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

September 30, 2005

Today's Coffee Cup Wisdom

On my Starbuck's cup today was the following blurb:

The Way I See It #53

Be exceptional. Make tremendous efforts to be extraordinary. What a privilege to be here on the planet to contribute your unique donation to humankind. Just make sure you do so...

--Shelby Lynne

Hmm. My response?
Blah blah blah blah. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. clunk.

Posted by annika at 10:55 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

San Francisco Builds A Ski Jump

This event reminds me of something Annikus Gibbon once wrote:

And the great Emperor, deaf to the woes of his people, said unto them, 'lo, let us build a great ski slope in the middle of the village, and let them jump off it with skis, and afterward, they shall have sourdough bread, and circuses.'
San Francisco is falling apart, but hey, at least they got a ski jump.

Posted by annika at 06:56 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 29, 2005

BCS Poll Changes

To improve and simplify the system, The Onion reports that the BCS Committee is considering some changes.

Hat tip to Casca.

Posted by annika at 07:38 PM | Comments (36) | TrackBack

Netflix 5 Star Movies A to C

One of the cool things about Netflix is a feature that lets you rate movies on a scale of one to five stars. Their computer makes recommendations for future rentals a member might like, based on the member’s ratings. i don’t find the recommendations very helpful, but i do like rating things.

Five stars means “I loved it.” i reserve five stars for movies i love that are generally considered classics, or which deserve to be classics; also for movies that i don’t mind seeing again and again or from which i have memorized much of the dialogue.

A fine example of my thinking on five star movies is my list of such movies from A to C in alphabetical order. i just copied and pasted the list from my Netflix page, so you will notice that there are some TV shows in there, which are not technically movies, but otherwise fit my criteria.

12 Angry Men (1957)
24: Season 1 (2001)
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
Airplane! (1980)
All About Eve (1950)
Annie Hall (1977)
The Apartment (1960)
Apollo 13 (1995)
Arthur (1981)
Austin Powers 1 (1997)
Austin Powers 2 (1999)
Back to the Future (1985)
Band of Brothers (2001)
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Black Hawk Down (2001)
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
Bullitt (1968)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Caddyshack (1980)
Captain Blood (1935)
Casablanca (1942)
Charley Varrick (1973)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Cold Mountain (2003)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)

The Netflix rating thing is an ongoing project, so don’t be surprised if there are some omissions from my list. It might mean that the movie didn’t come up as i was going through the recommendations (which i often did when i was bored at work) and clicking on the star ratings.

Update: There's an interesting discussion going on in the comments about whether my 5 star list contains more guy movies or chick movies. First of all, let me admit that my tastes have always included guy things, from sports movies to war movies to historical movies and sci-fi. But i think it's a mistake to say that movies which are obviously marketed towards the male audience do not appeal to women just as much.

If i had to guess, i would say i know more chicks than guys who watch 24 religiously. And comedies like Airplane, and the Ace Ventura and Austin Powers movies can't be categorized. i think both sexes enjoy them equally.

Additionally, i would look askance at any guy who could not appreciate The Apartment or Breakfast At Tiffany's. And All About Eve is just so darn good that every male should be forced to watch it for his own cultural enrichment.

Posted by annika at 01:58 PM | Comments (32) | TrackBack

September 28, 2005

Speaking Of Monsters

Remember my Job post from a few weeks ago, where i made reference to the giant squid? [to great rhetorical effect, i might add] Turns out that about a year ago some Japanese scientists obtained film of a live giant squid ― the first time any human being has ever seen one alive! You may have seen the story. It's listed among the most popular links at Yahoo news.

gsqd.gifPeople are fascinated by giant slimy things i guess. The giant squid has always held a particular mythological importance. Mainly, i think, because so little is known about it. As a monster it was known as the Kraken, and you can see it in the corners of those old time maps, usually clutching a square rigger within its tentacled death grip.

Maybe it's the fact that those things can grow to the length of a football field. Or those ten snakelike tentacles, all studded with suckers the size of pie plates. Or the fact that it spews forth black ink when it gets excited. Or that vicious parrot beak that can bite off the head of a pig.

As for me, i like 'em sliced up and fried in beer batter with tangy cocktail sauce on a Sunday afternoon and a football game on the big screen. An effective seafood cocktail sauce should always contain a generous amount of horseradish, tabasco and lemon in it. But i digress.

Here's an fascinating passage about the mysterious deep sea monster from an otherwise boring book called Moby Dick:

In the distance, a great white mass lazily rose, and rising higher and higher, and disentangling itself from the azure, at last gleamed before our prow like a snow-slide, new slid from the hills. Thus glistening for a moment, as slowly it subsided, and sank. Then once more arose, and silently gleamed. It seemed not a whale; and yet is this Moby Dick? thought Daggoo. Again the phantom went down, but on re-appearing once more, with a stiletto-like cry that startled every man from his nod, the negro yelled out - "There! there again! there she breaches! right ahead! The White Whale, the White Whale!"

Upon this, the seamen rushed to the yard-arms, as in swarming-time the bees rush to the boughs. Bare-headed in the sultry sun, Ahab stood on the bowsprit, and with one hand pushed far behind in readiness to wave his orders to the helmsman, cast his eager glance in the direction indicated aloft by the outstretched motionless arm of Daggoo.

. . .

[N]o sooner did [Ahab] distinctly perceive the white mass, than with a quick intensity he instantly gave orders for lowering.

The four boats were soon on the water; Ahab's in advance, and all swiftly pulling towards their prey. Soon it went down, and while, with oars suspended, we were awaiting its reappearance, lo! in the same spot where it sank, once more it slowly rose. Almost forgetting for the moment all thoughts of Moby Dick, we now gazed at the most wondrous phenomenon which the secret seas have hitherto revealed to mankind. A vast pulpy mass, furlongs in length and breadth, of a glancing cream-color, lay floating on the water, innumerable long arms radiating from its centre, and curling and twisting like a nest of anacondas, as if blindly to clutch at any hapless object within reach. No perceptible face or front did it have; no conceivable token of either sensation or instinct; but undulated there on the billows, an unearthly, formless, chance-like apparition of life.

As with a low sucking sound it slowly disappeared again, Starbuck still gazing at the agitated waters where it had sunk, with a wild voice exclaimed - "Almost rather had I seen Moby Dick and fought him, than to have seen thee, thou white ghost!"

"What was it, Sir?" said Flask.

"The great live Squid, which they say, few whale-ships ever beheld, and returned to their ports to tell of it."

But Ahab said nothing; turning his boat, he sailed back to the vessel; the rest as silently following.

Whatever superstitions the Sperm Whalemen in general have connected with the sight of this object, certain it is, that a glimpse of it being so very unusual, that circumstance has gone far to invest it with portentousness. So rarely is it beheld, that though one and all of them declare it to be the largest animated thing in the ocean, yet very few of them have any but the most vague ideas concerning its true nature and form; notwithstanding, they believe it to furnish to the Sperm Whale his only food. For though other species of whales find their food above water, and may be seen by man in the act of feeding, the Spermaceti Whale obtains his whole food in unknown zones below the surface; and only by inference is it that any one can tell of what, precisely, that food consists. At times, when closely pursued, he will disgorge what are supposed to be the detached arms of the squid; some of them thus exhibited exceeding twenty and thirty feet in length. They fancy that the monster to which these arms belonged ordinarily clings by them to the bed of the ocean; and that the Sperm Whale, unlike other species, is supplied with teeth in order to attack and tear it.

There seems some ground to imagine that the great Kraken of Bishop Pontoppodan may ultimately resolve itself into Squid. The manner in which the Bishop describes it, as alternately rising and sinking, with some other particulars he narrates, in all this the two correspond. But much abatement is necessary with respect to the incredible bulk he assigns it.

By some naturalists who have vaguely heard rumors of the mysterious creature, here spoken of, it is included among the class of cuttle-fish, to which, indeed, in certain external respects it would seem to belong, but only as the Anak of the tribe.

That's from a chapter entitled "Squid," one of the less boring passages in the book. The previous chapter is about plankton and the next chapter in Melville's "masterpiece" is a scintillating page turner about rope.

You may remember that i wasn't too fond of reading Melville, the most overrated author in American literature.

Some say that the monster Scylla, from Homer's Odyssey, is based on the giant squid.

And therein dwelleth Scylla, yelping terribly. Her voice indeed is no greater than the voice of a new-born whelp, but a dreadful monster is she, nor would any look on her gladly, not if it were a god that met her. Verily she hath twelve feet all dangling down; and six necks exceeding long, and on each a hideous head, and therein three rows of teeth set thick and close, full of black death. Up to her middle is she sunk far down in the hollow cave, but forth she holds her heads from the dreadful gulf, and there she fishes, swooping round the rock, for dolphins or sea-dogs, or whatso greater beast she may anywhere take, whereof the deep-voiced Amphitrite feeds countless flocks. Thereby no sailors boast that they have fled scatheless ever with their ship, for with each head she carries off a man, whom she hath snatched from out the dark-prowed ship.
[i'm thinking i like this monster blogging. Maybe it's the key to breaking the blog slump.]

Posted by annika at 06:41 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Is GB Russia?

This sounds like a joke.

Tony Blair is facing a possible police investigation over an alleged slur against the Welsh.

. . . [T]he Prime Minister repeatedly referred to them as 'f****** Welsh'.

It is said to have happened while he was watching the disappointing results of the Welsh Assembly elections in 1999.

. . .

North Wales Police said: 'A complaint has been received and is being reviewed.

'We will be seeking the advice of the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to the content of the statement of complaint.'

The CPS is expected to apply standard tests before deciding whether an investigation is viable and worthwhile.

The tests include whether an investigation would be in the public interest and whether there would be a reasonable chance of conviction.

This is a fucking joke right? It's illegal to say fucking Welsh in Great Britain. i knew they were a tolerant sort of people, but i was unaware that the Taliban had taken seats in Parliament. Someone please tell me this is an Onion story that got posted on Sky News by mistake.

If using the word fuck in reference to a Welshman is a crime, why isn't Elizabeth Taylor in jail?

Posted by annika at 02:40 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Another Dumb-Ass Political Quiz

You are a

Social Conservative
(30% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(71% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Via Matt.

Posted by annika at 10:15 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

cerb.gifi had a nightmare last night in which monsters and evil things were featured. i half woke up and thought to myself "why am i dreaming in horror?" Then i rolled over on my other side, which allowed my unconscious to switch genres.

i was always fascinated by monsters as a kid. When i was in fourth grade i did a school report on mythological beasts. i made a chart on poster board with drawings of each monster and little descriptions, written by me. The chart included the hydra, basilisk, chimaera, kappa, phoenix, griffon, manticore, medusa and cerberus. i wish i had saved those drawings; i was so precocious back then.

Maybe i'm thinking about monsters because Halloween is coming up. Or maybe because the radio guys i listen to in the morning were talking about hell. Or maybe i'm just going crazy.

Cerberus is a pretty scary beast. He inhabits the Third Circle of Hell, where gluttons are punished. Here is how Dante Alighieri describes him in Canto VI of The Inferno.

In the third circle I arrive, of showers
Ceaseless, accursed, heavy and cold, unchanged
For ever, both in kind and in degree.
Large hail, discolor’d water, sleety flaw
Through the dun midnight air stream’d down amain:
Stank all the land whereon that tempest fell.
Cerberus, cruel monster, fierce and strange,
Through his wide threefold throat, barks as a dog
Over the multitude immersed beneath.
His eyes glare crimson, black his unctuous beard,
His belly large, and claw’d the hands, with which
He tears the spirits, flays them, and their limbs
Piecemeal disparts. Howling there spread, as curs,
Under the rainy deluge, with one side
The other screening, oft they roll them round,
A wretched, godless crew. When that great worm
Descried us, savage Cerberus, he oped
His jaws, and the fangs show’d us; not a limb
Of him but trembled. Then my guide, his palms
Expanding on the ground, thence fill’d with earth
Raised them, and cast it in his ravenous maw.
E’en as a dog, that yelling bays for food
His keeper, when the morsel comes, lets fall
His fury, bent alone with eager haste
To swallow it; so dropp’d the loathsome cheeks
Of demon Cerberus, who thundering stuns
The spirits, that they for deafness wish in vain.

It's interesting that Dante describes Cerberus as "trembling." You'd think it would be Dante who was trembling more during the encounter. Another translation says the monster's "body was one mass of twitching muscles." What a frightening image! i also like how Virgil distracts the monster by throwing a glob of mud into its "ravenous maw." That's a great descriptive term. The stuff of nightmares.

Here's another, perhaps easier, translation of the scene:

In the third circle am I of the rain
Eternal, maledict, and cold, and heavy;
Its law and quality are never new.
Huge hail, and water sombre-hued, and snow,
Athwart the tenebrous air pour down amain;
Noisome the earth is, that receiveth this.
Cerberus, monster cruel and uncouth,
With his three gullets like a dog is barking
Over the people that are there submerged.
Red eyes he has, and unctuous beard and black,
And belly large, and armed with claws his hands;
He rends the spirits, flays, and quarters them.
Howl the rain maketh them like unto dogs;
One side they make a shelter for the other;
Oft turn themselves the wretched reprobates.
When Cerberus perceived us, the great worm!
His mouths he opened, and displayed his tusks;
Not a limb had he that was motionless.
And my Conductor, with his spans extended,
Took of the earth, and with his fists well filled,
He threw it into those rapacious gullets.
Such as that dog is, who by barking craves,
And quiet grows soon as his food he gnaws,
For to devour it he but thinks and struggles,
The like became those muzzles filth-begrimed
Of Cerberus the demon, who so thunders
Over the souls that they would fain be deaf.

i like that translation because the image in lines 14-15 is clearer: the damned souls using their own backs as shields from the horrid rain. They keep rolling over in vain, but unlike me, they can't end their nightmare.

Posted by annika at 08:12 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 26, 2005

ABC Endorses Hillary For 2008

Am i the only one who sees ABC's new weekly Hillary propaganda show for what it is? They even have a fake blog to promote the thing.

Apparently President Allen is supposed to be an Independent, who was picked for VP to balance out a Republican ticket. The fake blog describes her as a "centrist." The plan is clear: get middle-of-the-roaders used to the idea of a female president in time for Hillary's run.

i won't watch that show with Emelio Estevez as president. But i'm a big fan of both Geena Davis and Donald Sutherland, so i'll have to give this propaganda reel a chance tomorrow night. Hopefully it won't be too sickening.

Posted by annika at 07:40 PM | Comments (53) | TrackBack

MNF Pick, Week 3

Kansas City plus 2½ points? That's a no-brainer. Sure, Mile-High is always a factor, but so are Trent Green and Priest Holmes. Take KC over Denver. Insist on the points so you can laugh at the suckers later.

First Quarter Update: Fuck.

Halftime Update: Double fuck.

(That Clay Aiken's got a pretty good arm. Who knew?)

Third Quarter Update: Looks like we're going to need the greatest comeback in MNF history for those 2½ points to matter.

Final Score Update: Okay, so i'm 0 and 2. Denver was 0 and 2 before Monday Night, but i don't see you mocking them now. Just wait until next week.

Update to the Update: Crap, wrong again. Denver was 1-1.

Posted by annika at 01:33 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

September 25, 2005

Celine Dion Visits The Hot Tub Friends

Guess who dropped in on the Hot Tub Friends' latest party? It's mega-star Celine Dion!

Let's listen in, shall we?


Posted by annika at 11:23 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Breaking News



"Rita's victims wealthier than Katrina's"

Via Associated Press, the people who brought you "Black folks are looters."


Posted by annika at 12:39 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 22, 2005

Apprentice Blogging

Apprentice blogging will get me through this slump.


Apprentice blogging will get me through this slump.

So i saw the premier of Martha Stewart's Apprentice last night and it was...

Oh wait. Dawn did that already. Aw hell, just go read hers.

Best line of course was at the end when Martha tells the firee that he didn't fail, he just "didn't fully succeed." i'll have to remember that one.

Dear Father,

i regret to tell you that i'll be moving home again on account of they kicked me out of law school. Something about spending less time on the internet and more time reading cases or something like that. Anyways, the good news is i didn't fail, i just didn't fully succeed.


Posted by annika at 02:57 PM | Comments (26) | TrackBack

It Was Only A Matter Of Time...

... before somebody spoofed Bob Dylan's classic "Hurricane." Check out Mister Snitch's version. It's crazy good.

Posted by annika at 08:05 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 21, 2005

Question 2 For The Day

What if Sacramento won a sports championship and nobody cared?

Posted by annika at 11:21 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Question 1 For The Day

What if Rita Cosby moved to MSNBC and nobody noticed?

Posted by annika at 11:21 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

i used to read a poetry message board, where amateur poets went for affirmation. Some of the most common poems, and some of the worst, were poems about Autumn. Leaves changing color and leaves falling were favorite subjects of these poets. After about two dozen of these, you never want to read another poem about autumn again. It's almost as bad as teenage angst poetry. Well no, nothing is quite as bad as that.

The gold standard for poems about falling leaves was written by Emily Dickinson a long time ago.

Ribbons of the Year―
Multitude Brocade―
Worn to Nature's Party once

Then, as flung aside
As a faded Bead
Or a Wrinkled Pearl
Who shall charge the Vanity
Of the Maker's Girl?

Fall has always been the most introspective season for me. (While i say "introspective," some might call it "moody.") As i approach this year's equinox, i'll keep in mind Dickinson's prayer:

Besides the Autumn poets sing
A few prosaic days
A little this side of the snow
And that side of the Haze―

A few incisive Mornings―
A few Ascetic Eves―
Gone -- Mr. Bryant's "Golden Rod"―
And Mr. Thomson's "sheaves."

Still, is the bustle in the Brook―
Sealed are the spicy valves―
Mesmeric fingers softly touch
The Eyes of many Elves―

Perhaps a squirrel may remain―
My sentiments to share―
Grant me, Oh Lord, a sunny mind―
Thy windy will to bear!

Posted by annika at 07:54 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 20, 2005

Graphic Novel Idea

i've been working on an idea for the next Great American Graphic Novel, to be written, drawn, inked and lettered by me. i suck at drawing, so that might be a problem, but i can ink, i think. My lettering skills are inconsistent, but hey, that's what they invented Comic Sans for, right?

This Great American Graphic Novel, or G.A.G.N. let's call it, will be aimed at the adult market. i plan to include lots of four letter words, sex, gratuitous violence, and women with bullet shaped titties. i'm still undecided on a title. So far, i have a couple of possibilities.

Death Marcher
Death Takes a Powder
Deadly Sin
The Deadliest Sin
Death in WiFi
A Dumass Way to Die
Death is for Dumasses
Kill Me Deadlily
Bicycle of Death
Mr. Killee, Killer of Genius
Hit Parade of Death
Death on a Shingle
The Dead Have No Eyeballs
Sugar Deadly
Color Me Die
Wacky Train to Deathville
The Murderer Who Liked to Kill People
Demarcation of Death
Demarcation of Death II, The Awakening
The Stoogemaster
Traffic Circle of Death
A Fine Way to Die, Wally
Dying is an Ugly Business
The Death Tram
The Death Pram
Only 45 Minutes to Deadway
More Death's A-Killin'
Take A Memo, Death
Why Do the Dead Always Die?
A Fun Time for Dying
Do We Die Now?
Did We Die Yet?
Fuck, I'm Dead!
Murder at the Circle K
Even Killers Get the Blues
Only Killers Get the Blues
Why Do Killers Get the Blues?
18" Rims of Death
For Death's Sake
The Drama Club Murders
A Dharma Death
Murder by Fiddlesticks
Doing a Death Right
Killer of the Dead
Killer of the Dead II, The Awakening
North Dallas Deadly, A Sports Thriller
The Killer Who Left the Toilet Seat Up
Deadly Games the Dead Play
Core of Death
The Semantics of Murder
Cubicle of the Dead
Cuticle of the Dead
The Chronic Killer
'Tis a Far Better Death
It Slices, It Dices, It Dies
Death Knoll
Death Knell

i particularly like Death Knell, but i want to save it for a mass market paperback idea i have. i'll change the name to Death Nell, and the story will involve a kick-ass girl crime scene investigator/hooker named Nell, who is also a vampire hunter. Or maybe she'll be a vampire herself, who knows. i still need to do the market research on that.

But getting back to my graphic novel idea. The working title for my G.A.G.N. is currently Statute of Limitations, which has a nice ring to it. i haven't plotted the whole story out yet, but i have the basic outline in mind. It's about a family of rabbits in space. They go around having adventures and helping people.

i also have a cover design. Wanna see it? Here it is.

Don't steal my idea.

Posted by annika at 06:26 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

The Cotillion Dolls

This week's Cotillion Ball is hosted by Beth at My VRWC, Sadie at Fistful of Fortnights, Soldier's Angel Holly Aho, SondraK at Knowledge Is Power and Jody at Steal the Bandwagon. There are many pictures, go to it!

Posted by annika at 06:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Was it just me, or did anyone else hear Hugh Hewitt let a bad word slip out on the radio this afternoon?

Posted by annika at 05:54 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 19, 2005

When A Blogger Feels Like She's Down For The Count


When a blogger feels like she's down for the count, she should:

a) pick herself up, dust herself off, start all over again;

b) finally edit and post that Kill Bill 2 symposium she's been sitting on for-fucking-ever;

c) recycle old posts;

d) realize that she'll never be quite so charming, funny and cynical all at the same time as her idols Ginger, Candace or Dawn, then give up;


e) two words: sex blogging.

Posted by annika at 08:49 PM | Comments (24) | TrackBack

After Seinfeld

Are Wednesdays on ABC the best hope for a return of "Must-See TV?"

Posted by annika at 07:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Return Of annika's MNF Pick

Dallas is favored by 5½ points. i'd take Dallas minus the points because they plan to honor Troy, Michael and Emmitt tonight. The Cowboys should be up for this home game and besides, the Redskins aren't going anywhere this year.

Unrelated football note: L.A. has been without a football team for what, ten years now? New Orleans doesn't even exist, but they have a football team. How embarrassing is that.

Update: Amy was at the game!

Posted by annika at 02:29 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Broussard's Soundbite Debunked

It was still one of the most difficult things to watch in the history of tv news. But the finger pointing it spawned needs to be revised.

Posted by annika at 01:56 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 15, 2005

New Gun Nut Progress Report III

Here's the next in my series of novice gun reviews. This post should be subtitled "Teutonic Target Shooting, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

progress report

My quest for the perfect handgun to purchase started out with the 9mm Sig Sauer P226. i think you all remember how crazy i was for that gun. i'm glad it was the first pistol i ever fired because it has become the benchmark by which all others are measured. In fact Sig Sauer has reinforced my long-standing preference for Teutonic engineering. So i figured, as long as i'm test driving guns, i should check out all the German makes i can get my hands on.

The Sig's reputation for Swiss precision was not exagerrated, in my opinion. It was accurate, reliable and ergonomically pleasing. i fired three different Sigs at three different ranges and i was never dissatisfied. The gun never jammed and it always gave me tight patterns on the target.

My only problem with the Sig's design was its lack of any external safety. It seems those crazy Germans think that Sig owners should know better than to rely on a safety. Read the following sentence with a Sigfried accent: Vat vould you need zeh safety for? Eet Ees qvite zimple. Eef vun does not vont zeh gun to fire, vun does not pull zeh trigger.

The Sig does have a nifty de-cocking lever, which is a sort of safety. It allows you to lower a cocked hammer without the gun going off. Also, the first trigger pull is very stiff when the hammer is uncocked. That acts as an additional sort of safety, and i have decided that whatever gun i purchase should have that feature.

i know that no safety is 100% reliable. But i'm still not comfortable with the idea of owning a gun that does not have an external lever that i can switch on to give myself that added peace of mind. But i loved the Sig so much that i figured i might have to compromise and live without a safety lever.

Interestingly, there is another manufacturer whose motto happens to be "No Compromise." But i'm getting to that.

If the Sig is "The Good," in the above mentioned subtitle, then i would have to say that the famous Glock 17 is "The Bad." How can i put it nicely? This gun sucked. i was prepared not to like the Glock, because my first introduction to it was a post by Publicola about the LAPD's decision to allow officers to start carrying the Glock 22. Publicola alerted me to the Austrian gun's unfortunate, albeit rare tendency to blow up when shooting higher powered cartridges.

Additional research led me to another post, at Says Uncle, about an unusual ailment that sometimes afflicts police officers called "Glock-leg." And if that wasn't enough, the first time i saw a guy shoot a Glock at the range, i was surprised to see the ejected cartridges hitting him square in the forehead. You'd think Glock would have fixed that problem. Maybe that's why those gang bangers shoot the thing sideways. (When i fired it, one of the hot cartridges got stuck between my safety goggles and my face!)

iconglock.jpgi felt i couldn't do a thorough job of pistol shopping if i didn't try a Glock at least once. So i rented the Glock 17, which is their 9mm pistol. i didn't want to try it in my favorite caliber, .40 S&W, because of the whole exploding Glock thing. From the start i didn't like it.

The first thing that struck me was the overall cheapness of the materials. It's plastic, sure, but it feels like the kind of lightweight plastic that toys are made out of. The famous Glock trigger safety that i'd heard so much about turned out not to be sophisticated at all. It's simply a plastic lever that prevents the trigger from being pulled back unless you actually pull back on the trigger. Doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense to me.

The Glock has no external safety lever and it's "double action only," which i hate. That means it doesn't have a hard trigger pull on the first shot, like the Sig, and you can't cock or uncock the gun for single action shooting since it doesn't have an external hammer. It's basically point and shoot, no nonsense.

Ergonomically, it never felt good either. My finger didn't feel right on the trigger, like the gun was at the wrong angle for my hand. i like to pull the trigger with the first joint of my index finger, but on the Glock, it felt more natural to pull the trigger with my fingertip. And the trigger pull itself was way too light, which i can't believe is very safe.

Accuracy at 25 yards was off. My theory is that the Glock was too light. i think i pulled my shots to the left because i concentrated on holding the gun steady through the recoil. i don't think the gun is inherently inaccurate because my patterns at 7 yards were very nice. Sightwise, i'm not impressed either. It uses a vertical two dot system that i found difficult to visualize consistently.

Needless to say, the Glock did not make my shopping list. i'm sure it's a fine and reliable gun for military and police use, but it's not for me.

iconusp.jpgLike Goldilocks, i found the third gun in my Teutonic trifecta just right. i'm talking about the Heckler & Koch Universale Selbstladepistole. Matt thinks this gun is ugly, but it met all of my requirements in a pistol. It has an external safety and decocking lever. It's traditional double action. It looks like it's well made, as i'd expect a German product to be. It's incredibly accurate at 25 yards. It has the three dot sight i prefer. It never jammed. It looks mean. It's very comfortable to hold. And it's light, but not too light.

But that's not all. The H&K also surpassed my requirements in a couple of areas. There's some sort of patented anti-recoil thingamabob built into it, which noticeably reduced the recoil of the .40 S&W version i fired, making it feel more like a 9mm. And although the frame is plastic, it's a tough thick polymer that feels solid compared to the Glock. And the external safety works the same way as a 1911's so i won't have to relearn the action if i ever buy a .45.

i shot a hundred rounds through the USP, and those were my best targets ever. i think the difference was the combination of the light weight* and the anti-recoil thingamajig. i found that i could hold the pistol steadier for a longer time. It's amazing the confidence you can get when you fire a quality firearm. It makes you want to practice more.

Look at the picture. Mind you, i'd never shot a pistol before August 13, 2005.

A is all head shots at 25 yards, indoors.

B is five shots at 25 yards aiming for the masking tape. It's about a 2.5 inch grouping.

C is the first shot in that five shot grouping at 25 yards. Imagine my surprise: when i aimed at it, i hit it!

D is the rest of the 50 round box, mostly at 15 yards, and about ten of them at 7 yards. One magazine of ten rounds was shot at 15 yards without wearing my prescription glasses because i decided i should practice without them a little. Those were the outlying holes, but as you can see, only one in the 8 ring.

That's why i love the H&K. It's my new favorite. i will continue to sample other autoloaders, but the Universale Selbstladepistole is now the one to beat, in my book.

Now if i can only find a range that rents Walthers, i can complete a Teutonic grand slam!

* Without their clips, the Sig Sauer P226 weighs 28.3 ounces, the H&K USP is 27.9 ounces, and the Glock is 21.2 ounces.

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September 14, 2005

Light Posting

i took on a project at school that will me keep me very busy over the next several weeks, so posting will be sporadic. If you're hungry for poetry i'd suggest visiting the following fellow poetry lovers: Sarah or Sheila or Dymphna and the Baron (Get well soon, Dymphna) or CBass (The Mark Russell of the Blogosphere) or my buddy Matt or Jeff's Protein Wisdom, none of whom have any poetry posted today. However, you can always count on Hugo for great poems on Thursday. If you're coming here for a gun nut update, i should have one soon, but you might want to check out this gun quiz at Risawn's blog. (i recognized the BHP.)

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September 11, 2005



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September 10, 2005

Just One More Reason i'm Glad To Be A Munuvian

Blogger has instituted a quasi-censorship program.

When a person visiting a blog clicks the "Flag?" button in the Blogger Navbar, it means they believe the content of the blog may be potentially offensive or illegal. We track the number of times a blog has been flagged as objectionable and use this information to determine what action is needed. This feature allows the blogging community as a whole to identify content they deem objectionable.
This disturbing development is totally separate from their policy regarding spam blogs. This is much more big brotherish.

Blogger excuses this quasi-censorship by referring to the "Wisdom of Crowds" concept. That's complete bullshit. They might have an argument if they gave readers the option to designate a blog as "unobjectionable." But even that would be problematic, because it's always more likely that a offended person would be motivated to click on a flag than someone who's not offended by content. You're going to see a situation where hypersensitive people or those with intolerant political viewpoints will have a kind of "hecklers veto" on blog content.

This is a bad idea, and totally goes against what i thought was Blogger's most important asset, the total freedom it gave to its users. It's also an unnecessary idea. Blog readers have always had a remedy for objectionable content they might happen upon. It's called the back button. Blogger's "Flag Button" is the blogging equivalent of yelling "Mom!" everytime your brother calls you a ninny.

If someone doesn't like what i write for instance, they can always leave a comment, or email me, and then never visit again. If i want to post a picture of my left tit, i'm glad i have the freedom to do so without becoming some kind of second class blog-citizen.

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Dad's Words Of Wisdom #417 & 417A (Corrolary)

"The purpose of union activism used to be to protect the worker. But now, the primary purpose of unions has become the weakening various target institutions.

"The Democratic party has become nothing more than a such a union, which chooses as its target the United States of America."

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September 09, 2005

Yay annika's journal Readers!

We are up to $2,150 for hurricane relief, and the TTLB Board reads over 1.3 million dollars!

If you haven't contributed yet, jump on the bandwagon!

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September 08, 2005

Open Gun Nut Comment Questions

Here's two questions i've been wondering about. i bow to your expertise, so please leave any thoughts you might have in the comments.

1. In the event of an extended period of civil unrest, when finding ammunition might become an issue, is it better to have a gun that shoots a common caliber of ammunition like 9mm, or is it better to have something that will use a less common caliber. Think of a donut shop. Normally, you'll always be able to get glazed donuts, but after the morning rush, maybe all you'd find are those disgusting brown crullers that nobody likes.

2. In the city, is it a good idea to advertise gun ownership with a sticker or say, posting a particularly good silhouette in your garage? Would this cause bad people to stay away, or would they simply watch more carefully for their chance to break in and try to steal your gun when you're out?

i will be blogging lightly for the next few days, but i'll check in to read. In the meantime, don't forget to give what you can for hurricane relief.

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September 07, 2005

Great News!

American hostage Roy Hallums is free! Details at Jawa Report.

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Wednesday Is Poetry Day: Merton

Today's poem is by a Trappist monk of the Strict Observance, the late Thomas Merton. My experience reading the poem mirrors my own flirtations with serenity a few years back. Every time i think i get it, it slips away. Ultimately, i just give up.

When in the soul of the serene disciple

When in the soul of the serene disciple
With no more Fathers to imitate
Poverty is a success,
It is a small thing to say the roof is gone:
He has not even a house.

Stars, as well as friends,
Are angry with the noble ruin.
Saints depart in several directions.

Be still:
There is no longer any need of comment.
It was a lucky wind
That blew away his halo with his cares,
A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.

Here you will find
Neither a proverb nor a memorandum.
There are no ways,
No methods to admire
Where poverty is no achievement.
His God lives in his emptiness like an affliction.

What choice remains?
Well, to be ordinary is not a choice:
It is the usual freedom
Of men without visions.

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September 06, 2005

A Subtle Kind Of Bigotry

It's a delicate subject, and i try not to write much about it. A white person always runs the risk of being called a racist, no matter what they say. Usually it happens when white people say that charges of racism are exagerrated or without merit. In the case of this post, i should be safe, because i plan to be the one making the charges.

i've noticed a special kind of subtle bigotry, very cleverly disguised. The folks who exhibit this new bigotry probably don't even realize their bias, and they'd probably deny it vehemently. The purveyors of the new bigotry that i'm talking about are mostly in the media and the academy.

A more obvious example that has gotten play recently is the infamous looting/finding controversy that arose from the troubles in New Orleans.

[T]wo news service photographs . . . showed persons wading through chest-deep water in the New Orleans area with supplies taken from grocery stores. Many viewers noticed the seeming disparity of the darker-skinned subject's being described in the accompanying caption as 'looting a grocery store,' while the lighter-skinned subjects were described as 'finding bread and soda from a local grocery store.'
Unlike many on my side of the political spectrum, i find the AFP's description of the "lighter-skinned" subjects as "finders," rather than "looters" to be pretty indefensible. Yes, i know there were two different news agencies involved. But the choice of words was a conscious decision, and the photographer's rationalizations ring sort of hollow, at least to my ears.

kwest.jpgStill, i've noticed another type of more subtle bigotry lately. It's the condescending "some of my best friends are black" kind of bigotry that Time magazine showed, when they called Kanye West the "smartest man in pop music," and put him on the cover of their magazine.

Besides trying to show how hip they were, Time magazine's editors were also asking for approval with their backhanded compliment. Translated, what they meant to say was: "Look how non-racist we are. See, we think a black man can be smart too." Never mind that they picked a complete moron for their cover, as we saw last Friday. (And i'm making a totally non-partisan, objective observation. If articulation counts for anything, as the anti-Bush crowd continually tells us, Kanye is as dumb as a stump.)

A more obvious example to me is the way people in the media and academia so often refer to Martin Luther King, Jr. as Dr. King. When was the last time you heard a white guy with a Ph.D. referred to as Doctor so-and-so. You never hear anyone say Dr. Woodrow Wilson, for instance, and he was president of Princeton. Or how about Dr. Einstein? Or even Dr. Gingrich?

But you always hear people say "Doctor" King, which sounds so condescending. First of all there should be no question about MLK's intellect (and save your plagiarism comments for someone else. Just read "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" if you want proof.) But just like with Time Magazine and Kanye West, it's another way of saying "See, we think black people can be smart too."

It's not a question of respect. It's patronizing. MLK may have earned the right to have been called by his title, but i've yet to meet the Ph.D. who likes being called "doctor" outside of a formal lecture auditorium. In fact, King's friends called him Mike. i liked it better when the media called him Reverend, but of course now that's taboo because it implies that he might have believed in God.

But that's another kind of bigotry for another post.

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September 05, 2005

A Kiss To Build A Dream On

This week's Cotillion Ball is being held in four ballrooms at the very top of the Hotel Blogosphere. Besides this room, where i am your humble M.C., we have RightGirl, Merri Musings and Stacy, each of whom have wonderful festivities planned for today. As you stroll around the dance floor, i'd like you to imagine listening to the music of some great musicians from the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. Foremost is of course Sachmo, whose version of "A Kiss To Build A Dream On" is one of the great classics of all time.

harry.jpgCrystal Clear deserves congratulations for having landed a dream job in Hawaii, not an easy state to make a living in. And she'll be doing good work, too.

[A]fter a great deal of soul-searching it really seemed to me that the consistent pattern and passion in my life has always been children and likely always will be serving the underserved children and watching out for the kids many people consider "throw aways".
Yay Crystal!

Darleen has a provocatively titled post, "Jesus Was Not A Socialist."

No where in [Jesus'] teachings does one find a call that GOVERNMENT must use its power to redistribute property from the earners to the needers. Indeed, Jesus preached about the difference between the Government and individuals.

. . .

Socialism is not about individuals giving of their own earned property. It's about self-selected people of power deciding to fulfill their own desires with someone else's property taken by force.

Morality assumes choice. Socialism is a matter of, at best, amorality, because it robs people of choice.

Well said, Darleen.

Dr. Sanity discusses a common phenomenon many of us observe when trying to understand the leftist mind at work. It's called "denial."

When belief in any idea become a matter of faith--and one's own identity is defined by that faith--then the psyche will do anything necessary to distort or deny any truth that contradicts that belief.

. . .

I fear that is the choice that those on the Left are making right now, although they like to imagine that those of us who are fighting against the new threats to human freedom and dignity are the ones suffering from delusion.

fats.jpgClaire has compiled a number of, let me say it, evil statements made by those on the left who like to trumpet their "compassion" so loudly. As i said in an earlier post of mine, tragedies like Katrina reveal character. In the aftermath of the hurricane, Claire addresses Jesse Jackson Jr's question, "Who are we to say what law and order should be in this unspeakable environment?"
When all hell breaks loose, for some the niceties of self-disciplined social interaction disappear in a wash of mind-numbing fear and desperation. Others, realize that desperate times call for even more rigorous commitment to the principles of civilized behavior—that set of Values which makes a hellish situation infinitely more manageable.
At Fistful of Fortnights, Sadie interviews über-blogger Dan Riehl, who has been covering the Natalee Holloway story extensively.
Sadie: You believe that Joran Van der Sloot emailed you hours before he was arrested. What made these emails seem authentic?

Dan: Joran or someone close to him - why else would someone go to the trouble? I thought maybe him and his Father together … the emails were written with some awareness of the law, as well as forming public opinion. That isn’t your average seventeen year old on his own.

leadbelly.jpgFlorida Cracker and her visitors raised an amazing $3,100 to help the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina. It's yet another example of the generous hearts out there in the blogosphere.

mahalia.jpgRightGirl has a beautiful post about the friends we make on-line, and the limitations of those friendships.

[E]very once in a while, you come across a person who touches you. You make a friend, and the boundaries of real life vs. internet blur a little at the edges. . . . You get caught up in their dramas: their joys and sorrows. Sometimes you prefer them to those real friends, because you don't know them well enough to know their ugly habits. . . . But when these people that you have come to hold as real suffer something large and devastating, you feel that pain, too. But because they are only 'imaginary,' there often isn't anything you can do. You can pray. You can try to reach out. But miles and boundaries get in the way. Sometimes, you just have to let them drop.
It seems to me like Hurricane Katrina was fresh meat to some lefty bloggers who have become a pack of hungry dogs. Ilyka Damen takes aim at the silliness of some of the barking bloggers and blogtrolls on the left.
For the last time: You have a participatory form of government. PARTICIPATE. Or:

"When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world?' You are."

But then, the woman who wrote that was not a progressive, so we can ignore her.

trace.jpgAnd finally, KelliPundit, a Louisiana clinical pharmacist, tells of her frustrations dealing with various bureaucracies at the same time as she's trying to help hurricane refugees.
Here's the largest, most profound problem recognized by all medical personnel yesterday: People needed to get prescriptions filled. Many are already in the system for state medicare or had private insurance - but didn't have 3 bucks for the co-pay. I see all of these corporations giving a million bucks in cash which is a good thing-but for at least one corporation out there I know of a great need that has not been met yet. But what we really, really needed was for a drug chain to step forward and volunteer to cover peoples co-pay for refugees. Can you imagine how many prescriptions could be filled with a one million dollar donation for co-pays?? Many, many of our problems would have been solved.
pete.jpgJust as Louisiana is a like a smorgasboard of great musicians, you can see that the Cotillion is a buffet of great blogging. Okay, that was a horribly lame analogy, but it's late and i think you get the picture.

P.S. i almost forgot everyone's favorite Louisiana musician/mom-to-be!

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Thank You And Let's Keep It Going

As a young Catholic School girl, i was taught that donations to charity should be made with humility. So, when i asked you all for help with the Blogathon for Hurricane Relief, i didn't put up a link to N.Z. Bear's Weblog Leader Board (which has tallied over $650,000 in contributions as of this writing.).

But, checking that leader board today, i was shocked to find that my name is on it, and that five of you have recorded your contributions with my blog as a reference! The total for annika's journal is $425!

It still amazes me that anyone even reads my bullshit, so i can't tell you how happy and grateful and proud i am, that in some small way this blog might be responsible for that kind of graciousness. Thank you so much! i think the Blogathon is clearly one of the true success stories to come out of this hurricane tragedy.

Let's keep it going!

Update: We're now up to $650!

Update 2: Wow, $1,150! You folks are incredible!

Remember that the crisis is not over. In fact, it's really just beginning. The population of a major city has picked up and scattered itself around the country. If you've ever lived on somebody's couch for an extended period, you know how unsettling that can be for all concerned. After a few weeks, these folks will really need the kind of help that charities like Catholic Relief can provide. So let's not forget about them, even if the media starts to lose interest.

Posted by annika at 07:30 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

September 04, 2005

New Gun Nut Progress Report II

Me and my roommate Megan tried two more pistols today, both Smith & Wesson. Here's my novice review.

progress report

The first was the venerable Smith & Wesson Military and Police .38 special. The particular model we rented was the Model 64. Someone told me that this gun is used by California prison guards, but i have not been able to verify that information.

sw64.jpgi chose this revolver because it's what i always pictured when i thought of the word "gun." The design dates back to 1899. It's simple to operate and easy to shoot, but i didn't like the sights. The rear sight is really a groove along the top of the cylinder. i had trouble lining it up with the front sight in the low light of the range, and consequently i shot worse with the .38 than i have with any other gun.

The S&W 64 retails for $583, but i wouldn't buy it. Here's what Dirty Harry said about .38 calibers in The Enforcer:

Kate: You're 'cold bold Callahan with his great big .44'. Every other cop is satisfied with a .38 or a .357. Why do you have to carry that cannon for?

Harry: So I hit what I aim at, that's why.

Kate: Oh I see. So that's for the penetration.

Harry: Does everything have a sexual connotation with you?

Kate: Only sometimes.

Harry: The .357's a good weapon, but i've seen .38 slugs bounce off of windshields. That's no good in a town like this.

i heard somewhere else that the .38 special cartridge is really good for punching holes in paper, but not much else. The casing is the same size as a .357 magnum, except it's full of wadding, according to the range dude i talked to. i know because some wadding flew up and landed on my head. i thought it was a bug at first, but when i put my hand through my hair it was like a gray powdery chunk of dust. Gross.

The next gun we tried was the Smith & Wesson 4006TSW, which shot the .40 S&W cartridge. Now this was more like it. i had been curious about the .40 S&W round, because i'd been told that it had more power to stop an attacker than a 9mm, while still being easy on the arm. i found the kick of this gun comparable to the Sig and Browning 9 millimeters i loved so much.

sw4004.jpgi also like the fact that it had an actual safety, unlike the Sig Sauers, which have none.

Megan and i split a box of 50 bullets, and i shot 17 rounds at ranges of 7 and 15 yards. i kept all but three inside the 9 ring, which for me is okay. Then i switched to the head at 25 yards for the last eight rounds, and missed only once. So i'd say this is a pretty accurate pistol.

Another neat feature of this weapon was the rack on the bottom of the barrel, which can be used to attach a flashlight or a laser sight. i love accessories!

This might be the all around defensive weapon for me. It satisfies a number of requirements i have. Good power, reliable (it jammed only once), it has a safety, it's accurate, not too much recoil, has a comfortable grip, and holds at least ten rounds. i also like that it's made in America, and the stainless steel is supposed to resist corrosion.

i don't like the sights as much as the Sig Sauer's three dot system, which is really easy for me to see. The Smith & Wesson has a white dot on the front sight, but the rear sight is all black. i like the three dot system better because i can tell whether the gun is lined up from left to right by judging if the three dots are equally spaced apart. i can't do that on the 4006 because i only see one dot.

i don't think they make this model anymore. i picked up a Smith and Wesson catalog for 2005 and the closest thing they had with a 4 inch barrel was the model 410, which doesn't come in stainless steel. But i'm not ready to buy anything yet anyway. There's plenty of other pistols i need to sample first.

Update: Boone Country wrote a spirited defense of the .38 special way back in 2003 that is worth reading.

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Weird, huh?

Posted by annika at 09:27 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

William Rhenchrist, RIP

Another Supreme Court Justice gone, another chance for a lazy blogger to recycle an old post. Remember my Guide to the Supreme Court?

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September 03, 2005

Did He Just Say That?

Richard Simmons, bless his heart, said the following on Larry King Live just now:

"New Orleans is the Venice, Italy of the world."
Now that's good comedy.

P.S. i want to like Celine Dion, i really do, but her personality makes that impossible.

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Malkin Quotes i Wish i'd Thought Of

"Poor Mike Myers. Look at his face. He looks like he's gonna hurl."
Nice one, Michelle.

i wish i'd thought of that. The subtly obscure movie reference is supposed to be my bailiwick.

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Thank God for the U.S. Military. The politicians and the bureaucrats can go to hell.

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

September 02, 2005

Get On The Bus

A real American hero, twenty year old Jabbar Gibson, who took it upon himself to grab the keys to a school bus and drive a busload of folks 13 hours to safety.


Gibson drove the bus from the flooded Crescent City, picking up stranded people, some of them infants, along the way. Some of those on board had been in the Superdome, among those who were supposed to be evacuated to Houston on more than 400 buses Wednesday and today. They couldn't wait.

The group of mostly teenagers and young adults pooled what little money they had to buy diapers for the babies and fuel for the bus.

. . .

'I feel good to get out of New Orleans,' said Demetrius Henderson, who got off the bus with his wife and three children. Many of those around him alternated between excited, cranky and nervous, clutching suitcases or plastic garbage bags of clothes.

They looked as bedraggled as their grueling ride would suggest: 13 hours on the commandeered bus driven by a 20-year-old man. Watching bodies float by as they tried to escape the drowning city. Picking up people along the way. Three stops for fuel. Chugging into Reliant Park, only to be told initially that they could not spend the night.

. . .

After arriving at the Astrodome at about 10:30 p.m., however, they initially were refused entry by Reliant officials who said the aging landmark was reserved for the 23,000 people being evacuated from the Louisiana Superdome.

'Now, we don't have nowhere to go' Gibson said. 'We heard the Astrodome was open for people from New Orleans. We ain't ate right, we ain't slept right. They don't want to give us no help. They don't want to let us in.'

. . .

After about 20 minutes of confusion and consternation, Red Cross officials announced that the group of about 50 to 70 evacuees would be allowed into the Astrodome.

God bless the man.

From the Houston Chronicle.

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Friends Of A Friend

i'm reprinting the following request by Ken Wheaton in full. Please help if you can.

Understandably, sitting on the sidelines in New York and watching fellow Americans suffer is as frustrating as it is heart-breaking. Especially for those of us from Louisiana and living elsewhere, we want to do something more than just send money to the American Red Cross, with the vague sense of unease that it may get spent on a company car or a press release or a box of donuts at headquarters. And hopping in a rental car or on a plane is not only a direct violation of FEMA orders, but at this point, with gas as high as it is, it's prohibitively expensive, possibly dangerous and THAT money might be better spent on relief efforts.

So here's your chance to help one specific group of people. My friend Felicia, who you've read about in previous posts, is on a task force in St. Landry Parish, in Opelousas to be more precise. Opelousas, as many of you know, is my home town. There are currently a great deal of refugees who've ended up there--in the churches, in the shelters, in the Yambilee building, camping out in the parks--and they're going to need things.

For a closer look at what's going on in Opelousas and St. Landry Parish, check out The Opelousas Daily World.

So... Felicia is providing me and you with her home address. Care packages and checks specifically to help this group of people can be sent to her. Be sure to include a return address and your name.

St. Landry Katrina Relief
c/o Felicia Mouton
1022 Eddins Avenue
Opelousas, LA 70570

Things that are needed

Felicia says that while you can send clothes and food, those things are generally accounted for. Instead, she says, send

baby wipes, diapers, tampons, sanitary napkins, underwear, undershirts, Q-tips, cotton balls, dental floss, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoos, soaps, etc....basically, anything you and I would by at Walgreen's for personal upkeep. These things are rarely thought of. The best way to purchase this kind of stuff is to actually in travel size so that individual packets can be given to people, and they don't have to share.

Also, anything for children, such as toys that don't necessarily have to be shared or want to be stolen, art paper, colors, coloring books, reading books...easy stuff. AND SCHOOL SUPPLIES! DON'T FORGET SCHOOL SUPPLIES!

In general, don't send anything worth money because in these type of shelters (well, in any that I've had to stay in/work in) things will be taken.

If you do want to send money, make checks payable to "Hurricane Katrina, St. Landry Parish Fund." From here on out, any money put into my PayPal account will go to this relief effort.

I would ask that anyone and everyone who reads my blog, who links to my blog, who has a home on my sidebar either contribute or at least provide a link to this post. Please. I'm begging here. Thank you all very much.

. . . Have a great Labor Day.

Posted by annika at 07:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bush's Unfortunate Words Of Encouragement

This morning, President Bush gave what has to be his worst speech ever. And that's saying something. i've consistently criticized the president for his maddening inarticulateness, and today he said exactly the wrong things in exactly the wrong tone.

i understand the general rule of thumb in a situation like this. Presidents usually try to remain optimistic, and sound upbeat yet determined. That was exactly the type of approach that worked the week of 9/11. But after the horror of the last four days, the time for the standard speech template is over.

Bush's tone needed to recognize the reality of the situation on the ground now. The folks in the hell that was once New Orleans don't really give a flying fuck about Trent Lott's porch. They're not thinking about the rebuilding effort or whether the city will ever "be great again." They're worried about water, food, and whether they're going to get raped or killed when the sun goes down tonight.

In short, they're worried about survival, and they're understandably pissed at the government. Instead of recognizing that, the president tried to blow smoke up their collective asses. He should have let them know he was as impatient for results as they are.

Here's the lowpoint of that awful speech.

We've got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch. (Laughter.)
If i was down there, one of the victims, i'd be saying "Fuck Trent Lott, what about my house?!"
Again, I want to thank you all for -- and, Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job. The FEMA Director is working 24 -- (applause) -- they're working 24 hours a day.

Again, my attitude is, if it's not going exactly right, we're going to make it go exactly right. If there's problems, we're going to address the problems. And that's what I've come down to assure people of. And again, I want to thank everybody.

Here, i'd be livid. A "heck of a job?!" What an idiotic thing to say, factually, politically, in every way. With all due respect, President Bush is not the one who gets to make that judgment, and it's way too early to say what kind of job "Brownie" has done. But it's not looking good Brownie, that's for sure.

And just so you know, i'm a huge Bush fan.

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What If It Happened In Your Town?

Here's some advice from Confederate Yankee on what we now know should be an essential item in every disaster readiness kit.

Linky thanks to the ever-vigilant Publicola.

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Couple Of Thoughts Before i Run Off To Class

First, read The Anchoress every day. Here's an excerpt from her post yesterday.

The sad people who sit around like self-gratifying monkeys, constantly working their hate, working it and working it, are longing for release - for an orgasm that can only occur upon the utter political, personal and (for some) physical destruction of a human being named George W. Bush. Until they have that destruction, and that orgasm, nothing else matters. Nothing. And nothing can be seen by them, except through the prism of that hateful desire.

. . .

Hate tends to consume the hater, and I read some of the remarks some folks are making and think…are you so in love with your hate that you cannot let it go long enough to say 'let us band together and put politics aside, for now…' because this really is not the time to drive political daggers - it is not the time to try to figure out if the traditionally Democratic leadership in this state or that contributed to a city’s unpreparedness and vulnerability. It is not the time to sit and seethe with resentment or guffaw in anticipatory glee about how 'this will sink the Repugs in ‘06!'

Second, this disaster should be a lesson to all of us how misplaced our reliance on the government has become. It's ironic that the very people who didn't trust the government when it told them to evacuate before the storm hit are now living in hell because they are waiting for the government to come and save them. And the government is just not there. i make fun of Libertarians from time to time, but Katrina has proved them right in one thing. We must take responsibility for our own survival.

Trivia question: Name a disaster of any magnitude in which the government has not been criticized for responding too slowly. Hell, we had a building fire in Sacramento a few weeks back and the news for the next few days was all about why the local fire department took too long to arrive.

It's not just that state, local and federal agencies have been incompetent. The scope of the disaster would have made even a perfectly planned response seem incompetent. By way of thought experiment, here's a small example. Where are the busses to evacuate people from the Superdome? Flooded, by the hundreds in a parking lot. Why can't we fix them? All the mechanics are gone and there's no electricity. Why can't we get enough busses there from outside? Roads are flooded and destroyed. What looks like an adequate number of busses suddenly is inadequate as word gets out that busses are coming and even more people flock to the Superdome.

Another important lesson: the idea of a citizen militia as originally envisioned by the writers of the Second Amendment is not, repeat NOT, outdated.

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September 01, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: Blog for Relief Day

As you can see at the top of my sidebar, i have selected Catholic Charities for hurricane relief donation. Here's why i like them.

Louisiana is heavily Roman Catholic and i expect that many victims will rely on the Church for all sorts of help.

The Catholic Church is 2000 years old, it ain't going anywhere.

As i posted on Monday, Catholic Charities emphasizes long term recovery aid, and this disaster recovery will take a long time.

Catholic Charities is a separate entity from local archdioceses, and therefore there's no danger that my money might possibly be skimmed to pay for any scandal settlements. i would be uncomfortable donating through my own local parish's collection basket for that reason.

You don't have to donate to my chosen charity, but i'd encourage you not to wait if you haven't helped out yet. Pick a charity from N.Z. Bear's, Instapundit's, The Cotillion (Jody's), or The Bear Flag League's list and do what you can today.

Technorati tags: flood aid, Hurricane Katrina

Update: My Cotillion sister Sadie at Fistful of Fortnights is auctioning off two blog designs from Apothegm Designs, to benefit the American Red Cross or the Hurricane oriented charity of your choice.

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Competing Blogbursts

Just scooting around the blogosphere this morning i have seen quite a contrast in approaches to the Hurricane tragedy. One group of bloggers, a large one, led by Hugh Hewitt among others, is concentrating on helping those in need. Another group of bloggers is holding another less organized blogburst, which can only be described as a "Blame Bush" blogburst.

Why am i not surprised.

Could this map provide a clue as to why certain bloggers don't seem to care about the victims of Hurricane Katrina?


Like they say, adversity reveals character. If the blogosphere is any indication, i think we're seeing a distinct revelation of character in the response to this disaster, and lack thereof.

It's all about priorities. Some see people in need, and their first thought is to ask "Who can I blame?" Others see a tragedy and immediately ask "How can I help."

Posted by annika at 07:54 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack