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

March 31, 2005

Step One In A Move To CBS's Anchor Job?

Ted Koppel is leaving ABC.

Posted by annika at 08:31 AM | Comments (7)

March 30, 2005

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

What might the great Walt Whitman have said about what's going on in Florida?

To One Shortly to Die

From all the rest I single out you, having a message for you:
You are to die—Let others tell you what they please, I cannot prevaricate,
I am exact and merciless, but I love you—There is no escape for you.

Softly I lay my right hand upon you—you just feel it,
I do not argue—I bend my head close, and half envelope it,
I sit quietly by—I remain faithful,
I am more than nurse, more than parent or neighbor,
I absolve you from all except yourself, spiritual, bodily—that is eternal—you yourself will surely escape,
The corpse you will leave will be but excrementitious.

The sun bursts through in unlooked-for directions!
Strong thoughts fill you, and confidence—you smile!
You forget you are sick, as I forget you are sick,
You do not see the medicines—you do not mind the weeping friends—I am with you,
I exclude others from you—there is nothing to be commiserated,
I do not commiserate—I congratulate you.

Posted by annika at 10:09 AM | Comments (8)

March 29, 2005

The Spanking Cure

i have no comment on this one.

Posted by annika at 11:27 PM | Comments (6)

Funniest Thing

For some odd reason, i'm getting IMs and comments from people who think i am Lindsay Lohan. It's all due to that humorous piece i did a few weeks back. My guess is that it's attracting google hits and of course Lindsay Lohan fans are not the swiftest bananas in the bunch. i got this french guy sending me IMs in french every day. i have no idea what he's saying but tonight he says, in English: "you are Lindsay Lohan."

Well, i'm not, but i'm willing to pretend if it will fuck with a Frenchie's head for shits and giggles. Ha-ha.

Posted by annika at 10:54 PM | Comments (0)

Fantasy Baseball Update

Well my team drafted and i'm not too crazy about it. i'm weak in two key areas compared to my competition: pitching and offense.

C V. Martínez (Cle - C)
1B P. Konerko (CWS - 1B)
2B B. Boone (Sea - 2B)
3B A. Béltre (Sea - 3B)
SS B. Crosby (Oak - SS)
OF J. Pierre (Fla - OF)
OF J. Edmonds (StL - OF)
OF S. Podsednik (CWS - OF)
Util M. Lowell (Fla - 3B)
BN T. Iguchi (CWS - 2B)
BN A. Boone (Cle - 3B)
BN M. Lawton (Pit - OF)
BN Á. Sánchez (TB - OF)
BN Mi. Sweeney (KC - 1B)

SP B. Zito (Oak - SP)
SP M. Clement (Bos - SP)
SP Od. Pérez (LAD - SP)
RP E. Gagne (LAD - RP)
P T. Hoffman (SD - RP)
P S. Takatsu (CWS - RP)
P A. Leiter (Fla - SP)

With Pierre and Podsednik, i'm probably good on stolen bases, i think. But i need starting pitchers who can get wins.

Posted by annika at 10:27 PM | Comments (5)

Tuesday TV Thoughts

i'm a huge Nadia fan. i love her style. But she was flat tonight. i mean she wasn't in key. It was painful.

i had high hopes for Anwar when he auditioned. He's a voice teacher, but Randy is right. He's not been good for quite a few weeks in a row, and only saves himself with some big notes at the end.

Carrie. i've been expecting her to do "Independence Day" ever since she auditioned. That was like a given. i think she sewed up the Sean Hannity audience tonight.

Scott. Ho-hum. Federov. Yawn.

Niko. i'm with Randy. That was a'ight. Just a'ight.

Have you tried that Coke with lime yet? Too sweet for my taste.

Do you miss Mikalah? Me neither.

Constantine's appeal is too narrow to hold much longer.

Vonzell has a black belt? That's not surprising, 'cuz she's kicked ass two weeks in a row now. Carrie was good, but not as good as Martina. Vonzell was absolutely just as good as Whitney on her song tonight.

In my mind, Bo, Vonzell and Carrie are the front runners.

House, Scrubs or Jim? Please, isn't there anything better on Tuesday night? The Amazing Race is out, because i've reached my tolerance limit for reality tv.

i could always study. There's a thought.

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

Driver Killed By Load Of Shit

Speaking of time travellers, this story via Reuters:

A Czech tractor driver died under eight tons of manure in a bizarre accident that has baffled his employers, local media reported.
Authorities are still looking for a mysterious kid on a skateboard.

Posted by annika at 10:20 AM | Comments (5)

March 28, 2005

Time Traveler Busted For Insider Trading

This story reminds me of a very funny Kevin Nealon skit on Saturday Night Live.

Sources at the Security and Exchange Commission confirm that 44-year-old Andrew Carlssin offered the bizarre explanation for his uncanny success in the stock market after being led off in handcuffs on January 28.

'We don't believe this guy's story -- he's either a lunatic or a pathological liar,' says an SEC insider.

'But the fact is, with an initial investment of only $800, in two weeks' time he had a portfolio valued at over $350 million. Every trade he made capitalized on unexpected business developments, which simply can't be pure luck.

'The only way he could pull it off is with illegal inside information. He's going to sit in a jail cell on Rikers Island until he agrees to give up his sources.'

. . .

Carlssin declared that he had traveled back in time from over 200 years in the future, when it is common knowledge that our era experienced one of the worst stock plunges in history. Yet anyone armed with knowledge of the handful of stocks destined to go through the roof could make a fortune.

'It was just too tempting to resist,' Carlssin allegedly said in his videotaped confession. 'I had planned to make it look natural, you know, lose a little here and there so it doesn't look too perfect. But I just got caught in the moment.'

In a bid for leniency, Carlssin has reportedly offered to divulge 'historical facts' such as the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden and a cure for AIDS.

All he wants is to be allowed to return to the future in his 'time craft.'

However, he refuses to reveal the location of the machine or discuss how it works, supposedly out of fear the technology could 'fall into the wrong hands.'

The SNL skit was a parody of a Wall Street Week type panel show in which various experts talked about their secret to investing. Kevin Nealon, dressed in a silver jumpsuit, was one of the panelists, named "Future Man." When his turn came to talk about his secret to investing, he held up a line graph and pointed to it, saying that his method was simple: "buy here, sell here, buy sell buy sell buy sell."

i want to believe it could happen, though. Don't you?

Posted by annika at 08:29 PM | Comments (10)

Some Extra Thoughts On The Controversy Du Jour

While i didn't agree with everything in this article by Andrew McCarthy of NRO, i did find the following passage persuasive:

In the PVS context, we are talking about a person’s own right to life. It doesn’t matter what we, individually or collectively, would want for ourselves. What matters is what, if anything, that person subjectively wanted — even if it doesn’t track our predilections. What matters is whether that person has considered and communicated those desires in an informed and reliable way. If she has, and PVS turns out both to be an appropriate basis to end life and actually to exist in the case at hand, we should not interfere in that choice if the state has made it available through surrogate action. If she hasn’t, we should be erring on the side of life, lest we inevitably venture further down this slope into even more ethically dubious takings of life.

As I have argued here, before the state may permit the termination of life in a PVS case, the guardian should be required to establish beyond a reasonable doubt* that the stricken person is in a PVS and that the stricken person evinced, in a knowing and intelligent way, a desire to be removed from sustenance if ever in a hopeless, incapacitated state. On the latter finding, we should encourage living wills to induce a person who considers and feels strongly about this choice to make her intentions clear. In the absence of such a living will, there should be a presumption that the person wants to live. It is life, not death, that our constitution protects.

There is a good argument that this should not merely be a presumption but a conclusion. On balance, however, I think we need to make reasonable allowances here, out of respect for the individual’s self-determination, out of the desire to minimize government intrusion into painful family matters, and out of the recognition that it would be unduly haughty to think ourselves capable of fashioning an unbending rule that will do justice in all conceivable situations — because we simply can’t conceive of all the situations that might arise in this area.
[emphasis added]

i believe, as other bloggers have commented, that there should be a sort of "statute of frauds" for end of life decisions. Contract law will not enforce the sale of land, unless the contract is in writing. The reason is that the subject of the contract, i.e. the specific parcel of land, cannot be replaced if the Court gets it wrong. Obviously, the same rationale applies to a person's life.

* The correct standard, in civil cases, would be "clear and convincing evidence." Which, i understand, was the standard used by Judge Greer in the Florida Court. Whether rightly or wrongly, well, that depends on whom you ask.

Posted by annika at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

What Does It Say?

Well, this story leaves out the most important detail.

Any ideas?

Posted by annika at 03:04 PM | Comments (2)

NCAA Update

i am now dead last in Six Meat Buffet's Basketball Challenge Pool.

Dead fucking last.

Posted by annika at 09:00 AM | Comments (7)

March 27, 2005

On PCH With The Hot Tub Friends

Meanwhile out on Pacific Coast Highway...


You folks in L.A., be careful out there.

Posted by annika at 07:22 PM | Comments (1)

Useful Easter Egg Blogging

Happy Easter. Here is my quick recipe for Eggs Benedict, fashioned when i didn't have all the proper ingredients or a lot of time. But i think my substitutions make it a little better.

2 eggs
sourdough baguette
thin sliced ham or turkey sandwich meat
Knorr's hollandaise sauce
pepper jack cheese <-- the key
fresh ground pepper
Poach the eggs 4 to 5 minutes and prepare the hollandaise sauce according to the directions. Slice the baguette into inch thick slices. Toast the slices.

Spread margarine lightly on one side of the baguette slices. arrange the meat on top. Plop the egg on the meat next. Pour a few tablespoons of the hollandaise on next. Then crumble the pepper jack on top and sprinkle with roughly ground pepper.

The secret to any eggs benedict dish is simultaneity. The various ingredients cool down so fast that you have to time things right to get it all together and eat it while it's still hot. Or, you can always assemble it and hit it with the microwave before you dig in.

By the way, i tried Rachael Ray's method for perfect hard boiled eggs this morning and it worked beautifully. Cover the eggs with cold water; as soon as it starts boiling, turn the heat off; cover and wait ten minutes. That's it. Perfecto.

Posted by annika at 10:11 AM | Comments (6)

March 26, 2005

Spring Break With The Hot Tub Friends

B-list celebrities need Spring Break, too.

i recently obtained some exclusive footage of the time when three of our hot tub friends met Jessica Alba.

i Hope your Spring Break was enjoyable, too.

Posted by annika at 11:52 AM | Comments (3)

March 25, 2005

Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
Miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
Miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
Dona nobis pacem.

[traditional, Agnus Dei]

Agnus Dei

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” -–which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He's calling Elijah.”

Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him.”

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons.

[Matthew 27:45-56]

Ich bin’s, ich sollte büßen,
An Händen und an Füßen
Gebunden in der Höll'!
Die Geißeln und die Banden
Und was du ausgestanden,
Das hat verdienet meine Seel'.

[Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander), St. Matthew Passion (libretto)]

Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum
ut sibi complaceam.

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
crucifixi fige plagas
cordi meo valide.

Tui Nati vulnerati,
tam dignati pro me pati,
poenas mecum divide.

[Jacopone da Todi, Stabat Mater]

Posted by annika at 03:02 PM

Headline Trickery

ABC News continues to outrage me. They're vying for the bottom of the journalistic heap in my book, apparently jealous of CNN and CBS.

Today's misleading web headline disgusted me:

Schindlers, Kevorkian Discuss Schiavo Case
Seeing that headline on Google (without the subtitle), i immediately wondered what the hell was going on. Had Terri Schiavo's parents changed their mind about euthanasia? Nope, it was a cruel joke of some editor at ABC News, who decided to lump these two opposing points of view into the same story and then post a misleading headline for some sick reason.

Posted by annika at 07:53 AM | Comments (3)

March 24, 2005

NCAA Update 2.0

In Six Meat Buffet's "Basketball Challenge," i'm now tied for last place with Vandelay Industries. (No, not George Costanza, but Chad Evans from In The Bullpen.)

In the Bear Flag League's "Blogger March Madness Poo" (not a typo), i'm right in the middle, tied at fifth with Justene and Nick Queen.

However, you might remember that two days ago, i predicted the following:

1. Washington would lose to Louisville
2. Arizona would beat OK State
3. Texas Tech would lose to West Virginia

So why does my bracket suck?

Posted by annika at 09:21 PM | Comments (6)

Programming Advice To OW

Dawn thinks Oprah should invite a blogger on her show.

i think Oprah should invite Dawn.

Posted by annika at 01:23 PM | Comments (2)

March 23, 2005

Help Wanted

Doug TenNapel and i have been trying to find the source of the following quote, allegedly made by Thomas Jefferson.

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.
We've both searched a few Jefferson sites, but come up empty. The Jefferson Digital Archive is run by the University of Virginia (which TJ founded), so you'd think it would be comprehensive. But a search for that quote yields no results.

i maintain a Missourian's attitude towards the Virginian's quote. Unless i know where it came from, i am not willing to believe that TJ actually said it. It sounds like something someone made up and attributed to Jefferson to give the quote more weight.

Now i know there are some Jefferson scholars in my audience. What do you folks think?

Update: Wow, that was fast!

Publicola found the source, which is an 1809 letter from TJ to Maryland Republicans. The quote can be found at page 359 of volume 16 in the 20 volume set, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (ME) Memorial Edition (Lipscomb and Bergh, editors), Washington, D.C., 1903-04.

The legend of Publicola continues...

Posted by annika at 06:54 PM | Comments (6)

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Elizabeth Bishop is one of America's best loved poets. i think her work is like a watercolor painting: simple, easy, but so deceptively intricate. The closer you look, the more her genius reveals itself.

Since everybody's grumbling these days about gas prices, i thought i'd select a nostalgic poem that takes us back to the days when gas was cheap, Exxon was Esso, and full service was the rule.

Filling Station

Oh, but it is dirty!
--this little filling station,
oil-soaked, oil-permeated
to a disturbing, over-all
black translucency.
Be careful with that match!

Father wears a dirty,
oil-soaked monkey suit
that cuts him under the arms,
and several quick and saucy
and greasy sons assist him
(it's a family filling station),
all quite thoroughly dirty.

Do they live in the station?
It has a cement porch
behind the pumps, and on it
a set of crushed and grease-
impregnated wickerwork;
on the wicker sofa
a dirty dog, quite comfy.

Some comic books provide
the only note of color--
of certain color. They lie
upon a big dim doily
draping a taboret
(part of the set), beside
a big hirsute begonia.

Why the extraneous plant?
Why the taboret?
Why, oh why, the doily?
(Embroidered in daisy stitch
with marguerites, I think,
and heavy with gray crochet.)

Somebody embroidered the doily.
Somebody waters the plant,
or oils it, maybe. Somebody
arranges the rows of cans
so that they softly say:

to high-strung automobiles.
Somebody loves us all.

This being poetry Wednesday, let me also refer you to Ginger, who has something nice, and also to Jeff, who has something silly.

Posted by annika at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2005

Hollywood Hot Tub

Poor Pat O'Brien. No more partyin' for a while, you freak.

Them celebrities can get pretty wild, though. Wouldn't you like to have been at this party?

You're right, i guess not.

Posted by annika at 11:39 PM | Comments (6)

More Pollhost Censorship

Pollhost censored my poll again. i admit that the Modesto poll was lame, but come on. The only objectionable word in it was meth. It's not like i was encouraging drug use by making fun of Modesto as the meth capital of the San Joaquin Valley. i'm going to have to get used to Pollhost's new zero tolerance approach to anything that in any way might possibly cause someone to raise the slightest objection.


Okay so i got a new poll, go vote in it.

Posted by annika at 08:08 PM | Comments (4)

Useless NCAA Predictions

Not that i have any credibility left after the devastation my bracket suffered this last weekend. But i will offer you some predictions for the rest of the tournament.

Two Pac-10 teams are in the Sweet Sixteen. Arizona and Washington. Kiss 'em goodbye. No way Washington is going to beat Louisville, who polled at number four pre-tournament. And it's never a good idea to bet on Arizona. They almost always disappoint. The Wildcats may make it past OK State, but they won't beat Illinois, who are the closest thing to an NBA team in the tournament this year.

Arch rivals North Carolina and Duke have played each other 219 times, but never in the NCAA Tournament. Isn't that an incredible stat? i want to see it happen this year, and therefore i am predicting it to happen.

And Bobby Knight must not win. Must... not... win.

Okay so this post is more about wishful thinking than actual predictions based on evidence. Or actual basketball knowledge.

Plus i like Duke's uniform, so they will win the championship.

Posted by annika at 03:57 PM | Comments (9)

Dura Lex Sed Lex II

i've read Judge Whittemore's ruling on the Shiavo case. The question before him was narrow, and i am persuaded by his reasoning. Reluctantly and sadly persuaded.

Judge Whittemore was constrained by the well established law regarding the issuance of restraining orders and injunctive relief. It cannot be otherwise. Ultimately i blame the trial court for getting it wrong, but the appelate process has limited ability to question the findings of fact made by the original trial court.

"The law is hard, but it is the law."

“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is a ass—a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience—by experience.”

Posted by annika at 09:39 AM | Comments (4)

March 20, 2005

Dura Lex Sed Lex

A commenter asked whether i was going to write about the Terri Schiavo case. i haven't yet because i don't know enough about the facts, and it's such a sad story i didn't want to think about it.

But this weekend, it's been hard to ignore the story.

There are so many issues, i find my opinions whipsawing back and forth. i'd rather say i don't have an opinion, and go back to enjoying my spring break. But i do have an opinion. Several opinions, as a matter of fact, and they aren't necessarily consistent. Nor am i comfortable with them.

Firstly, as background, i am Catholic. i oppose abortion for secular as well as religious reasons. There's a huge difference between the Schiavo case and the abortion issue, despite what the idealogues on both sides say. But since i'm pro-life, it's probably not surprising that when i look at the Schiavo case, i feel a great degree of sympathy for her parents' side.

Dura lex sed lex...

But i'm also profoundly uncomfortable with the legislative branch of the Federal government stepping in to oversee the ruling of a state court. That's my libertarian sensibility talking. My belief in federalism, the separation of powers, Jeffersonian democracy, the vision of our Founders. All that rot.

In 1904, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said "Great cases, like hard cases, make bad law. For great cases are called great, not by reason of their real importance in shaping the law of the future, but because of some accident of immediate overwhelming interest which appeals to the feelings and distorts the judgment."1

This is both a "hard" case, and a "great" case. Great because the issues at stake are the most fundamental to which the law can be applied. Hard because no matter what happens, Terri Schiavo will die. So it must be for all of us. But in Terri's case, the law can influence the manner and timing of her death. And that's part of the problem.

Left to the judgment of the Florida Court, Terri Schiavo dies a lingering death of starvation sometime in the next week or so. Congress steps in (as they just did moments ago), and she may - repeat may - get to live out the rest of her life, bedridden, brain-damaged, and feeding from a tube through her stomach. Only to die from some other more "natural" cause.

Dura lex sed lex...

Who should decide how she dies, when Terri's own wishes were never recorded? Here the law is clear: her husband should. But what if her husband is an asshole, whose motivations are suspect? Should this "accident of immediate overwhelming interest" be allowed to distort the judgment that would normally keep the federal legislature from intervening in a state judicial matter just because it disagrees with the outcome of one particular high profile case?

Dura lex sed lex...

...which means: The law is hard, but it is the law. Watching the House debate tonight, i find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with many of the Democrats, as they take the floor to give impassioned speeches in support of the "rule of law." (Where were they when the issue was purjury, and no life was at stake?) Hard as the law may be, they say, should Congress change the law for the benefit of one single person? i ask myself the same question.

Dura lex sed lex...

But then i think, what law? What law indeed. Here's a law that inevitably must figure into this controversy:

nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law2
The Schiavo case is like the execution of a human being, by means of starvation, based on the testimony of one person, her husband. And that one witness' credibility is tainted because of his own monetary and extra-marital interest in the death of his wife. Under those facts, doesn't due process of law demand that a Federal Court have jurisdiction over the federal question of her right to life and liberty under the U.S. Constitution?

And then i think, there is another, even greater law, that may also apply here. One which helps guide me through my own conflicted thoughts:

Thou shalt not kill.3
Michael Schiavo might not like that particular law. The Democrats who spoke tonight might not like it either. But they might do well to remember the maxim: Dura lex sed lex.

The law is hard, but it is the law.

i am not saying that we should subordinate the civil law to the religious, like they do in Iran. i am not in favor of a theocracy. But this is a case about morality as much as it is about the rule of law. We have to be guided by moral principles as well as legal ones.

Talmudic and Christian scholars tell us that there are situations in which it may be moral to kill, or at least not immoral. This indeed may be one of those situations. All i'm saying is let's make sure. Ideally, i wish the court would order those diagnostic tests that her husband has refused to allow.

At the very minimum, i think the procedural rush to euthanize her should be slowed down. So, despite my public policy concerns about federal intervention, i do think that the uncertainty of the situation demands the same opportunity for federal review of her due process rights that a death penalty case would receive.

Update: There's an interesting discussion of the federalism issue by an expert on the subject, Ann Althouse. She quotes today's WSJ editorial, which reminds me that perhaps i should have cited the fourteenth, not the fifth amendment, supra. i have made the correction. Hey, at least my blue book cites were good.

1 Northern Securities Company v. United States, 193 U.S. 197 (1904)(Holmes, J., dissenting).

2 U.S. Const. amend. XIV § 1. Section 5 of this amendment states that "The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article." Bingo.

3 Exodus 20:13 (King James).

[cross-posted at A Western Heart]

Posted by annika at 08:18 PM | Comments (16)

NCAA Update

My bracket is fucked.

That is all.

Posted by annika at 11:48 AM | Comments (2)

Draft Day Is Coming


Just a reminder to you participants in the MLBloggers fantasy baseball league. Draft day is next Sunday, so get your pre-rankings done and saved before then. i will switch the league settings to "ready to draft" at the end of the day, say close to midnight, so you can make last minute changes to your list in between egg painting or whatever else you're doing that day.

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

March 19, 2005

Book Meme Tag Thingie

i'm honored that Candace tagged me for this Book Meme Thingie, which originated at The Pink Bee. Here we go:

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

i never read Farenheit 451 either. i read one book by Kurt Vonnegut, and i figure that should take care of any obligation i have to read Bradbury. Anyways i did a quick google search for books mentioned in F451, which led me to: Alice's Adventues in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Totally re-readable, and one of the first real books i ever read. (As opposed to books with lots of pictures.)

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Not really. i guess the closest i came would be Dean Moriarty from Kerouac's On The Road. i was more in love with the book itself, which threatened to change my life totally for about a year after i read it. That was my celebrated hippie phase. i loved the way he looked at things; he never seemed to miss the inherent coolness in any experience.

The last book you bought is:

Fiction: American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. Non-fiction: His Excellency by Joseph J. Ellis, whose historical biographies are always more about ideas than people. School related: Emanuel's Criminal Procedure.

The last book you read:

I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe. Flawed, it was. And thick as a casebook. Still, Tom Wolfe has this way of describing contemporary culture in a way that makes you feel like you're seeing it for the first time, as a visitor from outer space or the future would. There were a few vignettes that were strangely familiar, too.

What are you currently reading?

American Gods is in my school bookbag. Also, on my bedside table is the volume of Robert Frost poetry Matt sent me. And on a little table in the garage where i smoke cigarettes is The Crossley Baby, which sucks, but i'm trying to finish it. Next to the toilet is Watercolor School by Hazel Harrison.

Five books you would take to a deserted island.

1. Like Candace and Ginger, i would take the Good Book
2. The Brothers Karamazov.
3. Robinson Crusoe, which is an obvious choice isn't it? It could double as a survival manual.
4. i like Ginger's idea of Swann's Way. But i would take the whole Remembrance of Things Past set. There's no telling when i'll be rescued.
5. From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun. A history of the last five hundred years, which i started last year, but put down.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

i pick four: Matt, Paul, Weggy and Sheila, because i know i'll be fascinated by anything they say.

Posted by annika at 12:21 PM | Comments (3)

March 18, 2005

Ken's Latest NDL Column

It almost seems as though Ken Wheaton has gazed into my own soul (a la Bush & Putin) with his latest column on The Non-Dating Life. i know he was describing someone else, but this quote could just as eerily apply to yours truly:

She claims to despise 'suits' but is destined to mate with one and produced baby suits. Still, she hangs out in Lower East Side and Williamsburg bars, trolling for too-skinny, geeky musicians who never fail to disappoint because, well, they're musicians, hipster-wannabes and she, deep down inside, is only now realizing she's not exactly compatible with those people. That's not to say she has to end up with a frat boy. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. She needs someone sort of in the middle. But, for now, like a lot of us out there, she's frustrated by running into the same type of guy over and over and over again.
Go read the rest.

Posted by annika at 12:09 PM | Comments (10)

Silly Texas Bill

Currently pending in the Texas House of Representatives is H.B. No. 1476, which i've posted below, in full:

AN ACT relating to regulation of sexually suggestive performances at certain public school events.


          SECTION 1. Subchapter D, Chapter 33, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 33.088 to read as follows:


          (a) A school dance team, drill team, cheerleading team, or similar performance group may not perform in a sexually suggestive manner at an athletic or other extracurricular event or competition sponsored or approved by a school district or campus.

          (b) A school performance group that violates Subsection (a) may not perform for the remainder of the school year in which the violation occurs.

          (c) If the commissioner determines that a school district or a campus in a school district knowingly permits a sexually suggestive performance prohibited by Subsection (a) or knowingly permits a school performance group to perform in violation of Subsection (b), the commissioner shall reduce the funding the district receives under Chapter 42 by an amount the commissioner determines appropriate.

          SECTION 2. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2005.

This silly bill, introduced by Al Edwards of Houston, a Democrat (what a surprise), is currently in committee.

i'll keep an eye on it.

i don't understand why people think conservatives are prudes, when it's Democrats who want a new law for every perceived threat to morality. Remember Tipper?

Posted by annika at 08:59 AM | Comments (10)

Useless Friday Ego Trip

Once again, in lieu of actual blog content, it's time for Friday photoshopped self-promotional nonsense.

This week we examine: Annika Gyrl: The unauthorized annikabiography.


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Were this thing ever to see print, it would surely be filled from end to endpaper with the most shocking debauchery of a type that would cause Mr. Verdana to blush, Ms. Arial to shield her eyes, and both Mr. Times and Mr. New Roman to run for cover.

Posted by annika at 12:06 AM | Comments (6)

March 17, 2005

Happy St. Patrick's Day

i notice that a few bloggers have posted pictures of their favorite Irish beverage in celebration of today's holiday.

Eric posted about Caffrey's, a brew i have not yet sampled.

Preston posted about that old standby, Guinness, a brew that i am all too familiar with. And if Matt were still posting regularly, i know he'd put up a Guinness photo, too.

Here's my Irish brew of choice:


Slightly bitter, a hint of cocoa, very complex on the palate. Murphy's Stout makes Guinness taste like water by comparison.

No beverage pics at Sheila's but she's got a bevy of great St. Patrick's day posts, as i expected. i'm still eagerly awaitin' to see what the Irish Lass will post. And Happy Anniversary to Dizzy Girl Gennie and her hubbie!

Update: Ted wants a Corona. A Corona?! i won't even drink that shit on cinco de Mayo.

And the best St. Patrick's Day gift of all: bad-ass John is back! With a post on his drink of choice to boot!

Now, if we could just work on Bill at Bloviating Inanities.

Update 2: i almost missed Michele's Guinness Ice Cream recipe until just now. Don't you miss it.

Posted by annika at 10:18 AM | Comments (14)

March 16, 2005

The World's Worst Lawyer?

Robert Blake is breathing two huge sighs of relief tonight. One for being found not guilty and the other for his incredible stroke of luck months before his own trial began. Yes, when Blake was shopping around for lawyers after firing his legal team a couple of times, Mark Geragos was busy!


i have a theory why Michael Jackson fired Geragos a few months back. Winona Ryder must have called to warn him. Lucky for MJ, he's got a much better lawyer now in Thomas Mesereau.

Exhibit 1 of the evidence that Geragos is the world's worst lawyer was introduced on Larry King Live tonight. King asked a juror whether it would have made a difference if Scott had testified. The juror said that if Scott had spoken during the penalty phase, he could never have voted for execution. It seems all the jury wanted was to see some sign of emotion from the defendant.

Instead, Geragos' brilliant strategy was to yuk it up with Scott in front of the jury during the trial. i guess the theory was that an innocent man doesn't show emotion. Not even if his wife and son have been brutally murdered, by a killer who is still out there.


But hey, i'm not complaining about the verdict or the fact that Geragos was so incompetent with this particular case. What bothers me is how much the media seemed to deify Geragos during the trial. Like he was another Johnny Cochran or something. When in fact, Geragos deserves to be ranked somewhere near Marcia Clark on the list of world's worst lawyers.

As a final thought, my opinion on the death penalty has moderated quite a bit since i wrote this post almost two years ago. But the offer still stands.

Posted by annika at 06:51 PM | Comments (6)

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

The Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad (1933-1967) wrote about freedom using the imagery of erotic love. Although she died in a car accident before the Islamic Revolution, she still lived in a society where women's roles were strictly defined. Her poetry, after being banned for many years, is enjoying huge popularity these days in Iran.

Farrokhzad was a rebel who challenged cultural and political absolutism in her all-too-brief, 15-year literary career. She was a daring explorer of a public language of intimacy and transgression. The epitome of what the Islamic Republic wanted to eradicate, Farrokhzad is now the Iranian equivalent of a rock star. . . .

Her popularity is one of the many dizzying paradoxes any casual visitor encounters in Iran 25 years after the Islamic revolution. Iranian women can drive cars but cannot ride bicycles. They are on the world stage as Nobel Peace laureates, human rights activists, best-selling authors, prize-winning film directors and Oscar nominees -- yet they cannot leave the country without the written permission of their husbands. They are some of the most fashionable women in the world but must observe an obligatory dress code in Iran.

From The Washington Post

It's easy for me to imagine why Farrokhzad would appeal to the women of today's Iran. She challenged sexual mores by leaving her husband when she was twenty-one to be with her lover. What would the mullahs have done with such a poet, i wonder. Her writing is celebratory, unapolagetic, and very sexual.

I Sinned

Beside a body, tremulous and dazed
I sinned, I voluptuously sinned.
O God! How could I know what I did
in that dark retreat of silence?

In that dark retreat of silence
I looked into his mysterious eyes
my heart trembled restlessly
at the pleading in his eyes.

In that dark retreat of silence
I sat, disheveled, beside him
passion poured from his lips into mine
saved I was from the a agony of a foolish heart.

I whispered the tale of love in his ears:
I want you, 0 sweetheart of mine
I want you, 0 life-giving bosom
I want you, 0 mad lover of mine.

Passion struck a flame in his eyes
the red wine danced in the glass
in the soft bed, my body
shivered drunk on his breast.

I sinned, I voluptuously sinned
in arms hot and fiery
I sinned in his arms
iron-strong, hot, and avenging.

i am amazed at the new popularity of Farrokhzad's poetry. It's a good sign. In Reading Lolita In Tehran, Azar Nafisi writes about the oppressive ideological censorship under the mullahs after the Revolution:
Our world under the mullahs' rule was shaped by the colorless lenses of the blind censor. [Afisi notes that the chief censor, up until 1994, actually was blind.] Not just our reality but also our fiction had taken on this curious coloration in a world where the censor was the poet's rival in rearranging and reshaping reality, where we simultaneously invented ourselves and were figments of someone else's imagination.

. . .

In the course of nearly two decades, the streets have been turned into a war zone, where young women who disobey the rules are hurled into patrol cars, taken to jail, flogged, fined, forced to wash the toilets and humiliated, and as soon as they leave, they go back and do the same thing. . . . [H]ow vulnerable the Revolutionary Guards are who for over eighteen years have patrolled the streets of Tehran and have had to endure young women . . . walking, talking, showing a strand of hair just to remind them that they have not converted.

Forugh Farrokhzad is a heroine for this new generation of Iranian women, who long to be free.

Born Again

The clock flew away
The curtain went away with the wind
I had squeezed him
In the halo of fire
I wanted to speak
But, ohh!
His dense shady eyelashes
Like the fringes of a silk curtain
Flowed from the depth of darkness
Along the quiver, that deadly quivers,
Down the lost end of mine

I felt I was being freed,
I felt I was being freed,

I felt my skin burst in the expansion of love
I felt my fiery mass melt slowly,
And then it trickled
Down into the moon, the sunken, agitated dark moon

Wow. A poem about orgasm and its afterglow, yes, but it's really about revolution, isn't it?

[Technorati Tag: ]

Posted by annika at 06:59 AM | Comments (4)

March 15, 2005

Kerry Can't Figure It Out

A Kerry quote from his February 28, 2005 Distinguished American Award fête at the JFK Library:

A lot of the mainstream media were very responsible during the campaign. They tried to put out a balanced view, and they did show what they thought to be the truth in certain situations of attack. . . . But it never penetrated. And when you look at the statistics and understand that about 80 percent of America gets 100 percent of its news from television, and a great deal of that news comes from either MTV, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Jay Leno, David Letterman, you begin to see the size of the challenge. . . . And so I don't have the total answer. I just know it's something that we've really got to grapple with.
As P. J. O'Rourke pointed out, MTV, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Jay Leno and David Letterman weren't exactly hurting Kerry's campaign, yet he still came up short.

i guess what Kerry was trying to say was that he couldn't get his message out. Of course it couldn't have been the message itself. No way. Not that.

Hat tip to Roscoe.

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

An Idol Mind

Bo Bice made a believer out of me tonight. But i'm still sayin' Nadia Turner is the next American Idol.

And Constantine is way cute. He did a nice job with that Three Dog Night song. Or was that Blood, Sweat and Tears?

i feel sorry for Vonzell. She's got a great voice, but trying to do Dionne is like trying to do a Sinatra song. It's impossible to listen to without comparing it to the master.

Mikalah gave up on the competition weeks ago. i think she's as surprised as anyone that she's still there.

Anwar had an unusually bad night. Anthony and Scott did well, without standing out. Lindsey should be gone by all rights; she's totally out of her league.

Which one is Carrie and which one is Jessica? Aren't they the same person?

And Nikko is back, but not for long, i predict.

Posted by annika at 09:02 PM | Comments (4)

Yucky Stuff

Petula Clark once sang:

Don't sleep in the subway, darlin'.

Don't stand in the pouring rain.

Which seems like common-sense advice. But after stumbling across the next two links, i would have changed the lyrics to warn against two less obvious hazards of modern life, thusly:
Don't eat in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Spit that out in the dentist's drain.


Posted by annika at 01:54 PM | Comments (1)

March 14, 2005

But Then i'm A History Geek

A medieval theme restaurant wouldn't disqualify a guy out of a goodnight kiss from me.

Posted by annika at 07:41 PM | Comments (5)

March 13, 2005


Keep in mind that i know nothing about college hoops.

My final four picks are as follows:

Illinois (1)
Georgia Tech (5)
UConn (2) Kansas (3)
Duke (1)

UConn will beat cinderella Georgia Tech again for the National Championship by a score of 83 to 71.

Update: Okay okay. People think i'm crazy. i get it. Thankfully, i can change my mind all the way up 'til Thursday.

i still think the Albuquerque bracket is weak enough for Ga Tech to sneak through. They did split the two games against Wake Forest this year.

But on UConn, i just read that their freshman backup point guard got suspended for "an unspecified violation of team rules." He wasn't valuable to the team, with only 3 points and 3 assists off the bench. But these things have a way of fucking with team chemistry, and the competition in the Syracuse bracket looks to be the toughest of the tournament.

So my new scenario has UConn losing to Kansas, who then beats dark horse Florida to advance to the final four. Duke then beats Kansas in a squeaker to avenge their 2003 loss and advance to an all ACC final. Duke then beats Ga Tech by a score of 80 to 65, to win their fourth National Championship.

Posted by annika at 09:28 PM | Comments (8)


Is there anyone who can suck the fun out of NCAA basketball than Greg Gumble? Sheesh dude, it's March Madness, not a funeral. Mix in a smile.

Posted by annika at 10:01 AM | Comments (2)

March 12, 2005

Strange Resemblance?

By juxtaposing these two photographs, i intend to make no commentary except to point out an uncanny resemblance.


What's up with that?

As they say on Cops, all parties are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Posted by annika at 09:17 PM | Comments (7)

New Book

i finally finished the Tom Wolfe book. Maybe i'll give you my mixed review later. Next up, based solely on the strength of Lorie's recommendation, i'm going to read American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Posted by annika at 10:23 AM | Comments (3)

March 11, 2005

i've Signed The Letter!

i urge all bloggers and those who care about the new media to read this post by Kevin at Wizbang, regarding our right to Freedom of Speech as bloggers, and to sign the Online Coalition letter to Federal Election Commission chairman Scott E. Thomas.

Mine is the 1,531st signature.

More: Here's the Democracy Project's comprehensive summary of the threat facing us.

And liberal blogger Markos, of Daily Kos, notes that a number of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have also added their welcome voice to the cause of internet freedom. Where are the Republicans on this?

Posted by annika at 08:51 PM | Comments (5)

It's Friday, So In Lieu Of Actual Blog Content...

...i bring you photoshopped self-promotion.


Yes, this is an actual recruiting poster, rejected by the DoD.

Posted by annika at 06:25 PM | Comments (1)

Friday Poetry Extra

There's a fun poem, "The Discovery of Sex" by Debra Spencer, at today's Writer's Almanac.

Garrison Keillor also reminds us that today is Douglas Adams' birthday.

Posted by annika at 09:39 AM | Comments (3)

March 10, 2005

Afghan Warrior

How'd you like to start a blog, write two paragraphs, and get a hundred and one comments in your first forty-eight hours on the blogosphere. And not spam comments either, i'm talking very nice comments of encouragement from all over the world.

Well, go say hi to Waheed, Afghanistan's first blogger.

Hat tip to Bruce at AWH, via Chrenkoff.

Posted by annika at 07:09 PM | Comments (1)

What'd i Say???

i ask you. When i did the KISS Haiku Contest about a month ago, was i anything but respectful to KISS or their fans?

Either of them?

Sure i was a little tongue-in-cheek at times, but nothing that Gene Simmons himself wouldn't have appreciated.

So i got this comment today from some dude with sense of humor issues.

Name: Iggy
Email Address: iggy@kissrocks.com


Kiss Rules-Fuck you and your site!! BIATCH!!!

Ouch. That wit is razor sharp.

And you wonder why i drink so much.

Posted by annika at 06:57 PM | Comments (6)

Star Wars Goes To Hell

From Coming Soon.net:

George Lucas . . . says the third and final prequel [in the Star Wars series] will not likely receive the PG rating the previous five films have received.

'I don't think I would take a five- or a six-year-old to this,' says Lucas, 'It's way too strong.'

Lucas is referring to violent scenes in the film and also to Anakin Skywalker's journey to the dark side in the climax of the 30-year-old series. 'We're going to watch him make a pact with the devil,' Lucas tells the program.

He says Skywalker will be descending into Lucas' frightening vision of Hell, a mythical planet composed entirely of erupting volcanos. 'Yes...the lava at the end...it ends in hell.'

Fans of the original trilogy, like myself, might disagree.

The series went to hell when Lucas released that train wreck called Episode One.

Posted by annika at 04:12 PM | Comments (5)

i Like My Martinis Shaken, Not Stirred, Too

Bloggers as spies now?

Could the American spy community improve its intelligence activities through blogging? A captain in the U.S. Army Reserve thinks so and says as much in the March issue of Wired magazine.

Capt. Kris Alexander, a millitary intelligence officer, argues in an essay that blogs should be incorporated into the intelligence community's classified computer network , Intelink, and that the community should cultivate bloggers outside itself to gain additional insights and analysis.

. . .

'Why not tap the brainpower of the blogosphere as well?' he asks. 'The intelligence community does a terrible job of looking outside itself for information. From journalists to academics and even educated amateurs -- there are thousands of people who would be interested and willing to help.'

Ain't it enough that we got rid of Rather and Jordan?
'It seems to me,' he said, 'that the government is faced with some stark choices. They can 'get with the program' -- realize they have lost control and try to capitalize on that -- or they can pretend they still control the flow of information and enact all sorts of Draconian regulations that aren't going to work anyway.'

Stephenson admitted that working with bloggers can be challenging. 'It's a headache,' he confessed.

'You get a lot of these obsteperous guys who don't defer to hierarchy, but smart executives all over the place now are trying to figure out ways to capitalize on people like me and others,' he continued. 'It's just dumb to filter out that potential information just because the people who are offering it are not like you.'

Picture it. The blogosphere, ready and willing to save the world once again.

[cross posted at A Western Heart]

Posted by annika at 10:18 AM | Comments (1)

Useless Thought For The Day Blogging

One poppy seed is flavorless on its own.

Many poppy seeds on a bagel have a slight flavor.

Posted by annika at 09:01 AM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2005

Poker Party Details


Come and check out annika's Blogversary Poker Party on Yahoo! Poker. Everyone is invited. Sit down and play a few hands, or just stop by to say hi. No money is involved, just bragging rights.

You have to have a Yahoo! id first. Then log on to Yahoo!, go to the Games page and click on Hold 'Em Poker in the Card Games menu. Then look for me in the room called "Angel." Sorry, i fucked up. i'll be in the room called "Social Lounge 2," at table 26, and i'll be using the Yahoo! id annikagyrl.

Hope to see you there!

Update: It's pretty busy in there. Social Lounge 2 is full. We're going to Beginner Lounge 2 now.

Update 2:
Okay, it's full now too. Use this backdoor site, if you haven't given up yet. Click on Beginner Lounge 2.

Update 3: Well, that was pretty much a bust. Only Casca and Lawguy were able to get into the room before it closed. i got booted a few times, and even the backdoor was screwy. i never seen Yahoo! Games be so difficult. Oh well, sorry to everyone who tried but were unable to log on. Maybe next year.

Oh, i broke even, too.

Posted by annika at 06:52 PM | Comments (7)

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Paul suggested Raymond Carver, and i thought, great idea, everybody loves Raymond, right? i swear i've heard that name before, too. So i checked my extensive poetry library (um, shelf) and would you believe it? Not a single Ramond Carver piece in any of the various anthologies i have.

Okay, to the web. Raymond Carver is described thusly at Writer's Calendar:

American short-story writer and poet, a major force in the revitalization of the short story in the 1980s. Carver's reputation continued to grow after his death at the age of fifty.

. . .

Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, a mill town on the Columbia River in Oregon. His father, a sawmill worker, was an alcoholic. At home he used to tell him stories about his own hunting and fishing exploits, and about his grandfather, who had fought in the Civil War, for both sides.

Carver, who died in 1988, studied at Cal State Chico and Cal State Humboldt, where he got his BA. (Both are infamous party schools today.) Chico honors him with a festival every year. Carver also taught English at Syracuse, and Jay McInerney (author of the eighties classic, Bright Lights, Big City) is a former student.
Carver published his . . . first poem, 'The Brass Ring,' in Targets, which also had a poem by Charles Bukowski. During these years of working in different jobs, rising kids, and trying to write, Carver started to drink. 'Alcohol became a problem. I more or less gave up, threw in the towel, and took to full-time drinking as a serious pursuit.'
Today's poem is a drunk poem, but a good one.


Vodka chased with coffee. Each morning
I hang the sign on the door:


But no one pays attention; my friends
look at the sign and
sometimes leave little notes,
or else they call - Come out and play,
Ray - mond.

Once my son, that bastard,
slipped in and left me a colored egg
and a walking stick.
I think he drank some of my vodka.
And last week my wife dropped by
with a can of beef soup
and a carton of tears.
She drank some of my vodka, too, I think,
then left hurriedly in a strange car
with a man I'd never seen before.
They don't understand; I'm fine,
just fine where I am, for any day now
I shall be, I shall be, I shall be . . .

I intend to take all the time in this world,
consider everything, even miracles,
yet remain on guard, ever
more careful, more watchful,
against those who would sin against me,
against those who would steal vodka,
against those who would do me harm.

The end of Carver's bio is both redemptive and tragic.
On June 2, 1977 Carver stopped drinking with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. After this 'line of demarcation' his stories became increasingly more expansive. In 1982 Carver divorced Maryann. From 1979 Carver had lived with the poet Tess Gallagher (b.1943), they had met at a writers' conference in Dallas. They married in 1988. The wedding took place in Reno. Two months later, on August 2, 1988, the author died of lung cancer. . . . After writing [the] story, 'Errand,' about Chekhov's death, Carver learned that he had cancer.
The Writer's Calendar bio compares Carver's poetry and prose to Chekov, Bukowski, William Carlos Williams, Kafka, Pinter, and Richard Ford. (i'm a fan of all of those writers, with the possible exception of Ford. So, thanks for the suggestion, Paul, i'll have to check out more of Carver's stuff.)

Posted by annika at 04:40 PM | Comments (1)

Things That Are Happening


Our peach tree is in bloom. It's beautiful. i thought it was dead. Shows how much i know about trees.

Today is the two year blogversary of annika's journal. A Yahoo! Poker party celebration will be held tonight at 7:00 p.m. California time. Stop by if you can. Just say hi, or sit down and play a few hands. i will post the name of the room just before it starts. BYOB.

Today is also poetry day. Who's your favorite poet? i haven't picked a poem yet, so why not suggest someone?

Have you pushed Elton John for UN Sec Gen to your friends and co-workers yet? People are talking.

And there are still two more spots open in MLBloggers, my fantasy baseball league. Email me if you're interested.

Posted by annika at 12:35 PM | Comments (5)

New Milblog Discovery

i'm a big milblog fan. i have my favorites: Blackfive of course, and fellow Munuvians Trying to Grok (Go share Sarah's joy at her husband's safe return. i'm so happy for them.) and SlagleRock. Also some newer faves like Armor Geddon (who's an amazing diarist) and Risawn.

Now check out a new milblogger, Danjel, who's in Iraq right now. The site is appropriately named 365 and a Wakeup, which is a phrase that i believe dates back to the Vietnam War. (But you already knew that.)

i thought this bit from a February post called "The Ride North" was interesting:

Southern Iraq completely surprised me if for no other reason then the people. All along our route of march children would come running up to the vehicles waving and laughing. They were poorly dressed, and several of them alternated between waving and pointing to their mouth to ask for food. As heartwrenching as it was to ignore their request we were under strict orders not to throw food out so we responded with smiles and waves of our own. I questioned the order later and found that several children had been run over because they would run in front of a vehicle to get food. It was a far cry from what we had been briefed we would see and I resolved to do my level best to not break the trust our nation had made with the people of Iraq. I wish I could have taken a film crew with me on that leg of the trip, it would go a long way towards dispelling the skewed viewpoints that America sees on the news.
And don't miss Danjel's description of a VBIED going off, and his explanation of why checkpoints have become necessary in the first place:
There are mornings where the steady throb of traffic pulses through the streets like a metal river and others where the hum of people and commerce is torn apart by the earsplitting roar of a VBIED. These wheeled bombs exist for the sole purpose of rending equipment and shredding flesh with impunity. In their wake they leave physical scars on the survivors and mental scars on the community.

Rather then let the insurgents continue to inflict casualties whenever and wherever they want there are checkpoints scattered across Baghdad’s highways to intercept VBIEDs. In most cases these checkpoints are actually two distinct checkpoints, the first manned by the Iraqi Army and the second manned by US soldiers. The Iraqis have shown their mettle in the last few weeks and they have absorbed the bulk of the casualties when VBIEDs attempt to hit a checkpoint. But they aren’t perfect, and so the US troops manning the second checkpoint are always at the ready.

The most important thing to understand about US checkpoints is that soldiers manning them have specific ramp up procedures when they feel threatened. Soldiers don’t just blithely take aim at traffic and fill the air with lead. The procedure drilled into every soldier’s head is to meet the threat with an increasingly forceful response. As the threat escalates so too does the response.

Which brings us back to the threat of VBIEDs. The only warning of a VBIED is a vehicle attempting to rapidly close with the checkpoint – which is exactly what Giuliana Sgrena’s vehicle did. Put yourself in the boots of the soldier manning that checkpoint. You see a vehicle approaching that seems to be gaining speed as it nears. You signal the driver to stop but the car plummets on. You fire a warning shot, and then another into the engine block but the car doesn’t slow. What would you do? Don’t just give a cursory response – think about it for a moment. If you are at work imagine having your life, and the fate of all your coworkers tied to your decision. Would you gamble all those lives by giving the vehicle the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you would, but I’d be willing to bet after seeing the bloody wake of a VBIED you would have pulled the trigger too.

That's an excellent way to put the incident in perspective.

Posted by annika at 12:34 PM | Comments (2)

Some Thoughts On Nightline

Here are some thoughts that occurred to me while watching last night's Nighline special on bloggers, which was very well done, in my opinion.

One might get the impression that bloggers are all frustrated journalists. In fact, many bloggers probably think of themselves that way. Speaking only for myself however, i am most definitely not a frustrated journalist.* To me, the very word "journalist" would be an insult if i ever heard it applied to me.

Don't get me started on journalists. A journalism degree is nothing more than a four year general education degree plus a couple of courses on how to meet a deadline. The vast majority of journalists are complete idiots. Trouble is, they don't realize it.

Bloggers are modern pamphleteers. One of the bloggers in the Nightline report expressed a hope that the blogosphere might mature as time goes on. Nonsense. That's not only an impossibility, it's antithetical to the nature of the medium.

We're supposed to rant. We're supposed to shoot from the hip. The blogosphere is the essence of free speech. That Virginia politician who got upset because some liberal blogger didn't follow journalistic standards by contacting him before publication needs to get his head out of his ass. The politician wrote a stupid bill, and that particular blogger called him on it. Good for her. The politician didn't like the strong language in the emails he got, but guess what? He pulled the bill, didn't he? Welcome to Dan Rather's world.

No we're not journalists, we are activists. Unpredictable, uncontrollable anarchists. May we always be.

* Frustrated comedienne, maybe.

Posted by annika at 12:28 AM | Comments (5)

March 08, 2005

The President's Remarks At Fort Lesley J. McNair

When Tony Pierce interviewed me last month, i criticized the president for "his maddening inarticulateness" and his administration for its "horrible job of articulating the argument for war."

So today, i was pleased to hear the President's remarks to the National Defense University at Fort McNair. The speech covered subjects that the President has emphasized often, and unfortunately it's not getting the attention it deserves. It was a historic speech, and deserves to be considered among this president’s finest. i think the president explained our foreign policy today with more clarity and less defensiveness than he has ever done until now.

The theory here is straightforward: terrorists are less likely to endanger our security if they are worried about their own security. When terrorists spend their days struggling to avoid death or capture, they are less capable of arming and training to commit new attacks. We will keep the terrorists on the run, until they have nowhere left to hide.
That’s the short term strategy, and its efficacy should be obvious by now.

During the presidential campaign season, i often tried to point out that Bush had the only long term strategy for keeping America safe. Kerry wanted to hunt down Osama, but it was clear to me that eliminating one man was not going to prevent future attacks. Only changing the Middle East could do that. Bush made that point beautifully today.

Our strategy to keep the peace in the longer term is to help change the conditions that give rise to extremism and terror, especially in the broader Middle East. Parts of that region have been caught for generations in a cycle of tyranny and despair and radicalism. When a dictatorship controls the political life of a country, responsible opposition cannot develop, and dissent is driven underground and toward the extreme. And to draw attention away from their social and economic failures, dictators place blame on other countries and other races, and stir the hatred that leads to violence. This status quo of despotism and anger cannot be ignored or appeased, kept in a box or bought off, because we have witnessed how the violence in that region can reach easily across borders and oceans. The entire world has an urgent interest in the progress, and hope, and freedom in the broader Middle East.

. . . By now it should be clear that authoritarian rule is not the wave of the future; it is the last gasp of a discredited past. It should be clear that free nations escape stagnation, and grow stronger with time, because they encourage the creativity and enterprise of their people. It should be clear that economic progress requires political modernization, including honest representative government and the rule of law.

. . .

Across the Middle East, a critical mass of events is taking that region in a hopeful new direction. Historic changes have many causes, yet these changes have one factor in common. A businessman in Beirut recently said, ‘We have removed the mask of fear. We're not afraid anymore.’ Pervasive fear is the foundation of every dictatorial regime -- the prop that holds up all power not based on consent. And when the regime of fear is broken, and the people find their courage and find their voice, democracy is their goal, and tyrants, themselves, have reason to fear.

During my interview, i also tried to explain an often overlooked aspect of Bush’s foreign policy. i said: “For years, the US was criticized for propping up dictators to further our own national interest, especially in Central and South America. And these dictators were bad men, but they were our bad men. . . . Now the US is not propping up friendly dictators [anymore]; instead we try to bring friendly democracies to the places we need them. i think that's a step in the right direction. As long as we're messing in other people's business, it's better that we're no longer putting in dictators”

Here’s how President Bush acknowledged that very important, and welcome, shift in our foreign policy:

The advance of hope in the Middle East also requires new thinking in the capitals of great democracies -- including Washington, D.C. By now it should be clear that decades of excusing and accommodating tyranny, in the pursuit of stability, have only led to injustice and instability and tragedy. It should be clear that the advance of democracy leads to peace, because governments that respect the rights of their people also respect the rights of their neighbors. It should be clear that the best antidote to radicalism and terror is the tolerance and hope kindled in free societies. And our duty is now clear: For the sake of our long-term security, all free nations must stand with the forces of democracy and justice that have begun to transform the Middle East.
The Bush administration’s abandonment of Cold War style foreign affairs -- where any sonofabitch was okay as long as he was our sonofabitch -- is something that should have endeared the left to President Bush, if not for their own blind hatred of anything Republican. But no matter. Our president is committed to the spread of friendly democracies rather than simply installing friendly dictatorships (which were historically easier to create) because it is the right thing to do, not because it will win him any popularity contests. Here, the president reminded his audience that staying on this difficult and urgent task will not always be easy.
Encouraging democracy in that region is a generational commitment. It's also a difficult commitment, demanding patience and resolve -- when the headlines are good and when the headlines aren't so good. Freedom has determined enemies, who show no mercy for the innocent, and no respect for the rules of warfare. Many societies in the region struggle with poverty and illiteracy, many rulers in the region have longstanding habits of control; many people in the region have deeply ingrained habits of fear.
He might have added that the enemies of freedom are not limited to certain “rulers in the region.” i can think of quite a few naysayers in Europe and right here at home who suffer from “deeply ingrained habits of fear,” which prevent them from seeing the truly revolutionary nature of President Bush’s foreign policy.
We know that freedom, by definition, must be chosen, and that the democratic institutions of other nations will not look like our own. Yet we also know that our security increasingly depends on the hope and progress of other nations now simmering in despair and resentment. And that hope and progress is found only in the advance of freedom.

This advance is a consistent theme of American strategy -- from the Fourteen Points, to the Four Freedoms, to the Marshall Plan, to the Reagan Doctrine. Yet the success of this approach does not depend on grand strategy alone. We are confident that the desire for freedom, even when repressed for generations, is present in every human heart. And that desire can emerge with sudden power to change the course of history.

. . . Those who place their hope in freedom may be attacked and challenged, but they will not ultimately be disappointed, because freedom is the design of humanity and freedom is the direction of history.

Lofty words, but i think the perspective of history will see them backed up by concrete results.

Posted by annika at 10:26 PM | Comments (4)

Fourteen Minutes To Go!

Yesterday they mentioned my idea on MSNBC, and now today they're talking about me on Fox News! Click on the picture to see the clip.


Fame! i wanna live forever!

Remember the annika's Blogversary Poker Party is Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. California time.

remember... remember... remember...

Posted by annika at 08:01 AM | Comments (4)

March 07, 2005

Jeff Jarvis Mentions My Elton John Idea On MSNBC

This is big.

i thought he was joking when James Ozark, who runs A Western Heart, alerted me to the fact that Jeff Jarvis had mentioned my Elton John for U.N. Secretary General idea on tv today.

But it's true! Here's the Quicktime video to prove it.

i'm so jazzed, i'm gonna have that .mpg file bronzed and hang it on the fucking wall!

i told you my idea would catch on like wildfire. Dinitellyou? i sure did! And you know why? Because it's a great idea, that's why. Singers and international politics go together like liver and onions.

Check it out. Now they want Bono for president of the World Bank, and Bush just named Michael Bolton as Ambassador to the U.N.

Ha ha, and i started the whole ball rolling! Me, me, me, me, me!

Tip of the hat to Jackson's Junction.

Posted by annika at 08:40 PM | Comments (6)

Lefty Comes Out?

Say it ain't so Phil?!

Please tell me that was photoshopped...

p.s. i know there's a "skins" joke in there somewhere...

Posted by annika at 01:51 PM | Comments (3)

Huh? Moments From This Morning's Interview With The Chimp Lady

LaDonna Davis: "...and then he chomped off my thumb..."

Charlie Gibson: "...you knew right away he was attacking..."

Me: "...Duuuh..."

LaDonna Davis: "...we tried to reason with them..."

Me: "...Duuuh..."

LaDonna Davis: "...I don't know where his thoughts were coming from..."

Me: "...Duuuh..."

LaDonna Davis: "...Everybody's an individual, you have to look for the good. Every being, every animal's an individual..."

Me: "...it's a fucking chimp, dude..."

Posted by annika at 07:41 AM | Comments (7)

March 06, 2005

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Haven't seen that much tongue on tv since Huell Howser went to Canter's on Fairfax.

Posted by annika at 10:58 PM | Comments (7)

Major League Bloggers

MLB.gifi've started a fantasy baseball league for bloggers on Yahoo! The League is called MLBloggers (Major League Bloggers, get it?).

It's a rotisserie league with a non-live draft. Rotisserie is cool because it's less time consuming than head-to-head leagues. You can tinker with your line-up as much or as little as you want.

So far ten bloggers have signed up:

Dawn Summers' of Clareified has the East Coco Beach Metropolitans;

Victor the Rat-Boy of Publius and Company has the Rats of Chaos;

Ted of Rocket Jones has the Rockets;

Paul of Sanity's Edge has the Sanity's Edge... ers;

Matt of Irreverent Probity has the Biloxi Turds (eeew);

Greg of The End Zone has Hank's Homey's, and explains the name thusly;

Zombyboy of Resurrection Song has the Zombyesque Zombies;

The Maximum Leader of Nakedvillainy has the Bashers;

Physics Geek of Physics Geek has the Physics Geeks;

And then there's my own annika's A's.

There's room for two more bloggers in the league. If you wanna join Major League Bloggers just shoot me an email and i'll send you the password. You have to have a Yahoo! id to sign up.

Fantasy baseball is a grat way to follow the season, and it's fun to get interested in different players that you wouldn't normally care about if they're not on your hometown team.

Oh, and as an added inducement, i'll award a championship stein from cafepress to the winner at the end of the season. As if bragging rights weren't enough!

On a related note, don't forget this Wednesday is the annie's journal blogversary poker party. Details will be posted later on.

Posted by annika at 09:06 PM | Comments (3)

Softcore Robotica

Pollhost censored me.

If you click on "My most controversial poll ever: Which two androids should be fucking?" you will find that they shut me down without even a warning. Those bastards.

But i'm not deterred by the new decency standards. As a proud blogger, if i want to write about robots fucking, i will insist on my first amendment right to use the f-word.

Anyways, the excitement of my "most controversial poll ever" died down pretty quickly after the result became a forgone conclusion. Last i checked, i looked like about 70% of voters wanted to see Star Trek Voyager's Borg chick, 7 of 9, get together with the Daryl Hannah replicant from Blade Runner.

Not a bad choice you pervs, but if you ask me, the obvious choice should have been Inspector Gadget and the late Optimus Prime. Two transformers? Come on people. Think of the all mechanical/sexual permutations that would have been possible.

At any rate. i aim to please, so here's your robotic fantasy come to life:


As for me, if i could get it on with the android of my choice, it would have to be this hottie, no contest.

Posted by annika at 11:50 AM | Comments (8)


Always pushing the envelope of efficiency.

Posted by annika at 12:33 AM | Comments (2)

March 04, 2005

Free Martha

i was one of those who thought that Martha got railroaded. But still, i am sad to see her get out of prison for the sole reason that Jeff's hilarious series of blog posts must now come to an end.

And, he's a Prufrock fan!

Posted by annika at 10:20 AM | Comments (4)

March 03, 2005

Damn Dirty Apes...

Isn't this how the Planet of the Apes began?

Two people were seriously injured and two chimpanzees were shot dead today in Kern County after several chimps broke from their cages at an animal sanctuary and attacked workers.

. . .

Animal Haven employees shot and killed two of the escaped chimpanzees, but two other chimps remain on the loose. Officials say it is unclear how the animals escaped from their cages.


Those chimps could be anywhere by now. Especially if they hijack a car. Be careful out there, and don't trust them treacherous chimps. Frank J. is right. They'll kill you, first chance they get.

Update: We can all breathe easier, the fugitive simians have been recaptured.

Those apes are animals. Literally.

KGET-TV of Bakersfield said the man and woman were at the Animal Haven Ranch to celebrate the birthday of Moe, which was not involved in today's attack.

After the couple arrived with a cake, two other chimpanzees - named Buddy and Ollie - went for the visitors.

Dr Maureen Martin, of Kern Medical Centre, said the apes had chewed most of the man's face off and that he would require extensive surgery in an attempt to reattach his nose.

LaDonna Davis suffered a bite wound to the hand.

Buddy and Ollie were shot and killed. Two other chimps which had also escaped were recaptured - one was cornered three kilometres from the sanctuary, 137kms north of downtown Los Angeles.

Well they were asking for it. Who the fuck gives a cake to a chimp? Everyone knows their diet consists of bananas. Well, that and PEOPLE'S FACES! apparently.

Update: i hadn't heard about the dude's nuts getting eaten, until OC Chuck and Papertiger's comments. Ouch. Since both of the above links seem to be broken, here's the ABC News story.

Posted by annika at 11:30 PM | Comments (8)

Useless Apprentice Blogging


In the end those of us that walk away winning win more than just a loss.

You just lost babe. That made no sense whatsoever.

Posted by annika at 10:05 PM | Comments (3)

Welcome To The Jungle, Randy!

Okay Randy Moss is a punk, but he's a silver and black punk now, so that makes him okay in my book. And he's an awesome receiver, the real deal. Hopefully Davis won't decide to bench him like he did with some other stars i can name: Allen, Brown, Rice.


There are always guys who have that certain something that makes you know they will end up as Raiders someday. Kevin Greene had the hair. Sapp and Romo had the 'tude. Rice had the Bay Area love. And Moss has the bad-ass. When he faked dropping trou at Green Bay last year i said to myself, that guy belongs in Oakland.

Welcome Randy. The black hole is gonna love you!

Posted by annika at 11:31 AM | Comments (5)


Jake is the annika's journal Man of the Year!

Congratulations, Jake on this great honor!

: )

Posted by annika at 07:49 AM | Comments (7)

March 02, 2005

Bubba Is Dead

Bubba, the giant lobster, is dead.

Update: At 24 lbs., they could feed 32 mourners using this recipe. They should try it at Bubba's after-funeral pot luck.

Posted by annika at 11:16 PM | Comments (4)

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

The Roman poet Ovidius, who was Jesus' contemporary, knew a little bit about the ladies. As a public service for my male visitors, whether single and looking or happily married, i have selected the following excerpt from Ovid's The Art of Love. Ovid's poetry is always fun, despite the fact that he was a lawyer. It's amazing how timeless his advice can be.

Book I Part XIV

Don’t delight in curling your hair with tongs,
don’t smooth your legs with sharp pumice stone.
Leave that to those who celebrate Cybele the Mother,
howling wildly in the Phrygian manner.
Male beauty’s better for neglect: Theseus
carried off Ariadne, without a single pin in his hair.
Phaedra loved Hippolytus: he was unsophisticated:
Adonis was dear to the goddess, and fit for the woods.
Neatness pleases, a body tanned from exercise:
a well fitting and spotless toga’s good:
no stiff shoe-thongs, your buckles free of rust,
no sloppy feet for you, swimming in loose hide:
don’t mar your neat hair with an evil haircut:
let an expert hand trim your head and beard.
And no long nails, and make sure they’re dirt-free:
and no hairs please, sprouting from your nostrils.
No bad breath exhaled from unwholesome mouth:
don’t offend the nose like a herdsman or his flock.
Leave the rest for impudent women to do,
or whoever’s the sort of man who needs a man.

Translation by A. S. Kline, 2001.

In other words, don't stink, brush your teeth once in a while, keep yourself clean, but not too neat. Some muscles and a nice tan are always a plus. Chicks still dig a manly man, so please don't shave your legs and it's time to stop getting free haircuts from mom. Spend the money on a good stylist, but don't overdo it. You don't wanna look like a chick, and you definitely don't wanna look gay.

A lumberjack style plaid toga might have been a good choice when cruising the forum for babes, i would imagine.

Posted by annika at 10:40 PM | Comments (8)

MoveOn.org's Losing Streak

Rolling Stone has a good article regarding the ineffectiveness of those arrogant jerks at MoveOn.org. Here are the highlights:

They signed up 500,000 supporters with an Internet petition -- but Bill Clinton still got impeached. They organized 6,000 candlelight vigils worldwide -- but the U.S. still invaded Iraq. They raised $60 million from 500,000 donors to air countless ads and get out the vote in the battle-ground states -- but George Bush still whupped John Kerry. A gambler with a string of bets this bad might call it a night. But MoveOn.org just keeps doubling down.

. . .

Moveon is guided by a tiny, tightknit group of leaders. There are only ten of them, still deeply committed to the Internet start-up ethos of working out of their homes and apartments in better-dead-than-red bastions such as Berkeley, California, Manhattan and Washington, D.C. For a political organization that likes to rail against 'the consulting class of professional election losers,' MoveOn seems remarkably unconcerned about its own win-loss record. Talk to the group's leadership and you won't hear much about the agony of defeat.

. . .

But some insiders worry that putting left-wing idealists in charge of speaking to the center seems about as likely to work as chewing gum with your feet. 'There's a built-in tension between the views of people who are part of MoveOn and contribute to it, and the people they're trying to reach,' says Ed Kilgore of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council.

. . .

If speaking to the center was MoveOn's goal, 'they failed miserably,' says Greg Strimple, a media consultant who advised the Senate campaigns of three GOP moderates. 'None of their ads had an impact on the center electorate that needed to be swung.' If the group's leadership saw anything broken with its advertising during the campaign, though, it shows no signs of fixing it. In a rush to get its new Social Security ad on the air, MoveOn didn't even test it.

The ad, which depicts senior citizens performing manual labor, was not only paid for by MoveOn members but was also created by them. This kind of closed feedback loop is indicative of a larger problem: the group's almost hermetic left-wing insularity. 'We don't get around much,' acknowledges Boyd. 'We tend to all stay in front of our keyboards and do the work.'

. . .

So who is MoveOn? Consider this: Howard Dean finished first in the MoveOn primary. Number Two wasn't John Kerry or John Edwards -- it was Dennis Kucinich. Listing the issues that resonate most with their membership, Boyd and Blades cite the environment, the Iraq War, campaign-finance reform, media reform, voting reform and corporate reform. Somewhere after freedom, opportunity and responsibility comes 'the overlay of security concerns that everybody shares.' Terrorism as a specific concern is notably absent. As are jobs. As is health care. As is education.

There's nothing inherently good or bad in any of this. It's just that MoveOn's values aren't middle-American values. They're the values of an educated, steadily employed middle and upper-middle class with time to dedicate to politics -- and disposable income to leverage when they're agitated. That's fine, as long as the group sticks to mobilizing fellow travelers on the left. But the risks are greater when it presumes to speak for the entire party.
[emphasis added]

Far-left voices like MoveOn, in my opinion, will continue to influence the party until what will become known by Democrats as "the disastrous midterms of 2006." Then, hopefully some sanity will return to the party of FDR, and they'll kick these freakos to the curb.

Or not.

Update: Brittany weighs in with her own opinion of Rolling Stone:

I think the same guy who does Rolling Stone does Us Weekly. He's this big old fat man.

Posted by annika at 12:56 PM | Comments (8)

Poker Party?

Next Wednesday is my two year blogversary! i never thought i'd make it past one year, but here i am. i'd like to celebrate with a party for you all as my way of saying thanks. It don't matter if you're a new or old visitor, or even if you've never left a comment before. Everyone is invited. Once in the distant past, i held a Yahoo! pool party that was really fun, although only sparsely attended because i didn't give much notice. Now with the popularity of online poker, i'm considering the idea of an annika-versary poker party on Yahoo! Either that or pool. The advantage to a poker party is that everyone can participate at the same time, instead of one-on-one competition while everybody else chats. Of course, no money changes hands in Yahoo! poker, but that's okay, since i suck at poker anyways. It's all about the bragging rights, and the chance to socialize in cyberspace with my blog pals. And of course, since the money isn't real, drinking a large quantity of alcohol while playing shouldn't be a problem. Let me know what you think.

Update: Poker it is.

Posted by annika at 01:16 AM | Comments (10)

March 01, 2005

Sheets Bird Addresses The Fubar Convention

The challenge: create a photoshop image that is even more freakin' disturbing than yesterday's Ward Churchil image.

Mission accomplished? i'll let you be the judge.


That's pretty ugly, but not as ugly as what he said on the floor of the Senate today, when he equated Senate Republicans with Hitler. Radio Blogger has the details.

Bird has completely lost his senses. How ironic for a Klansman to be lecturing on Nazism. At least he knows his subject.

By the way, i fully support this idea. If it's good enough for our stamps and money, it's good enough for West Virginia.

Posted by annika at 09:47 PM | Comments (3)

You Never Saw Frankenstein Depressed Did You?

A procedure that involves drilling two holes into a person's skull and then implanting electrodes in the brain has shown promise in treating individuals who are severely depressed and resistant to other types of treatment.
This study was done in Toronto, Ontario, which puzzles me, since i keep hearing about what a utopian workers' paradise Canada is. How can anybody possibly be depressed there? Maybe it's all those newly arrived depressed American Democrats.

Posted by annika at 01:42 PM | Comments (2)

Full Meltdown

Ward Churchill is in full meltdown mode. Last Thursday, he swatted a newspaper at a Denver tv reporter, when the reporter tried to ask about the "Winter Attack" painting. Churchill wants to get fired. Like the Pearcy couple here in Sacramento, he thrives on his own controversy. He lives for it.


The University may oblige him.

Internal discussions at Colorado University are centering on a buyout offer to controversial professor Ward Churchill in order to quell the tempest caused by his characterizations of victims of Sept. 11, 2001, as 'little Eichmans' and to avoid a costly, drawn-out lawsuit, the Denver Post reports.

. . .

Colorado regents have authorized an internal review of Churchill's writings and speeches to determine if he should be fired. A decision is scheduled for the week of March 7, although Churchill could appeal if the university terminates his employment. Such a dismissal, even if not mired in the controversy surrounding Churchill's case, could last years and inpose [sic] expensive legal costs.

What's the pool on his last day at CU?

Posted by annika at 01:03 AM | Comments (17)