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

June 30, 2005

Statement Of This Blog's Purpose

The purpose of this blog is to:

1. Bloviate.

2. Increase awareness and appreciation of good poetry.

3. Make fun of people, especially celebrities.

4. Interact with like-minded folks.

5. Promote my own ego-satisfaction.

It is not the purpose of this blog to:

1. Present ironclad arguments in favor of my stated positions, although i sometimes try to do that.

2. Regurgitate the party line, as all long-time visitors should know.

3. Sacrifice honesty to the god of consistency or slay the demon of fallacious reasoning, although i tend to favor those ideals.

4. Be nice, although i often am.

5. Promote your agenda; your website; your point of view; or your online gambling/porn/prescription drug scam.

i've successfully avoided posting a Statement of Blog's Purpose for over two years, but i think its time has come. i'm sick of people telling me what i should and shouldn't do with my own bandwidth. [Well... Pixy's bandwidth.] If i want to make fun of Lindsay Lohan, i will. If i want to do a non-religious post on Easter Sunday, i will. If i want to drop a subtle hint that i might not be celibate, i fucking will. If i want to run your ass out of the comments because i don't like you for no good reason at all, i will. Even though i almost never do that, i reserve any and all rights.

That is all.

More: Wow. i thought i was pissed off. Check out Beth. Right on girl!

Posted by annika at 03:18 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Conservative Back-Slapping Quote Of The Day

At the risk of being accused as a mindless parroter of conservative talking points, let me quote Jeff Goldstien's deconstruction of the "chickenhawk meme," which is so clever i plan to adopt it and mindlessly parrot it all over fucking creation.


[N.B. The above flip-out was directed at a troll, not you, Jeff.]

But i digress. Here's the quote:

Sadly, the chickenhawk argument, though logically puerile, can prove quite rhetorically effective—in the same sense that charges of homophobia and racism have proven effective in debates over gay marriage and government funded affirmative action programs: such charges, cynically delivered, tend to stifle substantive discourse, forcing one side of the argument onto the defensive by changing the focus of the debate from the issues themselves to the character of certain professors of those issues—and in that regard, they help to sustain the status quo.

The bottom line is, the chickenhawk argument is an impediment to legitimate discourse and debate—and legitimate discourse and debate over national security is a necessity in a free society; and for that reason, those who raise the chickenhawk argument should be treated by everyone—right and left—as intellectual pariahs.

. . .

The gist of most of the 'arguments' in support of the [chickenhawk] meme’s righteousness is that people so willing to speak vociferously in favor of the war should put their money where their mouths are—and merely advocating for the cause doesn’t count. Which means, of course, FDR should’ve strapped on a helmet, picked up a rifle, and had one of his aides wheel his crippled ass in front of a Panzer. BECAUSE OF THE HYPOCRISY!

Well put, indeed.

Posted by annika at 01:55 PM | Comments (9)

Ulf Hjertström Update: Two Down

Recently i posted about Ulf Hjertström, the Swede who was held hostage by terrorists in Iraq and vowed to hunt them down. Here's an update:

Hjertström 'doesn’t want to go into detail' about the bounty hunters, but assures Expressen that they are 'the best money can buy.'

'They’re not twiddling their thumbs,' declares Hjertström, revealing that he has 'received confirmation that two of [the kidnappers] have already been taken care of.' When asked to elaborate on the fate of the purportedly captured men, the Swede says he 'hasn’t inquired' but has his 'suspicions.'


The original story is in Swedish. i can't read it but i know someone who might be able to.

Link thanks to Billy McCormac of the Stockholm Spectator Blog.

[cross-posted at A Western Heart]

Posted by annika at 08:13 AM | Comments (13)

June 29, 2005

This Week's Cotillion Ball

Please check out this week's Cotillion Ball, hosted by the following lovely and talented ladies:

Not a Desperate Housewife
Maxed out Mama
Janette and Jody

This is some of the best stuff on the blogosphere, so don't miss it.

And while i'm at it, please go to fellow Munuvian Oddybobo's blog and read "I've Been Thinking, and That Is Bad!" Her thoughts on the Supreme Court are so close to mine, that i don't need to do that anti-establishment clause post i was going to do. Now i can take the night off, thanks Bobo!

Posted by annika at 12:12 PM | Comments (6)

Wednesday Is Poetry Day: Whitman's Civil War

Here's a great poem, written by America's greatest poet, who was an eyewitness to what he writes about.

The Artilleryman’s Vision

While my wife at my side lies slumbering, and the wars are over long,
And my head on the pillow rests at home, and the vacant midnight passes,
And through the stillness, through the dark, I hear, just hear, the breath of my infant,
There in the room, as I wake from sleep, this vision presses upon me:
The engagement opens there and then, in fantasy unreal;
The skirmishers begin—they crawl cautiously ahead—I hear the irregular snap! snap!
I hear the sounds of the different missiles—the short t-h-t! t-h-t! of the rifle balls;
I see the shells exploding, leaving small white clouds—I hear the great shells shrieking as they pass;
The grape, like the hum and whirr of wind through the trees, (quick, tumultuous, now the contest rages!)
All the scenes at the batteries themselves rise in detail before me again;
The crashing and smoking—the pride of the men in their pieces;
The chief gunner ranges and sights his piece, and selects a fuse of the right time;
After firing, I see him lean aside, and look eagerly off to note the effect;
—Elsewhere I hear the cry of a regiment charging—(the young colonel leads himself this time, with brandish’d sword;)
I see the gaps cut by the enemy’s volleys, (quickly fill’d up, no delay;)
I breathe the suffocating smoke—then the flat clouds hover low, concealing all;
Now a strange lull comes for a few seconds, not a shot fired on either side;
Then resumed, the chaos louder than ever, with eager calls, and orders of officers;
While from some distant part of the field the wind wafts to my ears a shout of applause, (some special success;)
And ever the sound of the cannon, far or near, (rousing, even in dreams, a devilish exultation, and all the old mad joy, in the depths of my soul;)
And ever the hastening of infantry shifting positions—batteries, cavalry, moving hither and thither;
(The falling, dying, I heed not—the wounded, dripping and red, I heed not—some to the rear are hobbling;
Grime, heat, rush—aid-de-camps galloping by, or on a full run;
With the patter of small arms, the warning s-s-t of the rifles, (these in my vision I hear or see,)
And bombs busting in air, and at night the vari-color’d rockets.

We're coming up on the one hundred forty-second anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1 to July 3, 1863) and the conclusion of the Vicksburg Campaign (May 19 to July 4, 1863). With Shelby Foote's death yesterday and the Fourth of July this weekend it's appropriate to remember the most important event in our nation's history. Of course i'm talking about the Civil War.

Yesterday in the comments to my post about Shelby Foote's death i mentioned how i am fascinated by the differences between our own time and the way people lived in the time of the Civil War.

We all have a pretty good idea of how soldiers fight today. Heck, we've grown up watching war on tv. But it's almost impossible for most of us to imagine how men fought during the Civil War. It must have taken a special kind of courage and discipline to march side by side with a bunch of other men towards a line of cannon and guns.

Posted by annika at 08:03 AM | Comments (4)

June 28, 2005

Remembering Shelby Foote

Shelby Foote died this morning in Memphis at age 88.

Shelby Foote was the man. About two years ago, i had the pleasure of finishing his Proustian three volume history, The Civil War: A Narrative. It took me nine months of reading to finish it, and like having a baby i imagine, it was both painful and rewarding at the same time.

You may be familiar with Mr. Foote from his talking head appearances in Ken Burns' Civil War series on PBS. His folksy style and always interesting anecdotes were what interested me in his writings originally. So i bought his short novel Shiloh, which was not bad. With my membership in the History Book Club, and a few surplus bonus points, i purchased the 14 volume illustrated Time Life version of the Civil War narrative. i intended to just look at the pretty pictures, set them on a shelf to impress friends with, and maybe pass them on to my kids someday. i never intended to read it.

i saw Ken Burns' documentary, i have two history degrees, i thought i knew enough about the Civil War. And besides, my concentration was always WWII and postwar history. CW history was for the real history geeks, not me. Still, one day i picked up the first volume of the Time Life set during an idle moment, and read a few paragraphs. Amazing. That led to a few chapters and pretty soon i was committed.

The Narrative is very readable -- Foote was a novelist first -- but it is also very detailed. Having read it, i realize now how superficial the Ken Burns documentary was. And that thing was like 12 hours long! To do full justice to the huge subject that is the American Civil War takes time. A lot of time. But as has been said so often, you can't truly understand America without understanding the Civil War. And i do believe that.

It helps to have an interest in military history, though. Because Foote's history describes every single battle and campaign from both a micro and macro perspective. The macro is often the most esoteric, and difficult material. But along with that stuff, there's plenty of personal, political and biographical detail, which makes the Narrative the most comprehensive popular history of the Civil War that will ever be published.

i worked through it partly for the challenge. i knew the general outline of the war, and i knew i had to get to the big events. Sumter, the Bull Runs, Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Emancipation, Sherman's march, Appomatox, Ford's Theater, etc. But i learned so much along the way that i had to finish it. To my surprise, i found that some of my favorite subject matter was the history of naval operations during the war. That's a much deeper subject than just the Monitor vs. Virginia battle. Some of the shit that happened on the rivers is pretty unbelievable.

Anyways, i would love to have shaken Shelby Foote's hand and thanked him for having written that huge work, which kept me enthralled for the better part of a year. i almost consider him a professor of mine, because through his books i became a Civil War buff, which i was not before i started.

More: And in the great minds think alike department: The Maximum Leader also wishes he could have shaken the celebrated author's hand.

Posted by annika at 01:46 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Just A Question

The BTK Killer's nickname stood for "bind torture kill. i wonder if he chose to call himself that because he liked to play loud rap music and turn the a/c up on his victims.

i'm not being flip here, just trying to make a semantic point.

Posted by annika at 07:12 AM | Comments (28)

June 27, 2005

A Lovely Left Blogger

i wanted to see what bloggers were saying about the death of 58 year old Wal-Mart heir and Silver Star awardee, John Walton. He died in Wyoming today, when his experimental ultra-light crashed.

i looked up "John Walton" on Technorati and saw a pretty disgusting LiveJournal entry by a "blogger" (LJ blogs aren't real blogs, as you all know.) whom i won't link to. This ignorant bitch requires registration to read her drivel, so i couldn't read the whole entry. But the Technorati robot pulled this quote, which was quite enough:

The 11th richest asshole in the world ($18 billion) was killed in some kind of plane crash in Wyomning. John Walton (of Walmart), 53, is plunging towards the bowels of hell at this very moment.
John Walton, was more than just the world's eleventh richest man. He was a Green Beret medic in Vietnam, who received his Silver Star "for helping save the lives of several members of his unit while under intense enemy fire." i wonder if that LiveJournal bitch was aware of that.

Like most Americans with his kind of wealth, Mr. Walton was known as a philanthropist. The foundation he ran donated over 700 million dollars to education related causes over the last six years. i wonder how much LiveJournal bitch has contributed to charity.

Oh annika, you don't understand; the Waltons are rich, conservative, anti-union and Christian, so that makes them the embodiment of evil.

[As i continue to bang my head against the wall.]

Update: Zombyboy plumbs the depths of depravity known as the Democratic Underground, where many comments are in a similar, bigoted and hateful vein.

Posted by annika at 11:35 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack


Read part one of a story of the Old South, by Christina of Feisty Repartee. i'm hooked now.

Posted by annika at 07:30 PM | Comments (1)

There's Only One Thing To Do...

...repeal the Establishment Clause.


Okay, maybe just Marbury, then.

Read Justice Scalia's dissent in McCreary County v. A.C.L.U., starting at screen page 39. It's too long to excerpt here, while i'm supposed to be working, but it is beautiful and worth the effort to read.

Posted by annika at 02:22 PM | Comments (2)

A Major's View

Doug Tennapel interviewed United States Air Force Major Steven A. Givler, who served during both Iraq wars as an intelligence officer.

Some highlights:

As far as ethics and rules of engagement are concerned, we take greater pains than any military in the world to safeguard civilian life. We actually incur a good deal of risk in order to avoid hurting people or damaging property. People don’t realize what a change this is from how war has been waged throughout history. Civilian populations have always born the brunt of war, and suffered from the after effects. Look at WWII.

To destroy a single factory in Germany we might have had to destroy the entire city surrounding it, just because of the inaccuracy of our weapons. In Japan, we had to destroy even more because of Japan’s decentralized industries. In Iraq though, I stood on a bridge that had been destroyed with a single laser-guided bomb. The mosque next to the bridge was completely unscathed. We could have carpeted the entire area with a B-52 full of dumb bombs from a safe altitude, but instead we sent in a fighter that risked surface to air fire just so we could be precise and spare any unnecessary damage. This in spite of the fact that our enemy makes no distinction between military and civilian, and has time and time again, used mosques and churches for military purposes such as fighting positions or places for hiding weapons caches.

. . .

When I see those 'war is not the answer' bumper stickers, I always wonder 'what was the question?' Because maybe we’re talking different questions. Certainly, if the question is 'What do you do about a group of men who believe in slavery, who are completely dedicated to killing every one of us, and who cannot be negotiated with,' the war is definitely the answer.

People with those bumper stickers remind me of people who think meat comes from a grocery store. They have completely forgotten that something had to die in order for them to eat, and before it found its way to that sterile Styrofoam tray, that steak went through a very messy process. They have forgotten too, that our founding fathers said that occasionally the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots. It amazes me that they seem unaware that, were it not for war, their bumper stickers, if they were allowed to have them, would be printed in German, or Japanese, or Russian. War, and our success at it, is precisely what has earned them the freedom to be so naïve.

Unfortunately, the world is an imperfect place. Evil exists. Some people are so given over to it that there is nothing else that can be done with them other than to kill them. I know this is difficult for some people to believe. I wish I could show them what I’ve seen, like the Brothel Palace, outside of Baghdad, where Saddam and his friends imprisoned women they kidnapped off the streets. Or maybe I could introduce them to Iraqis who were forced to watch their family members fed feet-first (to prolong the suffering) through plastic shredders. Maybe that would change their minds, but probably not. That’s alright. I’ve been there. I know that 5 million Iraqis owe their freedom to a war fought for them by Americans. I know that for them, war has definitely been the answer.

Posted by annika at 11:07 AM | Comments (4)

June 26, 2005

There's An Idea

Via Rodger, this cool story from The Australian:

Ex-hostage hires bounty hunters

A hostage held alongside Australian Douglas Wood in Iraq has hired bounty hunters to track down his former captors, promising to eliminate them one by one.

Swede Ulf Hjertstrom, who was held for several weeks with Mr Wood in Baghdad, was released by his kidnappers on May 30.

Mr Hjertstrom has since claimed he shared information with US and Iraqi troops about Mr Wood which led to the release of the 63-year-old Australian engineers two weeks ago, after 47 days in captivity.

Now, he wants to find those responsible.

'I have now put some people to work to find these bastards,' he told the Ten Network today.

'I invested about $50,000 so far and we will get them one by one.'

i guess he didn't buy into that whole Stockholm Syndrome nonsense. Gotta love it.

More: i found this apalling story about the Australian hostage Douglas Wood at Andi's World. It shouldn't shock me, yet somehow it does.

It seems that lunacy isn't exclusive to American journalists. After Douglas Woods, the Australian contractor kidnapped in Iraq, was freed from captivity, he actually expressed his true feelings for his captors by calling them a**holes. These remarks have drawn the ire of one Andrew Jaspan, editor of a left-wing newspaper in Australia.

Jaspan tells us that Woods went way too far with his remarks:

Said Jaspan: "I was, I have to say, shocked by Douglas Wood's use of the a---hole word, if I can put it like that, which I just thought was coarse and very ill-thought through and I think demeans the man and is one of the reasons why people are slightly sceptical of his motives and everything else.

Woods greatest sin was to say "God Bless America" and praise American and Iraqi forces. Apparently, Jaspan thinks Woods should have been more grateful to his captors and a little less grateful to the forces who freed him. After all, his captors didn't torment him too badly.

Well, unless you count kidnapping him, kicking him in the head, keeeping him blindfolded and bound for 47 days, shaving him bald, killing two of his colleagues, making him beg for his life, and -- according to Hjertstrom -- shooting several other prisoners in front of him.

Wow. What is wrong with the far left? And how can anyone on God's earth take them seriously? It makes me want to bang my head against a wall sometimes.

Australian lefties, while Woods was still in chains, used him as a prop in their crusade against the forces of "U.S. Imperialism." Now that he's free, and free to speak the truth, the lefties have no use for him. And in fact, now they've come to despise Mr. Woods.

But we know what Wood's real offence is, don't we?

Yes, he did not do as did SBS journalist and Left hero John Martinkus after his own brief captivity and declare his kidnappers were "not savages", and say Iraq was 'on the road to s---'.

INSTEAD, he roared 'God bless America' and praised the US-trained Iraqi soldiers -- Iraq's real freedom fighters -- who saved him, saying he was 'proof positive that the current policies of the American and Australian governments is the right one'.

It seems that to a Leftist, this makes Wood the boorish inferior of the killers who beat him and held him captive. It is why journalist Tracee Hutchinson, in an Age column, calls him a 'blustering buffoon', moaning: 'It was enough that his words God bless America had been played over and over on his release.'

Let me ask younger readers still deciding on their brand of politics. Wouldn't you blush to join this Left?


[Cross-posted at A Western Heart.]

Posted by annika at 11:33 AM | Comments (13)

Tom's Lost It

Somebody give the man some Prozac.


More at Wizbang.

[Also, i linked to Beth. Because she said i could.]

Posted by annika at 12:30 AM | Comments (12)

June 25, 2005

250,000th Visitor

Congratulations to the 250,000th visitor to my site. You found me via a google search for "sex poems." i'd call you a perv, except that my site comes up as the number two link for "sex poems," so what does that say about me?

Posted by annika at 02:20 PM | Comments (9)

The Kick-Ass Movie Assassins Runoff: Round One Results

A week or so ago, i asked this provocative question in my rotating poll: "If Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer were each given orders to kill each other, who would win?"

The results are in. You decided, with 76% of the vote, that Jason Bourne would kill Jack Bauer.

Much as i love Jack Bauer, i'd have to add my vote to the 76%. Jason Bourne kicks ass!

One thing about Jason Bourne, and i haven't read the Ludlum books so i'm only relying on the Matt Damon portrayal here, but he is freakin' deadly all by himself. Without the aid of a memory, or any organizational backup at all, he was able to alternately hide from, or escape from the clutches of, any government's intelligence or police apparatus, including about a half dozen of the world's best assassins sent to get him. Plus he's a hell of a nice guy.

The trouble with Jack Bauer is that he is nothing without CTU. And CTU is unreliable at best. Look what happened last year. In twenty-four hours CTU managed to allow someone to take over all the U.S. nuclear power plants by remote control, resulting in a nuclear meltdown and thousands of deaths, someone then stole an F-117 stealth fighter and shot down Air Force One, probably killing the president.*

Poor Jack Bauer. Without his little palm pilot he's pretty much useless. Unfortunately, that palm pilot links him to CTU, which as Dawn Summers once pointed out, "has more leaks than the Nixon White House."

Jack has his strengths, to be sure. He doesn't quit, and he doesn't shy away from doing what has to be done. Like, for instance, shooting his boss in the leg or in the head, or killing his girlfriend's husband for "national security" reasons, wink-wink. Too bad Audrey Heller couldn't see that he is actually a pretty nice guy, too. Whatta picky bitch.

But the key reason i think Jason Bourne would win this round is that he's so damn fast. And when he fights, he attacks. It's like three punches and three guys go down in one second. i've never seen Jack fight like that, although maybe he hasn't had the opportunity. Next season, when Jack's flying solo, we might get to see what he can do without CTU, so i'm looking forward to that.

Next up: Beatrix Kiddo vs. Lara Croft (not technically an assassin but what the heck.) So go vote.

* i'm still not clear on that. Did the president die or not?

Posted by annika at 08:13 AM | Comments (8)

June 24, 2005

Karl Rove Is A Genius

A diabolical genius. i'm glad he's on our side.

Ralph Bristol of SCHeadlines.com theorizes that the controversy surrounding Rove's recent anti-liberal comments was the result of a well played trick. If so, i love it. If not, the furor over what Rove said is still laughable.

Whether it was an intentional trap or not, and we all know that Rove is evil and maniacal, the Democrats fell into it, one after another.

Even before the dust had settled on Sen. Dick Durbin’s potentially treasonous assertion that our military guards at the Guantanamo Bay terrorist prison camp were acting like Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, followed by his tearful apology to himself for attracting the wrath of friend and foe alike, Rove offered Democrats the opportunity to stand out as uniquely hypocritical.

In the world of politics, where hypocrisy is an art form, to be uniquely hypocritical is indeed a remarkable accomplishment.

i'm hesitant to even blog about what Karl Rove said, since its truth should be self-evident to everyone. That's what makes it so objectionable to liberals, i guess. Professor Hewitt has the rundown on why Rove need not apologize for speaking the truth. Let's hope he doesn't.

Back to the Ralph Bristol piece. Here are the differences between the Rove and Durbin comments:

Liberals might argue that while Schumer, Clinton and others are in fact hypocritical for attacking Rove and defending Durbin, conservatives are similarly hypocritical for attacking Durbin, but not Rove. That argument would have merit only if the two men’s statements were similarly outrageous.

Here are the differences.

First, What Durbin stated was demonstrably fallacious. Anyone with even a modicum of historical knowledge and perspective would not seriously equate the alleged mistreatment of Gitmo prisoners, cited by Durbin, (uncomfortable heat and cold; loud rap music) with the inhumane murder of millions of innocent civilians at the hands of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.

What Rove said is largely factual. Liberals, specifically the group Moveon.org, did in fact counsel “moderation and restraint” after 9/11. While many Democrats voted for the war on terror, it is true that some liberals reacted exactly as Rove described. He could have been more accurate if he had said “some liberals,” but that’s a miniscule rhetorical error compared to Durbin’s slander of the guards at Gitmo.

Second, Rove served up his remarks at a setting that is accepted as a 'red meat banquet,' a gathering of the New York Conservative Party. Durbin’s comments came on the floor of what is supposed to be 'the world’s most deliberative body.'

Finally, and most important, Durbin’s allegations can and will be repeatedly broadcast by America’s enemy as a tool to reinforce the fury in the Jihad soldiers and inspire others to join the battle. His comments will be a useful and enduring propaganda tool in the hands of the enemy.

That difference cannot be overstated, in my opinion. Even if only one soldier, or one marine, or one Iraqi policeman dies as a result of Durbin's disgusting statments from the Senate floor, isn't that reason enough for him to leave politics in disgrace? And who can say that Durbin's stupidity didn't lengthen our military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan at the very least?

By contrast, the worst you can say about Rove's comments are that they were

an inaccurate rendering of some Democrats’ support for the war, which could harm their electoral chances in the future.
But i wouldn't even go that far. i think what Rove said about liberals [as Dan Patrick pointed out this morning on Laura Ingraham's show, Rove never mentioned "Democrats"] was entirely and demonstrably accurate.

Posted by annika at 10:26 AM | Comments (7)

June 22, 2005

Liveblogging The Bug-Eyed Bride Interview (With Casca)

And for the record, letting somebody think somebody they love is dead, when they're not, is quite cruel.

Kill Bill, Vol. 2

In what was most likely a really bad idea, i decided to ask Casca to help me live-blog the Jennifer Wilbanks interview that aired last night with Kiki Kouric on NBC.

But i'll be damned if i'm going to waste an hour of my life (and Casca's) live-blogging that shit and not post about the stupid thing.

You've probably already heard the main sound bite from the show. The bride took a bottle of pills on the bus with her, but decided "not to play God." Someone needs to tell John Mason that any girl who considered killing herself rather than marrying him, may not be "the one." Cut your losses dude.

Anyway, here's some excerpts from my IM critique with Casca:

Immediately, the conversation focused on physical appearances.

annikagyrl: the bug-eye is not that hott
Casca: she's hideous, and crazier than most. who could sleep next to that? i'd be waiting for the knife in the chest
annikagyrl: yah, she's another lorena bobbit waiting to happen, no doubt
Casca: OMG, what an ugly child
annikagyrl: john mason's no looker either
Casca: "well hell, you KNEW she was nutz"
annikagyrl: he looks like a georgia bulldog
annikagyrl: that's twice he's made that "huuuuh" noise, what a doofus
Casca: his haircut is gay
annikagyrl: nice page boy haircut, doofbag
Casca: he's a vulcan. did you see that ear?
annikagyrl: she looks romulan to me, too
Casca: lol. her face is fucked up
annikagyrl: yah its asymmetrical
Casca: she's gonna be damned ugly in ten years
annikagyrl: hahaah! if i was kiki, i'd ask her how her face got all bent
annikagyrl: HE IS A VULCAN look at those ibrows
Casca: definitely Spock's bastard child
annikagyrl: or he's a hobbit, a tall one
Casca: look at that bizarre skin on the side of her face
annikagyrl: what is that ?

Kiki gets up close and personal, with a sappy background piece on the bride.

annikagyrl: "an idyllic southern upbringing" lol
annikagyrl: i'm waiting for the incest joke, casca
Casca: i'll bet she DOES kiss daddy on the lips
annikagyrl: haha there it is, "she still kisses her dad on the lips!!!!"
annikagyrl: hahaaha
Casca: with tongue and everything!
annikagyrl: "she alternated between mommy and daddy on the weekends.....!"
annikagyrl: lolololool
annikagyrl: noooooooooo

Next i begin cracking on Kiki.

annikagyrl: they call it "A Katie Couric Special"
annikagyrl: gowd, i hate kiki
annikagyrl: i wonder when kiki and al roker are going to go public with their illicit affair?
Casca: Al's too nice of a guy to wallow with that skank

The groom reveals that he was indeed a partyer in his younger days. Casca and i were skeptical.

annikagyrl: hahahaha
annikagyrl: he was wild???
Casca: party animal and virgin
Casca: doesn't really mix
annikagyrl: haha. he's like "Lee Harvey... when you stole that cow... and your friends tried to make it with the cow?"
Casca: yeah
annikagyrl: "i wanna party with you cowboy!"

The groom says that the two of them decided to save themselves for their wedding night. Again, we were skeptical.

Casca: well, premarital sex was out of the question for one of them
annikagyrl: it was out of the question cuz her dance card was full, with all her other fuckbuddies
Casca: sadly close to the truth

Then a shocking revelation. They had planned a dry wedding!

Casca: OMG
Casca: a DRY wedding?
Casca: i'd rather be neutered
annikagyrl: there is no such thing as a dry wedding, you of all people should know that
Casca: good point
annikagyrl: lol, i went to a dry wedding once
annikagyrl: i still got plastered, that's what purses are for

Boredom began to set in, and the conversation strayed.

annikagyrl: i had an excellent bowl of top ramen tonight for dinner
annikagyrl: the secret is teriyaki sauce
annikagyrl: and lots of pepper
annikagyrl: and veg-all if you got it
Casca: i ate a seven bone roast
Casca: and baked beans
Casca: had to take a break in the middle
Casca: whew
annikagyrl: mmmm
annikagyrl: baked beans
annikagyrl: did i mention that i hate kiki kouric?

Kiki Kouric managed to do a whole hour without adding any new information to this already tired story, sending me into a frenzy of Kiki hatred.

annikagyrl: it was a life or death decision for her?
Casca: yeah
annikagyrl: okay kiki, now ask her the "why" question...
annikagyrl: kiki you suck
annikagyrl: kiki shure can draw out a half hour show into a full fucking waste of an hour can't she?
annikagyrl: fucckckckckc Kiki, do you have to ask the same question twice?! oh she is so annoying
annikagyrl: Howard Stern should be doing this interview
Casca: OH YES! that would be genius
annikagyrl: she denies reports that she was headed there to see an old boyfriend, and kiki doesn't challenge her on that denial
annikagyrl: what a fucking loser, kiki you suck
annikagyrl: shit, kiki, don't fucking ask any question that anyone might care about the fucking answer to, nooo don't do that...
annikagyrl: she won't answer the "why" question
annikagyrl: she won't say why she slandered a whole ethnicity. what good is this fucking intvw?
Casca: it's all about feelings
annikagyrl: i'm going to strangle Kiki
Casca: nothing more than feelings
annikagyrl: kiki, you fucking suck, ask a fucking question you bitch
Casca: feelings of loooooove
annikagyrl: kiki has failed on all accounts, she hasnt asked anything that might elicit new information, and she hasn't made the bug-eye look more sympathetic
Casca: feeeeeeelings
annikagyrl: it's all tripe
Casca: woooohhhhooohh feeeeeelings
annikagyrl: i'm going to strangle you Casca

Actually, the big news of the interview was the revelation that while the groom still wants to get married, the bride is still reluctant.

annikagyrl: oh, so they aren't still engaged, or what?
Casca: they're not getting married
annikagyrl: ohhhhhhoaho, she's the one who's still holding back. did you catch that?
Casca: yeah
annikagyrl: and she's the one who says, "I'm not sure I'm the right woman for him." that's the oldest excuse in the book: "it's not you, it's me..."
Casca: well, even if she doesnt' marry him
Casca: she still gets to keep the moolah
annikagyrl: bug-eye is loving this attention, she is a selfish narcissist

Apparently, the wedding gifts are stashed away someplace, even though there's no new wedding date.

annikagyrl: You are kidding me, they haven't given back the gifts?
Casca: nope
annikagyrl: that's fraud!
Casca: actually, would you want your gift back?
annikagyrl: yes i would want it back, because i usually only give gifts of things that i secretly want for myself
Casca: lol

Well, that's about it.

i apologize to you, gentle visitor, and to Casca for making him watch that piece of shit. My sincere hope for all of us is that this blog post will be the last time we'll ever have to hear about that stupid runaway bride.

Posted by annika at 11:27 PM | Comments (17)

Wednesday Is Poetry Day: T.S. Eliot

i had been planning to do a parody of the whole Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes nonsense by altering the words to T.S. Eliot's Song of the Jellicles. But i couldn't get it to work; the meter was all wrong and "Tomicle Kats are not too bright" was about the best line i could come up with. Not very good at all, especially compared to the original, so i abandoned the idea.

What a coincidence that Mark Nicodemo (a brand new Munuvian btw, congratulations) would reference another poem from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats in my comments section. Great minds, i guess. So, i decided this week i'll post the Song of the Jellicles, unaltered of course.

The Song Of The Jellicles

Jellicle Cats come out tonight,
Jellicle Cats come one come all:
The Jellicle Moon is shining bright--
Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball.

Jellicle Cats are black and white,
Jellicle Cats are rather small;
Jellicle Cats are merry and bright,
And pleasant to hear when they caterwaul.
Jellicle Cats have cheerful faces,
Jellicle Cats have bright black eyes;
They like to practise their airs and graces
And wait for the Jellicle Moon to rise.

Jellicle Cats develop slowly,
Jellicle Cats are not too big;
Jellicle Cats are roly-poly,
They know how to dance a gavotte and a jig.
Until the Jellicle Moon appears
They make their toilette and take their repose:
Jellicles wash behind their ears,
Jellicles dry between their toes.

Jellicle Cats are white and black,
Jellicle Cats are of moderate size;
Jellicles jump like a jumping-jack,
Jellicle Cats have moonlit eyes.
They're quiet enough in the morning hours,
They're quiet enough in the afternoon,
Reserving their terpsichorean powers
To dance by the light of the Jellicle Moon.

Jellicle Cats are black and white,
Jellicle Cats (as I said) are small;
If it happens to be a stormy night
They will practise a caper or two in the hall.
If it happens the sun is shining bright
You would say they had nothing to do at all:
They are resting and saving themselves to be right
For the Jellicle Moon and the Jellicle Ball.

Posted by annika at 07:45 AM | Comments (4)

June 21, 2005

Saddam Poetry: Sonnet

The bawdy dictator:

I Wish I Had A Candle And A Fine Woman

I wish I had a candle and a fine woman.
These finer things are meant for men like me.
Not meant for kurd-man, shiite or the jew-man,
whom i buried in mass graves o’er by that tree.
You understand what women give to me,
but wherefor say I candle? Do you ask?
To know how waxen tapers meet my need,
picture me, Uday, and my friend monsieur Jacques.
T’was many years ago, on a debauch
in London’s town or was it Amsterdam’s?
We caught a sex show -- wonderment to watch.
This chick had knockers like two great big hams.
Now what I’m ‘bout to tell you, keep hush-hush.
She did things with that candle made me blush.

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

Saddam Poetry: Free Verse

A Perfect Woman, My Sons

not too smart
not too dumb
not too old
not too young
not too pretty
not too skank
find such a girl
no need to wank

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

Saddam Poetry: haiku

You're like sons to me
so i give you this advice:
don't eat with wipe hand.

Posted by annika at 10:12 AM | Comments (2)

Estrich Takes Head Out Of Sand, For A Moment

My respect for Susan Estrich just went up about a tenth of a point. Of course, when she's starting out in negative figures that doesn't mean a whole lot, but still. Read her Liberal's Defense of Fox News.

Link hat tip to Kate of Small Dead Animals.

Posted by annika at 09:23 AM | Comments (2)

Saddam Loves Doritos?

Mass murdering dictators can have good taste in snack items.

Who knew?

Unfortunately, any sympathy he might have gotten from me by sharing my favorite junk food obsession, he relinquished by calling Dan Rather "a good guy."

But also, Saddam apparently likes to relax in prison by writing poetry among other things. i'm terribly curious to read his poetry, but i imagine it will be a long time before i see any of it published.

So in the interim, i've written a haiku that, while it was not written by the Butcher of Baghdad, i could imagine him having written something very similar during a reflective moment behind bars.

homburg on my head
twelve gauge at my hip goes POW!
good times, bro, good times...

Feel free to leave your own "haiku that Saddam might have penned" in the comments.

Posted by annika at 12:01 AM | Comments (17)

June 20, 2005

It's Not All Anti-Americanism In The Arab Press

You should read the translation of an article by Saudi writer Nadine Al-Baydar, which i found at the Watching America blog. Here's some excerpts:

I gazed at the walls of [my brother's] room and asked him: 'You want to boycott America like your teacher told you to?' He bobbed his head up and down in agreement. So I said: 'Then take down all these posters of famous wrestlers and rock stars, stop wearing your American-style clothes, quit watching their movies, toss out your personal computer, change your Western-inspired haircut, and replace your way of living that is so taken by the American culture with something else…[']

He immediately interrupted me: 'Come on, sis, I was only joking!'

It is not just my brother who is only joking, but it is all Arab peoples who have a bland sense of humor when they declare their hatred for America and their decision to be free of Western culture. That is because there isn’t an Arab or Muslim person who can survive without the products of American culture. And how could they, when Arab nations are to this day nations of consumers and not producers, nations who do nothing to encourage their citizens to be creative, and nations who never created the right environment for innovation. These are nations that are more inclined to procrastination and dependence; nations who are fighting a war against terror while their curricula recommend just the opposite.

. . .

If we did some research to find out the number of places for entertainment in the Arab world, we would find that it is many orders of magnitude larger than the number of factories or places of learning. The Arab citizen is a hardcore entertainment junky whose brain leans toward intellectual and scientific stagnation. If you were to look for the majority of Arabs in any tourist country, you would only find them sitting in cafes, watching each other and boasting to one another. Some might be found quenching their thirst at the local pub, before returning to the homeland to put on an impersonation of a pious hermit, and start preaching from their holier-than-thou pulpits.

. . .

Did the Arabs lift a finger to help the people of Kosovo when they were suffering from Serbian persecution? They gathered a few donations, but it was America who saved Kosovo. The Arabs did nothing to aid the women of Afghanistan when they were forbidden an education, and when the Afghani people were robbed of the chance for a normal life. America had to come in and rid the region of the backward Taliban regime.

The fear that the Arabs had for the prestige of their governments was more important to them than the injustices that the Iraqis were living under. Not one Arab government condemned the Halabja massacre and the Iraqi loss of life. It was America, and only America, who toppled Saddam’s regime, while the Arabs stood by denouncing the American intervention in Iraq.

. . .

Saying that America is targeting the Arabs is a weak and untrue statement: We saw how the U.S. Secretary of State stressed that democracy in Russia had many problems, when she was visiting there a few months ago. It is also well known that the United States had supported the Georgian opposition against the dictatorship there. During the annual session of the Organization of American States this year, Condoleezza Rice emphasized the fragility of democracy in Venezuela and other countries in Latin America.

Many Arabs and Muslims view America as evil. They curse America and hurl insults at it. Some even bomb it and terrorize it. But America doesn’t have the time to curse back; it is too busy finishing the job it came to do in the Middle East.


Posted by annika at 11:09 PM | Comments (1)

A Rational Party No More

i've always believed that much of the far left is anti-semitic as well as anti-Christian. It's just that the anti-semitism had to be kept under wraps because so many Democratic voters are Jewish. In Europe their anti-semitism is open and blatant. Some Democrats in the U.S. would have it that way here too.

At a recent "Bush impeachment festival" held by House Democrats, someone let the cat out of the bag.

The session took an awkward turn when witness Ray McGovern, a former intelligence analyst, declared that the United States went to war in Iraq for oil, Israel and military bases craved by administration 'neocons' so 'the United States and Israel could dominate that part of the world.' He said that Israel should not be considered an ally and that Bush was doing the bidding of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

'Israel is not allowed to be brought up in polite conversation,' McGovern said. 'The last time I did this, the previous director of Central Intelligence called me anti-Semitic.'

Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), who prompted the question by wondering whether the true war motive was Iraq's threat to Israel, thanked McGovern for his 'candid answer.'

At Democratic headquarters, where an overflow crowd watched the hearing on television, activists handed out documents repeating two accusations -- that an Israeli company had warning of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and that there was an 'insider trading scam' on 9/11 -- that previously has been used to suggest Israel was behind the attacks.

Just when i think i can't be shocked anymore by how disgusting the Democratic party has become, along comes another low. What is wrong with these people?
Democrats, to judge by recent events, appear to be losing their collective minds in some form of shriek therapy. Being out of power may do that to a party used to having its way for many decades in Congress. But there is one other possible explanation for the apparent insanity. With so much money concentrated in the hands of some hard left advocates (think George Soros, Hollywood, trial lawyers, internet millionaires and some union bosses), the Democrats may feel the need to feed the beast - to protect and cater to their hardcore base, so as to keep the money flowing into the political coffers for future campaigns. So the strategy is for Democrats to be completely over the top in their attacks - trashing Bush, America, our military, Republicans, and Israel, all of whom are targets of the activists, to keep the moveon.org and Dailykos crowds happy.
My personal opinion about traditional Jewish support for the Democratic party is that it is based on a vestigial fear that Republicans are "the party of white Christians," ergo the party of bigots. Sound familiar?*

But if the Democrats keep letting their anti-semitic elements have the floor, we should probably expect to hear more thinly veiled anti-Christian fear-mongering by Dean and his ilk, to compensate for the damage.

* In other words, when Howard Dean uses the statistically inaccurate label "the party of white Christians," he's really using coded language designed to keep secular Jews and people who fear religion in the Democratic camp. Divide and conquer, the age-old Democrat strategy.

Posted by annika at 09:49 PM | Comments (13)

Pre-Emptive Pledge

If John McCain is nominated in 2008, i will not vote for him.

Who's with me?

HCOTW: Desert Cat!

Posted by annika at 10:05 AM | Comments (24)

June 19, 2005

Sunday Poetry Bee

The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.



Where the bee sucks, there suck I:
In a cowslip's bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat's back I do fly
After summer merrily:
     Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,
     Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.


Burly, dozing humble-bee,
Where thou art is clime for me.
Let them sail for Porto Rique,
Far-off heats through seas to seek;
I will follow thee alone,
Thou animated torrid-zone!
Zigzag steerer, desert cheerer,
Let me chase thy waving lines;
Keep me nearer, me thy hearer,
Singing over shrubs and vines.


Posted by annika at 10:55 PM | Comments (3)

June 15, 2005

My Get Rich Quick Scheme...

...is to invent an outlandish freaky religion that will appeal to gullible mindless celebrities and wacky baby-boomers. Whatever i come up with can't possibly be more stupid than the bullshit Tom Cruise and the rest of his ilk believe in: dinosaurs from outer space or some such shit.

More later, after i've ruminated on the central tenets of my new religion. Any suggestions for a name will be considered, if they are accompanied by a substantial tithe and a pledge to secrecy.

(Secrecy will be a central tenet, i have decided.)

Update: Here are the central tenets of my new religion, which i have decided to call Practology.

1. i am the leader of this new religion. Not a god, but just the leader. Therefore, all donations should go to me. Great favor will be bestowed on anyone who donates to my new religion.

2. This religion takes no position on matters of morality. Basically that means you can do whatever the fuck you want, and it's cool. i discovered that this was one of the main attractions for adherents of the crazy yoga cult that my ex belonged to.

3. Chocolate will play some important role in this new religion, albeit vaguely.

4. The number eight will also have some vague significance.

5. In accordance with tenet four, all adherents to this new religion will be required to utilize the base eight counting system.

6. Also, all adherents to this new religion shall be required to say "utilize," when the verb "use" would do just as well.

7. Secrecy.

10. Singing songs will be encouraged, but only in private.

A word about the name. Practology comes from the Sanskrit root Pract-, which means "to bow down to," and -ology, which is an untranslatable Ojibway phrase meaning "great bird that shits while flying." Thus, Practology, which is distinguished from the unrelated medical specialty by pronounciation and capitalization.

One more thing. All adherents should ignore and deny the fact that i freely admit this is a made up religion. If it doesn't matter to Tom Cruise that his religion's creator was a science fiction writer, it shouldn't matter to anyone that i am sometimes being facetious.

Posted by annika at 03:13 PM | Comments (36)

The Media Is On The Side Of The Enemy

i should turn this running theme into a rubric.

Here's the first few paragraphs of an SFGate article, this morning. SFGate, for those who don't know, is the San Francisco Chronicle and San Franscisco Examiner's joint website.

Mess-Hall Bombing Kills 26 Iraqi Soldiers

By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

(06-15) 09:02 PDT BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A suicide bomber walked into an Iraqi mess hall and blew himself up Wednesday, killing 25 Iraqi soldiers. The attack came as Iraqi and U.S. forces rescued an Australian hostage in Baghdad.

The troops, acting on a tip, freed Douglas Wood, a 64-year-old engineer who is a longtime resident of Alamo, Calif., during a raid in a dangerous Sunni neighborhood.

In a separate attack Wednesday, eight Iraqi policemen were killed when a suicide bomber slammed into two police cars in the capital. Thirteen bystanders also were wounded as two police cars burst into flames at the intersection in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood, police said.

Wood said he was "extremely happy and relieved to be free again," according to a message read by Australia's counterterrorism chief Nick Warner.

The raid took place as part of Operation Lightning — a broader counterinsurgency operation that began in Baghdad on May 29, Warner said. He added there "was specific intelligence and tips that provided a hint at what might be found at that location."

Wood was freed by the Iraqi army's 2nd battalion, 1st Armored Brigade, with assistance by U.S. forces in Ghazaliya — one of the most dangerous Sunni Arab neighborhood of Baghdad, Warner said. He added that "no ransom was paid" despite a request for a "very large" amount of money.

Wood was found under a blanket, and the insurgents told troops he was their sick father, said Gen. Naseer al-Abadi, Iraq's deputy chief of staff. The operation also resulted in the arrest of three insurgents and release of an Iraqi hostage.

"This is a great day for Iraq. We are proud of the way our soldiers conducted themselves," al-Abadi said.

Wood was abducted in late April by a militant group calling itself the Shura Council of the Mujahedeen of Iraq.

The Australian government refused to bend to the kidnappers' demands that its 1,400 troops be withdrawn from Iraq. It sent diplomats, police and military personnel to Baghdad to seek his release.

"I am delighted to inform the House that the Australian hostage in Iraq, Mr. Douglas Wood, is safe," Prime Minister John Howard told Parliament in Canberra, Australia.

Howard told reporters an Iraqi military unit, in cooperation with U.S. forces, rescued Wood.

i don't know who's responsible for the choice of headline, or the weird, confusing jumble of paragraphs at the top, AP or the SFGate editors. But don't tell me that the media does not make a conscious choice to emphasize the negative over the positive. They are on the side of the enemy.

More ranting: And don't tell me that the media is not against us, when the first time i heard word one about the following news story was by reading Mark Steyn's column, via Michelle Malkin.

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's kleptocrat strongman, destroyed a mosque the other day. It was in Hatcliffe Extension, a shantytown on the edge of Harare, razed by the "police." Mr. Mugabe is an equal-opportunity razer: He also bulldozed a Catholic-run Aids center.

The government destroyed the town to drive the locals into the countryside to live on land stolen from white farmers. Quite how that's meant to benefit any of those involved or the broader needs of Zimbabwe is beyond me, but then I'm no expert in Afro-Marxist economic theory.

The point is the world's Muslims seem entirely cool with Infidel Bob razing a mosque. Unlike the fallout over Newsweek's fraudulent story about the Koran being flushed down a toilet, no excitable young men went bananas in Pakistan; no Western progressives berated Mr. Mugabe for his "cultural insensitivity." And sadly most of the big-shot Muslim spokespersons were still too busy flaying the Bush administration to whip their subjects into a frenzy over Hatcliffe Extension's pile of Islamic rubble.

Where is the Time magazine cover story on Mugabe? Now that the media has successfully broadened the definition of atrocity to include what was formerly considered minor annoyances, doesn't what Mugabe has been doing in Zimbabwe clearly fall into that category?

Or, since the media is on the side of the enemy, does Mugabe get a pass because it wasn't the United States that destroyed a mosque?

Posted by annika at 09:44 AM | Comments (3)

Today Is St. Valdemar's Day


Today, i quote something i wrote when i first started blogging:

While you're looking at the Dannebrog, it might be a good time to note that the Danish flag is the oldest national flag in the world. It has been in use since the 1200's. Legend says that King Valdemar the Victorious was fighting a battle against the Estonians on St Viti's Day in 1219. The Estonians had thrown all their best warriors at the Danish and their attack was succeeding. The Danish were on the retreat when they received a sign from God: the Dannebrog floating down out of the sky! The Danish soldiers caught the flag and then fought back with renewed strength, eventually defeating the Estonians with the help of the 'Sign of the Cross.'

The day of the battle is still celebrated in Denmark as Valdemar's Day, which falls on June 15th. Everyone in Denmark displays the flag on that day, just like we do in the U.S. on our own Flag Day, June 14th.

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

Wednesday Is Poetry Day: O'Hara

Another favorite poem by one of my favorites poets, Frank O'Hara:

Why I Am Not A Painter

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
"Sit down and have a drink" he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there."
"Oh." I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. "Where's SARDINES?"
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven't mentioned
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

Today's entry is dedicated to a blogger who appreciates great art, The Maximum Leader. Happy Birthday!

Posted by annika at 06:52 AM | Comments (1)

June 14, 2005

Rumsfeld Gives The Media A History And Civics Lesson

Radio Blogger has a transcript and video link to Don Rumsfeld's press conference today. His summation of the progress the Iraqi people have made since the liberation is so inspiring and important, that i'm going to cut and paste it here.

On the political portion of it, that's obviously not the business of this department, but I can comment on it.

The general feeling is as follows: That the election was held January 30th. It took a number of weeks to put a government together. Not a number of years, but a group of people, with no experience in democracy at all, took a number of weeks... a few months, to put together a government.

A lot of tugging and hauling, a lot of negotiating about what it would mean in the assembly, a lot of negotiating about what it might mean with respect to the constitution drafting, a lot of negotiating about what it might mean as to who's in what ministry, and for what reasons, and in the presidential council, I believe they call it. And they came to a conclusion.

When the conclusion was made and announced, one could look at worst case and say it wouldn't be unreasonable to think that the Shi'ia would say, "Okay, Sunnis, you didn't play in the election. You gave it to us for twenty, thirty years, and we didn't like it, and now it's our turn, and we're going to give it to you."

Quite the contrary. The Shi'ia, at the top leadership down, have been saying, "Look. We want to have one country. Let's reach out to the Sunnis. Let's include them. Let's find a way, even though they made a mistake and didn't participate in the election. Let's see that they're involved in this. Let's get them involved in the drafting of the constitution." Exactly the right instinct.

The Sunnis, instead of saying, "Okay, we didn't get in the election. Maybe it was a mistake, maybe it wasn't. But now, we're not well represented, and we're not going to play, and go separately, and try to break the country into three pieces." The Sunnis didn't do that. I mean, everyone you talk to said, "we made a mistake. The Sunnis made a mistake." They should have gotten involved in the election. They didn't get involved in the election. They now know they should have gotten involved in the election, and thank the good Lord the Shi'ia are reaching out to them, and the Kurds are reaching out to them, and trying to include them.

Now, what does it mean next? Well, they're going to have a lot of to'ing and fro'ing on the constitution. Fortunately, they made a lot of those decisions in the transitional administrative law, the so-called TAL. And it's there as a guidepost. It's not a mandate. It's not a speed limit or direction, but it is generally agreed to. And so it'll serve, I would think, as at least a touchstone for the very complicated task of trying to find a piece of paper that people, who have had historic hostilities to each other, that have been held together, not through love or respect, but through vicious dictatorship repressing them. That's how they've held together as a country.

And now they're going to look for a piece of paper that will do that for them instead. Instead of a vicious dictatorship. Instead of repression. Instead of a police state. Instead of mass graves, filled with people... bodies, tens of thousands of bodies. There's going to be a piece of paper that those people are going to have to put their faith in. That is an enormous thing.

And they're going to be debating that, and tugging on it, and to'ing and fro'ing, and they're going to, in my view, come up with one... just a minute... just a minute... And then they're going to take that to the Iraqi people and have them vote on it. And another 26 million people will have a chance, or population, or whoever's eligible to vote, men and women alike. Some large number is going to have a chance to go vote on that. And then, it'll be there, and then they'll vote on whatever that constitution says, for a president, or a prime minister, whatever, representatives, they'll have a chance to vote on that in December.

This is amazing. This is historic. This is a gigantic step forward. This ought not to be dismissed or trivialized. This is a big deal.

Will it happen? I think it'll happen. Can I guarantee anything in life? No. I can't. No one can. It's their country.

i've bolded the most important passages. A transcript can't capture Rumsfeld's inimitable delivery, but the words are important, and you won't see them reported on your nightly news or in tomorrow's propaganda sheets.

Also, there was a moment when a reporter, probably impatient that the Secretary of Defense had strayed from the truly important news of the day (i.e. that someone at Guantanamo might have looked the wrong way at a copy of the Koran.) tried to interrupt the Secretary, who completely rebuffed the reporter saying "just a minute... just a minute..." It was cool. Go listen to it.

Posted by annika at 07:24 PM | Comments (8)

KCRA 3 News Is On The Side Of The Enemy

Direct quote at the end of the six o'clock newscast:

"Coming up at eleven, more complaints from the muslim community about how the FBI is treating muslim residents of Lodi."

What about the fact that certain members of that very community were PLANNING TO BLOW UP SUPERMARKETS AND HOSPITALS?!?!?!?!

Might that possibly be news too? Worthy of coverage? Huh? Anybody?

Posted by annika at 07:01 PM | Comments (3)

Today Is Flag Day


Posted by annika at 08:10 AM | Comments (4)

June 13, 2005

The End Of The World

You'd think Governor Schwarzenegger was calling for the end of the world, by the way the Democrats, the unions and their fucking media accomplices are carrying on. Here's what the Governor's special election is about:

1. A spending cap.

2. Teacher tenure in five years instead of two.

3. Ending gerrymandered districts.

But, Oh My God, the special election is going to cost EIGHTY ZILLION DOLLARS!

Yes, we already know how the liberals feel about democracy. They oppose it. Fabian Nuñez says the election is too expensive. Well, i never thought that one could put a price on the voice of the people in a democracy, for pete's sake. This is supposed to be a democracy isn't it?

Oh that's right, the liberals oppose the special election because it threatens to restore democracy.

You wouldn't believe the character assassination of Governor Schwarzenegger that has been going on in this state for about a year now. Fully funded by the teacher's and nurse's unions, and out-of-state special interests. The lies i hear every day in those below-the-belt political attack ads are enough to make me physically sick. And the worst thing about it is that they are working. Our indefatigable governor is doing an excellent job, and those dinosaurs in favor of the status quo know that the only way to stop reform is to turn people against the reformer.

It's dirty politics at its worst.

Here's another union attack ad on tv right now. You can't trust Governor Schwarzenegger, he broke his promises, he wants to take money away from schools.

Hey, what about the fact that this state has been run by the Democrats for decades, we keep throwing money at education, and our schools still suck? The unions and the bought-and-paid-for Democratic legislature have been all-powerful, but what has it gotten any of us? Their way is not working. We need to go in a different direction. The opposite direction. That's what this special election is all about.

Posted by annika at 10:34 PM | Comments (13)

The Jackson Verdict: It Was Just Milk And Cookies

Not guilty on all counts.

Today's big winner: Geraldo.

Posted by annika at 02:29 PM | Comments (16)

Stick It

Now that the election is long over, isn't it time to do something about that faded "W" sticker on the ass of your car?

Annoy your liberal friends and neighbors anew with this baby.

Posted by annika at 10:58 AM | Comments (14)

June 12, 2005

A Forgotten Great American

John Hawkins has a post about the Greatest Americans of all time. Allow me to mention a forgotten great American, who didn't make anybody's list, without whom life would be very different all over the world.


The man is Willis Haviland Carrier, the father of air conditioning.

In 1902, fresh out of Cornell University and working as an engineer at Buffalo Forge Co., Carrier developed the world's first modern air conditioner, combining temperature and humidity control in one system, for a Brooklyn, NY, printing plant. He earned a patent for this system design in 1906. His air conditioner used a centrifugal system, under low pressure, to gather air through a filter and pass that air over coolant-filled coils. That cooled and dehumidified air was directed at its target location while warmer air around the motor was vented out of the location. The technology behind Carrier's air conditioner was patented in 1911 and is the basis for air conditioner technology available today.
The ability to control indoor temperatures has influenced almost every aspect of our daily lives. Think about it -- where we live, where we work, what we eat, what we wear, what we smell like, how we travel, our architecture, our modern healthcare, our life expectancy, food storage, what we read, how much leisure time we enjoy, even the existence of the computer you are reading this on -- all influenced by or made possible by air conditioning.
Look back for a moment to the world before the widespread use of refrigeration and air conditioning—a world that was still very much present well into the first decades of the 20th century. Only fresh foods that could be grown locally were available, and they had to be purchased and used on a daily basis. Meat was bought during the daily trip to the butcher's; the milkman made his rounds every morning. If you could afford weekly deliveries of ice blocks—harvested in the winter from frozen northern lakes—you could keep some perishable foods around for 2 or 3 days in an icebox. As for the nonexistence of air conditioning, it made summers in southern cities—and many northern ones—insufferable. The nation's capital was a virtual ghost town in the summer months. As late as the 1940s, the 60-story Woolworth Building and other skyscrapers in New York City were equipped with window awnings on every floor to keep direct sunlight from raising temperatures even higher than they already were. Inside the skyscrapers, ceiling and table fans kept the humid air from open windows at least moving around. Throughout the country, homes were built with natural cooling in mind. Ceilings were high, porches were deep and shaded, and windows were placed to take every possible advantage of cross-ventilation.

By the end of the century all that had changed. Fresh foods of all kinds were available just about anywhere in the country all year round—and what wasn't available fresh could be had in convenient frozen form, ready to pop into the microwave. The milkman was all but gone and forgotten, and the butcher now did his work behind a counter at the supermarket. Indeed, many families concentrated the entire week's food shopping into one trip to the market, stocking the refrigerator with perishables that would last a week or more. And on the air-conditioning side of the equation, just about every form of indoor space—office buildings, factories, hospitals, and homes—was climate-controlled and comfortable throughout the year, come heat wave or humidity. New homes looked quite different, with lower rooflines and ceilings, porches that were more for ornament than practicality, and architectural features such as large plate glass picture windows and sliding glass doors. Office buildings got a new look as well, with literally acres of glass stretching from street level to the skyscraping upper floors. Perhaps most significant of all, as a result of air conditioning, people started moving south, reversing a northward demographic trend that had continued through the first half of the century. Since 1940 the nation's fastest-growing states have been in the Southeast and the Southwest, regions that could not have supported large metropolitan communities before air conditioning made the summers tolerable.

Living in Sacramento, i should thank Mr. Carrier every day. Come to think of it, so should George W. Bush, as the great southern migration of the last few decades, which increased the electoral value of the red states, can be traced back to the widespread use of indoor air conditioning.

More: Jeff Harrell names another forgotten great American, Norman Borlaug. After reading Jeff's post, i'd have to agree.

Posted by annika at 10:50 PM | Comments (13)

The Big Sleep, Great Lines

Sheila posted about The Big Sleep last month, and raved about it. i was always put off by the movie, although i love Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Raymond Chandler. It was the fact that i couldn't follow the plot that bugged me. But even the writers, including William Faulkner and Chandler himself, couldn't figure out what was going on.


So when it came on TCM yesterday afternoon, i gave myself permission to watch it without trying to understand the story and just enjoy the great film noir dialogue. Like this:


Just a minute. The girl can go. I'd like to talk to you...

MARLOWE (Bogart)

Suppose I don't wanna talk to you.


I've got two boys outside in the car.


Oh. It's like that, eh. Mm-hum. Run along, angel.


Your story didn't sound quite right.


Oh, that's too bad. You've got a better one?


Maybe I can find one.
(looks under the rug.)
Blood. Quite a lot of blood.


Is that so?


(pulls out a gun.)
You mind?


No. I'm used to it.

. . .


Convenient. The door being open when you didn't have a key.


Yeah. Wasn't it? By the way, how did you happen to have one?


Is that any of your business?


I could make it my business.


And I could make your business mine.


You wouldn't like it. The pay's too small.

Imagine the quick back-and-forth delivery of those lines. Mars was the straight man to Marlowe's wise-guy in so many scenes.


I think you'd better get out here.


Oh, by the way, how's Mrs. Mars these days?


You take chances, Marlowe.


I get paid to.

Here's some more favorite lines:


You alone, Joe?


(pulls out a gun.)
Yeah. Except for this.


My, my, my. Such a lot of guns around town, and so few brains. You know, you're the second guy I've met today who seems to think a gat in the hand means the world by the tail. Put it down, Joe.

Any time Lauren Bacall is on screen, in any movie, you can't take your eyes off her. The only other actresses of any era who had that kind of presence were Bette Davis and maybe Marilyn Monroe.

When Bogey and Bacall were on screen together, in The Big Sleep, Key Largo, To Have and Have Not and Dark Passage they were doubly riveting. Everybody knows the "you know how to whistle" scene from To Have and Have Not (one of the greatest scenes in movie history), but this dialogue from The Big Sleep is just as electric:

VIVIAN (Bacall)

I'm very grateful to you, Mr. Marlowe. I'm very glad it's all over. Tell me, uh, what do you usually do when you're not working?


Mm. Play the horses, fool around.


No women?


Well, I'm generally working on something most of the time.


Would that be stressed to include me?


I like you. I told you that before.


I liked hearing you say it.




But you didn't do much about it.


Neither did you.


Well, speaking of horses, I like to play them myself. But I'd like to see them work out a little first to see if they are front runners or come from behind, find out what the whole card is, what makes them run.


Find out mine?


I think so.


Go ahead.


I'd say you don't like to be rated. You'd like to get out in front, open up a lead, take a little breather in the backstretch and, and come home free.


You don't like to be rated yourself.


I haven't met anyone yet who could do it. Any suggestions?


Well, I can't tell 'til I've seen you over distance of ground. You got a touch of class but... I don't know, how far you can go?


That depends on who's on the saddle, Marlowe. I like the way you work. In case you don't know, you're doing all right.


There's one thing I can't figure out.


What makes me run?


Uh huh.


I'll give you a little hint. Sugar won't work. It's been tried.

Haha, that's beautiful. They don't make stars like that anymore. i can't think of a single actor today who could make that scene work like Bogart and Bacall did.

Posted by annika at 08:24 AM | Comments (6)

Useless Sunday Morning Bullet Points

  • Three spiders were summarily executed yesterday.
  • Meanwhile, somewhere, Victor felt a great disturbance in the force.
  • If Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer were each given orders to kill each other, who would win?
  • Last night i ate an excellent meal.
  • i am already tired of my Baywatch banner.
  • Nothing in this world moves slower than a convenience store clerk.
  • The word "fuck" is gratuitously hidden somewhere within this post. Can you find it?
  • The trick to painting is fat over lean, always.
  • Get this, someone has designated June 14th "International Weblogger's Day." Isn't that hilarious?
  • Last night, i passed out too early and missed She Spies. i hate missing She Spies.
  • Sacramento local nescasters all suck.
  • The people who live across the street from me have like ten SUVs. What's up with that?
  • They also have a pet chihuahua that got mauled by a pit bull.
  • This morning's coffee is Italian Roast, in honor of our allies, the Italians.
  • i got nothing else.
Posted by annika at 07:26 AM | Comments (13)

June 10, 2005

As i Said...

The media is on the side of the enemy.

Check out this LGF story.

Posted by annika at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2005

Legal Update

i've worked in and around the legal profession in the Bay Area, in Los Angeles and now in Sacramento. i'm not yet a lawyer, but i've dealt with them enough to form some rudimentary judgments.

And in my opinion, the Sacramento plaintiff's bar contains a vastly higher percentage of treacherous sons-a-bitches than either of the aforementioned major metropolitan legal communities.

Those fuckin' a-holes better hope i don't end up practicing here when i pass the bar, because i will hold grudges. And i will enjoy kicking their ass.


What i was thinking: "Don't yell at me, muh-fuh. i can count, and i know the Code, do you? Ass-wipe."

What i said: "i'll pass that along to the attorney."

Posted by annika at 08:21 PM | Comments (11)

Terrorists In Lodi

Lodi is just south of Sacramento. The Jawa Report and California Mafia has the latest on the terrorist cell broken up at a Lodi mosque.

Update: Here's a little information about Lodi, to put the strangeness of a sleeper cell in that town within some context.

Lodi was incorporated in 1906. Its current population is about 59,000. From 1992 to 1994, population remained steady at 53,000, but it began to grow slowly after 1995. The city sits on 12.2 square miles in San Joaquin County, and U.S. Highway 99 runs through the town, connecting it with Stockton, six miles to the south, and Sacramento, 35 miles to the north.

San Joaquin County voted for Bush in 2004, by 54% to 46%, although i would guess that the margin was much wider in Lodi than in the more urban and union friendly Stockton.

Crime in Lodi was higher than the U.S. average in 2002. Still, there were only 4 murders, 6 rapes, 75 robberies, 203 assaults, 436 burglaries and 486 auto thefts that year. By contrast, my hometown of Oakland had 108 murders, 249 rapes, 2,452 robberies, 2,852 assaults, 4,252 burglaries and 6,259 auto thefts in 2002.

Lodi's unemployment rate in 2000 was 6.5%, somewhat higher than California's average, which was 4.9% that year. The biggest employer in Lodi by far is the school district, followed by Blue Shield, the one hospital in town, General Mills Foods and a cannery. The local Wal-Mart and Target employ about 200 each.

Median household income in 2000 was $35,391. The median housing price today is $148,500.

Lodi's racial breakdown includes 63.5% White Non-Hispanic, 27.1% Hispanic, 1.3% Indian (from India), and 0.6% African-American. i would guess that Pakistanis would fall under the category of Other Asian, which comes in at 1.2%. Of the 18.8% foreign born citizens of Lodi, 12.7% are from Latin America and 3.9% are from Asia.

And of course, according to Lodi historian John Fogerty, those persons intending to pass through Lodi end up staying an average of seven months or more. And they'll be walking out, if they go.

Update: The late local news on at least two of the tv stations here in Sacramento was very irritating. They seem much more concerned about the possibility of anti-muslim "hate-crimes" than they are about the possibility that some terrorists might have been PLANNING TO BLOW UP HOSPITALS AND SUPERMARKETS!

The media are on the side of the enemy. (That means you KCRA and News 10.)

Update 2: Some excellent commentary is at Varifrank.

Posted by annika at 08:11 AM | Comments (8)

Wednesday Is Poetry Day: Cole Porter

As i did last year, in honor of Cole Porter's birthday on June 9th, today's poem is a song lyric.


Paris Hilton's sexy new commercial for Carl's Jr. restaurants features the heiress washing a car to the music of Cole Porter's famous "I Love Paris."

Everyone knows the words to that song, written in 1952, for the musical Can-Can, which ran at Broadway's Schubert theater for 892 performances.

That song always reminds me of one night in Paris a few years back, stumbling back to my hotel in the Latin Quarter after a great drunk, smoking a Gitanes and mumbling the words in order to keep awake and upright.

"God... Oh God... do i love Paris... Because my room is near..."

But the same man who wrote I Love Paris, also wrote the following lyric, which i quote for you all as you try to decide where to spend your summer vacation this year.

See America First

Of European lands effete,
A most inveterate foe,
My feelings when my camp I greet
Are such as patriots know.
Condemning trips across the blue
As dollars badly dispersed,
I hold that loyal men and true,
Including in the category all of you,
Should see America first,
Should see America first.

All hail salubrious sky,
All hail salubrious sky.
Observe when I invoke the sky
It echoes reassuringly
That one should try to see America first,
To see America first.

Of course it's really not the sky,
But just a repetition of his battle cry,
To see America first,
To see America first,

So ev'ry true American,
Whether right or red or black or tan,
Should push this patriotic plan
To see America first.

See America First was the first Cole Porter musical produced on Broadway, back in 1916. He went on to write twenty-three Broadway shows over five decades, and something over 800 songs. According to Robert Kimball's The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter, the above lyric for the title song was changed to a more "Cohan-esque" version for the actual show. Hard to imagine old George M. finding fault with the original, though.

Posted by annika at 07:22 AM | Comments (5)

June 07, 2005

Popular Science Debunks 911 Myths

A Western Heart links to an article in Popular Science that debunks a number of ridiculous 911 myths, some of which i hadn't even heard of. Like the one where someone claims one of the New York planes didn't have windows, which proves it was a military tanker and therefore Bush did it. There's some wacko people in this world, but we already knew that.

Another crazy theory is that the planes should have been intercepted almost immediately and since they weren't, therefore Bush did it.

CLAIM: 'It has been standard operating procedures for decades to immediately intercept off-course planes that do not respond to communications from air traffic controllers,' says the Web site oilempire.us. 'When the Air Force "scrambles" a fighter plane to intercept, they usually reach the plane in question in minutes.'

FACT: In the decade before 9/11, NORAD intercepted only one civilian plane over North America: golfer Payne Stewart's Learjet, in October 1999. With passengers and crew unconscious from cabin decompression, the plane lost radio contact but remained in transponder contact until it crashed. Even so, it took an F-16 1 hour and 22 minutes to reach the stricken jet. Rules in effect back then, and on 9/11, prohibited supersonic flight on intercepts. Prior to 9/11, all other NORAD interceptions were limited to offshore Air Defense Identification Zones (ADIZ). 'Until 9/11 there was no domestic ADIZ,' FAA spokesman Bill Schumann tells PM. After 9/11, NORAD and the FAA increased cooperation, setting up hotlines between ATCs and NORAD command centers, according to officials from both agencies. NORAD has also increased its fighter coverage and has installed radar to monitor airspace over the continent.

Oh, i can hear the moonbats now: "Popular Science is a stooge of the Bush administration."

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

June 06, 2005

Dot Com Bubble

Over at The Sheila Variations, there's a very interesting excerpt from the book Dot.Con: How America Lost Its Mind and Money in the Internet Era, by John Cassidy. Here's an excerpt from the excerpt:

On the morning of March 30, 10 million shares of Priceline.com opened on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol PCLN. They were issued at $16 each, but the price immediately jumped to $85. At the close of trading, the stock stood at $68; it had risen 425 percent on the day. Priceline.com was valued at almost $10 billion -- more than United Airlines, Continental Airlines, and Northwest Airlines combined.

. . .

Priceline.com started operating on April 5, 1998. By the end of the year it had sold slightly more than $35 million worth of airline tickets, which cost it $36.5 million. That sentence bears rereading. Here was a firm looking for investors that was selling goods for less than it had paid for them -- and as a result had made a trading loss of more than a million dollars. This loss did not include any of the money Priceline.com had spent developing its Web site and marketing itself to consumers. When these expenditures were accounted for, it had lost more than $54 million. Even that figure wasn't what accountaints consider the bottom line. In order to persuade the airlines to supply it with tickets., Priceline.com had given them stock options worth almost $60 million. Putting all these costs together, the company had lost more than $114 million in 1998.

How could a start-up retailer that was losing three dollars for every dollar it earned come to be valued, on its first day as a public company, at more than United Airlines, Continental Airlines, and Northwest Airlines put together?

Crazy stuff. Here's a graph of Priceline's wild fortunes.

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

June 05, 2005

Sucky CD Giveaway

i'm trying to clean out some stuff this afternoon and i found these in my closet. An old beau left them with me years ago. i hate throwing shit like this away. i could sell them on eBay, but that seems like a lot of trouble. So if anyone wants these six sucky CDs, i'll give them to you for free.


They are Chris Isaak's Heart Shaped World; The Lightning Seeds' Cloudcuckooland; k.d. lang's Ingénue; Sweet's The Best of Sweet; Roy Orbison's Mystery Girl; and Springsteen's Lucky Town. An eclectic mix.

Let me know if you want them by clicking here. Too late. We have a winner!

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

June 04, 2005

Democrats Dean Forgot

Howard Dean, on Thursday:

Speaking to the Campaign for America's Future, Mr. Dean called for easier rules for voting, saying it is difficult for working parents to make it to the polls on time and wait to vote.

'Well, Republicans, I guess, can do that, because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives,' Mr. Dean said.


Two words: pot. kettle.

Posted by annika at 04:26 PM | Comments (17)

My Donnie Darko, The Director's Cut Review

A pithy and/or lame movie review.


Okay, somebody wanna explain that shit to me?

So he went back in time? i don't get it. How did he go back in time?

This movie is a bizarre cross between The Shining, Ordinary People and Harvey. Plus, it's a comedy.

Set in the eighties, it features a really cool soundtrack. Tears for Fears, INXS, Duran Duran, Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen, who are especially appropriate, since the key figure in this movie is a guy in a grotesque bunny suit.

i think i have identified a new movie genre, the "nostalgic suburban period movie." Add this film to the list that includes The Virgin Suicides and Dazed and Confused.

i can't watch the mom without thinking "kickinggggg bird."

Set design was very good. All the details were there. My family had the same antique Sony Trinitron.

If you were to take a poll of bloggers, i imagine this movie would be most popular with self absorbed LiveJournal types. You know, the type of kids who dress in black and think they're artistic and unique because they write free verse poems about death that sound exactly the same as all the other free verse poems about death written by all the other kids who dress in black and think they're artistic and unique.

In other words, i would have loved this movie when i was in high school.

Stylish enough to earn three Netflix stars from me, but ultimately frustrating. i know i might understand it better if i watched it again, but i just didn't like it enough to go through the extra effort.

Posted by annika at 09:04 AM | Comments (3)

June 01, 2005

Required Reading For The Ignorant

Big time Munuvian Rusty has an excellent post that examines three questions:

What exactly is a gulag and how widespread was the gulag system? What were the Soviet gulags like? And how do the worst and yet unproven allegations of abuse at Guantanomo Bay compare to what happened in Soviet gulags?
It's amazing to me, how the Amnesty idiots could make such a comparison, and stand by it. No one who has read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich would say that. It's not like Solzhenitsyn's book is that long. It's only 142 pages. i read it on an airplane flight years ago.

Posted by annika at 11:05 PM | Comments (8)

Economy Survey, i'm Just Curious

Would you please supply the missing word:

The American economy today is ________.
i'd like to compile as many responses as possible, and i'll post about it. Please use only one word answers.

i've turned comments off so that one response won't influence the next. Please take a moment and click here to send me your answer.

Posted by annika at 06:39 PM

Wednesday Is Poetry Day: Shamseddin Mohammad (Hafiz)

Shamseddin Mohammad was a great Persian mystic and poet of the fourteenth century. He is known as Hafiz, which was a title given to one who had memorized the entire Koran. Hafiz wrote something like 800 ghazals (long time Poetry Wed readers may remember this post, about a García Lorca ghazal) and much of his work explored the subject of spiritual love. That means God's love for us, and our love of God. The Ladinsky translations are very good and seem to preserve a lot of the humor that is supposedly in the original Persian.

I Know the Way You Can Get

I know the way you can get
When you have not had a drink of Love:

Your face hardens,
Your sweet muscles cramp.
Children become concerned
About a strange look that appears in your eyes
Which even begins to worry your own mirror
And nose.

Squirrels and birds sense your sadness
And call an important conference in a tall tree.
They decide which secret code to chant
To help your mind and soul.

Even angels fear that brand of madness
That arrays itself against the world
And throws sharp stones and spears into
The innocent
And into one's self.

O I know the way you can get
If you have not been drinking Love:

You might rip apart
Every sentence your friends and teachers say,
Looking for hidden clauses.

You might weigh every word on a scale
Like a dead fish.

You might pull out a ruler to measure
From every angle in your darkness
The beautiful dimensions of a heart you once

I know the way you can get
If you have not had a drink from Love's

That is why all the Great Ones speak of
The vital need
To keep remembering God,
So you will come to know and see Him
As being so Playful
And Wanting,
Just Wanting to help.

That is why Hafiz says:
Bring your cup near me.
For all I care about
Is quenching your thirst for freedom!

All a Sane man can ever care about
Is giving Love!

Here is the story of how the young Hafiz, who worked in a bakery, decided to devote his life to God:
[O]ne day at the bakery, one of the workers who delivered the bread was sick, and Hafiz had to deliver the bread to a certain quarter of Shiraz where the prosperous citizens lived. While taking the bread to a particular mansion, Hafiz's eyes fell upon the form of a young woman who was standing on one of the mansion's balconies. Her name was Shakh-i-Nabat which means 'Branch of Sugarcane'. Her beauty immediately intoxicated Hafiz and he fell hopelessly in love with her. Her beauty had such a profound effect on him that he almost lost consciousness. At night he could not sleep and he no longer felt like eating. He learnt her name and he began to praise her in his poems.

Hafiz heard that she had been promised in marriage to a prince of Shiraz and realized how hopeless was his quest for her love. Still, the vision of her beauty filled his heart, and his thoughts were constantly with her. Then one day he remembered the famous 'promise of Baba Kuhi'. Baba Kuhi was a Perfect Master-Poet. . . . The promise that Baba Kuhi had given before he died was that if anyone could stay awake for forty consecutive nights at his tomb he would be granted the gift of poetry, immortality, and his heart's desire. Hafiz, interested in the third of these three, vowed to keep this vigil that no one had yet been able to keep.

Every day Hafiz would go to work at the bakery, then he would eat, and then walk past the house of Shakh-i-Nabat, who had heard some of the poems that he had composed in praise of her. She had noticed him passing her window every afternoon, each day more weary, but with a fire in his eyes that had lit the lamp of her heart for him. By this time Hafiz was in a kind of a trance. Everything that he did was automatic, and the only thing that kept him going was the fire in his heart and his determination to keep the lonely vigil.

Early the next morning the Angel Gabriel (some say Khizer) appeared to him. Gabriel gave Hafiz a cup to drink which contained the Water of Immortality, and declared that Hafiz had also received the gift of poetry. Then Gabriel asked Hafiz to express his heart's desire. All the time that this was happening, Hafiz could not take his eyes of Gabriel. So great was the beauty of the Angel that Hafiz had forgotten the beauty of Shakh-i-Nabat. After Gabriel had asked the question, Hafiz thought; 'If Gabriel the Angel of God is so beautiful, then how much more beautiful God must be.' Hafiz answered Gabriel: 'I want God!'

In his lifetime, Hafiz had a large following but he was not popular with the fundamentalist clergy of his day. He was exiled for a time, and at his death they tried unsuccessfully to stop Hafiz from being buried as a Muslim because his poetry was not pious enough.

Posted by annika at 12:39 AM | Comments (5)