December 31, 2007

Lana Craft


Katers17 offers a critical review of Tomb Runner and an inexplicably mesmerizing performance as Lana Craft. Must watch it again to see if its hypnotic power might be revealed to me.

The BBC has noted the Katers17 phenom.* Now they must ask themselves why people have stopped watching television...**

* She is double-jointed, apparently.
** Dr. Who Xmas special with Kylie excepted.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

David Sylvian: Steel Cathedrals

This is what I am trying to do. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (and Part II).

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

The numbers

Editor-in-chief of Kanwa Defense Review Monthly, Andrei Chang runs the numbers for fuel consumption should the PLA/A attempt to invade Taiwan. Flea-readers with aviation and related experience are invited to comment. For example, I am uncertain what sort of ball park we are talking about in considering an aircraft's supposed maximum range vs its actual fuel consumption in sorties under combat conditions.

The combined fuel needs of all combat forces engaged in an assault on Taiwan would amount to a minimum of 15,994 tons each day, not including the Second Artillery Forces and logistic support troops. These calculations alone indicate that the PLA forces would need a total of 240,000 tons of fuel to sustain 15 days of assault operations against Taiwan.

What is the total annual fuel consumption of the Chinese armed forces? A report published by the PLA General Logistics Department in 2007 says that the PLA forces saved 55,000 tons of oil in 2006, approximately 5.1 percent of their total consumption. Based on this figure, the total would be over 1 million tons, about 2,954 tons on average per day. It can be concluded that fuel consumption in a 15-day large-scale assault operation would surpass 20 percent of the annual total consumption of the Chinese military.

And then there is the question of the ChiCom's actual fuel reserve and just how deep they would be prepared to dip into it in the event of war. Chang offers a related piece listing four Chinese strategic oil reserve bases* suggesting at least three are vulnerable to Taiwanese air force and cruise missile attack. If I am a Taiwanese war planner the first thing I do is shut down oil traffic for the far east through the Lombok and Malacca Straits... how far out of the way are Japan and South Korea prepared to escort tanker traffic?**

* Zhenhai Base in Zhejiang province, Luanshan Base on Zhoushan Island of Zhejiang province, Huangdao Base in Qingdao, Shandong province, and Dayawan Base in Guangdong province.
** This April 2005 piece at Belmont Club thinks through some contingencies including Taiwanese diesel electric submarines, supertanker sea lanes and the strategic fuel reserves of the United States and Japan.

Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM | Comments (1)

December 29, 2007

There ain't nothing like a dame


Kylie Minogue OBE has - as the preceding letters suggest - been made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire; this being a post-nominal order if I am understanding how this all works correctly. So not a Dame per se but I hope Flea-readers will excuse the tag-line nonetheless (hat tip to Capt. Heinrichs).

"I am almost as surprised as I am honoured to be awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen," she said. "I feel deeply touched to be acknowledged by the UK, my adopted home, in this way.

"This last year I have felt so much love and support from everyone as I took greater steps back into the public domain, and it is with absolute gratitude and joy that I say farewell to 2007 and look forward to what the new year will bring."

Cheers to that. Also honoured: Gandalf, now a Companion of Honour. The Telegraph has the full honours list available as a pdf file for anyone checking to see if they have once again been overlooked.

Posted by the Flea at 10:14 AM | Comments (5)

Tegan and Sara: Monday Monday Monday

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:11 AM

December 28, 2007

Led Zeppelin: No Quarter

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Shai Dorsai!

DefenseTech claims wing suits could "change the face of special ops".

I caught a segment during this morning's "Today Show" that documented this jump and was blown away by the flight path control these jumpers have. The bald jumper went on to say that he's shooting for a "no parachute" capability with wing suits. Now, as any student pilot knows, a flared landing takes some practice, so you can imagine how tricky arresting a gigantic rate of descent with a wing suit would be - not to mention, unlike powered flight, if you mismanage your energy, you are totally hosed.
Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM | Comments (3)

December 27, 2007

The sermon of the Wolf


"Beloved men, know that which is true: this world is in haste and it nears the end. And therefore things in this world go ever the longer the worse, and so it must needs be that things quickly worsen, on account of people's sinning from day to day, before the coming of Antichrist. And indeed it will then be awful and grim widely throughout the world. Understand also well that the Devil has now led this nation astray for very many years, and that little loyalty has remained among men, though they spoke well. And too many crimes reigned in the land, and there were never many of men who deliberated about the remedy as eagerly as one should, but daily they piled one evil upon another, and committed injustices and many violations of law all too widely throughout this entire land.

"And we have also therefore endured many injuries and insults, and if we shall experience any remedy then we must deserve better of God than we have previously done. For with great deserts we have earned the misery that is upon us, and with truly great deserts we must obtain the remedy from God, if henceforth things are to improve. Lo, we know full well that a great breach of law shall necessitate a great remedy, and a great fire shall necessitate much water, if that fire is to be quenched. And it is also a great necessity for each of men that he henceforth eagerly heed the law of God better than he has done, and justly pay God's dues. In heathen lands one does not dare withhold little nor much of that which is appointed to the worship of false gods; and we withhold everywhere God's dues all too often. And in heathen lands one dares not curtail, within or without the temple, anything brought to the false gods and entrusted as an offering. And we have entirely stripped God's houses of everything fitting, within and without, and God's servants are everywhere deprived of honor and protection. And some men say that no man dare abuse the servants of false gods in any way among heathen people, just as is now done widely to the servants of God, where Christians ought to observe the law of God and protect the servants of God.

"But what I say is true: there is need for that remedy because God's dues have diminished too long in this land in every district, and laws of the people have deteriorated entirely too greatly, since Edgar died. And sanctuaries are too widely violated, and God's houses are entirely stripped of all dues and are stripped within of everything fitting. And widows are widely forced to marry in unjust ways and too many are impoverished and fully humiliated; and poor men are sorely betrayed and cruelly defrauded, and sold widely out of this land into the power of foreigners, though innocent; and infants are enslaved by means of cruel injustices, on account of petty theft everywhere in this nation. And the rights of freemen are taken away and the rights of slaves are restricted and charitable obligations are curtailed. Free men may not keep their independence, nor go where they wish, nor deal with their property just as they desire; nor may slaves have that property which, on their own time, they have obtained by means of difficult labor, or that which good men, in Gods favor, have granted them, and given to them in charity for the love of God. But every man decreases or withholds every charitable obligation that should by rights be paid eagerly in Gods favor, for injustice is too widely common among men and lawlessness is too widely dear to them. And in short, the laws of God are hated and his teaching despised; therefore we all are frequently disgraced through God's anger, let him know it who is able. And that loss will become universal, although one may not think so, to all these people, unless God protects us.

"Therefore it is clear and well seen in all of us that we have previously more often transgressed than we have amended, and therefore much is greatly assailing this nation. Nothing has prospered now for a long time either at home or abroad, but there has been military devastation and hunger, burning and bloodshed in nearly every district time and again. And stealing and slaying, plague and pestilence, murrain and disease, malice and hate, and the robbery by robbers have injured us very terribly. And excessive taxes have afflicted us, and storms have very often caused failure of crops; therefore in this land there have been, as it may appear, many years now of injustices and unstable loyalties everywhere among men. Now very often a kinsman does not spare his kinsman any more than the foreigner, nor the father his children, nor sometimes the child his own father, nor one brother the other. Neither has any of us ordered his life just as he should, neither the ecclesiastic according to the rule nor the layman according to the law. But we have transformed desire into laws for us entirely too often, and have kept neither precepts nor laws of God or men just as we should. Neither has anyone had loyal intentions with respect to others as justly as he should, but almost everyone has decieved and injured another by words and deeds; and indeed almost everyone unjustly stabs the other from behind with shameful assaults and with wrongful accusations -- let him do more, if he may.

"For there are in this nation great disloyalties for matters of the Church and the state, and also there are in the land many who betray their lords in various ways. And the greatest of all betrayals of a lord in the world is that a man betrays the soul of his lord. And it is the greatest of all betrayals of a lord in the world, that a man betray his lord's soul. And a very great betrayal of a lord it is also in the world, that a man betray his lord to death, or drive him living from the land, and both have come to pass in this land: Edward was betrayed, and then killed, and after that burned; and Æthelred was driven out of his land. And too many sponsors and godchildren have been killed widely throughout this nation, in addition to entirely too many other innocent people who have been destroyed entirely too widely. And entirely too many holy religious foundations have deteriorated because some men have previously been placed in them who ought not to have been, if one wished to show respect to God's sanctuary.

"And too many Christian men have been sold out of this land, now for a long time, and all this is entirely hateful to God, let him believe it who will. Also we know well where this crime has occurred, and it is shameful to speak of that which has happened too widely. And it is terrible to know what too many do often, those who for a while carry out a miserable deed, who contribute together and buy a woman as a joint purchase between them and practice foul sin with that one woman, one after another, and each after the other like dogs that care not about filth, and then for a price they sell a creature of God -- His own purchase that He bought at a great cost -- into the power of enemies. Also we know well where the crime has occurred such that the father has sold his son for a price, and the son his mother, and one brother has sold the other into the power of foreigners, and out of this nation. All of those are great and terrible deeds, let him understand it who will. And yet what is injuring this nation is still greater and manifold: many are forsworn and greatly perjured and more vows are broken time and again, and it is clear to this people that God's anger violently oppresses us, let him know it who can.

"And lo! How may greater shame befall men through the anger of God than often does us for our own sins? Although it happens that a slave escape from a lord and, leaving Christendom becomes a Viking, and after that it happens again that a hostile encounter takes place between thane and slave, if the slave kills the thane, he lies without wergild paid to any of his kinsmen; but if the thane kills the slave that he had previously owned, he must pay the price of a thane. Full shameful laws and disgraceful tributes are common among us, through God's anger, let him understand it who is able. And many misfortunes befall this nation time and again. Things have not prospered now for a long time neither at home nor abroad, but there has been destruction and hate in every district time and again, and the English have been entirely defeated for a long time now, and very truly disheartened through the anger of God. And pirates are so strong through the consent of God, that often in battle one drives away ten, and two often drive away twenty, sometimes fewer and sometimes more, entirely on account of our sins. And often ten or twelve, each after the other, insult the thane's woman disgracefully, and sometimes his daughter or close kinswomen, while he looks on, he that considered himself brave and strong and good enough before that happened. And often a slave binds very fast the thane who previously was his lord and makes him into a slave through God's anger. Alas the misery and alas the public shame that the English now have, entirely through God's anger. Often two sailors, or three for a while, drive the droves of Christian men from sea to sea -- out through this nation, huddled together, as a public shame for us all, if we could seriously and properly know any shame. But all the insult that we often suffer, we repay by honoring those who insult us. We pay them continually and they humiliate us daily; they ravage and they burn, plunder and rob and carry to the ship; and lo! what else is there in all these happenings except Gods anger clear and evident over this nation?

"It is no wonder that there is mishap among us: because we know full well that now for many years men have too often not cared what they did by word or deed; but this nation, as it may appear, has become very corrupt through manifold sins and through many misdeeds: through murder and through evil deeds, through avarice and through greed, through stealing and through robbery, through man-selling and through heathen vices, through betrayals and through frauds, through breaches of law and through deceit, through attacks on kinsmen and through manslaughter, through injury of men in holy orders and through adultery, through incest and through various fornications. And also, far and wide, as we said before, more than should be are lost and perjured through the breaking of oaths and through violations of pledges, and through various lies; and non-observances of church feasts and fasts widely occur time and again. And also there are here in the land Gods adversaries, degenerate apostates, and hostile persecutors of the Church and entirely too many grim tyrants, and widespread despisers of divine laws and Christian virtues, and foolish deriders everywhere in the nation, most often of those things that the messengers of God command, and especially those things that always belong to Gods law by right. And therefore things have now come far and wide to that full evil way that men are more ashamed now of good deeds than of misdeeds; because too often good deeds are abused with derision and the Godfearing are blamed entirely too much, and especially are men reproached and all too often greeted with contempt who love right and have fear of God to any extent. And because men do that, entirely abusing all that they should praise and hating too much all that they ought to love, therefore they bring entirely too many to evil intentions and to misdeeds, so that they are never ashamed though they sin greatly and commit wrongs even against God himself. But on account of idle attacks they are ashamed to repent for their misdeeds, just as the books teach, like those foolish men who on account of their pride will not protect themselves from injury before they might no longer do so, although they all wish for it.

"Here in the country, as it may appear, too many are sorely wounded by the stains of sin. Here there are, as we said before, manslayers and murderers of their kinsmen, and murderers of priests and persecutors of monasteries, and traitors and notorious apostates, and here there are perjurers and murderers, and here there are injurers of men in holy orders and adulterers, and people greatly corrupted through incest and through various fornications, and here there are harlots and infanticides and many foul adulterous fornicators, and here there are witches and sorceresses, and here there are robbers and plunderers and pilferers and thieves, and injurers of the people and pledge-breakers and treaty-breakers, and, in short, a countless number of all crimes and misdeeds. And we are not at all ashamed of it, but we are greatly ashamed to begin the remedy just as the books teach, and that is evident in this wretched and corrupt nation. Alas, many a great kinsman can easily call to mind much in addition which one man could not hastily investigate, how wretchedly things have fared now all the time now widely throughout this nation. And indeed let each one examine himself well, and not delay this all too long. But lo, in the name of God, let us do as is needful for us, protect ourselves as earnestly as we may, lest we all perish together.

"There was a historian in the time of the Britons, called Gildas, who wrote about their misdeeds, how with their sins they infuriated God so excessively that He finally allowed the English army to conquer their land, and to destroy the host of the Britons entirely. And that came about, just as he said, through breach of rule by the clergy and through breach of laws by laymen, through robbery by the strong and through coveting of ill-gotten gains, violations of law by the people and through unjust judgments, through the sloth of the bishops and folly, and through the wicked cowardice of messengers of God, who swallowed the truths entirely too often and they mumbled through their jaws where they should have cried out; also through foul pride of the people and through gluttony and manifold sins they destroyed their land and they themselves perished. But let us do as is necessary for us, take warning from such; and it is true what I say, we know of worse deeds among the English than we have heard of anywhere among the Britons; and therefore there is a great need for us to take thought for ourselves, and to intercede eagerly with God himself. And let us do as is necessary for us, turn towards the right and to some extent abandon wrong-doing, and eagerly atone for what we previously transgressed; and let us love God and follow God's laws, and carry out well that which we promised when we received baptism, or those who were our sponsors at baptism; and let us order words and deeds justly, and cleanse our thoughts with zeal, and keep oaths and pledges carefully, and have some loyalty between us without evil practice. And let us often reflect upon the great Judgment to which we all shall go, and let us save ourselves from the welling fire of hell torment, and gain for ourselves the glories and joys that God has prepared for those who work his will in the world. God help us. Amen."

- The sermon of the Wolf to the English, when the Danes were greatly persecuting them, which was in the year 1014 after the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wulfstan of York remains eerily topical almost one thousand years after the fact.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM | Comments (2)

Clannad: Scarlet Inside

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM | Comments (2)

Every single blog has endorsed Fred Thompson that isn't secretly run by Communists

Daily Fred Thompson Facts.

There are already plans for the supercarrier the U.S.S. Fred Thompson. It will carry and launch other aircraft carriers.
Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM | Comments (1)

December 26, 2007

Gonna use my sensei


I hesitate to link this as I wish I did not know what I now know; perhaps best not to expose anyone else. But I had to find out what Bill Murray whispered to Scarlett Johansson at the end of Lost in Translation (hat tip to Agent Bedhead). I will not offer spoilers in the body of the post but will be talking about it in the comments.

When Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation, one of the big topics of conversation revolved around what Bill Murray’s character whispered in Scarlett Johansson’s ear at the conclusion of the film. Sofia Coppola gave interviews saying that nothing was officially scripted, and that only Johansson and Murray know what was really said. YouTube user Vid22 used digital processing to clear up the audio and finally reveal the answer. ... But let me warn you, whatever you have created in your imagination is likely better than the actual quote.

Related: Scarlett Johansson pictures from the Belgian edition of Elle magazine.

Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM

The Pretenders: Brass in Pocket

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.*

* And the Scarlett Johansson rendition.

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

Calling the product music is like selling a shopping cart and calling it groceries

David Byrne offers advice to emerging music artists in light of sharply declining cd sales (via Instapundit).

Some see this picture as a dire trend. The fact that Radiohead debuted its latest album online and Madonna defected from Warner Bros. to Live Nation, a concert promoter, is held to signal the end of the music business as we know it. Actually, these are just two examples of how musicians are increasingly able to work outside of the traditional label relationship. There is no one single way of doing business these days. There are, in fact, six viable models by my count. That variety is good for artists; it gives them more ways to get paid and make a living. And it's good for audiences, too, who will have more — and more interesting — music to listen to.
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM

December 25, 2007

Prayer for a New Mother


The things she knew, let her forget again ---
The voices in the sky, the fear, the cold,
The gaping shepherds, and the queer old men
Piling their clumsy gifts of foreign gold.

Let her have laughter with her little one;
Teach her the endless, tuneless songs to sing,
Grant her her right to whisper to her son
The foolish names one dare not call a king.

Keep from her dreams the rumble of a crowd,
The smell of rough-cut wood, the trail of red,
The thick and chilly whiteness of the shroud
That wraps the strange new body of the dead.

Ah, let her go, kind Lord, where mothers go
And boast his pretty words and ways, and plan
The proud and happy years that they shall know
Together, when her son is grown a man.

- Dorothy Parker

Posted by the Flea at 09:04 AM

Siouxsie and the Banshees: Il Est Né le Divin Enfant

Featuring Robert Smith on cymbals. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Related: Billy Corgan, Emilie Autumn & Dennis DeYoung perform We Three Kings.

Posted by the Flea at 09:02 AM

Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean

I especially enjoy the Dalek: Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean.

Posted by the Flea at 09:01 AM | Comments (2)

December 24, 2007



Rumours are flying fast and furious as Kylie Minogue's Doctor Who Xmas special appearance draws nigh. No spoilers in the comments, please! Those of us stranded in the colonies are going to have to wait...

Stop the bleeding presses. Apparently there's a conspiracy afoot - and stone the crows, it's got something to do with Doctor Who. Again. It's been revealed that Kylie's name in the Christmas special will be Astrid and this, it has been noticed by the more rabid of fans, is an anagram of Tardis. Also, her surname in the episode means "a little bit of", or something, in Welsh.

Flea-readers who cannot wait might once again enjoy Kylie's rendition of Santa Baby on the late lamented Top of the Pops and, of course, a "Merry Christmas" from Kylie herself.

Related: Fast Ood Rockers present Song 4 Kylie... I'm in love (with a girl in a time machine).

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM | Comments (2)

The Cheeky Girls: Have a Cheeky Christmas

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

I should have done better

Take the Sci fi sounds quiz I received 86 credits on
The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz

How much of a Sci-Fi geek are you?
Take the Sci-Fi Movie Quizdigital camera ratings
Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM | Comments (1)

This would be much higher if allowed my epee

Via AOSHQ, obviously. Follow that link for Huckster news too, btw.

Update: Is anyone being directed to a dating site through the above link? Please see the comments... If so, I shall remove the link.

And again: I have removed the link... Anyone curious to see how many five year olds they can best in single combat may follow the Ace of Spades HQ link at their own risk!

Posted by the Flea at 07:00 AM | Comments (4)

December 22, 2007

John 3:16



Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM | Comments (4)

The Beatnix: Stairway to Heaven

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (via Agent Bedhead).

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Dating Tips for the Overqualified

Trouble with the ladies? Perhaps your first mistake to be too captivating too fast (hat tip to Alucard).

There is nothing that a woman distrusts more than a handsome, mysterious, wealthy stranger! By unloading the brunt of your considerable charm on her, you have instantly made her fear you. In a woman's eyes, confidence is a cheap parlor trick employed by third-rate "pick-up artists." The very concept is tarnished; your only hope is to tone down your interpersonal skills to a level that is more familiar to the average woman.

Though I gather claiming to have a $772k bonus also does the trick on Craigslist.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

December 21, 2007

Good idea


Ultimate James Bond Fan Blog did not think it was likely but I thought Flea-readers should nonetheless be alerted to the possibility of a Carice van Houten Bond Girl appearance. I mean, just, wow.

Carice van Houten, 31 year old Dutch actress, is the latest name tossed on the Bond Girl fire. As usual, it’s sourced only in a Dutch newspaper, which is clearly using this “rumor” to put the actress’s face on the radar. Keep in mind that no casting will be done without more of a script.

Now it turns out Gemma Arterton has the job (via Agent Bedhead). She is quite lovely too, of course, and I note her RADA profile indicates a BASSC Certificate in Stage Combat (Distinction). This should come in handy.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM | Comments (2)

Ani DiFranco: Both Hands

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.*

* The studio version is a bit perky; this live version of Both Hands is the one I listen to.

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM

News to me

Writing for LA Weekly, D. Heimpel is appalled at plans to charge Los Angeles subway riders for, uhh, riding the subway (via fishbowlLA, in a critical bent).

It is a nice quirk, an amazing anomaly. Of all the subway systems in all the major cities in the world, L.A.’s is, for now, one of the few based on an honor system.

When foreigners come to Los Angeles, says the L.A. Visitors Bureau, they are confused: a subway system with no barriers, no gates? When Angelenos travel to New York, they can say, in a town where the car is king, that at least theirs is a subway system without barriers. In a city of 4 million, where residents tout individual achievement and grow isolated in their buffed cars and designer glasses, the forgiving, trusting subway honor system, similar to those in Portland, Toronto and Paris, is a rare point of shared pride.

I would read the rest of the piece if: A - I believed anyone in Los Angeles rode the subway; B - I cared about public transit in Los Angeles not involving buses and Sandra Bullock, or; C - Toronto had an honour system for public transit. LA Weekly readers planning to ride the rocket should know they will be charged a fare. I seem to recall paying to use the Paris Metro too though, having never been to Portland, Heimpel might not be 0 for 3.

Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM | Comments (2)

The empire of the self

K-punk considers paternalism without the father. Following Slavoj Zizek's Tarrying with the negative, he thinks through Spinoza, health and some policy implications for the metapsychology of late capitalism (and vice versa).

Late capitalism certainly articulates many of its injunctions via an appeal to (a certain version of) health. The banning of smoking in public places, the relentless monstering of working class diet on programmes like ‘You Are What You Eat’, do appear to indicate that we are already in the presence of a paternalism without the Father. It is not that smoking is ‘wrong’, it is that it will lead to our failing to lead long and enjoyable lives. But there are limits to this emphasis on good health: mental health and intellectual development barely feature at all, for instance. (When will there be a Channel 4 programme called ‘You Are What You Read?’) What we see instead is a reductive, hedonic model of health which is all about ‘feeling good’. To tell people how to lose weight, or how to better decorate their neo-liberal burrow, is acceptable; but to call for any kind of cultural improvement is to be oppressive and elitist.

Much to think about particularly on the subject of administration. That said, he is quite mistaken in his later argument regarding Solaris: A sequel yet more horrendous than the original does not render the original any better. Nor does it render the original anything more than a Soviet attempt to reproduce 2001; that was an original.

Posted by the Flea at 06:37 AM | Comments (2)

December 20, 2007

The Final Cut

blade runner final.jpg

Ridley Scott has had (yet) another go at it, releasing Blade Runner: The Final Cut in its own bewildering array of formats and packaging (via Ace). One bit of good news: Hockey-masked geisha dancers.

As you'd expect, the film's editing has been massaged here and there, but this time to Ridley's exact instructions. Like the 1992 version, this new Final Cut omits the Deckard narration and the happy ending. Ridley has made subtle trims here and there to tighten the footage (without the narration, he felt that some shots went on a little too long). But he's also added material. For example, the unicorn scene is now a little longer and more effective (it's actually the originally-intended version, the complete footage for which couldn't be found for use in the '92 cut). A little bit of footage from both the "international" and "workprint" versions has been inserted into the film as well, including a number of street/atmosphere shots and more intense moments of violence involving the various character deaths. And here's something fans will appreciate: This is only a publicity still (unlike the two previous images, above, which ARE actual screen shots from the new version), but those of you who recall the infamous hockey-masked geisha dancers will be pleased to know that they do appear in The Final Cut...

Having tried and failed to watch my dvd of the 1992 version on a 22" monitor, I believe this is a film that could benefit from a little touching up of special effects rendered unwatchable by this higher resolution age. Curious Flea-readers can check out the trailer for this edit at the release' official MySpace page or give the original soundtrack a listen (and especially "Damask Rose"). Now off to lust after these old time Spinner replicas and this remarkably economical LED umbrella.

Update: On the subject of retouching Harrison Ford films, Han Solo shot first. That is all.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM | Comments (2)

Eurythmics: Love is a Stranger

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

Many Bothans died to bring us this information

It turns out the Russians have a good reason for the slight delay and minor cost overruns in refitting the Admiral Gorshkov for the Indian navy. A minor matter of some missing blueprints...

The Admiral Gorshkov was inactivated in 1996 (too expensive to operate on a post Cold War budget). The Indian deal was made in 2004, and the carrier was to be ready by 2008. But a year ago reports began coming out of Russia that the shipyard doing the work, Sevmash, had seriously miscalculated the cost of the project. The revised costs were now more like $1.1 billion for the $700 million refurb. The situation has since gotten worse, with Sevmash now saying that it will cost over $2 billion to refurbish the carrier. The Indians are not happy, and expects the Russian government (which owns many of the entities involved in the project) to make good on the original deal. The problem is this. The shipyard estimated the costs of doing the refurbs, not having the blueprints handy.

These are almost certainly sitting at the bottom of a drawer somewhere in the Ukraine; surely a source of some hilarity at Shipyard No. 444.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

December 19, 2007

The Hobbit


After much to-ing and fro-ing, and with legal wrangling out of the way, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh are set to produce two films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, or There and Back Again.

The movies will be made simultaneously starting in 2009, and a tentative release date has been set for 2010 for the first film and 2011 for the second. MGM and New Line, a unit of Time Warner Inc, will co-finance the films, with New Line distributing them in the United States and MGM internationally. ... Science fiction fantasy "The Hobbit" tells of a world inhabited by wizards, dwarfs, elves and little people called hobbits, who include the central character, Bilbo Baggins.

A director has yet to be determined for this "science fiction fantasy" project. No word as to how they plan to stretch the material into two films; I am not complaining. Let us hope Ian McKellen is still up for it and that Andy Serkis can spare a moment away from playing Captain Haddock. Time for another look at the Hobbit Name Generator (I believe I am still Fosco Bumbleroot).

Related: A desk, a desk and a wardrobe.

Update: "Ask your doctor if Ringëril is right for you"

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM | Comments (10)

Led Zeppelin: Misty Mountain Hop

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Dream who is king

An interactive BBC Wales site on Iron Age Celts. I especially enjoy the talking head.

Posted by the Flea at 07:22 AM

December 18, 2007

A taste for the theatrical


It has been all film and television at the Flea lately... there are other things going on but fun stuff keeps drawing itself to my attention. The trailer for The Dark Knight, for example (hat tip to the Sister of the Flea). Featured, a new Batman costume, the (freaking awesome) Batcycle and, apparently, four action sequences shot in IMAX.

Note to Warner Brothers: Feel free to direct your viral marketing merchandise my way. Just be sure to reverse duty charges at the Canadian border. You would not want a repeat of HBO's embarrassing Rome campaign.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Art of Noise: Close to the edit

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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

For shame

Having belatedly agreed to pay Gurkhas the same pension benefits as any other men taking the Queen's shilling, the Ministry of Defence has decided to start firing Gurkhas three years short of earning their pension entitlements. I have often been asked why I left England to return to Canada and there are several answers (all true) I usually give. But the real reason was exposure to exactly this sort of short con as government. Everyone responsible for this shitty little trick at the Ministry of Defence should be subject to criminal charges for fraud, the Minister should be tarred and feathered and every free Englishman should hang his head in shame.

This is an England not worth fighting for. The Gurkhas deserve better; we do not deserve them.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM | Comments (5)

December 17, 2007

Sanctuary for all


Sanctuary is, amongst other things, a new vehicle for Amanda Tapping; from cameos and even a couple errant sound effects it appears to be a Stargate alumni side project. It is noteworthy, however for two further things. First, this is the closest thing to steampunk I have seen in a non-animated television show. Excellent. Second, Sanctuary has been released using a peculiar web-only production model. In an age of TiVo and downloading this may be the future of television. Or possibly not.

Unlike traditional TV series, the primary distribution channel for Sanctuary is the Internet. Episodes are sold directly to viewers on the official website. The episodes, called webisodes, are about 15-20 minutes in duration and are released bi-weekly. The first four of the initial eight webisodes are available for free viewing in low resolution on YouTube, Google Video, and similar sites, allowing viewers to watch them before deciding if they wish to purchase the higher quality releases.[4] All eight of the first episodes are currently available for purchase on the Sanctuary website.

The show relies on impressive CGI and features inspired make-up effects. This and name actors - even assuming the writers are making a pittance for their hard work - adds up to a vanity project or a stunt rather than a business model. Perhaps there is more money in merchandising than I am giving the idea credit; in this case the show has a legion of Stargate fans to support it. Newcomers would not. Certainly, I hope my skepticism is unjustified. I would like to see more of the show and more like it too: The internet needs indigenous tv.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

Lola Angst: Am I dead?

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

Dementia Five

Rocket Robin Hood is a lot artier than I had remembered it.

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

December 15, 2007

Miss Piggy: Staying Alive

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Also, Jabberwocky.

Posted by the Flea at 06:14 AM

December 14, 2007

The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull


The first official poster for the forthcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has been made public (hat tip to Captain H). I confess I had been so burned by Temple of Doom I have been trying not to think much about the new film. But then I clicked through to the film site and the music hit me like a wall of awesome.

The following contains plot details so do not read it if you would rather not know in advance... It does sound like it is going to be fun.

"When last we saw Indy, he was riding off into the sunset in 1989's The Last Crusade, set in 1938 near the start of World War II. The new movie, due this spring, is set at the height of the Cold War in 1957, so the character has aged in real time - 19 years."

"Once the archaeologist is thrust back into danger, the signature Indiana Jones red line tracing across the map will take him to New Mexico, Connecticut, Mexico City and the jungles of Peru."

"The Nazis are no longer Indy's chief foe - he's racing for the Crystal Skull against operatives from the Soviet Union, including Oscar winner Cate Blanchett as the seductive Agent Spalko. Ray Winstone, currently the star of Beowulf, co-stars as an unethical rival archaeologist."

"The artifact of the title is inspired by real quartz sculptures of disputed origins that are carved in a way that defies the natural structure of the crystal. 'The theory is they are shaped by higher powers or alien powers or came from another world, or an ancient Mayan civilization had the powers,’ Marshall says."

Yet more at Wikipedia though it looked to contain a bit more detail than I want to read before I see the movie.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM | Comments (5)

The Threshold HouseBoys Choir: A Time of Happening

Peter Christopherson's first project since the death of John Balance: Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (via Technoccult).

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

December 13, 2007

The Wandering Preachers


I received a MySpace friend request from The Wandering Preachers. I was too scared to say no.

If you have never seen The Night of the Hunter do not watch this clip of the river boat scene until you have seen the film. If you have seen it you know you should not watch it without all the lights on.

The Night of the Hunter is a 1955 film noir, starring Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters, and the only film Charles Laughton ever directed. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Davis Grubb, adapted for the screen by James Agee and Charles Laughton. The novel and film draw on the true story of Harry Powers, hanged in 1932 for the murders of two widows and three children in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The film's lyric and expressionistic style sets it apart from almost all other Hollywood films of the 1940s and 50s, and has influenced later directors such as David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Jean Renoir, Terrence Malick, and the Coen Brothers.
Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

Manic Street Preachers: If you tolerate this

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

December 12, 2007



"Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever, and we are alone."

Twitch has stills from the set of The Watchmen. One of them includes Rorschach... blurry and from the side but definitely my hero (Ain't It Cool News had a test still a while back...). Expect these masks to be a bigger hit than V; let us hope Alan Moore will not have to dissociate himself from this film as he did that one.

It’s been a long and winding road that The Watchmen has taken to finally make it to the big screen but one of the most revered graphic novels ever written is just about there, finally, and the first quartet of stills from the picture have just been released. They don’t show much, being made up mostly of sets and street scenes - which you would expect this far out from release - but there is one nice little treat in there. Yep, everybody’s favorite masked sociopath, Rorschach, is in one of them.
Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

Abney Park: Death of the Hero

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

Time Crash

Doctor Who thoughtfully provided a mini-episode for Children in Need Special 2007. This one occurs in the brief space between the most recent series in the new continuity and the much anticipated Kylie Minogue Xmas special (hat tip to the Sister of the flea).

Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM

December 11, 2007

Prince Caspian


The trailer for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is now on the interwebs (hat tip to Dr. Shackleford who is giddy with excitement).

One year after the incredible events of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Kings and Queens of Narnia find themselves back in that faraway wondrous realm, only to discover that more than 1300 years have passed in Narnian time. During their absence, the Golden Age of Narnia has become extinct, Narnia has been conquered by the Telmarines and is now under the control of the evil King Miraz, who rules the land without mercy.

The four children will soon meet an intriguing new character: Narnia’s rightful heir to the throne, the young Prince Caspian, who has been forced into hiding as his uncle Miraz plots to kill him in order to place his own newborn son on the throne. With the help of the kindly dwarf, a courageous talking mouse named Reepicheep, a badger named Trufflehunter and a Black Dwarf, Nikabrik, the Narnians, led by the mighty knights Peter and Caspian, embark on a remarkable journey to find Aslan, rescue Narnia from Miraz’s tyrannical hold, and restore magic and glory to the land.

I was underwhelmed by the first film - sorry, but there it is - but Reepicheep kicks ass so I am looking forward to the second regardless.

Unrelated but also kicking ass: Christian Bale as John Connor.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM | Comments (1)

Kate Bush: Army Dreamers

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Also, not really on topic: The Dreaming.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM


Team Tennant has stills from "Voyage of the Damned", the forthcoming Dr. Who Xmas special featuring Kylie Minogue and the RMS Titanic . Lots more under the 10 at the BBC steampunk Dr. Who advent calendar currently gracing the show's front page. The puzzle is fun too.

Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM | Comments (1)

The Falklands Radio Line

The Times of London reports on a previously undisclosed war fighting ability provided by submarines in the British liberation of the Falkland Islands. In Royal Navy, A Global Force, former second-in-command of HMS Conqueror, now Vice-Admiral Sir Tim McClement poses the threat of attack by the Argentine air force and the lack of an early warning system for the fleet.

The presence of five nuclear-powered submarines – HMS Conqueror, HMS Splendid, HMS Spartan, HMS Courageousand HMS Valiant,and one conventional diesel-electric submarine, HMS Onyx – provided the solution. In the early part of the conflict, most of the submarines were engaged in other, priority missions. HMS Conqueror was trailing the Argentine cruiser, General Belgrano, and on May 2 fired two Mark 8 torpedoes, sinking the ship, with the loss of 323 sailors. HMS Splendid and HMS Spartan were involved in the search for the Argentine aircraft carrier 25 de Mayo, which was suspected of lurking in the mist north of the Falklands, preparing for a pincer movement together with the Belgranoagainst the task force. HMS Onyx was engaged in top-secret special forces operations.

However, eventually the five nuclear-powered submarines took up positions on the Argentine 12-mile limit to act as early-warning platforms.

The resulting picket provided 25 minutes warning of Argentine attack. While not quite the logistic feat that was a Vulcan bomber raid in the same context; yet another example of the British armed forces improvising mightily when they were needed most. Such is the Dunkirk spirit. Perhaps one day the armed forces will be properly supported such that every hour of England's greatest need not be the same skin of the teeth prospect. There is such a thing as tempting Fate.

Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM

December 10, 2007

Il Re Giallo: interludi


Camilla: You, sir, should unmask.
Stranger: Indeed?
Cassilda: Indeed, it's time. We have all laid aside disguise but you.
Stranger: I wear no mask.
Camilla: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.) No mask? No mask!
- The King in Yellow, Act 1, Scene 2d

David C. Fragale, Emiliano Guarneri and Leonardo Camastra are producing a film interpretation of R.W. Chambers' The King in Yellow; quite probably the creepiest stories I have ever read. The King in Yellow: Interludes looks promising. These trailers and production art suggest a J-horror approach to material that might otherwise be too difficult to capture on film.

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM | Comments (7)

Bitter:Sweet: The Mating Game

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:21 AM

You can kill people with sound

I found this 1997 Björk special, Modern Minimalists (Part I, Part II), as I was searching YouTube for pieces by Arvo Pärt. His interview is interesting and, while he was in Berlin, I am once again wondering why I do not live in Barcelona. My first thought, however, was that after dating a succession of women like Björk it is perhaps time for me to find someone a bit more normal, this followed by a thought wondering where the normal people hang out. But by the time she got round to the Pärt interview I had decided I am doing just fine as it is.

The last few hundred years in European music people moved very slowly but very surely towards complexities and cleverness and in the end my opinion was generally creating music like food for thought for the brain. Then in the middle of the century from completely opposite angles from folk music or pop music or whatever you decide to call it and on the other angle serious music or classical music decided both to shake off all that armour of the brain and start very simple with minimal things.

More Arvo Pärt music and an interview in 24 Preludes for a Fugue (5, 6, 7 of 29), a MySpace fan page and BBC3 Discovering Music workshop with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

Related: A Karlheinz Stockausen excursus on the subject of sounds. The Drink Soaked Trots will not mourn his passing.

Posted by the Flea at 06:17 AM

Britanniae Romano nomini in perpetuum sublatae

Most of the Royal Navy is to stay in port next year as £15 billion is cut from the defence budget over the next ten years. Expect voters in key Labour marginals to shrug as voters in Labour's core seats throw candy to children in the streets. No need for the Thames to freeze over; the river has already been forded.

“The navy is looking at what options they have because the amount of funding is just not there,” one source said. “The overheating of the equipment budget is putting pressure on everyone.” The only major exercise expected to go ahead is Orion 08, in which the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, the destroyer Edinburgh and the frigate Westminster will head for the Gulf, defence sources said.

The navy is now resigned to losing five frigates, four Type22s and one Type23, taking it down to a record low of just 20 destroyers and frigates – insufficient to mount a major taskforce without coalition help.

All significant projects are threatened, including the navy’s two new aircraft carriers, which could be delayed after a campaign by the RAF to undermine the rationale behind their procurement and that of the Joint Combat Aircraft that will fly off them.

So Honorius wrote to the Britons: You will have to look to your own defenses; the state is no longer willing to do so.


Tangentially related: Organs from drug addicts used in transplants. So this is England. Not so much a nation as a warning to others.

Posted by the Flea at 06:14 AM

December 08, 2007

Dark Christmas


Magdalene Veen is still alive; news to warm the cockles of all our hearts. In related events, Pirates! Man Your Women links to Abney Park's version of Little Drummer Boy.

You’ve probably never heard the likes of before. Much more here. Nothing like a good steampunk Christmas from airship pirates.

I was hesitant to listen as this is one of my least favourite Christmas tunes; even the Bing/Bowie version grates on me. The Abney Park edition is gorgeous, almost depressingly beautiful. I want to find it inspiring but I am not certain I will ever be able to produce an arrangement like this.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM | Comments (1)

Björk: Immature

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

Also beautiful

The cockpit controls of an F-22 Raptor.

Posted by the Flea at 07:37 AM | Comments (1)

December 07, 2007

Kahimi Karie: Good Morning World

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Related: My Japanese vocabulary is limited to what I remember from Shogun and yet I find this Music Clamp interview strangely enthralling. Somebody tell that guy on the left to shut the hell up; he is supposed to find out what she thinks, we don't care what he thinks.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

The Terrible Old Man

H.P. Lovecraft's The Terrible Old Man.

Related: The Vhallenes Necronomicon, an 18th-century French translation of the Al Azif (in progress).

Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM

The Ambassador's Party

A propos of nothing in particular... I have been waiting years for this Ferrero Roche ad to turn up on YouTube. Unfortunately, the ad was mocked so thoroughly the company decided to suppress its distribution. I say "Excellente, Ambassador!" all the time and since I have been back from England people just look confused.

Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM

December 06, 2007

Ida Corr vs. Fedde Le Grand: Let Me Think About It

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

HangGirl: Episode 1

HangGirl: Goth or not goth?

(More evidence.)

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM | Comments (2)

December 05, 2007

Planet of the Vampires

planet of the vampires 2.jpg

Wikipedia lists a number of inspirations for Ridley Scott's Alien. The Thing from Another World, Forbidden Planet and most obviously It! The Terror from Beyond Space; these I had seen. But it is only this weekend I have been exposed to the Italian schlock majesty that is Mario Bava's Terrore nello spazio (1965), variously known as Demon Planet, Planet of Blood, Space Mutants, The Haunted Planet, The Haunted World, The Outlawed Planet, the Planet of Terror, The Planet of the Damned, (perhaps most correctly) Terror in Space and best as Planet of the Vampires. Which is quite a mouthful for any film.

For all the B-movie efforts to repackage the piece for an American market, I think a better English title is "The Terror Out of Space". Lovecraft is at the heart of American horror and his spirit is found both in the uncanny atmosphere Bava evokes and the occasionally over-wrought way he goes about it. The film creeps up on you; more Quatermass and the Pit than The Thing from Another World. A Moria review offers a nice summary.

Bava’s forte as a director was an eerie and ornate Gothicism. The film has a minor reputation for its atmosphere in some quarters. But this is surely something that has been over-rated. Some of the scenes with black-uniformed bodies rising up out of their graves still wrapped in plastic are quite spooky. And Bava manages an enormous amount on a tiny budget by creating an alien world out of nothing except polystyrene and his familiar lurid red and orange lighting effects that almost turn the world into a sort of tatty carnival representation of the Inferno. But there is a certain stockiness to the rest of the action that deadens the atmosphere. Nevertheless the very coldness of the film and its distance from the presentation of anyone remotely human seeming gives it a kind of dread irrevocability that sinks into the dreaming unconscious the way the best of the 1950s paranoia/takeover films do. The finest moment that Bava manages in the film is the entry into alien vessel. When people, and, particularly the video release of the film, calls this “the film that inspired Alien (1979)”, this is the scene they mean.

Yes. That and the protagonist's ship (pictured above) is the spitting image of the what I had thought to be entirely original Pilot's ship* from Alien and Giger's Pilot dead at the controls seems - ahem - inspired by the remains found in the earlier film. Then there is the fact our heroes are drawn to a mist shrouded world by an alien distress signal and the way the crew is picked off by an alien entity that invades their bodies.

These moments do tend to add up. Which is not to take anything away from Alien. Well, actually, yes it does a bit.

* With apologies for hotlinking this image. Cyberpunkreview has a great Alien summary.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM | Comments (2)

The Cramps: Creature From The Black Leather Lagoon

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

The Void

Astronomers believe they have spotted a hole in the universe six to ten billion light years away and almost one billion light years across, describing the void as an “unmistakable imprint of another universe beyond the edge of our own." *

Though admittedly it is not so much a void as a region with less matter than expected if you buy the whole dark matter/energy business. And you need to be enamored with string theory for the dramatics about an imprint of universe beyond the edge of our own. Or just read H.P. Lovecraft who strikes me as generally more convincing.

* Italics added as an editorial flourish.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

December 04, 2007

Johnny Hollow: Nova Heart

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM | Comments (1)

Against the Maccabees

Christopher Hitchens weighs in with his usual aplomb. Today's subject: Bah, Hanukkah (via the Drink Soaked Trots, who also link to Marx' doctoral dissertation). He makes a nice counterfactual history sine the Makabim but a particular observation sticks out for me. Plenty of miracles strike me as being, well, a bit crap, actually.

And, of course and as ever, one stands aghast at the pathetic scale of the supposed "miracle." As a consequence of the successful Maccabean revolt against Hellenism, so it is said, a puddle of olive oil that should have lasted only for one day managed to burn for eight days. Wow! Certain proof, not just of an Almighty, but of an Almighty with a special fondness for fundamentalists. Epicurus and Democritus had brilliantly discovered that the world was made up of atoms, but who cares about a mere fact like that when there is miraculous oil to be goggled at by credulous peasants?

Hitchens' gift for the holiday season! It is a shame as he has just missed Diwali; hopefully he can make up for that with commentary on Chinese New Year.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

December 03, 2007

Perfectly cast


I was horrified to learn there is a Terminator television series in the works; visions of the travesty that was Rise of the Machines suggested some further desecration of a great premise (via Agent Bedhead). That was before it registered the show would star Summer Glau, i.e. River Tam of Firefly fame. I would watch paint dry if she was sitting in front of it. No need for such hypothetical martyrdom, however. Judging by the pilot the third film is history and the continuity has been saved from itself. The Sarah Conner Chronicles is not so much a reboot as a rethink; they are calling it a "reinvention". It looks as though they have got everything just right this time.

At the end of “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” Sarah vanquished the liquid metal Terminator sent from the future to kill her teenage son, John. Sarah and John now find themselves alone in a very dangerous, complicated world. Fugitives from the law, they are confronted with the reality that still more enemies from the future, and the present, could attack at any moment.

THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES reveals what happens when SARAH (Lena Headey, “The Brothers Grimm,” “300”) stops running and goes on the offensive against an ever-evolving technological enemy bent on destroying her life, and perhaps the world. Her son, 15-year-old JOHN CONNOR (Thomas Dekker, “Heroes”), knows that he may be the future savior of mankind, but is not yet ready to take on the mantle of leadership that he’s told is his destiny.
Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM | Comments (2)

Vanessa Paradis: Divine Idylle

Vanessa Paradis releases a new album; Johnny Depp buys her a vineyard. Nice. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Related: Johnny Depp's favourite wine is Château Calon-Ségur, a Saint-Estèphe third-growth. "Wino forever"; awesome. Though I find myself possessed with an unspeakable jealousy of this Depp character.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

His appointed rounds

Alec Ross, despatch rider in the Long Range Desert Group - Popski's Private Army, to be specific, misplaced a bag of personal letters and photos in the Egyptian desert. Just as well. It turns out Ross had something to hide. His sister explains.

Mrs Porter, 75, of Burnley, said: "I was stunned when I found out about this and it is just incredible the way the bag has come to light. I will be so pleased when I can actually hold the letters in my hand and feel something my mother actually wrote to Alec all those years ago.

"I just wish the bag had been found a few years earlier so that Alec could have been reunited with its contents. He would have been thrilled, if a little embarrassed about having had two girlfriends on the go."
Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM