September 30, 2009

When good is punished

And evil is rewarded.

Labour caused outrage yesterday by inviting Martin McGuinness to its annual conference in Brighton - the scene of the IRA's murderous attack on Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet.

The former IRA commander made clear that he had no remorse for the Grand Hotel bombing.

His visit came less than two weeks before the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Tory conference in Brighton.

Five died and 34 were injured in what was one of the worst Provisional IRA outrages on mainland Britain.
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM

Will.I.Am feat. Cheryl Cole: Heartbreaker

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM

Cooking With Christopher Walken

Chris cooks for us a simple recipe to cook chicken upright in the oven, with carmelized pears.

Via Steynian 385.

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM

September 29, 2009

What's wrong with trial by axe?

Thesis: Police tell mother attacked by yobs at home: 'We won't send anyone... it may escalate the problem'.

Nikki Collen, 39, begged officers for help after a thug kicked in her front door and punched her to the floor in her hallway. After her attacker fled, Nikki rang Warwickshire Police who promised to send an officer to her home in Kenilworth.

But an hour later she received a phone call from a woman police officer who told her it would be better if police did not attend because it might inflame the situation.

Antithesis: Thug who murdered father of three boasts about his 'cushy' life inside prison on Facebook.

Killer Mark Elliott posts photos and brags about 'playing computer all day long' on social networking site while serving life sentence in jail.

Synthesis: Melanie Phillips: If the police won't tackle young thugs any more, then what ARE they for?

Ten days ago, I happened to be on a panel of 'talking heads' at the annual conference of the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales. Against a backdrop of concern about the impact of looming public expenditure cuts, the panel were asked to name one thing they thought the police might usefully stop doing.

I suggested they should drop their obsession with 'diversity' and, rather than pursuing people under 'hate crime' laws for giving offence to others, should concentrate on tackling the yobbery on housing estates where besieged residents felt the police had abandoned them.

It is fair to say my remarks were not greeted with widespread acclaim. Officers seemed stunned that I could challenge the sacred cow of 'diversity'.
Posted by the Flea at 04:47 AM

Faun: Karuna

Posted by the Flea at 04:43 AM

September 28, 2009

Sobering reading

Leave aside all the bumpf about sea-faring traditions; what matters is a RAND Corporation assessment of a changed balance of power in the Taiwan Straight.

‘The United States can no longer be confident of winning the battle for the air in the air,’ said the study by the RAND Corporation, profiling the military situation in the Taiwan Strait. ‘This represents a dramatic change from the first five-plus decades of the China-Taiwan confrontation.’

The piece, based on simulations of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, assesses the relative balance of forces in the cross-strait standoff. And in a stark warning, the authors present a convincing argument that China’s large, modern missile and air forces are likely to pose a virtually insurmountable challenge to Taiwanese and American efforts to command the air over the Strait and the island.
Posted by the Flea at 05:53 AM


I have a sneaking suspicion the headwaters are to be found in Vancouver.

A visionary new miniseries event from the bestselling fantasy novels by Philip José Farmer.
coming to Syfy in 2010

Matt, an American journalist, and his fiancée, Jessie, are killed in an explosion, but reawaken in a very unusual afterlife—a mysterious planet with an endless river terrain. Everyone who has ever lived on Earth has been resurrected simultaneously in this strange new world. Determined to find Jessie, Matt joins forces with an intrepid crew including a 13th century female warrior and Riverboat captain Mark Twain. Embarking upriver, their adventure begins, all the while tracked by the watchful eye of a mysterious alien force.
Posted by the Flea at 05:52 AM | Comments (7)

Sing-Sing: Feels Like Summer

Posted by the Flea at 05:51 AM

September 27, 2009

Here is Your Life: Oak Tree

I had to think about it for a second but, no, it's frackin' posted.

Posted by the Flea at 12:46 PM

Here Is Your Life: Loaf of bread

Posted by the Flea at 12:38 PM | Comments (1)

Deconstructing Pern

Rumours of a Philip K. Dick/Anne McCaffrey collaboration have been proven true with the discovery of the manuscript: Dragonvalis. Too good to be true, I suspect. But with McCaffrey's lawyers tooling up to prevent its publication by PKD's estate it may take a journey to some parallel universe if I want to read the thing.

Dick's book opens five centuries after the end of McCaffrey's series. The people of Pern had long before launched an expedition to the Red Star, the neighboring planet that periodically showered the Pernese with deadly spores called threads. The threat had been halted at the source, and Pernese society had, as a result, evolved far beyond the medieval system that had prevailed in the earlier stories. Suburban sprawl covers the planet, producing a society that strongly resembles that of Dick's beloved Southern California.

But with some differences. Dragonriders criss-cross the sky, mostly working as aerial cabbies. And on the streets and in the weyrs, a new recreational drug is taking hold: Substance T, made from threads farmed on the Red Star.

I am killing myself here.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM | Comments (2)

ABBA: Eagle

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM | Comments (1)

September 26, 2009

Cosmic Void: We are Alone!

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

September 25, 2009

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance

Posted by the Flea at 06:15 PM

J.R.R. Tolkien: Anarchist


J.R.R. Tolkien. The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien. ed. Humphrey Carpenter (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981), 63-4.

My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning the abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) — or to ‘unconstitutional’ Monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word State (in any sense other than the inaminate real of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights nor mind); and after a chance of recantation, execute them if they remained obstinate! If we could go back to personal names, it would do a lot of good. Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so to refer to people. […] Anyway the proper study of Man is anything but Man; and the most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity. At least it is done only to a small group of men who know who their master is. The mediaevals were only too right in taking nolo episcopari as the best reason a man could give to others for making him a bishop. Grant me a king whose chief interest in life is stamps, railways, or race-horses; and who has the power to sack his Vizier (or whatever you dare call him) if he does not like the cut of his trousers. And so on down the line. But, of course, the fatal weakness of all that — after all only the fatal weakness of all good natural things in a bad corrupt unnatural world — is that it works and has only worked when all the world is messing along in the same good old inefficient human way. […] There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamating factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as ‘patriotism’, may remain a habit! But it won’t do any good, if it is not universal.
Posted by the Flea at 06:33 AM | Comments (2)

Let's shoot Germans

All that is England melts into air (hat tip to Five Feet of Fury).

Excited by stories of the Second World War during school classes, Steven Cheek did what generations of young boys have done before him. Making an imaginary gun with his fingers, the nine-year-old pointed it at a classmate and said: 'We've got to shoot the German army.'

Moments later he found himself in front of the deputy head who accused him of racism because his 'victim' had been a Polish boy.

We have become insane.

Posted by the Flea at 06:28 AM

Ann Coulter at CPAC 2009

Just magnificent (via Kathy Shaidle's Ann Coulter site).

Parts 2 and 3 are after the fold.

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

Big Country: Chance

Posted by the Flea at 06:21 AM | Comments (2)

September 24, 2009

Cynic, n: a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be


Amie Buck is no personal trainer. Except in some extended metaphorical sense.

On Saturday night she had the sympathy of the nation as she broke down in tears after messing up her X Factor audition.

But Amie Buck, who was comforted by Cheryl Cole on stage after nerves got the better of her, doesn't usually have a problem with confidence. She has been exposed as a £500-a-week lap dancer.

The 22-year-old hid her less than wholesome profession from the show's bosses, telling them she was a personal trainer.

Next they will tell me they staged the whole thing. Like the part where Amy Buck starts singing "Stand By You" by Girls Aloud and Cheryl Cole (coincindentally from Girls Aloud) stands by her to help her through it. But you know me. Doom and gloom. Conspiracies everywhere. Wheels within wheels.

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM | Comments (3)

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth

India discovers water on the moon, an accomplishment for which a less forgetful civilization might otherwise thank them.

A manned moon base could become a reality within 20 years after scientists revealed today there are large quantities of water on the Moon's surface. The scientific discovery made by the Indian lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 is due to be announced by Nasa today. Amazingly the data also suggests that water is still being formed on the Moon.

In related news: Comment section discovers the UK is still sending aid to India.

So when in Britain going to do something in space again? Silly question, I guess.

It is, actually. Delete the word "again" and try that new sentence out for size.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

Girls Aloud: Call the Shots (Tangled Up Tour 2008)

Posted by the Flea at 06:42 AM

September 23, 2009

O frabjous day


I was about ten minutes into the pilot of the new Melrose Place when I wondered when they would have to bring back Heather Locklear to save the show. Again.

It turns out the answer is November 17.

Locklear, 47, will reprise her role as scheming ad vixen Amanda Woodward on the new CW version of the show. She will make her debut appearance Nov. 17.

"We're ecstatic to have the chance to bring Amanda Woodward back to 'Melrose Place,'" executive producers Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer said in a statement. "Heather's involvement in the show is something we've been working on for some time as we couldn't imagine creating and producing this show without the iconic character's inclusion."

For those whose memory of the early 90s is a bit sketchy.


Posted by the Flea at 07:49 AM

They will feel the Force

On some objective level, Morda Hehol may be a fool. But who is more foolish? The guy wearing robes because he liked Star Wars when he was a kid or the guy wearing robes because an angel told some Dark Ages bedouin having a psychotic break to take slaves, rape children and conquer the world.

So not an academic question.

That said, our civilization could do with a great deal more sniggering and a great deal less feigned respect for nonsense expressions of nonsense religion.

The founder of a religion inspired by the Star Wars films was thrown out of a supermarket for refusing to remove his hood, AOL reported on Tuesday.

Daniel Jones, head of the 500,000-strong International Church of Jediism, was asked to leave the Tesco supermarket in Bangor, North Wales as his attire was deemed to be in violation of Tesco's rules, which forbid the wearing of 'hoodies' while in the supermarket.

Mr Jones, who also goes by the Jedi name Morda Hehol, claimed he was 'victimised over his beliefs' and left 'emotionally humiliated' when staff deemed him a security risk and told him to leave.

He told The Daily Telegraph: 'I told them it was a requirement of my religion but they just sniggered and ordered me to leave.'

According to the rules of the Jedi church, members should wear a hood in public places. 'It states in our Jedi doctrination that I can wear headwear. It just covers the back of my head,' Mr Jones said. 'You have a choice of wearing headwear in your home or at work, but you have to wear a cover for your head when you are in public.'

Related: Never touch a door knob again.

Posted by the Flea at 07:47 AM

Cullen family values

The fine print they leave out about the dark glamour of vampirism is what your get will resemble once you have inbred with blood kin since the dawn of civilization. This is pure speculation on my part but it doesn't make you talented like a sparkle fairy.

By contrast: Cheryl Cole stands by Amie Buck.

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM | Comments (2)

September 22, 2009

Ahmad Jamal: Arabesque

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

Dr. Horrible and the end of the internet

Via the Emmy's (via the Sister of the Flea).

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

September 21, 2009

Juliette Lewis: Hardly Wait

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

September 20, 2009


Evan Coyne Maloney enumerates the rules of multiculturalism and considers the case of Kanye West.

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

Double ft. Namie Amuro: Black Diamond

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

September 19, 2009

It has fallen upon me, now and again in my sojourns through the world, to ease various evil men of their lives

The HQ trailer for Solomon Kane featuring that guy who played Mark Antony in Rome. Amazon has The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane on hand lest any Flea-readers find themselves lacking in Puritan zeal.

Posted by the Flea at 09:21 AM

Apocalyptica feat. Nina Hagen: Seemann (live)

With a grateful hat tip to SondraK.

Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM

September 18, 2009


Watching George Plimpton made me feel smarter.

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 PM

Genisto's "NES Arkanoid in 16:30"

Posting this counts as "passive aggressive".

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 PM


Still want one of these.

Posted by the Flea at 08:40 PM

Pat Condell: Apologists for evil


Foolishly, perhaps, I used to take freedom for granted. But now thanks to ultra-tolerant, self-hating, multicultural lemmings like you, I don't. Politically, I always used to be on the liberal left because I used to believe in things like social justice, tolerance, respect... you know, the good things in life. I still believe those things. Which is why I am no longer on the liberal left.

That? That was just getting warmed up. He's right too; the word "racism" deserves an apology (via The Steynian).

Posted by the Flea at 05:31 PM

Mythbusters: Polishing a Turd

Hat tip to Ben.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

Behemoth: Slaves Shall Serve

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

September 17, 2009

Dunch or Linner?

He says Linner. I think it's Dunch.

Dunch is a late afternoon meal between lunch and dinner. Dunch is a North American innovation, as is brunch.

A dunch (the term is a portmanteu of lunch and dinner) can be served after an afternoon event or prior to an evening one in order to accomodate busy time schedules. It usually replaces both lunch and dinner and thus has a tendency to be the only meal of the day.

The term "dunch" has enjoyed a wider usage, especially among college students, than its equivalent "linner", which has died out.
Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM | Comments (2)

Mini Viva: Left My Heart In Tokyo

Hat tip to Jeff.

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

September 16, 2009

Valhalla Rising

How awesome is this.

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM

Tyr: Hold the Heathen Hammer High

Here's a thought: Instead of being complete pussies we man up and fight back.

Further thought: You know what I am not worried about? Offending Christians. My Christian friends are perfectly capable of reading between the lines.

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM

September 15, 2009

End of an era


Genius of Red Dawn and Escape from New York, Patrick Swayze has died.

And with him, I suspect, my decades long quest to avoid watching Dirty Dancing.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (6)

He is glorified not in one, but in countless suns; not in a single earth, a single world, but in a thousand thousand, I say in an infinity of worlds

GigaGalaxy Zoom has released the first of three images meant to allow internet users to observe the night sky as if from excellent viewing sites in Chile; an 800-million-pixel monster panorama including the entire sky.

Working in the dark, dry highlands of Chile with a Nikon D3 digital camera (50 mm lens open at f5.6), Serge Brunier and Frédéric Tapissier patched together 1,200 photos of the night sky ...
“I wanted to show a sky that everyone can relate to — with its constellations, its thousands of stars, with names familiar since childhood, its myths shared by all civilizations since Homo became Sapiens,” Brunier said in a release. “The image was therefore made as man sees it, with a regular digital camera under the dark skies in the Atacama Desert and on La Palma.”

Each exposure was six minutes long, and the project extended over several months.
Posted by the Flea at 08:04 AM

Te Hokioi

Researchers at Canterbury Museum in Christchurch and the University of New South Wales in Australia have identified the culprit behind Maori legends of a giant man-eating bird. Te Hokioki is now thought to have been Haast's eagle, extinct for 500 years.

With a wingspan of up to three metres and weighing 18kg, the female was twice as big as the largest living eagle, the Steller's sea eagle. And the bird's talons were as big as a tiger's claws. "It was certainly capable of swooping down and taking a child," said Paul Scofield, the curator of vertebrate zoology at the Canterbury Museum. "They had the ability to not only strike with their talons but to close the talons and put them through quite solid objects such as a pelvis. It was designed as a killing machine."

Its main prey would have been moa, flightless birds which grew to as much as 250kg and 2.5 metres tall. "In some fossil sites, moa bones have been found with signs of eagle predation," Dr Scofield said.
Posted by the Flea at 08:03 AM

Sepultura: Bullet the Blue Sky

Posted by the Flea at 08:01 AM

September 14, 2009

More blood for oil

The British Foreign Office has been forced to lie and refute allegations that it agreed Britain would never attempt to try the murderer of police constable Yvonne Fletcher, murdered by a shot fired from inside the Libyan embassy in London 25 years ago.

However, Anthony Layden, Britain's former ambassador to Libya, has said that he signed an agreement with the Libyan government in 2006, when Jack Straw was the foreign secretary and Britain was in the midst of negotiating trade deals with Libya worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
Posted by the Flea at 06:15 AM

Alizée: Spychédélices

Posted by the Flea at 06:11 AM

September 13, 2009

The real lesson of Versailles

David Warren cites Rudyard Kipling, waxes war-mongerish.

That poem begins (and is entitled) For All We Have and Are. It was quite frankly a call to arms, such that the line immediately preceding the passage I quoted reads: “The Hun is at the gate.” It tells Englishmen they are now at war, that they must stand and fight, and that even if everything dear to them is lost, the old Commandments stand. “In courage keep your heart, / In strength lift up your hand.”

So far so “war-mongering,” and I am perfectly aware that far fewer of my own contemporaries have the stomach for this kind of instruction, than had Kipling’s. Part of the reason is our taught memory of that First World War. It has been presented in our schoolbooks as a great waste of lives.

It was not, says Warren. RTWT for the real lesson of Versailles and precisely what made the Hitler phenomenon possible in Germany.

Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM | Comments (2)

John Barry: Beyondness

From the comments:

As an advocate of Gastro-astronomy, I nominate the Saturnian moon Hyperion at 1:02 as the most edible-looking object in the known universe!
Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM

September 12, 2009

The Man Who Walked Around The World

This exceptional Johnny Walker ad arrives AoSHQ.

Posted by the Flea at 09:29 AM | Comments (1)

Toto: Hold The Line

How awesome is this.

Posted by the Flea at 09:28 AM

September 11, 2009

Canaries currents

Connecting Lagrange points between plantary bodies produces a map of gravitational corridors in the solar system and, with them, a means of cutting the costs of space travel.

Professor Shane Ross, from Virginia Tech in the US, said: 'Basically the idea is there are low energy pathways winding between planets and moons that would slash the amount of fuel needed to explore the solar system.

'These are freefall pathways in space around and between gravitational bodies. Instead of falling down, like you do on Earth, you fall along these tubes.
'I like to think of them as being similar to ocean currents, but they are gravitational currents. If you're in a parking orbit round the Earth, and one of them intersects your trajectory, you just need enough fuel to change your velocity and now you're on a new trajectory that is free.'
Posted by the Flea at 07:28 AM

Philip Glass: Glassworks (opening)

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

September 10, 2009

Dolly Rockers: Gold Digger

Lest anyone think I have lost my rhetorical focus.

Full effect here. Hat tip to Jeff!

Posted by the Flea at 01:46 PM | Comments (1)

Jack, Oliver, Mohammed

Mohammed is now the third most popular British boys' name. For some reason (racism!), the British government does not want you to know.

This week, the Office of National Statistics published a list of the most popular boys' names in Britain: Jack, Oliver, Thomas, Harry, Joshua, Alfie, Charlie, Daniel. They reflect a cultural tradition as old as the nation's history, and would provoke approving nods from Jack the Ripper, Oliver Cromwell, Thomas Becket and Harry Hotspur.

There is just one small problem: the list is deceitful. In reality, the third most popular choice for boy children born last year in England and Wales was not Thomas, but Mohammed. The ONS explains blithely that it had no intent to deceive. Its normal practice is to catalogue different spellings separately, as in Mohammed, Muhammed and so on.

Because British parents are eager to name their sons after Jack the Ripper, apparently. So that's a woman hating serial killer, a theocratic tyrant and a couple guys named Jack and Oliver for the top three.

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

Just beyond the Line of Actual Control

NDTV (New Delhi Television Limited) claims to have exclusive information that Red China is "actively training and arming insurgent groups in Manipur and Nagaland."

Sources say at least 400 cadre of a Manipuri insurgent group, the People's Liberation Army (PLA), have been undergoing arms training in China's Yunnan province for the last year. Ronie, alias Robindro, a self-styled major of the Manipur PLA, brags "16 platoon went to China recently, some of them have come back."

Related: Difficulties for mainland China's special forces as they make their first appearance on parade.

Liang Pengju, a soldier who will be taking part in the parade, said he had received very little formation drill training before entering the village for the intensive practice. He said soldiers from the special forces are accustomed to being very flexible and to walking with their toes pointing outwards, to minimize the sound of their footsteps.

"A special forces soldier's body is usually in the shape of a bow," Liang said. "That's why, in formation drills, we always have problems with our heads, feet and upper bodies."
Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

The Beatles: Revolution

That is some insanely awesome pre-recorded guitar tone. And more power to them, live music always sux.

It's actually live vocals over a backing track of the studio recording. Goofy, I know, but true. John does the scream in the studio version, but Paul does it here because there's no way John would be able to scream and then recover fast enough to start the first verse. So: not a lip synch, but not live.
Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM

September 09, 2009

The curse of Apollo


Spengler discusses decline as a guest on Shire Network News, "very popular with those of us with a fairly gloomy view of where the West is going at the moment" (via Five Feet of Fury).

He recently outed himself as actually being David Goldman, who is a harpsichordist of some note, an economist, writer, history buff and general Renaissance man. I didn't ask him to rub his belly and pat his head at the same time, but I'm pretty confident he would be perfectly capable of doing so, while simultaneously chiding me for my sloppy comparison of the modern European Union with the Plains Indians in the 1890s. Warning - don't even think of trying to out-clever this man.

I think my IQ shot up by ten points just by being in the same room.

Revealed: The reason David Goldman chose to publish as Spengler.

Also featured: The Decline of the East. So it's not all bad news then.

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM | Comments (2)

All we are saying

Is give war a chance.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings takes issue with Michael Coren's "myths" about the Second World War, stopping along the way to cite a salient lesson lost on our enemy and lost to ourselves (via Binky).

We are not only fighting armies, but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war, as well as their organized armies. I know that this recent movement of mine through Georgia has had a wonderful effect in this respect. Thousands who had been deceived by their lying papers into the belief that we were being whipped all the time, realized the truth, and have no appetite for a repetition of the same experience.

—Letter, Sherman to Henry W. Halleck, December 24, 1864.

Today's enemy has a demonic appetite for torture and slaughter, his war materiel is provided for by every trip we make to the gas station and he fights in the knowledge of an unholy promise of sex slaves for booty in this world and as eternal reward in the next. He is no more likely to call it a day than an SS officer would be were he also threatened with internment at a Caribbean beach resort.

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM | Comments (1)

Thomas Fehlmann: Bienenkonigin

Posted by the Flea at 07:41 AM

September 08, 2009

Cut and paste

Decca Aitkenhead's interview with novelist Douglas Coupland - in London to promote Generation A: A Novel - is introduced with a story that says more to me about Canadian health care than it does about synaesthesia. Follow the link for context, the following is for illustrative shock value.

Twenty years ago, Douglas Coupland was at work when he sneezed. It was December, he recalls, and snowing hard, and it was the biggest sneeze he'd ever had in his life. "And there was this thing, like an entity, in my hand – the size, colour and shape of a really big green grape. And I freaked – what the fuck is that? It had veins on it, like it was an evil alien." He went to his doctor, who had a look inside Coupland's nose and said, "Oh well, it's not inside of you any more. It seems all clear up there now."

Welcome to the world of socialized health care.

Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM

Ice Ages: From Grey To...

Posted by the Flea at 07:12 AM

September 07, 2009

A modern master of declinology

Steven Poole's brief, insubstantial review of Theodore Dalrymple's Not With a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics and Culture of Decline is nevertheless worth the mention if only to attract traffic for the search term "declinology".

Dalrymple is surely a modern master of declinology, a discipline of which this book is a relentless performance. It takes a certain kind of genius for unverifiable generalisation, for example, to write: "The British are no longer sturdily independent as individuals."

And it takes a Guardian writer not to have noticed.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM

Alan Parsons Project: Don't Answer Me

Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM

September 06, 2009

Rock the Reception

These last days of empire provide ever fewer economic incentives for men to consider marriage (the carrot) and ever less social stigma toward unmarried couples (the stick).

Memo to women: This may not be the best time to raise the bar.

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM | Comments (4)

We can have mammoth burgers

Mankind is perhaps 20 years from being able to clone a hybrid woolly mammoth so we had better start talking about whether or not mammoth ribs are halal. Also, about condiments. Cucumber mint sauce?

a team from Penn State University sequenced almost the entire genome of a mammoth using the same technology and a few months ago, the Max Planck Institute in Germany sequenced the complete copy of the Neanderthal nuclear genome. This has spurred genome-scale projects on extinct animals everywhere -- among many others, international teams are now at work on many of the iconic denizens of the pre-modern world, including the dodo, marsupial wolf, moa, and mastodon, with more efforts being reported every few months.

Marsupial wolf is a different story most probably calling for something hotter. Toronto foodies are best advised to try Mados' pumpkin and pawpaw pepper sauce.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM

John Barry: The Ipcress File

Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM

September 05, 2009

Stargate Universe babes reveal sexy Wookie mating call


In case I had not already linked the trailer for Stargate Universe. About which I have mixed feelings. Robert Carlyle is a bit creepy, for one thing.

Stargate Universe follows the adventures of a present-day, multinational exploration team on board the Ancient spaceship Destiny. Transported to Destiny in a distant corner of the universe and unable to return to Earth, members of the team are forced to remain on the vessel and fend for themselves.

And now for the title of this post.

Posted by the Flea at 10:08 AM

Ocean Look

The United States is set to deploy the Reaper on an anti-piracy mission based in the Seychelles. And, one hopes, a skull and crossbones stencil.

It's not firepower but endurance that is needed to prevail over pirates. Ships can survey only a tiny swath of the sea, and previous ship-launched drones and land-based manned aircraft lack the Reaper's capacity to remain aloft for up to 14 hours. The drone's 66-ft. (20 m) wingspan can launch the 5-ton aircraft on missions covering more than 3,000 miles (about 4,800 km). "This makes it an ideal platform for observing the vast ocean and maritime corridors in the Indian Ocean region and assisting in counterpiracy efforts," Crawley says.
Posted by the Flea at 10:03 AM

September 04, 2009

Think Romany Matrix and you'd be halfway there


For Autumn/Winter 2009, Gareth Pugh decided to show a video rather than send models down the runway.

This collection, he said, was something of a 180-degree twist: turning that inverted triangle silhouette he has been working since Fashion East in 2005 (the self-same one everyone else seems to be cottoning onto) right-way up again. In place of leggings, we had billowing, aggressive gypsy skirts - think Romany Matrix and you'd be halfway there - and on top, body-cleaving stretch sweaters and anatomically shredded leather. Moving away from his earlier puffed-up and pumped-out abstraction, Pugh's latest collections seem to have a new affinity with the body and nature as a whole - soft, slipstream silk chiffons billowed, bubbled and melted across the screen like a sinister (but beautiful) Rorschach inkblot.
For those who feel this has all got too haute luxe for the master of high concept, a series of simple separates studded with Hellraiser-style nails were a perfect example of the short, sharp shock treatments Pugh so loves.

More whimsy: Erin Fetherston Fall 2009: Gothic Alice in Wonderland, Rick Owens Fall 2009: A Goth Take on Swan Lake, Tory Burch Fall 2009: Ladylike Goth and Fall '09 makeup trends: Vamp chic meets 80s glam.

What the hell: Another look at Alexander McQueen Fall Winter 2009/2010.

Posted by the Flea at 08:49 AM

Neil Gaiman's bookshelves

I believe I have already mentioned my envy of Neil Gaiman's library (pictured at the link, via Boing Boing).

Naturally we’d assumed that someone whose work is filled with references ranging from literary to mythological would have a fairly extensive library but even so, we were a bit unprepared for the scope of what he sent us. In the basement of his house of secrets we find a room that’s wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with books (along with a scattering of awards, gargoyles and felines).
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (1)

Carolyn Jones: Morticia & More

With a tip of a gold spray painted hat to Ben.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Ghost of a flea: Egg Chamber

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM

September 03, 2009

The Battle of Toronto

Found guilty as a participant in a bomb plot targeting the Toronto Stock Exchange, the downtown offices of CSIS (what passes for a Canadian CIA) and a military base near Highway 401, a bomb plot that would have "dwarfed London's 2005 subway bombings", Saad Khalid could serve as little as five and a half years behind bars and be out on parole in 28 months.

The judge said he wanted to send a strong message with his sentencing.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the problem in a nutshell. Small wonder they have such contempt for Canada, Canadians, democracy and Canadian values; we set such little store by them ourselves.

Posted by the Flea at 06:14 PM

Who is the hottest girl in gaming?

Once again, her name is Lara, not Laura.

Posted by the Flea at 05:14 PM | Comments (1)

Christopher Hitchens: Axis of Evil

Being the first part of seven.

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Sesame Steet: The Lonely n Song

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM

September 02, 2009

In less depressing news

The Beatles Abbey Road cover recreated.

Enthusiastic Kate Moss for Yves Saint Laurent.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM

Jai Maa Durga

I have decided Hinduism kicks an higher* ass percentage than my current belief system (begging your pardon for the swastika, jarring for all it is a symbol of auspiciousness in this context).

* See how I did that?

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM | Comments (1)

September 01, 2009

Cheryl Cole named new covergirl for L'Oreal


Excellent news for Cheryl Cole and a welcome relief to Flea-readers who have mentioned (purely as an observation, you understand) an absence of totty for all the pissing and moaning about the end of the world. I might even manage to throw some archaeology at you this week.

Also good news, a bump in traffic for August; unexpected as my traffic normally trends down over the summer.


Update: Kathy Shaidle has published her latest traffic statistics. Note to advertisers... between the two of us we should have upwards of 2 million unique readers this year. Not bad for a couple of Canadian blogs written in Canada. I should confess an oblique happiness Townhall.com only gets twenty times my traffic (but I suspect with a far superior business model).

Posted by the Flea at 07:53 AM | Comments (4)

Severe power shortages within a year

Whenever I consider returning to England.

Britain faces the first widespread power blackouts since the 1970s because of looming energy shortages, Government documents reveal. For the first time, ministers are expecting that the supply of electricity will fail to meet demand at peak times.

The Government is forecasting that by 2017 there will be power cuts of around 3,000 megawatt hours per year - the equivalent of the whole of Nottingham being without electricity for a day.
Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass: A Taste of Honey

With a tip of the hat to Taylor Empire Airways.

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM | Comments (4)