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

July 31, 2006

I'm Back!

I got back on Friday, but I haven't posted since then due to a combination of jet lag, catching up with family, saying goodbye to Chris, and spending hours on the phone with Indian tech support because Verizon sucks. But I'm back and I'm afraid I've forgotten how to blog.

Many thanks to Victor for doing such a wonderful job holding down the fort! Have a great vacation dude!

I took a bunch of pictures but most of them turned out boring. I'll post some more later. For now, here's a couple I thought turned out nice.


That's a picture from Copenhagen, taken near the Kastellet army barracks. You can see how nice the weather was.


We met these two ladies on our way to my aunt and uncle's farm on Jutland.


And we watched a potter make stuff like this by hand at the Skansen theme park in Stockholm.

Posted by annika at 08:42 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

July 29, 2006

Later, Grizzly Dudes

This is my last day subbing here at a's j and except for one incident, it's all been fun. annika is due back today, which worked out pretty good because it's my turn to head out on vacation. Unlike annika, I'm staying in the US; heck, I'm staying in the state. I'll let the Slickee Boys* tell you where I am.

*If you were into the club scene in DC in the 80's then you know about the Slickee Boys. I saw 'em somewhere between 30 and 40 times, leaving part of my hearing somewhere at the 9:30 Club (the original 9:30 on F Street). Definitely one of the three best local bands in the area, along with Bad Brains and The Razz. How the mediocre Urban Verbs got a record contract I'll never know.

Posted by Victor at 03:07 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 28, 2006

Who Wants to be a Super Hero?

I bet I'm the only one here who watched (most of) it. I would have watched all of it, but thunderstorms rolled through the area and I lost the satellite signal for about ten minutes. Despite that, I had more fun last night than you did, unless you got some.

Truly, the show was a lot of fun. So what if it's another unreal reality show? Dress up as a Super Hero, get judged by Stan Lee, and if you win you'll be featured in your own Marvel comic book and SciFi channel movie. Why not? It beats the hell out of eating squid testicles for $10 grand anyday. Had I known about it, I would've given some consideration to trying out for it.

No need to recap the entire show; you can get better detail at the SciFi channel site. But I can discuss winners and losers.

Gonna be Among the First Six Booted
Not counting Levity (booted in the first ten minutes for being greedy not pure of heart), but counting Nitro G (booted at the end for changing into his costume in full view of everyone and not saving the crying girl), my picks for four of the next five to be booted are:
Tyveculus: Boring and forgettable. Cool costume, though.
Monkey Woman: Cries too much. Doesn't look anything like Raquel Welch in her fur bikini.
Creature: Annoying as all hell. Eats only raw food. Failed the purity test.
Lemuria: Boring. Might last a bit longer than I hope she does, because she always looks like she's going to fall out of her costume, if you catch my drift, and Stan Lee looks like a dirty old man. Also, she was one of the four to pass all tests. Such acuity might extend her life.

Most Likely to Make the Final Three
Major Victory: Has the right look. That is, it's embarrasing for normal people, but would look great in a comic book. Passed all tests last night. Has the schtick down pat and is fast with the Super Hero Quip: When the Iron Enforcer announced his weapon could do anything, Major Victory immediately asked, "Will it caulk a bathroom?"
Fat Momma: My personal favorite, and she'd be yours, too, if you watched. I mean, she's fat! She's a momma! She's saving the world one doughnut at a time! Plus, she already has an annoying theme song that's been going thru my head for hours: Fat Momma! Fat Momma! / I'm here to save the day! / Fat Momma! Fat Momma! / I'll take your food away! Like Major Victory, she passed all tests last night. Best Super Hero Line of the night: When saving the little girl, she told her not to worry, because, "Fat Momma's here!"
Cell Phone Girl: The last of the four to pass all tests. Has a great backstory, attitude, and personality. Don't think she'll win, but I think she'll go far. Best Super-Hero Action of the night: When she started helping the girl, she immediately reached for her cell phone. I thought she was going to dial 9-1-1, which would have been absolutely hilarious.

Dark Horse
The Iron Enforcer: Despite failing the Purity Test and the Rescue-The-Little-Girl test, I think he might make a serious run at the end. He looks like a Super Hero (Yes, ladies, he has the bod for it. Tough helmet, though.). He's always posing like a Super Hero. He's always in character. If he gets his act together and stops failing tests, he may well go far.

Who Wants to be a Super Hero? is on Thursdays at 9PM on SciFi. Don't miss it.

Posted by Victor at 06:05 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 27, 2006


Tony Joe White is a southern blues/rock singer who is pretty much known for only one song. It's a cool song, and the album it's taken from, Black and White fuckin' rocks and I highly recommend it should you see it somewhere--you won't be disappointed.

The fact the young Tony Joe White resembles a rather young Joe Don Baker doesn't influence me at all. Really. (I should mention that these days, TJW resembles Don Imus, while JDB resembles the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man, just in case you were wondering.)

In this YouTube video, he and Johnny Cash perform Poke Salad Annie. You won't regret clicking on the PLAY button.

By contrast, I offer one of the Cr.T.O.T.I.O.T.D. (Crappiest Thing on the Internets of the Day) for your viewing--whatever. In this clip from Soul Train, Joe Tex has a bad experience on the dance floor. Enjoy the disco ball, funky dancing, bad lip-synching, and massive amounts of polyester...or don't.

Posted by Victor at 09:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I'm Still Here

I was in the middle of a long post about Sweden, and after saying something critical, got booted off the machine. And they say Scandinavia is a free society.

So I'll make this short. The internet in our hotel is free but there's like a zillion kids around here and they all want on, so I got to get off.

The funniest thing about Sweden is the opportunity to make up new names for the indecipherable Swedish names.

For instance, many streets are named for simians. There's Smart Orangutan, Western Orangutan, and Stork Orangutan. There's a bank called Foreskin Ring Bank. There's a palace called Cunnilingus Slot. Hahaha! It's right next to Storky Can!

The differences between Denmark and its old rival Sweden were unexpected. Danes are better looking, more homogenous, friendlier and blonder. Sweden has better food, more fat people, more diversity, and much more spectacular architecture.

Swedes are so proud of the fact that they were once a great power. I don't get it. The key word is "once." Sure they had a few great years back in the 1600s, but come on. Get over yourselves, guys. What have you done lately? Okay, IKEA, besides that.

I also noticed that Danish chicks all have perfect skin. I'm totally jealous. Also perfect feet. Not a callous or bunyan in the whole country. My theory is that they must wear thick and comfy socks all winter, while we in the rest of the world jam our feet into tight but fashionable shoes.

While chicks wear flip-flops almost exclusively in Copenhagen, in Stockholm the most common shoe is the mesh front slipper that I hate. In the working class city of Århus, on Jutland, it's a about half and half.

Two things are noticeably absent from both countries. No homeless people and no Starbucks. Not a single one. So they got that going for them. I realize this might explain the way that Scandinavians can afford their heavy taxation. If you consider all the money I needlessly hand over to Starbucks and homeless people on a regular basis, I could probably just send that money to the government. There's how we can fund the safety net!

It's been unseasonably warm here, although not as hot as in SoCal, from what I hear. It's been low 80s all trip long, although it drizzled one morning when we were in Copenhagen. I'm glad I didn't bring the leather jacket.

We've been eating like pigs since we got to Stockholm. We're going to fly out tomorrow, and as soon as we get back it will be time for a strict diet. Chris says it's not as bad as I think, since we've been burning so many calories walking, but the danger is the temptation to go on eating at the same rate after we return.

Well, that's it for now. We're taking it easy today and doing some shopping. Chris and I had a late night at some Irish pub in Old Town, watching Celtic get beat by Man U.

Posted by annika at 12:21 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

July 25, 2006

Wednesday is Poetry Day: Phil Liggett and Found Poetry

(I'm going to continue not taking poetry too seriously. Everything should be laughed at sometime.)

Just as Andres Cantor is The Voice of futból to the Spanish-speaking world, Phil Liggett is The Voice of cycling to the English speaking world. If you ever watch a major race on OLN, odds are it wil be called by Phil Liggett (and his partner, Paul-somebody, but who cares about him?).

It's not his accent or his almost-encyclopeadic knowledge of cycling that makes him The Voice, nor is it his interaction with Paul while announcing a race. It's the words he chooses and the cadence at which he speaks, along with the emotion he brings to his commentating. It almost sounds like...well, like poetry.

Probably because it is. Good poetry conveys emotion as well as meaning, and there is emotion in his voice and in his word choice that can relate more to you than just mere words do. And by laying those words out in a form common to poetry, you have Found Poetry.

Sometime last year, Doug Donaldson collected a boatload of Liggett quotes, broke them up from prose into stanzas, broke the stanzas further with some e.e. cummings-like layouts, and collected them into a book entitled Dancing on the Pedals: The Found Poetry of Phil Liggett, The Voice of Cycling. Yeah, found poetry that's a bitch of a lot of fun to read.

(Please note the multiple periods in two of the following poems are not part of the poems as published. They're necessary to simulate the formatting of the poem. Yeah, my HTML skillz are wanting.)

............. Come to Paris
....................... The
....................... Eiffel
...................... Tower
................... didn't throw
..................... a shadow
............. over this .... race for
.......... the man .......... in Yellow
Stage 23, 1986

I love the way the layout of the words bring to mind an image of the Eiffell Tower. Lewis Carroll used a similar format in The Mouse's Tale, setting the words so that they form a picture of the subject. Beautiful.

Room Service
The Yellow Jersey will go to his hotel,
his room.
Stage 10, 2000

In three simple lines, using eleven lonely words, Mr. Liggett captures the solitude the leader of the race must feel. It is, indeed, lonely at the top.

Finally, Mr. Liggett gives us his version of a tragic epic poem:

Eck Aced I
No attacks of note all day
And now we're onto the Champs-Elysées and
The attacks have started.
Viatcheslav Ekimov, former world champion of the amateurs
.... and now, of course, the defending world champion
.... very shortly
.... if he rides in the world championship of the pursuit
.... over five thousand meters.
Let's just see how fast he is here.
This is a tremendous race for the line.
The field are boring down on him
he's got a real good chance though.
He winds it up.
.... He won a stage like this last year
.... when he went in the last couple of kilometers.
He keeps looking over his shoulder
that's an elementary mistake
.... when you're out in front
.... you don't look where the rest are
.... because there isn't much you can do about them.
You just go as fast as you can.
Across the Place de Concorde here, now, over the cobble-
he'll flick right very shortly then he'll see the finish here
and he looks good;
he looks really good
Ekimov could be picking off one of the most coveted stages
in any Tour de France
.... to win on the Champs-Elysées.
Stage 21, 1992
Ekimov will lose to teammate
Olaf Ludwig

Oh, the tragedy! Ekimov struggles mightily, but it's all for naught: Not until the poem is over do we learn Ekimov did not win the stage!

UPDATE: annika has posted Found Poetry in the past! I still prefer Phil Liggett's.

Posted by Victor at 09:32 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 21, 2006

Hello From København!

Hello everybody. As I write this, I'm sitting in an internet cafe on Vesterbrogade in the great city of København. Hey, there's a key for "ø" here! Victor, you might be interested to know that there's a protest going on right outside this place at this very moment. Bunch of dirty white dudes chanting along with an Immam. The same old shit you're seeing over there, I'm sure. The crowd is about 100, I'd guess. Che t-shirts are well represented. Now they're shouting "death to Israel" in arabic. Yes, it's one of the few arabic phrases I recognize. There's also a flag of Hezbollah, and an American flag with skulls instead of stars. Ho-hum.

Anyways, not much to say. Købanhavn is not really that interesting, as my parents warned me. It's hot and sticky, about 80 degrees, although it rained today which was nice. The sun goes down at 10 and gets up at 4. The food is well prepared and tasty, but give me Iberian or Italian food anytime. I still haven't found a good danish.

Yesterday we saw many museums, including the Danish History, The Danish Art, and the Museum of Danish Resistance, which was the best of the three. We saw the Little Mermaid, which I guess is some kind of must see. I'll post pictures when I get back, if my internet is up by then.

Oh the flight over was at least 24 hours long. We thought we'd get DVT for sure. Who knew there'd be a massive lightning storm on the East Coast, which royally fucked up our travel route?

One vignette before I sign off. We went to Louisiana today, which is totally worth the trip. No lie, it may be the best modern art museum I've ever been to. They do modern art right. There's an excellent video art installation, and the Paol K... (can't remember his last name but Strawman digs him) design exhibit was fantastic. And the grounds were gorgeous.

There's a bluff overlooking the Øresund, and you can see Sweden in the distance. And there's also a garden (have) with lots of maze-like trails and a long slide and little wooden forts with tunnels and shit all along the hillside. And a running stream. I thought it was strange that there were no Danish kids running around in that park. If me and my brother had gone there when we were little, we would have tore that place up! We'd have gotten so muddy, they'd never have let us back into the museum. Any American kid would. As it was, me and Chris had a great time playing around that garden like a couple of little kids!

Oh there were plenty of Danish kids at the museum, but they were all inside a white room at a white table drawing pictures of furniture under the tutelage of a stern Danish babysitter. How sad! In microcosm, I guess that says something about the difference between America and Denmark. They'll keep making great furniture, while we'll keep pushing the envelope and bustin' things up, but having fun at the same time.

Well, tomorrow we're off to Jutland to stay for a couple of days with my aunt and uncle. Then we go to Sweden. Hopefully I can check in with you again.

Posted by annika at 08:29 AM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Friday at the Park **Lunchtime Update**

I stepped out of the Metro at Farragut North, looked at my watch, and saw that I was more than an hour early for work. I'd be about 59 minutes early if I went straight to the office...

Instead, I took advantage of the new Pennsylvania Ave. location of my office and I decided to walk to the White House to see, with mine own eyes, the Code Pink Vigil/Fast. It's not every day I play tourist; this AM I looked the part: backpack w/ water bottle and camera in hand. Were it not for the long pants and leather shoes I think I would've looked like someone from out of town.

But Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House, was practically empty.

Baron von Steuben was there.

As was Andrew Jackson.

But no Code Pink, no Cindy Sheehan. It seems I was mistaken; the vigil in Lafayette Park is scheduled for 10 AM to 7 PM. My bad.

However, William Thomas and his dog were out there, as they have been every day since June of 1981 (working in shifts with Concepcion Picciotto), protesting against the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

You have to admire the courage of his convictions: Twenty-five years in one place...now, that's a vigil.

Also there was a newcomer, laptop on lap, protesting about Darfur:

Sadly, I did not chat with him, as I had to get to work. And I still do.

Reporting from Washington, for annika's journal, I'm Victor.

***Lunchtime Update***
I walked over to the park during my 30-minute (by choice) lunch break to take some pix of the anti-war protestors. It took me awhile to find them.

Falun Gong was there, en masse, protesting China's alleged organ harvesting (NOTE: A Canadian report on these allegations can be found here):
I'll try to post some video later at home.

Iranian protestors were there, about where the Darfur protestor from this morning was:
Note that was the Iranian flag while under the Shah.

I finally found the anti-war protestors when I turned around, against the White House fence:
I saw no counter-protestors.

Reporting from Washington for annika's journal, I'm Victor.

Posted by Victor at 05:06 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 20, 2006

new Super Hero Stamps

Today, the United States Postal Service is releasing a new set of stamps commemorating ten DC Comics superheroes. The comic geek inside of me is all a-flutter:

Click for bigger

Aren't they pretty? The Comic Book Guy inside says, "Nice mix of Golden Age, Silver Age, and modern covers!" He's right, too.

Trivia time: Which one of these characters appeared previously on a U.S. stamp? The answer is below the fold.

Look! Up in the sky!

This stamp was issued in 2001 as part of the USPS "Celebrate the Century" collection--the 1930's set. I liked this stamp so much I bought the sheet, put the Superman stamp in a small frame, and used the rest of the stamps.

Posted by Victor at 09:40 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 19, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen!

May I introduce you to The Israeli Air Force & Army?

Posted by Victor at 11:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wenesday is Poetry Day: Nonsense Poems

(NOTE: This will not be as detailed as I hoped it would be, because lately, as I'm sure regular readers have noticed, mu.nu has been up and down like the bloody Assyrian Empire.)

Nonsense poems are poems as graffiti. While a good one is beautiful, a lot of them are pretty bad and an eysore. A good nonsense poem is fun to read--no serious interpretation is necessary. There are no hidden meanings, no great truths hidden in a true nonsense poem, as a nonsense poem is an exercise in sound and meter.

And because of this, I suspect writing a good nonsense poem would be extremely difficult for an experienced poet. Now, don't get me wrong--the sound and the meter is the easy part. The difficult part is making it read like real poetry, and not just a mish-mash of...well, sounds in a certain beat.

The best and most beautiful of all nonsense poems is, without a doubt, Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky and there's not much to be said by way of introduction:

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

'Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!'

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

'And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Jabberwocky flows like a gentle stream, using nonsense words that seem and sound like real words (in fact, some of them may be adaptions of obsolete English words, and others have made it into the vernacular). At the same time, there is a story in there...somewhere. Alice herself has the best comment on this poem: "It seems very pretty," she said when she had finished it, "but it's rather hard to understand!...Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas—only I don't exactly know what they are!" As well a good nonsense poem should.

By contrast, Ogden Nash (whose poetry was mostly humorous in nature) tried his hand at nonsense and it comes off like a gawd-awful ripoff of Jabberwocky:


The sharrot scudders nights in the quastron now,
The dorlim slinks undeceded in the grost,
Appetency lights the corb of the guzzard now,
The ancient beveldric is otley lost.

Treduty flees like a darbit along the drace now,
Collody lollops belutedly over the slawn.
The bloodbound bitterlitch bays the ostrous moon now,
For yesterday's bayable majicity is flunky gone.

Make way, make way, the preluge is scarly nonce now,
Make way, I say, the gronderous Demiburge comes,
His blidless veins shall ye joicily rejugulate now,
And gollify him from 'twixt his protecherous gums.

I'm sorry, but this is unreadable. I'm cringing by the fourth word, moaning by the third line, and somewhere in the second stanza my eyes explode and I run away screaming and tearing my hair out. While the meter seems derived from Jabberwocky the beat is off just enough to make me want to scream. The nonsense words are truly nonsense and forced, and they sound too harsh to make this poem even vaguely fun to read. At three stanzas and twelve lines this is waaay too long. There's absolutely no hint of a story in there. It's not very pretty, it's impossible to understand, and my head is not filled with ideas. Man oh Manischewitz, this poem sucks.

Posted by Victor at 07:48 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 18, 2006

27 Across

27 Across: Something to do as you go?

Three letters, starts with a "P" and I'm shocked--shocked!--the answer isn't "pee."

Posted by Victor at 05:51 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Basic Rat Facts

Today I'll discuss some basic facts about your common rat, rattus norvegicus. Odds are every rat you've seen, from white lab rats to the brown rat on the streets of DC (or wherever you live), is rattus norvegicus.

1. Average life-span is about 33 months. There is one unsubstantiated (and, quite frankly, unbelievable) report of a rat living 7 years. Personally, my gf and I have had one rat live to about 44 months, but in that calculation we're taking the word of a member of the psych. department of UNC-Wilmington that he was about 30 months old when we adopted him.

2. Average weight in the wild is between 400 and 500 grams. In our house, our well-fed rats frequently top 650 grams, and I had one monster fat rat who was over 1200 grams. Yeah, that's an obese rat.

3. Teeth: Rats have sixteen teeth in total--twelve molars and four incisors. The incisors grow 24/7 and are self-sharpening. The incisors are sharp enough, and rat jaws strong enough, to bite through human fingernails. Rats have no canine teeth to hold their prey; instead, their lower teeth can separate into a V-shape to better hold their prey, or do more damage should the finger prey escape.

4. Rats have five toes on their back feet and four fingers on their front feet. In addition, a small fleshy nub on the hand serves a purpose similar to a thumb, allowing rats to grip food, cage bars, and fingers.

5. Rats are semi-color-blind and cannot see reds; however, they can see into the ultraviolet. Rats also have poor visual acuity--about 20 times worse than a human. Pink-eyed whites--PEWs to rat people, lab rats to the rest of the world--have even worse visual acuity.

6. The sense of smell is more important to a rat than sight. It's been calculated that about 1% of rat DNA is related to the sense of smell.

7. Rats can hear rather high frequencies. Rat laughter is inaudible to humans.

8. Rats are omnivores. Cheese, blueberries, Pop Tarts, dog food, bugs...man, rats'll eat anything, especially if another rat is eating it, which frequently leads to squabbles. Avocado is crack for rats.

9. However, when faced with something new that may or may not be edible, rats will eat only a small bite. If they feel sick afterward, they won't eat it again.

10. Rats are as intelligent as dogs and are very trainable. Rats are excellent mousers, and I believe they've been used to pull cabling (or fish tape for cabling purposes) thru conduit in the construction of aircraft. (I admit I might be wrong on that part--perhaps it was ferrets. But even if it was ferrets, they should have used rats.)

11. Rats are sexually mature at five weeks. Gestation is about three weeks--so, yeah, theoretically, a rat born today could be a grandparent in about two months. Litters average between eight and fifteen pups.

12. Male rats have large testicles. Massive. If a human had testicles in proportion to rat testicles, you'd have cannonballs hanging between your legs. Seriously, these things are fuckin' huge. Bandit likes showing off his balls:
OTOH, rat copulation lasts about two seconds.

(NOTE: I know this stuff by heart, but for most of the numeric details I am indebted to the most excellent Anne's Rat Page at ratbehavior.org.)

Posted by Victor at 04:38 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 16, 2006

Hi, folks! How're they hangin'?

I've noticed when guests bloggers come along, the first post is pretty much always the same:
*Puts down bags and looks around* Hi! I'm (somebody) and I can't believe (somebody else) has asked me to house-sit for awhile...

It's a blog, folks, not a house. No matter; I still can't believe annika asked me to guest post for her while she and her Second True Love head off for colder climes. Thanks for trusting me, annika, and I'm sure your readers will be return when you do.

Before leaving, annika, gave me some guidelines: "As you know, all subjects are fair game at annika's journal, so it can be fun. You can do whatever you like, even ratblogging. For all intents and purposes, it's yours for two weeks if you want it."

So, unless I'm told different (at mail4publius-AT-gmail-DOT-com), I expect you to learn more about rats than you ever wanted to know. Pay attention, because there'll be a test afterward.

Posted by Victor at 06:51 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 14, 2006

Mideast Peace Process

One part of me thinks that there's a real opportunity for peace in the middle east if the international community would only do one thing: Nothing.

The reason I've been hearing the phrase "Mid-East Peace Process" all my life is mainly because there has been a Mid-East Peace Process. If the world would just let both sides go at it, winner take all, I think we might see an end to this decades long circle-jerk.

After victory comes peace. So I want to advise Israel: don't bow to international pressure. No cease fires. No negotiations. No more bullshit. Roll up Hezbollah like Stonewall at Chancellorsville. Crush Hamas like Sherman on his way to the sea.

But another part of me senses danger.

The two Palestinian terrorist organizations want to see Israel destroyed. There's no chance in hell that they could accomplish that militarily, so they're trying to provoke this confrontation into a full on Arab Israeli war. Iran wants to see this happen too. They want Israel to attack Syria, so that Iran can jump in. Then, they hope Israel strikes Iran's nuclear research plants, which would be real bad.

For the last few months I've been casually researching whether Israel could successfully attack Iran's nuclear sites. I am now convinced that they have the technical capability to pull it off. They have the right planes, and Iran's air defenses would be no match for the Israeli Air Force. They also have an aerial refueling capability and they recently acquired the BLU-113, which is the most bad-ass of all the bunker buster warheads.

On the downside, Israel really has no good route to Iran. Any way they go would cause political problems that I don't like. The route that makes the most sense would be straight through Iraq, but that would completely fuck up what we're trying to accomplish there by inflaming the Shia. If the Israelis went south through Saudi Arabia, there would be refueling issues, and they could not avoid pissing off the Saudis. Going north might piss off the Turks. I don't like any of those choices, which is why I've always believed that we should be the ones to knock out the Iranian facilities, if it has to be done.

And if we get involved in this thing, well... I don't like to think about it. You all remember where the plains of Armageddon are, don't you? I'm serious, this is scary.

Today Hezbollah's leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah went Scarface on the Israelis: "You want a wahh, you got a wahh." One might wonder how he intends to actually win it. Without an army or air force, he's either an idiot, or he knows something I don't. Maybe he's rolling the dice, or maybe he knows big brother Ahmadi-Nejad is his ace in the hole.

With Korea and India and now the Middle East burning up, I think this is the most dangerous global situation to exist in my lifetime. And of course I picked this time to go travelling. And to Denmark no less!

Posted by annika at 08:46 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

A Lawyer Joke

A lawyer died and found herself before St. Peter. St. Peter flipped thru his book for several minutes, then turned to the lawyer and smiled. "Sorry to keep you waiting, but there's a small problem with you. I can't decide if you belong in heaven or in hell--so I'll let you decide. I'll send you to hell for 12 hours, then to heaven for 12 hours, and you get to decide where you go. OK?"

"That's fair," the lawyer said. "When do I go?"

"Right now," St. Peter answered and he snapped his fingers.

The lawyer blinked once, twice, three times. She was standing on the porch of a beautiful clubhouse, an immaculate golf course before her. Someone cleared his throat behind her, and she turned to see her favorite law school professor, the senior partner who mentored her, and the partner who recruited her standing behind her! "Welcome to Hell," the partner said and she thrust a golf bag at her. "C'mon. We got just enough time to grab some beer before we tee off."

She wasn't the worlds best golfer when alive, and she wasn't much better while dead, but she still got a hole in one! Afterward, during dinner in the clubhouse, a tall, handsome man in a bespoke suit joined them. "I'm Satan," he said by way of introduction and he started telling dirty jokes.

Too soon, however, Satan suddenly snapped his fingers...

...and she found herself on a cloud, wearing a white robe. Obviously, she was in Heaven, and she was bored. Bored bored bored.

There's no golf in heaven. No food or wine or dirty jokes, and there sure as hell weren't any of her old friends there. Before long, she found herself talking with God about...not much. God had a bit of a holier-than-thou attitude and, quite frankly, He was dull.

Soon enough...or not, as far as the lawyer was concerned...God snapped His fingers, and she found herself facing St. Peter again. "Well, my dear? Made up your mind?"

"I have," she said formally. "I want to go to Hell."

St. Peter looked disappointed. "I'm sorry to hear that, my dear." Snap!

Pain. Pain and fire and brimstone and crows picking at her liver and devils with pitchforks and everything you've imagined hell would be, only worse. After just a few hours of excruciating torment, Satan walked by and the lawyer screamed, "What gives? Yesterday it was parties and golf and my old friends, and today it's....it's hell! What the hell is going on here?"

Satan leered down at her. "Haven't you figured it out, my dear? Yesterday we were recruiting you. Today you're an Associate!"

For the really long version, look beneath the fold

The last thing anybody--and I do mean anybody-- does is die. Even lawyers.

And on the occasion of her Last Official Act as a Human Being, a lawyer found herself before St. Peter, waiting patiently while St. Peter flipped thru a book. And flipped...and flipped...and flipped. Finally he looked up and said to her, "I'm sorry to keep you waiting, my dear, but, believe it or not, I don't know where to put you. You're one of those very rare cases where your good points exactly balance your bad points and...well, you could go either to Hell or to Paradise."

The lawyer looked up at St. Peter and asked, "Ummm. How do I...how do you decide where I go?"

St. Peter laughed. "You had it right the first time, my dear. I don't decide--you do. I send you to Hell for twelve hours, then you go to Heaven for twelve hours, and in twenty-four hours you tell me where you'd like to go."

For the first time since she found out she was dead the lawyer smiled. "That actually sounds fair," she said. "When does this start?"

"Right now," St. Peter answered, and he snapped his fingers.


That's funny...I expected fire and brimstone to be a lot hotter the lawyer thought, then she opened her eyes.

Green. Hell was, apparently, green, with green grass, tall green trees...and blue sky with white clouds...and a white light, right at the other end of this path. The lawyer had seen enough movies to know when you're dead you walk into the light.

The old saint must've gotten his wires crossed, she thought as she walked, and as she walked she could make out a shape inside the light. A shadow...no, a building it was, long and angular, with a cupola or something rising from the middle of the structure.

Almost looks like a clubhouse, she thought to herself, and as she walked she saw two objects coming toward her, faster than a man could walk but not as fast as a car. As they came closer to her she realized what they were and she started laughing.

Golf carts. Heaven has golf carts!
The carts pulled up to her, and then she knew, without a doubt, she was in heaven.

In the first cart was the partner who mentored her at her second firm. Next to her was the senior partner who recruited her from her hated first job. And in the second cart was her favorite law school professor.

"Tee time's in five minutes," the professor called out to her. "And we need a fourth!" She didn't have to be told twice.

She wasn't a particularly skilled golfer when she was living, and while she didn't exactly set the course afire, she had he best round she'd ever had in her life. On the eighteenth, she teed off and watched while the ball sailed toward the green, bounced on the fairway once, twice, then onto the green and rolled into the cup.

"A hole in one!" one of the foursome yelled behind her. "Drinks are on you!"

The lawyer turned around, beaming, then frowned. "Uh," she stammered. "I don't have any money."

Everyone laughed. "Don't worry about it," her mentor said. "We don't use money in Hell."

The lawyer laughed, then she heard that last word. "Hell? I'm in Hell?" she asked.

"Yep. What'd you expect--devils with pitchforks?" and her golfing partners laughed. "C'mon. Let's get some lunch and meet Satan.

The meal was the best she'd ever had, the wine was wine she'd only dreamed of tasting. And Satan...Satan, she had to admit, wasn't a bad guy. He was tall, handsome, well dressed, and spoke with an accent she couldn't quite place. Maybe he told too many raw jokes, and maybe he pinched her one too many times, but had she met him while alive--Yeah, I'd sell my soul to him, she thought.

After telling a joke involving a trampoline, some casaba melons, and a dozen midgets that was easily the funniest and rudest joke she had ever heard in her...uhh...Satan turned to her. "Young lady, you have only a few minutes left. Any questions?"

The lawyer thought for a moment before speaking. "You know, I have to admit this is nothing like what I expected. If I had to make my decision right now..."

Satan cut her off. "Better not say anything just yet. Besides, as a lawyer you should know there's another story." And he snapped his fingers.


Holy shit, I'm bored, the lawyer thought. She had been in heaven for about four hours and she found out Heaven is Dull. Nothing to do, nothing to see, except for white clouds, white robes, white marble fountains...white marble buildings!

She half expected to find white chocolate ice cream.

Eventually, she found a library, filled with every book known to man (in white binding). In the lower level was a string quartet playing...well, nothing exciting. The music was, somehow, white. She was grateful there was no place to eat, as she was sure she'd be served mashed potatos, cauliflower, and Wonder bread. She found a bench by a fountain and sat down, and a man sat down next to her. "Hi," He said. "I'm Jesus. St. Peter told me he couldn't find a place for you?"

She sat and chatted with Jesus about...well, nothing. He was a nice enough guy, but dull. After one particularly long diatribe about....nothing, she decided, Jesus suddenly asked, "Young lady, you have only a few minutes left. Any questions?"

She thought for a moment, yawned, and she made up her mind at that moment. "No. I've made up my mind. Do I tell You?"

"Nope. Tell St. Peter." And He snapped his fingers.


St. Peter smiled from behind his book. "Hello, my dear. I trust you've made up your mind?"

"I have," she said. "Heaven was nice, but dull. Really dull. But in Hell...I ran into my old friends, I had fun, I got a hole-in-one! I hopy you understand, but I'd rather go to Hell!"

St. Peter looked disappointed. "Are you sure, my dear? Remember--eternity is an awful long time!"

The lawyer noded her head. "I'm sure." She turned around, faced the long line of souls behind her, and threw her arms over her head in triumph. "I'm going to Hell!" Behind her St. Peter snapped his fingers.


Pain. Excruciating pain, all over her body, and a smell of copper, and screaming. Lots of screaming!

A blood-curdling scream next to her ear. She opened her eyes and saw a devil spear a man who had been trying to climb out of the pool of...boiling blood?

She was floating in a pool of boiling blood. Her scream joined his as she turned away--the man was someone she had once defended.


After what had to have been an eternity, she felt hands grip her head and she was lifted out of the boiling blood. "Enjoying Hell, young lady?" Satan asked.

"How long...how long have I been here?" she gasped.

"Not long. About seven hours. Things sure have changed since yesterday, haven't they?"

It took a while to sink in. She had been here for less than a half-day? "What gives? What the hell is going on? Yesterday it was my friends and golf and wine and dirty jokes, and today it's...it's Hell!"

Satan smiled a smile only he could smile. "Haven't you figured it out, my dear? Yesterday we were recruiting you. Today you're an Associate!"

Posted by Victor at 02:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Technical Difficulty Update

Now they tell us that we need a new modem, which I doubt, but we have to go through the motions. I fully expect that when we exchange our brand new modem for another brand new modem, that we will have to call the ISP back and wait for them to figure out the real reason our internet is down.

I went through this a few years ago with the Sony computer. It proves the rule that computer geeks who know what they're doing are generally not going to be found behind the counter at Frye's or manning the phones in some Indian dungeon. They'll be out making money.

So what does this mean to you? It means you get more Victor sooner!

And we'll pick up with Jeopardy in August upon my return from Scandinavia.

Posted by annika at 10:30 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 13, 2006

Annika's Jeopardy, Round 11 (Sans Graphics)

The category is Ronald Reagan for $300.

The clue is:

"The only movie in which the Reagan-Davis team was featured."

Posted by annika at 11:29 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Wednesday is Poetry Day: Joe Haldeman

Victor here, off from work and a bit groggy still from anaesthetic. Long story.

I'm sorry annika is having computer difficulties and I hope she doesn't mind my jumping the gun. If she does, I'm blaming the anaesthetic, but Wednesday's just arent' the same without poetry.

I also blame the anaesthetic for any typos and major errors in grammar.

Joe Haldeman is a Viet Nam vet and science-fiction writer whose first novel, The Forever War, won both the Hugo and Nebula awards as best SF novel of the year. He's written many, many SF novels and short stories since, and also a fair bit of poetry.

His works frequently include military themes, and this is reflected in his poetry. Of course, I can't find one poem of his I'm particularly looking for; I fear the book it was in may have been given away during a move. It's a shame: It didn't really rhyme; instead, words were repeated in a specific pattern which gave it the quality of a chant. It's a shame you won't be reading it today.

Instead, I'll present one of his science fiction poems. As far as I know, Mr. Haldeman might be the first to combine science fiction and poetry. This particular example tells a story--a science fiction story, to be sure, but a story nevertheless, and to me it seems this story could only be told as a poem. It was linked from his website and also has a copyright notice at the bottom. Because of that, I present only the first stanza (I don't think the anaesthetic defense would protect annika) and I hope you click the link to finish the poem. I find it's quite touching.

Eighteen years old, October eleventh

Drunk for the first time in her life,
she tossed her head in a horsey laugh
and that new opal gift sailed off her sore earlobe,
in a graceful parabola,
pinged twice on the stone porch floor,
and rolled off to hide behind the rose bushes.

Read the rest of 'Eighteen years old, October eleventh'

Posted by Victor at 11:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 12, 2006

Technical Difficulties And Poetry Day

Due to a local internet connection problem with the phone company, I have been unable to access the web from home today. I am posting this from my phone.

Therefore, no Jeopardy question today. Maybe tomorrow I can post one from work, but I will have to forego the graphics.

In the meantime, get your Wednesday poetry fix from Tony at LAist, who is celebrating Pablo Neruda's birthday with a really romantic one!

Update: Those bastards at my ISP still haven't fixed the problem.

Posted by annika at 06:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Meanwhile, Enrichment Continues

It's so frustrating watching this slow dance between Iran and the G-6. You just want to sceam at them: "cut to the chase!" However, as I said before, the delaying game benefits us as well as Iran - but only if we use the time well. And to date I have seen no sign that we are doing anything other than playing patsy to a tin-pot third world dictatorship. Damn it, Bush and Condi. Wake the fuck up!

From AP:

World powers agreed Wednesday to send Iran back to the United Nations Security Council for possible punishment, saying the clerical regime has given no sign it means to negotiate seriously over its disputed nuclear program.

The United States and other permanent members of the powerful U.N. body said Iran has had long enough to say whether it will meet the world's terms to open bargaining that would give Tehran economic and energy incentives in exchange for giving up suspicious activities.

"The Iranians have given no indication at all that they are ready to engage seriously on the substance of our proposals," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said.

. . .

Any real punishment or coercion at the Security Council is a long way off, but the group said it will seek an initial resolution requiring Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment. Debate could begin as soon as next week.

If Iran does not comply, the group said it would then seek harsher action. The group's short statement did not give any specifics, but it cited a section of the world body's charter that could open the door to economic or other sanctions.

. . .

The group said it could stop the Security Council actions at any time should Iran cooperate.

Make sure you say please, guys. Maybe that will help.

There's always the possibility that the administration is following my advice about supporting Iranian dissidents, and that we just don't hear about it because things are happening behind the scenes. However, by this time in Reagan's second term, the Solidarnosc movement in Poland was in full swing and everybody knew it. I see nothing similar happening in Iran, although I keep hearing that the country is ripe for it.

Posted by annika at 02:16 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 11, 2006

Breaking News



MUMBAI (AJN) - A coordinated series of seven exposions ripped through several commuter trains in Mumbai, India yesterday, killing at least 160 people and injuring more than 400. And now the repercussions of this latest apparent terror attack have begun to affect the once revered Mainstream Media.

One day after the attacks, which appear to bear the signature of Islamic terrorists, many observers are asking why the Mainstream Media did not act to prevent these deaths beforehand.

"It is horrible," said one man who asked not to be identified. "I ask myself why? Why did not the New York Times do something about this? Why did they not stop these bad men? Do they not care about the lives of innocent Indians?"

News analyst and terror expert Annika, of the blog Annika's Journal, told AJN that questions are being raised about the Mainstream Media's failure to detect and prevent the Mumbai terror plot.

"A lot of people are scratching their heads today," said Annika. "They wonder how the MSM could have fucked this one up so badly. They have more than adequate resources to detect a plot like this [the Mumbai bombings]. They're always patting themselves on the back about their investigative reporting, yet they couldn't stop these terrorists. And now hundreds of people are dead."

The Mainstream Media has recently come under attack from far right conservative groups for releasing information about secretive American anti-terrorism programs, which some say are designed to uncover information about future terrorist plans.

"When the New York Times spends all it's time investigating the programs that are meant to stop terrorists from killing, you got to ask why they can't spare just a little effort trying to investigate the terrorists," said Annika. "It couldn't hurt, and it might just save lives."

Media representatives responded to Annika's criticisms, on condition of anonymity. "It's not our job to be law enforcement," said one television news executive. "That's the government's job, to stop terrorists. We're just there to report news, not make it."

Yet Annika and other media watchers argue that the Mainstream Press has unique capabilities that the government does not possess, which could be used to unearth terror plots before they occur.

"For instance, covert government investigations can always be revealed by members of the press, often destroying months of hard work," said Annika. "But if the same investigation were conducted by reporters, who's going to rat on them? We all know reporters would rather rot in jail than give up one inch of their precious First Amendment rights."

A former New York Times reporter recently served 85 days in jail rather than reveal the identity of one of her journalistic sources.

"The New York Times, The Washington Post... These guys are so proud of how they brought down Nixon, and he didn't even kill anybody," Annika continued. "The L.A. Times didn't have any problem finding every chick Arnold groped back in the seventies. How come they can't find Osama? Bill Keller seems to think he's got better judgment on national security issues than the freakin' Department of Homeland Security. Let him put that superior judgment to use... fighting terrorists instead of helping them."

Bill Keller is the executive editor of the New York Times, which has come under fire by far right wing extremist groups such as the Republican Party for allegedly revealing details of secret U.S. government anti-terror programs. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

"And CNN? Don't get me started," Annika concluded. "It's unconscionable for CNN to wash their hands of these continued terrorist attacks. They consider themselves 'citizens of the world.' What a fucking joke. They're such hypocrites. The people in Madrid and Bali and London and Baghdad and now Mumbai are all citizens of the world too. The MSM is a disgrace."

AJN's Annika Becker contributed to this report.

Posted by annika at 08:29 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Annika's Jeopardy, Round 10

The category is Ronald Reagan for $400.


Posted by annika at 08:18 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Is Castro Dead?

American Princess, and apparently Jonah Goldberg have heard rumors. Nothing on Drudge yet. E.M. says she heard it from a Wall Street friend, as does Jonah. I checked the stock market and it did rally around 12:00.

Update: Still nothing from any reputable news source. Or from Drudge for that matter.

If it turns out to be true, I for one will question the timing. Is Castro's death simply the Bush administration's attempt to deflect attention away from their failure to unh...

Oh I got it. It's the Bush administration's attempt to deflect attention away from the impending indictment of Barry Bonds, who I hear, is a Republican.

Culture of corruption! Culture of corruption! Halliburton! Halliburton! Sis-boom-ba!

Posted by annika at 12:25 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Annika's Jeopardy, Round 9

See the comments to Round 8, for an update on the latest Annika's Journal Jeopardy controversies.

For round 9, the category is "Vexatious Vexillology," for $200.

Shelly is in the lead with $700; D-Rod and Leif are second with $500; Matt has $200; Drake Steel, TBinSTL and SkippyStalin have $100 each.

Note to all you lurkers out there: Everybody is eligible to try their luck at this game. Just leave your response in the comments section. And no. I don't have Lindsay Logan's phone number.

Here's the clue, which I think is pretty difficult.


Hands on your signalling devices, don't forget to phrase it right. Go!

Posted by annika at 01:15 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

July 10, 2006

Nothing To See Here, Move Along...

From the Houston Chronicle:

[A] man with a Middle Eastern name and a ticket for a Delta Airlines flight to Atlanta shook his head when screeners asked if he had a laptop computer in his baggage, but an X-ray machine operator detected a laptop.

A search of the man's baggage revealed a clock with a 9-volt battery taped to it and a copy of the Quran, the report said. A screener examined the man's shoes and determined that the "entire soles of both shoes were gutted out."

No explosive material was detected, the report states. A police officer was summoned and questioned the man, examined his identification, shoes and the clock, then cleared him for travel, according to the report.

A TSA screener disagreed with the officer, saying "the shoes had been tampered with and there were all the components of (a bomb) except the explosive itself," the report says.

The officer retorted, "I thought y'all were trained in this stuff," TSA officials reported.

The report says the TSA screener notified Delta Airlines and talked again with the officer, who said he had been unable to check the passenger's criminal background because of computer problems.

So what did they do? They let the guy on the fucking plane!

Now of course, since the plane didn't blow up we can assume one of three things: a) that it was a test run; b) that the plan involved hiding the explosive somewhere else on the plane, or with an accomplice who aborted the mission; or c) that this poor innocent man with the middle eastern name was unfairly hassled while scores of evil grannies were allowed to board the plane unmolested.

I tend to think that it was just a test of our defenses, since a clock and battery do not seem to be necessary components of a shoe bomb. In any case, I hope someone is raising holy hell over this incident.

Posted by annika at 08:12 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

July 09, 2006

Annika's Jeopardy, Round 8

Point totals are as follows: Shelly is in the lead with $700; D-Rod is second with $500; Matt has $200; Drake Steel, TBinSTL and SkippyStalin have $100 each.

The category is Dicks, for $500.


Posted by annika at 03:27 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Our Long International Nightmare Is Over...

Congratulations Italia!

Posted by annika at 03:00 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Jeopardy With Annika, Round 7

Shelly gets the first Daily Double of the year! In the category "Dicks."

Let's go over the Daily Double rules.

Just like last year, the rules for Daily Double are almost the same as on tv, with an important exception. In my game everybody gets to play the Daily Double.

Every response must have a wager in it. The lowest you can wager is $100 and the highest you can wager is either $500 or however much money you have earned already, whichever is higher. Or you can wager any amount in between.

One caveat. Since Shelly picked the Daily Double, his response gets priority. So if you guess before him you run the risk of tipping him off to the correct response. If Shelly either guesses wrong or does not respond by the expiration of the time limit (10:00 p.m. Pacific time on Monday) the rest of the responses will count in order of their posting.

The competition is wide open. Here are the standings. D-Rod is in the lead with $500; Matt and Shelly have $200 each; Drake Steel, TBinSTL and SkippyStalin have $100 each.

Here's the clue. Good luck.


Posted by annika at 12:48 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Another Danish Themed Post

From the Wall Street Journal, a sensible Danish liberal:

Bjorn Lomborg busted--and that is the only word for it--onto the world scene in 2001 with the publication of his book "The Skeptical Environmentalist." A one-time Greenpeace enthusiast, he'd originally planned to disprove those who said the environment was getting better. He failed. And to his credit, his book said so, supplying a damning critique of today's environmental pessimism. Carefully researched, it offered endless statistics--from official sources such as the U.N.--showing that from biodiversity to global warming, there simply were no apocalypses in the offing. "Our history shows that we solve more problems than we create," he tells me. For his efforts, Mr. Lomborg was labeled a heretic by environmental groups--whose fundraising depends on scaring the jeepers out of the public--and became more hated by these alarmists than even (if possible) President Bush.
Read what Mr. Lomborg has to say about priorities here. Good stuff.

via Shelly.

Posted by annika at 11:57 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Danish Torture Conviction Overturned

A victory in the little known case of Annemette Hommel, the Danish officer accused of "torture" at the Danish Contingent's Camp Eden in Southern Iraq.

Apparently Eden was no paradise for the detainees under interrogation by Hommel and four MPs. They had been subjected to the heinous torture of:

  • having to sit down for a long time

  • getting yelled at

  • not getting a second glass of water when they asked for one
Danish blogger Exile has background on the Hommel case.
She was tried here in Denmark in the full glare of the press and with indignant left-wing politicians screaming for an example to be made. 'War crimes!' they screamed. And it gave a perfect setting for a left-wing outcry against our participation in the 'invasion and occupation' of Iraq.
Though being found technically guilty of abusing prisoners, Annette Hommel was not handed any sentence, merely left to live with the findings of the court and a ruined career. She was not content with that and appealled the courts decision. And in my opinion, quite rightly so.
And Thursday, Jyllands Posten's English language site reported that the Østre Landsret ruled in Hommel's favor.
Annemette Hommel and four other military police have been acquitted of breaking Geneva Conventions by the High Court of Eastern Denmark.

Hommel and the four others had been previously been found guilty by a lower court. Due to mitigating circumstances, however, none of them are facing jail time.

Hommel appealed the decision handed down by a Copenhagen court that convicted her of calling detained Iraqis names and expletives while forcing them to sit in stressful positions during questioning.

Following the first trial in January 2006, Hommel said she was pleased and satisfied with being acquitted on some of the charges but felt that the court has laid down an unnecessarily hard line on the other points.

'I can't live with that,' Hommel said after the first trial, adding that she had been convicted of something that was against her principles.

Hommel has yet to comment on the new, not-guilty verdict by the Eastern High Court.

I like Exile's final comment, which puts most of these "torture" cases into perspective:
No hooking their genitals up to car batteries then? No beatings with clubs or heavy duty electrical cable? No tools or other impliments of torture? No pulling of teeth or fingernails? No poking out of eyes? No beheadings?

No, none of that. That is what she went there to put an end to.


Posted by annika at 11:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 08, 2006

Annie's Jeopardy, Round 6

D-Rod has named the fourth category, "Dicks." We're a little heavy on celebrity themed categories, so I'm going to make this one about "objects that sort of remind me of an erect penis."

I got time today, so let's make it another video. Here's the clue, for $200.


Posted by annika at 11:47 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Jeopardy With Annika, Round 5

SkippyStalin has selected "Canadians You've Never Heard Of" for $500.

Here's our first video clue of 2006!


Update: Let's review the rules. 1. Use the signalling device. 2. A correct response is phrased in the form of a question. 3. If you get it right, you may pick the next category, but don't forget to name the dollar amount you want too.

Posted by annika at 10:36 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 07, 2006

Jeopardy With Annika, Round 4

TBinSTL chose the latest category: Anal Bum Covers. Here's how it works, I'll describe the album cover, you name the artist.

Since TBinSTL didn't indicate what dollar amount he chose, I'll make it $100. Please don't forget to name your dollar amount when you have control of the board.

Here's the clue:


Posted by annika at 12:14 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

July 05, 2006

Jeopardy With Annie, Round 3

The category, chosen by Matt of Overtaken By Events, is "Canadians You've Never Heard Of," for $100.


Posted by annika at 10:16 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack


Here's an example of not thinking a project through before starting.

Posted by annika at 07:26 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

On this day after Independence Day - I hope you had a good one! - here is a snapshot of America in 1860, by her greatest poet, Walt Whitman:

It's long. But this is your first day back at work after a long weekend. You don't want to start working yet. Take your time and read it through. Whitman can transport you to another time and place.

American Feuillage

AMERICA always!
Always our own feuillage!
Always Florida’s green peninsula! Always the priceless delta of Louisiana! Always the cotton-fields of Alabama and Texas!
Always California’s golden hills and hollows—and the silver mountains of New Mexico! Always soft-breath’d Cuba!
Always the vast slope drain’d by the Southern Sea—inseparable with the slopes drain’d by the Eastern and Western Seas;
The area the eighty-third year of These States—the three and a half millions of square miles;
The eighteen thousand miles of sea-coast and bay-coast on the main—the thirty thousand miles of river navigation,
The seven millions of distinct families, and the same number of dwellings—Always these, and more, branching forth into numberless branches;
Always the free range and diversity! always the continent of Democracy!
Always the prairies, pastures, forests, vast cities, travelers, Kanada, the snows;
Always these compact lands—lands tied at the hips with the belt stringing the huge oval lakes;
Always the West, with strong native persons—the increasing density there—the habitans, friendly, threatening, ironical, scorning invaders;
All sights, South, North, East—all deeds, promiscuously done at all times,
All characters, movements, growths—a few noticed, myriads unnoticed,
Through Mannahatta’s streets I walking, these things gathering;
On interior rivers, by night, in the glare of pine knots, steamboats wooding up;
Sunlight by day on the valley of the Susquehanna, and on the valleys of the Potomac and Rappahannock, and the valleys of the Roanoke and Delaware;
In their northerly wilds, beasts of prey haunting the Adirondacks, the hills—or lapping the Saginaw waters to drink;
In a lonesome inlet, a sheldrake, lost from the flock, sitting on the water, rocking silently;
In farmers’ barns, oxen in the stable, their harvest labor done—they rest standing—they are too tired;
Afar on arctic ice, the she-walrus lying drowsily, while her cubs play around;
The hawk sailing where men have not yet sail’d—the farthest polar sea, ripply, crystalline, open, beyond the floes;
White drift spooning ahead, where the ship in the tempest dashes;
On solid land, what is done in cities, as the bells all strike midnight together;
In primitive woods, the sounds there also sounding—the howl of the wolf, the scream of the panther, and the hoarse bellow of the elk;
In winter beneath the hard blue ice of Moosehead Lake—in summer visible through the clear waters, the great trout swimming;
In lower latitudes, in warmer air, in the Carolinas, the large black buzzard floating slowly, high beyond the tree tops,
Below, the red cedar, festoon’d with tylandria—the pines and cypresses, growing out of the white sand that spreads far and flat;
Rude boats descending the big Pedee—climbing plants, parasites, with color’d flowers and berries, enveloping huge trees,
The waving drapery on the live oak, trailing long and low, noiselessly waved by the wind;
The camp of Georgia wagoners, just after dark—the supper-fires, and the cooking and eating by whites and negroes,
Thirty or forty great wagons—the mules, cattle, horses, feeding from troughs,
The shadows, gleams, up under the leaves of the old sycamore-trees—the flames—with the black smoke from the pitch-pine, curling and rising;
Southern fishermen fishing—the sounds and inlets of North Carolina’s coast—the shad-fishery and the herring-fishery—the large sweep-seines—the windlasses on shore work’d by horses—the clearing, curing, and packing-houses;
Deep in the forest, in piney woods, turpentine dropping from the incisions in the trees—There are the turpentine works,
There are the negroes at work, in good health—the ground in all directions is cover’d with pine straw:
—In Tennessee and Kentucky, slaves busy in the coalings, at the forge, by the furnace-blaze, or at the corn-shucking;
In Virginia, the planter’s son returning after a long absence, joyfully welcom’d and kiss’d by the aged mulatto nurse;
On rivers, boatmen safely moor’d at night-fall, in their boats, under shelter of high banks,
Some of the younger men dance to the sound of the banjo or fiddle—others sit on the gunwale, smoking and talking;
Late in the afternoon, the mocking-bird, the American mimic, singing in the Great Dismal Swamp—there are the greenish waters, the resinous odor, the plenteous moss, the cypress tree, and the juniper tree;
—Northward, young men of Mannahatta—the target company from an excursion returning home at evening—the musket-muzzles all bear bunches of flowers presented by women;
Children at play—or on his father’s lap a young boy fallen asleep, (how his lips move! how he smiles in his sleep!)
The scout riding on horseback over the plains west of the Mississippi—he ascends a knoll and sweeps his eye around;
California life—the miner, bearded, dress’d in his rude costume—the stanch California friendship—the sweet air—the graves one, in passing, meets, solitary, just aside the horsepath;
Down in Texas, the cotton-field, the negro-cabins—drivers driving mules or oxen before rude carts—cotton bales piled on banks and wharves;
Encircling all, vast-darting, up and wide, the American Soul, with equal hemispheres—one Love, one Dilation or Pride;
—In arriere, the peace-talk with the Iroquois, the aborigines—the calumet, the pipe of good-will, arbitration, and indorsement,
The sachem blowing the smoke first toward the sun and then toward the earth,
The drama of the scalp-dance enacted with painted faces and guttural exclamations,
The setting out of the war-party—the long and stealthy march,
The single-file—the swinging hatchets—the surprise and slaughter of enemies;
—All the acts, scenes, ways, persons, attitudes of These States—reminiscences, all institutions,
All These States, compact—Every square mile of These States, without excepting a particle—you also—me also,
Me pleas’d, rambling in lanes and country fields, Paumanok’s fields,
Me, observing the spiral flight of two little yellow butterflies, shuffling between each other, ascending high in the air;
The darting swallow, the destroyer of insects—the fall traveler southward, but returning northward early in the spring;
The country boy at the close of the day, driving the herd of cows, and shouting to them as they loiter to browse by the road-side;
The city wharf—Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans, San Francisco,
The departing ships, when the sailors heave at the capstan;
—Evening—me in my room—the setting sun,
The setting summer sun shining in my open window, showing the swarm of flies, suspended, balancing in the air in the centre of the room, darting athwart, up and down, casting swift shadows in specks on the opposite wall, where the shine is;
The athletic American matron speaking in public to crowds of listeners;
Males, females, immigrants, combinations—the copiousness—the individuality of The States, each for itself—the money-makers;
Factories, machinery, the mechanical forces—the windlass, lever, pulley—All certainties,
The certainty of space, increase, freedom, futurity,
In space, the sporades, the scatter’d islands, the stars—on the firm earth, the lands, my lands;
O lands! all so dear to me—what you are, (whatever it is,) I become a part of that, whatever it is;
Southward there, I screaming, with wings slowly flapping, with the myriads of gulls wintering along the coasts of Florida—or in Louisiana, with pelicans breeding;
Otherways, there, atwixt the banks of the Arkansaw, the Rio Grande, the Nueces, the Brazos, the Tombigbee, the Red River, the Saskatchawan, or the Osage, I with the spring waters laughing and skipping and running;
Northward, on the sands, on some shallow bay of Paumanok, I, with parties of snowy herons wading in the wet to seek worms and aquatic plants;
Retreating, triumphantly twittering, the king-bird, from piercing the crow with its bill, for amusement—And I triumphantly twittering;
The migrating flock of wild geese alighting in autumn to refresh themselves—the body of the flock feed—the sentinels outside move around with erect heads watching, and are from time to time reliev’d by other sentinels—And I feeding and taking turns with the rest;
In Kanadian forests, the moose, large as an ox, corner’d by hunters, rising desperately on his hind-feet, and plunging with his fore-feet, the hoofs as sharp as knives—And I, plunging at the hunters, corner’d and desperate;
In the Mannahatta, streets, piers, shipping, store-houses, and the countless workmen working in the shops,
And I too of the Mannahatta, singing thereof—and no less in myself than the whole of the Mannahatta in itself,
Singing the song of These, my ever united lands—my body no more inevitably united, part to part, and made one identity, any more than my lands are inevitably united, and made ONE IDENTITY;
Nativities, climates, the grass of the great Pastoral Plains;
Cities, labors, death, animals, products, war, good and evil—these me,
These affording, in all their particulars, endless feuillage to me and to America, how can I do less than pass the clew of the union of them, to afford the like to you?
Whoever you are! how can I but offer you divine leaves, that you also be eligible as I am?
How can I but, as here, chanting, invite you for yourself to collect bouquets of the incomparable feuillage of These States?

Posted by annika at 07:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Annika's Jeopardy, Round 2

The category is "American Skankwomen."


Posted by annika at 06:40 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 04, 2006

Annika's Journal Jeopardy, 2006

It's July, and that means it's time for the second annual annika's journal version of the popular game show, Jeopardy!

I'll be your host. As last year, I pick the answers, you guess the questions, and you must remember to use the signalling device and phrase your response in the form of a question.

I'll start it off with the first category: "American Skankwomen." Like last year, the first couple of correct responders will get to name the rest of the categories, until all the category boxes are filled. (Of course, I'll reserve the right to veto any categories i think are lame.)

So here's the first question:


Good luck!

Update: Controversy on the first question already! Drake Steel's response, which was accepted by the judges, was 54 hours. According to Wikipedia, Brittany's marriage to Jason Alexander lasted 55 hours. Just to be absolutely certain, I looked up the annulment certificate, which bears a time stamp of 12:24 p.m. on January 5, 2004. I then determined the difference between the reported time of marriage, 5:30 a.m. and the time of annulment. The result is exactly 54 hours and 54 minutes. So, therefore I would have accepted either 54 or 55 hours as a correct response. So big congratulations to Drake, who participated last year but never got on the board!

Posted by annika at 11:45 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

July 02, 2006

I Like This Cartoon

Check it out at Darleen's Place.

Posted by annika at 09:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack