September 30, 2010


The New York Times offers an intriguing clue to the authors of the Stuxnet worm, widely thought to have been aimed at Iran's atomic weapons program. The worm reportedly includes an instance of the word "Myrtus", a term signifying justice to Israel of old and quite possibly a reference to the Book of Esther, "the Old Testament tale in which the Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them".

There are many competing explanations for myrtus, which could simply signify myrtle, a plant important to many cultures in the region. But some security experts see the reference as a signature allusion to Esther, a clear warning in a mounting technological and psychological battle as Israel and its allies try to breach Tehran’s most heavily guarded project. Others doubt the Israelis were involved and say the word could have been inserted as deliberate misinformation, to implicate Israel.

Wheels within wheels.

Also: My alternative suggestion has Siemens as the target, check out the comments for expert opinion. Look, it seems likely to me it was the Israelis, they were after the cascade at Natanz and their attack has succeeded. But if my suggestion is valid and Siemens is the target then Myrtus may indeed mean Israel. They have every reason to target a hostile corporation enabling an enemy power.

More at Neptunus Lex including more expert opinion in the comments. This includes a number of gentlemen who have dealt with Siemens or who have worked with their systems. I am borrowing the following observation by G-Man.

I bought a division from Siemens years ago and negotiating with those SOBs convinced me never to purchase another Siemens product. We had to use their PLC code in our product since their PLCs virtually run every major water treatment plant in the US, but we also strongly suggested alternatives like Opto 22 or Allen-Bradley. The one good thing that came out of it all was every time we concluded a session they presented a nice bottle of Bombay Sapphire as a departing gift. And yes, they would sell their Mother’s soul to Satan’s wh0rehouse.
Posted by the Flea at 11:02 AM | Comments (1)

Inter-cosmic discourse

Imagine if and when the aliens turn up and the best we have to say hello is the United Nations.

Last Sunday, it emerged that the UN was set to appoint a Malaysian astrophysicist called Mazlan Othman to lead international efforts to respond to visitors from outer space. As the article in the Sunday Times explained, Dr Othman is the head of the UN’s Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa).
Posted by the Flea at 06:19 AM

Seven-foot worms in the stomach, tarantula bites and lightning strikes

The Daily Mail hosts images from the journals of Royal Navy surgeons between 1793 and 1880.

As well as daily 'sick lists' their meticulous handwritten notes and illustrations included in more than 1,000 newly-catalogued files held at the National Archives bring to life the experiences of travelling all over the world from Britain and Ireland.
Posted by the Flea at 06:18 AM

Ultimate Spinach: Mind Flowers

Posted by the Flea at 06:17 AM

September 29, 2010

She does what in hell?


First it's the head spinning. Next it's the pea soup.

And still she would have been a better President.

Posted by the Flea at 09:08 AM | Comments (1)

Speech is fire

Speaking of Pazuzu, Cambridge historian Martin Worthington thinks he has worked out how to pronounce Babylonian. His posted recordings may be the first time the language has been heard in two-thousand years.

'Whenever I tell people what I do, the first question they ask is what did Babylonian sound like, and how do you know? It's essentially detective work.

'We will never know for sure that a Babylonian would have approved of our attempts at pronunciation, but by looking at the original sources closely, we can make a pretty good guess.
Posted by the Flea at 09:07 AM

The fairest scope for ridicule

Hereditary dictatorship used to be described as monarchy. This will not stop the usual rogues gallery of useful idiots from lining up in praise of North Korea's regency.

The only sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il - promoted to four-star general just before a key party meeting - will act as guardian to his youngest son and heir apparent, analysts say.
Posted by the Flea at 09:05 AM

Neither honour nor courage: The National Post

Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by malice and incompetence.

Dittos to what Five Feet of Fury said.

I wrote a couple of pieces for the National Post, but once I mentioned that, uh, I write for money, I never heard from them again.

I used to publish in the National Post back in the day Conrad Black ran the show. It was a business run with integrity. The last time I had a call from their editorial board I had to explain the Post paid me 40 cents a word. The man was genuinely scandalized - I mean audibly taken aback and offended - when I told him I would not hand my work over to him for free (btw, Adam, how did selling your integrity work out for you? Looks like you got what it was worth).

These days they don't bother to call. Last week, they took my Margaret Atwood story and ran with it uncredited. They lacked the decency to do something that would have cost them nothing.

Because they have small cocks, no talent and no honour. If these were more civilized times, they would be called out at dawn.* It would not have been much of a threat; we all know they would not have shown up to defend something they don't have.

By contrast, my writing has been anthologized alongside Margaret Atwood. I am proud of the fact. As much as she is the definition of a stark raving moonbat, Atwood has added something to Canadian life. Those memoryholes at the National Post subtract from it.

I am a writer. I don't expect to get paid much. But I do expect to get paid. If this country aspired to be something more than a grasping, pissant kleptocracy celebrating third-raters and UCC school ties my work - this blog and others like it - would be understood as part of the real Canadian cultural establishment.

Fortunately, I don't require their acknowledgement.

* Imagine Kathy as a duelling second. That would have scared some manners into them.

Posted by the Flea at 09:04 AM | Comments (1)

Pink Floyd: Us and Them

Posted by the Flea at 09:03 AM

September 28, 2010

Steyn in Scandinavia

Mark Steyn accepts his award for outstanding excellence in lesbianism (audio at the link).

Posted by the Flea at 08:46 AM

I hate Canada

It is a racist sh*thole.

Posted by the Flea at 08:45 AM

WiFi for passive-aggressives

When even leaving a note is too direct (hat tip to Agent Bedhead).

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM

Claire Diterzi: Tableau de Chasse

Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM

September 27, 2010

Alex Reads Twilight: Ch.7

YouTube is more informative than television.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

Emilie Simon: Flowers

Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM

September 25, 2010

Marilyn: August 1953


"Sex goddess" and "Canadian content" have been made to rhyme: Previously unpublished photos of Marilyn Monroe in Alberta, Canada, taken while she was filming River of No Return with Robert Mitchum, are now available for your consideration at the link (the previously published image, above, is included for illustrative purposes).

Posted by the Flea at 09:28 AM | Comments (5)

Moon-o-theism Le Huitième: Moonscape - Citizenship

The story so far: i - Robert A. Heinlein Award winner, Elizabeth Moon uses her LiveJournal to make a number of banal, obvious assertions about terror and citizenship; ii - The World of SF Blog is outrageously outraged; iii - edgy fearless iconoclast Warren Ellis, who does not know what the word "racist" means and who has never watched Fox News, denounces Moon as "a racist idiot who appears to get all her information about the world from Fox News", and; iv - ApexMagazine editor announces a special issue of Arab and Muslim science fiction.

Which means poetry somehow.

It will be a small thing, in the grand scheme. It will not save the world. But it will exist, and perhaps in its own way can stand beside the recent ugliness in the SFF world as something bright and good.
I want to do what I can. This is a thing I can do. I believe it will be extraordinary.

Let the healing begin!

Look, I could have taken the snark in at least two directions with this one. On the one hand, I could have pointed out how 99.9% of the genre would be banned (and authors beheaded) by the men the outragers want to defend against a feminist sf writer. On the other hand, I could have suggested a number of great topics for Arab and Muslim science fiction novels (the shocking world of tomorrow... a world where Islam means peace!).

But on the gripping hand I am going to register my disgust and leave it at that.

Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM | Comments (4)

Belanova: Nada De Más

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM

September 24, 2010

Like theatrical


Vivienne Westwood's models look a bit peaky but the designer herself is rocking wind-swept as she interprets her Red Label catwalk show for a breathless public.

"We did it like it's, like theatrical, like you've got a spotlight on you. You know, it's like it's very, very theatrical. It's like green marks all over your face but it's supposed to look like you've just got a reflection from something."

Reminder: Do not ask artists to analyse their own work. They will let you down.

TalkFashionworld.com has photos.

The sartorial is the political: Because these people are asleep and dreaming the dreams of the clueless.

On every seat, there were water bottles that Ms. Westwood designed with SIGG, urging fashionistas the world over to “think beyond fashion and to the most urgent issue facing our world today, climate change.”

I think she means climate disruption. One day climate change is in. The next day climate change is out.

Talkin' 'bout a revolution: Hilary Alexander wouldn't go so far as to call it a feminist movement so she doesn't say much of anything actually.

... London Fashion Week has certainly seen the birth of a new breed - let's call her the "Feminista". She's female, has her own label, and an instinctive grip on what suits her and her customers.

She's sassy! She's all up in your face! She's selling couture! Rawr! (make sexy cat clawing gesture)

Posted by the Flea at 09:08 AM | Comments (3)

The New Horror From M. Night Shyamalan

What was I saying about The Sixth Sense or Unwatchable, people? It is a bit late to be boarding the "it's overrated crap" train.

Posted by the Flea at 09:04 AM

Empire Of The Sun: Standing On The Shore

Posted by the Flea at 09:02 AM

September 23, 2010

Dear BBC

The license fee is extorted from the taxpayer. You are civil servants. You have no right to keep your salaries private.

The BBC has struck a deal to stop the public knowing exactly how much its top stars are paid despite opening its accounts to the public spending watchdog.

The corporation has bowed to political pressure to let the National Audit Office have unfettered access to how it spends its money. But despite letting auditors have complete freedom to look at its finances, it has emerged that the exact pay details of its top stars are still likely to remain a secret.

Not good enough. Outrageous.

That means you too Jeremy Clarkson (be Prime Minister instead, please).

The Flea

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

A castle in the making

The Guédelon adventure... now with lots of video.

In the heart of Puisaye, in Yonne, Burgundy, a team of fifty people have taken on an extraordinary feat: to build a castle using the very same techniques and materials used in the Middle Ages.

The materials needed for the construction of the castle - wood, stone, earth, sand and clay - are all to be found here, in this abandoned quarry. Before the gaze of thousands of visitors, all the trades associated with castle-building - quarrymen, stonemasons, woodcutters, carpenters, blacksmiths, tile makers, basket makers, rope makers, carters and their horses - are working together to complete the castle.

If only they thought to rebuild Europe while they were at it. But for a mustard seed, the materials needed are all still to be found there.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

Fashion prorsum

The Burberry Prorsum Womenswear Spring/Summer 2011 show was the "centrepiece" of London Fashion Week (BBC has celebrity video at the link). Sadly, Emma Watson was not in attendance.

It is the usual colour palette for Burberry; immaculately tailored and presented as you would expect from their couture line. So far, so good.

But I am not feeling these ersatz motorcycle jackets.

Much worse was the motorcycle jacket influenced trench concept, practically heresy considering the inventor of the trench coat. Expect to see these monstrosities turn up in Yorkville some time in October with knock offs arriving at Yorkdale for October 2011.

Posted by the Flea at 06:43 AM

Elitsa & Stoyan: Air

Posted by the Flea at 06:42 AM | Comments (1)

September 22, 2010

Grace Park isn't perfect, and that's OK with her


Grace Park stars in the Hawaii Five-0 reboot. I would tell you about the pilot but, let's face facts.

It turns out she wasn't enthusiastic about the role at first.

"It's funny -- when [co-star Daniel Dae Kim] was telling me about the script, he was like, 'Oh, she kicks a**, she's a great character,'" Park tells Zap2it. "When I heard she could do all these things and she's supposed to be in a bikini and stuff, I just rolled my eyes. ... I just wanted something different than that."

Fortunately for her, Kono has turned out to be more than the average butt-kicking heroine. "I think she's lovely, and she's a real person ... she's three-dimensional," she says. "She has a history and hopes and dreams and failures."

Now she mentions it, there was a scene where Grace Park was told to take off her dress, stand in her underwear then slowly turn around. She's three dimensional!

Video of, like, Grace Park, at the first, like, link. Not video of the underwear scene but it's still Grace Park [Update: Egotastic! delivers].

By way of apology, more Grace Park bikini candids.

Also: Still one of the best title themes ever.

Here is the respectful yet soulless Hawaii 5-0 2010 theme.

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM

Moon-o-theism, Part VII: Moonbattery

Something to consider he next time Margaret Atwood spouts off about anything whatsoever. SFFAudio hosts a Spartan Youth Radio interview in which Canada's annointed cultural gatekeeper claims humans did not land on the Moon. She thinks it was staged, a hoax.

In her defense, Atwood was being interviewed in Sudbury, often mistaken for the Moon.

Madeline Lemire: I was told recently that you were one of the believers who is of the opinion that the Moon landing was actually filmed ... could possibly have been filmed here.

Atwood: The question about the Moon landing is "why haven't we been back?" and it was done in an age when computers were as big as a couple of rooms. If you even look at the Space Odyssey, 2001, HAL the computer - and I think that movie came out in the late '60s - HAL the computer is huge. So we didn't yet have microchips so I just wonder how did they do that? Why haven't they done it again if it was so easy?

Lemire: What do you think of the argument to that question, usually most often I hear they say we haven't had a need to return.

Atwood: Well, you think about it. President Bush said we're going back or words to that effect and then people calculated how long it would take and how much money it would cost to actually do that. It was a long time and a lot of money. Just wondering, wondering about the belt of deadly radiation that people have to go through to get to the Moon and those strange shadows and why the flag rippled and a few things like that.

Lemire: What would have pushed them to pull off an entire hoax like that?

Atwood: Well, if it was and the jury is open and we'll never know. But it was the space race with Russia... space and arms race that was going on at the time.

The woman is a moron. And I mean that in a she's retarded way.

The 33.5mb mp3 file is here.

Update: Thanks to Spartan Youth Radio for crediting Madeline Lemire, the student journalist who conducted the interview. Lemire asked a question of obvious interest not only to the reading public but to Canadians wondering how to assess a novelist's views on the worlds outside her novels. It is the sort of inherently interesting question Atwood would never be posed by the CBC. I have updated my transcription to credit Lemire.

But wait, there's less: Hey National Post, you're welcome. Matt Gurney and Joe O’Connor: you are on my List.

As to Atwood, she now claims the Sudbury thing is a "running joke" though she is slippery enough to avoid saying this means she was joking. Perhaps she knows keeping the faith will be to her credit after the revolution comes. Atwood is apparently unaware of Sudbury's actual connection to the Moon missions. But then that would involve fact, a category to which Canada's best known novelist/public intellectual/censor is unresponsive.

Another thing: The difference between the National Post and Margaret Atwood? Atwood has the courtesy to link my work. And that's after I called her a moron. Which she is. But with class.

You may now return to your scheduled just asking questions.

Your scheduled just asking questions: Rob Breakenridge.

For the record, I found it most unfortunate that Ms. Atwood would have signed the controversial "Stop Fox News North" petition, but I really had little to say in the ensuing controversy. I didn't bring up the moon landing controversy as a way of "further discrediting" her, although to be honest, I'm not sure why the interview has surfaced now.

A) Because Spartan Youth Radio are students who did not realize they had a scoop last year.

B) By drawing atention to the Atwood interview now, I am trying to discredit her. Because her opinions should be discredited. That clear enough for everyone? Thanks.

Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM | Comments (4)

China Mieville, Marxist

A scene from a worker's life in the People's Republic of North London.

"If you tell a story about a people's revolution, and you depict it failing, then you're essentially slipping into that tragedian paradigm whereby even if it's desirable it can't ever really happen.

"On the other hand, if you show revolution succeeding, I think intrinsically and inevitably you end up banalising it. In my novel Iron Council, I tried to take seriously that dilemma and show the notion of revolutionary potential not as failed, and not as frozen, but as imminent in the everyday, all the time."

Mieville has just launched into a serious discussion of the effects of consumerism on culture when the doorbell rings. He bounds down the stairs like a man possessed - an accessory for his new iPad has just been delivered.

More self-parody at the link.

Posted by the Flea at 08:19 AM | Comments (3)

A man after my own thinking

It was an era where chamber pots were commonplace, hedgehogs were insect repellents and ladies were routinely treated for hysteria.

Because that would be totally unjustified.

Living in the past: Man spends six years turning cottage into Victorian time capsule

What the Dickens? . . . meet the incredible fan of all things Victorian who has spent thousands making his home a real-life homage to the bygone age.
Posted by the Flea at 08:18 AM

Katy Perry: Hot and Cold

Sesame Street is a lot better than I remember it (though Agent Bedhead is of a different mind, apparently).

Posted by the Flea at 08:15 AM

Kaskade feat. Martina of Dragonette: Fire In Your New Shoes

Posted by the Flea at 08:14 AM

September 21, 2010

Mike Pence, CPAC 2010

This is what a President sounds like.

Official web site for US Representative Mike Pence (R) for Indiana's 6th Congressional District.

Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.
- Leviticus 25:10

Update: Another version of the stump speech at the opening session of Americans for Prosperity Foundation's RightOnline 2010.

Posted by the Flea at 04:28 PM

Shocked, repulsed and thrilled


Fashionistas turned out in force to pay their last respects to Alexander McQueen at St Paul's Cathredral.

Kate Moss, Anna Wintour and Naomi Campbell at the link.

Fashion's royalty paid their last respects to the late designer Alexander McQueen yesterday in an incredible parade of his creations.

Supermodels Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss joined actress Sarah Jessica Parker, designer Stella McCartney and American Vogue editor Anna Wintour for the moving ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral in London.

Related: Alexander McQueen remembered. A man with dreams and demons.

Also: Style Icon: Daphne Guinness. In related news: I am prepared to change my last name to "Guinness".

Searching for: Video of Björk at the Alexander McQueen memorial service.

Unsurprisingly, Icelandic singer Bjork — who first wore McQueen on an album cover at the height of her popularity — did not choose a subdued look. Dressed in giant angel wings and a silver helmet, she performed a haunting song called “Gloomy Sunday,” also known as “the Hungarian suicide song,” which talks in the first person about deciding “to end it all.”

“My heart and I have decided to end it all,” sang Bjork. “Soon there’ll be prayers and candles are lit, I know. Let them not weep, let them know, I’m glad to go.
Posted by the Flea at 07:12 AM

Le Wrath Di Khan

Stealing this from Mr. Taylor.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

Björk: Bachelorette

Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM

September 20, 2010

This Is Not A Room


Yet another Central Saint Martin’s graduate artiste, sometimes styled the "queen of hyperrealist chic", Mary Katrantzou is a talked up property of this year's London Fashion Week.

Elle compares her spring/summer 2011 collection to Gianni Versace and Alexander McQueen.

Which is absurd.

Entitled "This Is Not A Room", the surrealist world of Magritte was plain to see. Her hyper-real digital prints featured graphic interior sets from Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton's fashion shoots. So vivid were the trompe l'oeil prints, you could almost walk in to them. But this is Katrantzou's signature.

The moving-on moment came from the 3D shapes. Angled pelmets framed shoulders and skirts, Victorian lampshapes were used literally as skirts, complete with intricate beading and boning that showed Katrantzou's skill as a sculptor as well as a master at creating prints.

There is nothing hyperreal, let alone surreal, about a lampshade skirt if the skirt is, in point of fact, a lampshade. That isn't even realism, it's just real.

Hilary Alexander got it right when she called it "world of interiors". Except I think she meant it as a compliment. At least last year's perfume bottles had the virtue of being curvy.

In the plus column: Legs!

If you are set on getting a lamp dress: Go for Marianne Maric.

Posted by the Flea at 05:48 AM | Comments (1)

I Blame Coco: Quicker

Posted by the Flea at 05:42 AM

September 19, 2010

For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it

If we can find nine more like him, London and the surrounding plain may be saved from a rain of sulfur and fire.

I am betting on sulfur and fire.

Defence Secretary Liam Fox was heading for a showdown with David Cameron last night over the Coalition’s decision to delay renewing Britain’s Trident nuclear submarines until after the next Election.
Tory sources say that if Mr Fox does not get his way over Trident, he could resign.

He has a plan to save two of the new carriers as well. Make the man Prime Minister.

Posted by the Flea at 09:15 AM

A mouth full of ashes

Peter Hitchens on the coming avalanche. Not that anyone is a position to do anything is listening, least of all what is left of the British public.

They have gorged on the carcass of England and empire. Now the fight for the scraps begins.

Well, how can we afford to carry 1.5 million people who have never worked? How can we afford to house jobless migrant families in Notting Hill grandeur? How can we sustain the enormous NHS which we gorged with cash in good times, while quietly loading it with enormous long-term debts to finance a building splurge?

None of this is real. Our economy continues to function out of habit and faith rather than because we are paying our way in the world.

Our state education system is a gigantic international joke, so bad that the remaining employers here would mostly much rather hire Poles with hardly a word of English than the products of our anarchic classrooms, where multitudes have ‘special needs’ and failure is the only thing that is rewarded.

The people who said that manufacturing doesn’t matter now admit they were wrong, but that does not bring back the lost factories. The North Sea money that carried us over much of the worst is nearly all spent.
Posted by the Flea at 09:14 AM | Comments (2)

Eurythmics: Beethoven (I Love To Listen To)

Posted by the Flea at 09:07 AM

September 18, 2010

Hey almost everybody, how's that appeasement working out for you?

Yet another non-Koran burning has proved to be more than our allies can bear.

Australian soldiers were pelted with rocks and one man was shot and wounded during a violent protest in Afghanistan prompted by rumours that the troops were burning the Koran, the military said Saturday.

The only answer: We must engage in continuous mockery and insult until they damn well get used to the idea they have to take their lumps like the rest of us. Fawning, feigned respect engendered by fear will only provoke more vein-popping outrage and generalized mayhem.

Posted by the Flea at 08:45 AM

Meat Loaf: Lawyers, Guns, & Money

The Binks is back.

Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM

September 17, 2010

£9 billion

Due to catastrophic economic mismanagement under New Labour, Britain's new coalition government is making massive cuts of 20 per cent and upwards to spending on health, education, policing and defence amongst other things.

Untouched? £9 billion a year of foreign aid.

Britain doesn't need a Tea Party. Britain needs an American Revolution.

For any true Tory, defence of the realm stands near the top of a list of absolute priorities. It is therefore painful to see a Tory Prime Minister apply the shears so viciously without apparent regret. It is doubly painful when he boasts that we are also increasing international aid.

No area of government spending is so disfigured by corruption, wastage and inefficiency as international aid. This week the Mail exposed some shenanigans at the Commonwealth Development Corporation, a major force in international aid with a fund of £2.5 billion.

The boss of the organisation, who is effectively a public servant, pockets £1 million a year, and other executives are paid several hundred thousand pounds each. Some have enjoyed £700 dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants or stayed at some of the word’s most expensive hotels, while one of their number claimed £336.54 for a taxi from Brussels to Paris.

Such are the priorities of a civilization in its twilight.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM

Beirut: Elephant Gun

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

September 16, 2010

Brown Shirts, in red

Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla, who is hot, not that is matters, just saying, on the deployment of Venezuela’s National Bolivarian Militia.

From the comments at Rantburg:

"Kommunisten sind rotlackierte Nazis."
"Communists are Nazis painted in red."
- Kurt Schumacher, Chairman of the German Social Democrats 1945-1952, Concentration Camp Survivor

That observation is, on its own, worth more than the full breadth of Stratfor's wafflespeak.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

Wojciech Kilar: Vocalise

Wojciech Kilar - Vocalise from Ninth Gate,

Katarzyna Jagiełło - sopran,
Łukasz Borowicz - conductor,
The Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra,

live, Krakow 2008
Posted by the Flea at 06:41 AM

September 15, 2010

Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes.

The Heroes Concert at Twickenham on Sunday September 12th, held in aid of Help for Heroes. Interviews with Sir Tom Jones, The Saturdays, Emma Bunton, Alexandra Burke, Katherine Jenkins, Shayne Ward, Alesha Dixon, and The Wanted.
Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM

Spike Milligan: Pakistani Daleks

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM

The Ventures: Walk don't run

Posted by the Flea at 09:22 AM

September 14, 2010

I downloaded a copy of the Qur’an to my Kindle

And the punchline...

(Via Troglopundit)

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

Famous Speeches: A Few Good Men

One of those times when Hollywood accidentally told the truth. It works even better if you think of them as Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson.

Which they are.

Lieutenant Kaffee: Colonel Jessep! Did you order the "code red?!!"

Judge Randolph: You don't have to answer that question!

Jessep: I'll answer the question. You want answers?

Lieutenant Kaffee: I think I'm entitled to them.

Jessep: You want answers?!

Lieutenant Kaffee: I want the truth!

Jessep: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know -- that Santiago's , while tragic, probably saved lives; and my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall -- you need me on that wall.

We use words like "honor," "code," "loyalty." We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it.

I would rather that you just said "thank you" and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand the post. Either way, I don't give a DAMN what you think you're entitled to!

Lieutenant Kaffee: Did you order the "code red?"

Jessep: I did the job I was --

Lieutenant Kaffee: -- Did you order the "code red?!"

Jessep: You're god damn right I did!!!

Except in my ending Nicholson leaps from the stand, beats Cruise with his shoe and everybody applauds.

Then everyone says "thank you" and goes on their way.

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

Acker Bilk: Stranger on the Shore

This one goes out to the Reform Party of Ontario.

Posted by the Flea at 07:41 AM

September 13, 2010

Patton speaks

General George S. Patton's speech in Los Angeles, 1945 followed by news of his death in an automobile accident after the War.

Narrated by Ronald Reagan.

Remember America?

Posted by the Flea at 06:49 AM | Comments (1)

Argumentum ad existem

World's Only Rational Man offers an excellent riposte to Canadians who believe Americans are war-mongering imperialists (via Small Dead Animals).

Let’s cut to the chase. Proof that the U.S. isn’t war-mongering is that Canada even exists.

This is correct, of course. But he is just getting warmed up. Click through for his counter-theory.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More

Posted by the Flea at 06:42 AM

September 12, 2010

Gerald Finley: Arm, arm ye brave

From Handel's Judas Maccabaeus.

Posted by the Flea at 10:02 AM

September 11, 2010

Noirin Ni Riain: The Seven Rejoices of Mary

Posted by the Flea at 04:11 PM

What we saw

September 11, 2001. Not even ten years out and we have already learned the futility of saying never forget, let alone never again. All our peace loving friends are so determined to have never seen it in the first place I am convinced their heart's desire is to see it again.

One day soon, if not in this generation most probably in the next, having missed every opportunity it should be otherwise, what is left of our civilization will choose to fight or to surrender.

For now, if we cannot go to war, we can at least bear witness.

Posted by the Flea at 10:27 AM

The survivor guilt of civilization

Musings of a Durotrigan describes it as an instance of Stockholm Syndrome. While I have been thinking along the same lines, he has found the most emblematic example to date of the personality disorder that is progressive politics after September 11, 2001.

To these fools, September 11 is now Wear a Hijab Day.

Posted by the Flea at 10:24 AM

Depeche Mode: Enjoy the Silence

Posted by the Flea at 10:21 AM

September 10, 2010

Double standards

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says Western support for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, "convicted" of adultery, is politically motivated and betrays a double standard.

I won't bore you with his reasoning but will make the following suggestion instead.

The next time someone claims to be a religious moderate seeking to live peacefully as your neighbour ask him if he believes women who commit adultery should be stoned to death. If his answer is anything except "no" then you need to understand he is not going to live peacefully as your neighbour and act accordingly.

Posted by the Flea at 09:05 AM

Andrew Melnikov: Shagal's Passion (2006)

Because I have to turn my editorial direction back to beauty. The world is mad and I don't want to add to the madness.

Posted by the Flea at 09:04 AM

September 09, 2010

Rita Hayworth & Fred Astaire: Day and Night

Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM

September 08, 2010

Ten Surprising Facts About the Middle East You May Not Know

Stephen McDonald posts ten facts about the Middle East.

My favourite: Surprising Fact No. 3.

3. Hamas considers the Lions Club and the Rotary Club its sworn enemies.

...many are unaware of Hamas' intense hatred and conspiratorial view of the Rotary Club and Lions Club. Article 22 of the Covenant ("The Powers that Support the Enemy") states: "They (Zionists) also used the money to establish clandestine organizations which are spreading around the world, in order to destroy societies and carry out Zionist interests. Such organizations are: the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, B'nai B'rith and the like. All of them are destructive spying organizations." This is no typo - the Covenant denounces the Rotary Club three times, and the Lions Club twice.

Related: I just got a memo from General Petraeus. Wearing a fez is a shameful act of provocation and endangers our troops.

Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM

M100 Media Prize 2010

Mohammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard will be awarded the M100 Sanssouci Media Award.

The theme for this year’s M100 award ceremony, to be held tonight in Potsdam in eastern Germany, is ‘Freedom of the Press in Europe’. According to Potsdam mayor Jann Jakobs, Westergaard is ‘a person who has become a symbol for freedom of expression and of the press’.

Better late than never. Even better news, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be there to make a speech in Westergaard's honour.

Related: David Petraeus: "Will nobody think of the troops?"

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (1)

The dog still hasn't barked yet

Protestors burn images of an American citizen, a Christian pastor, and burn the American flag.

Nobody is incited to violence in return.

But that's not news.

What should be news is that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and General David Petraeus have nothing whatsoever to say about death threats against an American citizen or "allied" citizens burning an American flag. You know, priorities.

Posted by the Flea at 08:55 AM

The Plastiscines: Loser

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM

September 07, 2010

Gloria Jones: Tainted Love

Posted by the Flea at 10:02 AM

September 06, 2010

Flea X

At the tail end of his Rush Limbaugh guest hosting duties, Mark Steyn claimed he always checks the census boxes for Transgendered and Pacific-Islander in an attempt to undermine their statistics. It is a gesture Michel Foucault would have described as "resistance".

Which got me thinking. If I can decide to be a woman and everyone from the tax man to my employer has to empower me, why can't I just decide to be black* (too) and start applying for grants and tenure-track jobs accordingly?

* You heard me: Black. Don't tell me how to describe myself, whitey.

Related: You may not be shocked to learn the genesis of this plan may be laid at the door of Five Feet of Fury. Remember: The personal is the historical.

Posted by the Flea at 09:04 AM

Extended Footage of Hezbollah at Al-Shahabiya

Extended Footage: Explosion of a Hezbollah Weapons Storage Facility in Al-Shahabiya, south Lebanon.

Released on September 5, 2010: Additional footage released today by the IDF shows Hezbollah operatives removing weapons from the site of an explosion in a weapons storage facility in Southern Lebanon, which occurred on September 3, 2010.

The explosion occurred in Al-Shahabiya, a village in southern Lebanon. The footage shows smoke rising from a building, Hezbollah operatives transferring weapons from the building and preventing LAF and UNIFIL forces from approaching the site of the incident. The Hezbollah operatives removed the contents to a new location--a mosque in a nearby village.

This incident is only one of many that clearly show that Hezbollah systematically violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which stipulates that Hezbollah should be disarmed and that no paramilitary groups will be active south of the Litani river.

These are the allies of Weimar Canada's trades union leadership and the majority of university arts and social science faculty.

If you point out any of the above, say goodbye to a tenure-track job let alone any clever party invitations.

Posted by the Flea at 09:03 AM

David Bowie: Big Brother/Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family

Posted by the Flea at 09:01 AM

September 05, 2010

Five major North Korean prison camps

Large enough to see from space.

North Korea has operated political prison camps for more than 50 years, twice as long as the Gulag in the former Soviet Union. People suspected of opposing the government are forced to do slave labor in the camps, which hold an estimated 200,000 prisoners. North Korea's government says the camps don't exist, but high-resolution satellite images show otherwise.
Posted by the Flea at 08:05 AM

Wojciech Kilar: The Beginning (Bram Stoker's Dracula)

From the film.

Posted by the Flea at 08:02 AM | Comments (1)

September 04, 2010

In his own words: J.R.R. Tolkien

First broadcast on March 30, 1968, a BBC2 documentary airing the views of the author J.R.R. Tolkien and Oxford's students on Tolkien's Middle-earth epics (via Steynian 421).

Video at the link.

John Izzard meets with JRR Tolkien at his home, walking with him through the Oxford locations that he loves while hearing the author's own views about his wildly successful high-fantasy novels. Tolkien shares his love of nature and beer and his admiration for 'trenchermen' in this genial and affectionate programme. The brief interviews with Oxford students that are dotted throughout reveal the full range of opinions elicited by 'The Lord of the Rings', from wild enthusiasm to mild contempt.
Posted by the Flea at 09:08 AM

David Bowie: Pallas Athena

Posted by the Flea at 09:04 AM

September 03, 2010

Britain's Secret Masters

Cambridge University educated Rehana Mohamed, strategic change management consultant at Brent Council in north London, comments on Channel 4 Dispatches programme, Britain's Secret Slaves.

'Oh this is so self-righteous. That b****y maid needs a good slap. Some ppl [sic] here have no idea what it's like having servants.

'I'm sorry but being on call 24/7 and not having a day off for months and not being allowed to leave the house DOESN'T make you a slave.'

'Damn right they should get up and make what you want. That's their job.

'We never let out female servants for their own safety.'
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM

Public relations

Edward Bernays, the American nephew of Sigmund Freud, is said to have invented modern propaganda.

During the first world war, he was one of a group of influential liberals who mounted a secret government campaign to persuade reluctant Americans to send an army to the bloodbath in Europe. In his book, Propaganda, published in 1928, Bernays wrote that the “intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses was an important element in democratic society” and that the manipulators “constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power in our country.”

Instead of propaganda, he coined the euphemism... public relations.

Update: From slightly wobbly documentary by Adam Curtis and the BBC, "The Century of the Self".

Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM

That Mitchell and Webb Sound: Welcome to Hufflepuff

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM

Dunkelbunt: Black Eyed Sea

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM

September 02, 2010

Tomasz Bagiński: The Cathedral

The Cathedral is an animated pastiche of at least two pieces by the late Zdzisław Beksiński. Just gorgeous.

Katedra (The Cathedral) - 2002

Krótki animowany film autorstwa Tomasza Bagińskiego i muzyką Adama Rosiaka, nominowany do Oscara w roku 2003.

HIs first short, Deszcz (Rain), is a tribute to Blade Runner with a twist. Once you have seen them, the line from this work to The Witcher is apparent. More on Tomasz Bagiński at Wikipedia.

Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM

Tina Turner: One of the Living

My vision of the near future looks something like this.

Tina Turner shall stand with us.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM

September 01, 2010

Hurts: Wonderful Life

The '80s will live in our hearts so long as we keep the flame of the '80s alive (hat tip to Jeff).

They are Kylie fans!

Update: The original DIY video. Jeff elaborates in the comments.

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM | Comments (2)