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

December 30, 2006

Hussein's Execution

I feel compelled to throw a wet blanket over some of the triumphalism I see in the blogosphere over Saddam Hussein's execution. I don't think it's a cause for Americans to be celebrating. I say this not because I'm ambivalent about the death penalty, but because we did not invade Iraq in order to kill Saddam Hussein.

We invaded Iraq to bring democracy to that part of the world, because doing so will in theory make us safer here at home. Not only have we not yet succeeded in that purpose, but our ultimate success (as well as the very theory our plan is based upon) is very much in doubt right now. No matter how much Saddam may have deserved what he got, I'd just rather save my celebrating for the day our troops return home victorious.

Posted by annika at 12:53 PM | Comments (40) | TrackBack

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

It is a semi well known fact that the number of Elvis impersonators in the world has increased exponentially since the singer's death in 1977. But how many of you know just how pronounced and dangerous the trend is?


According to the San Francisco Chronicle

When Elvis Presley died in 1977, there were an estimated 37 Elvis impersonators in the world. By 1993, there were 48,000 Elvis impersonators, an exponential increase. Extrapolating from this, by 2010 there will be 2.5 billion Elvis impersonators. The population of the world will be 7.5 billion by 2010. Every 3rd person will be an Elvis impersonator by 2010.
That's one third of the Earth's total population, or 22,500,000,000 people. I don't know about you, but I'm not sure I want to be an Elvis impersonator.

To be sure, not all of the finest workings of global population science is yet fully understood to the finest grain. However, all of the basics are absolutely clear. The Elvis impersonator crisis is real, humans are causing the problem, and the solutions are available to us now. It is not too late to avoid the worst. All that is needed is the political will to act.

h/t Some Words To Not.

Posted by annika at 11:54 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Peter Pumpkin The Spectacular Pumpkin, Episode 68


Posted by annika at 01:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Top Story Of 2006

The new poll is up on the sidebar!

Posted by annika at 01:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 29, 2006

Peter Pumpkin The Spectacular Pumpkin, Episode 67

Peter, like his creator, has many irons in the fire.


Posted by annika at 05:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Kraken Caught Off Chichi Jima


Two years ago someone shot film of a giant squid swimming in the deep. Now someone's caught one. It's believed to be the first time anyone has ever done such a thing, ever.

Giant squid, formally called Architeuthis, are the world's largest invertebrates. Because they live in the depths of the ocean, they have long been wrapped in mystery and embellished in the folklore of sea monsters, appearing in ancient Greek myths or attacking the submarine in Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."

The captured squid was caught using a smaller type of squid as bait, and was pulled into a research vessel "after putting up quite a fight," Kubodera said.

"It took two people to pull it in, and they lost it once, which might have caused the injuries that killed it," he said.

The squid, a female, was not fully grown and was relatively small by giant squid standards. The longest one on record is 60 feet, he said.

More giant squid blogging from the depths of the annika's journal archives, here.

Posted by annika at 01:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 27, 2006

Wednesday is MAD Poetry Day: MAD Magazine

Quite simply, anything from MAD Magazine needs no introduction, save for the legal stuff: Copyright 1999, by E.C. Publications, this selection is from the December 1995, Super-Special #109 issue:

It's a gas!

The Night Before Christmas, 1999 or St. Nicholas Meets the Population Explosion
(with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

'Twas the night before Christmas,
And all through the gloom
Not a creature was stirring;
There just wasn't room;
The stockings were hanging
In numbers so great,
We feared that the walls
Would collapse from the weight!

The children like cattle
Were packed off to bed;
We took a quick count;
There were three-hundred head;
Not to mention the grown-ups--
Those hundreds of dozens
Of uncles and inlaws
And twice-removed cousins!

When outside the house
There arose such a din!
I wanted to look
But the mob held me in;
With pushing and shoving
And cursing out loud,
In forty-five minutes
I squeezed through the crowd!

Outside on the lawn
I could see a fresh snow
Had covered the people
Asleep down below;
And up in the sky
What should strangely appear
But an overweight sleigh
Pulled by countless reindeer!

They pulled and they tugged
And they wheezed as they came,
And the red-suited driver
Called each one by name:
"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer!
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, comet! On, Cupid!
On Donder and Blitzen!"

"Now, Melvin! Now, Marvin!
Now, Albert and Jasper!
On, Sidney! On, Seymour!
On Harvey and Casper!
Now, Clifford! Now, Max"--
But he stopped, far from through;
Our welcoming house-top
Was coming in view!

Direct to our house-top
The reindeer then sped
With the sleigh full of toys
And St. Nick at the head;
And then like an earthquake
I heard on the roof
The clomping and pounding
Of each noisy hoof!

Before I could holler
A warning of doom,
The whole aggregation
Fell into the room;
And under a mountain
Of plaster and brick
Mingled inlaws and reindeer
And me and St. Nick;

He panted and sighed
Like a man who was weary;
His shoulders were stooped
And his outlook was dreary:
"I'm way behind schedule,"
He said with a sigh,
"And I've been on the road
Since the first of July!"

'Twas then that I noticed
The great, monstrous sack,
Which he barely could hold
On his poor, creaking back;
"Confound it!" he moaned,
"Though my bag's full of toys,
I'm engulfed by the birthrate
Of new girls and boys!"

Then, filling the stockings,
He shook his sad face,
"This job is a killer!
I can't take the pace!
This cluttered old world
Is beyond my control!
There are even millions
Up at the North Pole!"

"Now I'm late!" he exclaimed, "And I really must hurry!
By now I should be over Joplin, Missouri!"
But he managed to sigh as he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Yeah, that looks like Christmas

Posted by Victor at 01:14 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 22, 2006

Movie Recommendation


Here's a quick movie recommendation: Little Miss Sunshine. I gave it four stars. The cast is fantastic (it's exhibit A for why the Academy should have a special Oscar for casting), especially Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Alan Arkin. The girl who plays Olive is wonderful. And Chloe from 24 has a small part in it.

It's black comedy with a nice message at the end. Go rent it.

Posted by annika at 11:52 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Christmas Message From Al-Z

This is satirical, so it's okay to watch.

h/t Shelly, Cranky, Linda, Bluto, Allah, and Scott

Posted by annika at 08:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 21, 2006

Moonlighting At 6MB

A masterful piece of photoshopping, if I do say so myself.

And I do.

Posted by annika at 10:05 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Busy Girl

I checked out the Miss Nevada photos, and all I can say is she was working overtime. I can't believe she managed to do all that stuff in one night. She must have been exhausted afterwards. Listen, I had some wild times when I was her age, but dang gurl. Is there anyone in that room she didn't get funky on?

Posted by annika at 07:22 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

MNF Pick: Makeup Games

Since I had two unscheduled bye weeks lately (I was too lazy and/or forgot to post by game time) I've chosen two sure winners as makeup games.

The first is tonight's matchup between NFC North rivals Minnesota and Green Bay, both 6 and 8. Brett Favre's middle name has been "interception" every time I pick Green Bay, it seems. But the key facts are these: 1) Minnesota is starting a rookie QB at Lambeau Field; 2) Favre is 40 and 5 at Lambeau when the temperature is below 35, as it will be tonight; and 3) this could be Favre's last home game in his career. Green Bay is favored by 3½ points and I say they will cover.

The next sure thing is Saturday night's game between AFC West rivals Kansas City and Oakland. The Raiders have given up on football this year. They have zero pride. I've never seen a professional sports team that cared less about anything. Plus, Al Davis wants that high draft pick so he can squander it yet again. Just lose, baby. Oakland is only a 6½ point underdog, but the opening line was 3½. I'd be surprised if even 3 people took Oakland with only three points. They'll lose by at least two touchdowns. This should be a slaughter and KC will beat the spread easily.

Parlay these two and laugh at the suckers later.

Update: Fuckin Favre, did it to me again!

Posted by annika at 02:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Christmas Toys Unit

By the way, did anyone else see that lame Rob Lowe Christmas movie the other night? The ending was just about the stupidest ending conceivable. Anyways, Mike Novick was in it. He played Rob Lowe's father. I kept wanting him to say "mister president I urge you to reconsider..."

h/t Mr. Atoz

Posted by annika at 09:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Quote Of The Day Quotable Quotes*

From Dawn:

I have figured out the meaning of life.
I would tell you, but it would blow your minds.
That Ivy League degree is paying off, Dawn!

* Name changed so as not to look like I stole it or anything like that.

Posted by annika at 08:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 20, 2006

Peter Pumpkin The Spectacular Pumpkin, Episode 64, 65 & 66


How do you spell mischievous?



Posted by annika at 08:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday is Poetry Day: e.e. cummings

In 1922, as he was finding his voice, e.e. cummings wrote this poem of a tree, as seen thru the eyes of a small child.

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and I'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"

Posted by Victor at 12:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 19, 2006

A Hero You Should Know

Imagine what this nation would be like if the media replaced all their stories about starlets behaving badly with stories about women like Sgt. Kristi J. Artigue.


“I’ve always been a risk taker,” said Artigue, 23, now a medic with the 141st Medical Company [Connecticut Army National Guard].

On Nov. 10, Artigue called upon the skills learned during her six years of National Guard service -- including a recent deployment to Iraq -- to help save the life of a man who may have drowned.

. . .

“Tom,” a middle-aged man, had suffered a seizure and fallen into a section of the West River. Unable to swim, he struggled to remain above the surface with the help of several civilians and two West Haven police officers. The chain was trying to hang on until the local fire department rescue crew could arrive . . .

Then the life-defining event happened.

“He let loose,” said Artigue, “and went under for one or two seconds. Long enough to know he wasn’t going to be coming up again. And he was moving out farther from the shore toward the center of the river.”

At that point, Artigue let her training take over. The nursing student and Iraq War veteran jumped into the freezing water and swam out about ten feet to where Tom was struggling for air.

“It was too cold to talk,” said Artigue, “but I grabbed his vest and tried to keep him above the water. He grabbed a hold of me and started to pull me down with him, but I was able to drag him by his vest to shore.”

. . . On a cold November day, coming out of cold, moving water, communication was difficult, but Artigue was able to keep Tom talking and conscious until emergency crews arrived.

I am continuously amazed at the quality of people who volunteer to serve our country. Swift water rescue is a very dangerous business. I know I wouldn't have jumped in there.
A future trauma nurse, Artigue plans to use her experiences in the Guard and in Iraq to save as many lives as possible.

“Since Iraq,” she said, “I’ve learned to adapt and overcome. I saw what was happening and I had no option but to get involved because of not only my medical training, but also because of my personal responsibility.

“I will always appreciate my military experience. It’s something I would never give up,” said Artigue.

Posted by annika at 09:06 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Stop Gap YouTube Post

I need to get something up on the front page here. YouTube to the rescue!

This is Nina Simone, singing Rogers and Hart. It took a long time for Nina to get ready to sing, as you will see. But she was quite a performer. Enjoy.

Posted by annika at 04:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 16, 2006

TIME's Person Of The Year

Thank you TIME Magazine.


You still suck.

Posted by annika at 11:46 PM | Comments (29) | TrackBack

December 13, 2006

Wednesday is Poetry Day: John Ciardi

Sometimes, a poem leaps out and practically forces me to pick it for Poetry Day. I found this one in a book entitled Echoes: Poems Left Behind, a collection of poetry by John Ciardi that was published after his death in 1986. It's possible Mr. Ciardi never intended it to be published, or perhaps he wasn't satisfied with it and intended to take it out again in a few years, look at it with fresh eyes, and polish it until it was shining.

I chose this one because it was written 27 years ago today.

December 13, 1979
Three squirrels wound and sprung to this remitted
December day chase tumble tails on the lawn.
They must be winter-sure in the elm, permitted
by a plenty in its boles. There's not one acorn
on or under the oak. They go to go.
But why this lawn party? I think they know

the dog is old and stiff, his monster slacked.
His ears tense toward them but it takes four
deliberate heaves to get his hind legs cocked
as if to spring. And what shall he spring for?
There is no energy after energy.
He quivers feral, but then looks at me

as if I might serve them to him in a dish
like Greeks godsent to the ogre. Of my guilt
that I have uncreatured a world to this mish-mash
whine and quiver half-down in the silt
of a sludged instinct, I toss him a soy bone.
He settles for my bogus and settles down.

And the squirrels spin, almost as if they flew,
to the top of the split shake fence, into the spruce,
across it over the roof, over the yew
and into the hemlock thicket, fast and loose,
as fast as easy, around and around again
in the feast of being able to. Amen.

Posted by Victor at 08:20 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

December 12, 2006

Peter Pumpkin The Spectacular Pumpkin, Episodes 62 & 63


another flashback sequence...


Posted by annika at 09:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Happy Frank's Birthday

Youse guys know what today is?


That's right, it's Frank Sinatra's birthday. I plan to celebrate by watching Tony Rome. Here's a funny scene from that movie.

If you want music, here's a clip of Frank in his prime, with Quincy Jones leading the orchestra.


Posted by annika at 02:55 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

December 11, 2006

Hope On The Global Warming Front

As I'm sure you know, the scientists are predicting that global warming will destroy the world in a couple of years. Because even a change in global temperature as small as two degrees could be catastrophic, you know. But now, the scientists are also predicting that a small scale nuclear exchange involving countries like North Korea or Iran could help to reduce global temperatures by about two degrees. Just what the doctor ordered!

The new studies looked at the consequences if two nations dropped 50 Hiroshima-size bombs on each other's big cities. By analyzing population data and distance from blast, scientists predicted a regional nuclear war would kill 3 million people in Israel and up to 17 million in China. The U.S. would see 4 million blast deaths.

But the researchers say black soot from the fires would linger in the atmosphere, blocking the sun's rays and causing average global surface temperatures to drop about 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the first three years. Although the planet would see a gradual warming within a decade, it would still be colder than it was before the war, the scientists said.

No wonder TIME Magazine has been so soft on Ahmadi-Nejad. He and Al Gore are the only guys out there with a plan to save the planet!

P.S. The AP article I linked is notable for another very surprising reason. It is the first time I have ever seen an article by a major anti-American media source that admits "Iran is also pursuing the development of nuclear weapons," without including the standard preface: "the White House claims that..." Someone must have been asleep at the editor's desk for that to slip by.

h/t Possumblog

Posted by annika at 10:14 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

December 08, 2006

Peter Pumpkin The Spectacular Pumpkin, Episodes 59, 60 & 61

Wherein we learn a little bit more about Phineas and his backstory.



And the flashback sequence, a la Lost.


Posted by annika at 06:05 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

December 07, 2006

Pearl Harbor Day

I like this photo of U.S.S. Ronald Reagan.

As most of you know, it is a naval tradition for sailors to line the deck of a carrier when passing U.S.S. Arizona and also Mt. Vernon.


I visited the Arizona Memorial once. (It's where I learned that "quay" is prononced "key.") For those who haven't yet, you definitely should go see it. The National Park Service runs the museum onshore, and before you get on the ferry to the memorial, they make you watch a movie about the attack. It's a good idea because it puts everybody in a somber mood before they go to the memorial.

When you get on the ferry boat, they make a big deal about how you are no longer in the custody of the Park Service; now the Navy is in charge, which makes you even more respectful by the time you step onto the memorial. It is a cemetary after all.

The group I was with was very quiet while on the memorial, as I imagine most visitors are. It was a beautiful day, and all you could hear was the flapping of the American flag overhead or the occasional clang of the line against the flagpole. When you look over the side, you really can see the Arizona, only a few feet below the water's surface. And there really is oil coming out of her after all these years. And inside still, are the men. They died sixty-five years ago today.

Pearl Harbor Trivia: Bonus points go to whoever can name the ship that survived Pearl Harbor, only to be sunk by a British torpedo!

Posted by annika at 11:09 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 06, 2006

The Iraq Study Group Report

I'm working through the recommendations now. I've approached the report with an open mind, since it's obvious that the Bush/Rumsfeld plan is not working. However, several descriptive phrases about the Iraq Study Group come to mind as I read. They are as follows:

not helpful
wishful thinking
too many carrots, no stick

I wish I could say differently. It's almost like a bunch of guys sitting around a table on Saturday night, playing Risk, or Dungeons & Dragons. The panel members imagine a world in which all the players would act rationally if only they talked to each other. With their "New Diplomatic Offensive," they've conjured a mythological universe that sounds nice, but doesn't actually exist.

The Iraq Study Group's major error was their assumption that parties with a strong negotiation position will trade away strength for promises by a weaker adversary. The kind of negotiation that the ISG envisions could only work if the parties shared mutual interests and goals, which is absolutely not the case in Iraq or in the broader Middle East.

The best example of the ISG's naïveté involves Iran:

Our limited contacts with Iran’s government lead us to believe that its leaders are likely to say they will not participate in diplomatic efforts to support stability in Iraq. They attribute this reluctance to their belief that the United States seeks regime change in Iran.

Nevertheless, as one of Iraq’s neighbors Iran should be asked to assume its responsibility to participate in the Support Group. An Iranian refusal to do so would demonstrate to Iraq and the rest of the world Iran’s rejectionist attitude and approach, which could lead to its isolation. Further, Iran’s refusal to cooperate on this matter would diminish its prospects of engaging with the United States in the broader dialogue it seeks.

In other words, ask Iran to help stabilize Iraq, even though at present Iran is actively working to destabilize Iraq — because Iran feels it is in its interest to do so. The ISG suggests that Iran will abandon a key pillar of their regional foreign policy, to avoid becoming "isolated" (though they already are) and to gain a "broader dialogue" with the U.S. (which they don't give a rat's ass about). The penalty for not doing us a favor (against the Iranians self-interest) is to continue with a status quo that the Iranians don't mind at all.

And how does the Iraq Study Group suggest that we persuade Iran to do us that big favor, which the ISG admits they are unlikely to want to do? The report is short on suggestions. But the panelists have no trouble coming up with nice things that Iran can do for us, assuming they can be magically persuaded to ignore their strong negotiating position and act against their own interest.

• Iran should stem the flow of equipment, technology, and training to any group resorting to violence in Iraq.

• Iran should make clear its support for the territorial integrity of Iraq as a unified state, as well as its respect for the sovereignty of Iraq and its government.

• Iran can use its influence, especially over Shia groups in Iraq, to encourage national reconciliation.

• Iran can also, in the right circumstances, help in the economic reconstruction of Iraq.

Again, why would the Iranians want to do any of these things when the status quo in neighboring Iraq suits Iranian purposes so well? A destabilized Iraq is an Iraq vulnerable to Iranian influence. More importantly, a destabilized Iraq also means a weakened United States especially vis-a-vis Iranian nukes.

And of course, my criticism doesn't even reach the fact that Iranian interests are also motivated by a dangerous religious fanaticism that makes their cooperation with the West even more unlikely.

I've seen many objections to the Iraq Study Group's report from several other critics. I can't address that commentary, since I haven't read the whole report. But if the rest of the ISG's recommendations are as unwise as their "New Diplomatic Offensive," and their failure to understand the Iranian problem, I think the panel might have done more harm than good.

Update: And in the "he said what I said, only better..." department, here's a must read digest of the ISG report, by Robert Tracinski. An excerpt:

We should negotiate with Iran and Syria to convince them to help stabilize Iraq, but then James Baker angrily denies that this would mean caving in and allowing Iran to continue its nuclear weapons program, and he angrily denies that it would mean caving in and allowing Syria to re-conquer Lebanon. In other words, he wants to ask Iran and Syria to help us in Iraq--while ruling out the only concessions that might induce them to do so. At the same time, the ISG also rules out any serious military threat that would force Iran and Syria to abandon their current strategy.

This is the pattern of the whole report: to stipulate the achievement of a result, while denying the actual means that might achieve that result.

When you desire a result without enacting the means for achieving it, that's called a "fantasy"which is ironic, considering that James Baker is a dean of the "realist" school of foreign policy.

I almost never say this, but read the whole thing!

h/t Chris Roach.

Technorati tag:

Posted by annika at 08:50 PM | Comments (29) | TrackBack

Wednesday is Poetry Day: Ruth Stone

In an interview, Ruth Stone offered the following opinion on poetry and fiction:

J.F.Battaglia: You have written many short stories, some published in The New Yorker, in Commentary and elsewhere; what are some distinctions between poetry and fiction?

Ruth Stone: Prose and stories are more objective. Poems are emotional opinion.

JB: How did that get to be?

RS: I think poems are closer to your mad reactions to life. Also to the self, the wounded. I think a lot of poetry comes out of wounds...

Seen in that light, I admit I looked at Ms. Stone's poem about a young girl turning into her mother (published when she was in her sixties!) in a whole new fashion.

Second Hand Coat
I feel
in her pockets; she wore nice cotton gloves,
kept a handkerchief box, washed her undies,
ate at the Holiday Inn, had a basement freezer,
belonged to a bridge club.
I think when I wake in the morning
that I have turned into her.
She hangs in the hall downstairs,
a shadow with pulled threads.
I slip her over my arms, skin of a matron.
Where are you? I say to myself, to the orphaned body,
and her coat says,
Get your purse, have you got your keys?

Posted by Victor at 05:12 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 04, 2006

Memo To 2008 Hopefuls...

I can be bought too.

Please contact Annika at coolconnector20 @ yahoo.com. Monthly payment is negotiable.

Posted by annika at 08:43 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

MNF Pick, Week XIII

This week is a pretty even matchup, Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles. Based solely on records, I should bet Carolina, especially with the Eagles having lost Donovan McNabb for the season. But I'm going to go with Philadelphia to cover the three point spread.

One reason is that Philly is at home. If they can get the crowd into the game with some early plays, I think Delhomme will have a tough time of it. Jake throws his share of interceptions, and turnovers are always key in a close matchup.

The loss of Donovan McNabb hurts the Eagles, but Jeff Garcia isn't the worst backup QB in the world. He's actually rated higher than Delhomme at this point in the season. I'm not terribly confident about my pick, and most experts are going with Carolina, but there you have it.

Posted by annika at 05:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bolton Is Out, Who Should Be Next?

John Bolton was one of the best UN Ambassadors we've had. But a minority of Senators decided he was too tough for the job. So he's out.

Apparently, being tough is not an asset for a UN Ambassador. I might have thought otherwise, but we live in a different era now. John Bolton would have fit in better during some earlier time in our nation's history when standing up for his country's interests was something we wanted our ambassadors to do.

No longer. The key requirement for a UN Ambassador these days is likeability. He or she should be well thought of by the international diplomatic corps. And to be well thought of, one needs to make concessions. Well known anti-American Kofi Annan said so himself:

"I think Ambassador Bolton did the job he was expected to do," Annan said, before launching on a discourse about how important it is for ambassadors to "understand that to get concessions, they have to make concessions."
In other words, even if the UN has lost its way, our UN Ambassador should just go along to get along. We need a kinder, gentler, friendlier ambassador who will make everybody feel good.

The question now is, with the above requirements in mind, who should replace Bolton?

The White House gave no immediate signs of its plans for a successor, but people who have been mentioned both inside and outside the administration as possible successors include the American ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad; Philip Zelikow, the State Department counselor; Paula Dobriansky, under secretary of state for democracy and global affairs; and [Senator Lincoln] Chafee.
I'm not sure any of those guys have what it takes to be a good UN Ambassador under the new criteria. What we need is a real wimp, somebody with no agenda, very little intelligence, and someone whose overriding concern is the need to be liked. That's the surest way to get the good old U. S. of A.'s poll numbers back on top, the way they were under Clinton, when Matt Allbright was ambassador and chief doormat.

I have been known to favor celebrities for positions at the UN. Since celebrities have been in the vanguard on the issue of U.S. global likeability, what could be more obvious than that we need a celebrity at the UN Ambassadorship? Almost without exception, celebrities possess the requisite qualities of low intelligence and a desperate desire to be well thought of.

Therefore, I suggest Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake as co-ambassadors to the United Nations. The fact that Justin was once in a boy band should be a big advantage in dealing with the hyper-sensitive international diplomatic corps. What could be less threatening than a boy band member? Plus JT is about as dumb as half a stump, so if you team him up with Cameron Diaz, you get an intellectual total that equals about... half a stump. They would make perfect ambassadors under the newer, friendlier, criteria.

Posted by annika at 04:35 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

December 03, 2006

Peter Pumpkin The Spectacular Pumpkin, Episode 58


Posted by annika at 11:40 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

I Made It To The Bee!

Thanks to everyone who voted for me!


Check it out here.

They put mine at the top, and they even gave it a little picture. In the print version it's in the Forum section page E2.

Wow, I take back everything I ever said about the Sacramento Bee!

Posted by annika at 10:13 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Chris Muir Promotes Sig Sauer

So un-PC.

But he's right, the action is smooth on that thing.

Posted by annika at 09:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 02, 2006

Peter Pumpkin The Spectacular Pumpkin, Episode 57

The return of Glowee!


Posted by annika at 11:35 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Big Hair Video of the Day

Victor here, still wired from watching my beloved Caps roll over one of the top two teams in hockey. Heckuva game and I'm not gonna be able to sleep for a couple of hours. I mean, it's 1:15 in the AM and I was going to go to work in about five hours, but not no more!

Instead, I'll clutter up annika's blog with a big hair video. I give you...The Flirts!

annika will soon begin to regret giving me posting rights.

Posted by Victor at 11:15 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Stephen Hawking Narrates A New Audio Book

Details at Six Meat Buffet!

Posted by annika at 10:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Who Gets To Go To Glendale, The Sequel

It's Michigan.

Eric McNeal's deflection and catch were unbelievable. What quick hands.

Musberger said it, "that's why they play the game." USC, heavily favored by as much as 13 points, was upset at the Rose Bowl tonight by arch rival UCLA. And now we'll never get an answer to the Shelly vs. Casca debate.

But instead, we all get a rematch between Ohio State and their arch rival Michigan, undisputably the second best college football team this year. I wanted to see OSU vs. USC, but now I, and the rest of America want the Big 10 rematch.

And I don't want to hear anything about Florida or that strength of schedule bullshit they were peddling on tv tonight. You all saw the Florida Arkansas game. I ask you, did that sloppy Gator team look like they could do anything but cower and hide against either of the Big 10's best? I want to see a game in January, not a blowout.

Update: Hey wait a minute. Cal beat UCLA by two touchdowns. We should go to the Rose Bowl!

Posted by annika at 06:15 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

This Day In WWII History

From Gordon Prange's comprehensive tome about Pearl Harbor, At Dawn We Slept:

At 1700 on the evening of December 2 a telegram arrived aboard Nagato . . . directing the opening of certain sealed top secret envelope. As his eager fingers tore open the seals, [Adm. Matome] Ugaki sensed that he had in his hands the orders he had awaited impatiently. His instinct was correct. Down the page ran the words "Our Empire has decided to go to war against the United States, England, and Holland early December." Ugaki immediately sent a message to the commanders in chief of each fleet: "Decision made, but date and time will be ordered later."

[Adm. Chuichi] Nagumo had been even more than usually concerned with security that day. At 0730 he signaled his ships:

This force is already in the anticipated scouting areas from Kiska and Midway Islands. Tonight we will pass the 180 degree line and near the enemy zone. More strict air alert and strict lookout against enemy ships suspected of tracking us will be maintained. Particular attention will be paid not to reveal any light at night and to limit blinker signals as much as possible.
Now, on receipt of the "Go" signal, Nagumo knew that he would have to push forward on this gambler's venture he had so dreaded.
The next morning, Admiral Ugaki sent out the second most famous Japanese coded message of the war, "Climb Mount Niitaka, 1208," which meant that the attack would begin on December 8, 1941 (Japan time).

Meanwhile on the other side of the world, the German Wermacht had cut off Leningrad from the rest of Russia. They had been unable to take the city and now the first winter of the long seige had begun. Neurobiologist Alexei Alexeivich Ukhtomsky was one of the leading Soviet scientists of his day. Also a devout Russian Orthodox, he would not survive the seige of Leningrad.

From Harrison E. Salisbury's harrowing The 900 Days:

Ukhtomsky was sisty-six years old when the war broke out. He had just completed editing his lectures on the nervous system for the University of Leningrad publishing house and was planning in the 1941-42 academic year to offer a new course in physiology. With the onset of war he put aside these occupations . . . His laboratory and institute were packed up and shipped to Elabuga in the Tatar Republic and Sratov, but he himself refused to go. His lifelong associate, Nadezhda Ivanovna Bobrovskaya, was critically ill; she had suffered a brain hemorrhage on June 6, and he was caring for her in his apartment. Moreover, his own health was extremely bad. . . .

Nonetheless, he refused to be evacuated with his laboratory. Nadezhda Bobrovskaya died September 26, but Ukhtomsky still refused to go. . . .

"I remain in Leningrad," he said, "in order to finish my work. I haven't long to live. I will die here. It's too late to leave."

The university organized a meeting on December 2 to mark the fiftieth anniversity of Lenin's graduation. It was held in the assembly hall. The electricity was working. From somewhere flowers had been produced for the platform. But the windows were broken, icy winds filled the chamber, and there were snowdrifts on the floor. Air-raid sirens sounded during the meeting, and there were occasional explosions of German shells.

Although he was now suffering from emphysema, although his toes were gangrenous and his cancer much worse, Ukhtomsky spoke with such vigor that participants counted his address one of his most striking.

. . .

So the intellectual life of Leningrad went on; so the intellectuals kept to their laboratories and their libraries, dying by the hundreds but making no concession to the terrible enemies which threatened their existence.

Professor Ukhtomsky finally succumbed to his illnesses and starvation on August 31, 1942.

Posted by annika at 03:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I Love It

Somebody just sent this to me.

Posted by annika at 09:43 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

December 01, 2006

Fiji Coup Update

Fiji's military commander, Frank Bananarama, has called on the Prime Minister and other members of the country's government to come out of hiding.

Fiji's ousted Prime Minister charted a plane yesterday and travelled with his family to an undisclosed location on the island of Venus Levu, when it appeared a coup was about to take place.

Bananarama said ministers will not be hurt in any way, during what he called a clean-up of the government by the military. He cautioned any who might oppose him that the government was now fully under his control. "We got it, yeah baby we got it," he added.

Posted by annika at 08:37 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack