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

November 30, 2005

Jack's Back

If i'm not mistaken, the item Jack is holding in this picture is a Heckler & Koch Universale Selbstladepistole.

If so, is that another reason for me to love Jack Bauer, or is it another reason for me to love the USP?

Link via Dawn.

Posted by annika at 07:50 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Ride Through New Orleans

Deroy Murdock's NRO piece on New Orleans today reminds me of the Ride Through Chernobyl site i posted about last year. Just the other day i was wondering if anybody was going to update us about New Orleans, or if it was just another important story about which the media had lost interest.

The column is worth a read, and there are some eerie pictures. Here's the key quote for me:

'I see a lot of media coverage, especially on television,' [local radio GM, David] Freedman says. 'It seems that there's always so much focus on the music, and the spirit, and the life of that music...But don't be fooled. This city is deeply wounded. I'd say it's like an amputee with phantom memory.'
Update: i got my first New Orleans beggar this morning. A guy came up to me on the sidewalk and introduced himself as a "New Orleans hurricane victim," then asked me for a dollar. Of course i didn't believe him, but i gave him a dollar anyway only because i always give money to beggars when asked.

Posted by annika at 07:41 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

No poem today. Instead, i will quote some advice on how to read poetry, especially difficult poetry, which i discovered in the November 7, 2005, issue of The New Yorker. The advice comes from a worthy source, the great poet John Ashbery, in a long but fabulous piece about the poet, written by Larissa MacFarquhar.

This is how Ashbery reads. When he sits down with a book of poems by somebody else he goes through it quickly. He forms a first impression of a poem almost at once, and if he isn't grabbed by it he'll flip ahead and read something else. But if he's caught up he'll keep going, still reading quite fast, not making any attempt to understand what's going on but feeling that on some other level something is clicking between him and the poem, something is working. He knows implicitly that he's getting it, though he would find it difficult to say at this point what, exactly, he's getting. It's the sound of the poem, though not literally so--it's something like the sound produced by meaning, which lets you know that there's meaning there even though you don't know what it is yet. Later, if he likes the poem, he will go back and read it more carefully, trying to get at its meaning in a more conventional way, but it's really that first impression which counts.

. . .

It isn't that he believes that a poem can mean anything, or means nothing, or that language is irreducibly ambiguous, or that only an excavation of the author's unconscious can provide the key, or that the author's intention is irrelevant, or anything like that. He isn't interested in theory. It's simply that, for him, poems are pleasuable tools. He wants a poem to do something to him, to spark a thought or, even better, a verse of his own; he has no urge to do something to the poem.

People often tell him that they never understood his poems, or never understood them so well, until they heard him read them out loud. . . . [A] person might understand them better in readings because he is forced to listen to them in real time. He can't go back and try to make sense of this line or that, as he could if he were reading it in a book: if something sounds odd he must simply accept it and continue to listen, letting his mind catch on one phrase or another. And if he finds himself suddenly jolting back to attention after a minute or two of wondering whether he remembered to lock his apartment, or whether a crack in the ceiling looks more like a fried egg or France, or whether he should have a hamburger for dinner, he must accept that he has missed a bit of the poem, there is no retrieving it, and just enjoy what is left without worrying too much about how it all fits together.

In a sense, reading poetry is like appreciating fine art. i always try to remember to forget about prose, and the expectations of clarity one has from reading prose. Even the most dense poetry is communicating something. But just like painting or sculpture, if the message were something that could be communicated by prose, it would have been written in prose.

Posted by annika at 09:18 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 29, 2005

If i Had A Blog

by annika b.

If i had a blog i would write about only shiny things
like my hair, or your nose

If i had a blog i would post naked pictures all the time
but of you

i would also post drink recipes,
and then drink them while blogging

If you had a blog you would name it after my cat, if i had a cat

If i had a blog i would write stupid free verse while listening
to my professor, and the boy with slightly wavy hair
who only raises his hand when he has something funny to say

Having a blog would be like being a superhero
but without the costume or the cool powers
i would wear boots and my underwear would be on the outside.

Posted by annika at 10:20 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

November 28, 2005

Monday Night Football Pick, Week 12

Trust me on this one. Go with the Steelers and the eight points. Let the crowd bet Indy, they're going down. Trust me.

Update: Or not.

Posted by annika at 04:44 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

November 27, 2005

A Weird Dream i Had

Remember that Seinfeld episode where Jerry wrote down a joke he dreamed up in the middle of the night? Then he couldn't read what he had written and when he finally figured it out, it wasn't funny at all. That happens to me too.

cruisedream.jpgLike last night, for instance. i had this dream about a new Tom Cruise movie called The Last Chiropractor. The promo was something like:

[cue announcer's voice]

Years of sleeping on Japanese bamboo mats have led Tom Cruise to his greatest role as...

...The Last Chiropractor!

[cue Tom Cruise's voice]

"You don't know the history of myofascial release therapy, I DO!"

[cue announcer's voice]

In the face of musculoligamentous sprain/strain...

In the sacroiliac of One Man...

Lies the Soul of a Warrior.

Once he risked his life for honor and country, but now his world has changed. Subluxation has replaced full cervical range of motion, and in the place of freedom and valor, he only finds chronic radiating pain, especially at levels C5-6 and L5-S1.

Thrust now into harsh and unfamiliar territory, with his life and perhaps more important, his spine, in the balance, the troubled American soldier finds himself at the center of a violent and epic struggle between the soft tissues of his neck and back, with only his sense of honor and a thorough knowledge of flexion/distraction technique to guide him.

Tom Cruise is...

...The Last Chiropractor!

Crazy huh? i'm telling you, i really did have a dream about that shit.

Posted by annika at 10:45 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Aspiring LL Stalker E-mail Of The Week

Yep, i'm still getting emails from LL fans all over the world, based on my humorous post from nine months ago. i don't know what's more absurd, the number of LL fans out there, or the fact that so many of them seem to lack any sense of irony.

Here's the latest one:

Hi, I'm [name redacted] from belgium (so my English isn't good at all but i'm going to try it) I love Lindsay Lohan, she is so beautiful, she is HOT. So my point is : if you got the e-mail, or phone number of Lindsay please give it to me, she is the perfect girl I just want to see her in Real, and I want to be her friend. She is a idol fot every girl, I like her style, the way she dresses her self, everything. You probably think that I'm a freak of her, but not I that way, you know. I'm 16 years old and please say against Lindsay that there is someone in Belgium who's a great fan of her. And maybe if I graduate when I'm 18, my parents said I could study in the USA, to play baseball also because it's my sport, maybe I will be a pro someday and maybe then Lindsay wil meet me ( Maybe), It's my dream to be a pro baseballer, and to have Lindsay as my girlfriend !!, and if that dream ever come true I will be the happiest man of the world I swear, so please introduce me to Lindsay if you ever got her e-mail or phonenumber.

Thanks for listening to me, it means a lot

[name redacted]

How sweet. i hope he gets to be her boyfriend someday, and if he does i hope he's smart enough to do all the driving.

Update: It's not looking good for Belgium dude. This is how LL treats people who are not in her social stratosphere.

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

November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Day NFL Picks

Look for the Falcons to beat the Lions in Detroit and cover the 3 point spread. In the battle of division leaders, look for Dallas to squeak by Denver. Take Dallas at home, plus the 2 points.

Enjoy your turducken, too.

Posted by annika at 10:35 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

November 22, 2005

The Next Weapons Controversy?

The NE round.

[I]t is a thermobaric mixture which ignites the air, producing a shockwave of unparalleled destructive power, especially against buildings.

A post-action report from Iraq describes the effect of the new weapon: 'One unit disintegrated a large one-storey masonry type building with one round from 100 meters. They were extremely impressed.' Elsewhere it is described by one Marine as 'an awesome piece of ordnance.'

It proved highly effective in the battle for Fallujah. This from the Marine Corps Gazette, July edition: 'SMAW gunners became expert at determining which wall to shoot to cause the roof to collapse and crush the insurgents fortified inside interior rooms.'

. . .

[I]t’s understandable that the Marines have made so little noise about the use of the SMAW-NE in Fallujah. But keeping quiet about controversial weapons is a lousy strategy, no matter how effective those arms are. In the short term, it may save some bad press. In the long term, it’s a recipe for a scandal. Military leaders should debate human right advocates and the like first, and then publicly decide 'we do/do not to use X'. Otherwise when the media find do find out – as they always do -- not only do you get a level of hysteria but there is also the charge of 'covering up.'

[The author is] undecided about thermobarics myself, but I think they should let the legal people sort out all these issues and clear things up. Otherwise you get claims of 'chemical weapons' and 'violating the Geneva Protocol.' Which doesn't really help anyone. The warfighter is left in doubt, and it hands propaganda to the bad guys. Just look at what happened it last week’s screaming over white phosphorous rounds.

Lawyers? Disproportionate force? Don't some of these same people want us to send 400,000 troops to Iraq. It's crazy. Do whatever works, i say.

In 1991 it was electric filaments that were inhumane. And they didn't even kill anybody. This time it's the white phosphorous nonsense. Nobody ever mentions that we used white phosphorous in World War II. If it wasn't for WP, it would have taken us much longer to break out of hedgerow country after D-Day. The world would be a different place, let me tell you.

Remember what Dupont said (or was it Monsanto?): "Without chemicals, life itself would be impossible."

Via commenter Shelly.

Posted by annika at 11:11 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Shout Outs To The New Lawyers In The Blogosphere

Congratulations are also in order for Law Fairy, The Angry Clam, Chris Cross, and GirlGoneMil, who passed the California Bar Exam. And i should also mention that my roommate Megan is the smartest, sexiest and most relieved new lawyer in the Golden State. And on Saturday, she was the most hungover too.

i know it's bad form to mention it, but good luck to those of you who didn't pass. i know you'll get em next time.

Posted by annika at 06:21 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Occasional Huge Comment of the Week® Winner

One might wonder why annika's bitch Casca has never been awarded the coveted Huge Comment of the Week® prize. No longer. His comment to the post immediately below is beyond worthy.

The worst thing about the blogosphere is the infinite supply of know-it-alls. They offend those of us who do.
Congratulations Casca!

Posted by annika at 06:09 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Deafening Silence

Is it me, or is the blogosphere deafeningly silent on this story. i think it's huge, no matter which side you're on.

Posted by annika at 01:26 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

World's Greatest Old TV Show Themes

For no particular reason.

Hawaii 5-0
Mission Impossible
The Rockford Files
The Partridge Family
Sanford And Son
Gilligan's Island
Laverne And Shirley
The Munsters

Honorable mention goes to:

Good Times
The Streets Of San Francisco
What's Happening?
The Mod Squad
Route 66

Most Over-rated theme songs:

The Monkees
The Brady Bunch
The Addams Family
The Jeffersons

Posted by annika at 07:50 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

November 21, 2005

"Boogie To Baghdad"

As far as i am concerned, there was one main reason Iraq was a serious threat to the United States. It's why Saddam Hussein had to go, and it's why Iraq needed to be turned into a U.S. friendly democracy.

The reason was, in the words of Richard Clarke, "Boogie to Baghdad." Byron York wrote about it in his most recent column:

In case you don’t remember, 'Boogie to Baghdad' is the phrase that Richard Clarke, when he was the top White House counterterrorism official during the Clinton administration, used to express his fear that if American forces pushed Osama bin Laden too hard at his hideout in Afghanistan, bin Laden might move to Iraq, where he could stay in the protection of Saddam Hussein.

Clarke’s opinion was based on intelligence indicating a number of contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq, including word that Saddam had offered bin Laden safe haven.

It’s all laid out in the Sept. 11 commission report. 'Boogie to Baghdad' is on Page 134.

i checked, skeptical person that i am. Here's the relevant quote from the Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States:
In February 1999, [CIA assistant director for collection, Charles] Allen proposed flying a U-2 mission over Afghanistan to build a baseline of intelligence outside the areas where the tribals had coverage. [Richard] Clarke was nervous about such a mission because he continued to fear that Bin Ladin might leave for someplace less accessible. He wrote Deputy National Security Advisor Donald Kerrick that one reliable source reported Bin Ladin's having met with Iraqi officials, who 'may have offered him asylum.' Other intelligence sources said that some Taliban leaders, though not Mullah Omar, had urged Bin Ladin to go to Iraq. If Bin Ladin actually moved to Iraq, wrote Clarke, his network would be at Saddam Hussein's service, and it would be 'virtually impossible' to find him. Better to get Bin Ladin in Afghanistan, Clarke declared. Berger suggested sending one U-2 flight, but Clarke opposed even this. It would require Pakistani approval, he wrote; and 'Pak[istan's] intel[ligence service] is in bed with' Bin Ladin and would warn him that the United States was getting ready for a bombing campaign: 'Armed with that knowledge, old wily Usama will likely boogie to Baghdad.' Though told also by Bruce Riedel of the NSC staff that Saddam Hussein wanted Bin Ladin in Baghdad, Berger conditionally authorized a single U-2 flight. Allen meanwhile had found other ways of getting the information he wanted. So the U-2 flight never occurred.

We wanted to send a spy plane over Afghanistan, but Richard Clarke was afraid (probably with good reason) that the Pakistanis would tip Osama off, and he'd get spooked and leave Afghanistan.

Please note what Richard Clark did not say:

He did not say, "At least we don't need to worry about Osama going to Iraq, because as everybody knows, Osama and Saddam hate each other, Osama being a religious fundamentalist, and Saddam being a secular infidel."

The argument that Saddam and Osama would never have cooperated is not only factually incorrect, it's naïve. People who hate each other form partnerships all the time. Look at most marriages. No, seriously, what about Hitler and Stalin, Stalin and Churchill, Herzog and Kinski, Bill and Hillary, Ungar and Madison, Owens and McNabb?

The whole WMD argument is a red herring. The administration thought it was their "ace in the hole" when they were trying to make the case before the U.N. Now the anti-war movement thinks it's their "ace-in-the-hole." i never bought into the WMD argument, either way.

The flypaper argument is similarly weak. It's only a part of the puzzle. Alone, it makes a poor justification for the war. The main reason we needed to get rid of Saddam, and make Iraq into an ally instead of an enemy, was "Boogie to Baghdad."

The advantages to both parties would have made a Saddam-Osama partnership inevitable, especially after we kicked butt in Afghanistan. Therefore, it was a strategic necessity to remove the possibility of that partnership. We achieved that goal, and that's a fact that people tend to forget.

Posted by annika at 06:31 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

MNF Pick, Week XI

Big NFC North matchup tonight. Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. i'm going to try out a new analysis today, so stay with me and you'll see the beauty of it, then you can laugh at the suckers later.

Now the line opened with Green Bay favored by 3½ points. The current line is up to 5½ points. The conventional wisdom says Green Bay will do well in November at home against their arch-rivals, who play in a dome. Also, Brett Favre and company have a lot to make up for, with their recent Monday night debacles. Plus, the Vikings are without their star Daunte Culpepper, while the Packers are still led by fading superstar Favre. The Packers are also coming off a huge victory against the Falcons last week, and they will hopefully ride into this game with some momentum and renewed confidence.

So, naturally i would pick the Packers tonight. However, this week i am going with the George Costanza rule, which states as follows:

If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.
Thus, i am picking the Minnesota Vikings plus 5½ points to win.

Posted by annika at 01:24 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

November 18, 2005

Happy Birthday Harriet (The Interview)

You may have read about this. Harriet the turtle, the world's oldest living animal, turned 175 on Tuesday.

What an incredible accomplishment, when you think about it. Harriet must have an amazing perspective on the world and history, because she's seen it all.

Harriet watched the industrial revolution happen, the rise of nationalism and the Revolutions of 1848. She must have followed the American Civil War with interest. Was she worried when she heard about the Russian Revolution? Did she think Hitler might really take over the world? Imagine her relief when Imperial Japan was turned away from Australian shores, or when the Cold War ended.

What would Harriet say about global warming? Were there any el ninos when she was a little girl on Galapagos? What was Charles Darwin like? Was he a talkative man? Did he believe in God? What are her opinions on the art movements she's seen come and go: romanticism, impressionism, expressionism, dadaism, surrealism, cubism, modernism, post-modernism and even post-post-modernism?

Does Harriet have any plans for the next 175 years? i hear she's in good health. Is she optimistic about her future, or ours? Is Steve Irwin a goofball all the time, or is that just an act?

There's so many questions i could ask Harriet, i decided to see if i could track her down via the magic of the internet. What follows is the exclusive annika's journal interview i tried to conduct with Harriet in a Yahoo! chatroom. Unfortunately i wasn't able to keep her online very long, but you know how it is in chatrooms.

You are in "Brisbane Global Chat:8" (G'day to Aussies and their fans. [Notification: We are currently recording IP addresses of all Yahoo! Chat users.])

annikagyrl joined the room

sxyharriet1830 joined the room

annikagyrl: hey

sxyharriet1830 asdfzxcv

annikagyrl: hi harriet. first off let me wish you a happy birthday!

sxyharriet1830: qwwertasdff

annikagyrl: you look great for being 175 years young!

sxyharriet1830: eyelashsmilie.gif

annikagyrl: can i ask? what's your secret?

sxyharriet1830: uiopjkl;m

annikagyrl: wha?

sxyharriet1830: nmm,.jkl;

annikagyrl: is that, like, turtle language?

sxyharriet1830: iop[kl;'m,./

annikagyrl: okay. anyways, you've seen so much in your lifetime, there's so much i want to ask you, i don't even know where to begin...

sxyharriet1830: ghjkvbnm,,

annikagyrl: i don't know what you're saying

sxyharriet1830: 7yuiohjk

annikagyrl: um, is there anyone there who can help you type?

hott_for_turtles joined the room

hott_for_turtles: 23 m galapagos w/ hrd shell ne fems interested in chat???

annikagyrl: harriet?

sxyharriet1830: rtyufghcvbn;

hott_for_turtles: pic in profile

hott_for_turtles: ne hottttys out there?

annikagyrl: harriet, u still there?

hott_for_turtles: waddap sxyharriet1830 asl?

sxyharriet1830: asdfgqwert

hott_for_turtles: omg ur old

sxyharriet1830 left the room

annikagyrl: harriet?

hott_for_turtles: yo annika asl?

annikagyrl: sicksmilie.gif

annikagyrl left the room

Posted by annika at 04:36 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Joke Of The Day

CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer, on why all three major networks reported Rep. Murtha's "we must surrender" speech as the most important news story of the day:

Politicians make speeches all the time. Some matter and some don't. It was our opinion that this one mattered.
No word yet on why CBS didn't consider a recent "we must win" speech by the freakin' President of the United States in the same light.

Posted by annika at 02:43 PM | Comments (30) | TrackBack

More Sports Blogging

So Randy Moss don't wanna play with TO? That's good. i'd hate to watch yet another future Hall of Famer riding the bench for Al Davis.

Posted by annika at 08:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 17, 2005

How Perfect Is That?

It's 50% Love and 50% Lust

You and your guy are hot for one another, but you've also got a bit of a love thing going on.

Is It Lust or Love?

Posted by annika at 11:10 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


From Australia's Herald Sun:

Four Australian women have been detained while trying to board a plane in Syria, reportedly after gun parts were found inside a child's toy.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) said two women from Victoria and two from NSW were with two Iraqi women when they were detained at Damascus airport on Tuesday.

All six were of Iraqi origin, the department said.

A DFAT spokesman would not confirm media reports that the group was detained after a disassembled gun was found inside a toy being carried by a child with the women.

The ABC has quoted a Syrian police source and a diplomatic source as saying the women entered the airport in the Syrian capital with a child.

They said the women were detained after the gun parts were found in a toy the child was holding.

The women were reportedly trying to board a flight bound for Australia.

Via A Western Heart.

Posted by annika at 01:44 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

i Don't Do College Football

i don't do college football predictions, because i don't know enough about it. But since i've had such luck with the pros this year, and since all you people seem to want to talk about is college ball, here goes.

The Big Game: Cal is favored by seven. The Bears will crush Stanford by fourteen.

Alabama vs. Auburn: i love Auburn. Defense appears to be their weak spot, but i expect them to get the W, if not cover their seven point spread. Alabama will then drop in the BCS, opening a post season bowl spot for the undeserving Ducks.

Syracuse vs. Notre Dame: Just because i'm Catholic, do i have to root for Notre Dame? i don't think so. i read a spirited defense of ND's number 6 ranking, but i'm not buying it. One close game against SC doesn't convince me that they're better than Ohio State, for instance. On the other hand, i've always had this unreasonable dislike for Syracuse. i don't know why. It may have something to do with a tournament pool i lost a few years back, thanks to them. The Green will trounce the Orangemen.

The Ohio State University vs. Michigan: The hidden offense will be revealed, just in time. OSU by a TD.

Southern Cal vs. Fresno State: Looking at Fresno's mascot, i'm wondering whether John Thompson should be their coach. Talk about over-rated. Who have they beaten this year? Carroll and Leinart will embarrass the Hoyas by at least three touchdowns. No, make it four.

Penn State vs. Michigan State: Penn State is back, baby. i can't understand why they're only 7 point favorites over the 5-5 Spartans. i'd spot Michigan State at least 17.

The Civil War: Since 1997, the winner of this rivalry has alternated between Oregon and Oregon State every year. It's the Duck's turn this year. Ducks by seven with their quarterback platoon.

Posted by annika at 09:04 AM | Comments (34) | TrackBack

November 16, 2005

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Today, a little Sandburg, from 1920.

The Lawyers Know Too Much
The lawyers, Bob, know too much.
They are chums of the books of old John Marshall.
They know it all, what a dead hand Wrote,
A stiff dead hand and its knuckles crumbling,
The bones of the fingers a thin white ash

    The lawyers know
      a dead man’s thoughts too well.
In the heels of the higgling lawyers, Bob,
Too many slippery ifs and buts and howevers,
Too much hereinbefore provided whereas,

Too many doors to go in and out of.
    When the lawyers are through
    What is there left, Bob?
    Can a mouse nibble at it
    And find enough to fasten a tooth in?
    Why is there always a secret singing
    When a lawyer cashes in?
    Why does a hearse horse snicker
    Hauling a lawyer away?
The work of a bricklayer goes to the blue.

The knack of a mason outlasts a moon.
The hands of a plasterer hold a room together.
The land of a farmer wishes him back again.
    Singers of songs and dreamers of plays
    Build a house no wind blows over.

The lawyers—tell me why a hearse horse snickers hauling a lawyer’s bones.

Posted by annika at 08:33 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Because Nobody Pays Attention To The NBA During Football Season

So the Clippers are 6 and 2, and number one in the West? Don't worry, the planets are not out of orbit. The Dodgers had a great start this year too.

Posted by annika at 08:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 14, 2005

MNF Pick, Week 10

What's the spread? i don't know. Oh well. Phillies vs. Cowboys. The Cowboys will win.

Update The Phillies are favored by three at game time. i stand by my prediction. Of course now that it's already 7 to nothing, i'm starting to second guess myself.

Posted by annika at 07:04 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

November 11, 2005

annika's Proposed Alternative To The McCain Amendment

Rather than legislate a blanket prohibition on all "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment," (which in many cases can be quite useful, not to mention fun*), i propose the following, more simple compromise amendment:


(a) IN GENERAL - All persons within the custody or under the effective control of the Department of Defense or under detention in a Department of Defense facility shall be subject to any treatment or technique of interrogation that works.

(b) LIMITATIONS - But whatever you decide to do, for God's sakes, don't film it!


* Lighten up. i said "not to mention," didn't i?

Posted by annika at 09:25 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Happy Veteran's Day


A Happy Veteran's Day thank you to all veterans! And a belated Happy Birthday to the U.S.M.C.!

Check out Blackfive today. Uncle Jimbo has a great post. And contribute to Project Valour IT.

Posted by annika at 06:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 10, 2005

Comments Problems

i have been frustrated with the comments being down, too. For some reason, the whole of Munuviana has been hit hard recently. Pixy is on it, as he always is, but as you know he's only one man. Superhuman yes, but still only one man. Here's some interesting facts that might shed light on things or at least help us all to be patient:

We got 1.3 million trackbacks over the past 30 days, and 550,000 comments. About 99.8% of trackbacks and over 90% of comments were spam. Over 99% of the spam got blocked, but that still left a lot of cleaning up.

. . .

Massive amounts of comment spam coming in right now - several thousand a minute. Busy upgrading Fluffy's armament. Back soon.

Ugh. Seriously ugh. We're talking over a hundred comments a second here.

Update: New super doom-Fluffy installed. We'll see how we go with that.

Update update: 75,000 80,000 85,000 spams from a single source in under 90 minutes. It would have been more than that except that the server ground to a halt under the load. It's sped up significantly now that it's all being blocked immediately.

Update update update: Out of 90,000 95,000 spams, four actually got through. Congrats to Ted, Linda, Daniel and Lawren, who won the prize.

Update^4: 100,000! It's now 104 minutes since the flood started

Update^5: Looks like it's leveled off at a steady 1500 spams a minute. I wonder how long they'll keep up this futile exercise?

Update^6: Just past the two hour mark and it seems to have stopped. 123,111 spam attempts, four of which got through, for a success rate of 0.00324%. I shall now delete those four spams... And done.

. . .

We have to move off Movable Type; we have no choice in the matter. However, no-one will be forced off MT before they're ready. The new servers will be able to cope with the existing users just fine; the problem is that further growth will bring serious problems. We're already the largest MT installation in the world, and worse, we are stuck on version 2.6 due to licensing issues.

Posted by annika at 09:38 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Money Quote Of The Day

Or, yesterday, rather:

For several years, these people have been testing the water, trying to gauge the size of the lies they can get away with. Unsurprisingly, they’ve come to realize that, if they all simply insist on the “truthfulness” of a given lie of their own creation and marketing, that little piece of the greater war narrative will, with the help of a compliant media, slowly ossify into “fact”—or at the very least, will dig beneath the skin of settled history and fester there, constantly picked at by the conspiracy theorists and fantasists who stroke their own egos by pretending to know more than the surface reveals.
Yes. Yessssss!

Posted by annika at 07:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Smart Enough To Know That This Quiz Is BS

"Intellectually" Intelligent

You're 'Intellectually Intelligent.' That pretty much means that you're good with theoretical ideas and concepts - but this comes to you naturally. More or less, you're a natural brainiac. Good for you.

40% theoretical intelligence
40% natural intelligence

Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

via Kitty.

Posted by annika at 06:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 09, 2005

Francis Urquhart Lives

Tony Blair's days as PM are numbered?

(You might say that. i couldn't possibly comment.)

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U.S. Marine Corps Stamps

JCrue has pictures of the new distinguished Marines stamps. Nice.

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Wednesday Is Poetry Day: Williams

Again, from Willliam Carlos Williams:

To A Solitary Disciple

Rather notice, mon cher,
that the moon is
tilted above
the point of the steeple
than that its color
is shell-pink.

Rather observe
that it is early morning
than that the sky
is smooth
as a turquoise.

Rather grasp
how the dark
converging lines
of the steeple
meet at a pinnacle—
perceive how
its little ornament
tries to stop them—

See how it fails!
See how the converging lines
of the hexagonal spire
escape upward—
receding, dividing!
that guard and contain
the flower!

how motionless
the eaten moon
lies in the protecting lines.

It is true:
in the light colors
of the morning
brown-stone and slate
shine orange and dark blue

But observe
the oppressive weight
of the squat edifice!
the jasmine lightness
of the moon.

What do i see in this poem.


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California Über Alles

Everything lost.

It's easy to blame the lying public employee unions, and to feel discouraged about the future of democracy. i do. But those feelings will pass, because i know the main reason Californians voted for the status quo yesterday.

Californians, like most of the country, are very pissed off at their government for various, often opposing, reasons. So when you have a bunch of propositions that are intended to improve things and change the status quo, but you introduce them into a climate of voter dissatisfaction, it's very hard to expect people to vote "yes" on anything. The "no" is their way of saying "we don't like things the way they are."

Remember, the recall election was itself a "no" vote.

Add to that, the legions of well-funded and motivated, goose-stepping union members who were certain to get out their own vote yesterday, and you see why the reform measures had no chance.

Oh, and San Francisco voted yesterday to invite gun-toting outlaws to visit the city, stay a while, and while they're there why not rape rob or kill a San Franciscan for added fun and profit.

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November 08, 2005

Essential Riot Reading

i know everybody's been pimping the 2002 Thomas Dalrymple article on the Parisian suburbs. i found it via A Nation Of Riflemen. If you haven't yet read it, believe the hype. It's one of the most interesting things i've read all year.

Kevin Kim links to it too. But Kevin has much more on the riots, including English translations of some French sources i had seen elsewhere. Not knowing French, i'm thankful to Kevin for doing the work. Just keep scrolling down on his blog. He'll like that.

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Cotillion Ball

Stacy at Not A Desperate Housewife did a beautiful job on today's Veteran's day theme Cotillion Ball. Please go check it out.

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Media Double Standard?

AP's report about today's Tennessee school shooting contains an unusual choice of quotes in the third paragraph, as printed in this ABC News post.

The motive for the shooting at Campbell County High School, 30 miles from Knoxville, was not immediately known, Sheriff Ron McClellan told WVLT-TV.

'We don'a0644t [sic] know yet. I have the individual at the hospital,' McClellan said. 'These men are all fine Christian men, and I am at a loss for words.'

Now i don't have a problem with the quote per se. Sure it's a dumb thing for the sheriff to say. Obviously one of those students was not a fine Christian man.

But i find it interesting that AP seems to take special care to identify the religion of this particular murderer at the top of the story, when i usually have to read to the end of a typical AP story on terrorism to find out that kind of information -- if they disclose it at all.

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Californians Must Vote

If you are a Californian, you must vote today. The special election is the difference between changing things or giving up. Don't you give up. Vote for change. Unless of course, you like things the way they are in CA.

The cool thing is, if you haven't studied the propositions, don't worry. Just vote like i did.

Proposition 73: YES.

Proposition 74: YES.

Proposition 75: YES.

Proposition 76: YES.

Proposition 77: YES.

Proposition 78: YES.

Proposition 79: NO.

Proposition 80: NO.

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Things You Think About At 3:30 a.m.

The mahi-mahi fish is also called the dolphin fish. (It's fun to watch people freak out when i tell them i've eaten dolphin meat.)

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November 07, 2005

French Riots

It amazes me that after eleven days of rioting, the French have not yet called out the military or instituted a curfew. Isn't that riot control 101? i mean at some point, you gotta do something, don't you. What are they doing over there? Sheesh, Mike Brown could have done a better job than Chirac and Villepin are doing.

Update: i have two more semi-facetious observations. First, it's a measure of how much things have changed in Europe, that the German government is actually advising their citizens to "be careful" about traveling to France. Come on guys. Now is the perfect time to strike! Whatever happened to "Let the last man on the right brush the channel with his sleeve?"

Second, a lot of people are saying it's poverty that's causing these riots. So maybe France isn't socialist enough. Taking that line of thought to its logical conclusion, i'd have to agree. If France were a full blown Communist dictatorship, you can bet these riots would have stopped soon after the first rock was thrown. Just ask any Czech or Hungarian of a certain age.

Update 2: Read Sarah's personal experiences living in one of the Parisian "suburbs."

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MNF Pick, Week 9

Colts vs. Patriots, at Foxboro. Indianapolis is 7 and 0 this season, but they've only played one team with a winning record. They're soft and they've lost to New England the last six times they've met. You could say that Indy is due for a win against the Pats. But you could also say that Indy is due for a loss this season. The law of averages cancels itself out. New England has had a much tougher schedule, and they seem to have been reborn with Bruschi's return last week.

Indy is favored by 4 points. i really think it will be a close game, so i'm taking Indy [New England] and the points.

Update: Okay, i'm an idiot. That was a typo, obviously i meant to say New England up there.

Update 2: i'm now 2 and 5. That's a .286 winning percentage, which is better than the Jets, the Ravens, the Titans, the Texans, the Packers, the Saints, the Cards, and the Niners. Plus, i'm cuter.

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November 06, 2005

What If...

What if journalists on September 1, 1939, followed today's journalism rules, and refused to identify the enemy by its name?


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1300 Cars Burned Last Night

Time to buy Renault stock.

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November 05, 2005

Project Valour-IT

Allow me to quote Beth from My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy regarding this worthy fundraising effort:

I'm writing to ask for your support for a project sponsored by Soldiers' Angels (click for more information on SA, if you aren't familiar with them) called Project Valour-IT. This project is designed to provide voice-enabled laptops for severely wounded military members. From the Project Valour-IT website:

'Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss, provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations at major military medical centers. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the 'Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field without having to press a key or move a mouse. The experience of CPT Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss, a partner in the project who suffered hand wounds while serving in Iraq, illustrates how important this voice-controlled software can be to a wounded servicemember's recovery.'

Right now there is a major fundraising effort ongoing among blogs, with certain blogs assigned to different service branches, to make it a sort of friendly competition. . . .

In previous generations and wars, all Americans were asked to sacrifice for the overall war effort, but during this war on terror where we are ALL affected, we haven't had to shoulder the burden that our military (active, reservists, and their families) have. May I ask you to sacrifice just a bit for the good of our troops?
i've selected the Army team. Please help out, for those who have given so much for us.

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Dateline NBC

i hope you saw Dateline NBC last night. If the subject matter wasn't so disturbing and serious, i'd say it was one of the funniest hours of television ever.

Basically, NBC's Chris Hansen did an elaborate sting operation to catch child predators, who try to hook up with kids over the internet. They arranged for the predators to meet the "kids" at a house, then they filmed Hansen confronting the sickos.

Freakin funnier than shit.

One of the dudes was a doctor, and another was a rabbi who worked with kids! The rabbi at least dressed up for his date, but one dude showed up naked. That was the funniest scene. The creep was waiting butt naked on a stool in the kitchen, thinking a 13 year old boy was about to come downstairs. Then Chris Hansen walks out and he's all "'sup freak, here's a towel." And the dude's like "whaaaaa?" It was great.

It got better. 12 hours after that perv was totally humiliated on camera, he was back on the internet, and got stung again. He went to meet another fake kid at a McDonald's the very next day and there was Hansen, shaking his head. The guy was like, "dude, i was just getting something to eat." Then later he's all "Yeah, I got a problem. I'm seeing a shrink."

By the time they were done, Dateline caught 19 perverts in this sting operation, and the DA is looking into it. Hopefully they'll all land in jail. Too bad they didn't catch them in Vegas though, because i think the mayor there would have some ideas on an appropriate punishment. Have you heard what he wants to do to taggers?

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November 04, 2005

Lunch Planning

Do i want pizza; do i want bbq, or do i want smorgasbord?

Update: i went with J.R.'s Texas BBQ.

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November 03, 2005

Attention McGoohan Fans

Regarding this crazy secret CIA prison story, Varifrank reaches for the obscure "Village" reference first. Damn, i should have done that. [i'm such a sci-fi geek, i love that show. Best episode, The Schizoid Man.]

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Danish Ramadan Rioters

You've heard of the suburban Paris rioters. Now meet the Danish rioters.

The police has to stay away. This is our area. We decide what goes down here
We are tired of what we see happening with our prophet. We are tired of [Danish newspaper] Jyllands-Posten.
Transterrestrial Musings has the story.

via Instapundit.

Update: Here's what's prompted the violence. A couple of cartoons.* Funny, i don't seem to remember Evangelicals rioting in this country after Flynt spoofed Falwell some years ago. But whatever.

* link updated.

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One Liner Of The Day

From the legal world:

. . . the very worse thing about sleep: when you're sleeping, you're not billing!

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November 02, 2005

Wednesday Is Poetry Day: Lawrence

Here's a poem by D.H. Lawrence from 1916. On the surface it seems to be a portrait of some Londoners who, down on their luck, are living by the river. But almost every stanza contains some sort of sexual imagery, it's weird.

Embankment at Night, before the War

The night rain, dripping unseen,
Comes endlessly kissing my face and my hands.

The river, slipping between
Lamps, is rayed with golden bands
Half way down its heaving sides;
Revealed where it hides.

Under the bridge
Great electric cars
Sing through, and each with a floor-light racing along at its side.
Far off, oh, midge after midge
Drifts over the gulf that bars
The night with silence, crossing the lamp-touched tide.

At Charing Cross, here, beneath the bridge
Sleep in a row the outcasts,
Packed in a line with their heads against the wall.
Their feet, in a broken ridge
Stretch out on the way, and a lout casts
A look as he stands on the edge of this naked stall.

Beasts that sleep will cover
Their faces in their flank; so these
Have huddled rags or limbs on the naked sleep.
Save, as the tram-cars hover
Past with the noise of a breeze
And gleam as of sunshine crossing the low black heap,

Two naked faces are seen
Bare and asleep,
Two pale clots swept and swept by the light of the cars.
Foam-clots showing between
The long, low tidal-heap,
The mud-weed opening two pale, shadowless stars.

Over the pallor of only two faces
Passes the gallivant beam of the trams;
Shows in only two sad places
The white bare bone of our shams.

A little, bearded man, pale, peaked in sleeping,
With a face like a chickweed flower.
And a heavy woman, sleeping still keeping
Callous and dour.

Over the pallor of only two places
Tossed on the low, black, ruffled heap
Passes the light of the tram as it races
Out of the deep.

Eloquent limbs
In disarray
Sleep-suave limbs of a youth with long, smooth thighs
Hutched up for warmth; the muddy rims
Of trousers fray
On the thin bare shins of a man who uneasily lies.

The balls of five red toes
As red and dirty, bare
Young birds forsaken and left in a nest of mud—
Newspaper sheets enclose
Some limbs like parcels, and tear
When the sleeper stirs or turns on the ebb of the flood—

One heaped mound
Of a woman’s knees
As she thrusts them upward under the ruffled skirt—
And a curious dearth of sound
In the presence of these
Wastrels that sleep on the flagstones without any hurt.

Over two shadowless, shameless faces
Stark on the heap
Travels the light as it tilts in its paces
Gone in one leap.

At the feet of the sleepers, watching,
Stand those that wait
For a place to lie down; and still as they stand, they sleep,
Wearily catching
The flood’s slow gait
Like men who are drowned, but float erect in the deep.

Oh, the singing mansions,
Golden-lighted tall
Trams that pass, blown ruddily down the night!
The bridge on its stanchions
Stoops like a pall
To this human blight.

On the outer pavement, slowly,
Theatre people pass,
Holding aloft their umbrellas that flash and are bright
Like flowers of infernal moly
Over nocturnal grass
Wetly bobbing and drifting away on our sight.

And still by the rotten
Row of shattered feet,
Outcasts keep guard.
Forgetting, till fate shall delete
One from the ward.

The factories on the Surrey side
Are beautifully laid in black on a gold-grey sky.
The river’s invisible tide
Threads and thrills like ore that is wealth to the eye.

And great gold midges
Cross the chasm
At the bridges
Above intertwined plasm.

Lawrence uses the adjective "naked" three times in the same poem. "Bare" appears four times, "heap" five times. Look at his other images, they make a poem all their own:

endlessly kissing, slipping between, heaving sides, revealed where it hides, white bare bone, peaked in sleeping, the tram races out of the deep, eloquent limbs in disarray, a youth with long, smooth thighs, heaped mound of a woman’s knees, she thrusts them upward under the ruffled skirt, erect in the deep, wetly bobbing and drifting, beautifully laid, midges cross the chasm, and lastly the intertwined plasm.

wow. Looks like he had some fun with that one. D.H. was one horny bastard.

More poetry: Did you know that Tuesday is Haikuesday at Crash and Byrne?

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November 01, 2005

California Voter's Guide

What a crappy crappy day i had today. i won't go into all the reasons, some were biological and others environmental. But i'm all stressed out right now. My preferred stress reliever had to work tonight, so instead i'm enjoying a glass of fine California wine.

One thing that pissed me off early, happened between classes as i was filling out my absentee ballot. An annoying guy in my class came over and sat down next to me. He obviously thought i was filling out a lotto card.

"Hey, if you win the lottery, do I get some?" he asked.

My first thought was, You couldn't get some offa me even if you won the lottery. Then it occurred to me that he was talking about the winnings.

"No this is an absentee ballot," i told him.

"Oh, are you voting no on all those propositions?" he said.

"What propositions do you mean?"

"Those ones the governator likes."

i paused for effect. "Um, no. i'm actually voting yes on them."

He looked horribly disappointed. "Really?"

"Yes really."

"i voted for him," he added. "But I don't like any of his propositions."

This type of thinking is apparently common, according to the polls. But i was amazed to have actually met someone with that kind of disconnection from reality.

"What's the point of voting for Schwarzenegger if you don't want him to change anything? That makes no sense at all. He can't do it by himself. We might as well have kept Gray Davis."

He obviously hadn't thought about that. "Um, well, it seems like some of those propositions are just 'broken promises.'"

Whoa. That was amazing. Here was a guy who had no idea what was on the ballot, yet he was able to parrot verbatim the Unions' attack ad slogan. That's how effective those anti-Schwarzenegger ads have been.

i wanted to lay into him at that point, but i figured the better solution would be to salvage something positive from an idiot, if possible.

i said, "They're not like that at all. Why don't you read the propositions and vote for the ones that sound good to you."

"Well, i suppose." He seemed open to the idea.

"Good. Promise me you'll do that," i flashed him a smile.

"I will. I promise."

Excellent. i had hopefully converted an idiot.

So here's how i voted for next Tuesday's special election, in case any of you care:

Proposition 73: This measure requires a 48 hour waiting period and parental notification for minors seeking an abortion. This is probably just a ploy to get conservatives to the polls, but i figure it might actually bring just as many pro-abortion voters out. Since i'm against abortion, i'm in favor of any restrictions, no matter how incremental. i voted YES.

Proposition 74: This is the first of the four Schwarzenegger propositions. This measure increases the amount of time a teacher must work before getting tenure. Right now they can get tenure after two years. The initiative bumps it up to five years. Sounds reasonable to me. YES.

Proposition 75: According to the Secretary of State this initiative prohibits "the use by public employee labor organizations of public employee dues or fees for political contributions except with the prior consent of individual public employees each year on a specified written form." That's a no-brainer. YES.

Proposition 76: This is the initiative that promises to make the State government "live within its means." i hope it passes, and if it does, i hope it works. YES.

Proposition 77: This measure is supposed to reform California's gerrymandered districts by taking redistricting out of the hands of the politicians and letting a panel of retired judges draw the lines. Not a perfect solution, but better than the current system, which leaves the foxes in charge of the henhouse. YES.

Proposition 78: One of two competing prescription drug discount initiatives. i voted for this one rather than 79, which is more flawed. YES.

Proposition 79: This prescription drug scheme relies on state bureaucrats to negotiate discounts, instead of the free market. But the worst thing is that it creates a whole new loophole for greedy plaintiff lawyers to file frivoulous lawsuits based on technicalities. NO.

Proposition 80: i don't know what to think about this measure, which purports to repeal California's energy deregulation. i can see arguments both ways on this one. However, i'm generally in favor of deregulation, so i voted NO.

The four Schwarzenegger supported propositions are 74, 75, 76 and 77. The polls say they're all going down. But the polls have been wrong before, and i hope at least 76 and 77 win. That could really start some changes here in California, which is a state that is much more conservative than its legislature. Though most people don't realize it.

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Cotillion Ball

i've neglected to link the Cotillion Ball in a few weeks, so let me remedy that right now. This week's ball is over at Portia Rediscovered, a fellow Munuvian. i like all the pictures, way cool.

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Hollywood Hypocrisy

i bet i could totally outshoot Ben Afflack, that pansy.

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