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

May 31, 2005

Spectacular Birds Of California

This weekend i went hiking in the Sierras. The weather was great and we were in a park that i had not ever been to before. i also saw a spectacular bird up close, but i wasn't quick enough with the camera and she flew away. The bird was Cyanocitta stelleri, commonly known as Stellar's Jay.

Living in urban environments, as i have for the last bunch of years, i don't get the chance to see that many non-boring birds. But up here in the Sacramento area, you really can't avoid seeing some really cool looking birds. In the last year i've seen wild turkeys, snowy egrets, yellow billed magpies and a great blue heron (which is always an awesome sight).

i have a strange ambition. Someday i would like to see in the wild the following birds: a tufted puffin, a magnificent frigate bird, a penguin, and a California condor. Condors are extremely rare, but shouldn't be hard to find. They only live in the L.A. area. If i ever get to see the other birds it will mean i have travelled to Newfoundland, the southern tip of South America and Baja California, three places i've never been.

Posted by annika at 11:35 PM | Comments (6)

My Breezy Manner

Mark Nicodemo writes in the comments section to the preceding post, "She must be a law student with that arrogance." i figured Mark was talking about me, since Shelly is actually short for Sheldon, and also since i have been attracting well-meaning criticism like flies lately. Turns out he was probably referring to Shelly, but still, the attribution of "arrogance" to moi is not undeserved. Especially in regards to my writing style.

But, to be more accurate, it's not arrogance that you find in my writing, it's what i call a certain casual pedantry, or even more accurately, as the master E.B. White called it, "a breezy manner."

Truly, in this blog i continually, unjudiciously, perhaps annoyingly, although unconsciously violate Mr. White's rule number 12 from chapter five of the classic rulebook The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

Does this ring any bells?

Do not affect a breezy manner.

The volume of writing is enormous, these days, and much of it has a sort of windiness about it, almost as though the author were in a state of euphoria. "Spontaneous me," sang Whitman, and, in his innocence, let loose the hordes of uninspired scribblers who would one day confuse spontaneity with genius.

The breezy style is often the work of an egocentric, the person who imagines that everything that comes to mind is of general interest and that uninhibited prose creates high spirits and carries the day. Open any alumni magazine, turn to the class notes, and you are quite likely to encounter old Spontaneous Me at work--an aging collegian who writes something like this:

Well, chums, here I am again with my bagful of dirt about your disorderly classmates, after spending a helluva weekend ing N'Yawk trying to view the Columbia game from behind two bumbershoots and a glazed cornea. And speaking of news, howzabout tossing a few chirce nuggets my way?
This is an extreme example, but the same wind blows, at lesser velocities, across vast expanses of journalistic prose. The author in this case has managed in two sentences to commit most of the unpardonable sins: he obviously has nothing to say, he is showing off and directing the attention of the reader to himself, he is using slang with neither provocation nor ingenuity, he adopts a patronizing air by throwing in the word chirce, he is humorless (though full of fun), dull, and empty. He has not done his work.
i plead guilty. Is my face red? Professor White would be so disappointed if he had lived to see the blogosphere. (The world wide web was in its infancy in 1985, when White died. Ironically, he was most famous for writing about a different web.) Anyways, the point of this post is not that i plan to change my style. In professional and academic writing i am sufficiently more phlegmatic, (and i did get the second highest grade in my writing class this last semester.) i just want you to know that i know, i know you know, and that's that. If that makes any sense?

Oh hell, never mind. Tomorrow is poetry day and you can read someone else's writing then.

Posted by annika at 11:56 AM | Comments (8)

May 29, 2005

annika on Danica

Everybody's talking about Danica Patrick, the girl who is starting today's Indianappolis 500 in the second row. Danica is one of eight rookies in the race. She's never driven a 500 mile race before. Don't believe the hype, she's not going to win (i'm picking Helio). So much depends on the car, the team, and luck. But i'll be rooting for Danica. i hope she'll be safe and i hope she does good.


The Indy 500 is not an easy race. That's five hundred miles - think LA to Phoenix, an 8 hour drive, normally - exept they're doing it at 200 miles an hour. Five hundred miles, two hundred laps, eight hundred left hand turns, two hours of total mental concentration. You ever try concentrating for two hours in a life and death situation? In this race there are a hundred problems that come up, which you gotta deal with, and a million potential problems you gotta worry about the whole time. You gotta have your shit together to win the Borg Warner.

My brother races a little, and he's a huge Danica fan. Mainly because he's a horndog and she is a hottie. On weekends at my parents house, no one is allowed to touch the remote because everyone knows Derrick will be watching the car shows on Spike tv all day long. Danica does the intros for each of the shows (Ride with Funkmaster Flex, Horsepower TV, Extreme 4x4, etc.), so i was familiar with her as a spokesmodel before i ever heard she was a driver.

It was hard for me to believe, when my bro told me that Danica drove Indy cars and that she had talent. He knows about those things, but i still thought he was kidding me, so i looked her up on the web. In fact she's done well in her short career. Derrick says driving is all about aggressiveness and thinking ahead, and he thinks Danica has those qualities.

What's interesting to me is that Danica doesn't try to be "one of the boys." It's a different world now, than it was when girls like Janet Guthrie or drag racer Shirley Muldowney blazed their trails. i can understand the wisdom of using a driver's looks in a sport that depends so heavily on sponsorship money. But i also think its a sign of progress when a girl can do a guy thing and not have to act like a guy or downplay her own femininity. i think that's cool.

Posted by annika at 08:23 AM | Comments (9)

May 27, 2005

My I ♥ Huckabees Review

A pithy and/or lame movie review.



Shockingly bad, on so many levels.

Earns the rarely given Netflix one star rating ("hated it.")

Self-satisfied, pretentious new age bull-shit.

Less fun than repeatedly hitting yourself in the nose with a large rubber ball.

A comedy that thinks it's about philosophy, or a philosophical movie that thinks it's a comedy. Whatever, it fails either way.

Not a single likeable character.

For a movie that's supposed to appeal to the narrow demographic of touchy-feely new-agey politically-correct elitist guru-gropin' dolly-llama-lovin' tree-huggin' liberal fuckturds, the main characters sure are an unpleasant passive-agressive lot with major anger management issues.

Far and away the worst entry in last year's Jude Law trifecta.

This shit-fest places its liberal point of view front-and-center. Yet the only persons of color are a tall skinny African, who has about five lines, and two black security guards. Can we say stereotype? How about racist?

Jason Schwartzman, already hideously ugly, refuses to wash his hair even once.

The obligatory anti-Christian jab, which has become de rigeur for American filmmakers these days, is extended to a full scene.

Features an ass-fucking in the mud scene.

'nuff said.

Full disclosure: i once went out with one of those new-age freakos, and i still have unresolved issues about that whole thing.

Posted by annika at 11:04 PM | Comments (19)

May 25, 2005

Wednesday Is Poetry Day: Wordsworth

The lawyer i work for at my summer job is a brilliant and very literary guy. He makes me realize how little i really learned in school about literature and poetry. He can recite T.S. Eliot and Keats from memory; it's quite impressive. But he has a Masters in English, which i don't have.

Today we had a long conversation about art and poetry and he mentioned that he loved Wordsworth. i said that the only poem i remembered by Wordsworth was one about London, which i discovered while i lived there for a short time. He said "oh yes, the sonnet 'Composed on Westminster Bridge'" i said, "um yah, that one." He then recited it from memory.

Way to make me feel uneducated, dude.


Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

i love that poem because it's as atmospheric as the Monet i posted up above, which i saw in person at the National Gallery. "This City now doth like a garment wear/ The beauty of the morning; silent, bare." Reminds me of so many lovely mornings i spent walking to class through the ancient gray city. Just lovely.

Posted by annika at 01:31 AM | Comments (9)

May 24, 2005

The Contender Final Episode

This was just an excuse to mess around on photoshop.


i watched the final episode of The Contender tonight, although i missed the undercard because of American Idol. The bout between Sergio "Latin Snake" Mora and Peter "Pride of Providence" Manfredo was one of the best fights i've seen in a long time.

The great thing about tonight's episode was that it was unedited, which means real boxing. No slow-mo, and minimal family reaction cut-aways make for better sports action. They should have cut Stallone's mike though. He kept repeating himself. He alternated between the same two lines for seven rounds - it was either "Whoa!" or "there's got to be a re-match." He actually started calling for a re-match in the middle of the second round. Sly needs to worry more about whether the show will be renewed. Ratings apparently were less than expected and putting the final up against tv's most popular show AI, didn't help.

Sergio Mora won the match, and the million dollars. i was impressed by him last week when he advanced to the final with a win against Jesse, whom i had expected to go all the way. Sergio fights with real attitude and he's damn quick. Tonight, when Peter had completely run out of steam in the final round, Sergio was still showering combinations on his head like it was the first.

Peter seemed more of a hard-headed slugger and had Sergio backed against the ropes for much of the fight. Sergio's temple opened up early and looked ugly. But Peter wasn't slowing him down. Sergio clearly was the better conditioned fighter, and if he didn't move as much as i had expected, he still punched almost continuously.

There was an episode of smack talk in one of the middle rounds, when Sergio turned his head to mouth off at Peter's corner. Since it wasn't broadcast live on the West Coast, they cut out the audio and i don't know what he said. But it seemed like a dangerous move, leaving yourself unprotected against a guy like Manfredo, even for a moment. i think Sergio has a little too much attitude for his own good, and that may end up hurting him down the road. He did show class after the fight by apologizing to the other corner and giving Peter the props he deserved.

One of my ex's, Tommy, was an amateur boxer who taught me how to score a fight. i think you get much more out of watching boxing if you make an effort to keep score. i had the match much closer than the judges did. According to my card, the fighters split the first six rounds, and Sergio took it all by showing more aggressiveness and energy in the final round. i had Sergio 67 to Peter 66.

And as for American Idol, we'll find out who that champ is tomorrow. My pick is Carrie Underwood, but rumor has it that Bo's got more fans. It should be interesting.

Matt has a Contender recap too.

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

Twisted Trivia

Don't ask me how i came up with this one. It's too bizarre.

Match the celebrity lip defect to the correct lip quadrant on the diagram.


a. Elvis' sneer.

b. Stacy Keach's harelip.

c. Dick Cheney's halliburtonlip.

d. Greta Van Susternernen's plastic surgery leftover.

extra credit: What's up with Tina Fey's cheek?

Good luck. There will be no prize.

Posted by annika at 12:07 AM | Comments (5)

May 23, 2005

Who Got Who

The deal is in. Via NRO:


We respect the diligent, conscientious efforts, to date, rendered to the Senate by Majority Leader Frist and Democratic Leader Reid. This memorandum confirms an understanding among the signatories, based upon mutual trust and confidence, related to pending and future judicial nominations in the 109th Congress.

This memorandum is in two parts. Part I relates to the currently pending judicial nominees; Part II relates to subsequent individual nominations to be made by the President and to be acted upon by the Senate’s Judiciary Committee.

We have agreed to the following:

Part I: Commitments on Pending Judicial Nominations

A. Votes for Certain Nominees. We will vote to invoke cloture on the following judicial nominees: Janice Rogers Brown (D.C. Circuit), William Pryor (11th Circuit), and Priscilla Owen (5th Circuit).

B. Status of Other Nominees. Signatories make no commitment to vote for or against cloture on the following judicial nominees: William Myers (9th Circuit) and Henry Saad (6th Circuit).

Part II: Commitments for Future Nominations

A. Future Nominations. Signatories will exercise their responsibilities under the Advice and Consent Clause of the United States Constitution in good faith. Nominees should only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances, and each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in determining whether such circumstances exist.

B. Rules Changes. In light of the spirit and continuing commitments made in this agreement, we commit to oppose the rules changes in the 109th Congress, which we understand to be any amendment to or interpretation of the Rules of the Senate that would force a vote on a judicial nomination by means other than unanimous consent or Rule XXII.

We believe that, under Article II, Section 2, of the United States Constitution, the word “Advice” speaks to consultation between the Senate and the President with regard to the use of the President’s power to make nominations. We encourage the Executive branch of government to consult with members of the Senate, both Democratic and Republican, prior to submitting a judicial nomination to the Senate for consideration.

Such a return to the early practices of our government may well serve to reduce the rancor that unfortunately accompanies the advice and consent process in the Senate.

We firmly believe this agreement is consistent with the traditions of the United States Senate that we as Senators seek to uphold.

While both sides will undoubtedly claim a victory, the conservative true-believers are not happy, from what i've gathered in the last half hour or so listening to the radio and tv pundits.

i'm not overjoyed at the compromise, but i'll have to live with it. What choice do i have? Last time i checked, i am not a United States Senator.

So this is a deal that allows the Democrats to save face, while still giving the Republicans a vote on some of the nominees. Or, it's just as accurate to say that it allows the Republicans to save face while still allowing the Democrats the option to filibuster in the future.

In the world of civil litigation, lawyers say it's a good settlement when both sides are unhappy. But there's another rule in negotiating settlements: "Never negotiate away your leverage in exchange for "goodwill."*

If there's one thing plaintiffs attorneys and Democrats have in common (besides John Edwards) it's that you can't trust a single one of them to act in good faith. Like Sam Gompers, they want only one thing: "more." And they're absolutely shameless about getting it. We saw that in the way guys like Harry Reid completely flip-flopped on the issue of floor votes for judicial nominees.

That's why the most troublesome part of the deal for me is this clause:

Nominees should only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances, and each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in determining whether such circumstances exist.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that that's a promise meant to be broken. And when they do break it, as i promise you the Democrats will, we'll be arguing about the meaning of "extraordinary circumstances" instead of the meaning of the Constitution.

That's the biggest problem with the deal. It takes the issue of constitutionality off the table. The true-believers have a right to be angry on that point. By conceding to the minority a power to block majority will on judicial nominees, the Republicans have conceded the constitutionality of that procedural tactic. They caved in on the very principle that brought about this entire crisis. And for what? A bit of goodwill. A promise to be good from now on.

Ha! That's worth about two dead flies.

Why would Senate Republicans negotiate away all their leverage by giving up the nuclear option in exchange for a promise? Because they are suckers? Because they love Senate tradition more than they love the Constitution? Or because the Republican Senate leadership is just plain bad at their job?

As i mentioned before, my ideal solution would have been to do away with all filibusters on all issues. Why the hell should one half of the legislature have that stupid rule when the other house does very well without it? The filibuster is almost never used for a noble purpose.

i agree with the late Tip O'Neill, who was wrong about so many things. But he was on the right track when he wrote:

Thanks to television, the House of Representatives is now recognized as the dominant branch of Congress,. [sic] In 1986, the Senate brought in TV cameras as well. But the senators ramble on for hours, whereas our members can speak for only five minutes, apart from "special orders" at the end of the day, and a few other exceptions. Unlike the rules of the House, those of the Senate allow for unlimited debate and unrestricted amendments. Now that the Senate is on television, the prestige of the House should continue to increase."
[Thomas P. O'Neill, Man of the House, p. 290, Random House, 1987]
Today's compromise, in favor of a supposed status quo that's not even really a status quo, ensures that the Senate will remain the weaker, less prestigious house in my book. How can anyone say otherwise when its own rules allow the minority to dictate to the majority and no one has the guts to do anything about it?

More outrage: see Professor H; Three Knockdown Rule; i can't disagree with Patterico's prediction; Spoons has a riddle; and Mark Nicodemo agrees that the Senate Republicans are inept; and Nikita Demosthenes calls them out by name.

* Okay, i don't know if that's really a negotiating rule, i just made it up. But it should be.

[Cross-posted at A Western Heart.]

Posted by annika at 06:14 PM | Comments (4)

Carrey Poll Results

Fifty-six votes on my semi-scientific Jim Carrey poll and i'm ready to call it. the question was this: "The best Jim Carrey film was..." And the results, in order of the vote totals was:

The Truman Show 25%
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 18%
Dumb & Dumber 14%
Bruce Almighty 11%
The Mask 7%
Me, Myself & Irene 7%
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective 5%
Liar Liar 5%
The Cable Guy 4%
The Dead Pool 4%

First of all, it was kind of a trick question. Or at least a question subject to dual interpretations. What was the best "Jim Carrey movie" or what was the best "movie in which Jim Carrey appeared." If you ask me, each interpretation of the question should get a different answer.

If you're talking about "best movie in which Jim Carrey appeared," in my opinion that's clearly Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is one of the best movies to come out in recent years. But it's not a typical Jim Carrey movie. Sure, his performance was great, and there were flashes of the madcap, but Carrey wasn't the star. The script was the star and i was more blown away by Kate Winslet's complex performance.

The fact that 25% voted for The Truman Show is interesting. That's the movie that broke the Carrey typecast mold. Not a great film. Interesting enough to chat about for fifteen or twenty minutes during the obligatory post-movie Panda Express run, but no more than that. Still, without The Truman Show, we would have seen Nick Cage in the lead role of Eternal Sunshine. And what a mistake that would have been. i like Nick, but he couldn't have pulled off the baby under the table scene.

Funniest "Jim Carrey" Jim Carrey movie? i'm appalled that the comedy classic Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was so low on the list. Too many lines from that movie are worth memorizing and sprinkling into everyday conversation. It's also the only comedy movie i can think of with an offbeat hero, where the hero is not a bumbler of some kind. Think of the Pink Panther movies (also classics), when you have a wacky lead, he usually succeeds despite himself. In Ace Ventura, the lead is not a stereotypical lovable loser, instead he's the only one smart enough to crack the case.

Dumb and Dumber is hilarious, but except for the scene where the two of them are squirting ketchup and mustard into their mouths, i don't laugh as hard throughout as i did when i first saw it.

The Mask was just bad, never funny, and too reliant on special effects. Bruce Almighty is a one punch line movie, and i think it came in fourth on the strength of Jennifer Aniston's titties. Finally, by all rights The Dead Pool should have scored higher than The Cable Guy. Jim Carrey was great in that final installment to the Dirty Harry franchise. He played a strung out Axl Rose type rock star named Johnny Squares. This was a couple of years before In Living Color.

i was interested in that poll question not because i'm a huge Jim Carrey fan, because i'm not. i like him well enough, but what fascinates me is how a guy who everyone was so hot on in the nineties suddenly lost favor when everybody realized that he only had one act, and it got old rather quickly. He career kind of mirrored the dot-com boom/bust cycle of the nineties. Suddenly Hollywood realized he was obscenely overvalued and his career went through a "market correction." Carrey has dramatic talent and it's been interesting watching him try to re-invent himself for his last few movies.

Posted by annika at 11:58 AM | Comments (15)

Pro-Life And Pro-Abortion

Doug TenNapel made a provocative statement, which happens to be a pretty good summary of what i believe on the subject.

First of all, let me state that I'm Pro-Life and Pro-Abortion. . . . But the only instance where I think abortion is moral would be when two human lives are likely to die and if one life is aborted so that only one will die, then abortion is a moral act.
Read the rest. It's a wide ranging but well reasoned post, which touches on the malum prohibitum vs. malum in se dichotomy, and just war theory too.

And on a related theme, Michelle Malkin asks if abortion is funny. Some people think so.

Posted by annika at 09:45 AM | Comments (1)

May 22, 2005

Useless Grey's Anatomy Blogging

George and that nurse. What a bizarre couple.
He has no hair on his body. She has no lips.

Posted by annika at 10:52 PM | Comments (2)

May 19, 2005

The Middle Finger

Celebrity blogger and annika's journal visitor, Hugh Hewitt, spent the major portion of his radio show today talking about the Pepsico middle finger controversy. Here's the professor's summary:

The President and CFO of Pepsico gave a speech at Columbia Business School's commencement. In the speech, Indra Nooyi compared the fingers of the hand to different parts of the world. The United States got the middle finger. What a surprise! How courageous for Ms. Nooyi, how daring, and such soaring rhetoric.
The key passage from Ms. Nooyi's address is this one:
As the longest of the fingers, [the United States] really stands out. The middle finger anchors every function that the hand performs and is the key to all of the fingers working together efficiently and effectively. This is a really good thing, and has given the U.S. a leg-up in global business since the end of World War I.

However, if used inappropriately --just like the U.S. itself-- the middle finger can convey a negative message and get us in trouble. You know what I'm talking about. In fact, I suspect you're hoping that I'll demonstrate what I mean. And trust me, I'm not looking for volunteers to model.

Discretion being the better part of valor...I think I'll pass.

What is most crucial to my analogy of the five fingers as the five major continents, is that each of us in the U.S. --the long middle finger-- must be careful that when we extend our arm in either a business or political sense, we take pains to assure we are giving a hand...not the finger. Sometimes this is very difficult. Because the U.S. --the middle finger-- sticks out so much, we can send the wrong message unintentionally.

Unfortunately, I think this is how the rest of the world looks at the U.S. right now. Not as a part of the hand --giving strength and purpose to the rest of the fingers-- but, instead, scratching our nose and sending a far different signal.

Here's the lady's half-assed apology:
Following my remarks to the graduating class of Columbia University's Business School in New York City, I have come to realize that my words and examples about America unintentionally depicted our country negatively and hurt people. I appreciate the honest comments that have been shared with me since then, and am deeply sorry for offending anyone. I love America unshakably - without hesitation - and am extremely grateful for the opportunities and support our great nation has always provided me.

Over the years I've witnessed and advised others how a thoughtless gesture or comment can hurt good, caring people. Regrettably, I've proven my own point. I made a mistake and, again, I'm very sorry.

Apology not accepted, babe. Mainly because i'm not, as she said, hurt or offended by her speech. Don't get me wrong, i think the lady hasn't the faintest idea what a great country she now lives in. Her viewpoint has been tainted by hanging around America-hating New York intellectuals. But what she sees as an American negative - the fact that we stick out, that the "world" thinks we're too arrogant - is actually a source of unabashed pride for me.

the finger

i believe in American exceptionalism. i don't think America needs to be more humble. If my country has ever flipped anyone off in the past, that's something i want to see more of. Look at the scoreboard. Was America "scratching its nose" with the middle finger when we saved the world from tyranny three times in one century? Like the song says, fuck yeah! Was it arrogance when our fifth president declared "hands off this hemisphere" to the superpowers of his day? Or when T.R. said "let's build that fucking canal!" (paraphrasing). Or when Jack promised we'd walk on the moon within the decade? Sure it was. And so what?

Egypt of the Pharaohs. Imperial Rome. Spain in the siglo de oro. Napoleon's France. Victoria's Great Britain. Name a superpower in history that hasn't been arrogant. You can't. Name a superpower that's done as much good in the world as America has in the last two centuries? You can't do that either.

We are different. We are better. And i'm sick and tired of our own people getting on a public stage and telling us we should bow and beg and be meek in front of the rest of the world. When was that ever an American trait? i hope it never is.

So let the America-haters and the timid intellectuals whine. Call me a jingoist, i won't be offended. i'm proud to be a flag waving, middle finger sticking, American.

p.s. All real Americans drink Coke anyways.

Posted by annika at 06:01 PM | Comments (48)

May 18, 2005

Pet Peeve

If i hear someone use the phrase "up-or-down-vote" one more time, i think i'm going to scream. Is there any other kind of vote?

[Well, i guess in England it's a left or right vote. But still...]

Posted by annika at 10:25 AM | Comments (11)

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Here's a cute one by Jenny Joseph (b. 1932):


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn´t go, and doesn´t suit me,
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we´ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I´m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people´s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes to keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple.

Sounds like a plan.

Posted by annika at 10:21 AM | Comments (4)

May 17, 2005

An Easy Choice

Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.
Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.
Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.
Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.
Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.
Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.
Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.
Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.

sorry Brittany.

Posted by annika at 10:05 PM | Comments (6)

May 16, 2005

L.A. Mayor's Race

i don't live in L.A. anymore (though i hope to return after i graduate), but i'm apparently still on the voter list down there. Which is why i've received an email from none other than the next mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa.

i've never received an email from a major politician before, it's kind of exciting. Here is what Tony (if i may call him that) wrote to me.

Dear Annika,

I love Los Angeles. It has already given me so much -- a strong education, a loving family, a lifelong career in public service.

That's why I have set out an ambitious new vision for LA, because I believe the Mayor must have a plan for the future. I want to build more schools for our children and reduce classroom sizes. I want to make Los Angeles safer and greener. I want to create better jobs for our workers, provide better health care and more affordable housing for our families, and develop a 21st Century transportation system for all of us.

I know this has been a tough and negative campaign, but I pledge on my first day in office to begin to bring our city together for real, positive change.

Los Angeles deserves a better Mayor. Someone with big dreams, bold ideas, and an ambitious vision for the future -- a strong leader with a proven record of accomplishment who will roll up his sleeves and work hard to fix our city's problems, large and small.

As Mayor, I pledge to work with you and all of our neighbors to build a better Los Angeles. But I need your help to do it.

I ask your vote on Tuesday, May 17th!

To make our city a better place, we must restore the people's trust in Los Angeles city government. After four long years of waste, fraud, and scandal, I am committed to cleaning house at City Hall and putting an end to the 'pay-to-play' system under Jim Hahn. Because let's be clear: Honesty and ethics at City Hall start at the top, with the Mayor.

I am proud to have received the endorsements of [blah blah blah...].

But today, I am asking you for the most important endorsement of all: your vote.

If you agree that we can and must do better in Los Angeles, I ask for your vote on Tuesday.

It's time to get Los Angeles back on the right track. And I am committed to doing just that. I pledge to you that I will work to bring all residents of our city together and solve the tough problems we face.

But I can't do it alone. I'm going to need your help, along with hundreds of thousands of our friends and neighbors, to get the job done. And it all starts on Election Day.

I look forward to working with you to build a better Los Angeles!


Antonio Villaraigosa

i confess that i haven't followed the mayoral election in our beloved 2nd largest city very closely, mainly because i won't be voting in it. Something about a scandal and that the current mayor sucks eggs. Everybody piling on the Villaraigosa bandwagon. Whatever.

i hope he'll be a good mayor. L.A. has big big problems challenges, but it is a great town. i notice that transportation is at the end of the list in paragraph three, almost like it was an afterthought. To my mind, light rail should be the priority for the next mayor. Incredibly, nowhere in the email was there any mention of illegal immigration, a subject that seems to be on everybody's lips these days. Progress on that issue would take care of half the other problems he mentioned in that second paragraph.

Anyways, i hope the coronation goes well.

Posted by annika at 06:39 PM | Comments (11)

May 15, 2005

My Final Silly Texas Bill Update

The Texas anti-cheerleader bill is dead.

The measure was approved in the Texas House on May 3, with supportive lawmakers waving pompoms as the bill moved to the Senate's Education Committee, where the cheering abruptly stopped.

'We will not be hearing it,' committee chairwoman Sen. Florence Shapiro said Friday.

'We have some very important work to do in the next two weeks, and that's not one of them,' said Shapiro, R-Plano.

Rather than being a 'mandate from the state,' she said, the problem of students performing suggestive acts should be addressed by parents and school districts.

Isn't that what i'd been saying all along? Sheesh. What a waste of legislative time. That's the type of thing they do in the California legislature, but at least the boondogglers out here work full-time at it.

Hat tip to gcotharn, who is now atop the leader board in my fantasy league. Guess who's at the bottom?

Posted by annika at 07:33 PM | Comments (16)

Newsweek Death Toll Continues To Rise

CNN has a new partner in the ranks of journalistic infamy. Both news organizations have blood on their hands.

When i heard about this story, the first thing i thought was "even if it's true, why on earth would they publish that story?"

i admit that's an untenable position to take. Freedom of the press and all that rot. But true or not, the story was going to cost lives. Newsweek had to know that. Did that fact present even a minor speed bump to their rush to embarrass the hated United States?

Apparently not, since Newsweek has now apologized for publishing a lie.

Newsweek magazine on Sunday said it may have erred in a May 9 report that said U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, and apologized to victims of deadly violence sparked by the article.

The weekly news magazine said in its May 23 edition that the original source of the allegation was not sure where he saw the assertion that at least one copy of the Koran was flushed down a toilet in an attempt to get detainees to talk.

'We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst,' Editor Mark Whitaker wrote in the magazine's latest issue, due to appear on U.S. newsstands on Monday.

The report has sparked angry and violent protests across the Muslim world from Afghanistan, where 16 were killed and more than 100 injured, to Pakistan to Indonesia to Gaza.

On Sunday, Afghan Muslim clerics threatened to call for a holy war against the United States in three days unless it handed over the interrogators in question.

And yet people still criticize Fox News.

Biased journalism is not just annoying, not just wrong, not just unethical, sometimes it gets people killed.

Update: i shouldn't have complimented Fox News. Even they're sloppy. Reporting on the story this afternoon, Chris Wallace said that Newsweek's source had said he saw the alleged flushing incident, but then backed away from his story. Not true. The source actually told Newsweek's Michael Isakoff that the incident would be mentioned in an upcoming written report by military investigators. The source never saw any incident. He only saw a reference to an allegation of an incident in a report investigating a bunch of alleged incidents. As it turned out, the incident didn't make it into the final report. No matter, Newsweek went ahead with the story. Somewhere, Mary Mapes is probably smiling.

[cross-posted at A Western Heart]

Posted by annika at 12:28 PM | Comments (10)

May 12, 2005

Useless Bugle Boy Blogging

If he can't blow a note unless the bass and guitars are with him, i ask you, what good is he?

Posted by annika at 06:13 PM | Comments (5)

Just Curious

i'm perplexed.

How can Voinovich justify his opposition to Bolton by saying Bolton lacks "common decency" on the one hand -- then say he's met Bolton, likes Bolton, and that he believes Bolton is a "decent" man?

Just curious.

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

May 11, 2005

Wednesday Is Poetry Day: Ginsberg

[Dreadfully sorry about the tardiness thing. Finals you know.]

A Ginsberg poem has been overdue for quite some time. Here's one that references Ken Kesey: beat author, champion wrestler, CIA guinea pig, author of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, and a man who arguably inspired today's rave scene with his Electric Kool Aid Acid Tests of the mid-sixties, which in turn launched the careers of Tom Wolfe and The Grateful Dead.

Here's how his friend, Allen Ginsberg, described one of Kesey's infamous get-togethers in 1965:

First Party at Ken Kesey's with Hell's Angels

Cool black night thru redwoods
cars parked outside in shade
behind the gate, stars dim above
the ravine, a fire burning by the side
porch and a few tired souls hunched over
in black leather jackets. In the huge
wooden house, a yellow chandelier
at 3 A.M. the blast of loudspeakers
hi-fi Rolling Stones Ray Charles Beatles
Jumping Joe Jackson and twenty youths
dancing to the vibration thru the floor,
a little weed in the bathroom, girls in scarlet
tights, one muscular smooth skinned man
sweating dancing for hours, beer cans
bent littering the yard, a hanged man
sculpture dangling from a high creek branch,
children sleeping softly in their bedroom bunks.
And 4 police cars parked outside the painted
gate, red lights revolving in the leaves.

If you look, Kesey's name seems to pop up everywhere. The Who and The Beatles wrote songs about his antics. Hunter S. Thompson introduced him to the Hells Angels, who became regular fixtures at Kesey's parties in the hills west of Palo Alto. (That is, until September 1966, when several of them beat him up pretty badly.) Timothy Leary and Jack Kerouac met him, but were unimpressed. Neal Cassady and Robert Pirsig were close friends. Kesey was like the Kevin Bacon of the beat and hippie countercultures.

More poetry: Steve celebrates his new OS with a little Blake.

Posted by annika at 08:16 PM | Comments (5)

May 07, 2005

Now We're Talkin' Real Pizza

My previous attempts at homemade pizza dough didn't turn out good at all. The bottom was never crispy enough, and the toppings made the top soggy. Boboli was a reasonable alternative, but it's not real pizza. So i was on the lookout for a better way.

Here's what came out of the oven tonight.


The secret is the pizza stone. i can't emphasize enough how essential this kitchen item is. Stick it in the oven first and preheat that bastard up to 500°, then sprinkle some cornmeal on it and slide the pizza on top. Then turn the heat down to 425° and cook for 18 minutes.

pizza closeup

That's mozarella, sun-dried tomato, pepperoni, mushroom, pineapple and crushed red pepper.

Perfecto. Bellisimo. Molto buono. Grazie T.S.!

Posted by annika at 10:27 PM | Comments (18)

Things You Find On eBay

This is pretty funny.

Posted by annika at 09:14 AM | Comments (5)

May 05, 2005

Aircraft Humour

This may be apocryphal, but it's funny.

The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206.

Speedbird 206: " Frankfurt , Speedbird 206 clear of active runway."

Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven."

The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.

Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"

Speedbird 206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."

Ground (with quite arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?"

Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark, -- and didn't land."

Thanks to Shelly for that one.

Posted by annika at 08:10 AM | Comments (6)

Paula Hits The Road With The Hot Tub Friends... Again

This time she's on a mission.

Paula's car

Posted by annika at 12:21 AM | Comments (10)

May 04, 2005

Silly Texas Bill Update

Back in March i alerted you to the silly Texas bill that seeks to outlaw suggestive cheerleading routines. As a former high school cheerleader this is an issue close to my own heart, although i will admit the routines have gotten racier in the ten years since i used to shake it on the track. But i'm still a libertarian on this issue.

i'm sure there's a heck of a lot more urgent problems that they could be worrying about in Texas than sexed-up cheerleaders or even this lowlife? Both are symptoms of bad parenting - a failure to teach kids the meaning of "respect" - but not a reason for the state to crack down on freedom of expression.

The committee's revised bill was weakened somewhat, removing the former draconian punishment of suspending the team for the rest of the school year and the punitive reduction in the offending school district's funding.

Instead, the revised bill gives the school district the authority to "take appropriate action against the performance group and the group's sponsor, as determined by the district." Pretty vague, but of course the whole law is hopelessly vague, in my opinion.

Speaking against the bill at the March 29th hearing were two ACLU representatives (see trolls? i can agree with the ACLU sometimes), including eighteen year old high school senior Margeaux Goodfleisch (that's got to be a stage name, right?), who made this quite reasonable point:

I agree that sexually suggestive performances are inappropriate for school events and school-sponsored competitions, but exactly what is a sexually suggestive performance? It could be someone’s opinion that any time a group of young, attractive girls dance, it’s sexually suggestive. If you put on paper those moves we specifically cannot do, we would be more than happy to comply.
Well, you had to know that the legislature wasn't going to do that. Too much work and too easy to get around. A law like this has to be written vaguely or not at all. And the vagueness is what makes it so ridiculous.

Texas House Bill 1476 was voted out of committee by a vote of six to nothing, with three committee members absent. Today the Texas House of Representatives approved the bill by a vote of 85-55 with three present but not voting. Next, it goes to the Texas Senate for consideration.

See also: Grits For Breakfast with props for Margeaux.

Yet more: Blogger Jason Plotkin was apparently in the chamber for the debate and recorded these fun snippets:

What was funny is how they also had the song 'shake, shake, shake, shake, shake your booty' in the background at one point, I'm assuming, someone in the gallery played it.

. . .

'This is a ridiculous bill. I don't know how it got to the floor,' said Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston in a Chronicle article. 'We don't have any business mandating anything. We are spending time on "2-3-4, we can't shake it anymore." It's an embarrassment.'

. . .

Rep. Carter Casteel, R-New Braunfels, who agree legislators should not be legislating morality or telling people what to do, but she voted for the bill.

. . .

'When I was 15, anything a cheerleader did was interesting to me. When I was 17, I knew better' said [Rep. Rene Oliveria (D-Brownsville)]. Oliveria brought up how President George W. Bush, Governor Rick Perry and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson were cheerleaders and we should recognize them to vote no.

i should "revise and extend" my previous comment regarding the Democrats legislating morality with this bill. Despite being introduced by a Democrat, it appears that on the floor quite a few Dems were on the right side of this one.

Finally, In The Pink Texas gives us a timely warning about what happens to cheerleaders gone bad. And Frank J makes the connection between terrorism and slutty cheerleaders... sort of.

Posted by annika at 07:20 PM | Comments (3)

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

This 1992 poem by Jo Shapcott makes me want to open my refrigerator and apologize.

Vegetable Love

I´d like to say the fridge
was clean, but look at the rusty
streaks down the back wall
and the dusty brown pools
underneath the salad crisper.

And this is where I´ve lived
the past two weeks, since I was pulled
from the vegetable garden.
I´m wild for him: I want to stay crunchy
enough to madden his hard palate and his tongue,
every sensitive part inside his mouth.
But almost hour by hour now, it seems,
I can feel my outer leaves losing resistance,
as oxygen leaks in, water leaks out
and the same tendency creeps further
and further towards my heart.

Down here there´s not much action,
just me and another, even limper, lettuce
and half an onion. The door opens so many,
so many times a day, but he never opens
the salad drawer where I´m curled in a corner.

There´s an awful lot of meat. Strange cuts:
whole limbs with their grubby hair,
wings and thighs of large birds,
claws and beaks. New juice
gathers pungency as it rolls down
through the smelly strata of the refrigerator,
and drips on to our fading heads.

The thermostat is kept as low as it will go,
and when the weather changes
for the worse, what´s nearest
to the bottom of the fridge starts to freeze.
Three times we´ve had cold snaps,
and I´ve felt the terrifying pain
as ice crystals formed at my fringes.

Insulation isn´t everything in here:
you´ve got to relax into the cold,
let it in at every pore. It´s proper
for food preservation. But I heat up
again at the thought of him,
at the thought of mixing into one juice
with his saliva, of passing down his throat
and being ingested with the rest
into his body cells where I´ll learn
by osmosis another lovely version
of curl, then shrivel, then open again to desire.

More food poetry: Kevin posted something about the beguiling food-like substance, Nutella. With pictures here.

Posted by annika at 07:38 AM | Comments (3)

May 03, 2005

She Was Gonna Do What They Said Cain't Be Done


There's a lot we don't know about that runaway bride from Atlanta. More will come out in the next few weeks, and i'll bet you, say $80,000, that her little trip involved a dude in a black Trans-Am. The clue is right there in the song:

The boys are thirsty in Atlanta and there's beer in Texarkana.
And we'll bring it back no matter what it takes.
"Atlanta." See? Coincidence? i think not.

She was westbound and down. Seriously, i'm tellin' you there was a dude involved that we haven't heard about yet.

More: "US, Italy Disagree On Runaway Bride"

Update: i was right.

Posted by annika at 07:08 AM | Comments (11)

Undies Quiz

You Are Boy Shorts!

You're stylish, trendy, but not over the top. You know how to look good - without looking like you're trying too hard. Men think that you're cute, friendly, and approachable. And you've got a spunky, fiesty side that comes out after a while!

What Kind of Panties Are You? Take This Quiz :-)

Find the Love of Your Life (and More Love Quizzes) at Your New Romance.

Well, that was a very revealing quiz, i think.

Via Inter Alia.

Posted by annika at 01:00 AM | Comments (5)

May 02, 2005

Don't Panic

This weekend, i re-rented The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, the cheesy 1981 BBC version that i used to rave about. i won't be doing that anymore. It does not hold up to a second viewing.

The fact is, i only saw it once before, many years ago, when a friend let me borrow the videotape. i was really blazed at the time. i seemed to remember thinking the low budget special effects (none) were much funnier than they actually are.

The BBC version, in fact, is pretty sucky. Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect seem gay. The chick who plays Trillian is simply annoying and unpleasant to watch, as is Zaphod Beeblebrox, who can't decide what accent to use. i wanted to strangle Marvin the depressed robot by the end of the three hours.

Zaphod Beeblebrox's extra head is comical. It moves on its own, but it looks worse than a papier mache replica. It's really bad.

i did like the little interludes when the narrator read from the Guide. These are illustrated with typical 80's videogame style graphics that seem to still work for me. The narrator delivers the funny lines with perfect deadpan timing. All the scenes on the Vogon spaceship were well done and funny too. The Vogon captain's poetry was classic.

i also detected a slight British high-brow anti-Americanism, which i hadn't noticed the first time i saw it. i'm more sensisitive to these things now. For instance, a couple of the characters spoke in caricatures of American dialects. Some guards talked like they were from Brooklyn, and Trillian sounded like a gum chewing waitress. And when Ford and Zaphod sing a death song in one of the later episodes, the melody is the Star Spangled Banner. Why is it that the Brits all know our national anthem?

That's something that has always bothered me about the British intelligentsia. They love us, yet they hate us. They act superior, yet we give them an inferiority complex. They're obsessed with us. It's kind of pathetic.

Anyways, i don't recommend the old BBC version, except to Dr. Who fans, who are all desensitized to bad sci-fi effects already.

i'm a big fan of the book, and i do plan on seeing the newest feature version. i think Douglas Adams is a modern day Swift.

Posted by annika at 10:41 PM | Comments (5)

May 01, 2005

Right Wing News Favorite Columnists

Right Wing News has a new poll of bloggers' favorite columnists. i participated, and my list included:

Ann Coulter
Charles Krauthammer
Dick Morris
John Podhoretz
Victor Davis Hanson
Jonah Goldberg
Peggy Noonan
Rich Lowry

The winner was Mark Steyn, deservedly, even though i forgot to put him on my list.

Posted by annika at 11:05 PM | Comments (9)