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

February 28, 2005

Useless Bachelorette Blogging

So now that Jen gave up on this latest guy, can ABC please give up on The Bachelorette? i don't ever want to see that chipper asss on the tube ever again. Dude. Like how long can you stretch out 15 minutes?

i hardly ever watched this show, but i noticed tonight that Jen really has no sense of humor. i mean, can't they get a chick with some personality? Jerry is so much better off, he's not only a babe, but his great sense of humor would have been wasted on her.

Posted by annika at 10:50 PM | Comments (6)

Useless 24 Blogging

i'm not sure why the writers of 24 felt it necessary to include the whole "Ms. Driscoll's crazy daughter" storyline, but i'm certain it was unnecessary for them to end it in such a predictably tragic way.

Now the law student in me asks why "the clinic" didn't use a stronger sedative when she started acting up, and why they didn't restrain her for her own safety. Come on, don't tell me the CTU clinic didn't have any spare restraints?

There's a wrongful death suit there, but how much is a schizophrenic dependent worth?

Posted by annika at 10:42 PM | Comments (3)

The TV Commercial That Annoys The Shit Out Of Me...

...fortunately, i don't have a problem with irregularity, so i'm just pointlessly annoyed at that commercial with the chick getting dressed and her boyfriend or husband keeps playing that Eric Clapton song on his laptop, you know that song from Clapton's boring sucky phase (which in my opinion equals anything he did after Cream, and continues to this day), the part where he sings "she's wondering what clothes to wear . . . she's wondering what clothes to wear . . . she's wondering what clothes to wear . . . This evil commercial never fails to insert that awful song into my consciousness until i drift off to sleep, if i'm lucky.

Other commercials i hate include any in which chewing noises predominate, such as all the Carl's Jr. commercials and the new "Cheerios are good for babies too" spots, and also any commercial with kids singing.

Posted by annika at 07:21 PM | Comments (10)

Memo To Doris Matsui

Most likely, i wasn't going to vote for you anyway, but when you included that still photo in your tv spot showing you hugging Hillery, you sealed the deal against you.

Posted by annika at 06:47 PM | Comments (2)

February 25, 2005

Robot Week Coda

Owing to the fact that i have a big project due Monday, it is highly unlikely that i will be blogging this weekend. i'm mostly done with the assignment, but i need to meet with my partner and go over it with a fine toothed comb, then make sure all the cites are correctly formatted, which takes forever.

Therefore, i think we'll have to say goodbye to Robot Week one day early.


And if anyone leaves a "thank God" comment, i will retaliate by designating next week otorhinolaryngology week.

As a final farewell to Robot Week, 2005, please go check out this cute illustrated story i found, by a teacher named Jeanette Kachkowski. It will bring a smile to your Friday afternoon, i promise.

Posted by annika at 01:18 PM | Comments (8)

Latest Churchill Outrage

Michelle Malkin has news on the latest outrage from chief CU liar Ward Churchill. Be sure to check out the description text in the eBay link, which repeats the Native American credentials lie, which even Churchill has admitted to.

What a kook.

Posted by annika at 12:12 PM | Comments (7)

Dr. Seuss Blushed

Kevin's latest poem, about his cat.


*dials 911*

Posted by annika at 09:55 AM | Comments (4)

Uselessly Vague Philip K. Dick Referenced Blogging

Do really lonely farm robots fuck electric sheep?

Posted by annika at 09:37 AM | Comments (3)

Finally, The News We've All Been Waiting For...

i think i speak for all of us when i say i'm truly relieved it's finally over.

Still, you'd think someone would have stamped this shit out sooner.

Posted by annika at 01:09 AM | Comments (4)

February 24, 2005

Robot Chicken

Don't forget to catch Robot Chicken tonight at 12:00 p.m. on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.

Here's the New York Daily News review:

Robot Chicken is the brainchild of actor Seth Green (Dr. Evil's son in the Austin Powers movies) and Internet stop-motion short filmmaker Matthew Senreich, and an outgrowth of their early, Sony-funded experiments with Internet animation.

The concept, fleshed out by head writers Doug Goldstein and Tom Root, is as weird as it is original: Imagine an SCTV sketch series poking fun at TV and film, but with animated action pictures and puppet likenesses playing all the parts.

The first Robot Chicken, co-created and co-directed by Green and Senreich, premiered Sunday night on Cartoon Network, and encores Thursday at midnight and 3 a.m.

Viewers may want to take a toy collector's approach to this show, by taping every one and trading with friends. This show's a keeper -- and definitely rewards repeated viewing, because some of the skits go by with such blinding speed, they're almost subliminal.

A puppet president doing a commercial that says, 'I'm George W. Bush, and I approved this message: Tacos rule!' -- five seconds.

The scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz, getting stabbed with a shiv in prison and bleeding straw -- eight seconds. The skit's title, which justifies the conceit: 'Oz.'

There are longer productions, too, ranging from a 'very special episode' of Transformers, which turns out to be a medical public service announcement starring Optimus Prime, to a delightfully accurate parody of the classic 'This is your brain on drugs' PSA spot, in which Rachael Leigh Cook trashes her apartment with a cast-iron frying pan.

In Robot Chicken, the real Cook provides the voice of her stop-animated puppet counterpart (cheaply superimposed cartoon mouths match up to the recorded dialogue), who continues her rampage outside the apartment -- for a very long, very funny drug-induced temper tantrum. It may be Cook's career-high performance, though that's not much of a compliment.

Other celebrity voices adding to the fun in the premiere include Macaulay Culkin, Seth Macfarlane, and lots of characterizations by Green.

i haven't seen the show, but this being Robot Week, i feel it is my duty.

Posted by annika at 04:43 PM | Comments (4)

Movie Cussin' Trivia

Here's some movie swear word trivia.

  1. Of this year's Oscar nominees for Best Picture, which one has the most swear words?

  2. Which Best Picture nominee contains the fewest swear words?

  3. Which Best Picture nominee contains the most f-words?

  4. What movie holds the record for the most swear words of any previous Best Picture winner? Hint: It won in 1987.
Answers here.

Posted by annika at 01:26 PM | Comments (7)

Noonan's Blog Column

Shelly alerted me to Peggy Noonan's column about the blogosphere from last week, which i missed. In it she discusses the advantages political bloggers have over the MSM. Much of her column is stuff we've heard others say before, but i like this paragraph:

Bloggers have an institutional advantage in terms of technology and form. They can post immediately. The items they post can be as long or short as they judge to be necessary. Breaking news can be one sentence long: 'Malkin gets Barney Frank earwitness report.' In newspapers you have to go to the editor, explain to him why the paper should have another piece on the Eason Jordan affair, spend a day reporting it, only to find that all that's new today is that reporter Michelle Malkin got an interview with Barney Frank. That's not enough to merit 10 inches of newspaper space, so the Times doesn't carry what the blogosphere had 24 hours ago. In the old days a lot of interesting information fell off the editing desk in this way. Now it doesn't. This is a public service.
i actually hadn't thought of that point, but it's obvious. Similarly, i suppose if i worked at a newspaper and wanted to publish a poll about robots fucking, the answer would probably be a no.

Posted by annika at 07:34 AM | Comments (7)

February 23, 2005

Bonds Quote Of The Day

Barry Bonds on the sports media:

I mean, you can't -- you guys are like rerun stories. This is just -- this is old stuff. I mean, it's like watching Sanford and Son, you know, you just, rerun after rerun after rerun.
i think he means What's Happening instead.

Posted by annika at 02:07 PM | Comments (1)

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Greetings humans. This Wednesday, i bring you...

Robot Love Poetry!

A simple google search yielded this gem:

Poem 3

by TB788-E10-D

Oh baby you're so divine
with all those terabytes of fast cache
behind your flip-o-flex patented green irises.
I love the look of your sleek silver fins
and your interchangeable gold-rimmed
elbow and knee joints.

Oh, you are such a fashion statement baby.

The sight of your one point eight kilo capacity
frontal lobes makes me want to
re-scan the Kama Sutra every seven seconds
and stochastically generate a thousand and one
new positions for us to try.

Let's inter-collate indices daily
and murmur at sunset another tale from
Arabian Nights.
Oh, you exotic chrome and vanadium sweetie.
Oh, how I dig you to bits.

Pretty funny, but shouldn't it properly be called Poem 11?*

Also check out "Robot Barcode Poetry" at a blog called Sean. And there are some interesting Robot Builder limericks at the nerdy Dallas Personal Robotics Group website.

* As in: Only 11 more days until the end of Robot Week!

Posted by annika at 09:44 AM | Comments (5)

TP Interview Part II

Hey all. Part two of Tony Pierce's interview with me is up. Thanks for the love Tony! We really get into some shit this time: Bukowski, the French, smoking Wead, neocons and wmd, Nathanael West, trekkies and Wil Wheaton, to name a few.

Here's part one, in case you missed it. Topics that time included .pdf manipulation, Ana Marie Cox, rabbits in space, my ex's, and the Gannon brothers.

Between Matt's and Tony's interviews and my own 100 things list, i don't think there's anything you don't know about me. Except for my current hair color, maybe.

Posted by annika at 12:01 AM | Comments (16)

February 22, 2005

Robot News: K.I.T.T. Car Comes Closer To Reality

David Hasselhoff's robotic co-star, the Knight Industries Two Thousand, may be one step closer to reality.


Swiss manufacturer Rinspeed Industries plans to introduce the Senso next month at the Geneva Motor Show.

The 'Senso', which runs on environmentally friendly natural gas, has, not without reason, been labeled the most sensuous car in the world. The 'Senso' actually 'senses' the driver by measuring his (or her) biometric data, and then exerts a positive effect on him with the help of patterns, colors, music and fragrances. A person who is relaxed and wide-awake simply drives better and more safely.
The Senso, while not as articulate as K.I.T.T., seems to care just as much for the well being of its driver.
As both speed and number of cars increase steadily, mobility becomes its own pitfall: the more cars there are on the street, the more stress is induced in the drivers – which might even add to a potentially aggressive mood caused by private or work-related problems. Nowadays, cars are used primarily by individuals, so there is no-one there to soothe the drivers in case of aggression, or keep the drivers awake during a long, monotonous journey. This results in an increasing number of accidents caused by stress or drowsiness.

One solution to this predicament would be a car that reacts to the mood of its driver.

The Rinspeed Senso with zenMotion shows what the future in automotive man-machine interaction could look like . . .

During the trip, sensors constantly measure speed, accelerate-brake-frequency, the driver's pulse, and other aspects that are part of the 'driving behavior'. Depending on the situation, the patterns change to soothe the driver or keep him/her awake, the music volume is adjusted accordingly, and the cabin temperature rises or falls. Of course, this happens in very subtle and unobtrusive ways, so the driver will still fully concentrate on the traffic.

i don't know about you, but the novelty would probably wear off on me after the first week. Then it would just become annoying. Kind of like the show Knight Rider, come to think of it.
The whole project is based on an elaborate sensory system that forms the heart of the vehicle. It consists of a number of sensors that have the job of gathering data about the driver's condition. Firstly, there is a biometric Polar watch to measure the driver's pulse. A "Mobile Eye" camera records his driving behavior, in other words how well and how often he changes lane, and how close and at what speed he approaches the cars in front. Then - this, at any rate, is the vision - a HP board computer evaluates the data and establishes, with the aid of special algorithms, the driver's current state of mind.

. . .

In the 'Senso' – depending on the condition of the driver - four small Sharp LCD monitors emit stimulating (orange/yellow), relaxing (blue/violet) or neutral (green) color patterns into the driver's line of vision. They are integrated into the futuristically designed interior paneling, which lights up over the entire area and bathes the cockpit in dazzle-free ambient light.

. . .

The optical stimuli are reinforced by especially composed sounds stored digitally on a computer. In addition to the eyes and ears, the nose is stimulated, too – by scents developed by the fragrances specialist, Voitino CWS, which flow into the car through the ventilators. Vanilla-mandarin has a calming effect, while citrus-grapefruit is more stimulating.

Interesting. Anyone who has ever ridden in a car with my brother when he has gas can verify the power of odor to keep a driver awake and alert, if not extremely eager to arrive at her destination. But i digress.
Even the tactile senses are included: should the central computer establish any symptoms of tiredness in the driver, electric motors integrated in the seat will shake him awake by vibrating.
A vibrating seat? Now that has promise.

i bet this car will be a big hit in Germany because, as you know, Germans love David Hasselhoff.

[cross-posted at A Western Heart]

Posted by annika at 05:26 PM | Comments (1)

Robot Etymology

Greetings. Here is some robot trivia.

The word robot apparently dates back to 1920, from a play by Czech author Karel Capek called R.U.R., or "Rossum's Universal Robots."

Capek is the founder of the Czech school of science fiction writers and an annual award given in the field of science fiction writing in Prague bears his name. This play introduced the word 'robot' first into Czech in its present meaning and then on to the world's languages.
Here's a snippet of philosophical dialogue from R.U.R., concerning the very nature of an android:
Mr. DOMAIN: ...a working machine must not want to play the fiddle, must not feel happy, must not do a whole lot of other things. A petrol motor must not have tassels or ornaments, Miss Glory. And to manufacture artificial workers is the same thing as to manufacture motors. The process must be the simplest, and the product must be the best from a practical point of view. What sort of worker do you think is the best from a practical point of view?

Miss GLORY: The best? Perhaps the one who is most honest and hard-working.

Mr. DOMAIN: No, the cheapest. The one whose needs are the smallest. Young Rossum invented a worker with the minimum amount of requirements. He had to simplify him. He rejected everything that did not contribute directly to the progress of work. He rejected everything that makes man more expensive. In fact, he rejected man and made the Robot. My dear Miss Glory, the Robots are not people. Mechanically they are more perfect than we are, they have an enormously developed intelligence, but they have no soul.

Reminds me of what Data said to Riker in the Star Trek TNG pilot episode: "I am superior, Sir, in many ways. But I would gladly give it up to be human."

More etymological trivia:

Some references state that term 'robot' was derived from the Czech word robota, meaning 'work', while others propose that robota actually means 'forced workers' or 'slaves.' This latter view would certainly fit the point that Capek was trying to make, because his robots eventually rebelled against their creators, ran amok, and tried to wipe out the human race.
Stupid robots. Always bent on destroying the human race. Even from the beginning, it seems.

Back to the etymology:

However, as is usually the case with words, the truth of the matter is a little more convoluted. In the days when Czechoslovakia was a feudal society, 'robota' referred to the two or three days of the week that peasants were obliged to leave their own fields to work without remuneration on the lands of noblemen. For a long time after the feudal system had passed away, robota continued to be used to describe work that one wasn't exactly doing voluntarily or for fun, while today's younger Czechs and Slovaks tend to use robota to refer to work that's boring or uninteresting.
Kind of like the work i'm trying to avoid doing at this very moment.

Robot week! Let's celebrate it together, shall we?

Posted by annika at 02:43 PM | Comments (1)

The List Of Words That Reuters Won't Say Is Longer Than i Had Thought

i already knew that Reuters won't use the word terrorist, but apparently they have an aversion to a few other words. Here's a google news page for today's top story. See if you can see what's missing.

US Citizen Accused of Discussing to Kill Bush
- 23 minutes ago

Man charged in alleged plot to kill Bush
CBC British Columbia, Canada - 42 minutes ago

Man charged for 'Bush death plot'
BBC News, UK - 1 hour ago

Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Kill Bush
ABC News - 1 hour ago

Virginia man accused of plot to assassinate Bush
Sun-Sentinel.com, FL - 1 hour ago

Plan to assassinate Bush
News24, South Africa - 1 hour ago

Man charged in alleged plot to kill Bush
San Jose Mercury News (subscription) - 2 hours ago

A plan to assassinate Bush?
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, FL - 38 minutes ago

Plan to Assassinate President Bush Revealed
Elites TV, TX - 38 minutes ago

Man Charged with Conspiracy to Assassinate Bush
WLNS, MI - 1 hour ago

US Citizen Plots to Assassinate President Bush
The Conservative Voice - 1 hour ago

Virginia Man Charged With Plot To Assassinate President Bush
Jackson Channel.com, MS - 58 minutes ago

Indictment alleges Bush assassination plot
WBBH, FL - 1 hour ago

Former High School Valedictorian Charged In Bush Assassination ...
KWTX, TX - 1 hour ago

Ex-Virginian accused in alleged plot on Bush
Richmond Times Dispatch, VA - 1 hour ago

Man charged in alleged plot to kill Bush
Salon - 20 minutes ago

US man accused of discussing to kill Bush
Reuters.uk, UK
- 26 minutes ago

Houston native charged in Bush death plot
Houston Chronicle - 45 minutes ago

Former Saudi prisoner accused of Bush
Ireland Online, Ireland - 1 hour ago

Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Kill Bush
San Francisco Chronicle - 1 hour ago

Virginia man charged in alleged plot to assassinate Bush
San Diego Union Tribune - 1 hour ago

Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Kill Bush
Wired News - 2 hours ago

Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Kill Bush
Guardian, UK - 1 hour ago

Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Kill Bush
ABC News - 2 hours ago

Valedictorian Charged With Plotting Bush's Assassination
WFIE-TV, IN - 22 minutes ago

Man Charged In Alleged Plot To Kill Bush
KFMB, CA - 18 minutes ago

Man charged in alleged plot to kill Bush
Albany Times Union, NY - 1 hour ago

Virginia man charged in alleged plot to assassinate Bush
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO - 1 hour ago

Virginia Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Assassinate President
7Online.com, NY - 1 hour ago

Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Assassinate Bush
WJXX, FL - 1 hour ago

Something's wrong when Reuters is more politically correct than the San Francisco Chronicle.

Update: i was wrong. In some limited contexts, Reuters is perfectly comfortable using a word like "terrorist," for example.


Posted by annika at 10:01 AM | Comments (5)

February 21, 2005

Completely Lame Robot Mailbag Post

annika's journal gets mail, and Robot Week is no exception.

To: Annika
From: Leonard Nimoy
Subject: Robots

Dear Annika,

I was reading through your blog from beginning to end, and I noticed this Robot related post from last March. In it you incorrectly refer to Iron Man as a colossal death robot.

Allow me to point out that Iron Man, while colossal and deadly, was not a robot at all. A key fact, which you seem to have quite forgotten, is that Iron Man "was turned to steel in a great magnetic field."

Logic therefore dictates that Iron Man was at one time a carbon-based life form, and at no time was he a mechanical device, which by definition all robots are.

Please correct this error.

Sorry, Mr. Nimoy. If that is your real name. It's too late to correct that entry, so you can just kiss my ass.

Iron Man? Gimme a break. "Why should we even care?"

Any more celebrities wanna take a shot at me?

Posted by annika at 07:52 PM | Comments (8)

BL Line Of The Night

We all hate our clients. It's good to hate. It allows us to overcharge and still sleep at night.
--Denny Crane

Posted by annika at 06:08 AM | Comments (2)

February 20, 2005

OMG Tony Pierce Is So Awesome!

Read Part One of my interview. It's even illustrated!

Then go buy How To Blog.

Posted by annika at 06:59 PM | Comments (7)


Am i the only one who was uncomfortable seeing a dancing midget onstage during the halftime show of the NBA All Star Game?

Wasn't that a bit insensitive, given that basketball is a sport that celebrates height more than any other human endeavor?

i mean, that was worse even than LeAnn Rimes' trashy outfit. What was up with that, anyway?


Update: Even though hardly anybody watched the game, and fewer still probably stuck around for the halftime show, i wasn't the only blogger who noticed the dancing midget.

Nasal Passages had this to say:

Ummmmmmmmmm, so at the half time of the NBA All-Star Game they have some "entertainment." LeeAnn Rimes was cute and her song, while very boring, wasn't bad. But right now there's this band on called "Big and Rich" and, well, they suck! What REALLY sucks about them is they have a little person on stage with them wearing a fuzzy orange hat and dancing with his two canes. Does a midget make for an entertaining half time show?? I think not. It's just all really disturbing....REALLY disturbing!!
Absolutely. Disturbing is exactly the word for it.

But Marti was distinctly pro-midget. Or at least pro-Big & Rich:

They had a midget with a cane in each hand dancing backup.

I got you now.

A midget,

cane in each hand,

dancing backup.

That's just too funny to pass up.  . . . Apparently, this duo invites many colorful characters into their fantasyland, including Limo Larry, a formerly homeless drug addict who ferries off-duty strippers and inebriated musicians around Nashville every night. And Tim the Electrician, a guy with a big mustache and a beer-swigging red macaw named Santana who clings to his owner's shoulder while Tim practices the sport he's invented, championship chair riding. I'm curious to see the rulebook for this one.

My god, you can't make up stuff this funny.

Well, i guess i need to be there.

Michael Lorenzo didn't like the music either:

I am appalled.

I just saw 3 country songs too many, a 6'5" rapping self-proclaimed black cowboy, a back up rapper dressed in a mad hatter costume, several small young white boys trying to pop and lock and a midget trying to imitate an animatronic bear.

i like a lot of country music myself. But that halftime show last night was wrong on too many levels.

Posted by annika at 06:50 PM | Comments (5)

Hateful Lawyer

Sacramento blogger Digger has the inside scoop on that idiot lawyer named Pearcy who keeps hanging up the soldier's effigy, then scurrying back to Berkeley.

Look at the sign he displays on the back of his Boxster. What a piece of work.

Update: You simply must see what Rodger did to the Pearcy's Boxter. What a freakin' riot!

Posted by annika at 06:39 PM | Comments (6)

Robot Week On annika's journal


i have unilaterally decided to designate this week as Robot Week here on annika's journal.

i'm not sure what all that will entail, besides putting up the new poll on my sidebar, which i encourage you to vote in.

Oh, and experimenting with a new robot-friendly font.

Maybe i'll do a post about Al Gore...

...in Fortran.

Any suggestions?

Robot week! Come celebrate it with me.

Posted by annika at 01:39 PM | Comments (5)

More Completely Useless Sunday Afternoon Blogging

Laurie Dhue appears to be retaining water.


Posted by annika at 11:59 AM | Comments (4)

Dear George...

"It's me versus the world," he told Mr. Wead. "The good news is, the world is on my side. Or more than half of it."


You know i love you George, but are you sure Doug was the only wead in the room when you said that?

Posted by annika at 11:29 AM | Comments (2)

News Flash!

On ABC's This Week With George Stepopotamus, terrorism "expert" Dicke Clarke made the following pronouncement

Terrorists can't make a nuclear weapon.
Thanks Dicke. i feel so much better now. i was wrong to worry. i see now why they paid you the big buckes.

i'll ignore the way you stammered when George Will pointed out that terrorists could simply buy a nuclear weapon.

Posted by annika at 08:46 AM | Comments (6)

February 17, 2005

Useless Candy Blogging

Why hasn't Reese's made a peanut butter cup in dark chocolate?

Posted by annika at 04:05 PM | Comments (17)

Bush Picks His Intelligence Czar

Intelligence czar?

The first order of business, i would imagine, will be teaching the president how to pronounce "nuclear."

Posted by annika at 01:50 PM | Comments (1)

February 16, 2005

How Committed A Fan Are You?

No no, i'm not expecting everyone anyone to get an annie's journal tattoo...

annie's journal tattoo

...although i won't discourage the idea.

Now that i think of it, that would be a great way to advertise - and i need only 93 more links to pass fatbody Oliver Willis on the Ecosystem!

Posted by annika at 10:20 PM | Comments (11)

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

In keeping with this week's grumpy Valentine's Day theme, i've selected the perfect sonnet from my favorite poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay.

If I should learn, in some quite casual way,
      That you were gone, not to return again—
Read from the back-page of a paper, say,
      Held by a neighbor in a subway train,
How at the corner of this avenue
      And such a street (so are the papers filled)
A hurrying man—who happened to be you—
      At noon to-day had happened to be killed,
I should not cry aloud—I could not cry
      Aloud, or wring my hands in such a place—
I should but watch the station lights rush by
      With a more careful interest on my face,
Or raise my eyes and read with greater care
Where to store furs and how to treat the hair.

Ouch. Edna could be a snarky bitch when she wanted to.

Which was often.

Posted by annika at 06:56 PM | Comments (2)

February 15, 2005

A Continuum Of Leftist Hatred

Maybe i'm wrong, but isn't there the potential for a dangerous progression of hatred in the recent post-election gnashing of teeth by the American left.

In other words, doesn't this. . .

'I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for,' former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean told Democrats gathered at a Manhattan hotel.
. . . encourage this . . .
Bush supporters need not apply (we hate that asshole). Also, you should be a student as well. House has 4 easy-going, liberal, intelligent male students and one friendly, intelligent dog.
. . . which leads to this . . .
This sweet little children's teddy bear [for sale at CafePress.com] bears the phrase 'Save America, Kill Republicans'. The caption for the item . . . reads:
Making fun of Repubicans won't get them on our side, but threatening to kill them might be more effective.
. . . and possibly stuff like this . . .
The FBI and Auburn police are investigating the discovery of an incendiary device that was left at the entrance of the Placer County Courthouse over the weekend.

The discovery raised questions about whether the device was connected to a series of arsons and attempted arsons in Northern California by someone claiming to be with the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group.

. . .

The Auburn Police Department said Sunday's incident was troubling because it diverged from the pattern established in the other attacks. Instead of targeting a site under construction, whoever planted the most recent device did so at a historic landmark.

The beautiful Placer County courthouse in Auburn is a working courthouse, not just a landmark.*

People need to cool it, seriously.

* Placer County, by the way, is one of California's reddest counties, voting for Bush 63% to 37%.

Posted by annika at 11:56 AM | Comments (13)

American Idiot: Gore Vidal

At A Western Heart,* C.B. posts a great fisking of Gore Vidal's apperance on the Australian Broadcasting Company's Lateline with Tony Jones.

Vidal is truly an American Idiot. One of those irrational leftists who likes to go abroad and speak out of his ass. i loved this statement, wherein he accuses the Bush administration of lying, and as support for his accusation, he strings together a bunch of real whoppers.

That is what the people around Bush have discovered: you repeat the lie, and if people look slightly doubtful, you repeat it again more loudly, and you go on and on. Bush went on for about three years getting ready for the Iraq war, saying that Osama bin Laden, responsible for the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, was working hand in glove with Saddam Hussein, who was equally guilty; therefore, we were going to remove Saddam Hussein, because he was so vicious.
Bush. Said. No. Such. Thing. Ever.

The Australian audience for Lateline can't have been expected to know that Bush never made such a statement, let alone repeated it "again more loudly . . . on and on." But i followed the election closely, and Vidal's statement is a boldfaced lie. The closest anyone ever got to pinning the accusation that the Bush administration made an explicit connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein is one sentence in one document. i blogged about this last June.

i think it's despicable that Vidal goes to another country, and uses that line about repeating the big lie (which is a veiled Nazi reference), and then lies himself, thinking he can get away with it.

Kudos to the Australian host, whom i am unfamiliar with, but he did challenge Vidal's assertion that America is a despotic country.

TONY JONES: Despotism, though, and tyranny implies a suppression of dissent. I mean, there's no bar to open dissent in the United States; just simply whether you can get on to the corporate media.

. . .

Gore Vidal, I think you are living proof, however, that dissent is still living in the United States.

No shit.

* A Western Heart is new international group blog, where i've been recently added as a contributor. There's some good stuff there; i'd love it if you'd go check it out.

Posted by annika at 10:00 AM | Comments (5)

What Kind Of Shoe?

Ballet Shoes
Ballet shoes- beautiful, graceful, and creative,
you enjoy dancing writing and music. You are
often very poetic and sometimes dramatic. Even
if dancing isn't your thing, you are still very
creative. You keep to yourself aside from a few
close friends that you can relate to. You find
your own ways to express yourself and don't
have a need to br surrounded by tons of people.
A small group of friends is fine.

What Kind of Shoe Are You?(new and updated results!!)

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Posted by annika at 07:46 AM | Comments (2)

February 14, 2005

i'm A Playful Primate!

Now i know there's a flaw in The Ecosystem. But i quickly captured a screenprint of the phenomenon, before NZ Bear fixes whatever bug caused annika's journal to enter the top 100!

Posted by annika at 10:48 PM | Comments (5)

Lame Or Genius Idea?

Over at Paul's a commenter named EEKer posted the following comment, and i can't decide whether it's a lame idea or a genius idea.

Years ago I was able to convince my wife that it would be really romantic to switch off for Valentines every year. One year she is the Valentine and the next I am. This was a good move. She ate it up and loves the idea. Now I'm off the hook at least every other year. This year I'm coasting!
i guess it depends on how long the relationship has been around. It would probably be a bad idea to suggest trading off years when you're still dating. But after a few years of marriage, i could see the idea having its advantages.

Posted by annika at 04:22 PM | Comments (3)

Why Not Send Love Notes To This Good Friend Of The Military

Via Blackfive:

On January 30th, 2005, Senator Kerry told Tim Russert on Meet the Press that he would sign an SF 180 in order to release all of his military records. So far, no signature.
Here's how you can help the senator keep his word.

[redacted to avoid frivolous and malicious claims by hypocritical and attention hungry public figures]

Posted by annika at 11:14 AM | Comments (3)

February 12, 2005

Eason Jordan Gone?

i'm amazed at the speed with which this under-the-radar scandal took him down. i'm not surprised that his resignation was announced on Friday afternoon, after the talk radio shows were over.

i would have expected Jordan to fight this longer. Big media has to be pissed as the number of news execs run out of town by the blogosphere continues to grow.

Expect future calls for legislative action to control blogs. Because, make no mistake, Jordan was kooky for years, but the story that did him in was completely ignored outside the blogosphere.

Mark at Decision '08 notes that in contrast to Rathergate,

This time it was the bloggers, and the bloggers alone, that pushed this man out. That will be heady stuff for some; it will scare the pants off of others...but what does it mean, really? Have we entered an era where our lives can be destroyed by a pack of wolves hacking at their keyboards with no oversight, no editors, and no accountability? Or does it mean that we've entered a brave new world where the MSM has become irrelevant?
Maybe not irrelevant, but more accountable, less hubristic. That can only be for the good.

It's ironic that an entire generation of journalists, who consider their greatest accomplishment to be the forced resignation of Richard Nixon, must now look over their own shoulders and fear a new generation of muckrakers.

Update: Jungle Book lovers, like myself, will enjoy this witty take-off by Vanderleun at American Digest. Excerpt:

Ye may post for yourselves, and your country, blog your cats if you must, and ye can;
But post not for pleasure of sacking unless you sack Eason Jordan!
Ha ha.

Posted by annika at 09:31 AM | Comments (1)

February 11, 2005

Poll Results

The poll results are in. You've decided that the best replacement for Dan Rather at the CBS Evening news is actor Keanu Reeves. With 63% of the vote, support for Mr. Reeves was more than five times that of his closest competitor, über-news-tart Kiki Couric.

Mr. Reeves' journalistic credentials are unclear, however many experts believe that CBS executives should not worry about a lack of news experience, given the current state of the CBS Nightly News' ratings and credibility.

Keanu Reeves, 40, is perhaps best known for his role as Neo, the stoic hero of the Matrix film trilogy. His other credits include Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, in which he played Ted, and Speed, opposite co-stars Dennis Hopper and Sandra Bullock. Others may remember Mr. Reeves best for his early starring role with River Phoenix in the 1991 film My Own Private Idaho.

Mr. Phoenix could not be reached for comment.

Posted by annika at 07:18 AM | Comments (4)

February 10, 2005

TV Trivia

Without Googling: who did the voice of Pebbles Flintstone in the 1971-72 Saturday morning cartoon, The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show?

Hint: she's better known for her work on a night-time TV show, which also premiered in 1971.

And while we're on the subject. Does it seem strange to you that Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm grew up next door to each other, and their parents were best friends, but they ended up dating in High School? i mean, isn't that almost like dating your sibling? You'd think they'd want to branch out a little.

Posted by annika at 04:19 PM | Comments (8)

Welcome To The Club, Assholes

Someone new has crashed the party, although it's not like we weren't expecting them. Add North Korea to this list:

The United States
Great Britian
South Africa (quit the club in 1991)

i knew this was inevitable. South Africa's experience notwithstanding, how do you put the genie back in the bottle? Looking at things from the dictator's perspective, what incentive do they have not to lie, delay and continue jerking off the international community until they have a fully stocked arsenal? Who's going to stop them? A nuclear arsenal enables North Korea to bully their neighbors even more easily, why would anyone expect them to voluntarily negotiate away that power?

Now it looks like we're stuck in South Korea, as an already bad situation has gotten much, much worse.

Posted by annika at 09:23 AM | Comments (10)

February 09, 2005

Painful But True Quote Of The Day

From Candace:

I could write back to every single one of those desperate webcam guys with 'You are a complete and total loser,' because seriously, when a blogger tells you that you have no life outside the internet, it's for real, dudes.

Read at Candied Ginger.

Posted by annika at 03:42 PM | Comments (1)

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

It's also Ash Wednesday, so i had no choice but to post an excerpt from T. S. Eliot's long poem of the same name.

i've given up trying to figure out Eliot. i've concluded that it's more about how his art makes you feel. Just like looking at a Kandinsky, or listening to Ornette Coleman. If the message could have been communicated in prose, it would have been. But that was not what the artist intended.

Still i get the vague feeling that Eliot is writing about mortality here, but then the title is a big clue. By mortality, i mean more than just death, but all the limitations of a mortal life. All those things that are so maddeningly finite while we are here on earth: our knowledge, our understanding, and our strength of will.

If you are able to, try reading this thing out loud. For meter and rhyme, it is a fabulous piece of writing.

Ash Wednesday (excerpt)

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

The rest of the poem is similar, although different religious themes are explored, in an equally indecipherable manner. What fascinates me the most is how the rhythm becomes almost hip-hop in places.

Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.

      O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice

i swear that sounds like rap. Someone should really put a beat to it.

Posted by annika at 01:42 PM | Comments (1)

February 08, 2005

KISS This Contest Goodbye

Allright, i guess i've dragged out this suspense bullshit long enough. i told you i had decision-making issues.

The winner of the KISS haiku contest is a poem that, i think, most completely encapsulates the kick-ass, devil-may-care, throw-caution-to-the-wind, damn-the-torpedoes, rock-and-roll-all-nite attitude of that band we all know and love to hate. Or not.

One in my tight pants.
One in my make-up caked mouth.
Which lizard, baby?

E-mail me to claim you prize, and congratulations, Cameron!

Posted by annika at 12:33 AM | Comments (13)

February 06, 2005

KISS Haiku Contest Update

i've narrowed it down to ten finalists in my kiss.gif haiku contest. i wanted to make it nine, but i just can't bring myself to cut one from the list. i think the finalists represent a pretty good mix of the gross haiku, the historical perspective haiku, the anti-KISS haiku, and the haiku with the humorous twist. Here they are:

Tony understands law school and haiku:

Rock and roll all night;
Party ev'ry day - sounds like
Law school's Free Beer Day.

i love Kevin's use of the double entendre here:

it's on video
I saw Annie blow a KISS
hope you've got Quicktime

And this one is just gross, but what else do you expect from the Big Hominid?

ass of Gene Simmons
rudely penetrated by
tongue of Gene Simmons

Tuning Spork says he was trying to introduce meter and rhyme into the contest. i'm not sure he succeded, but i did like this one, which pretty succinctly describes the KISS career cycle:

Paul and Gene in charge;
Ace and Peter hit the road.
Crowds were not as large.

Pursuit's final line in this next haiku is hilarious:

Gene thinks he is hot
Long, gross tongue, hideous face
please leave now, old man

The next one, by a man i once called "The Mark Russell of the Blogosphere" (perhaps prematurely), had me ROTFL:

One in my tight pants.
One in my make-up caked mouth.
Which lizard, baby?

And Emily's lone submission is a crowd favorite, not in spite of, but because of its disregard for the rules.

Gene, stick that frickin' tongue of yours
back in your mouth you filthy
damn pig

Tom gained the support of the Maximum World Order's poet laureate with this one:

My wife saw you play
you spit on her with fake blood
I hope it was fake

El Capitan's haiku were all great, but i picked this one because i figured we had to have at least one poem in the finals that didn't bash KISS:

Ted Nugent opened
KISS then took the stage and then
Blew the damn roof off

And i like the message in number ten, also by El Capitan. To me it says: resistance is futile, you will be assimilated by the KISS Army, regardless of how sucky the band is.

Simple loud cock-rock
Cartoon show for teenage boys
Just embrace your youth

The unfortunate thing about contests is that not everyone can win. Honorable mentions should go to D-Rod for his attempt to work Valentine's day into the contest; Ted for making fun of Victor's Joe Don Baker obsession; Victor for actually working the word "autumn" into his haiku without sounding forced; Shelly and Tom for their slightly non-conforming poems, which i'm convinced were intentionally tweaked ("Haku?" ... "Wed-nes-day?"); Derek for making the only stoner reference, however oblique, in a contest about a rock-and-roll band; and Tuning Spork for the haiku that ended with "please hand me a gun" which made me snort liquid.

Any help in deciding a winner is welcome.

Posted by annika at 12:34 PM | Comments (17)

It's Award Season

Voting in the Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards begins tomorrow. (No. i'm not in it, i think you have to be Jewish.) But some very good blogs have been nominated. If you vote, don't forget to support Munuvans Rishon Rishon* and D. F. Moore** and Simon World. i also plan to vote for Ari Goes Down and Protein Wisdom, both great blogs.

* Nominated in several categories, including Best Post and Best Series.

** Also nominated in multiple categories.

Posted by annika at 10:44 AM | Comments (1)

Temporal Based Communication

Here's an interesting communication theory i never really thought about before, which i think has a lot of merit. i can think of examples of it among some of my acquaintances and i'm going to watch for it in the future.

i tend to speak in the "was" mode a lot of the time, but that's understandable. i gotta get some use out of my history degrees.

Posted by annika at 10:14 AM | Comments (2)

February 05, 2005

And The Winner Is The Award Goes To

i'm going through the fifty haiku submitted in the kiss.gif haiku contest, and they're all so good, i'm having trouble selecting a winner. i'm considering scrapping my own secretive and arbitrary criteria and substituting the method used by my property professor when he graded last semester's final exams. That is, so far as i can guess, to find a tall stairway, go to the top, throw all the submissions down the stairs and judge them according to where they land.

Posted by annika at 10:20 AM | Comments (7)

Matt Rustler Interviewed Me

Haha, Matt Rustler is a bad bad person. He interviewed me like around Veteran's Day, i think. Then i waited. And waited. Okay, so i know he's a busy lawyer, husband and father, but heck what about my ego? Huh, how about that?! Anyways, better late than never, he's finally got around to posting it. Topics include Anglophilia, bra-lessness, Catholicism, how i started blogging, my (now ex) boyfriend, Douhetian theory, and Murphy's Stout. Matt's a sweetie, and it was a fun interview. So if you are at all interested in what makes me tick, go over there now and read it.

Update: Reading through the interview, i noticed a contradiction between what i told Matt and what i said in my interview with Sarah about the first blog i ever read. As i recall now, the first blog i ever saw has to have been TranceJen, which i probably pulled up during a google search about electronic trance music. The first blog i ever linked to was, i think, Anne straight from the hip, which is still on my blogroll after all these months. Just my opinion, but both are among the best personal blogs you'll ever hope to find.

Posted by annika at 08:32 AM | Comments (5)

February 03, 2005

annieconversations: The Hugo Schwyzer Interview

For this month's annieconversation, i interviewed Professor Hugo Schwyzer. His blog is one of my favorites and should be on your regular reading list too; it's always so thought provoking. Topics for discussion include feminism and sexuality, chinchillas, religion, and that ever popular subject: butt-cleavage. How's that for a teaser? Read on.

annikagyrl: i usually start by saying something like: hi Hugo
Hugo: Hi Annika!
annikagyrl: which i think is appropriate, since that is your name
Hugo: Indeed, and I am fond of it.
annikagyrl: but that brings up one of the questions i had, which is that you really put yourself out there on your blog
Hugo: Yes...
annikagyrl: i mean you use your own name and you're kind of a semi-public figure, being a college professor and all
Hugo: Well, true
annikagyrl: do you ever wish you were blogging anonymously?
Hugo: Occasionally. But one of the privileges of tenure is that I don't have to worry about future employers reading my blog and getting scared off!
annikagyrl: ah, tenure...
Hugo: It gives me the luxury to be public and to take risks
annikagyrl: you are so honest about yourself, and despite the blogosphere's promise of anonymity, i hardly ever see other bloggers revealing as much of their inner selves as you do
Hugo: Thanks. I have learned that that is what matters, though
annikagyrl: why?
Hugo: There is lots of posturing in the blogosphere. Lots of folks trying to be clever, witty, ironic, sexy. Fewer trying to write from their core experiences
annikagyrl: uhhhh,
annikagyrl: not me of course, never me
Hugo: Hon, you don't try to be any of those things... you already are!
annikagyrl: speaking of sexy, you do know that i have a huge blog crush on you
Hugo: (Blush)
annikagyrl: haha
Hugo: Even if I am a confirmed socialist/pacifist?
annikagyrl: anyways you’re taken!
Hugo: I am. I am very lucky
annikagyrl: that's what's so wierd. How is it that i love reading your blog so much, when we have such great political differences
Hugo: Well, I would hope it is because I am civil. And I try to be fair. And leave my anger out of it
Hugo: or it could be the chinchilla blogging
annikagyrl: and i'm not the only conservative who likes your blog, Xrlq is another regular reader who comes to mind
Hugo: I like him because he loves dogs so much
annikagyrl: oh it's more than just your civility, which is also refreshing, btw
Hugo: I think it is important that we have friendly banter across the partisan divide
annikagyrl: i also noticed that you tend to stay away from reporting and/or commenting on the latest news snippet du jour
Hugo: Well, there' s so much of that out there. Unless I know I can offer a unique take, I stay away
annikagyrl: and so i check your blog several times a day, simply because you always get me thinking about issues that i wouldn't normally consider
Hugo: Thank you so much, Annika. You were the first person to link to my blog, you know
annikagyrl: is that so?
Hugo: In 2003, I sent you a link to an article in First Things, and you linked me
annikagyrl: you're like a celebrity now, i'm so pleased i could have been the first to link to you
Hugo: And you gave me the inspiration for Short Poem Thursday
annikagyrl: how many hits a day are you at now
Hugo: Well, this week has been crazy. Since the Glenn Sacks show, over 5000. Before, it was 1700-2400. It will die down
annikagyrl: WOW
annikagyrl: re: the poetry: one of the original purposes of my own blog, as you may know, is that i wanted to encourage people to think about poetry more, and to read it regularly
Hugo: a noble purpose...
annikagyrl: so, your taking up that meme, by doing poetry Thursdays, has fallen right in with my plans
Hugo: Indeed, I have been co-opted by the literate right!
annikagyrl: and since then, i've seen other bloggers do their own poetry days, which pleases me greatly
Hugo: It is a very cool thing. People don't read poetry enough
annikagyrl: 2tru
annikagyrl: so what is your current state of mind regarding your recent appearance on the Glen Sacks radio show and its aftermath?
Hugo: Well, I really enjoyed the experience. And the aftermath has been a bit overwhelming. I didn't think there was so much rage out there. And to have it directed at me was a bit jarring.
annikagyrl: rage about what?
Hugo: About taking a pro-feminist stance
Hugo: About calling men to radical accountability
annikagyrl: okay, you see, another thing i love about your blog is that i don't think you can be categorized so easily as a “pro-feminist.”
Hugo: No, not given my social conservatism on many issues. I'm pretty clear on abortion/porn/promiscuity. But I still call myself a pro-feminist
annikagyrl: i consider myself pretty anti-feminist, yet i’ve found that i agree with much of what you have written on the subject
Hugo: Well, part of the problem is that we have made it so unappealing for women like you to identify as feminists. Here you are, a law student, confident, gregarious and independent
annikagyrl: awww
Hugo: and yet, the feminist label doesn't work for you. Part of that is the feminist movement's inability to connect with many young women, part of it is media distortion
annikagyrl: well i do like doors held for me
Hugo: Sure, but chivalry and feminism are not incompatible. I hold the door for my fianceé
annikagyrl: in the dating scene, our roles have become so fucked up by the gender wars, that men don't know what to do nowadays. It’s weird.
Hugo: There is a lot of uncertainty and fear. Men have to be proactive, not reactive
annikagyrl: i imagine they’re pretty confused. Are they supposed to be forward? Is that too aggressive? Should they be passive, what? i really feel sorry for guys nowadays
Hugo: I'm not suggesting it's easy!
annikagyrl: but that leaves us chicks often waiting for nothing, cuz we don't know what to do in the proto-dating situations a lot of the time either
Hugo: I hear you. I am a big advocate of traditional behavior -- in the sense of opening doors, meeting the parents -- because these roles allow people to feel comfortable, allow people to feel that they know what they are doing
annikagyrl: but your ideal, if i may put words in your mouth, is also that we need to remember respect, ultimately
Hugo: absolutely, respect is the key. And a willingness to listen to the other's needs and concerns
annikagyrl: and a lot of people, like those men’s rights advocates who have criticized you, can't get past the label "pro-feminist" to see what your viewpoint is really all about
Hugo: Yes, it's unfortunate. But I'll keep blogging. And trying to learn more about how to pierce that anger and get to these fellows
annikagyrl: Now you, like me, were once pro-choice
Hugo: Yes. I was raised to be
annikagyrl: what happened there?
Hugo: Well, several things. Religious conversion, for one. But also a sense that abortion was really a consequence of not taking all of our actions as seriously as we might. I don't work to change the laws in this country. My pro-life position is more nuanced than that. I want to prevent abortion through encouraging male responsibility
annikagyrl: interesting angle. Not one that you hear much about these days
Hugo: I want men to take a completely different view of women and sexuality
annikagyrl: how so?
Hugo: I think we need to remember how amazing sex really is -- how intimate and special. I am not advocating abstinence -- I am advocating radical caring. Where two people take full and complete responsbility for the outcome of their actions. As a liberal, I believe we ought to consume less. As a pro-life social conservative, I believe we ought to honor each other's bodies more.
Hugo: Oh damn, I am on a rant again. It's hard to get across in an IM message. But I've touched on it in various ways in my blog
annikagyrl: i think your pro-life stance is more credible because it is consistent across the board
Hugo: Well, it's not quite where I'd like it to be. I want to be a vegan! But I am not there yet
annikagyrl: it's a difficult position for someone on the left to take,
Hugo: It is
annikagyrl: to say, "im against the death penalty, and abortion"
Hugo: and war, and euthanasia. oh yeah, it’s loads of fun. You piss off everybody
annikagyrl: it’s courageous. It's like when Gloria Allred took the position that "i'm a feminist and I don't like how President Clinton abused his position with Monica Lewinsky, and Im not going to defend him"
Hugo: Absolutely
Hugo: I wish Clinton had resigned in '98
annikagyrl: seriously?
Hugo: But that's another road we don't need to go down... It would have sent a remarkable message about actions and consequences. And it might have led to the reelection of Gore in 2000. Clinton harmed the left in myriad ways
annikagyrl: wow, i bet i'm more pro-Clinton than you are, haha
Hugo: Well, I like him immensely. He is a magnificent speaker, and I bought the book the day it came out. But he was no friend to real progressives
annikagyrl: i thought his perjury was wrong, but then i also see that there would have been no grand jury if Starr hadn't been so zealous
Hugo: Oh, I'm not defending Starr
annikagyrl: anyways, it’s neither here nor there now. But i was shocked to hear Sean Hannity say, on the radio just a few minutes ago, that he thought the Clintons were the most reasonable people on the left, compared to the Boxers and the Kennedys et al.
Hugo: Well, that's because the Clintons aren't really the "left!"
annikagyrl: Hannity’s comment was the first time i ever heard any conservative say anything approaching nice about any Clinton
Hugo: Time heals a lot, don't it?
annikagyrl: oh we could chat forever about the Clinton era, but lets go to another subject, closer to my heart
Hugo: You bet
annikagyrl: No, not Cal Bear football
Hugo: Darn
annikagyrl: haha
Hugo: We are having a great recruiting class, I hear...
annikagyrl: we won't talk about that, i'm still hurting over the Holiday Bowl
Hugo: The what?
annikagyrl: haha
annikagyrl: no, my next topic is History
Hugo: Ah
Hugo: I thought it might be fashion
annikagyrl: you are a specialist in a somewhat disfavored field right now aren't you?
Hugo: Well, my Ph.D. was in English Medieval Ecclesiastical History
annikagyrl: that's a mouthful
Hugo: My dissertation was entitled: "Arms and the Bishop: The Anglo-Scottish Wars and the Northeastern Episcopate" Oh, it's a page turner
annikagyrl: is that pre-Tudor?
Hugo: Yes. It's Plantagenet England. Late 13th, 14th centuries. If you saw Braveheart, you know the era
annikagyrl: then i'm afraid i know very little about it, except -- and this segues nicely into another of the many subjects i wanted to ask you about -- are you familiar with Christian mysticism?
Hugo: A bit. Julian of Norwich. Hildegard. That sorta thing
annikagyrl: specifically the The Cloud of the Unknowing, by the anonymous 14th century English monk?
Hugo: I read it in grad school in 1991. Haven't read it since
annikagyrl: Hell yah, one of my favorite spiritual works of all
annikagyrl: oops
Hugo: You can say "hell" around me, Annie. I have a foul mouth, actually
annikagyrl: haha. Yes, but in the context of a religious discussion?
Hugo: Oh, sure. One of my favorite theologians, Hauerwas, drops the 'f" bomb all the time
annikagyrl: okay, in that book there is a great discussion about "Mary's part" vs. "Martha's part" [as found in Luke 10:38-42]
Hugo: Oh, my beloved Martha
annikagyrl: and the anonymous author comes down squarely on the side of Mary, but i suspect you are on the side of Martha aren't you?
Hugo: Well, yes and no. Martha wasn't able to transcend traditional gender roles, as her sister was. But without the Marthas of the world, the gospel doesn't get preached. The Marthas are the backbones of the church. Working in ministry is a lot about washing dishes. Wiping snotty noses. Making sure the coffee is made. A receptive heart is great, but someone needs to go out and do the work.
annikagyrl: how do you see the different approaches to being a Christian as symbolized by those two biblical women? Is it possible, in today's America, without cloistering one’s self, to really follow Mary's part completely, or does one have to live by necessity in both worlds, the contemplative and the active, as a modern Christian?
Hugo: Annie, that's an essay question!
annikagyrl: haha! the teacher has now become the student... lol
Hugo: Seriously, you do have to struggle to do both. And fortunately, God created us with different gifts. Some of us are more contemplative, others more active. Me, I am too extroverted. I am like Martha. I need to be out there, running around
annikagyrl: literally
Hugo: Indeed!
annikagyrl: Okay, what's up with the chinchillas?
Hugo: Well, my fianceé and I wanted a pet. But we are both gone all day, which wouldn’t be fair to a dog. We read and researched and one day, came across chinchillas. We went to Petco, and they had this one little grey female available, six weeks old
annikagyrl: My bro saw one at Petco last weekend when i was visiting, and he decided he wants one now
Hugo: They are incredibly intelligent and loving. They need lots of attention, but in spurts. You’re able to leave them alone for extended periods
annikagyrl: really? That'd be perfect for Derrick
Hugo: Just make sure they get handled every day
annikagyrl: Make sure they get handled every day?
Hugo: Held and kissed and cuddled
annikagyrl: perhaps a perfect name for one would be dick, then!
Hugo: Hah!
annikagyrl: lol, sorry, it just came to me...
Hugo: Oh, dear Annika, where is your mind? ;-)
annikagyrl: it’s always in the gutter
Hugo: And they can't be in rooms over 75 degrees or they die. Too much fur. You should have seen our AC bill last summer!
annikagyrl: Do your students read your blog?
Hugo: Some do. I mean, they google my name and find it. I don't tell them about it, but they seem to find it
annikagyrl: so you don't advertise it in class?
Hugo: No. That would be too self-promoting. They are curious, though
annikagyrl: Your regular commenters are really great, they are usually so articuate
Hugo: I think so -- I feel like I've met so many people... I am so lucky
annikagyrl: except for that one troll, which La Lubu commented about the other day. The guy that just says: “You’re wrong... out!
Hugo: Oh yeah, we've had our share of wingnuts come by
annikagyrl: haha
Hugo: I have banned a few. But I don't like doing it
annikagyrl: i've only banned a couple from annika’s journal, and only because of totally racist statements
Hugo: That's certainly reason to do so! I will only ban when people say really unpleasant things that make it unsafe for others to comment
annikagyrl: i'll leave them on if they attack me civilly, but not if they get ugly
Hugo: Civility is key
annikagyrl: Hey, fashion
Hugo: Ah, the good stuff
annikagyrl: i know you appreciate fashion blogging, because you are a fan of Candied Ginger
Hugo: I am -- love those gals
annikagyrl: one of the best Hugo posts of all time, made me very conflicted about certain fashions i’ve worn, though. You know which post im talking about...
Hugo: Oh, the "Sisterhood is easier in winter"?
annikagyrl: haha, yah
Hugo: Well, it's not a condemnation of sexy clothing. It's about recognizing that when we live in community, our choices impact others. How we dress affects others, and we need to be cognizant of that. But on the other hand, I think we need to stop connecting revealing clothes and sexuality
annikagyrl: see, a lot of dressing by myself and my peers is done unconsciously. It's like the whole lumbar cleavage thing,
Hugo: Lumbar cleavage?
annikagyrl: i recently heard it referred to crudely as the "pencil holder"
Hugo: Ah, I get it. Hadn't heard that one
annikagyrl: but the thing is, i don't think guys know that those pants are just more comfortable than the old-school high-waisted style. But yes, i have given thought to that too, since your post
Hugo: Well, and the other thing is, men can control their leering. Our eyes are not involuntary muscles. I always say, there's a colossal difference between the appreciative glance and the penetrating gaze
annikagyrl: Still, it is a bit unfair to other students to provide that kind of distraction, although i once posted a vignette about it, in a tongue-in-cheek way
Hugo: I am aware it isn't easy for women, because you are expected to be both sexy and demure, both professional and appealing, both powerful and feminine
annikagyrl: Next topic. Today, i sent you an article, where this guy critiqued my comments on non-violence, which i posted in my “100 Things” list. He didn’t have comments or post his email on his blog, so i couldn’t respond to him directly. Here’s an excerpt:

The truth about Hawks is that they're all a bunch of pussies. They are unwilling to take the abuse Gandhi and his followers did in the name of their ideas (Can you imagine George W. Bush fasting for 21 days in the name of Democracy? In the name of anything?). They lack the conviction that would allow them to see past the short term gains of beating said ideas into others. They lack the faith required to see that, as Gandhi often said, non-violence works because it taps into a fundamental truth buried deep within all human beings.
Hugo: I read the article. I agree with you. King and Gandhi were operating in a context where their enemies were playing by the rules, at least to some extent
annikagyrl: Yes yes yes
Hugo: There is a legitimate difference between Hitler and the British occupation in India. Morally shaming those who can't be shamed doesn't work
annikagyrl: shame is the key, that's what i was going to say
Hugo: That's why Bonhoeffer, a pacifist to his core, made the decision to take part in the Hitler plot. Anyone who thinks pacifism is easy is kidding themselves - your critic was being too flip
annikagyrl: Also, it's important to remember that Gandhi formed a personal relationship with the viceroy
Hugo: Yes, and was able to connect with him on a variety of levels
annikagyrl: there was some mutual respect, as i recall. i don't think that GWB should be expected to go to Afghanistan and sit down with OBL
Hugo: Of course not. Real pacifism is rooted not so much in a sense that it will work as it is in a radical commitment to obedience. Pacifism won't work on Osama. That doesn't mean that those of us who claim to be pacifists aren't still obligated to that kind of radical submission
annikagyrl: but still, great a man as he was, Gandhi could not prevent all violence
Hugo: No -- the breakaway of Pakistan, for example
annikagyrl: he was constantly frustrated because his followers didn't understand satyagraha as he did.
annikagyrl: but if you wanna know what i took away from my study of Gandhi, and Eastern thought in general, it's that pacifism is a noble and worthy ideal, worth striving for on a personal level. It absolutely has a place in interpersonal relationships, and i try to use it that way myself. In business relationships too. i've seen very successful lawyers who shun aggresive tactics
Hugo: You're right, practicing that kind of loving peacefulness is marvelously effective
annikagyrl: totally
Hugo: Especially with difficult students!
annikagyrl: haha, or boyfriends, in some cases
Hugo: Plural, Annika?
Hugo: ;-)
annikagyrl: oops, was that out loud?
Hugo: Cat is out of the bag, making its way down the street
annikagyrl: haha
annikagyrl: anyways Hugo, i'm so glad we finally had a chance to do this
Hugo: Me too
Hugo: Annika, you're one of my daily reads
annikagyrl: im so flattered
Hugo: I don't think folks always realize how clever what you write really is
annikagyrl: oh, the smart ones do...
Hugo: I know you have a large male fan base. But I hope that they appreciate the writing
annikagyrl: i wish more girls would read my stuff. why is that, do you think?
Hugo: Well, you do two things: you do present a kind of flirty, sexy side
annikagyrl: i am a flirt
Hugo: and you take strong interests in guy stuff (like airplanes)
annikagyrl: yah, i can see that, but chicks dig planes too
Hugo: Apparently.
annikagyrl: i mean, look at that Leonardo di Caprio movie. Howard Hughes pulled the chicks. At least before he started growing his nails, lol
Hugo: Well, planes, wealth, and a kind of manic self-confidence works wonders
annikagyrl: ahhh
Hugo: Women do seem to love men who are certain about their passions
annikagyrl: haha, we do. as long as we're one of those passions
Hugo: Smart guys figure that out fast. And smart men subtly suggest that she might be one of those passions... but they don't let her know instantly
Hugo: Indeed
annikagyrl: well, take care Hugo, and the invitation is there anytime you'd like to do this again, it was very fun
Hugo: Absolutely, Annika. It was fun. Thank you

Posted by annika at 06:24 PM | Comments (10)

February 02, 2005

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Action figures have been in the news recently, so i selected this week's poem accordingly. You may recall that Barbie used to go out with a guy named Ken (That was before she started seeing G.I. Joe, of course.) Barbie and Ken were a cute couple, and Ken was a real doll. But they had their struggles, just like any two lovers. i hear they once toyed with the idea of marriage, but as their relationship soured, eventually they had to call it quits. Some say Ken was gay, and i don't know if that is true or not, but the following poem shows that they had other issues too.


They decide to exchange heads.
Barbie squeezes the small opening under her chin
over Ken's bulging neck socket. His wide jaw line jostles
atop his girlfriend's body, loosely,
like one of those novelty dogs
destined to gaze from the back windows of cars.
The two dolls chase each other around the orange Country Camper
unsure what they'll do when they're within touching distance.
Ken wants to feel Barbie's toes between his lips,
take off one of her legs and force his whole arm inside her.
With only the vaguest suggestion of genitals,
all the alluring qualities they possess as fashion dolls,
up until now, have done neither of them much good.
But suddenly Barbie is excited looking at her own body
under the weight of Ken's face. He is part circus freak,
part thwarted hermaphrodite. And she is imagining
she is somebody else-- maybe somebody middle class and ordinary,
maybe another teenage model being caught in a scandal.

The night had begun with Barbie getting angry
at finding Ken's blow up doll, folded and stuffed
under the couch. He was defensive and ashamed, especially about
not having the breath to inflate her. But after a round
of pretend-tears, Barbie and Ken vowed to try
to make their relationship work. With their good memories
as sustaining as good food, they listened to late-night radio
talk shows, one featuring Doctor Ruth. When all else fails,
just hold each other, the small sex therapist crooned.
Barbie and Ken, on cue, groped in the dark,
their interchangeable skin glowing, the color of Band-Aids.
Then, they let themselves go-- Soon Barbie was begging Ken
to try on her spandex miniskirt. She showed him how
to pivot as though he was on a runway. Ken begged
to tie Barbie onto his yellow surfboard and spin her
on the kitcen table until she grew dizzy. Anything,
anything, they both said to the other's requests,
their mirrored desires bubbling from the most unlikely places.

By Denise Duhamel, a modern writer who some have called a "feminist poet." Although i don't think she objects to being placed in that pigeonhole, her poetry is often very funny and worthy of a wide audience.

Posted by annika at 04:01 PM | Comments (3)

February 01, 2005

My Email To The MSM

i thought i'd send an urgent e-mail to the brain trust at MSNBC, AP, CBS et al. How long do you think they'll run with my story before they figure out it's not true?


i say they'll run with this story at least until the first hundred or so e-mails come in. Then they'll pull the story without a word.

Update: On a more serious, and sinister note, there's this story that you probably won't hear about on the MSM.

Forumblog, the blog dedicated to covering the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, reported last Friday that CNN chief Eason Jordan accused the US military of targeting journalists for assassination, and succeeding in twelve cases. . .

. . .

If indeed Forumblog reported this honestly, then Jordan needs to either produce the evidence for such charges or resign in disgrace, with his last action an apology to the US military aired in CNN's prime-time news show. If not, CNN's entire news organization loses all credibility as long as he remains in it.

. . .

If Jordan has evidence of this military practice, why hasn't CNN reported it? And if he has no evidence, why would the chief of a worldwide news agency spread unsubstantiated rumors? What else has CNN reported that is similarly sourced, and what else has CNN suppressed with solid sourcing?

Read Captain's Quarters for the full rundown.

Via A Western Heart.

Posted by annika at 07:23 PM | Comments (3)