...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

November 30, 2004

i'm Gonna Be The Head Greenskeeper, Hopefully Within The Next Six Years, That's My Schedule

Here's my schedule. Last day of class is this Friday. The following week is reading week, then from the eighth through the twenty-third is finals. My last final is actually earlier than the twenty-third though, which will give me a chance to party up here and then make it home for Christmas. Then it's back up north again for the second semester in mid January.

Blogging should be light, but you all know how i am. i'm addicted. So i'll probably post stupid shit once in a while during study breaks or whatever. i've got a few blogger interviews in the works which you'll want to stay tuned for as well. Actually, i'm gonna post a fun interview with Ginger of Candied Ginger on Thursday, so be sure to check that out. Then another really special annie-conversation later on in the month, just to keep you visitors visiting.

P.S. Speaking of interviews, Matt Rustler did mine a couple of weeks ago and i know the whole blogosphere is awaiting that posting with feverish anticipation.

Posted by annika at 09:49 AM | Comments (6)

November 29, 2004

Monday Night Football Pick

Did you see the Raiders last night? What a game. i'm telling you, even during years when they suck, the Raiders can still put on a show. Especially against the hated Broncos.

As for tonight's game, i need a winner to offset last week's faulty prediction. Although, if you watched the first quarter of last week's game, you probably were wondering if your girl might just have some inexplicable insight into the game of football. But then New England's ass-kicking began. That Rodney Harrison interception at the end of the second took all the fight out of the Chiefs.

So tonight it's the Rams and Green Bay at Lambeau Field. i picked Green Bay correctly for the Monday night opener back in September, but i blew my prediction when Green Bay lost to Tennessee on October 11th. That was the last time Green Bay lost, and they've fought back to a 6 and 4 record by winning their next five in a row.

i think the Packers will make it six in a row tonight and they're favored by 6½. This will be Brett Favre's 200th regular season game in his consecutive game streak, so he should be on. But with Ahman Green hurting, i wonder if the Packers will cover the spread? The weather figures to be bad and both teams will need to run the ball more. With Marshall Faulk, i think the Rams can keep it close. So i'm going to make another leap and pick the Rams plus 6½.

Update: Packers won 45 to 17. Okay, i suck. Mostly i suck. But sometimes i get lucky, and when i do expect me to call it genius. Last night was not one of those times, though.

Plus i'm 4 and 8 in the Blogger Bowl. That really hurts. And Victor is number one! Victor! A man who'll drive 400 miles for a rat is winning the Blogger Bowl. i just don't understand it.

Posted by annika at 01:10 PM | Comments (8)

November 26, 2004

Not Sure He Was A Leader, But Whatever...

What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by similarminds.com
Posted by annika at 11:16 AM | Comments (7)

November 24, 2004

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. i will probably not be posting this weekend, as i will be at my parents' house, helping to cook, eating, drinking and watching football.


i'll leave you with a very nice holiday poem about the historical Thanksgiving, by 19th Century American poet, Hezekiah Butterworth.

The Thanksgiving in Boston Harbor

"Praise ye the Lord!" The psalm to-day
  Still rises on our ears,
Borne from the hills of Boston Bay
  Through five times fifty years,
When Winthrop's fleet from Yarmouth crept
  Out to the open main,
And through the widening waters swept,
  In April sun and rain.
    "Pray to the Lord with fervent lips,"
      The leader shouted, "pray;"
    And prayer arose from all the ships
      As faded Yarmouth Bay.

They passed the Scilly Isles that day,
  And May-days came, and June,
And thrice upon the ocean lay
  The full orb of the moon.
And as that day, on Yarmouth Bay,
  Ere England sunk from view,
While yet the rippling Solent lay
  In April skies of blue,
    "Pray to the Lord with fervent lips,"
      Each morn was shouted, "pray;"
    And prayer arose from all the ships,
      As first in Yarmouth Bay;

Blew warm the breeze o'er Western seas,
  Through Maytime morns, and June,
Till hailed these souls the Isles of Shoals,
  Low 'neath the summer moon;
And as Cape Ann arose to view,
  And Norman's Woe they passed,
The wood-doves came the white mists through,
  And circled round each mast.
    "Pray to the Lord with fervent lips,"
      Then called the leader, "pray;"
    And prayer arose from all the ships,
      As first in Yarmouth Bay.

Above the sea the hill-tops fair—
  God's towers—began to rise,
And odors rare breathe through the air,
  Like balms of Paradise.
Through burning skies the ospreys flew,
  And near the pine-cooled shores
Danced airy boat and thin canoe,
  To flash of sunlit oars.
    "Pray to the Lord with fervent lips,"
      The leader shouted, "pray!"
    Then prayer arose, and all the ships
      Sailed into Boston Bay.

The white wings folded, anchors down,
  The sea-worn fleet in line,
Fair rose the hills where Boston town
  Should rise from clouds of pine;
Fair was the harbor, summit-walled,
  And placid lay the sea.
"Praise ye the Lord," the leader called;
  "Praise ye the Lord," spake he.
    "Give thanks to God with fervent lips,
      Give thanks to God to-day,"
    The anthem rose from all the ships,
      Safe moored in Boston Bay.

  "Praise ye the Lord!" Primeval woods
  First heard the ancient song,
And summer hills and solitudes
  The echoes rolled along.
The Red Cross flag of England blew
  Above the fleet that day,
While Shawmut's triple peaks in view
  In amber hazes lay.
    "Praise ye the Lord with fervent lips,
      Praise ye the Lord to-day,"
    The anthem rose from all the ships
      Safe moored in Boston Bay.

The Arabella leads the song—
  The Mayflower sings below,
That erst the Pilgrims bore along
  The Plymouth reefs of snow.
Oh! never be that psalm forgot
  That rose o'er Boston Bay,
When Winthrop sang, and Endicott,
  And Saltonstall, that day:
    "Praise ye the Lord with fervent lips,
      Praise ye the Lord to-day;"
    And praise arose from all the ships,
      Like prayers in Yarmouth Bay.

That psalm our fathers sang we sing,
  That psalm of peace and wars,
While o'er our heads unfolds its wing
  The flag of forty stars.
And while the nation finds a tongue
  For nobler gifts to pray,
'T will ever sing the song they sung
  That first Thanksgiving Day:
    "Praise ye the Lord with fervent lips,
      Praise ye the Lord to-day;"
    So rose the song from all the ships,
      Safe moored in Boston Bay.

Our fathers' prayers have changed to psalms,
  As David's treasures old
Turned, on the Temple's giant arms,
  To lily-work of gold.
Ho! vanished ships from Yarmouth's tide,
  Ho! ships of Boston Bay,
Your prayers have crossed the centuries wide
  To this Thanksgiving Day!
    We pray to God with fervent lips,
      We praise the Lord to-day,
    As prayers arose from Yarmouth ships,
      But psalms from Boston Bay.

i'll be back Sunday. Enjoy your turkey!

Posted by annika at 12:02 AM | Comments (7)

November 23, 2004

Rather Quits, Sort Of...

Dan Rather has finally succumbed to the inevitable, and the expected. He is stepping down from the CBS Evening News. i feel good about that, because i was one of the many voices urging CBS to fire him after he presented those forged memos in a transparent attempt to influence the presidential election. But i'm not patting myself on the back too hard. Rather's retirement was anticipated long before the scandal, and though his reputation is forever tarnished, he was not fired like he should have been.

Bill at INDC Journal has more:

Unfortunately, it only smells like victory, because ...

1. Rather's still working for 60 Minutes.

2. The findings of the independent investigation are overdue.

3. No action has been taken against Producer Mary Mapes or CBS News President Andrew Heyward. In contrast, the CBS News producer that dared to interrupt the final minutes of 'CSI' was canned within a few days. That says a great deal about their priorities.

If you're so inclined, i think its an excellent time to hit CBS with another round of e-mails calling for Mapes' and Heyward's

As before, you can contact CBS News by clicking here.

Posted by annika at 03:09 PM | Comments (2)

November 22, 2004

All You Did Was Weaken A Country Today

i received another lovely comment from an anonymous troll the other day. Again, using the expletive-laden prose so typical of the frustrated left, i was urged to kill myself. That's the second time this month. This particular commenter was pissed that i hadn't yet posted about the so-called "marine shooting" incident.

The reason i haven't written about the incident until now was because i was still working out my own mixed emotions about what i saw on that video. Well, my emotions were mixed until this afternoon, that is. Now i just feel manipulated and angry. Here's why.

When i first saw the shooting video, i had not yet heard the story, so i watched it without having heard any spin from the right or left. i have to admit, when i heard the shot and the marine saying "he's dead now," i was appalled. My first gut reaction was that something was not right about the way things went down.

Since the time of my initial reaction, i've been able to put the event into its proper context. i understand how the marine was justified in shooting the terrorist under the rules of engagement. i understand that these enemy were not prisoners, and had not surrendered. i understand that marines are not cops. i understand that the act of feigning death is inherently threatening, and any marine who perceives such a threat must protect himself by killing it. But the words "he's dead now" continued to bother me. They sounded like something a sadistic Quentin Tarantino villain might say.

i had assumed that the marine who shot the terrorist was the same marine who said "he's dead now," but i was wrong. Since the day the story broke i've seen the video dissected many, many times on various TV networks, including "fair and balanced" Fox News, and not once have i heard anyone mention that the marine who shot the terrorist was not the same marine who said "he's dead now."

To me, that fact is critical to understanding what happened, and its omission from the news "coverage" of the shooting completely skewed my own perception of what happened. Strange that i learned this crucial piece of the story only by reading the embedded reporter's own website this afternoon. In his pathetic non-apology/explanation to the Marine Corps, Kevin Sites retells what he saw:

While I continue to tape, a Marine walks up to the other two bodies about fifteen feet away, but also lying against the same back wall.

Then I hear him say this about one of the men:

'He's fucking faking he's dead -- he's faking he's fucking dead.'

Through my viewfinder I can see him raise the muzzle of his rifle in the direction of the wounded Iraqi. There are no sudden movements, no reaching or lunging.

However, the Marine could legitimately believe the man poses some kind of danger. Maybe he's going to cover him while another Marine searches for weapons.

Instead, he pulls the trigger. There is a small splatter against the back wall and the man's leg slumps down.

'Well he's dead now,' says another Marine in the background. [emphasis added]

i’m pissed because i’m at the mercy of the gatekeepers in the mainstream media yet again. They wanted to portray this marine, who deserves a medal by the way, as a modern version of Kerry’s “Winter Soldier,” ravaging the countryside in a manner reminiscent of “Jinjiss” Khan. So they deliberately replayed the video without the proper context or explanation, in effect superimposing their anti-military and anti-American bias onto the objective facts in the most sneaky, despicable way.

My outrage doesn’t end there. This punk, Kevin Sites, apparently wants the marines to not hate him for endangering their lives by providing the enemy with propaganda, which they will use to prolong their futile resistance. Make no mistake, Kevin Sites and his superiors have the blood of U.S. marines and soldiers on their hands. Here’s how he tries to explain himself to the marines of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment with whom he had been embedded:

As you know, I'm not some war zone tourist with a camera who doesn't understand that ugly things happen in combat. I've spent most of the last five years covering global conflict. But I have never in my career been a 'gotcha' reporter -- hoping for people to commit wrongdoings so I can catch them at it.

This week I've even been shocked to see myself painted as some kind of anti-war activist.

Shocked, shocked I say . . .
It's time you to have the facts from me, in my own words, about what I saw -- without imposing on that Marine -- guilt or innocence or anything in between.
Then a few paragraphs later, Sites does exactly that. He imposes guilt on the marine, by way of this not-so-subtle sarcasm:
The Marine then abruptly turns away [After killing the insurgent] and strides away, right past the fifth wounded insurgent lying next to a column. He is very much alive and peering from his blanket. He is moving, even trying to talk. But for some reason, it seems he did not pose the same apparent ‘danger’ as the other man -- though he may have been more capable of hiding a weapon or explosive beneath his blanket.
It seems reasonable to assume that a terrorist who looks like he’s “faking he’s dead” is more threatening due to the element of subterfuge, than a terrorist who is only moving and trying to talk. At worst, this shooting was a justifiable mistake of combat - one which no American should lose sleep over. Even Sites admits to this reality of wartime:
No one, especially someone like me who has lived in a war zone with you, would deny that a solider [sic] or Marine could legitimately err on the side of caution under those circumstances. War is about killing your enemy before he kills you.
But Sites’ justification for the video’s release conveniently ignores the harm he has done to our war effort, and to the safety of the Marines whose cameraderie he seems so afraid of losing.
We all knew it was a complicated story, and if not handled responsibly, could have the potential to further inflame the volatile region.
That is exactly what is happening. Two words: al Jazeera. And he knew the risk, too:
I knew NBC would be responsible with the footage. But there were complications. We were part of a video 'pool' in Falluja, and that obligated us to share all of our footage with other networks. I had no idea how our other 'pool' partners might use the footage. . . .

When NBC aired the story 48-hours later, we did so in a way that attempted to highlight every possible mitigating issue for that Marine's actions.

i disagree, see above.
We wanted viewers to have a very clear understanding of the circumstances surrounding the fighting on that frontline. Many of our colleagues were just as responsible. Other foreign networks made different decisions, and because of that, I have become the conflicted conduit who has brought this to the world. [emphasis added]
One thing that puzzles me is this, every time i see footage of our brave soldiers and marines in combat, there’s always a few shots of the dirty terrorists firing of their AKs. And the video is always shot from behind the terrorists, as if there are journalists who are embedded with the enemy. Who shoots that video? i assume it’s al Jazeera photographers. Since al Jazeera is part of the “pool” that shared the marine shooting video, no one could reasonably believe that foreign journalists who actively consort with the enemy would use the video in a neutral way. In fact, al Jazeera and the foreign press have used it to fuel anti-American hatred and embolden our enemies while we are engaged in defeating them. This will only lengthen the resistance, which can only lead to more American deaths.

Sites concludes his non-apology letter like this:

So here, ultimately, is how it all plays out: when the Iraqi man in the mosque posed a threat, he was your enemy; when he was subdued he was your responsibility; when he was killed in front of my eyes and my camera -- the story of his death became my responsibility.
And i am reminded of Jack Nicholson’s final words from the movie A Few Good Men:
All you did was weaken a country today . . . That's all you did. You put people in danger. Sweet dreams, son.
Yeah, sleep well Sites.

More: Read Chris Roach's post about why this shooting was not a "war crime."

Still more context: Via Dean Esmay, this slideshow about "what really happened in Fallujah" should be required web viewing for everyone. John of Argghhh! has more commentary, here and especially here.

Posted by annika at 09:56 PM | Comments (39)

Monday Night Football

New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead. Patsys favored by three, according to the latest line. KC's studly running back Priest Holmes on the bench with a bad knee. Star New England cornerback Ty Law out. Their other corner Tyrone Poole doubtful.

Does this open up the passing game for KC? Is Trent Green good enough to win against Belichick's defensive genius? Can Derrick Blaylock put together two great performances in a row as KC's stand-in back? Is unstoppable New England ripe for their second loss of the season? Should i pick KC plus the three points?

Yes. Maybe. Possibly. I don't know. i think i will.

Posted by annika at 01:52 PM | Comments (3)

November 21, 2004

(Sporadic) Huge Comment of the Week®

Last Week's (Sporadic) Huge Comment of the Week® was a comment to my request for advice on which animated movie to see this weekend.*

Go for 'The Incredibles.' Speculate on what sex between Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl must have been like. Discuss the paradox of being a woman who basically is her own condom.
Upon reading that comment, i was impelled to guffaw most heartily. Like this:
So Kevin Kim has earned his second oak leaf cluster. Congratulations, Kevin!

Those of you with strong stomachs might want to check out Kevin's new line of Christmas cards.

P.S.: i might humbly remind everyone that annika's journal merchandise also makes a great holiday gift.

* We saw The Incredibles, which was a whole lot of fun, and i highly recommend it.

Posted by annika at 10:06 AM | Comments (4)

Message To The L.A. Times

Sure, the Detroit basketball brawl was a travesty, but i think the real travesty is that the L.A. Times hasn't hired Tony Pierce as a sports columnist yet.

Posted by annika at 09:31 AM | Comments (3)

November 19, 2004

Help Us Decide


Which animated feature should the b/f take me to see this weekend?

Posted by annika at 07:24 PM | Comments (12)

November 18, 2004

Clinton Limericking

In honor of the opening of Clinton's Little Rock library, i'd like to reprint a few stanzas from a dirty limerick by Cameron of Way Off Bass.

. . .

While Bill on the podium dropped trou,
Making sounds like an amorous cow,
A fat intern walked by
Catching Clinton’s glazed eye;
“I’m the piglet, and there goes my sow!”

So the Horn Dog rolled off of the stage
(For his belt did his ankles engage).
As he crawled on the floor,
Up came Al “Mad Dog” Gore,
And the stick up his ass he called Rage.

. . .

Cameron's site is full of political and topical poetry, if you like that kind of stuff. i'd nominate him as the Mark Russell of the blogosphere, except nobody knows or cares who Mark Russell is, since nobody watches PBS anymore.

Posted by annika at 07:48 AM | Comments (20)

November 17, 2004

A Quality Read!

You Are a Pundit Blogger!

Your blog is smart, insightful,
and always a quality read.
Truly appreciated by many,
surpassed by only a few.

What kind of blogger are you?

Posted by annika at 10:54 PM | Comments (3)

Clinton's History

Larry King and historian Michael Beschloss were talking tonight, on the occasion of the opening of Clinton's library. As usual, King asked one of his famous leading questions. Something like: "It's too early to judge Clinton's presidency, don't you think?" Beschloss agreed, noting that Truman had something like a 12% approval rating at the end of his presidency, and now he's considered one of our great presidents. Beschloss also compared the Clinton legacy to Eisenhower's.

Is it too early to judge Clinton's presidency? Well, i didn't quite get a Ph.D. in history, but i'm ready to call it right now.

Clinton should be rated somewhat higher than Jimmy Carter, probably nearer to the only other president to be impeached, Andrew Johnson. Dangerously ineffective and misguided in foreign affairs, we will be dealing with the mess Clinton left us for decades.

And my opinion of Bill Clinton has improved since he left office. Nice guy, nice library, bad president.

Posted by annika at 07:05 PM | Comments (12)

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Here we are in the middle of November. Although in California the weather is indistinguishable from almost any other time of year, i think i'm ready for a seasonal poem. This one is by Robert Frost, 1913.

My November Guest

My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
       Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
       She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
       She talks and I am fain to list:
She's glad the birds are gone away,
She's glad her simple worsted grey
       Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
       The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
       And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
       The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
       And they are better for her praise.

As a Californian, it's difficult for me to fully "get" Robert Frost, because i don't know snow and i don't know seasons. But i've always loved November. It's the most thoughtful month, i think.

Posted by annika at 07:42 AM | Comments (7)

November 16, 2004

High Noon

i think i'll watch a classic movie later tonight. High Noon, starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly.

: )

The IMDb plot summary says: "A sheriff, personally compelled to face a returning deadly enemy, finds that his own town refuses to help him." Sounds like a metaphor for George W. Bush and the Democrats.

Sorry, i couldn't resist the political jab.

Posted by annika at 06:31 PM | Comments (4)

Gone Postal

Can you spot the irony in this holiday stamp webpage from the United States Postal Service's site?

i'll tell you. The word Christmas appears nowhere on either of the two pages from which you can order holiday stamps. Even though four of the eight selections on the first page are clearly and specifically Christmas stamps.

i can understand the view that the US government should not appear to endorse any particular religion by actually uttering the word "Christmas." i don't agree with that line of thinking, but i see how the argument can be made.

The problem with the USPS site is that their omission of the word Christmas, to describe stamps with Santa Claus, reindeer and even an image of the baby Jesus, cannot be based on any desire to adhere to the First Amendment.

Note that there are also stamps clearly identified with the names of two other religious celebrations: Hanukkah and Eid. (From what i understand, Kwanzaa and the Lunar New Year are cultural, not religious celebrations.)

As far as i'm concerned, the only way this PC bullshit can be interpreted is that the USPS thinks some people might be offended by looking at the word Christmas while shopping for stamps.* Either that, or the Postal Service marketing department has been taken over by anti-Christian wackos. (Not anti-religious wackos, mind you, just anti-Christian.)

i don't think anyone, even the most rabid anti-religious zealot, could possibly be offended by merely looking at the word Christmas. Those kind of people just do not exist. Oh i'm certain that there are some people who claim offense in order to advance a political agenda. But anyone who would be truly offended by the word Christmas simply could not function in society.

i think it's great that the USPS is commemorating Hanukkah and Eid-ul-Fitr with stamps. But how is calling a Christmas stamp a Christmas stamp somehow improper?

Maybe they should change their acronym to the USPCS.

* By the way, the function of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause is not, and has never been, to prevent people from being offended.

Posted by annika at 10:11 AM | Comments (24)

November 13, 2004

Not Everybody Likes Me

i got the strangest hate mail yesterday. From someone named Annika in the UK, who wants me to either kill myself or change my name. She was vague about her reasons. Here's the complete email thread (start at the bottom and read up):

annika! <coolconnector20@yahoo.com> wrote:

i am 27. You need to grow up.

annika 69<annika_69@yahoo.co.uk>* wrote:

At the grand old age of 26, I feel I am old enough to comment and I'm well aware of what I am saying. If your name was Sue, or Joanne, then thousands of people would share your name and the fact that you are tedious would not be an issue. The fact that the name annika is quite unique means that you fly the flag for a few certain individuals, I suggest you take a bath with your hair dryer in order to excape the monotomy that is your life! Either that or change your name to tracey and I will no longer find you offensive. Have a nice day hope to hear from you soon

Interesting Annika

annika! <coolconnector20@yahoo.com> wrote:
i think you are mean, and not very articulate. its funny that you say you read my journal at the same time as you say it is "borong." Why did you read it then? Not only do i think you are lying, i also think you are probably too young to really understand what you are saying. My advice to you is to please think before you insult people you don't know. There's already too much meanness on the internet, don't start out like that.

annika 69<annika_69@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
because I read your journal you tedious person!!!!!!!!!!!!

annika! <coolconnector20@yahoo.com> wrote:
Why did you leave such a mean comment? Why do you think i am "borong" when you don't even know me?

Reblogger Email Notification wrote:

Comment left by annika_69:

i am ashamed and saddened to share my name with someone as dull as you. stop writing poop and get a life. Annikas of the world rise up against this borong girl who shames our name!!!!

Seriously though, she commented on my Glogspot site, and some of the stuff i wrote back then was real shite, to be honest.

Update: My critic is pretty mild compared to the abuse Risawn got for her M203 picture, which is frickin' hilarious. (Risawn's sentiment, "I Am Not Sorry" is fully endorsed by this blog, btw.)

Via Desert Cat.

* Not her actual address. i altered it out of politeness. But she did use the "69" in her real address. People who include "69" in their email address are a bit odd, don't you think?

Posted by annika at 09:50 AM | Comments (19)

November 12, 2004


What the fuck?


They just don't get it.

Posted by annika at 08:52 AM | Comments (3)

November 11, 2004

Letter From A Commander

A few weeks ago, CBFTW of My War posted an email from his Battalion Commander in Iraq. You can read the whole thing here, but i wanted to excerpt the following passage because i think it's appropriate on this day, as we remember the sacrifice of our nation's veterans.

The will to be free comes at a heavy price. For some it is more than they can bear. Divorce, estrangement, financial burdens, health problems, depression, and even suicide are very real costs. Sacrifice is rarely recognized for what it truly is because the price of recognition is guilt. Parades, giving medals, issuing promotions,and rousing speeches are simply the thin veneer that masks the desperate need of those who are kept free by our endeavors for absolution from this guilt. Adam Duritz wrote in the song Mrs. Potter's Lullaby that 'the price of a memory is the memory of the sorrow it brings.'

I submit that it is our love of freedom, the embrace of our wives or sweethearts, the love of our children or family, and the earned respect ofour brothers in arms that cast the walls that make the will to endure a fortress that can never be taken. I will be proud to stand the watch until my time is at an end, but soon you will mount the ramparts and stand the watch alone. In closing, I leave you with the words of Marcus Aurelius 'Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what's left and live it properly. What doesn't transmit light creates its own darkness.'

Somber, but it does make you think.

Posted by annika at 01:57 PM | Comments (3)

November 10, 2004

Bonus Wednesday Poem (in honor of the USMC and all Veterans)

When you think of the United Sates Marine Corps and the Korean War, one epic battle always comes to mind. Chosin Reservoir. Here's a selection by poet John Kent, which captures the bitter -25° cold experienced by marines during that battle.


How deep the cold takes us down,
into the searing frost of hell;
where mountain snows,
unyielding winds, strip our flesh,
bare our bones.

The trembling of uncertain hearts,
scream out to echoes not impressed,
as swirling mists of laughing death,
reach out their fingers to compress.

How white the withered skin exposed,
turns into black and brittle flesh,
and limbs cast out from conscious thought,
still stagger on the arctic frost.

Immobile does the breath extend
as crystal on the mountain wind,
and eyes now fixed in layers of ice,
see nothing through the dawning light.

This road that leads down to the sea,
twists and turns at every bend,
and Chosin's ice that molds like steel,
rains the fire that seeks our end.

The trucks cry out a dirge refrain,
their brittle gears roll on in pain;
upon their beds, the silent dead,
in grateful and serene repose.

Still the mind resists the call,
to lie and die in final pose,
where blood in stillness warms the soul,
and renders nil the will to rise.

The battle carries through the night,
give witness to the dead betrayed,
when frozen weapons fail to fire,
their metal stressed by winter's might.

Still we fight to reach Hungnam,
in solemn oath and brotherhood,
as every able-bodied man,
will bring our dead and wounded home.

Uphold traditions earned in blood,
break through the hordes that press us in,
depress their numbers to the place,
where waves of dead deny their quest.

And on to the sea...

Update: (i moved this poem to the top. Happy Veterans' Day all!)

Posted by annika at 07:00 PM | Comments (7)

Arafat Is Dead

After hanging on, Rasputin-like, for fucking ever, chief Palestinian scumbag Yasser Arafat finally kicked the bucket, according to Fox News. It's not on Drudge yet, but there's a banner on the Fox site.

Update: Reuters now confirms the good news.

Posted by annika at 07:00 PM | Comments (5)

Upon St. Crispin's Day

These days, my thoughts and prayers return often to our men in Fallujah. While the battle rages, i wanted to post a martial poem that might honor the brave marines and soldiers in combat as we speak. In that regard, i can think of no better poet than Shakespeare himself, and the most famous martial speech of all, from Henry V:

Henry V, Act IV, Scene III
(the English camp at Agincourt, before the battle, King Henry speaking)

This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Thanks to Iraq veteran, Marine, and blog friend Eric for the text. Do check out his Open Source Shakespeare site, which is a pretty darned awesome reference tool for Bard lovers.

Oh, and Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps! Semper Fidelis!

More: Matt posts Lt. Gen. Jim Amos's birthday message to the 2nd MEF. Smash posts a 1776 recruiting ad for the Continental Marines. And Mike's USMC birthday tribute is full of cool links.

Posted by annika at 07:29 AM | Comments (9)

November 08, 2004

Slouching Toward Theocracy?

You know i think the liberal mass hysteria about the "evangelical vote" is totally overblown. But then i'm a churchgoing Catholic, so that makes my opinion suspect to secularist ears.

But celebrity blogger Michele Catalano, an atheist, is not convinced either.

I do believe the Democrats have just switched one brand of Kool-Aid for another. Their new drink is Jesusland flavored and they are swallowing it by the gallon.

If you read them correctly - and I'm not just talking about the fringe elements here, but your everyday journalists, talking heads, bloggers and Democrat on the street - the Christians are coming and they are going to burn crosses on your door and kidnap your heathen babies.

Oh, sure, I've said that I don't want to see this administration move towards the religious right. The difference between the Kool-Aid drinkers and myself is that they truly believe this is going to happen while I don't.

. . .

The Democrats seem to think that two things lost them the election: Christians and idiots.

. . .

Funny how those of us who voted for Nader or Gore last time around are now considered too stupid to breathe. What a difference four years makes. And I wonder if the Dems aren't being willfully ignorant in glossing over the other mitigating factors in their loss, the most blatant being that John Kerry was just not electable material. No one is talking about swing voters, the war on terror voters, security moms, first time voters. All we are hearing is how the moral majority sunk their claws into the too stupid to think for themselves hicks and brainwashed them into voting for a religious mandate that would sweep the nation and force us all to kneel down on Sunday and praise Jesus.
[links omitted]

i'm afraid that this new anti-religious hysteria is only beginning. It's been festering for a long time, but now, look out. Kerry's loss has given the haters a new excuse to hate.

Update: Celebrity blogger Moxie is another atheist who is not buying the "Jesusland" myth.

Posted by annika at 11:06 AM | Comments (26)

Monday Night Football Pick

i'm locked in a pretty tight Fantasy Football battle this week with a team called Vehement Spittle, run by Bryan from Spare Change. Right now i'm leading 106 to 97, but the Monday night game between Minnesota and Indianapolis will be decisive. i have Marvin Harrison (WR, Ind) and Morten Andersen (K, Min) on my team; Bryan has Brandon Stokley (WR, Ind) and Michael Bennett (RB, Min).

Tonight's real life game between the Colts and the Vikings will be at Indianapolis. The Colts are favored by seven points. i don't understand why. Look at the quarterback comparison:

Daunte Culpepper, MIN: 183/258, 2180 yds, 20 TDs, 5 INTs, rating: 114.2
Peyton Manning, IND: 156/240, 2161 yds, 22 TDs, 4 INTs, rating: 117.4

That's pretty darn close. Is Randy Moss's injury really worth the seven point spread? i just don't know enough about it to say. So i'll take Minnesota and the seven points. i can't resist, since i am Scandinavian and they are the Vikings.

Update: Was i right or was i right? Am i awesome or not? Indy wins by three. i picked the Vikings plus seven points. That means i am, indeed the awesomest! At least this week.

i'm now 5 and 3 for Monday night predictions.

Posted by annika at 07:04 AM | Comments (6)

November 07, 2004

i Am Now Your Representative, Thank You

Yesterday, i got a favorable mention from across the Pacific at BigHominid's Hairy Chasms. His election wrap-up post contains some reasoned analysis, most of which i agree with, along with this very funny analogy on a non political subject:

Fuck fucking Blogger. I haven't had much trouble with Blogger, but every now and again it'll seize up at the wrong moment and ruin my day. It's a bit like humping a sheep and having your dick ripped off by a sudden, violent, ovine pelvic spasm. It's always a nuisance to have to stop what you're doing, dig around the sheep's ass, retrieve your dick, sew it back on, and then keep on humping. If anything, you're too pissed off to hump but you feel, bizarrely, that you owe your spectators their money's worth. So you reestablish your rhythm and pray the sheep doesn't rip your dick off a second time.

I'd written a long post earlier today, only to have it sucked into the cosmos's asshole by an 'internal server error,' followed by a personal message from Bill Gates that read, 'Yeah, baby! Whatcha' gonna do about it, huh? Huh? Huh?' What follows is a severely truncated version of what I wrote earlier, pieced together from anguished memory.

Ah yes. i remember the bad old days, when i was still on Glogger. Thanks to Pixy Misa, i haven't had to worry about anything but self-inflicted blog debacles, since i moved to mu.nu. Regarding the sheep analogy though, let me paraphrase a Bill Murray line from Stripes. Kevin, "there's something wrong with you! Something very, very wrong with you! Something seriously wrong with you!." lol.

Anyways, that wasn't the favorable mention i was talking about. Here it is:

It's simplistic to say merely that 'America is conservative,' as if that were the end of the story. What counts as 'conservative' is always in flux. Well over a century ago, everyone in white America knew it was scandalous for women to expose their ankles. Today, a midriff-exposing, thigh-baring little hottie like Annika represents the righties. Old mores crumble and tumble; change is part of life.
Yes! And as your representative, i will bare midriff and thigh so you don't have to!

i took Kevin's quote out of context though, which is unfair to his larger point, which i also agree with:

There's a huge debate going on right now about the extent to which this election was a referendum on 'morality.' I contend that it wasn't: it was, fundamentally, about the war.

. . .

I still maintain that Andrew Sullivan is on to something re: where the country is trending in terms of gay marriage. Conservatives have a point when they say that the present hysteria about impending theocracy is way over the top. But the right shouldn't be too dismissive of the gay lobby: it needs to get ready for what's coming in a few years. . . .

. . . But what the righties need to remember is that Sullivan is correct to see a huge demographic shift going on. . . .

[G]ay marriage will never become mainstream (which also means that gay marriage is no threat to hetero marriage). But tolerance and affirmation of a gay person's right to marry-- and to receive the legal benefits of marriage-- will become mainstream, probably sooner than many think. If the Dems were unable to see certain realities this time around, I submit that the GOP needs to reconcile itself to the inevitable as well, or risk future marginalization... though not for a few years yet, obviously.

i think the liberal media's focus on the "values" factor is merely an attempt to deflect people from the truth about this election. It was a referendum on the Iraq War and the War on Terror, and the side of pacifism and anti-Americanism lost. (Never mind the fact that their candidate was neither pacifist nor genuinely anti-American.) Instead of accepting the reality that they're out of touch, the media has been quick to point the finger at those evil evangelicals.

The truth is, though traditional "values" motivated a lot of Bush voters, the argument that "values" won the election ignores young conservatives like me. i recognize that gay marriage prohibition will likely die a natural death within my lifetime, and i'm more focused on the fact that there's a bunch of people out there who want to kill me. That, more than anything else, was why Bush got my vote.

Posted by annika at 10:03 AM | Comments (10)

November 06, 2004

The Return Of Aviation Trivia

What is "wrong" with this banner ad, i found while websurfing?

Posted by annika at 12:01 PM | Comments (11)

November 05, 2004

Who Was Really Responsible?

Two things are inevitable after a Democratic loss. One, the liberals will call the American people stupid. Two, they will call their own candidate inept. Newsweek hits hard on the latter point in this fascinating story, which manages to slam their candidate while simultaneously reinforcing the "evil Republican" stereotype with subtle editorializations.

Many voters, i'm sure, were swayed by the Swift Vet ads, but just as many thought that Vietnam was irrelevant. Kerry could not escape his own words, though. In my opinion, while the Swift Vets had their effect, nothing was more devastating to Kerry's chances than his infamous "87 billion" quote. The Newsweek piece reveals the key moment of the 2004 campaign, and its true heroes (or villains, depending on your point of view).

[W]hen Kerry addressed a veterans group in West Virginia, a heckler kept demanding to know why he had voted against more funding for the troops. In his considered but long-winded fashion, Kerry tried to explain that he had wanted to vote for the funding, but only if the Senate passed an amendment that would whittle down President Bush's earlier tax cut for the rich. Kerry voted for the amendment, but when it failed, he voted against the funding. The heckler pressed, and Kerry, losing patience, fell into senatorial procedural shorthand. 'I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it,' he said.

At Bush-Cheney headquarters, Joe Kildae, a 25-year-old campaign intern who monitored the war room (and never seemed to sleep), was watching. In his cubicle he kept three televisions and a battery of TiVos and VCRs. As soon as he saw Kerry make his remark on Fox News, he stood up in his cubicle and caught the eye of his boss, Steve Schmidt. Schmidt had seen the clip, too. The two men nodded at each other. Kildae thought to himself: 'We're going to be seeing this a lot.' He immediately hit pause on his digital recorder, wound the clip back and copied it to tape. Using a program called TVEyes, he pulled up an instant rough transcript. He e-mailed the transcript of Kerry's 'flip-flopping' to an 'alert list' of top aides, who could then click on a link to see the video.

'You gotta see this,' Kildae told campaign communications adviser Terry Holt. 'Oh, my God,' Holt replied. 'You have to send that to me on my BlackBerry.' The video of Kerry's shooting himself in the foot flew around Bush-Cheney headquarters and, very soon, into the hungry ether beyond.

McKinnon and his ad team wasted no time. 'The second we saw it, we knew we had a new ad,' McKinnon later recalled. 'The greatest gifts in politics are the gifts the other side gives you.' It was so simple. All they had to do was drop the footage of Kerry saying 'I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it' into the ad that was already running, chastising Kerry for cutting funding. McKinnon called the new ad 'Troops-Fog.' Much of its airing was free: news shows picked up the clip of the 'flip-flop' and plastered it on screens like wallpaper.

It took a while for the Kerry campaign to even realize that its candidate had been badly wounded. Kerry himself realized he had made a mistake, but at his headquarters, most of the chatter was about the 'weird heckler' who had asked him the question. The Kerry campaign would later insist that the Bush campaign had spent millions that spring to smear its candidate without much effect, but in fact Kerry's 'negatives' climbed in some key swing states. Just as important, perhaps, he had missed an opportunity to define himself in a positive or memorable way. The Bush 'Troops-Fog' act blew enough fog to unsettle voters, to make them wonder about Kerry's consistency and the depth of his conviction.

From there, talk radio and the blogosphere picked up the ball and ran with it. But i wonder how much closer the election would have been if Kerry himself had not provided the Republicans with their greatest weapon in the campaign.

Kerry once remarked to an aide "I can't believe I'm losing to this idiot." Well, who's the idiot now, Senator?

Posted by annika at 10:22 AM | Comments (35)

Great American Smokeout

Physics Geek posted about the Great American Smoke Out, scheduled for November 18th. i'm definitely going to try it this year (again). It's only one day. i can do 24 hours. The date is soon enough to plan for, and far enough away that i can look forward to enjoying many many more cigarettes before the nightmare of withdrawal starts.

Posted by annika at 09:02 AM | Comments (5)

November 04, 2004

Yasser Arafat Is Dead?

If it's true, may God have mercy on the evil man's soul.

Posted by annika at 09:12 AM

November 03, 2004

"W"ednesday Is Poetry Day

From Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796), a poem first published in 1793:

Commemoration of Rodney’s Victory

INSTEAD of a Song, boy’s, I’ll give you a Toast;
Here’s to the memory of those on the twelfth that we lost!—
That we lost, did I say?—nay, by Heav’n, that we found;
For their fame it will last while the world goes round.
The next in succession I’ll give you’s THE KING!
Whoe’er would betray him, on high may he swing!
And here’s the grand fabric, our free CONSTITUTION,
As built on the base of our great Revolution!
And longer with Politics not to be cramm’d,
Be ANARCHY curs’d, and TYRANNY damn’d!
And who would to LIBERTY e’er prove disloyal,
May his son be a hangman—and he his first trial!

Gloat on, MacDuff.

Posted by annika at 04:22 PM | Comments (4)



Yes, i was right. Kiss my feet, because i was almost alone in my defiance of "the conventional wisdom." (Which i recognized as liberal spin and never wisdom.) My confidence in the American people never wavered. i also don't think it's wrong to gloat. Go ahead, lets all gloat. Feel free, we've earned it, and until the liberals graciously concede, why should we be gracious in victory?

Update: And don't get me started about the so-called "youth vote." Memo to MTV: We chose, you lose! Jonah Goldberg deserves to be quoted in full here:

Look I don't know what the final tally will be. But it's now clear that the youth vote just didn't show. The liberal blogosphere is grumpy and introspective about it. I love it for reasons I will be writing about for months to come. The cult of the youth voter remains, once again, the most absurd, bogus, childish, romantic and misguided joke of liberal American politics. Period.
i couldn't agree more.

Update 2: Kerry is scheduled to concede at 10:00 a.m. PST. i still wanna gloat though. How 'bout i gloat for as long as it took Gore to give in last time? Would that be so inappropriate?

Update 3: Vodkapundit has more on the Nelson Muntz meme. Maybe someone should start a Dick Cheney as Mr. Burns meme. "Eeexcelent."

Update 4: Sarah says "Let them eat cake!"

Update 5: Robbie at Urban:Grounds reveals the dirty little secret behind all that Blue State vs. Red State nonsense.

Posted by annika at 07:37 AM | Comments (44)

November 02, 2004

Fox Calls Ohio

Fox called Ohio at about 9:40 p.m. MSNBC hasn't done so yet. i don't think i've ever seen Chris Matthew look so down. That alone is worth all the aggravation of the last year.

Update: MSNBC just called Ohio and Alaska.

One more point for four more years!

Posted by annika at 10:00 PM | Comments (15)

annika's Election Day Message To West Coast Republicans

Especially to Californians.

The polls are still open. Don't believe what you read in Drudge, it has been debunked already. Stick with HughHewitt.com for your news. He's based on the West Coast, and his site is still working.

Go out and vote. The fact that our state will end up being blue is no excuse for not doing everything we can to increase the popular vote, and thereby increase Bush's mandate.

Remember, today is more than just a Presidential election. It's a referendum between toughness and weakness. Toughness must win. And tough people don't mind standing in long lines to do what is right.

A virtual blogosphere smooch goes out to all who've already voted Bush today! (Even the girls, except it's on the cheek.)

It's not Poetry Wednesday, but here's an Election Day Special for y'all. It's by John Greenleaf Whittier, the 19th Century American poet, abolitionist and friend to William Lloyd Garrison.

The Poor Voter on Election Day

To-day, of all the weary year,
A king of men am I.
To-day, alike are great and small,
The nameless and the known;
My palace is the people's hall,
The ballot-box my throne!
The rich is level with the poor,
The weak is strong to-day;
And sleekest broadcloth counts no more
Than homespun frock of gray.
To-day let pomp and vain pretence
My stubborn right abide;
I set a plain man's common sense
Against the pedant's pride.
The wide world has not wealth to buy
The power in my right hand!

Stirring. In all of democracy, there's no act more exhilarating than casting your vote. Believe it!

Posted by annika at 04:39 PM | Comments (5)

November 01, 2004

Notes On Watching CSPAN

Why was George Bush's last campaign stop in Dallas, while John Kerry's last campaign stop was in Ohio? What does that tell you?

That both the President and his challenger share my confidence in a Bush victory.

Why was the one random crowd voice i could hear while Bush was shaking hands after his rally saying "we love you George Bush," while the one random voice i could hear while Kerry shook hands after his rally said "tell Bush to fuck off." What does that tell you?

That no one should discount the number of people who love this President, nor that Kerry voters are motivated by negativity.

Posted by annika at 10:44 PM | Comments (5)

Halloween Poll Huh?

Who the hell voted for Bit-O-Honey? Wassup with that?

Posted by annika at 08:57 PM | Comments (3)


As promised, here's my final pre-election take.

Issue Number Three: The Apparent Dead Heat In The Polls

In short, i don't buy it for a number of reasons. i think the press and the pollsters, out of bias and self-interest, are making this thing out to be closer than it actually is. i also think that polling methodology has not kept up with changes in demographics and technology.

i'm confident that Bush will win the election. If i have any worry, it's that the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort will be very organized and strong. That's because there are more Democrats available to volunteer than Republicans. Students, union operatives and professional activists can easily take the day off to drive voters to the polls and staff the phone banks. Most Republicans still have to go to work. Then of course, there's also Democratic fraud.

But despite these concerns, i still have faith in the common sense of the average American. In fact, i am so certain that George W. Bush will win the election, that i am willing to make the following wager: i will bet this blog on a George Bush victory.

i offer to bet this blog against any liberal blog rated as a large mammal on the TTLB Ecosystem. Winner is the blogger who backs the prevailing candidate, Bush or Kerry. i take Bush. Loser shuts down his or her blog. For good. Effective inauguration day, 2005.

That should be a good incentive for fans of annika's journal to get out there and vote. Not that i expect any bloggers to take my bet, because deep down, everybody knows i'm right.

Update: Obviously, the offer expires when polls open on the East Coast.

Posted by annika at 11:38 AM | Comments (9)

Monday Night Football

New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins. Line: Jets by 6½. Take the Jets minus the points.

Posted by annika at 11:20 AM | Comments (1)


i live in the Central Valley and my mom lives in L.A. We're both registered Republicans. We sent in our absentee ballot requests on the same day. i got mine last week and i voted last Thursday.

i talked to my Mom last night.

She never got her ballot . . .

Posted by annika at 08:05 AM | Comments (4)