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

April 27, 2005

Wednesday Is Poetry Day: Amichai

The Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai (1924 - 2000) is the most widely translated Hebrew poet since King David. He was born in Würzburg, Germany and emigrated to Jerusalem in the thirties. He enlisted in the British Army and later fought as a commando in the Negev Desert during the 1948 War of Independence.

New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier described Amichai's work this way: "Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Yehuda Amichai is his composure. From a life cluttered with ancient torments, with the collective memory of his people's pains and the personal recollection of his own, he calmly extracts the essences, and leaves the rest for laughter. These are elementary poems by an elementary man."

This one, i love:

A Man In His Life

A man doesn't have time in his life
to have time for everything.
He doesn't have seasons enough to have
a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes
Was wrong about that.

A man needs to love and to hate at the same moment,
to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
with the same hands to throw stones and to gather them,
to make love in war and war in love.
And to hate and forgive and remember and forget,
to arrange and confuse, to eat and to digest
what history
takes years and years to do.

A man doesn't have time.
When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves
he begins to forget.

And his soul is seasoned, his soul
is very professional.
Only his body remains forever
an amateur. It tries and it misses,
gets muddled, doesn't learn a thing,
drunk and blind in its pleasures
and its pains.

He will die as figs die in autumn,
Shriveled and full of himself and sweet,
the leaves growing dry on the ground,
the bare branches pointing to the place
where there's time for everything.

Posted by annika at 12:11 AM | Comments (8)

April 25, 2005

Educational Humor

Teaching Math in 1950: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math in 1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching Math in 1970: A logger exchanges a set "L" of lumber for a set "M" of money. The cardinality of set "M" is 100. Each element is worth one dollar. Make 100 dots representing the elements of set "M." Set "C," the cost of production, contains 20 fewer points than set "M." Represent set "C" as a subset of set "M" and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set "P" of profits?

Teaching Math in 1980: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

Teaching Math in 1990: By cutting down beautiful forest trees, the logger makes $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down the trees? There are no wrong answers.

Teaching Math in 2000: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $120. How does Arthur Andersen determine that his profit is $60?

[Hard Law Firms, Soft Law Schools, 83 N.C. L. Rev. 667, fn. 12]

Posted by annika at 12:29 PM | Comments (8)


Happy ANZAC Day to all my visitors from Australia and New Zealand! ANZAC stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corps, the colonial force that was sent to support the empire during WWI, most notably at the infamous battle of Gallipoli. The holiday mirrors our own Memorial Day.

Good Hope

James at A Western Heart posts about his great grandfather, a gunnery officer on H.M.S. Good Hope, the British flagship that went down on 1 November 1914 at the battle of Coronel. The opposing German force contained the original S.M.S. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau (not their more famous WWII namesakes). Scharnhorst hit Good Hope with her third salvo, and the older ship's magazine exploded twenty minutes later. All hands were lost.

A summary of Coronel is here.

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

The Contender

If you're too lazy to watch an entire boxing match, The Contender is the show for you, because they edit out all the clinches and just show the punching. If you're still too lazy, you can just go to Stop The Bleating, and read the recap.

Posted by annika at 06:50 AM | Comments (3)

April 24, 2005

More Journalistic Integrity

From the trustworthy old BBC.

Posted by annika at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)

Et Tu Ignoramus

Apparently, journalism schools are now teaching their students that when they don't know something, just make shit up.

Listening to KCRA Channel 3's morning newscast in Sacramento, i was appalled to hear the news bimbo say that the Pope was given his "ring and woman's shawl" at this morning's installment ceremony.

It's called a stole, you idiot! Not common knowledge certainly, but a few seconds of research would have helped you avoid sounding like a complete ass.

"Woman's shawl?" Why not just say "shawl" if you didn't know what it was? If you're gonna make shit up, why not just say they gave him a ceremonial cigar too? Or that they passed around the ceremonial beer at mass?

i tell ya. It's near impossible to watch the news anymore.

Update: Okay, maybe i mis-heard it. She might have said "woolen" shawl. But still. How about a little enunciation?

Update 2: A little more than a few seconds of research revealed that i was wrong too. The stole is more properly called a Pallium, and Benedict spoke about its significance in this morning's homily.

The first symbol is the Pallium, woven in pure wool, which will be placed on my shoulders. This ancient sign, which the Bishops of Rome have worn since the fourth century, may be considered an image of the yoke of Christ, which the Bishop of this City, the Servant of the Servants of God, takes upon his shoulders. Gods yoke is Gods will, which we accept. And this will does not weigh down on us, oppressing us and taking away our freedom. To know what God wants, to know where the path of life is found this was Israel's joy, this was her great privilege. It is also our joy: Gods will does not alienate us, it purifies us even if this can be painful and so it leads us to ourselves. In this way, we serve not only him, but the salvation of the whole world, of all history.

The symbolism of the Pallium is even more concrete: the lambs wool is meant to represent the lost, sick or weak sheep which the shepherd places on his shoulders and carries to the waters of life. For the Fathers of the Church, the parable of the lost sheep, which the shepherd seeks in the desert, was an image of the mystery of Christ and the Church. The human race every one of us is the sheep lost in the desert which no longer knows the way. The Son of God will not let this happen; he cannot abandon humanity in so wretched a condition. He leaps to his feet and abandons the glory of heaven, in order to go in search of the sheep and pursue it, all the way to the Cross. He takes it upon his shoulders and carries our humanity; he carries us all he is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. What the Pallium indicates first and foremost is that we are all carried by Christ. But at the same time it invites us to carry one another. Hence the Pallium becomes a symbol of the shepherds mission, of which the Second Reading and the Gospel speak.

. . .

One of the basic characteristics of a shepherd must be to love the people entrusted to him, even as he loves Christ whom he serves. 'Feed my sheep,' says Christ to Peter, and now, at this moment, he says it to me as well. Feeding means loving, and loving also means being ready to suffer. Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good, the nourishment of Gods truth, of Gods word, the nourishment of his presence, which he gives us in the Blessed Sacrament. My dear friends at this moment I can only say: pray for me, that I may learn to love the Lord more and more. Pray for me, that I may learn to love his flock more and more in other words, you, the holy Church, each one of you and all of you together. Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves. Let us pray for one another, that the Lord will carry us and that we will learn to carry one another.

i was pleased to read the following passage from Benedict's homily, which was pertinent to a post i wrote Friday regarding inter-faith relations:
I greet with great joy and gratitude all of you gathered here. . . . With great affection I also greet all those who have been reborn in the sacrament of Baptism but are not yet in full communion with us; and you, my brothers and sisters of the Jewish people, to whom we are joined by a great shared spiritual heritage, one rooted in God's irrevocable promises. Finally, like a wave gathering force, my thoughts go out to all men and women of today, to believers and nonbelievers alike.

Posted by annika at 09:50 AM | Comments (3)

April 23, 2005

Doug TenNapel Analogizes

Doug TenNapel analogizes a recent VDH column about the War on Terror with the current Senate filibuster fight.

Check it out. i think it's pretty brilliant.

And was that Doug's voice i heard on Friday's Hugh Hewitt show? If so, Doug, why didn't you use that opportunity to plug my blog? i thought we were friends.

Note to anyone calling any talk radio show in the future: plug my blog!

More: Re: the filibuster fight, i think the best pithy argument i've heard to date came from Zell Miller last night on Hannity and Colmes. i can't remember his exact words, so i'll re-state the argument in my own.

Question: How many votes does it take to confirm a judicial nominee in the Senate? Answer fifty-one.

Question: How many votes does it take to defeat a judicial nominee in the Senate? Answer forty-one.

Does that make any sense at all?

If you ask me, the filibuster rule is stupid and should be done away with in toto.

Posted by annika at 12:00 PM | Comments (28)

Fight Me, Punks


is a Collosal Bee that has a Single Giant Eye, and is Sensitive to Noise, Blind and Susceptible to Electrical Damage.

Strength: 9 Agility: 1 Intelligence: 7

To see if your Giant Battle Monster can
defeat annika, enter your name and choose an attack:

fights annika using

Via Naked Villainy.

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

April 22, 2005

So Much For The Anti-Ecumenical Criticism

In one of his first official acts as pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI will meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury. What surprised me is that such an invitation has never before happened, according to the Times of London.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will meet Pope Benedict XVI for the first time on Monday.

Anglican insiders said it was "highly significant" that the Pope should choose to meet the honorary head of the Anglican communion in the very first hours of his official pontificate.

The papal audience in the Vatican follows his attendance at tomorrow’s inaugural mass at St Peter’s, when Dr Williams will become the first serving Archbishop of Canterbury to attend a papal inauguration since the Reformation. On Sunday evening Dr Williams will preach at the Anglican church of All Saints in Rome.

After a chilly period for Anglicanism under the last Pope because of the ordination of women priests, Benedict XVI appears eager to usher in a new era of closeness between the two communions.
[emphasis added]

That's a good thing.

More myths busted: The anti-semitic slur against the new pope is bogus:

Rabbi Di Segni quoted a letter from the pope, who said he had "trust in the help of the Almighty", in which he pledged to continue and intensify contacts with Jews begun by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

'I trust in the help of the Almighty to continue and strengthen the dialogue and collaboration with the sons and daughters of the Jewish people,' the pope said in the message, dated yesterday.

Jewish leaders in Israel and beyond have saluted the election of Benedict, saying he was a friend of the Jewish people and calling on him to continue the fight against anti-Semitism.

Muslims are supportive, too.
The new pope's conservative outlook, which has caused controversy in the Western world, appears not to overly concern religious leaders in the Middle East.

Jordan's King Abdullah II, a direct descendant of Islam's prophet, Mohammed, voiced his trust in the new pope's 'wisdom and courage to go forward and continue his predecessor's mission with strength and faith to bring about world peace and reinforce respect between religions.'

And you won't hear Chris Matthew or those of his ilk mention the following tidbit either:
The Italian daily La Repubblica, meanwhile, reported that the documents Benedict had been working on before being elected pope included one allowing divorced couples who remarry to receive Communion.
Which goes to show you, the unfair criticism of Benedict XVI, by leftists who had never heard of him before this week, is driven by the same thing that drives most leftist thought on any subject: an irrational fear and hatred of Christianity.

Posted by annika at 10:49 AM | Comments (5)

April 21, 2005

Apprentice Live Blogging

Got a late start. Missed the project assignments.

9:10 - Hey Net Worth, if the cell phone don't work, pick up a land line. That's a no brainer.

9:15 - Net Worth is making a tabouret. Magna a lazy susan.

9:25 - i'm waiting for Craig to throw a tape dispenser at Kendra. That would be funny.

9:28 - On second thought, that's not a tabouret, it's a credenza.

9:29 - Craig's doin' a verbal smackdown on Kendra. If they lose, Tana is golden in the boardroom. But Kendra has immunity, interesting. Craig has totally missed that key dynamic, which could be his undoing.

9:31 - No, i changed my mind again. Since it has wheels, it's a tabouret. It looks expensive too.

9:33 - Net Worth lost. Back to the ivory tower, boys.

9:35 - Haha, the Staples "Desk Apprentice" is actually for sale. i think it's stupid. Too big for most desks, plus you need to keep the area around it clear so it will spin, thus it takes up even more space.

9:39 - The rainbow room looks suweet. i just heard the male half of the tv audience let out an audible sigh of disappointment when Carolyn revealed she was married.

9:42 - It's traditional at my place to say "Trump" in unison when the boss walks into the boardroom.

9:43 - Can lawyers be creative? Sad to say, in my experience, mostly no.

9:45 - Alex, you're a loser, face it.

9:48 - i love that Jetta commercial where the dude's on a job interview and his car radio comes on accidentally and it's way too loud.

9:50 - Alex is the "hungriest person here." Should have had lunch before he went in. Brin has trouble "taking risks." Might have wanted to keep that to himself. Trump just smelled blood.

9:52 - "Branson went after me, I killed 'im. Cuban went after me, I killed 'im." Whoaaa. Nice trash talkin' Don. What about Martha, i wonder?

9:53 - It's Bren. He didn't want it. i just watched him commit boardroom hari-kari. Talkin' about how he'd rather be home with his kids. i can respect that. Oh well. Another bow-tie bites the dust.

9:59 - In the cab, did i hear Brin clicking his heels together three times?

Posted by annika at 09:30 PM | Comments (7)

Question For Victor:

How is it that Ryan Seacrest got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Joe Don Baker hasn't yet?

Posted by annika at 08:26 PM | Comments (6)

Fantasy Baseball Update

Here we are, almost three weeks into a new season, and i've been stuck at the bottom of my own ten team league for most of the time. However, after a few key roster moves, one promising trade, and some brilliant free agent acquisitions, i've been able to pull my team up by its bootstraps to fourth place.

i'm behind Paul and Dawn (neither of whom have made a single trade or free agent pick - that's good drafting) and Matt.

My offensive starters as of today are:

Catcher: Victor Martínez, Cleveland, slumping right now, but i hope he can regain his 2004 form soon.

First base: Paul Konerko, Chicago Sox, currently leading the majors with seven home runs.

Second base: Clint Barmes, Colorado, averaging .652 with 8 RBI and an on base percentage of .714 in the last week! He's currently second in the majors in both batting average and on base percentage, behind...

Third base: Edgardo Alfonzo, San Francisco, that's right, i have the number one and number two major league batting average and OBP leaders on my team. They're fucking keeping me afloat. And you know what the funny thing is, i picked up both of them after the draft as free agents. i should be a talent scout.

Shortstop: Pedro Feliz, San Francisco, tied for fourth and eleventh in runs scored and RBI, respectively.

Outfield: Jim Edmonds, St. Louis, love this guy, he's been on my fantasy team every year.

Outfield: Matt Lawton, Pittsburgh, perrenial underachiever on a mediocre team.

Outfield: Sammy Sosa, Baltimore, whom i'm a little worried about, but i couldn't say no to the trade when Victor offered him.

Utility: Adrián Béltre, Seattle, who had a monster year last year, and better deliver this year. i've noticed that former Dodgers often seem to do well during their first year with a new team.

Defensively, my brilliant pickup was Toronto rookie Gustavo Chacín, who was just sitting there in the free agent pool with three wins, nobody noticing. So i snagged him. Similarly ignored is the supremely talented, but sometimes inconsistent Dodger starter Odalis Pérez, who's having a great April.

My disappointments have been the injured Eric Gagne, who was my #1 draft pick, and Barry Zito, who seems to be having trouble adjusting to life without Mulder and Hudson. But he'll come around. So will Mike Lowell, my old standby the last couple of years. He's in the middle of the worst slump i've seen him in since i've been his fan. Snap out of it, mi borinqueño!

If i can get some save production out of Trevor Hoffman and/or Gagne comes back healthy, i might move up even more. If i don't jinx everything with this post, that is. Still, it feels good to be out of the cellar.

Posted by annika at 06:57 PM | Comments (5)

April 20, 2005

Wednesday Is Poetry Day: Longfellow

Monday was the 230th anniversary of Paul Revere's ride. The famous 1863 poem, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is one of the few poems i have ever memorized. Although now i can only recite the first few lines from memory, i love it all the same.

It's a long one, but if you've never read it please enjoy it all the way to the end. Longfellow was great at telling a story, and this is a great story to tell. Listen to the galloping rhythm of the meter as you read. It's wonderful.

Paul Revere's Ride

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."


Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.


A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.


It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.


You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,---
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

Stirring. Doesn't that give you goose-bumps?

The other poems i've memorized include Jabberwocky, The Star Spangled Banner and Desdemona's lines from a scene i did for a college acting class. The only one still left in my head is Jabberwocky.

If you're interested, here's a history of the various frigates named H.M.S. Somerset.

Posted by annika at 12:01 AM | Comments (6)

April 19, 2005

Habemus Papam


i'm ecstatic about the selection of Cardinal Ratzinger, which is strange since i'm quite liberal on many Catholic issues. It's not just because we share a Bavarian ancestry. i really believe that the Church needs an orthodox leader after the touchy-feely pontificate of John Paul II.

The list of changes i would favor in my Church is long. But my faith remains strong. i'm not going to leave the Church because women can't be ordained, for example. It is good that the Pope is more conservative than i am. That's something the reformers seem to forget. When religion doesn't set moral standards, it ceases to be a religion, and becomes a social club.

Also, the media critics don't want to admit that most of the Catholic world is very happy at the selection of a conservative cardinal. It's just here in the godless west that you hear the whining. i am hopeful and happy about Pope Benedict XVI because he has already signalled that he will not lead the Church into error by chasing after fallen Catholics. It is up to the faithful to remain in faith, not the other way around.

Lastly, i'm sick and tired of hearing the talking heads question whether Cardinal Ratzinger will be too divisive, when (they arrogantly surmise) the Church needs a uniter. i'm reminded of the following words of scripture:

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, a man's enemies will be the members of his own household. [Matthew 10:34-36]
Two thousand years of Catholic tradition and teaching should never be thrown out lightly, and certainly not on the basis of any CNN poll or Andrew Sullivan column.

Viva il Papa nuova.

Update: Zomby has a great post on this very thing.

Posted by annika at 09:14 PM | Comments (11)

Pope Update

White smoke.

Got pope.

developing . . .

Seriously, it's kind of exciting. i hope it's the German.

Update to the update: Note to the non-Catholic, but curious: If you thought the conclave was exciting, wait until you see our convlex!

Posted by annika at 09:28 AM | Comments (7)

Pope Update

Still no pope.

developing . . .

Posted by annika at 07:26 AM | Comments (6)

April 18, 2005

In Case You Missed This Story

[T]hat's the critical error the insurgents made. They thought they could keep the Marines' heads down. But he gets back up.
Hell yah.

Three important lessons for the would-be terrorist, from this story:

1. This is why we shoot when a vehicle doesn't stop.

2. Terrorist attacks are becoming fewer in number, but sometimes reflect more sophisticated planning.

3. Marines will still kill their ass dead.

Knocked down by that blast, with bricks and sandbags collapsing on top of him, [Lance Cpl. Joshua] Butler struggled to his feet only to hear a large diesel engine roar amid the clatter of gunfire. It was a red fire engine, carrying a second suicide bomber and passenger. Butler says both were wearing black turbans and robes, often worn by religious martyrs.

Amid the chaos of that first bomb blast, supported by gunfire from an estimated 30 dismounted insurgents, the fire engine passed largely undetected on a small road that leads from town directly past the camp wall, according a Marine report.

'I couldn't see him at first because of the smoke. It was extremely thick from the first explosion,' Butler says. When the fire engine cleared the smoke, it was much closer than the dump truck had been.

As the driver accelerated past the 'Welcome to Iraq' sign inside the camp's perimeter, Butler says he fired 100 rounds into the vehicle. The Marines later discovered the vehicle was equipped with 3-inch, blast-proof glass and the passengers were wearing Kevlar vests under their robes.

Pfc. Charles Young, 21, also of Altoona, Pa., hit the fire engine with a grenade launcher, slowing its progress and giving Butler time to recover. Without breaching the camp wall, the driver detonated the fire engine, sending debris flying up to 400 yards and knocking Marines from their bunks several hundred yards away. Butler, less than 50 yards away, again was knocked down by the blast, which partially destroyed the tower in which he was perched. After he crawled for cover, a third suicide bomber detonated outside the camp. That blast caused no damage or injuries. Sporadic fighting continued for several hours.

Meanwhile, Cpl. Anthony Fink of Columbus, Ohio, 21, fired a grenade launcher that the Marine unit says killed 11 insurgents. The Marines' 'React Squad' swiftly deployed against the remaining insurgents.

'We were able to get the momentum back,' Diorio says. He also says that Husaybah townspeople later reported 21 insurgents dead and 15 wounded. No Marines were seriously hurt.

Posted by annika at 09:00 PM | Comments (3)

April 14, 2005

Apprentice Blogging

By far the best Apprentice episode of this season. It had everything: drama, tears, comedy, sex. Well maybe not sex, but Tana and Craig did sleep in the same room together, while Kendra was having orgasms over her brochure design.

Oh and by the way, i was blogging about the Solstice over a year ago. And i think the picture i took would have looked great on Net Worth's brochure. At least mine was in focus.

Posted by annika at 10:36 PM | Comments (4)

April 13, 2005


How long before the Euros just start shooting the players?


Posted by annika at 11:02 PM | Comments (7)

Funniest Reality TV Quote Of The Year...

"Only in a America can a black man have a Rolex, drive a Audi, and y'all be workin' at Burger King."

--Burger King drive through patron, upon seeing Paris and Nicole working the window.

Runners up:


--Simon Cowell to Anthony Federov.

"Are you not a homosexual?"

"Sir, I am not a homosexual."

--Boardroom exchange between Trump and hotheaded Chris.

Posted by annika at 08:17 PM | Comments (8)

Wednesday Is Poetry Day: Snodgrass

Now that it's out on DVD, i finally saw last year's Oscar nominated movie, Sideways. i'm not sure i get the whole "male midlife crisis" thing, but it seems to be a major theme in a lot of movies.

Here's a poem by W. D. Snodgrass, perfect for April, which also deals with the midlife crisis theme.

April Inventory

The green catalpa tree has turned
All white; the cherry blooms once more.
In one whole year I haven't learned
A blessed thing they pay you for.
The blossoms snow down in my hair;
The trees and I will soon be bare.

The trees have more than I to spare.
The sleek, expensive girls I teach,
Younger and pinker every year,
Bloom gradually out of reach.
The pear tree lets its petals drop
Like dandruff on a tabletop.

The girls have grown so young by now
I have to nudge myself to stare.
This year they smile and mind me how
My teeth are falling with my hair.
In thirty years I may not get
Younger, shrewder, or out of debt.

The tenth time, just a year ago,
I made myself a little list
Of all the things I'd ought to know,
Then told my parents, analyst,
And everyone who's trusted me
I'd be substantial, presently.

I haven't read one book about
A book or memorized one plot.
Or found a mind I did not doubt.
I learned one date. And then forgot.
And one by one the solid scholars
Get the degrees, the jobs, the dollars.

And smile above their starchy collars.
I taught my classes Whitehead's notions;
One lovely girl, a song of Mahler's.
Lacking a source-book or promotions,
I showed one child the colors of
A luna moth and how to love.

I taught myself to name my name,
To bark back, loosen love and crying;
To ease my woman so she came,
To ease an old man who was dying.
I have not learned how often I
Can win, can love, but choose to die.

I have not learned there is a lie
Love shall be blonder, slimmer, younger;
That my equivocating eye
Loves only by my body's hunger;
That I have forces true to feel,
Or that the lovely world is real.

While scholars speak authority
And wear their ulcers on their sleeves,
My eyes in spectacles shall see
These trees procure and spend their leaves.
There is a value underneath
The gold and silver in my teeth.

Though trees turn bare and girls turn wives,
We shall afford our costly seasons;
There is a gentleness survives
That will outspeak and has its reasons.
There is a loveliness exists,
Preserves us, not for specialists.

Posted by annika at 02:38 AM | Comments (4)

National Poetry Month

Besides being the cruelest month, April is also National Poetry Month.

The poet Charles Bernstein doesn't think National Poetry Month is good for poetry. He writes: "promoting poetry as if it were an 'easy listening' station just reinforces the idea that poetry is culturally irrelevant and has done a disservice not only to poetry deemed too controversial or difficult to promote but also to the poetry it puts forward in this way." i see where he's coming from. That's why at annika's journal i do my own dissservice to poetry all year long. Anyways, i liked this idea from Bernstein's essay:

As an alternative to National Poetry Month, I propose that we have an International Anti-Poetry month. As part of the activities, all verse in public places will be covered over—from the Statue of Liberty to the friezes on many of our government buildings. Poetry will be removed from radio and TV (just as it is during the other eleven months of the year). Parents will be asked not to read Mother Goose and other rimes to their children but only ... fiction. Religious institutions will have to forego reading verse passages from the liturgy and only prose translations of the Bible will recited, with hymns strictly banned. Ministers in the Black churches will be kindly requested to stop preaching. Cats will be closed for the month by order of the Anti-Poetry Commission. Poetry readings will be replaced by self-help lectures. Love letters will have to be written only in expository paragraphs. Baseball will have to start its spring training in May. No vocal music will be played on the radio or sung in the concert halls. Children will have to stop playing all slapping and counting and singing games and stick to board games and football.
Read the whole essay here.

Posted by annika at 02:26 AM | Comments (1)

April 11, 2005

Chewin' The Cud

i caught some of the John Bolton hearing today on CSPAN. i couldn't get over that brain trust we elected as our junior senator, Barbara Boxer. Of course her speechifying was ridiculous, that goes without saying. But when she wasn't on, Boxer seemed to be chewing continuously, like a fucking cow. Did anyone else notice this? She absolutely was not paying attention, and she kept looking around the room and working that cud, whatever it was. What an embarrassment to the State of California.

Posted by annika at 11:03 PM | Comments (11)

The Great Moussaka Experiment 2005

annika's Great Moussaka Experiment 2005 is underway as i write this. Recipe from my Greek roommate's mom. Fingers crossed. Pictures to follow.

Here it is.


The result was a little disappointing. Nowhere close to being as good as Charissa's mom's. After some dispute, we decided to make it a vegetarian moussaka, but i still think it needs the meat filling. i sliced the eggplant too thin for one thing. Also, there was too much liquid, so we should have used a slotted spoon to add the filling. The cheesy top crust was the best part though.

Posted by annika at 08:47 PM | Comments (7)

April 10, 2005

Overheard While Surfing Past The Local Public Access TV Channel


Bimbo Interview Chick: "Kay you guys, so who do you think is like your greatest musical influence?"

Teenage Hipster Band Member: "I guess Led Zeppelin." (Pointing to the Led Zeppelin t-shirt he is wearing.) "Yeah, Led Zeppelin."

Bimbo Interview Chick: "Kay, Led Zeppelin. And why do you think he is such a big influence on you?"


Posted by annika at 11:23 PM | Comments (7)

April 09, 2005

Chicks Dig Aerobatics

Mary Madigan at Dean's World has a Quicktime video of a pretty dangerous looking stunt by a Lithuanian aerobatics pilot in a Sukhoi SU-26.

And there's another dangerous stunt captured on Quicktime, posted by another chick, Christiana Ellis.

Posted by annika at 11:51 AM | Comments (6)

April 08, 2005

What Liberals Substitute For Argument

More pie throwing.

Very persuasive, assholes.

Via Michelle Malkin.

Posted by annika at 07:35 AM | Comments (10)

April 07, 2005

Ten Lessons Learned From The Movie Mona Lisa Smile

1. Men bad. Women good.

2. Marriage bad. Career good.

3. The fifties bad. Today good.

4. Rules and standards bad. Bad bad bad.

5. Promiscuity is a virtue.

6. Marriage equals failure. Women should avoid it at all costs.

7. Unless you are chubby, then let nothing stand in the way of getting a husband.

8. If you absolutely must get married, remember that having a career at the same time is easy.

9. Have pity on those poor girls who grew up in the fifties. Chicks have it so much easier today.

10. Wellesley girls are snobby.*

* Okay, that last one wasn’t sarcastic.

Posted by annika at 08:55 PM | Comments (4)

If You Have To Explain A Joke...

It occurred to me that nobody except Sheila got my last photoshop joke. Which, by the way is the freakin' funniest thing i ever done. To paraphrase Betelgeuse: i've looked at it about a HUNDRED AND

Anyways, for you cultural illiterates, convicted hit-and-run driver Paula Abdul is driving, and that black dude is Ben Vereen. It's an obscure reference to this infamous 1992 incident: when

Entertainer Ben Vereen was critically injured when he was struck by a van while walking along the Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu, California. The driver, producer/composer David Foster, was not charged. Some hours earlier, Vereen had run into a tree while driving his own car. He blames that mishap for the later accident. He said, 'I had hit my head on the steering wheel but felt fine. Later that evening as I was walking in Malibu, I had [a] stroke as a result of that accident.' Vereen says he then stumbled into the roadway and was hit by the van.
Freaky. You don't remember that? Anyways, the rest of the joke is just my weird imagination. The old man is just some old man. And there's no particular reason why Marv Albert and Paige Davis would be double dating with Paula and Pee-Wee, except that it makes some absurd kind of sense to me.

Got it? Okay now go back and look at it and laugh dammit, LAUGH!

Posted by annika at 09:43 AM | Comments (11)

April 06, 2005

Wednesday Is Poetry Day: Karol Wojtyla

Pope John Paul was an accomplished poet, which is not surprising since he seemed to love the arts. During WWII, he worked in a quarry under forced labor conditions. It was dangerous work. He wrote a sequence called "The Quarry," and the following excerpt was written about a fellow worker who had died in an accident.

He wasn't alone.
His muscles grew into the flesh of the crowd, energy their pulse,
As long as they held a hammer, as long as his feet felt the ground.
And a stone smashed his temples and cut through his heart's chamber.
They took his body and walked in a silent line
Toil still lingered about him, a sense of wrong.
They wore gray blouses, boots ankle-deep in mud.
In this, they showed the end.
How violently his time halted: the pointers on the low voltage dials jerked, then dropped to zero again.
White stone now within him, eating into his being, taking over enough of him to turn him into stone.
Who will lift up that stone, unfurl his thoughts again under the cracked temples?
So plaster cracks on the wall.
They laid him down, his back on a sheet of gravel.
His wife came, worn out with worry; his son returned from school
Should his anger now flow into the anger of others?
It was maturing in him through his own truth and love
Should he be used by those who came after, deprived of substance, unique and deeply his own?
The stones on the move again; a wagon bruising the flowers.
Again the electric current cuts deep into the walls.
But the man has taken with him the world's inner structure,where the greater the anger, the higher the explosion of love.

Ironically, while the quarry killed the subject of that poem, it actually saved Karol's life. Many people from his town had been rounded up by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz and other death camps, including theatre friends and University teachers. (The town of Wadowice was about 20% Jewish before the war.) Karol was himself arrested in 1942, but released because quarry work was considered a "vital industry."

More poetry by the late Pope can be found at the Frontline site, along with a discussion of his work by poet Lynn Powell.

[cross-posted at A Western Heart]

Posted by annika at 07:39 AM | Comments (7)

April 05, 2005

Problems With Last Night's 24

i'm only willing to suspend disbelief so far. One of the things i have liked about 24 is its plausibility, but last night's episode was not a good example.

As my sophisticated visitors no doubt are aware, it's a common misconception that the F-117 is "invisible" to radar. Not true. The stealth fighter is not invisible, but its radar cross-section is very small - about 10 to 100 square centimeters according to one website i checked. That's pretty small, but not undetectable if you're looking for it, as i'm sure every radar in Southern California would have been after CTU had discerned the threat to Air Force One. Also, detection should have been easier since the F-117 was flying at a higher altitude to intercept the president's plane.

Next, the show's writers appear to have been confused by the nomenclature. "Fighter" is a broad and pretty misleading term. The F-117 is not designed for air combat. It is more properly called a ground attack aircraft. Last night, Bauer was told that the F-117 was carrying "standard non-nuclear ordnance." According to this site, that would include the following ground attack weapons: "BLU-109B low-level laser-guided bomb, GBU-10 and GBU-27 laser-guided bomb units, Raytheon AGM-65 Maverick and Raytheon AGM-88 HARM air-to-surface missiles."

Since the terrorist pilot stole the aircraft, i doubt it had been modified to carry the type of air-to-air missiles that would be needed to shoot down Air Force One. The HARM is an anti-radar missile, and i would guess it's not capable of hitting a plane in flight. i don't know if it's possible to lock the Maverick onto a plane, but i would guess that it's not a very agile missile even if you could. But the biggest problem i see would be the warhead.

The warhead is in the missile's center section. Either a 125-pound shaped-charge warhead or a 300-pound penetrator warhead can be used. A contact fuse in the nose fires the shaped-charge warhead. The penetrator uses a delayed-fuse, allowing the warhead to penetrate the target with its kinetic energy before firing. The latter is very effective against large, hard targets.
See the problem? The missile has to actually hit something before it will go off. That's easy when it's aimed at a building. Not so easy in air-to-air situations. And a shaped charge is designed to penetrate armor, so it's not as effective if it explodes out in the open

Also, a stealth fighter is not invisible to radar if it's emitting its own radar beam. Once the F-117 had locked onto the president's plane, everybody would have known where it was. There should have been a shitload of flares and chaff ejected from Air Force One and all the escorts to decoy the missile. Actually, i think once the bomb doors were opened, they would have detected it.

Of course this is all nit-picking. i still love 24. And we won't know what happened for sure until next week's episode.

Posted by annika at 01:28 PM | Comments (15)

Medal Of Honor Recipient, Paul Ray Smith

U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor yesterday. Here are some of the President's remarks:

[I]n a small courtyard less than a mile from the Baghdad airport[,] Sergeant Smith was leading about three dozen men who were using a courtyard next to a watchtower to build a temporary jail for captured enemy prisoners. As they were cleaning the courtyard, they were surprised by about a hundred of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard.

With complete disregard for his own life and under constant enemy fire, Sergeant Smith rallied his men and led a counterattack. Seeing that his wounded men were in danger of being overrun, and that enemy fire from the watchtower had pinned them down, Sergeant Smith manned a 50-caliber machine gun atop a damaged armor vehicle. From a completely exposed position, he killed as many as 50 enemy soldiers as he protected his men.

Sergeant Smith's leadership saved the men in the courtyard, and he prevented an enemy attack on the aid station just up the road. Sergeant Smith continued to fire and took a -- until he took a fatal round to the head. His actions in that courtyard saved the lives of more than 100 American soldiers.

Scripture tells us, as the General said, that a man has no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. And that is exactly the responsibility Paul Smith believed the Sergeant stripes on his sleeve had given him. In a letter he wrote to his parents but never mailed, he said that he was prepared to 'give all that I am to ensure that all my boys make it home.'

As an aside, my family thinks we may have an ancestor who was awarded the Medal of Honor for capturing a Confederate flag during a Civil War battle in Tennessee. i have not yet done enough research to determine if he was a relation, but i know where he is buried.

Posted by annika at 11:16 AM | Comments (5)

April 04, 2005

9 Games 9 Fields

i'm toying with the idea of a west coast baseball tour this summer. With Southwest Airlines air fares so low, i think it's do-able. Nine games, nine stadia:

Network Associates Colliseum, Oakland
SBC Park, San Francisco
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Angel Stadium, Anaheim
Petco Park, San Diego
Bank One Ballpark, Phoenix
Coors Field, Denver
Ameriquest Field, Arlington
Safeco Field, Seattle

Looking at that list, i realize that some of the nicest ballparks in the major leagues are in the Western Divisions.

Posted by annika at 10:24 AM | Comments (16)

April 03, 2005

Reagan And John Paul II

Here's an interesting article about Reagan and John Paul II. i've been hearing a lot lately about how the Pope was such a key figure in ending European communism. i'm a skeptic. i think the most important thing John Paul did to help end communism was to stay out of Reagan's way.

Posted by annika at 10:23 PM | Comments (12)

April 01, 2005

Not An April Fools Joke...

Just an April fool.

Today is my birthday!

Posted by annika at 12:06 AM | Comments (37)