers will most likely have been introduced to the Robert Cary-Williams oeuvre through the designer's guest appearance on Project Catwalk (Ep. 8: "Rags to Riches"). I love his smart deconstruction; he somehow manages to make his clothes look equally expensive and post-apocalyptic. Just what we will all need in the coming days of Manbearpig.

Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM


The Belinda Carlisle Story has the Charlotte Church Walkers crisps ad update.

Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM

Pizzicato Five: Tout Va Bien


It turns out Victoria Beckham's purple-afro/stripey-leggings look for Vanidad was not as original as I had thought. William Baker: You are so busted! Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

While "Tout Va Bien" was released in 1992, future Beckham by Baker may now be perused at YouTube. Call it a hunch. I fancy the look of the '60s number in Twiggy Twiggy, everything including the dance moves from Darlin' of Discotheque's space-age Barbie and the hat, dress and striped* gloves from Baby Portable Rock.

*Pronounced strip-ED. As in, "Try one of the little striped ones, Mums."

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM

Naked in Newquay

Jamie Oliver is opening another Fifteen location. This one is in sunny Newquay.* Sterling chap that Oliver.

Television's "Naked Chef" is officially a saint already, of course. He took on the ghastly school-food industry with his School Dinners series last year, exposing the Turkey Twizzlers "menace" and shaming the Government into providing an extra £280 million towards the cost of pupils' meals.

Last Sunday he picked up two Bafta awards for his efforts. As a follow-up, his new restaurant in Cornwall doesn't seem at first to be a grand enough project to capitalise on the immense public goodwill Oliver enjoys, or to pack enough "kerpow". The restaurant's birth pangs are not even being televised.

*Now known as Kensington-on-Sea.

Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM

The Mounties get their men

The first same-sex marriage in the history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has not passed without comment and not all of it friendly. Fortunately, this Halifax Chronicle Herald report suggests Const. Jason Tree and Const. David Connors are not bothered.

Asked if the publicity about their marriage will bring derision on them, Const. Tree said Mounties have thick skin.

"That’s nothing new. People insult you all the time. ... "Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, and I don’t have a problem if people have that opinion as long as they keep it within the proper realm."

They do not mind the jokes either; including the obvious Brokeback Mounties reference.

"I’ve heard that, and it’s funny," Const. Connors said.

On a tangential note: You can have a Gay Mountie of your very own by pouring two-thirds of a glass of Canadian whisky over ice, add one and a half ounces of sweet vermouth, one ounce of Amaretto and one ounce of Yukon Jack. Stir, add a cherry and you are ready to go.

Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM

May 20, 2006

Ladytron: Evil (Remix)


What's up, Ladytron? Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Maximum Update: Following on from that Maxim hottest women of the world conversation I should have totally added Helena Marnie. She is like Chloë Sevigny, also inexcusably missing from the Maxim list, but even more so. Consider also Ladytron live at the Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, 05 Mar 2003. Thanks, CBC!

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM

Because the world needs more Warcraft

A live-action Warcraft movie is in the works. It is an open question whether the gamers will tear themselves away from the internets long enough to see it.

Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM

So-called District B13

If people would learn to read subtitles I would not have to endure mangled film titles like District B13. "District B13" my ass. That makes no sense whatsoever.

It is not only the title that is a problem. The problem is needing an English-language version of Banlieue 13 in the first place. The trailer itself looks promising but then who could have anticipated the horror that would be the Day of the Jackal remake? No wait, the original for that one was English. Hmm, so was The Saint. And The Avengers come to think of it though at least in that case it was a translation of a television series to film. What I am thinking of are English-language remakes of J-horror, mostly.* Excepting The Ring which, if not as frightening as Ringu, was still quite well done. Even the juiced up special effects were not the usual distraction.


Should at least try to know what I am talking about Update: So this isn't a remake? Hmm. "District B13" still sounds terrible.

Posted by the Flea at 09:15 AM

X-Men: The Last Stand preview

PooterGeek has an advance look at the screenplay for the latest installment in the X-Men film franchise.

A blasted heath on the edge of a backlit forest. Low clouds of mist lap around a natural arena. A figure strides over a hillock into view. It is IAN MCKELLEN. He is wearing a very silly helmet and matching cape. He is in possession of a KNIGHTHOOD and an enormous cheque.

IAN MCKELLEN: Patrick! I know you’re in there. This isn’t a soliloquy, you know. I’ve come to kick some luvvie arse and it’s your surprisingly-toned-for-their-age buttocks I intend to apply my built-up supervillain boots to.
Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM

There's no "me" in MySpace

For two days in a row now some administrator chap named "Tom" at MySpace has left an automatic message saying file uploads are suspended until 11:00 p.m.; this because they have a backlog from yesterday.

Upload Song

05/20/2006: Music uploads will be down until 11:00pm tonight. We got backlogged and we're processing all the MP3s that were uploaded yesterday. Thx for your patience. - Tom

Frustrating enough and not even a clue whether this is 11 p.m. here in the east or over there on the Pacific. Now, this was bad enough last night but last night I could always reflect that tomorrow was another day. This being tomorrow and finding the message is the same - excepting an updated date - I must find some new reserve of patience. Unless, of course, the problem lasts all weekend or something awful like that. Is this a common problem with MySpace?

Will look at this MySpace music video by way of substitute for file uploading. Even better is the MySpace Song (nsfw language).

Posted by the Flea at 09:08 AM

May 19, 2006

Fischerspooner: Never Win (Mirwais Remix)

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

Sci-Fi Spelling Bee

My toast is always talking to me too.

Posted by the Flea at 09:19 AM

Sex slave cults of Gor

Durham Police have reportedly uncovered a sex slave cult "based on a series of 1960s science fiction novels." Seeing as this must have taken them approximately one click on the internets for "Gorean" and in the end no charges were laid I am not certain what the point of this BBC piece might be beyond rubber-necking voyeurism. An excellent Flea-post, in other words.

The group, called Kaotians, follow the Chronicles of Gor novels which depict a society where women are dominated.
Kaotians are a splinter group of the Goreans, which base their beliefs on novels written by American university professor John Norman. The books are set on the quasi-medieval planet of Gor, which has a caste system and uses women as slaves. There are an estimated 25,000 Goreans worldwide.

Kaotians: Splitters! Seriously, we have tens of millions of women who cannot leave their home without the permission of a male relative but the Beeb and the constabulary expend their effort on the sf nerd version of bdsm. Priorities, people. Though I am left wondering what the theological differences might be between mainstream Goreans and schismatic Kaotians.

Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM | Comments (5)

May 18, 2006

Jentina: Bad Ass Strippa ("Live")

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

The other Queen of Chavs Update: Jentina: Will you marry me?

Posted by the Flea at 10:21 AM | Comments (3)


There are times when the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

Posted by the Flea at 10:19 AM

Thrill of the joystick

The Beeb discovers E3 booth babes and worries at a specific lack of interactivity (via Alan).

Two curious moments at the electronic entertainment expo in Los Angeles reinforced the point. One was a fascinating display of courage, skill, agility, fitness and imagination: a skateboarder flying out of a man-made canyon, risking broken bones if not broken neck to perform stunning stunts for the cameras.

Another was a raw, rhythmic presentation by a troupe of female dancers. Dressed in designer-torn clothing and body paint, they played on the most basic instincts to attract attention to their display.

On both occasions there was a video screen in the background, replicating through computer graphics what human beings could do in the flesh.

The BBC frets that the E3 crowd were more interested in the video games than the promotional stunts. This, it should be noted, at a video game exhibition. I can only conclude from this anxiety that for a substantial part of our self-appointed betters bitching is the first and last line of flight. Let's say the punters were paying more attention to the booth babes than the video games. "Ahh," they would hector us, "people are being sold on the (sexist) sales pitch instead of the product." Then something about commodification. But when presumably hard-up-for-sex gamers ignore the booth babes this is also meant to be a catastrophe. According to the BBC the culture is at risk from too much self-gratification with the joysticks and not enough "blood to the muscles" from the vicarious booty.

Frankly, there is no winning with some people.

Posted by the Flea at 10:14 AM

May 17, 2006

And eat it too


With the slogan "Sweet Europe, let yourself be seduced...," and twenty-seven national cakes, many were sure to have been impressed by Europe Day this year. Provided, of course, they were invited to the party. "Let them eat cake," observes Dies Irae. The analogy is not strained (if lightly sugar-dusted).

The party starts with an open-air concert in Salzburg, where free Mozartkugel chocolates are handed out – to the invited audience of EU delegates, of course, not the hoi-polloi, who have to content themselves with the honour of paying for them all through their taxes.

Surely no better metaphor for the EU could be imagined that the sight of hundreds of tax-fattened parasites rolling around a palace hoovering up cake. By dinnertime, every one of Salzburg’s emergency wards is clogged with critical cases of severe butterfat poisoning.

This handy "Sweet Europe" pamphlet means the event may be celebrated in the homes of non-functionaries everywhere. Though British shortbread, Belgian waffles and Bulgarian rice pudding are all most probably stretching the definition of "cake" beyond whatever European regulations govern the subject.

Posted by the Flea at 07:34 AM | Comments (14)

Kode9 feat. Spaceape: 9 Samurai

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

South London Update: Also, Burial's "Unite unfin...". Exquisite.

Posted by the Flea at 07:31 AM

I think this one is Sloth

Presumably due to the suckage that was the teaser trailer, Michael Mann has another go at selling an anxious world on his forthcoming Miami Vice film. The new trailer is better but is still less convincing than Vice City.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM | Comments (5)

The world can always use more good reporters

This is what they tell Clark Kent at least and I can only say: Here's hoping. Less than hopeful is the latest trailer for the Superman Returns film franchise reboot. Kevin Spacey was born to play Lex Luthor, the Fortress of Solitude certainly feels right and the Christopher Reeve Superman leitmotif orchestral flourish lends the whole project a nostalgic glow. These are substantial building blocks for the Superman legend. And yet I am left wondering why we need yet another retelling of this story given the excellence of small-screen Smallville. Worse yet, the trailer is boring. Brian Singer, you've got some 'splaining to do! Especially if you are even thinking of touching Logan's Run.

Marvel Multiverse Update: Dell sponsors a "sneak peek" at X-Men: The Last Stand. Which is very nice of them. I have not watched it myself due to not needing to re-sit through seven minutes of the film if and when I go to see it.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

No no no

I read about Tony Stark when I was kid. Tony Stark was a comic book hero of mine. Tom Cruise: You are no Tony Stark.

Rumors have resurfaced that the couch-jumping Scientologist is again mulling a star turn as "Iron Man." Jon Favreau just signed to develop and direct the flick, to be produced by Marvel Comics' new movie arm, about a billionaire industrialist who fights crime in a super-powered suit.
Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

Canadian values

I watched That '70s Show yesterday and it turned out the closed-captioning was sponsored by McDonald's Double Cheeseburger which is part of their new Value Menu, apparently. That right there is news to me (though I think Porchboy said something about it a few weeks ago).

Some people say you can't learn anything from television. Those people are wrong. Still, the box failed to mention these new Values mean the end of McDeals, i.e. the only reason I ever set foot in the place. That would be on Fridays for the McFish deal, mostly.*

More than I bargained for Update: Andrew Teman discovers hot man on sandwich action. Also, this is what a McDonald's Double Cheeseburger supposedly looks like in New Zealand. I call shenanigans. Has anyone seen a Kiwi double cheeseburger in the flesh (burger may not contain actual flesh)?


Freaky. Maybe it's the weird upside-down gravity you people have at that end of the planet. Ours look more like this.


Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM | Comments (3)

May 16, 2006

Mork plays Spore

My ongoing irritation with Robin Williams finds a precarious balance with my growing love of Spore.

Posted by the Flea at 09:12 AM

Jimmy Edgar: LBLB Detroit

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (nsfw/groovy).

Posted by the Flea at 09:09 AM | TrackBack (0)

Philips Bodygroom

I am amazed Philips thinks the extra inch illusion is a clever marketing strategy. Such is the world we now find ourselves in.

Posted by the Flea at 09:08 AM

Amoto quaeramus seria ludo

All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?* Python-alum, Terry Jones asks what the Romans ever did for Britain. It is not the answer most Python fans would expect.

The fact that we still think of the Celts, the Huns, the Vandals, the Goths and so on as "barbarians" means that we have all fallen hook, line and sinker for Roman propaganda. We actually owe far more to the so-called "barbarians" than we do to the men in togas.

Which is a fine contrarian position thought completely unsupported by his subsequent argument, pace a handful of wooden roads to nowhere.

*Oh, peace - shut up!

Posted by the Flea at 09:04 AM

The comments scene

3:35 pm EST Update: Thanks to everyone - you all know who you are! - who wrote to ask/observe that my comments are once again on the blink. I am meditating on this very subject.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (4)

May 15, 2006

Mylène Farmer: Que mon coeur lâche

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

Step inside the Da Vinci Code

Having kept a "faintly disdainful distance" from Dan Brown's airport opus, the Louvre is now set to cash in with a "Step Inside the Da Vinci Code" audio tour. At €10 this cuts off the private tours at the knees without Louvre management needing to sacrifice any of their contempt for their audience. C'est bon!

"One of our goals is to attract people who are not used to museums," said Didier Selles, the general administrator of the Louvre, who has read the book. "We want to reach people from blue-collar families and the suburbs. We have to talk and speak to a general public in a way that is not so academic."
Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM

Opus Dei Wow!

Images of Opus Dei headquarters have been removed from Dan Brown's website gallery "until further notice." Given that Da Vinci director Ron Howard has refused to add a disclaimer to his film I expect the disappearing HQ photos have more to do with corporate sensitivity than a globe-spanning conspiracy to supress the truth about the life of Jesus.

In fact, Jack Valero, the communications director for the UK branch of Opus Dei, has gone all New Labour with spin. "Operation Transparency" is meant to put a human face on what until recently been a private, even secretive, endeavour. After all, you could not buy the sort of publicity.

Once the whipping boy of progressive Catholics, long unfairly associated with shadowy Spanish politics and Vatican intrigues, the face of Opus Dei is now Valero’s: cheery, energetic, transparent, as open as its doors. You want to meet a supernumerary musician with twins in Notting Hill? No problem. Discuss mortification with a celibate numerary? Sure!

Whipping boy, get it? Corporal mortification may sound kinky but Opus Dei explains how it is quite boring really.

Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM

May 13, 2006

Freedom Tower folly


Penn and Teller bring us up to speed on the design and rebuilding at Ground Zero (nsfw language). This version cuts through the nonsensical, fragmentary accounts I have heard to this point. For example, about a year and a half ago I watched a documentary sympathetic to the Libeskind corner that made no mention of a small problem with his initial Freedom Tower design. That problem being it could not be built which, in retrospect, is blindingly obvious barring the invention of Buckytubes or transparent duranium. So, thanks to Lime Shurbet for finding it.

This is all important stuff. But the observation that will stick with me from Penn and Teller is simple: After disaster, people keep doing what they do. Just more so. Except in the case of these two comedians, apparently. Why it should take them to sum up the mess in Lower Manhattan is beyond me but this is a far better example of "speaking truth to power" than most. After watching this I am certain to include Majestic Pizza in a future pilgrimage.

Posted by the Flea at 04:21 PM | Comments (1)

Underworld: Born Slippy

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 03:51 PM | TrackBack (0)

The West Wing is over

But is this the last time someone is going to tell me the show was "like a shadow cabinet" to the Bush administration as if it was the first time anyone had ever said it? Probably not.

Posted by the Flea at 03:47 PM


The Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs DiamondTouch table is a "multi-user, debris-tolerant, touch-and-gesture-activated screen for supporting small group collaboration." Also, you can play WarCraft.

Posted by the Flea at 03:44 PM | TrackBack (0)

Novo Table

Wanting this Novo Infotainment Table too.

Novotable is a unique, interactive games table that incorporates a 32" LCD touch screen, PC and games console. You can engage in almost any multimedia activity you can think of from online poker to watching the match.
Posted by the Flea at 03:43 PM | TrackBack (0)


It turns out the terrifying robotic mule featured in an earlier Flea-warning of the coming War With the Machines is called BigDog; "the alpha male of the Boston Dynamics family of robots." I don't think Kirk's logic games are going to work on this puppy.

It is a quadruped robot that walks, runs, and climbs on rough terrain and carries heavy loads. BigDog is powered by a gasoline engine that drives a hydraulic actuation system. BigDog's legs are articulated like an animal’s, and have compliant elements that absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next. BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule, measuring 1 meter long, 0.7 meters tall and 75 kg weight.
Posted by the Flea at 03:41 PM | TrackBack (0)

May 12, 2006

Much more sensible than drinking from her shoe


Rumour has it the classic Coupe de champagne was first modelled on Madame de Pompadour's breast. Sadly, it turns out this particular champagne glass not only precedes her but is not even French. That's one more in the British design column... result!

Such is the English obsession that it is no surprise to me that four of the top five Google Trends returns for "corset" should originate in the UK. What Tehren is doing in the top spot is another matter. I am on a fact-finding mission of another kind with this post, however, and need to ask Flea-readers to be not distracted by the vision of Sophia Myles (that's So-PHI-a, btw) as Madame de Pompadour in the latest Dr. Who episode, "The Girl in the Fireplace".

What I am after is this tie.


I was thinking to write to the good folks at the Beeb but judging by their faq they are not likely to be terribly helpful. Too many people asking the same questions.

Where can I get clothes I've seen in the series from?

David Tennant's costume was especially designed and made - except for the trainers! Most of Billie Piper's outfits are also made by the BBC costume department. Christopher Eccleston's leather jacket was found in a second-hand clothes store. It's very old, and we don't know who made it, we're afraid.

Which is a bit silly considering the merchandising opportunities. Certainly better than a talking Dalek tie. My best guess at this point is Jean-Paul Gaultier though it is possible Vivienne Westwood has got all swirly during my Annexian exile. If anyone should happen to be friendly with BBC Wales wardrobe people I would be grateful if you would put in a word.

Time and relative dimension in space Update: Now wanting my own broken-down Type 40 TARDIS for the garden.

More top trends Update: Harry Hutton considers some further Google Trends results.

Posted by the Flea at 10:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Pet Shop Boys: I'm With Stupid

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:53 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Rohan Theatre Band

I am skeptical of any comparison to Tom Waits let alone a combination of "Schubert, Tom Waits, Edgar Allan Poe and Fiddler on the Roof." But then the Rohan Theatre Band hooked me (via Warren Ellis).

Posted by the Flea at 09:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

E3 2K6 Sony Press Conference

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Electronic Arts, Larry Probst introduces the special relationship between EA and Sony at E3. That and two demos showcasing the Playstation 3. Impressive. Though one can't help but feel it would be simpler to just go play basketball.

Much better is the new trailer for EA's Spore. Here realism is an emergent property of the game universe instead of something achieved by crossing your fingers and maxing out the graphics. Though graphics-wise Battlefield 2142 also looks promising.

Posted by the Flea at 09:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Perceptics made easy

Time for me to work on undercutting my gradient. Even reading about the Scientology "Super Power" program* makes my sense of importance/unimportance tingle. It's working already! A Socialite's Life has a complete list of L. Ron Hubbard's other perceptics. It is a shame Matt Feshbach turns out to be so unlike his rebellious television persona.

*Wikipedia has details - such as they are - about the super fantastic but confidential Super Power Rundown. Remember: Scientologists have the right to vote!

Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Bicycle Ride

250 mics is a fairly big hit; approximately twice the reported average dosage of 100 to 125 µg in the mid-1980s. "Don't touch me, I'm a grape!"*

This animated short, "The Bicycle Ride," is a fanciful depiction of Dr. Albert Hofmann's discovery of LSD. This cartoon was debuted at the "LSD Symposium" held in honor of Albert Hofmann's 100th birthday in Basel, Switzerland.

*A little "in" joke there.

Posted by the Flea at 09:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 11, 2006

Finish the fight


Bungie Studies has finally announced the secret project that has been occupying their time. There is a trailer. In real-time rendering. Oh yes.

Bungie announces Halo 3, the third and final game in the Halo Trilogy. Halo 3 will be released for Microsoft's Xbox 360 in 2007. ...

Nobody saw it coming. Halo 3! Who knew? For the last year or two, people have speculated about what our next project was and surprisingly, in all that time, not a single person guessed that it would be Halo 3. Not one.
Posted by the Flea at 10:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Olivia Newton John: Xanadu

Before there was Kylie... Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Camp as Christmas Update: Just spotted Miriam Makeba "Pata Pata" on the YouTube sidebar. Turn up those speakers!

Camper than Christmas Update: "Gimme Some Lovin'", "Landslide" and "Physical" which is so far over the top "camp" is an understatement. Clearly something in the water in Australia.

Posted by the Flea at 10:23 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)


Flea is blogging.

Posted by the Flea at 10:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

Internet "addiction"

We will duck the internet in the water... if she floats the internet is a witch! Burn her!!*

*Waiting for the internet to dry off first will produce best results.

Posted by the Flea at 10:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

A close shave

Writing for Christianity Today, Andy Crouch considers the merits of "wet shaving" (hat tip to A Former Servant of Her Majesty). This article made a convert out of me. My new implacable Merkur Croma razor is so fearsomely sharp I have had to re-learn how to shave because it is actually doing the business the way it is supposed to be done. Especially first thing in the morning.

There are two ways to look at this moment. You can say that no one in his right mind should wield a double-edged razor half-asleep. Or you can say that no one in his right mind can stay half-asleep when he picks up a double-edged razor. Here is what invariably happens: as I swirl the brush in the tub of Trumper's Sandalwood Shaving Cream, as I scrub my face gently with the brush, covering it with fragrant lather, as I apply the razor at an acute angle to my cheek next to my right ear, I suddenly become gloriously awake. Ten minutes into my day, I am paying utmost attention.


Posted by the Flea at 10:14 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 10, 2006

This is your brain

This is your brain on Flea.

Posted by the Flea at 09:22 AM | TrackBack (0)


SondraK updates the ongoing language controversy surrounding the American national anthem.

Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Deleterious Effects of "Internet" Pornography Upon the Moral and Psychic Development of Young Men (Young Women Being Above Such Things): A Personal View

Much of the Drake's alchohol and edamame had been consumed in the course of discussing a new business venture with a Toronto blogger of note* when the subject of pornography and the "internet" was raised. To whit; is the combination of a bewildering variety of pornographic imagery and ready internet access a problematical combination for young men?

Too right it is! Or such was our consensus. The problem is not porn per se but its all too ready availability. Those of us of a certain age may vividly remember the illicit thrill of securing a dog-eared copy of some dodgy magazine. This was perhaps all the more thrilling when we were too young to properly appreciate the point of said publications. We felt a profound sense of accomplishment both in having secured proof of our resourcefulness and in demonstrating our independence in a minor act of rebellion.

A rudimentary skill at Google searches hardly compares to the contraband networks of the (fairly recent) past. By contrast, seekers after internet porn are spoiled for choice. Where is the challenge? It is now far too easy to find porn. This ease of access presents problems cognate with questions raised by ontogeny and phylogeny. As our nervous systems evolved in the context of foraging societies in what is now the east African plain so too do our individual nervous systems develop in one of the diverse social and technological contexts of today. Practice makes perfect. Lacking the context to hone our hunting skills it is small surprise if they should lapse; even fail. An "Eden of pornography" where any old smut is found ready-to-hand on a low-hanging branch may sound idyllic. But it is an elastic waistband for the soul.

Compare, if you will, the world of the furtive Google searcher with that of his Paleolithic ancestor. For the latter, pornography meant a hardscrabble clamber into an ill-lit cave of the Ardèche for some quick "hunting magic". For the former, (at most) remembering to clear the history cache. It could be that an ability to leave no tracks on the web presents sufficient parallel with our hunting past to enable healthy neurological development. Time will tell. This is a psychological experiment on a grand scale with no way to predict its outcome and little recognition it is even underway.

Which brings me to YouTube and an emergent problem. It is one which would already be non-sensical to the young. There was a time when a trip to Toronto (or whatever your local metropolis) meant a rare opportunity to forage for all the alternate media much whispered about but never seen. Stores like Suspect and Pages had small-market, cult press music, art and politics publications and a handful of record stores on Queen West provided a life-line to mythic London.** Now a link to an interview with Genesis P-Orridge leads me to a live performance of "Discipline" by Throbbing Gristle, Coil's "The Lost Rivers of London" and a Clock DVA video for a tune called "Resistance" I had never heard of let alone heard before. One is spoiled for choice.

I am, of course, delighted to be able to see these things. A world where this material is available is measurably better than a world where it is lost. Perhaps especially so for people who by choice or happenstance have no access to the specialty stores a metropolitan market may support. Yes, mass literacy and the printing press are better than a handful of recovered manuscripts under lock and key. Yet something of the treasure hunt and pilgrimage functions of this lack may be lost to us. Consequences, consequences.

*Who shall remain nameless for reasons that should be obvious.
**People still stop me on the street when I wear the treasured, threadbare Skinny Puppy shirt I bought on Granville in Vancouver twenty years ago.

Posted by the Flea at 09:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

Industrial Music for Industrial People

Comments to Throbbing Gristle's "Psychic Rally in Heaven" clear up the origin of the term "industrial music".

Sleeve note to The Industrial Records Story 1976-1981 says "TG themselves decided to call the label Industrial Records Limited ........ It was Monte Cazazza who suggested the slogan Industrial Music for Industrial People". And the album has an SPK track on too!

It is remarkable how distinctive anything directed by Derek Jarmen looks even after decades of imitators. Time for another look at "The Queen is Dead" by the Smiths.

Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 09, 2006

K9 and Company


I am not giving away too much to Flea-readers waiting on season two of the Doctor Who reboot in saying I was wondering how Russell T would bring back K9. When last we saw him, K9 rolled off into E-Space with Romana. Or so I thought.

It turns out I was thinking of K9 Mark 2. His first iteration was long gone with Leela by the time his successor left with Romana. The even newer Mark 3 model was befriended by yet another Who companion, Sarah Jane Smith. These two got on so famously, in fact, that they inspired a short-lived series, "K9 and Company".

Somehow I had never heard of, let alone seen, the show and consequently have mistakenly described Torchwood as the first ever Dr. Who spin-off. Let us hope Captain Jack does a better job of carrying the torch than K9 and Sarah Jane Smith. Despite excellent ratings the introduction of a grouchy new BBC One channel controller meant the show only aired a single episode. Thanks to YouTube I am delighted to point to "A Girl's Best Friend" in its entirety. The theme music is particularly excellent.

Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

VNV Nation: Legion

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM | TrackBack (0)

Rainbow at Elam Bend

If there is an Elvish word for rainbow they had something like this in mind.

"There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach."

Of course there is Update: The internets reveal the Noldorin and Quenya words for rainbow.

N eilian(w) “rainbow”, compare Q helyanwe; literally “sky-bridge” (V:360, 400)
Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 08, 2006

Lilly Allen: LDN


Pretty much perfect! Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. Lots more Lillymusic here.

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM | TrackBack (0)

Either you're in or you're out

Jeff thinks it is time for me to come out of the closet. Fun fact: Jeff saw Abba live. That was in 1979, btw.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

La bandera de las estrellas

This sheet music for La bandera de las estrellas was published for the U.S. Bureau of Education in 1919.

Amanece: ¿no veis, a la luz de aurora,
Lo que tanto aclamamos la noche al caer?

I admit the lyrics miss a certain something in translation but a Spanish language version of the Star-Spangled Banner is not something I would go to the barricades over. North of the border, "O Canada" has only been the official anthem since 1980. And this being Canada our default position is to have an English, a French and even a bilingual version (usually the only way I can remember to sing it). Though frankly the anthem kicks considerably less ass in the English version than the French. In French we get to stride about the place carrying a sword and a cross having exploits.

O Canada! Land of our forefathers
Thy brow is wreathed with a glorious garland of flowers.
As in thy arm ready to wield the sword,
So also is it ready to carry the cross.
Thy history is an epic of the most brilliant exploits.

Thy valour steeped in faith
Will protect our homes and our rights
Will protect our homes and our rights.
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

The perils of popularity

Lisa Jardine points out a hidden pitful of English linguistic hegemony. I think I shall forward this one to the Académie française for comment. The BBC sums up the problem:

The British have never had much of a taste for learning foreign languages and as English becomes Europe's lingua franca, that stubbornness is starting to pay off. But if everyone else can speak English, what does that mean for our sense of identity?
Posted by the Flea at 08:39 AM | TrackBack (0)

Titan 1 ICBM missile base

This Titan 1 ICBM missile base might make a nice adjunct to the Castle. At least some parts of Washington state have better seaborne approaches than Kansas...

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Landing on Titan

Let's say you are a NASA publicity rep and need an angle to sex up some descent and landing footage for the Huygens probe. Finally, a use for that electric Pianosaurus mod!

Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 06, 2006



Long time rave and techno producer, Tiga Sontag has released his first solo album. Which makes him the next big thing, apparently. It is difficult to tell if "Sexor" is ironic, post-ironic or just unreconstructed dance music. I gather the man is adept at knowing when a fad has played itself out; an excellent talent to develop.

"I take it as a compliment," Tiga says during some rare downtime. "The most important thing is having the confidence to listen to your gut. We all know when something's not as good as it should be or as it was. At that time you have a choice - you keep going or you move on to something else that gives you that same exciting feeling."

Quite right. "You Gonna Want Me" gives just enough of that exciting feeling for a cubicle-free weekend.

Posted by the Flea at 10:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

Ani di Franco: Untouchable Face

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (nsfw chorus).

Posted by the Flea at 10:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Are you middle class?

If you are leaving comments at the BBC News website odds are the answer is an emphatic yes.

Posted by the Flea at 10:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Rosslyn reloaded

Rosslyn Chapel was a destination for Templar enthusiasts, Masons and anti-Masons long before Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code turned it into a hidden history tourist trap. People can find meaning in almost anything. This is thanks in large part to a nervous system evolved to infer patterns from a somewhat chaotic environment. It is small wonder Rosslyn should find itself at a nexus of geomantic and psychic inference; especially the kind that kind be transformed into mass-market paperback form. The Rosslyn Motet is a new spin on finding hidden significance in the Chapel's decor (via Warren Ellis).

For hundreds of years experts and visitors alike have puzzled over the carvings in the chapel. Whilst some debate whether they point to hidden treasure, Edinburgh composer Stuart Mitchell thinks he has cracked one part of the enigma.

He believes that the ornate ceiling of carved arches, featuring 213 decorated cubes holds a code for medieval music. His father Thomas Mitchell spent 20 years cracking this code in the ceiling and now Stuart is orchestrating the findings for a new recording called The Rosslyn Motet.

Cymatics or Chladni patterns, secret Arabic science and the Devil's Interval all feature. My first reaction is to dismiss the whole project as so much nonsense. But the Rosslyn Motet itself is lovely no matter how Mitchell came up with it. Plus I have learned a new word.

Posted by the Flea at 10:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

When quotation marks attack

I have yet to read The Da Vinci Code though I expect I will get around to it before seeing the film. This does not prevent me from enjoying the spittle flying hither and yon in the run up to the movie debut. Sometimes the critics do not do themselves any favours.

I could imagine readers of this book, including Catholics, falling into an infinite loop of doubt, asking, "But how do you know?" when someone tries to explain that the book is false regarding Catholicism. For example, the novel asserts that Jesus was not God, but fell in love and married Mary Magdalene and had a child with her, and from the very beginning the Church has sought to cover this up. Why? Critics of the Church would argue because it is a threat to the "male hierarchy's" "power base" and that the Church has a "negative" view of women and sexuality.

Nothing to see here folks! Certainly no male hierarchy with a negative view of women and sexuality!

Having not read the thing, it is my impression Opus Dei is subject to what may be actionable speculation in Dan Brown's airport-reading spectacular. It seems to me a more sensible line of argument would stick to specifics. A Jewish reading public would not be expected to put up with a best-selling Zionist conspiracy thriller so why should devout Catholics? This is not only a reasonable approach to addressing those who are "weak in faith" (surely an admirable goal). It is better tactics than drawing attention to the Holy See's weak hand in public relations when it comes to sex and sexuality.

See? Not just poking the Anglicans with a stick. Now looking for Quaker Da Vinci commentary.

Posted by the Flea at 10:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

May 05, 2006

Britain's favourite actress


Recently voted Britain's favourite actress, Billie Piper's enthusiasm, zest and other life-affirming qualities have an obvious appeal. Not that everyone is equally impressed. For example, the otherwise sensible Andrew Ian Dodge has an unaccountable prejudice against Billie Piper as the new "Who companion". Best ignore him in this case. After a handful of episodes David Tennant is the best Doctor Who ever. While he is a perfect fit for the part his success is largely due to Russell T Davis for reinventing the series with the sidekick as the hero.

The Flea is delighted to point to Piper's debut single, "Because We Want To" from her former pop-star life. Sure to produce a nervous tick at Dodgeblogium.

Here's Billie with darker hair with her mates. She beams down from a flying saucer (Daleks?) and off she goes dancing. Daleks beware as Billie seems to have glowing energy weapons in this video. Was this the inspiration for Miss Russell to pick Billie? Turn it out Miss Thang.....

Not to mention foreshadowing the killer wheelie-bin from the Doctor Who reboot debut.

Life-affirming Update: Jeff also has a bone to pick with Billie.

Billie Piper, the pop singer who plays Dr. Who's assistant Rose Tyler (aka the Bad Wolf), has inked a six figure deal to write her autobiography . She's 23. "It may sound ridiculous, but I've a few good stories I'd like to share. I'm hoping the book will be honest, funny, insightful &, above all, life-affirming." Oh piss off.
Posted by the Flea at 10:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

La Terremoto de Alcorcón: Time gous by con Loli

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

And no water birth either

Reports of Angelina Jolie's reprisal of her role as Lara Croft are in error, apparently. Shame.

Posted by the Flea at 10:47 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

An exquisite profile

The bikini turns 60 (via Tim Blair). Worth special attention is Felicity Withering-Gaze who has a perfectly wonderful profile. And no, I do not mean that in the Bertie Wooster sense.

Posted by the Flea at 10:45 AM | TrackBack (0)

Australian rules philosophy football

Australian behaviourists Peter Kelly and Christopher Hickey claim Michel Foucault's ideas may be usefully applied to understanding Australian Football League management (via Tim Blair). "The Ethics of the Concern for Self as a Practice of Freedom" and "Subjectivity and Truth" are particular inspirations, apparently.

Elsewhere, the business community has been, on the whole, slow to adopt Foucault's contributions to the philosophy of accounting. But the Australian Football League has built itself a platypus of a game by incorporating odd elements from the most unexpected places. It is unafraid to throw something different - even a dead French intellectual icon - into its business plans.
Posted by the Flea at 10:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Fatwa against false Jedi

The original, theatrical versions of the true Star Wars trilogy are to be released on dvd. The Flea considers lifting fatwa against George Lucas.*

'Over the years, a truly countless number of fans have told us that they would love to see and own the original versions that they remember experiencing in theaters,' said Jim Ward, President of LucasArts and Senior Vice President of Lucasfilm Ltd. 'We returned to the Lucasfilm Archives to search exhaustively for source material that could be presented on DVD. This is something that we're very excited to be able to give to fans in response to their continuing enthusiasm for 'Star Wars'.

This happy news arrives via Howie who can finally share the true experience with the next generation (if you will pardon the expression).

Now my son and I can spend some really important quality time doing a six episode Star Wars marathon. I'll never have to explain Episode V and VI again! And no kid, those are my toys at grandma's not yours.

*And decides against it. I am with Radosh: "I'm waiting for the next version, where Han Solo shoots George Lucas."

Posted by the Flea at 10:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 04, 2006

Lazy Sunday UK: We Drink Tea

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (nsfw language). PooterGeek explains.

British comedy is more sophisticated than television on this side of the Atlantic Update: Lighting aside, their Harry Potter effort is less likely to result in smashed monitor when you try to make it stop.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

College of musical knowledge

I would be grateful if informed Flea-readers could let me know the name/artist of the first song in the catwalk show headlining Ben de Lisi's website. It has been driving me nuts.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)


VitaCig is only the latest example of Canada's history of technological innovation. A cigarette that does not stain teeth, has vitamin C added and is probably very low in fat. It's an Avro Arrow in your mouth!

Posted by the Flea at 08:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Juche girls

Once again I am stumped by the internets. I read this Juche Girl "blog" and cannot tell if it is a parody, sincere or a minor effort by North Korea's security services. But one expects a hall of mirrors effect with anything purporting to emerge from the Hermit Kingdom.

The same cannot be said for this blowjob for Tom Cruise in Dose, one of Toronto's freebie tabloids. I feel I should congratulate the writer either for a sense of humour yet more dry than my own or for taking a contrarian position more extreme than my apologias for Paris Hilton. And possibly for the fact I cannot tell which I should be congratulating her for. Jennifer Morrison: Will you marry me?

Tom Cruise is the BEST. The hot and hunky mega movie star is riding a serious high both personally - with the birth of baby Suri and planning a summer wedding to Katie Holmes - and professionally with the premiere of what’s shaping up to be the biggest summer blockbuster Mission Impossible: 3. ...

Tom Cruise is more than just the best movie star, he’s the best at everything he does.
Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Abba: So Long


Imagine it is 27 May, 1975 on the set of Danish tv special, "Omkring et flygel." This is one of those Betty or Veronica scenarios. The answer is Veronica, obviously.


Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

May 03, 2006

Half monk, half hitman


If I had a nickel for every time I have been described in these exact words I would not need the stipend Her Majesty provides me for my crime-fighting activities. It is pitiful how Bollinger Special Cuvée puts a dent in the expense account. The Flea's Eva Green Expert forwards a link to the Casino Royale trailer in English. It is a large file but well worth the wait. Seeing it properly I can now issue a formal advisory to the Daniel Craig as James Bond haters: shut the frak up.

Posted by the Flea at 01:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Halcali: Strawberry Chips

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

(hat tip to A Former Servant of Her Majesty)

Posted by the Flea at 01:21 PM | TrackBack (0)

Not her biggest fan

Tricia Romano was never a Kylie fan until Kylie gave her a fan. Sickening. There are so many who would treasure that fan, itself re-gifted from Dannii Minogue and thus doubly-sacred.

Posted by the Flea at 01:19 PM | TrackBack (0)

For all your A-prop wardrobe needs

Mad props to eBay for Charlize Theron's hero catsuit from Aeon Flux, Kate Beckinsale's catsuit from Underworld Evolution and Jessica Alba's nude wetsuit from Into the Blue.

Posted by the Flea at 01:17 PM | TrackBack (0)

Narnia restoration project

At least one self-styled environmentalist is outraged by some tree-felling at Risinghurst wood.

A wildlife trust was yesterday accused of "desecrating" woodland said to have been the inspiration for the author C S Lewis when he created Narnia, the setting for his children's books.

Ronald Brind, who grew up close to the Oxford writer's home at Risinghurst and was a boyhood friend of Lewis's stepson, Dougie Gresham, claims that the wood has been "vandalised" by the tree-felling activities of the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust, which was gifted the five-acre site. The wood was once a part of Lewis's home.

The Kilns looks like a fine Flea-ish place to have lived; certainly before Risinghurst grew up around it. Defenders of some tidying up in the wood say they are restoring it to something closer to the Narnia-like conditions of Lewis' day. Now they have uncovered the bench in Lewis' back garden where many of his stories were conceived. The bench had long ago been over-grown with the mess the whole place had become. I hope this discovery puts an end to the argument.

Posted by the Flea at 01:14 PM | TrackBack (0)


Chong Gon Jo's only known film credit is as director of a famous North Korean Godzilla knock-off, Pulgasari. The film was not a resounding success in artistic, technical or box-office terms. Pulgasari is instead notorious for the circumstances of its production and the fact it was banned for ten years by executive producer Kim Jong Il.

The movie itself is a fascinating combination of standard monster flick and historial tale of the power of the people. The problematic bit is the fact that, due to North Korea's non-existent resources and infrastructure, the film is incredibly, hilariously poorly executed. That's not to say that they didn't try really hard-- Ken Satsuma, the original actor who played Godzilla, was hired to wear the rubber suit of the monster. Not only that, two of the most popular young actors in South Korea at the time were asked to play the leads. They declined, so they got kidnapped and had to play the leads anyway.

Yes, you heard me right. They were kidnapped so they could be in this movie. In fact, so was director Chong Gon Jo. This eventually led to why Pulgasari was banned for so long-- Kim Jong Il was satisfied with how the movie came out initially, but he ended up disowning and banning the film after Chong Gon Jo exercised his fundamental North Korean right of juche and high-tailed it to the USA.

I belive Anime Jump! has Chong Gon Jo confused with Shin San-Ok, variously credited as the film's co-director or producer. Shin San-Ok was a noted South Korean director kidnapped in Hong Kong. He was there looking for his ex-wife, previously kidnapped as part of Kim Jong Il's drive to liven up North Korea's film industry. Several films resulted including the partially completed Pulgasari. Flea-readers may not be astonished to learn the two fled the country at their first opportunity. I assume Chong Gon Jo was a ringer drafted in to complete the project. Though it is also possible Chong Gon Jo is the juche equivalent of Alan Smithee.

There is something undeniably hilarious about all of this. I expect the laughter comes by preference to facing the fact North Korea is run as a hallucinatory nightmare. Shin San-Ok has died aged 79.

Posted by the Flea at 01:12 PM | TrackBack (0)

Late Flea

Yesterday my server was hit by what I can only assume was a problem related to the one Michelle Malkin has reported. I lost access to the Flea fifteen minutes after TypePad went down under a "sophisticated distributed denial of service attack." I had thought my MT set-up was relatively immune to these sorts of difficulties and was outside the line of fire Hosting Matters folks have to deal with. I have apparently lost data after some file corruption somewhere - I do not yet know what is missing - but am mainly relieved to be back in service. Sincere thanks to Verve Hosting for their prompt, courteous help in addressing the situation.

On related notes: While I love the MySpace Video arrangement I gather Safari-browsing Flea-readers are crashing out on the site and I expect the videos are the problem. The only change I can think of are the MySpace posts so I am going to stick with the tried-and-true Flea-dance arrangement. Finally, I have not checked to see if TypeKey is working. It stalled out again yesterday and I am now thinking I should move to a less-restrictive comment system.

Posted by the Flea at 01:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

May 02, 2006

Natalise: Get Me Off

I have a nagging feeling I should put a taste warning of some kind on this one. Can't quite put my finger on it. No. No, we're good. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (hat tip to A Former Servant of Her Majesty).

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

Kylie's £1m ideal home

Kylie's £1m ideal home. That is not £1m for the home, btw. Just the refit.

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

Another Vice do

This Vice "do" listing explains part of where I am going with the fashion-backward thing.

This is the opposite of those sad old guys with the messenger bag, stressed denim, and rare Nikes. He may look like a kid dressed up as an old guy, but do you realize that nary a generation ago a man had three kids and a career by his age? Just the fact that he looks so unusual now shows you what a permanent pre-school America has become.
Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM | TrackBack (0)

Where's Neil When You Need Him?

Dancing Ferret Discs is set to release a Neil Gaimen tribute album. Naturally, the cover art is provided by Dave McKean.

Like Neil's writing, the material on this disc is very diverse in both source material and musical styles. Naturally The Sandman series is well represented, but there are also songs about Stardust, Neverwhere, American Gods, Coraline, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, Mr. Punch, Wolves in the Walls, The Goldfish Pool, and Mirror Mask.
Posted by the Flea at 08:12 AM | TrackBack (0)

Challenging Da Vinci

The Anglican Church of Sydney has launched a Challenging Da Vinci website as part of a campaign to dispute Dan Brown's best-selling novel. For example: Was Leonardo da Vinci a gay genius?

Speculation mounts on speculation, until we readers feel convinced that Leonardo must have been up to some strange religious games. But when you pull apart the claims, there is no evidence to back them up.

And without that evidence, we would be foolish to develop a new religion out of the fanciful utterances of a poorly informed character in an airport novel. Wouldn't we?

Quite right. But then it also seems foolish to claim strands of Christian thought dating back to the second century are new or fanciful in comparison with a canon that has been remarkably flexible since that time. The earliest extent canon is the Bryennios manuscript dating to about AD 100. It includes twenty-seven familiar "Old Testament" books but none of the Gospels, letters and other material that make up what most Christians would now recognize as the "New Testament". Many of the earliest Christians would have regarded much of what is now considered sacred writ as being largely fanciful. This is not to dismiss any particular version of the New Testament. But it certainly suggests some forbearance in dismissing non-canonical scripture out of hand. After all, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has added an entire "newer" testament without sparking a snarky Anglican web presence every time a Mormon-themed film is released.

For the Anglicans of Sydney to reject Gnostic claims - let alone a Tom Hanks film based on an airport novel interpretation of Gnostic Christianity - is hardly surprising; the Archbishop of Canterbury recently published a rather better job of it in The Mail on Sunday. But it is disingenuous to pretend that no Christianity has ever existed outside the "closed" canon they wish to defend. It is a particularly galling claim coming from an Anglican communion which is itself schismatic and of dubious provenience.* The Church of England is a good 1500 years more recent than the Gnostic Christianity practiced by at least some people who may have known Jesus - and certainly one or another of his disciples - in person. And it is not as if "heretical" forms of early Christianity are uniquely subject to criticism. No fans of Gnosticism, the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia charges Anglicanism with Erastianism. Of course, this is a debatable difference of opinion and one which has resulted in no little bloodshed through the years. This is to say nothing of the much greater differences of opinion, and centuries of further bloodshed, between and amongst the Holy See, the Church of England and a bewildering variety of low church Protestant denominations.

In these more secular times most of these differences are tolerated if not respected. It certainly seems rude to point out, for example, Henry VIII's biography in expressing an argument about the merits of this or that version of the Book of Common Prayer. But I would hope Anglicans in Sydney could find something more important to fret about, and something better to spend their money on, than an airport novel they claim cannot be taken seriously. Unless, of course, their outrage is savvy marketing meant to take advantage of the radical success of that airport novel in comparison with their own recent evangelism.

*There are lots of Anglicans in my family, btw.

Posted by the Flea at 08:11 AM | TrackBack (0)

May 01, 2006

License to kilt


Friends of Scotland is a charity best known for its annual Dressed to Kilt* fashion event. This year's star attraction: Sean Connery. The idea is to promote Scottish interests - as enigmatic as these may be - in the United States. Arguably more mysterious is quite how Eric Villency's Braveheart moment advanced the cause. It is difficult to imagine what William Wallace would have made of tourism in Scotland let alone interior design television shows.

Not everyone is so excited at the prospect of updated kilts closer to home with Edinburgh's first ever fashion festival.

*Warning: linked images include Stone Phillips in a kilt.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Casino Royale (Sortie 22 novembre)

A first look at Casino Royale arrives via a Flea-reader, YouTube and a French television trailer. The Judi Dench voice-over is excellent.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Black Lake

Australian actress Diane Cilento has written My Nine Lives, her autobiography to be released later this month. In it, she reveals there was more to ex-husband Sean Connery than James Bond.

She claims that he had enjoyed a particularly creative period during the mid-1960s, at the height of his Bond fame, writing a ballet called Black Lake which he had hoped to develop with a choreographer.

"(It was) very good, great even. He was very serious about it," said Cilento, who now runs an experimental theatre in Queensland. "He could hear it all in his head. It was like Swan Lake, but far more Macbethian and more classical ballet than modern."

This is ass-kicking ballet. It must be produced at once.

Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

Smells like Wii

It's a revolution! It's animated! It's still a crap name!

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM | TrackBack (0)

Google SketchUp

I was reluctant to get attached to my SketchUp trial software. Now Google SketchUp is available for free download I can model sheds worry free.

Google SketchUp (free) is an easy-to-learn 3D modeling program that enables you to explore the world in 3D. With just a few simple tools, you can create 3D models of houses, sheds, decks, home additions, woodworking projects - even space ships. And once you've built your models, you can place them in Google Earth, post them to the 3D Warehouse, or print hard copies.
Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

Heidi One

Heidi One is an effective tonic for Monday morning brain juice deficiency. Just turn the sound down and don't draw attention to your cubicle.

Posted by the Flea at 08:25 AM | TrackBack (0)

Thalia: Amor A La Mexicana

This topical Mexican Flea-dance would not be possible without a hat tip to Jeff. Muy Caliente!

Music Video Code provided by MySpace Video Code
Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Comment is Flea

TypeKey comments are working once again thanks to Dorkafork's technical wizardry!

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | TrackBack (0)