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

November 30, 2006

Vote For Me

Here's something new. I got nominated for something or other. I don't know what happens if you vote for me, I didn't read the thing too carefully. Anyways, you should vote for me. It requires a login, but you can use "guest" as the ID and "guest" as the password, then look for my post called "The End Of The CD Era" and rate it as a "5."

Here's the link. If you love me you will do exactly as I say.

Update: Come on, I know I have more than 7 readers!

Posted by annika at 08:13 PM | Comments (28) | TrackBack

Bait And Switch Number Three

#1 The most ethical Congress in history.
#2 The draft.

and now

#3 Implementing every single one of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations.

From the Washington Post:

It was a solemn pledge, repeated by Democratic leaders and candidates over and over: If elected to the majority in Congress, Democrats would implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation's intelligence agencies. . . .

. . .

"I don't think that suggestion is going anywhere," said Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.), the chairman of the Appropriations defense subcommittee and a close ally of the incoming subcommittee chairman, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.). "That is not going to be their party position."

It may seem like a minor matter, but members of the commission say Congress's failure to change itself is anything but inconsequential. In 2004, the commission urged Congress to grant the House and Senate intelligence committees the power not only to oversee the nation's intelligence agencies but also to fund them and shape intelligence policy. The intelligence committees' gains would come at the expense of the armed services committees and the appropriations panels' defense subcommittees. Powerful lawmakers on those panels would have to give up prized legislative turf.

. . .

Now Democrats are balking, just as Republicans did before them.

The decision will almost certainly anger commission members, as well as families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, many of whom have pressed hard for implementation of the recommendations.

"The Democrats pledged to implement all the remaining 9/11 reforms, not some of them," said former representative Timothy J. Roemer (D-Ind.), who served on the commission.

Carie Lemack, whose mother was in one of the jets that hit the World Trade Center, echoed that sentiment: "It wasn't a Chinese takeout menu, the 41 recommendations. You have to do all of them."

If you want my opinion, consolidation of oversight is not a good idea. I like redundancy. I was against the creation of an "Intelligence Czar," too. But the Democrats aren't backing away from this promise for policy reasons, it's more politics-as-usual, and juvenile back-scratching.

On an unrealted note, why is it that I can get no information from the media about what crawled up Pelosi's butt to make her dislike Jane Harman and Steny Hoyer so much? I know it's personal, but I've looked far and wide and there doesn't seem to be any investigative reporter willing to investigate this question.

Pelosi's beef with Hoyer goes back to her Maryland days, when she was the receptionist and Hoyer was the chief gofer for Senator Brewster in the 60's. I know there must be some interesting anecdotes, which would explain the animosity she's held onto for decades. But the media is hush hush.

And what's the deal with Jane Harman? I know she's not considered dovish enough, but I do suspect there's a personal vendetta there too. Pelosi is well known for holding grudges (and to be fair, suddenly letting go of grudges too), but nobody wants to dig into this story.

If anybody has seen anything interesting, send me a link. I'm just interested in political gossip is all.

h/t Belmont Club

Posted by annika at 11:37 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

November 29, 2006

A Hero You Should Know

On October 16, 2006, Army CW3 Lori Hill became the latest female pilot decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross (the first was none other than Amelia Earhart).

Back in March in Iraq, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Lori Hill, with the 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, was piloting her Kiowa Warrior when the lead chopper came under heavy fire. She drew the fire away, simultaneously providing suppressive fire for the troops engaged with the enemy on the ground.

A rocket-propelled grenade hit her, damaging the helo’s instrumentation, but instead of focusing on her predicament, she established communication with the ground forces and continued to provide them with aerial weapon support until the soldiers reached safety.

As she turned her attention to the aircraft, which was losing hydraulic power, the helo took on machine-gun fire, a round crashing into one of Hill’s ankles. Still, with a damaged aircraft and an injury, she landed at Forward Operating Base Normandy, saving her crew and aircraft.

For her actions she was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross by Vice President Richard Cheney at Fort Campbell, Ky., on Oct. 16.

[It] was a once-in-a-lifetime thing to get the award and then have the vice president come and award it to you,” she said. “It’s just incredible for any soldier.”

Recalling that day in March, Hill reflected, “I was actually just glad I didn’t pass out and very happy I was able to help the ground guys out, and get our helicopter down safely on the ground.”

You won't see Chief Hill's face while your waiting in the grocery checkout line, and Lori Hill may not be a household name, but it should be.

Posted by annika at 09:17 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Wednesday is Bad Poetry Day: PMS Poetry

The last Wednesday of the month is Bad Poetry Day, and my thanks to annika for this edition's inspiration.

Have you ever googled "pms poetry" lately? You should.

First, we discover PMS is a journal of Poems/Memoirs/Stories by women, and, presumably, for women. There are two poems in the latest online version of PMS and they're not too bad, so they will not be included today. But now you know about the number one google hit for "PMS poetry."

Of course, if you go down just a bit, you find some amateur poetry ("amateur" defined as "not professional." I'm not being insulting here).

Will you get off my back, get away from me.
It’s that time of the month, so just let me be.
I counted out eight, there was ten there instead?
On a day like today, I should stay in bed.

Oh give me a girdle I’m ballooning again,
I resemble a Flintstone, not Wilma but Fred!
On my face the zits like volcanoes erupt.
Clearasil, Topex, I can’t get enough.

Tomorrow I’ll cramp up and wish I was dead,
This hormone imbalance makes me light in the head.
The curse of a woman in child bearing years.
Makes me want for hot flashes, is menopause near?

A warning goes out to the people near us.
Look out pedestrians, “I have P.M.S.”

If the author was trying to be light-hearted, I'd have to say she succeeded, as this is pretty funny. If she was serious, though, she failed miserably. I think it's pretty obvious she was going for humor, though you never know.

Proceeding on, we come across

Drip, Drop
There goes a blod [sic] clot.
Swish, swash
It makes a splash.
Pms is not fun,
But every girl gets one.
My period is such a curse.
I keep tampons in my purse.
Having a period really sucks.
Because when I have it, I can't fuck.

Interesting--the first image grosses men out (and some women too, I'm sure), but by the end...you've completely forgotten what the subject is. Part of it is because the meter and rhyme scheme go right down the toilet (Swish, swash/It makes a splash) but mostly because the author, in the last line, reveals the true tragedy of PMS--besides the wanting to kill the next person who PISSES! YOU! OFF!

Moving on, we find....not too much more, to be honest. You'll find some references to writers talking about their "PMS poetry" which I gather is stuff they dash off while angry or upset or...you know, PMSing...then destroy because even they realize it stinks. But not too much actual poetry about or inspired by PMS is to be found.

Most interesting, though, is an article at salon.com suggesting PMS may have driven Sylvia Plath to suicide. However, I'll leave that discussion (as well as reading the article, to be honest) for another day.

Posted by Victor at 05:06 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 27, 2006


Quickly. Green Bay at Seattle. Green Bay sucks hard. Ten point underdogs. I followed a pattern last time, which proved true. However, if I follow it again, the chart would tell me that GB wins, and I lose if I bet for GB. They being 10 point underdogs, the pattern breaks down. It's illogical because it tells me I must bet against GB in order to win, but there's no way I can win by betting against them if they win as underdogs. Understand? Therefore, I will assume that the pattern of WLWLWL for GB's last six MNF appearances will be broken tonight (a logical assumption, since they suck hard, see above), and take Seattle minus the points, and see what happens.

Update: A push! Ha-ha, a muthafucken PUSH!

Posted by annika at 06:56 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 26, 2006

The End Of The CD Era

My parents grew up listening to the 33 rpm vinyl album. Their parents bought music in little boxes of 45 rpm records. I grew up in the CD age, which died last month on October 7th.

Tower Records, the music industry's most famous retail brand, will be liquidated beginning tomorrow (Oct. 7).

After a 30-hour auction, the process was won by the lead-bidder, Great American, who put together a consortium of other suitors who were bidding on different components of the retailer. The winning bid was $134.3 million.

“It's a sad day for the music business and I feel badly for all Tower employees," says Jim Urie, president of Universal Music Group Distribution. "Tower was probably the greatest brand that will ever exist in music retail.”

The original Tower Records was (and still is, for a few more days) located south of Downtown Sacramento, next to the Tower Theater that gave the store its name. Here's a panoramic view of the famous corner, Broadway and Land Park Drive, where the world's greatest music store was born.

When I lived in San Francisco, I used to love walking to the Tower on Columbus and Bay, where the neighborhoods of Russian Hill, Fisherman's Wharf and North Beach all intersect, and where half my music collection was purchased. I can still remember the first time I saw Pulse's blinking red diode, it was in that store.

I was a senior in high school when I stood in the Coumbus and Bay store watching the overhead tv with REM's Monster in my hand, as Joe Montana (then a KC Chief) executed his most famous two-minute drill against John Elway.

The most famous Tower Records outlet is of course, the Tower on Sunset. My parents have a cartoony lithograph in their den, all in primary colors, of the Sunset Strip at night with Tower Records in the center under an Angelyne billboard. Tower Sunset was a music industry legend.

Bruce Willis spent $15,000 in one glorious shopping spree.

Elton John was practically a regular. Mick Jagger, Ella Fitzgerald and Jack Nicholson were known to drop by.

There’s never been anything quite like the Tower Records on LA’s Sunset Boulevard. It’s been an elemental part of the city’s music scene, a place where rock stars and record company executives came to shop, mingle and check how their records are selling.

This is where Tower became a global icon.

“Probably the most famous of all the record stores,” said music executive Miles Copeland, who has overseen the careers of such bands as R.E.M. and the Police.

I've been in that store once. I didn't see any celebrities, but I was probably there on an off night. Tower Sunset was a celebrity hangout, it seems.
In-store promotions at Tower Sunset – autograph sessions and short concerts by artists such as Lou Reed and Prince – became part of the Strip’s landscape. An appearance by rock singer David Lee Roth in the late ’80s clogged the street with thousands of fans.

Titans of Music shopped there

But employees say their favorite memories are of the celebrities who dropped by to shop: Bobby Darin, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and many others. Stan Goman said Brian Wilson, known for his battles with emotional demons, came in a bathrobe. Actor George Hamilton once wrote a personal check to pay for his purchase and was a bit miffed when the clerk made him produce a photo ID, Goman said.

A disheveled-looking Waylon Jennings showed up early one morning, hours before the store opened. “He was still recovering from his night’s activities,” said former manager Charlie Shaw.

When another former manager, Bob Feterl, transferred to Sunset from suburban West Covina in 1989, he got a hint of the store’s significance in his first week. “I see Ella Fitzgerald walking straight toward me, and I was totally blown away,” Feterl said.

Another time, he said, a stubble-faced Bruce Willis spent hours in the store, crawling on the floor to pore over the CDs that wouldn’t fit into the main stacks. By the time he was done, he’d spent $15,000.

Elton John probably was Tower Sunset’s most loyal fan. The store would open an hour early so he could shop in peace, often accompanied by a chauffeur or assistant.

“Elton would come in and he had an account,” said Howard Krumholtz, who recently was laid off after 34 years at Tower Sunset. “He would charge $5,000 worth of stuff. He had three houses, so he’d buy three of everything.”

In recent years celebrity sightings have become less frequent. But the stars haven’t forsaken Tower Sunset. On the outside of the building is a white billboard that says, “Shop the legend.” In the past few weeks, fans and industry types have been scribbling farewell messages on the board.

“37 years of music,” reads one of them. “This is so sad! Elton John.” Though the math was off – the store opened 36 years ago – store employees said the message is what counts.

What killed Tower Records is what killed the CD; I blame Steve Jobs. The personal computer, and now the iPod have made music store shopping irrelevant. Despite the crackdown on illegal downloading, is there anyone who can't spare .99¢ for iTunes when there's a song that you just gotta have? Adn why fight traffic and parking when you can hit Overstock.com and get what you want at a huge discount, delivered to your door? I've been doing that for years. Of course now I feel guilty; I always thought Tower would be there.

Tower Records always had the best selection and prices of all the chain stores, and when I did go out to buy music, I never shopped anywhere else. It was the only place to buy classical and jazz CDs, because that's the type of music where computer browsing just doesn't cut it. For classical especially, I really need to hold the jewel box in my hand so I can compare the different versions of the same works. And in the jazz section, I'd always check the endcaps first. Invariably, there'd be a previously unknown gem for me to discover, on sale. Try that at Borders, or Barnes and Noble. Their jazz section has what, 20 artists?

Now that Tower is gone, I think it's the symbolic end of the CD. The most annoying thing about CDs was having to buy a bunch of shitty songs along with the one or two good ones that you heard on the radio. (Vitalogy, anyone?)

But now, with iTunes, I'm afraid the pendulum will swing too far in the opposite direction. Who is going to download individual songs you've never heard of, based on the few seconds of preview that iTunes gives you? And how can you really appreciate that odd song within the artistic context of an album for which it was intended — imagine if Dark Side of the Moon were to come out today! No one would buy the instrumentals, even though they are essential to the whole album.

Well, it's a new era, and the music industry will have to figure something out. They've not been terribly good at understanding the market. But what really worries me is the fate of independent music, jazz and classical. Tower Records was their biggest ally, and I hope the music doesn't disappear from the face of the earth along with that great store.

Posted by annika at 11:25 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

November 25, 2006


Posted by annika at 03:10 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 22, 2006

Wednesday is Poetry Day: e.e. cummings

Just over fifty years ago (like, fifty years and two-and-a-half weeks ago) the United States in general, and the United Nations in particular, did nothing while a country in Eastern Europe tried to throw off the yoke of Soviet oppression.

I don't remember much more than that--it's been quite awhile since I've taken a history class. If the teacher told us what the mood of the U.S. was after the failed Hungarian Revolution, I don't remember.

But, based on the following poem by e.e. cummings, I suspect a portion of the country felt the U.S. could have done more.


a monstering horror swallows
this unworld me by you
as the god of our fathers' father bows
to a which that walks like a who

but the voice-with-a-smile of democracy
announces night & day
"all poor little peoples that want to be free
just trust in the u s a"

suddenly uprose hungary
and she gave a terrible cry
"no slave's unlife shall murder me
for i will freely die"

she cried so high thermopylae
heard her and marathon
and all prehuman history
and finally The UN

"be quiet little hungary
and do as you are bid
a good kind bear is angary
we fear for the quo pro quid"

uncle sam shrugs his pretty
pink shoulders you know how
and he twitches a liberal titty
and lisps "i'm busy right now"

so rah-rah-rah democracy
let's all be as thankful as hell
and bury the statue of liberty
(because it begins to smell)

(The Wikipedia entry discussing the 1956 Hungarian Revolution is here.)

Posted by Victor at 05:05 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 20, 2006

Car Question

So I'm thinking about getting a new sled. Assuming I graduate and pass the bar, etc. Annikamobile 4.0's transmission is making funky noises, so I think it's time.

I like that new Acura TL. It's modest yet stylish, and the radio is pimp! But I don't like the idea of paying for 91 octane all the time, which is recommended according to the brochure. Does anyone know if that's for real? Would I really fuck it up if I used regular unleaded instead?

My brother says it has to do with the high compression ratio, but don't the Accords also have a high compression ratio? Accords take regular unleaded, but they don't have the 5.1 surround sound radio.

My brother says if I'm willing to spend $30,000 on a new car, I should just put 91 octane in it. But that seems like such a waste, like paying for valet parking when you can just self park.

Posted by annika at 07:23 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

In Danish News

You may have seen this already if it's been on Drudge. If not, please note that it is not safe for work because it contains video of hott topless danish blondes.

This is a new advertising campaign to get Danish drivers to slow down while racing around Copenhagen in their rubber band powered euromobiles.

Click here for video.

I love the dude in the turban who says "Denmark has redeemed itself!" Pretty funny. Although I'm not sure what gripe a Sikh might have had with the Danes.

When I was in Copenhagen, I didn't notice a big problem with speeders, at least not in the city center. Actually there's not really a lot of traffic, due to some pretty restrictive laws. Plus, if you get a ticket for speeding, I heard the policeman can collect the money right there.

More info at Zonka's.

h/t to visitor Mike C!

Posted by annika at 06:31 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Here's a great idea for Thanksgiving desert.

pumpkin ice cream.jpg

1 cup half and half
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1/3 can of canned pumpkin, (about 5 ounces)
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
a pinch of ground cloves
a pinch of ground ginger

Mix everything together in a bowl with a whisk, or I use an electric thing that Emeril calls the "boat motor." Chill overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning churn it in the ice cream maker of your choice. When that's done let it freeze for the rest of the day.

It's very pumpkiny. I'm still not satisfied with the texture of this ice cream, though. I've been experimenting with different proportions of heavy cream to milk, and this time I tried the heavy cream/half and half mixture. I think I may go back to the milk next time.

Posted by annika at 12:12 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

November 19, 2006

Fracas At Powell

This is what happens when our Universities' social science departments are filled with former radicals.

According to an extremely biased article in the Daily Bruin,

Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a UCLA student, was repeatedly stunned with a Taser and then taken into custody when he did not exit the CLICC Lab in Powell Library in a timely manner. Community Service Officers had asked Tabatabainejad to leave after he failed to produce his BruinCard during a random check at around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
I think the UC police didn't handle the situation the best way possible either. They should have carried the guy outside as soon as he was handcuffed and then waited for backup. Using a taser to get him to comply with their orders was not going to work, since it was clear the guy was bent on creating a scene.

But the responsibility for this whole ugly incident lies solely with Mr. Mostafa Tabatabainejad. If you don't have your ID card, go back to your room and get it. If they call the police on you, apologize politely and leave the library. Otherwise, they might just taser your idiot ass.

Plus, when students are indoctrinated by professors who are former radicals constantly reliving the glory days of the 60's in class (I went to Berkeley, remember) it's pretty hard not to view all police interactions as if we lived in Franco's Spain. But we don't.

Update: h/t to TBinSTL for this appropriate PSA, by Chris Rock.

Posted by annika at 11:27 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

The Old Bait And Switch

I wonder how many people who voted Democrat knew that reinstating the draft was on the Democrat's agenda.

I consider myself pretty well informed politically, I listened carefully to all the Democratic talking points, I'm on a few Democrat mailing lists. Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention, but I don't seem to remember any Democrat mentioning that bringing back the draft was going to be their first order of business once they got elected.

Maybe I'm wrong here, but it seems to me if the Democrats had mentioned that they wanted to bring back the draft once they got control of Congress, they would not have gotten control of Congress!

I'm just pointing it out, is all.

Posted by annika at 10:09 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Who Gets To Go To Glendale

I'm very disappointed that the Bears will not be going to the Rose Bowl. A few close calls going the other way, and they might have beaten USC, but it was not to be. Despite Cal's explosive offense, and a defense that kept them in the contest until late, USC clearly has the better all around game.

I also watched the slugfest between Ohio State and Michigan, one of the best games of this college football season. Michigan stayed in range, but they never could get over the top. And afterwards, the announcers debated whether there should be a rematch in Glendale for the National Championship.

Some good arguments can be made for Michigan being the second best team in the country, but I don't want to see a rematch. I saw no fear yesterday on the part of the Buckeyes. I honestly think the team that plays OSU should be a team that makes them a little bit scared. I don't know if USC is that team, but if they beat ND and UCLA, I want to see that matchup.

Posted by annika at 10:32 AM | Comments (41) | TrackBack

November 17, 2006

Dutch Burka Ban?

From Reuters:

The Dutch government agreed on Friday a total ban on the wearing of burqas and other Muslim face veils in public, justifying the move on security grounds.

. . .

"The cabinet finds it undesirable that garments covering the face -- including the burqa -- should be worn in public in view of public order, (and) the security and protection of fellow citizens," the Dutch Justice Ministry said in a statement.

. . .

The Muslim community estimates that only about 50 women in the Netherlands wear the head-to-toe burqa or the niqab, a face veil that conceals everything but the eyes.

What's that? "The moslem community?" I didn't know they spoke with one voice. In fact, I always heard that the reason they never seem to denounce blowing up innocent people and chopping people's heads off is because there is no unified "moslem community." But I digress.
Dutch Muslim groups have complained a burqa ban would make the country's 1 million Muslims feel more victimized and alienated, regardless of whether they approve of burqas or not.

"This will just lead to more girls saying 'hey I'm also going to wear a burqa as a protest'," Naima Azough, a member of parliament from the opposition Green Left, told an election campaign meeting for fellow members of the Moroccan community.

Sorry, but I don't seem to remember any moslem girls protesting when Van Gogh was killed. Perhaps if they had, Dutch people would've been more hesitant to ban their backward-ass burkas.
Job Cohen, the Labour mayor of Amsterdam, said he opposed burqas in schools and public buildings, and said women wearing one who failed to get a job should not expect welfare benefits.
Makes sense to me. Nice to see Dutch Labour getting a clue.

Posted by annika at 10:29 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

November 16, 2006

Visitor Mail

Blu wrote me to suggest that I mention the passing of Thomas Friedman, which I have now done.

Correction: Make that Milton. Told you econ was not my subject.

Posted by annika at 02:01 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 15, 2006

Petula Clark Fest: The Pop Culture References

I want to draw your attention now to three pop culture references to Petula Clark's 1964 monster hit, "Downtown."

The first is found in one of the best Seinfeld episodes ever, "The Bottle Deposit." That's the one where Kramer and Newman concoct a scheme to redeem bottle deposits in Michigan for a profit, by using Newman's postal truck. This episode also involves a set of JFK's golf clubs and Brad Garrett as the crazy Saab mechanic.

The George subplot in that episode has George trying to figure out cryptic instructions from his boss at the Yankees. George, for some reason, doesn't want Mr. Wilhelm to know that he has no idea what this project is that he is supposed to be working on. We pick up the action here:

(George has his head down on his desk. Wilhelm walks jauntily along the corridor and enters the office.)


(George snaps awake.)

WILHELM: ...did you go down to payroll?

GEORGE: (standing) Yes, payroll. Yes I did. Very productive. Payroll... paid off.

WILHELM: (pleased) Well then, I guess you'll be heading downtown then, huh?

GEORGE: Oh, yeah. Downtown. Definitely.

WILHELM: Well, I'm very interested to see how this thing turns out.

GEORGE: (to himself) Yeah, you said it. (to Wilhelm) Uh, excuse me, Mr. Wilhelm. Uh, do you really think... Well, is this downtown trip really necessary, you know, for the project?

WILHELM: Oh no, you've got to go downtown, George. It's all downtown. Just like the song says.

GEORGE: The song?

WILHELM: There's your answer. Downtown.

(Wilhelm leaves.)

GEORGE: (thoughtful) Downtown.

Now we move to Monk's Diner, as Jerry and George try to decipher what Mr. Wilhelm meant.
JERRY: The song Downtown? You mean the Petula Clark song?


JERRY: You sure he didn't just mention it because you happened to be going downtown?

GEORGE: I think he was trying to tell me something, like it had some sort of a meaning.

JERRY: Okay, so how does it go?

GEORGE: 'When you're alone, and life is making you lonely, you can always go...'

JERRY: '... downtown.'

GEORGE: 'Maybe you know some little places to go, where they never close...'

JERRY: '...downtown.'

GEORGE: Wait a second. 'Little places to go, where they never close.' What's a little place that never closes?

JERRY: Seven-eleven?

GEORGE: 'Just listen to the music of the traffic, in the city. Linger on the sidewalk, where the neon lights are pretty.' Where the neon lights are pretty. The Broadway area?

JERRY: No, that's midtown.

GEORGE: 'The lights are much brighter there. You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares, just go...'

JERRY: '...down town.'

GEORGE: 'Things'll be great, when you're...'

JERRY: '...downtown.'

GEORGE: I got nothing, Jerry. Nothing.

JERRY: Well, 'don't hang around and let your troubles surround you. There are movie shows...'

GEORGE: You think I should come clean? What d'you think, you think I should confess?

JERRY: How can you lose?

I love that scene.

The next pop culture reference is from just a few weeks ago. The opening scene of this season's Lost. It's interesting watching it again, because you can see subtle clues that Juliet is really the disgruntled employee in the whole "Other" hierarchy. I have no idea why they picked that particular song for the opening. Apparently their original choice was a Talking Heads song, but they couldn't get permission to use it, so they went with "Downtown" instead.

The third pop culture reference is the most obscure. It's from the 1993 art film Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, about the eccentric Canadian classical pianist. According to Wiki, Gould apparently thought that Petula Clark was "the best female vocalist of his generation" and he "published several essays praising her talent and achievements."

I've never seen 32 Films, have you? I went through my art film phase years ago, I don't know if I could sit through it anymore.

Posted by annika at 10:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Petula Clark Fest, The Beatles?

I really can't stand The Beatles. So this next video was already at a disadvantage from my point of view. It's from the October 17, 1967, episode of The Hollywood Palace (see below for a description of that show).

In this number, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band consists of Petula Clark on triangle, Lynn Redgrave on cymbals, and Noel Harrison on bass drum.

Noel Harrison is the son of legendary stage actor Rex Harrison. You probably know his father as professor Henry Higgins from the film My Fair Lady. Anyway, Noel Harrison did a lot of tv work, but he also sang "The Windmills of Your Mind" in one of my favorite Steve McQueen movies ever, The Thomas Crown Affair.

I found all this out, by the way, through skilled cross-referencing of IMDb and Wikipedia.

Anyways, the following video is most notable for the way they butcher Sgt. Pepper, which is a song that under the best of circumstances will cause me to change the radio station whenever it comes on. But do watch the intro, because I have more trivia to tell you about that.

Did you recognize the guy at the beginning? Yes, that was the one and only George Sanders. I will always remember him best for his portrayal of Addison DeWitt, the duplicitious Broadway gossip columnist in All About Eve. But he also stood out in Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent and Rebecca, and as Lord Wotton in The Picture of Dorian Gray. George Sanders epitomized the sarcastically droll over-educated Englishman.

You might also know that George Sanders married two of the Gabor sisters. He famously commited suicide in 1972 near Barcelona, because he was simply bored. I don't doubt it, if he was taking jobs like the one in that video above.

Posted by annika at 08:28 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Petula Clark Fest, The Homestretch

It's now the evening of Petula Clark Fest day! Did you know that there are seven pages of YouTube videos that have been tagged "Petula?" Because I'm so awesome, I have sifted through many of them so that I can bring you only the best.

Just in case you haven't gone crazy today with the song "Downtown" running through your head like some inexorable virus, here's another pretty good video. It's most notable for the perfectly bored young ladies with their perfectly bouffanted hairdos, circa 1964. I swear one of them looks exactly like Barbra.

Or, skip over that one and check out Petula's medley with Dean on The Dean Martin Show. Petula was Dean's guest five times and she even helped him to roast the great William Conrad once.

Petula Clark appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show twelve times. Here she is singing "My Love." This video is quite possibly her first appearance on the Sullivan show, March 14, 1965, since "My Love" hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 a month earlier.

It's a catchy tune, though not my favorite. I wonder if perhaps Petula was annoyed at having to stand in one spot the entire time.

If you watched the interaction between Dean and Petula in the video above, you might have asked yourself, as I did: I wonder if he's bangin' her? Well, I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know that they did end up in bed together. See below.

That was really cute.

Posted by annika at 07:32 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Petula Clark On ABC's The Hollywood Palace

Here's a lovely production of the bilingual tune "This Is My Song." The clip is from the late 60's variety show The Hollywood Palace, of which Wiki says:

The Hollywood Palace was an hour-long television variety show produced by Nick Vanoff. It was broadcast weekly (generally on Saturday night) on ABC from January 4, 1964 to February 7, 1970. It began as a mid-season replacement for the short-lived Jerry Lewis Show, another variety show which had lasted only 3 months. It was staged at the El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles, which was renamed The Hollywood Palace during the show's duration.

Unlike similar programs such as The Ed Sullivan Show, guest hosts were used instead of a permanent one. Among the performers and hosts on the show were Bing Crosby, Bette Davis, Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle, Sammy Davis Jr., Sid Caesar, The Rolling Stones, Groucho Marx, Tony Bennett, Judy Garland, Jimmy Durante, The Supremes, Ginger Rogers, The Temptations, Phyllis Diller, and many other famous faces. The off-screen announcer for each program was Dick Tufeld.

A number of popular music performers got their start on the show. For example, The Rolling Stones made their first US television appearance June 13 1964, and The Jackson 5 made their first national television appearance on the October 14, 1969 episode of the show.

In a famous June 1964 telecast, controversy ensued when The Rolling Stones, upset with guest host Dean Martin's sarcastic comments directed at them throughout the program, refused to perform a second scheduled musical number. [links omitted]

Sounds like that was appointment tv, Sixties style.

Posted by annika at 03:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

[A special guest post by Sheila from The Sheila Variations]

Annika asked me to write an introduction today to Petula Clark's poem, "The Theatre." I immediately thought of her best known song, "Downtown" of course. Petula Clark is one of the most successful female artists of all time, just in terms of the number of hits she has had. After "Downtown", she had 15 consecutive Top 40 hits. That's insane. To me, it feels like she has always been there.

But I also thought about my aunt - who was in the Broadway show Blood Brothers with Petula, and understudied Petula's part. This was a big deal for my aunt, who had been in the business for years, but was making her Broadway debut in Blood Brothers. The entire O'Malley clan, the crowd of nieces and nephews, all flocked to New York to see my aunt on Broadway. Most of us are in the theatre as well, actors, directors, writers. We knew that the whole "one big break" thing is kind of a myth, that it often takes a couple of little breaks to lead to the REALLY big break, but still, it was very exciting to go see her.

We sat in the darkened theatre, and Petula was the lead, of course, and she was fantastic (great recording, by the way, if you like Petula Clark. It's definitely worth listening to) - but all we could see was our aunt, in her smaller part. Petula Smetula. LOOK AT OUR AUNT ON BROADWAY. If our aunt had a funny line, we all HOWLED with laughter. When our aunt made an entrance we all gripped hands together. Afterwards, we went backstage - there were about 15 of us - ranging in age from 25 to 7 years old (you know, Irish Catholic family). And there was Petula Clark. What I remember now, and what came up for me when Annika asked me to write this piece today - is how sweet she was to all of us, and also - how much she GOT that we were there for our AUNT, not for her. Ms. Clark put her arm around my aunt, and said to all of us, grinning, "Isn't she just marvelous?" It was like she was just another member of the ensemble. She's Petula freakin' Clark! But she also somehow understood that this was a big moment for my aunt, and she was supportive and cool about it. I always liked her for that. Another star would have sniffed at all the little kids clamoring backstage to see a cast member other than her! But Petula Clark just stood there, enjoying my aunt's success vicariously.

Enough about that. Annika sent me the poem below and I'll just say one or two quick things about it. It's obviously not a very good poem, just in terms of language or form. It's not T.S. Eliot. But I found it strangely touching, because of its sincerity. It doesn't have any pretension (which is more than you can say for a lot of poetry!) It is honest. Perhaps I can relate to it because I grew up in a theatrical family, and I am an actress myself. She is speaking about my life, about something that is important to me.

The Theatre

Yes, the theatre.
It's a funny thing, the theatre, when you stop and think of it.
The comedy, the drama, the striving for a "hit".
The idea of an audience and an actor up on stage.
Don't you think it's rather funny watching someone earn his wage?

There's something about the theatre and I'm not sure what it is.
It's surely not the money or the thing they call "show biz."
We hear about the magic of the theatre,
fantasy quite unlike the movies or the telly. I agree.

I love going to the theatre, sitting right there, where you are
watching my favorite actors or the birth of a new star.
All those special evenings with Lloyd-Webber or the Bard,
something old from whoever, a new play by Tom Stoppard,
And the music of the theatre, Bernstein, Hammerstein, Sondheim are so devine
that sometimes I wish they'd never end.

The best way to go to the theatre is right there through the stage door.
I leave the world behind me like a mantle on the floor.
And oh the sweet relief to know that at least for the next few hours
I'll know the plot and in these times that's quite a lot.
And everybody knows their lines and who they are and where they stand. It's grand.

Unlike the world outside these doors, the homeless that the world ignores,
the violence, the poverty, the things we cannot help but see,
including our own inadequacies to somehow make it right.
I can't forget the things I've seen and all the places I've been.
I can't forget, they haunt me yet.
The millions of refugees and my anger will not let me sleep
and when my grief becomes too deep, I sing.

Yeah, I sing.
I sing along with friends, we sing and try to make amends.
We beg for money on the stage, we smile and try to hide our rage.
We try to help.
I know that you do too.
Most of us do.

So here we are in this hallowed place, sharing a special time and space.
I hadn't realized before, but maybe that's what the theatre is for,
to bring us together, to make us see that the magic is not just some fantasy
tho' we all need some fantasy.
No, the magic you see is in you, in me.
It's a funny thing, the theatre.

[Petula Clark 1998]

I loved this part:
And oh the sweet relief to know that at least for the next few hours
I'll know the plot and in these times that's quite a lot.
And everybody knows their lines and who they are and where they stand.
It's grand.
That made me smile. There have been times when everything in my "real" life is absolutely insane - someone's breaking up with me, I have financial problems, I'm moving, my cat died, whatever ... and yet I get to go to the theatre every night and get a brief respite from the chaos. I get to go to a place where I know the plot, and I can fit myself into it, and not worry about how things will turn out, because somebody else has written the lines that I need to say. To my friends who are not actors, the thought of being onstage in front of people is so stressful that they cannot believe I would find that to be a place where I DON'T have to worry ... but that's the paradox, and actors understand that weirdness. It's a funny thing.

And I'll just close with this. I told Annika in an email that I really liked this section of the poem, and I found it strangely moving, even though it makes me feel like a goofball:

Yeah, I sing.
I sing along with friends, we sing and try to make amends.
We beg for money on the stage, we smile and try to hide our rage.
We try to help.
I know that you do too.
Most of us do.
It's simply said, and perhaps it's not all that poetic, but I like it because it is not self-important ... but we all have things that we DO in life. And you must not dis your gift, or downplay it. If you have a gift, you must use it. She has a gift of a voice. So she uses it. It's not the biggest gift in the world, it won't change anything, and - oh yeah - she gets paid for it! She's not volunteering her time. This is her JOB. And so all she can do is do her job, and hope that it helps ... but even if it doesn't, she still has to do it. Sing with her friends, beg for money on the stage, and try to help. I like that attitude. It is not surprising to me that she is as successful as she is. She's a workhorse. I know a lot of successful people. I know a lot of successful actors. They are not people who have more talent. They are people who WORK.

I have also experienced that, for the most part (not always, but for the most part) - those who are the most talented and most successful are also the most generous. This is not always the case, but more often than not, it is.

And that's what I think of when I think of Petula Clark's beautiful smiling face, backstage, as she hugged my aunt with one arm, and beamed at all the O'Malley faces smiling up at her.

Posted by annika at 10:39 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Petula Clark Fest: Sign Of The Times

Fans of British roadsters, goofy choreography, 60's mod fashion, and lip-synching will love this one.

The dancing is like a characature of an Austin Powers number. But I have an even more outlandishly choreographed YouTube clip in the queue, stay tuned.

I love 60's fashion. It reminds me of that movie Blow Up. Did you ever see it? I saw it a few months ago on TCM. It's a wild movie about a British fashion photographer in the 60's. I can't even imagine what it must have been like to be young and hip in the early 60's. There was this veneer of innocence and exhuberance, yet under the surface was all this shit that exploded later on in the decade. Sign of the times.

Posted by annika at 10:22 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Petula Clark Fest!

Not only is today Poetry Wednesday, but it's Petula Clark's birthday! She turns 74 today, and she's still performing and just released a Christmas album.

Wiki says:

Petula Clark . . . is an English singer, actress and composer, best known for her upbeat popular international hits of the 1960s. With nearly 70 million recordings sold worldwide, she is the most successful British female solo recording artist to date. She also holds the distinction of having the longest span on the international pop charts of any artist—51 years—from 1954, when "The Little Shoemaker" made the UK Top Twenty, through 2005, when her CD "L'essentiel - 20 Succès Inoubliables" charted in Belgium. [links omitted]
So today is Petula Clark Fest day at Annika's Journal. In lieu of balloons, cotton candy and rides for the kiddies, I will just post some YouTube videos. Plus, today's poem is the one and only poem written by Petula Clark, and I have a very special guest blogger to introduce it!

So lets start the festivities with Downtown, from the British variety show Top of the Pops:

Two things impress me about that clip. One, no lip-synching and the band rocks! And two, the male dancers are frikkin' hilarious! They're like George Michael meets James Bond. (Actually if you think those dancers were funny, wait til you see what I got for you later today.)

Posted by annika at 08:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 13, 2006

Spin Digest

It's almost a week since the election and the punditry has coalesced into two distinct themes. I'll digest them for you right now, so you can enjoy the rest of the week without having to bother with the news at all.

The Right: Republicans lost because they didn't try to please the conservative base. It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that most Americans are pissed about Iraq, don't believe the President's "stay the course" line anymore, and think it's time to either win or get out. No, the election was really about prescription drug entitlements.

The Left: Not only is Nancy Pelosi really smart and a grandmother, she isn't liberal at all. She's actually a centrist. All Americans are ecstatic that she's in charge of the country. Except for those Republicans, who are very sad. On the other hand, George H. W. Bush is in charge of the country, which would normally be bad, except we like him now.

Take the rest of the week off, but don't forget to visit here as often as possible for more essential analysis.

Posted by annika at 10:36 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

MNF Pick, Week X

Tonight we have Tampa Bay at Carolina. Tampa Bay's record is 2 and 6. Carolina is 4 and 4. Ho-hum. I don't even plan to watch the game. I got a lot of DVR to catch up on.

The Panthers are heavy favorites, at 10 points across the board. Ninety-three percent of Yahoo! Pick'em users think Carolina will win. As always, the question is will they cover.

Note this information from ESPN's preview:

Carolina has held a fourth-quarter lead in seven games, and lost three of them. Overall, the Panthers have been outscored 104-42 in second halves and 77-30 in fourth quarters.

Said Smith after the loss to Dallas, "When we get up 14 points, sometimes we act like it's a hundred points."

This game is a great opportunity for the Bucs to improve their record. I'm still waiting to see last year's defense emerge. Tampa Bay has been a horrible first half team, and Carolina is a horrible second half team. I think it evens out, with Carolina winning, but not covering the spread. Last time these two teams met, seven weeks ago, Carolina won by two points.

Therefore, take Tampa Bay plus the ten points.

Update: Thanks Ronde. Way to cover your man. Grrrr.

Posted by annika at 06:13 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

November 12, 2006

Despite Recent Unpleasantness, Saddam Still Popular With Liberals

I won't dirty my blog with video of Bill Mahr, but I do want you to check out this clip, on YouTube. It's called "Farewell to Douchebags," and it's a look back at some faces we've probably seen the last of (or not).

Mahre sets it up by noting how they do the same thing during the Oscars each year, with the dead person reel. Some people inevitably get more applause than others, and sometimes there's an audible pause while people decide how much acclamation to bestow. Mar gives an example "they go, oh DeForest Kelly . . . okay we liked him"

Now watch the video and listen to the hearty applause given at Tom Delay's or Karl Rove's pictures and then compare it to the uncomfortable semi-silence at Saddam Hussein's picture. The audience was like "uh uh do we cheer? oh shit, shit whatdowedo?!" It's liberal brain lock.

h/t SharonCobb

Posted by annika at 12:23 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Hippest Thing On The Internets Of The Day

I can't think of a cooler way to start Sunday Morning than by listening to a little Blossom Dearie.

Enjoy your day!

Posted by annika at 01:22 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 11, 2006

Peter Pumpkin The Spectacular Pumpkin, Episode 56


Posted by annika at 11:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 10, 2006

231 Years

Hoo-rah! Happy birthday, Tio & Lt. JR!

Posted by Victor at 03:57 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

November 09, 2006

Who Says There Was No Democratic Contract With America...

Here it is, a 25-point manifesto for the new Congress.

h/t var/log/otto

Posted by annika at 07:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 08, 2006

I Blame Bush

No one loves and supports this President more than I do. But after yesterday's debacle I have to say it: I blame Bush.

It was a debacle, and don't let anybody tell you different. The voters threw forty Republicans out of office, and they would have thrown Bush out too, if they'd only had the chance. Not a single Democratic incumbent lost, and the carnage would have been much worse if it had not been for Gerrymandering.

Clinton's famous catch phrase was, "It's the economy, stupid." It's pretty obvious that the American people sent a message this year, and the message was, "It's the war, stupid." That there are Republicans out there who failed to hear this message is one of the truly astounding things about yesterday's election.

Hugh Hewitt is the prime example. Don't get me wrong, Hugh Hewitt knows more about government and politics that I could ever hope to learn. His radio show is the highlight of my listening day. And he has done amazing work for the party before, as he will again. But Hugh's Townhall column today was so clueless, I think he must need some time off.

In an essay that's 1,351 words long, Hugh failed to cite the Iraq War even once as a possible cause for the Republicans being thrown out on their asses yesterday. Instead, incredibly, he blames John McCain:

The post-mortems are accumulating, but I think the obvious has to be stated: John McCain and his colleagues in the Gang of 14 cost the GOP its Senate majority while the conduct of a handful of corrupt House members gave that body's leadership [to] the Democrats.
That's an incredible example of denial. Look, I'm no McCain fan. I've already placed on the record my vow never to vote for him, even in a general election. But what percentage of swing voters — the middle third who decided this election — do you think even know what the Gang of 14 was? Not many, I'd wager. And how many of these swing voters would eagerly admit that the Iraq War was their number one issue? I'd say virtually all of them.

Listen carefully to what I'm saying. The principled base might have been pissed off at Republican betrayals, but the base still turned out yesterday. The middle third, the independents, the swing voters, they're who I'm talking about. They're the ones who led the revolt, and their issue was the War. Any one of you can verify this for yourself by asking a few questions around the water cooler.

I'm not saying that we Republicans lost because Americans want to cut and run. Don't believe that bullshit. I absolutely do not believe that the majority of Americans think their country is engaged in an immoral war. I believe that Americans wouldn't really care whether there were WMD in Iraq, if the war was over and won by now. Most Americans want to win, and they can't understand why we haven't yet. The 2004 election was America's rejection of the hate-America crowd who believe the Iraq War was wrong, immoral, what have you. Those people are a loud but small minority. In 2004, Americans made a different choice and said to the President, "We're sticking with you, now go get it done."

And the problem this time around was that, two years later, the President still had not gotten it done.

We can blame the media all we want. We can blame the Cindy Sheehans and the Michael Moores and the Jimmy Carters and the Kos Kids and the George Soroses all we want. They deserve blame. But the fact remains, George W. Bush was handed a vote of confidence by the American people in 2004, and he did not get the job done. Not only that, he took our patience for granted.

The patience of a Democratic people is a historically fickle thing. It would be nice if it weren't so fickle, but it is. And that's part of the ground that President Bush had to fight on. You can't excuse it by saying, as we've heard for three years now, "It's hard work. Stay the course. Stay the course." Americans demand results. We're willing to sacrifice; we're willing to be patient; we're willing to trust our leaders. But ultimately, we demand results.

And 105 brave souls lost in the last month is not results.

We can say that the media is not reporting the real progess being made in Iraq, and I believe that's true. But at some point you gotta ask, "Can we stop with the building schools and the passing out candy, and just win this thing — and get our people home?"

President Bush's task is often compared by people on my side of the aisle to Lincoln's task during the Civil War. Lincoln is said to have stood firm in the face of vehement opposition. He stayed the course during the darkest days, and won through to victory. But the comparison, as it looks right now, is not an apt one. Lincoln fired a shitload of generals. Lincoln demanded results, and eventually he got results. Look, I love Rumsfeld for the way he talked back to the media. I was willing to support Rummy through thick and thin, despite what the generals thought of him. But the war plan was Rumsfeld's baby, and as soon as he stopped getting results, he should have been gone.

I understand that the enemy adapts. I get it. But to use a football analogy, we're sick of the three and outs. We need to see some first downs here, guys.

I supported the decision to go to war against Saddam. Even knowing what I know now, I still support that decision. But my support is given with the assumption that we're in it to win. We simply must win. As I said before, there is no third way in Iraq.

Victory in Iraq — let's just call it "success" at this point — should be defined like this: any situation in Iraq that would enable us to bring our troops home without everything we've done in the last three and a half years falling to pieces once we leave. I'm not sure that the Democrats have any idea how to accomplish this, but I also know that the President sure as shit hasn't gotten us there yet.

So that's why we Republicans lost the House and Senate yesterday. There's plenty of other reasons you can cite to me, and they're all valid criticisms, I'm sure. Culture of corruption, Foleygate, Delaygate, etc. Dubai Ports, Harriet Meiers, even the Gang of 14, if you like. The Bridge to Nowhere, earmarks, amnesty, Hurricane Katrina, whatever. The list goes on and on. But there's one thing I'll argue 'til I'm out of breath. The American people would have forgiven any of those things — hell, all of those things — if only we knew that our boys were coming home soon, and victorious.

Posted by annika at 08:32 PM | Comments (36) | TrackBack

Some Quick Notes On The Punditry

Here are some notes that occur to me, reading the various conservative pundits doing their various post-election stuff.

1. I keep reading about how it's the Democrats' turn to govern. Congress does not govern. Congress legislates. It takes three branches to govern. Keep that in mind.

2. I keep reading about how "we'll get 'em back in two years." Not so fast. Iraq is the biggest problem that needs to be fixed, and soon. If Iraq is fixed, to the satisfaction of the electorate, then guess who gets the credit. Not us. If Iraq gets worse, Republicans might have a chance to say I told you so, but guess who the electorate will blame. Not the Democrats. And I for one, desperately want a victory in Iraq, regardless of who gets the credit. If that means a longer time in the wilderness, so be it. Our men and women in arms deserve victory, for all they've sacrificed. I hope, hope, hope, that victory is really part of the Democratic plan, and now that they've won, I'm willing to give them a fair chance to make their case.

3. I think yesterday eliminated four sure losers from running for the Republican nomination in '08. Santorum, Frist, Allen, and Romney. These guys all had their appeal for hopeful conservatives (maybe not Frist, who was an abysmal leader from the start), but none of them, in my view, had a snowball's chance against Hillary/Obama in today's environment. I'm glad they're off the table.


4. As the day wears on, I'm more and more disappointed with most of the big name pundits on the right: from Hugh Hewitt (who blames John McCain?!?!), to Rush Limbaugh (who boasts that Republicans are better than Democrats because we're not crying about fraud after a loss, then in almost the same breath demands an ACORN investigation). The first step is admitting there's a problem, fellas.

Posted by annika at 12:30 PM | Comments (23) | TrackBack

Rumsfeld: In Or Out?

Headlines this morning reported that Rummy was staying put, but Drudge now reports he's out.

h/t Ace.

Posted by annika at 10:58 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

It's A New Day

It looks like I was almost spot on with my Senate predictions. If things turn out as they look like they're headed, the only race that I will not have called will be Virginia, and that only by a couple thousand votes. So I think you all better start paying attention to me. ; )

Regarding the California ballot, the news this morning is particularly disheartening. Tom McClintock lost the Lt. Governor's race to John Garamendi. I like Garamendi, but McClintock was a solid guy, and very popular. I really thought he was going to win, but this is a Democratic year and he had an R by his name.

Jerry Brown is our new Attorney General. This guy is a disgrace. His opponent had some hard hitting ads, which sounded like they were made up because they were so outrageous, but in Jerry Brown's case, the attacks were true.

Our anti-Kelo proposition went down by five points. I don't think proponents spent enough money advertising that one, though.

All the bonds won, and the parental notification measure lost. No surprise there.

The only really good California result I can point to is that Cruz Bustamonte did not win the Insurance Commissioner job. (And no, I do not include Arnold's win as a good thing.) Oh, and Prop 87, the alternative energy referendum, also went down handily.

I have a post-election post in my head, which I've been ruminating on since last weekend. It's coming, I just don't have time to write it now. The working title of the piece is "I Blame Bush," so stay tuned.

A final note before I rush off to class, and I'm sincere about this. Despite yesterday's defeat, today is a good day.

Posted by annika at 07:53 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Wednesday is Poetry Day: Robert W. Service

What can I say about "The Cremation of Sam McGee" except...

..."Sam McGee" is the answer to a question in Trivial Pursuit ("Who was cremated on the marge of Lake LeBarge?"). This is a fun little read that starts out sounding like a ghost story--almost like "The Tell-Tale Heart" only without the guilt-ridden confession at the end.

The Cremation of Sam McGee

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Actic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake LeBarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way that "he'd sooner live in hell."

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's the cursed cold, and it's got right hold til I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead - it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."

A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn, but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: "You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate these last remains."

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows - O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent, and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Til I came to the marge of Lac LeBarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the 'Alice May.'
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then, "Here," said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum."

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared - such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow;
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked;"... then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door!
It's warm in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm--
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake LeBarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

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November 07, 2006

A Silver Lining?

The silver lining is that maybe I can make some money off of this.

Introducing . . . the first post-defeat t-shirt and bumper sticker!

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LiveBlogging The Results

I'll be liveblogging the results with the boys at Six Meat Buffet tonight. Mix it in between your frantic checks of Drudge, The Corner and Hugh Hewitt, if you please.

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For California Voters...

I'm leaving this link at the top until polls close on Tuesday.

Click here if you want to refer to my California ballot proposition recommendations.

Posted by annika at 08:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Open Comments For Election Day

It's open comments. Just leave your election day story here. How did it go? What do you think?

I'm voting later today, after class. I might join in the liveblogging fun at Six Meat Buffet later tonight, so check in there too.

Posted by annika at 12:41 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

November 06, 2006

Memo To The Disgruntled Pro-Life Voter

Along the same lines as my "Memo To The Disgruntled Independent Voter" below, I have a message for those voters whose main issue is opposition to abortion.

What are you doing thinking about staying home tomorrow? I understand your frustration at Bush, and the Republicans, and their betrayal of conservative values. But I also know that a Democratic Congress will lead directly to fewer restrictions on abortion, and more pro-abortion federal judges. Maybe you're okay with that, but I won't have that vote on my conscience.

If you say you're pro-life, your only choice is to vote — and to vote Republican. Staying home is not an option.

Posted by annika at 08:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

MNF Pick, Week IX

Tonight's game pits sucky Seattle against sucky Oakland. The big question at Qwest Field is who will be suckier. NFC champ Seattle at least has a good excuse: they're missing two great players, Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck. Bad as Seattle has been playing, they're still number one in the NFC West. Oakland used to be a sure thing on Monday Night, but if they lose this week it will be their fifth consecutive MNF loss. Oakland is currently on a two game winning streak, but it's been four years since they've won three in a row. Plus Art Shell is completely hapless as a coach.

Let's look at Oakland's last two games. They beat the Cardinals, a semi-pro team from somewhere around Phoenix. And last week they managed to beat a sloppy Steelers team, despite moving the ball only 98 yards the whole game! The Raiders' third-string QB, Andrew Walter has thrown nine interceptions and been sacked 28 times since he took over for Aaron Brooks. Last week he threw for 51 yards. This is not only one of the worst Raider teams ever, it's probably one of the worst NFL teams ever.

So, the Seahawks are going to win, but will they cover? They're favored by 7½. I think the smart money is going with Seattle to cover the spread, and that's what I recommend too.

Result: No surprise, the Raiders not only suck, they don't care that they suck. I however, am now 6 and 3!

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Quote Of The Day

Dean Barnett, at Hugh Hewitt's:

[I]f the lefty blogosphere is some sort of La Cosa Nostra, that can’t be good news for Oliver Willis because he’s obviously Fredo.
LOL, except he'd capsize the rowboat before they ever got out on the lake.

Posted by annika at 04:49 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Memo To The Disgruntled Independent Voter

I agree that the number one issue in tomorrow's election is the war in Iraq. I also agree that things are not going well over there, and it's time for a change. I understand that a lot of independent voters want to give the Democrats a try, with the hope that maybe they can do better than Bush in what seems like a no win situation. Believe me, I share your frustration.

But remember, not all change is good. Sometimes things can change for the worse. Please read Frederick Kagan's column in the Weekly Standard. Here's a key excerpt.

The pullback of U.S. forces to their bases will not reduce the sectarian conflict . . . . It will increase it. Death squads on both sides will become more active. Large-scale ethnic and sectarian cleansing will begin as each side attempts to establish homogeneous enclaves where there are now mixed communities. Atrocities will mount, as they always do in ethnic cleansing operations. Iraqis who have cooperated with the Americans will be targeted by radicals on both sides. Some of them will try to flee with the American units. American troops will watch helplessly as death squads execute women and children. Pictures of this will play constantly on Al Jazeera. Prominent "collaborators," with whom our soldiers and leaders worked, will be publicly executed. Crowds of refugees could overwhelm not merely Iraq's neighbors but also the FOBs themselves. Soldiers will have to hold off fearful, tearful, and dangerous mobs. Again, endless photographs and video footage of all this will play constantly. Before long, it will probably prove necessary to remove the embedded U.S. troops from the Iraqi military units. The situation will become too dangerous; the Iraqis will increasingly resent the restraint the embeds place on their actions; and the U.S. military will become fearful of being implicated in death-squad activity. It is a matter of chance whether the embedded troops are pulled before any are kidnapped or taken prisoner by Iraqi military units turning bad or being infiltrated by radicals.

. . . There will be no "decent interval" here during which we withdraw in reasonably good order--the withdrawal itself is likely to occur in the midst of rising violence. Instead of pictures of Americans on the embassy roof in Saigon, we will see images of Iraqi death squads at work with U.S. troops staying on their bases nearby. And let us not forget that in the world of Al Jazeera, we will be accused of encouraging those death squads. The overall result will be searing and scarring. The damage to the morale of the military could be far greater than what will result from burdening soldiers with longer or more frequent tours of duty in a stepped-up effort to achieve victory. Those who are concerned about the well-being of the Army should fear defeat of this type more than anything.

We know these things to be possible, because they've happened before: after Vietnam.

Do you want your vote to be responsible for the reign of terror that will inevitably follow our retreat from Iraq? I know no matter how pissed I am at the mistakes and the lack of progress, I don't want that blood on my conscience.

There is no third way; there is only defeat or victory. And thus the choice tomorrow is clear, because you know what the Democrats want to do. Even if you don't believe the Democrats want us to lose, you should give serious thought to whether you want us to lose, and to what would happen if we were to begin withdrawing forces from Iraq now, when they're needed there most.

Posted by annika at 02:39 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

November 05, 2006

Pre Election Mental Warm-Up Suggestion

Just keep repeating to yourself:

Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco
Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco
Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco
Keep repeating until it sinks in.

Posted by annika at 03:26 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 04, 2006

I Go On The Record — Update

On Tuesday I went on the record, saying that the Democrats will pick up five Senate seats to split the upper house 50/50. I just spent the last hour re-analyzing the latest polls, and I stand by that prediction.

Democrats will gain seats in Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Rhode Island. Republicans will fail to take over Democratic seats in Maryland, New Jersey and Minnesota. Republicans will hold on to their seats in Virginia and Tennessee.

The races where I might be wrong are, of course, the hotly contested Montana and Missouri elections.

Montana perplexes me. I don't know enough about the issues to say why, but Democrat Tester has consistently polled ahead of Republican Burns since April. It might be Tester's haircut. Tester's ads portray him as a regular guy, someone you could have a beer with. By contrast, Burns seems more like, well, Mr. Burns. The race is still close. The latest Zogby poll has Burns down by a percentage point. But I'm still calling it for Tester. I think Montanans are turned off by Burns' alleged Abramoff connections, and Tester is a native who looks the part. I also think you can probably trust Montana poll numbers more than you would some other state's.

In Missouri, Republican incumbent Jim Talent is polling about three points behind Democrat Claire McCaskill. The polls have switched back and forth all year between the two candidates. If I'm wrong about any of my predictions, Missouri is likely to be the one. But I think Missouri is a weird state; it seems so evenly split between red and blue. One thing I think McCaskill has going for her is that there are large urban areas where the Democrats can use fraud to add a few unearned points to her total. Talent seems like a good guy though, and I hope he wins.

I could also be wrong about Virginia. I predict Republican incumbent George Allen will hold on to win, despite recent polls showing Democrat Jim Webb with a one to five point advantage. I'm sticking with Allen because I trust Virginia is at heart a conservative state, and I don't trust the pollsters there. When was the last time a Democrat won a national election in Virginia? Okay, Chuck Robb, but he was a centrist. Webb may have a certain appeal to conservatives, but if voting for him means handing the Senate over to the Democrats, I think Virginians will do the right thing.

Finally, I'm still sticking with my prediction that Maryland's open Senate seat will remain in Democrat hands. When was the last time a Republican won a national election in Maryland? And my fraud theory holds here too. I really hope Steele wins, though. After what they've done and said about him, Steele's Democrat critics ought to wear sheets and hoods. It's disgusting.

My best case scenario for Republicans has them maintaining a Senate majority by three seats. Santorum, DeWine and Chafee are toast. But if Steele, Talent and Burns win, there's our three seats. Of course I'm still assuming that Allen and Corker win Virginia and Tennessee, but I think they will.

The House is way too complicated for me to analyze, so like I said before: trust Gerrymandering.

Update: See how far out on a limb I am? Only one guy at the Weekly Standard agrees with me.

Posted by annika at 12:32 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 03, 2006

What Have They Done With Nancy?

Drudge has been running this story about Where's Nancy? He claims that Nancy Pelosi has been hidden from public appearances since October 21, two weeks ago. I don't doubt it. She's as bad for the the Democratic Party's PR as John Kerry, only twice as dumb.

Drudge says:

The woman who would be speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has oddly stayed out of the national spotlight in the week leading up to the big vote.

The high profile, potentially history-making democrat has turned low-key.

The last photo of vanishing Pelosi on the wires was from an October 21 fundraiser.

And since Pelosi appeared on the controversial October 22 broadcast of 60 MINUTES, national TV hits have all but been nonexistent.

[Pelosi did appear on CNBC's On the Money on 10/24 and on ABC on 10/26, as THINK PROGRESS points out. But the sightings have dramatically dwindled.]

Former Speaker of the House, Republican Newt Gingrich believes he knows one reason why the congresswoman has largely dropped out of public sight ever since 60 MINUTES.

"It seems clear that some Americans have glimpsed a future with her third in line for the presidency, and they don't like what they see," says Gingrich. "She has become largely invisible as a result."

A source close to the congresswoman explains she has been busy behind the scenes.

Pelosi made a brief public appearance with Bill Clinton this week in San Francisco.

After providing a long schedule of her weekend events, a Pelosi aide added that her favorite stop was the taping of a World Wrestling Entertainment podcast on the importance of young people voting, the WHITE HOUSE BULLETIN reports.

I'm wondering, if Nancy's the leader of her party, and she's being held out of sight, who's in charge? Did she take herself out of circulation? Or if not, who did? Who's the secret figure behind the scenes, who had the power to tell the House Democratic Leader to shut the hell up during the two weeks before the election? And what does that tell you about the Democrats in general? There's something they don't want you to know.

Posted by annika at 06:10 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

November 02, 2006

I Heart Varifrank

Read and understand:

If you vote for Democrats in this election, you might think youre voting for a perfectly nice centrist Democrat, but the "Anti-war" wing of leftist thought will take that perfectly nice candidate that you voted for and use it as evidence that their side in the argument is actually perferred by Americans. Not the "centrist American" side, but the loathesome "We hate America" side. Your vote will be used to prove it.

They will take that protest vote of yours to argue "America is in descent", that our sins have finally caught up with us and we need to be sorry for all the evil we have done in the world, and look at all the people who agree with us! They will argue that fundamental changes in our country are necessary to make up for our crimes of the past, that our its our military is actually what causes wars, that people in the military should be prosecuted and they are what causes other people in the world to hate us and not our lovely and socially relevent "pop-culture".

. . . If Democrats are tossed yet another defeat this time, they will learn. They will get the message. They will remove the leech of "Anti-war" from their crotch and we might start to see Democrats like Harry Truman again. Democrats who don't apologize for America or being an American.

And that will be good for all of us.


Posted by annika at 03:19 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Goodbye Doug!

I'll miss your blog. But only until the next Catscratch episode!

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Peter Pumpkin The Spectacular Pumpkin, Episode 55


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November 01, 2006

First DWTS Post Of The Season


Just because I haven't posted about Dancing With The Stars this season doesn't mean that I haven't been as obsessed as ever with the show.

I have a question about last night's competition. Did you see it? During Emmitt and Cheryl's rumba, didn't Cheryl's hand land squarely on Emmitt's little umpire at one point? And didn't Cheryl suddenly realize where it was and then move it quickly to the side? And wasn't Emmitt's little umpire signaling touchdown at that very moment?

I think so.

I also think Mrs. Smith is probably not going to let Emmitt and Cheryl spend another 13 days together "rehearsing."

Okay I'm off to watch the rest of the results show.

Update: When they announced that Il Divo would be performing tonight, I honestly expected them to sing "Whip It."

Update 2: I'm sorry to see Monique and Louie go. Monique really was fun to watch and the judges weren't always fair to her. Next week's elimination will be impossible, because the final three teams are all so good.

Update 3: YouTube just posted the Rumba, check it out for yourself.

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Wednesday is Poetry Day: Sylvia Plath, previously unpublished

It's a bonus Poetry Day this week, as my lunchtime reading alerted me to the fact a previously unpublished sonnet by Sylvia Plath was released online today.

The Blackbird is Virginia Commonwealth University's online literature/arts journal. A contributing editor of the Blackbird, Anna Journey, discovered this sonnet was previously unpublished and argued it should be published. The editorial staff agreed and a transcript, along with images of an early draft and the final version, were released online today with the permission of the estate of Sylvia Plath.

And, as you might imagine, there are copyright notices all over the place on this. As a result, I provide the first line of Ennui, linked to the article in today's issue of the Blackbird:

Tea leaves thwart those who court catastrophe,

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