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

April 29, 2008

Useless AI Blogging

Worst Idol season ever.

I half expected Paula to say she was dodging sniper fire on the way to the Kodak tonight.

DC is solid again, but he'll always be Daughtry lite.

Jason should have gone home last week, and failed to take advantage of his second chance. He needs to go home.

Brooke went 1 and 1. Second song was nice; first was ill advised.

DA had an off week. Utterly unconvincing on both songs.

Someone please take up a collection to buy Syesha some shoes.

Posted by annika, Apr. 29, 2008 | link | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

April 20, 2008

We Interrupt This Blog Re-Emergence For The Following Musical Interlude

If you forget everything else I ever told you, remember this: A thorough study of bluegrass music must ― repeat must ― begin with an examination of Bill Monroe.

Posted by annika, Apr. 20, 2008 | link | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

January 17, 2008

Tom Petty's Los Angeles

The L.A. Weekly has a cover story on Tom Petty's Los Angeles, complete with a map of several important Pettyania locations. Interesting, but I always complained that Petty, who moved here from Florida in 1974, was somewhat mistaken about the geography of his adoptive home. Exhibit A is the following line from the hit "Free Fallin':"

It's a long day living in Reseda,
There's a freeway runnin through the yard.
Um no, that's inaccurate. There's no freeway in Reseda. Check Google maps; the closest freeway is US 101, which goes through Tarzana, but not Reseda.

Next I'll take on geographical inaccuracies in the screenplay for The Karate Kid.

Posted by annika, Jan. 17, 2008 | link | Comments (33) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

November 30, 2007

Recommended Reading Of The Day

Skippy's Led Zeppelin reunion post. Recommended if you love or especially if you hate Led Zeppelin, there's something for everybody. Choice cuts include:

Plant invented one of the most annoying phenomenons in modern music: screaming the word "baby" seven or eight times in high C and letting people think that it's the blues. It isn't the fucking blues, it's being a dick. Listen to history's great blues singers. You almost never want to punch them in the face.

. . .

When you get to be Jimmy Page's age, almost all girls are inappropriately young. If, at the age of 59, Robert Plant asks anyone to squeeze his lemon 'til the juice runs down his leg" he should be laughed at by the audience and immediately taken into police custody.

. . .

Zeppelin was first and foremost a "rock" band, and that doesn't age very gracefully. The Stones on the other hand were always far more about the roll than they were the rock. You can be a really old guy and play, say, "Tumblin' Dice" without looking stupid. The same probably can't be said about "The Immigrant Song."

I barely remember watching Led Zeppelin when they reunited for the Live Aid show back in 1985. I wasn't all that impressed, but hey, I was eight and I wanted to see Duran Duran. Years later, I dated a drummer who educated me about the mythic status of the late John Bonham and the overwhelming awesomeness of "Achilles Last Stand."

As I say, I was educated, and I became a fan. But I can't see spending money on a reunion show today when they're so over the hill and their best guy is dead. I'd never go see the Rolling Stones or The Who these days either. Of course, if it were 1975, I'd be all over it!

Skippy really needs to read Lord of the Rings, though. I can't believe he hasn't read that yet.

Posted by annika, Nov. 30, 2007 | link | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

May 17, 2007

How Could Melinda Lose?

After Tuesday night's performances I said to Chris, "If I were scoring tonight, it'd have to be Blake 2, Jordin 1, Melinda 0"

The fact is, Melinda Doolittle never had a bad week on American Idol. So how could she lose? I think it's because she never had a bad week.

Americans love the underdog. But to be an underdog, you have to lose a little and she is such a superior talent it was impossible for her to give a bad performance. So why did I say she scored a zero? Because I got used to her. She'd raised her own bar too high. She peaked too early.

Plus, Nutbush City Limits?!?! wtf was that? Somebody needs to find the producer that picked that song and kick him in the shins. I get the whole Tina Turner thing, but couldn't they have picked a song with an actual hook in it? Or maybe one with more than three words to the lyrics?

Melinda will be fine. Winning AI can be like winning the Heisman anyway. For every Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood there's a Taylor Hicks or Ruben Studdard. I know, who are they?

Personally, I hope Melinda goes the jazz route rather than the R&B route. Her rendition of My Funny Valentine was one of the classic Idol performances of all time, in my opinion.

Posted by annika, May. 17, 2007 | link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

May 14, 2007

DWTS Blogging

I feel like with six days of blogging left, every post I do should contain wisdom of surpassing profundity.

Instead I got nothing.

So hey, did you catch Dancing With The Stars tonight? Let me tell you, Anton and Julianne's cha-cha was almost pornographic. No, it was pornographic. I watched it three times just to make sure. It was also quite simply the most exciting performance I have seen in three seasons of obsession with that show. Absolutely loved it! The video is here.

Did you know Julianne is Mormon? There goes that stereotype.

And don't give me any more of that "we've got a brother and sister type relationship," Julie. I saw Anton slip you the tongue during that last hold. If you two aren't doing it by now, I don't know what you're waiting for!

Overall, tonight's show had amazing performaces from every couple on every dance. But the standouts for me, besides Anton's cha-cha, were Joey and Kym's jive and Laila and Maksim's cha-cha. I've become a huge Laila Ali fan. She can really shake it.

I don't think any of these four couples deserve to go home next week. If I had to predict, I'd say Ian and Cheryl, despite Ian's breakthrough 30 score. I'd hate to see Cheryl go though. I really think she's the best all around pro of the bunch.

Speaking of stars and pro's getting it on, what's the deal with Kym and Joey staying out 'til 2:30 one night, and then going on a Disney date? Is there more DWTS love in the air? I don't know. Kym recently broke an engagement, but Joey's married.


Posted by annika, May. 14, 2007 | link | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

May 01, 2007

Coolest Thing On The Internets Of The Day: The Met's Zoom Function

Here's something I hadn't seen before. It's a very cool zoom function at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's website. I linked to Poussin's The Abduction of the Sabine Women, because there's a lot going on in there. But you can find and zoom in on pretty much everything they have at the Met. It's my favorite museum.

Also, while we're on the subject of art, click on the extended entry if you're interested in a tour of the National Gallery's Jasper Johns exhibition. I thought it was interesting.

h/t on the Charlie Rose thing goes to Blu, who sent me a link to the Michael Crichton interview. Rose and Crichton discuss Jasper Johns, among other interesting things (when Rose shuts up long enough for Crichton to talk). Crichton thinks Johns is tops, along with Rauschenberg. I'm not as familiar with Johns as I am with Rauschenberg, whom I like a lot. I saw a retrospective of his work during my Scandinavian art museum overdose.

The Rauschenberg exhibition was at the ARoS museum in Århus. My aunt and uncle's farm was about a half hour away from Århus, so we spent a day seeing the sights there. Basically, there are only two things worth seeing in Århus. The ARoS museum is excellent, as is the living history park called Den Gamle By. ("By" is pronounced byoo.)

While I'm on this meandering digression about art, when I should be writing a paper, now is as good a time as any to post a video I've been meaning to share with you since last summer.

I love video art and check it out whenever I can. On our Scandinavian art overdose, Chris and I saw some really wierd video art at Louisiana and at ARoS. Some of it was indescribable. There was one room at ARoS that was set up like an apartment that you could walk inside. There was a couch, and a tv, and a little kitchenette, and a balcony with laundry hanging on a line. The entire room was wired and lit so that you could watch the whole day go by in about ten minutes. It was fascinating. The sun would rise and the coffee pot would start to work, for instance. Then the light changed as the day went on, birds sang and the laundry blew in the breeze, and stuff like that. Then as evening came, the tv turned on and dinner started cooking. As it got dark outside the lights came on. Overnight, the room lit up with little pinlights embedded in all the walls and floor, which was supposed to be like a dream. It was a really incredible installation, but unfortunately I didn't get any pictures.

I did take a video of one installation, called Unk, by American video artist Tony Ousler. You can see it below, but the video does not capture the full effect of the installation. It's basically a video projection of a man's face onto a 3 foot white egg submerged inside a giant plexiglass cube of water. His face contorts and you hear him groaning as he struggles to hold his breath. The entire thing is in the center of a dark room in the basement of the Kunstmuseum.

Even though the surface of the big egg was smooth, the projection made it look totally three dimensional. Watching the giant head try to hold its breath underwater made me slightly uncomfortable, like I couldn't breathe either. Really eerie and disturbing.

Posted by annika, May. 1, 2007 | link | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts & C.T.O.T.I.O.T.D.

April 26, 2007

Three Thoughts On AI

Would it be heartless of me to say, "please no more telethons?"

Speaking of heartless, I'd like to "Imagine" there's no John Lennon. Oh that's right, there isn't!

And finally, ain't no way you're going to eradicate malaria with mosquito nets. Sorry.

Posted by annika, Apr. 26, 2007 | link | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

April 22, 2007

She Would Have Been 90 This Wednesday

The greatest singer ever.

Critics of American Idol would do well to remember that Ella got her start in an amateur singing contest. From Ella's bio:

In 1934 Ella's name was pulled in a weekly drawing at the Apollo and she won the opportunity to compete in Amateur Night. Ella went to the theater that night planning to dance, but when the frenzied Edwards Sisters closed the main show, Ella changed her mind. "They were the dancingest sisters around," Ella said, and she felt her act would not compare.

Once on stage, faced with boos and murmurs of "What's she going to do?" from the rowdy crowd, a scared and disheveled Ella made the last minute decision to sing. She asked the band to play Hoagy Carmichael's "Judy," a song she knew well because Connee Boswell's rendition of it was among [her mother's] favorites. Ella quickly quieted the audience, and by the song's end they were demanding an encore. She obliged and sang the flip side of the Boswell Sister's record, "The Object of My Affections."

Off stage, and away from people she knew well, Ella was shy and reserved. She was self-conscious about her appearance, and for a while even doubted the extent of her abilities. On stage, however, Ella was surprised to find she had no fear. She felt at home in the spotlight.

Reminds me of one current AI contestant, actually.
'Once up there, I felt the acceptance and love from my audience,' Ella said. 'I knew I wanted to sing before people the rest of my life.'

In the band that night was saxophonist and arranger Benny Carter. Impressed with her natural talent, he began introducing Ella to people who could help launch her career. In the process he and Ella became lifelong friends, often working together.

Fueled by enthusiastic supporters, Ella began entering - and winning - every talent show she could find. In January 1935 she won the chance to perform for a week with the Tiny Bradshaw band at the Harlem Opera House. It was there that Ella first met drummer and bandleader Chick Webb. Although her voice impressed him, Chick had already hired male singer Charlie Linton for the band. He offered Ella the opportunity to test with his band when they played a dance at Yale University.

'If the kids like her,' Chick said, 'she stays.'

Despite the tough crowd, Ella was a major success, and Chick hired her to travel with the band for $12.50 a week.

And the rest is jazz history.

Happy Birthday Ella. I miss you.

Posted by annika, Apr. 22, 2007 | link | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

April 20, 2007

Eighties Video Of The Day

Remember this kick-ass Eighties song, by John Waite?


Posted by annika, Apr. 20, 2007 | link | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

April 09, 2007

The Next QTs

I know the reason why Grindhouse did so poorly at the box office this weekend. Its target audience was busy making YouTube videos, trying to be the next Quentin Tarantino.

Check it out. Here are some of the more interesting ones I found:

"The Showdown" by Brandon Schneider and Kevin Eichenbaum. Looks like the 24 writers are fans, they stole the arm trick.

"Can You Dig It?" shows off some pretty good production values.

Here's Joel Cantwell's "McPhew," based on one of my favorite John Wayne movies, McQ. The cool thing about this video is that they filmed it in 1975, which was way before YouTube founders Hurley, Chen and Karim were even born! It probably sat in a box somewhere at the back of a garage, just waiting for YouTube to give it new life!

"Disco Cop" by Matt Clark & Paul Moloney is sort of Jakie Brownesque. Love the wigs. I also love that they used a most awesome song, The Osmonds' "Crazy Horses."

This next guy, Stuart Meads, from the UK, has a real thing for gemstones. I'm not quite sure what's going on there.

And finally, from Finland, "Cock Norris and the Russian Drug Lord." My mom always said Finns were strange people.

Posted by annika, Apr. 9, 2007 | link | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

Martin & Kelly

I never watch Live with Regis and Kelly, but caught a few minutes this morning because I wanted to see Gina Glocksen. Regis is out on the DL, and Martin Short is filling in. OMG, is there anyone funnier than Martin Short? He's off-the-hook! Regis better hurry back, or he may be out of a job.

Posted by annika, Apr. 9, 2007 | link | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

March 20, 2007

No Brainer


Cliff filling in for Big Pussy.

I guess when Ratzenberger got the call from ABC, it was a short conversation.

"So what you're sayin' is, I get to dry grind with the hottest body on the show, who's basically wearing a bikini and heels, but you can only pay me scale? Umm— I just have one question, can I borrow your pen?"

Posted by annika, Mar. 20, 2007 | link | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

March 08, 2007

"Wooo, Dropped Wide Open..."

Sundance and Jared are such nice guys, and Sabrina was my favorite.

So like everybody, I guess, I'm floored by the upsets on American Idol tonight.

But Cal beat UCLA, hooooyah!!!

Posted by annika, Mar. 8, 2007 | link | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts & Sports

February 25, 2007

I Was Totally Right!

I totally picked Alan Arkin. I should have put money on it! He was 4:3, but the favorite was Eddie Murphy at 1:2. I was in Reno this weekend and I told people I was going to bet and then I chickened out, damn.

My theory was that Arkin would win because Little Miss Sunshine was the only nominated movie out on DVD until just a few weeks ago. Therefore a lot of the voters were probably too lazy to go out and see the other movies, but I'm sure they had Netflix.

Posted by annika, Feb. 25, 2007 | link | Comments (28) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

February 21, 2007

The Top 12 American Idol Women Summarized

Pictures are here, so you can follow along at home.

Stephanie Edwards: Two words: Loved her.

Amy Krebs: Cute girl, big pores, didn't like the dress, loved the shoes, hated the song choice. Maynard had more personality.

Leslie Hunt: I like Leslie. I think her personality is a little quirky, maybe a little bizarre. I love the pirate boots. She should do some sixties hippie material, Michelle Phillips or stuff like that. I think she could be good even though her voice really lacks range.

Sabrina Sloan: Very pretty girl. Great style. Smart song choice. Love love love the black patent stack heels. Nice job with a difficult song. I think I have a crush on her. But on my scorecard, Stephanie was just a notch better, despite what Simon said.

Antonella Barba: Overrated. Safe song choice. She was out of tune. And the red top with the cut-out shoulders was sooo New Jersey.

Jordin Sparks: Impressive. Maybe my favorite so far. With a song that is not vocally challenging, the temptation is to sing it safely, but she made it her own. Very nice. Jordin could win this thing; I wouldn't be surprised. Good personality too, and she managed to kiss up to Simon without making it obvious.

Nicole Tranquillo: Randy said it was "rough," Paula said "she can sing," and Simon thought it was "indulgent." I think they were all right. There's nothing wrong with her instrument, but that performance was odd at best. The words were indecipherable and her facial contortions were completely unnecessary. Honestly, it was painful and embarrassing to watch. Prediction: she may not be here next week.

Haley Scarnato: So many Italian girls representing tonight! That song was so boring I completely forgot to listen. Her outfit was hideous. Black strapless jumpsuit with an Eighties big-belt. Nauseating. She may survive to next week, but it won't be on the strength of that performance.

Melinda Doolittle: Someone is lying to us. This is not a shy girl with no self-confidence. You can't fake that kind of stage presence. I don't believe that whole shtick, but the storyline will probably win fan loyalty. She doesn't need the gimmick though, because she might be the best singer in the competition. She'll make it to the top six, easy. Maybe even final two.

Alaina Alexander: Bye-bye.

Gina Glocksen: I like her, but I hated the song, "All By Myself," what a boring song choice. It's boring in the original version. Who does it even? See, I don't even remember the original artist. I know Celine Dion did it, but someone else did it first, and I can't remember who.

LaKisha Jones: Very nice. She sounded like she'd been in the business for years. Professional. I hesitate to make the comparison to Mandisa from last year, whom I loved. But the judges were obviously thinking the same thing when they picked her. She's better than Mandisa was, which is very good indeed.

Even the worst of tonight's women were better than the men last night. Easy prediction: this year's AI champ will be one of the girls.

Posted by annika, Feb. 21, 2007 | link | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

February 20, 2007

The Top 12 American Idol Men Summarized

Rudy: Two words: utterly sucked.

Brandon: Not a note in tune. Perhaps he'll get it right eventually.

Sundance Head: WTF? "Like Dad at a wedding" was spot on. He's unusual enough that he'll last into the final six, but tonight was not good.

Paul Kim: Kevin, tell your bro to put some shoes on. Sucked.

Does anybody belong this season? What the hell is going on? And please, someone tell the contestants that the whole holding your hand up like a phone and mouthing the words "call me" has been done to death.

Boy Band Wannabe #1, Chris: Check out his dad in the audience. Now we know where he got his moves. Baaaaad.

Nick "Vote For" Pedro: Dude, instead of slouching, try moving the mike up. It might also help if you found at least one note too.

Everybody sucks tonight. I don't remember a season that has started out this bad. But I had a feeling after getting a taste of these losers last week.

Boy Band Wannabe #2, Blake: His dad is the disastrous byproduct of a cloning experiment using Bill Cowher and Victor French's DNA.

Sam Jaya: I didn't think he was that bad. The judges all beat up on him. But a little vocal coaching and he could be good to go.

Paula looks like she's either had a cervical fusion recently and is unable to move her neck, or someone injected botox directly into her carotid artery.

Chris "The Funny Gigh" Sligh: With that hairstyle, he's gotta do at least one Weird Al song before he gets kicked off. He was okay. I expected more. Like Sundance, his personality might carry him probably into the final six.

Jared "Welcome Back" Cotter: Best so far, and he wasn't that good. I'll pick him to make it to the final six though.

Boy Band Wannabe #3, A.J.: Luther Vandross? What's going on here? Doc, you gotta help me! I came here in a time machine you invented, and I need your help to get out of the year 1985!

Phil The Navy Guy: Gollum can sing.

Tonight's show was the worst AI ever. I hope the girls will be better tomorrow, but about half of them are Barbies who don't belong up there either.

Posted by annika, Feb. 20, 2007 | link | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

February 12, 2007

Lego London

The vikings are gone, but Denmark is still invading Britain, via Lego.

h/t Londonist, by way of LAist.

Posted by annika, Feb. 12, 2007 | link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

January 23, 2007

24 Blogging

I so wanted Jack's dad to be played by Donald Sutherland, but no. They got the guy from L.A. Confidential.

Actually, tonight's episode was pretty lackluster. Jack's HK didn't even make an appearance. Other than revealing that Rocket Romano is Jack's brother, the storyline wasn't advanced very far. I nodded off near the end a couple of times. If you had to pick one episode to miss, so you could watch Heroes, this would be the one. Fortunately, I have DVR now, so I don't have to miss either.

Oh, and I think tonight's helicopter crash brings the series total for downed aircraft to about 73.

Posted by annika, Jan. 23, 2007 | link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

January 16, 2007

24 Blogging

Last night we saw the first application this season of Annika's 24 maxim:

A hostile with key information is a hostile down.
When they revealed that this season's MacGuffin would be a suitcase bomb, I thought, "season two again." But this time, they exploded it inside the city, so does that mean we're in for a post-apocalyptic L.A. scenario? If so, I hope Snake Plisskin makes an appearance, what a team he and Jack would make. Snake & Jake, the two whispering heroes.

Posted by annika, Jan. 16, 2007 | link | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

December 19, 2006

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, Dec. 19, 2006 | link | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

December 12, 2006

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, Dec. 12, 2006 | link | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

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, Nov. 26, 2006 | link | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

November 20, 2006

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, Nov. 20, 2006 | link | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

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, Nov. 15, 2006 | link | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

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, Nov. 15, 2006 | link | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

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, Nov. 15, 2006 | link | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

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, Nov. 15, 2006 | link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

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, Nov. 15, 2006 | link | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

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, Nov. 15, 2006 | link | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

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.

Posted by annika, Nov. 1, 2006 | link | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

October 14, 2006

Freddy Fender, RIP

I had no idea who Freddy Fender was, but thanks to the magic of YouTube, nobody has to remain ignorant. Ain't YouTube great?

Freddy Fender was a Tex Mex pioneer and a former marine. From Yahoo's obituary, here's some other biographical facts I found interesting:

Freddy Fender, the "Bebop Kid" of the Texas-Mexico border who later turned his twangy tenor into the smash country ballad "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," died Saturday. He was 69.

Over the years, he grappled with drug and alcohol abuse, was treated for diabetes and underwent a kidney transplant.

"Whenever I run into prejudice," he told The Washington Post in 1977, "I smile and feel sorry for them, and I say to myself, `There's one more argument for birth control.'"

In February 1999, Fender was awarded a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame after then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush wrote to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce endorsing him.

He signed with Imperial Records in 1959, renaming himself "Fender" after the brand of his electric guitar, "Freddy" because it sounded good with Fender.

Fender initially recorded "Wasted Days" in 1960. But his career was put on hold shortly after that when he and his bass player ended up spending almost three years in prison in Angola, La., for marijuana possession.

After prison came a few years in New Orleans and a then an everyday life taking college classes, working as a mechanic and playing an occasional local gig.

But his second break came when he was persuaded to record "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" on an independent label in 1974 and it was picked up by a major label. With its success, he won the Academy of Country Music's best new artist award in 1975. He re-released "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and it climbed to the top of the charts as well.

Fender's later years were marred by health problems resulting in a kidney transplant from his daughter, Marla Huerta Garcia, in January 2002 and a liver transplant in 2004. Fender was to have lung surgery in early 2006 until surgeons found tumors.

"I feel very comfortable in my life," Fender told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times in August. "I'm one year away from 70 and I've had a good run. I really believe I'm OK. In my mind and in my heart, I feel OK. I cannot complain that I haven't lived long enough, but I'd like to live longer."

Sounds like he was a good guy. Rest in peace, amigo.

Posted by annika, Oct. 14, 2006 | link | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

October 10, 2006

Fantasy Musical Team-Ups That'll Never Happen

Picture this: Barbra Streisand reprising her most famous role as Dolly Levi, and introducing George W. Bush as Horace Vandergelder! That's brilliant casting, and it would be box office gold. Gold I tell ya!


Alas, I'm afraid it would never happen. I don't think the president could handle the vocal parts.

Posted by annika, Oct. 10, 2006 | link | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts & photoshopaholic

September 29, 2006

Another Book Meme

Chris Roach tagged me with this book meme, so here goes.

1. One book that changed your life?

Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton

2. One book that you have read more than once?

The Trial by Franz Kafka

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

The Bible

4. One book that made you cry?

A Lotus Grows In The Mud by Goldie Hawn

5. One book that made you laugh?

Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth

6. One book you wish had been written?

Kirlian Justice, by me

7. One book you wish had never been written?

Any Chomsky book

8. One book you are reading currently?

The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks

9. One book you have been meaning to read?

An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson

10. Pass it on

Hugo and Matt Rustler and Matt Scofield

Posted by annika, Sep. 29, 2006 | link | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

September 14, 2006

Dean Martin Appreciation Day

I had no idea it was DMAD. In fact, I'd never heard of DMAD until today. It's not his birthday (that's June 7). Anyways, I'm up for it. Go and celebrate at Sheila's. Nobody blogs classic Hollywood better than Sheila. There are some great pictures too. Dean cooking with the Duke. Dean, Mia and Sharon Tate. Dean and the boss, naturally. Dean stepping onstage with Judy (I think it's Judy). And of course, Dean and Jerry.

Update: Youtube is amazing. Look what I found.

That scene of Dean the father kissing Dean Paul is sad, isn't it? Captain Dean Paul Martin died in 1987 when his Air National Guard F-4 Phantom crashed into Mount San Gorgonio.

Dean Paul "Dino" Martin, 35, son of entertainer Dean Martin was killed when the Phantom jet he was piloting crashed into the San Gabriel Mountains. Permission was given by March Air Force Base ATC to perform a "maximum climb" takeoff. The aircraft was seen disappearing into a scattered cloud ceiling at 4,700 feet. Radar contact was lost 9 minutes into the flight. The crash site was found on the 3rd day of searching in the San Gabriel Mountains. An investigation revealed the aircraft flew, inverted, into a solid wall of granite between two mountain peaks at an estimated speed of 560 mph. The aircraft was literally pulverized into the granite. The "maximum climb" takeoff, g forces assoctiated with this type of flight and the dense cloud cover negatively affected the pilots ability to know his position and aircraft attitude.
The death hit Dean very hard, and he apparently was never the same afterwards.

Posted by annika, Sep. 14, 2006 | link | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

September 08, 2006

Happy 40th Star Trek!

[Just havin' a little fun at Shatner's expense. He knows I love him.]


Today is the 40th anniversary of Star Trek's first broadcast. From the official website:

On the evening of the 8th of September, following Daniel Boone, this new NBC show premiered with an episode called "The Man Trap." The angle of the story was different, to say the least: It was a love story with a sci-fi twist, borne of a relationship from the doctor's past, featuring a monster that, in the end, just wanted to live. It was moving, tragic and anything but cheesy. The viewers — at least the ones who were paying attention — were hooked.

This show proved it had something different. It had a unique life that would go on to exist beyond expectation. It stood outside of time, as it tapped into universal themes and epic struggles, and put the cosmos on notice. Things have changed! Primetime on NBC eventually proved that this was no place for something so big, so broad in scope. This three-season show, after all, would go on to spawn four live-action spin-offs, an animated series, ten movies and counting, plus a licensing empire that, to this day, embraces books, videos, exhibits and assorted merchandise.

Like other cultural, artistic or philosophical phemonena (think Mozart, Van Gogh or Jesus) this new show was largely unappreciated in its own time and only later would be seen as what it is today, a world-wide, cultural juggernaut. Thanks to a form of TV recycling called syndication, the show became a hit to generations of young, impressionable kids, including many future scientists, astronauts and actors. What's ironic is that by today's ratings standards, it would have been a hit in its original run. But back then, with only three major networks, it didn't quite pull its weight. It was only with the need to syndicate TV programs, to get more than one bite out of the entertainment cherry, did this show become what it was all along. It just needed a form of resurrection; the people who had heard of it from their parents, teachers, friends or older siblings tuned in after school, prior to the dinner hour. It turned out to be the perfect time to hit this new, fresh audience and the show became lodged in the collective minds of a nation.

Indeed it has.

Happy birthday Star Trek. And thanks Gene, wherever you are.

Update: Check out the Star Trek 40th Anniversary Carnival at A Mama's Rant. Submit your own post, if you got one.

Posted by annika, Sep. 8, 2006 | link | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

September 06, 2006

The Path To 9/11

The Path To 9/11 starts Sunday Night. I plan to watch it not only because it has been pissing off all the right people, but also because I want to see how Sherry Palmer fits into the conspiracy.

Posted by annika, Sep. 6, 2006 | link | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

My Not So Subtle Attempt To Influence The Sidebar Poll

Just my opinion, but I think the answer to "Who's the World's Greatest Australian?" goes without saying.

Exhibit A in the extended entry.

Get music videos for your own profile!
Over 40,000 music videos to choose from at VideoCodeZone!

Posted by annika, Sep. 6, 2006 | link | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

August 16, 2006

Flyboys Trailer

September 29th is the scheduled premier of Flyboys, based on the story of the famous Lafayette Escadrille of WWI.

Here's the trailer.

It looks pretty cool, although somewhat Pearl Harbor-ish. Still, I can't wait to see it.

Posted by annika, Aug. 16, 2006 | link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

August 09, 2006

Slate Pans WTC

Although I saw United 93 the day it came out, I haven't made up my mind whether to see World Trade Center by Oliver Stone. Slate's review, which points out some glaring inaccuracies (what a surprise in an Oliver Stone film) makes me lean towards waiting for the DVD.

Since the filmmakers have repeatedly stated their desire to "chronicle what happened as truthfully as we could," World Trade Center will likely go down in the minds of many as a historical and factual account. But Sereika recently told me that he felt the entire rescue, as portrayed in the film, is "fiction"—the facts are so distorted that he didn't recognize what he was seeing as what he lived through.

. . .

This is a case where Hollywood can't be accused of hyping reality—the real rescue was much more amazing and harrowing, especially when you hear the men tell it themselves.

Part of me wants to go, just so I can yell "too soon.. too soon" during the credits. Why is it nobody is pushing the "too soon" meme when a famous nutcase liberal is the director? Oh, I just answered my own question.

Posted by annika, Aug. 9, 2006 | link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

August 04, 2006

Happy Birthday Pops

Born August 4, 1901, New Orleans, Louisiana. Died July 6, 1971, Queens, New York. Lives forever everywhere.


Pale moon shining on the fields below
Folks are crooning songs soft and low
Needn't tell me so because I know
It's sleepy time down south

Soft winds blowing through the pinewood trees
Folks down there like a life of ease
When old mammy falls upon her knees
It's sleepy time down south

Steamboats on the river a coming or a going
Splashing the night away
Hear those banjos ringing, the people are singing
They dance til the break of day, hey

Dear old southland with his dreamy songs
Takes me back there where I belong
How I'd love to be in my mammy's arms
When it's sleepy time way down south

Dear old southland with his dreamy songs
Take me back there where I belong
How I'd love to be in my mammy's arms
When it's sleepy time down south

Don't forget to listen to some Louis today. Take a visit to Jazzmania in this 1932 short film. Note the blunt smoking reference at the end.

Posted by annika, Aug. 4, 2006 | link | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

July 20, 2006

new Super Hero Stamps

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

Click for bigger

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

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

Look! Up in the sky!

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

Posted by Victor, Jul. 20, 2006 | link | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

June 26, 2006

Bowtie Pasta Parmesan With Prosciutto And Sun-Dried Tomatoes

My culinary skills produce more misses than hits, but occasionally I make something that is worth passing on. Please do not ask me about the sole meunière of a few weeks back. $35 dollars worth of fish and half of it wasted. But cooking fish requires delicacy, and I don't do anything delicately. (Well, not unless you ask nicely.)

Rather, I prefer to cook dishes that can be mixed up with a sauce, and served with a big spoon. Like the following one, which is based on a recipe from Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cook: Home Collection.

-¼ cup olive oil
-one 12 oz. package of bowtie pasta (aka farfalle)
-one large yellow onion, sliced or chopped, whichever you prefer
-about two thirds of a package of regular mushrooms, pre-sliced (what is that, two cups?)
-half a cup or more of julienned sun-dried tomatoes
-two cloves of garlic, minced
-4 oz. of prosciutto slices
-1¼ cup of Silk or some other plain soy milk
-one cup grated parmesan, or as I like to call it "Farmer John" cheese
-one to two teaspoons of capers
Start boiling the water for the pasta. You all know how to make pasta. I would subtract a minute or so from the cooking time to keep it just al dente, because the pasta will continue to cook after you drain the water and mix it with the sauce. You don't want the pasta to get too soft.

While the pasta water is heating, prepare the sauce. In a large pan, heat the olive oil until a tiny chunk of onion fries immediately when you throw it in. Turn down to medium heat. Then throw the sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and the sliced or chopped onion in there. I like chopped onion because sliced onions remind me too much of earthworms after they're cooked.

Fry that stuff until the onions get browned. Be careful with the sun-dried tomatoes, which burn easily. Adjust the heat accordingly. This should take about 2 minutes. Then add the soy milk and the capers. Bring the sauce to a simmer, about another two or three minutes. Then fold in the parmesan cheese. Turn off the heat and cover the pan while you finish with the pasta.

When the pasta is ready, drain it. Then chop the prosciutto slices roughly crosswise into one inch wide pieces. Throw them in the sauce, then pour the sauce immediately over the pasta. Mix the whole thing and transfer to a serving bowl.

There you have it. Simple and fast. The prosciutto goes in last so it will retain some of its color, but eventually the red cooks away. Especially after microwaving the next day, but it still tastes good. Soy milk is a pretty good substitute for the heavy cream called for in the original recipe. I suggest a fresh sourdough baguette and a glass of merlot to go with this meal.

Posted by annika, Jun. 26, 2006 | link | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

June 03, 2006

Friday iPod List On Saturday

People have been doing the Friday iPod thing for a while, so I thought I'd give it a try. You know where you set the iPod at random and list the first ten songs that come up. I couldn't do it yesterday because of mu.nu's denial of service attack.

So here's my list.

  1. Right Now, Van Halen

  2. Geek USA, Smashing Pumpkins

  3. Love Shack, The Knitters

  4. Temple Of Love, Sisters Of Mercy

  5. Monkey Man, The Rolling Stones

  6. Move Your Feet, Junior Senior

  7. California Dreamin, The Mamas & The Papas

  8. Dirty Boots, Sonic Youth

  9. Enola Gay, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

  10. A Real Fine Place To Start, Sara Evans
For what it's worth.

Posted by annika, Jun. 3, 2006 | link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

May 28, 2006

Remembering Vietnam

Country musicians Big & Rich pay tribute to the sacrifices of our Vietnam heroes in the song and video, "8th of November." It's very touching and well done. See it at Tammy's blog.

Posted by annika, May. 28, 2006 | link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts & C.T.O.T.I.O.T.D. & History

May 26, 2006

Badass Cars

I know you all really liked my Dukes of Hazzard banner for the car. Well, if you're a fan of the R/T, you should go here. Michele (yes, that Michele) has a post about it with some nice pictures.

By the way, I actually saw a sweet General Lee replica driving around town the other day. I wish I was quick enough with the camera phone.

Also (and this news doesn't have anything to do with Chargers, but it is related to the 70's car theme), one of the great car chase scenes ever filmed is now on DVD. The obscure 1973 film The Seven-Ups, starring Roy Scheider and Tony Lo Bianco, features a really long chase that takes place in and outside New York City. My brother, who's an expert on these things, says this chase scene is better than Bullitt's, and I can't disagree.

Posted by annika, May. 26, 2006 | link | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts & Science & Technology

May 25, 2006

Taylor's AI Audition

As long as we're looking at YouTube videos, take a look at Taylor Hicks's American Idol audition.

I think the coolest thing about Taylor's audition is when Simon asked him why he was there. He does not say, "Because I wanna be the next American Idol," which 99% of the people said.

Simon: Why you here?

Taylor: I want my voice heard.

Taylor: Why?

Taylor: Cuz I feel like I got one.

It's so simple and direct an answer, I can almost imagine the young Elvis Presley saying something like it to Sam Phillips back in the day.

I also love the fact that Taylor was so underestimated during his audition. Paula and Randy liked him, but you know they never imagined he might win. Not after that audition, which really wasn't too good.

Go Taylor! I hope he gets some good songs to sing because he could really become a star if the machine lets him.

Posted by annika, May. 25, 2006 | link | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

May 23, 2006

AI And Badonkadonk

American Idol is the best family show on TV. I'm tired of hearing some folks put it down, because there's a reason it's the number one show. It brings families together twice a week for good old fashioned entertainment that's non-political, non-violent, and safe for viewers of all ages. It's the type of entertainment that hasn't been around since the Muppets got cancelled. Sure it's least common denominator stuff, but I think that's a good thing. We need that sometimes, especially nowadays.

I hope y'all switched over to CBS after American Idol. If you had, (on the West Coast) you would have just caught Carrie Underwood trying to finish her performance of "Jesus Take The Wheel," and getting all choked up. Then about a minute later, she accepted the Academy of Country Music award for Record of the Year. And to think, only a year ago she was pretty much a nobody. It's a nice song, and I'm happy for her. Carrie also won Top New Vocalist.

[By the way, I love any industry awards show where the winners thank Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. It's a little unorthodox, but hey, entertainers are often non-conformists.]

Next, I hope you didn't miss hunky Trace Adkins trying to keep a straight face while singing "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" inside a flock of nearly naked showgirls. That was some feat of concentration, although he kept turning around to check out the girls. And CBS kept cutting away from the action on the stage, which got pretty racy.

I also enjoyed watching Gretchen Wilson sing my new favorite song, "Politically Uncorrect," which features the lyrics:

I'm for the preachers who stay on their knees
And I'm for the sinner who finally believes
And I'm for the farmer with dirt on his hands
And the soldiers who fight for this land
And I'm for the Bible
And I'm for the flag
And I'm for the working man
. . .
I'm just one of many who can't get no respect
Politically Uncorrect
Back to AI. I wouldn't be going out on a limb if I predicted that Taylor will win it all. he gave three solid performances, but really impressed me with the last song because the lyrics were so awful. While Katherine tried to do justice to her lame original song, Taylor did his best to make his song fit him. I also think Taylor deserves to win because he just seems like such a nice guy.

Posted by annika, May. 23, 2006 | link | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

May 22, 2006

Predictions For Tonight's 24 Finale

Jack and Audrey will try to have sex. Audrey will attempt to delay her orgasm until Jack shouts "NOW!" They both finally give up in frustration when they realize Jack is unable to "upload" anything without Chloe's help. Jack will then confront President Logan, shoot him in the leg, and go into hiding. Rocket Romano will then perform emergency first aid, but die in a freak helicopter mishap while helping evacuate the president on Marine One. A guilt-ridden Henderson will return to CTU, revive Tony, and with the help of Barbaro's vet, create a superhuman CTU agent by attaching Tony's head to a robotic body. Finally, a plane will crash somewhere.

Posted by annika, May. 22, 2006 | link | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

May 14, 2006

Bobby Darin

darin.jpgToday is Bobby Darin's birthday. He was born in 1936 as Walden Robert Cassotto. One of the greatest popular music records of all time is Darin's second LP, That's All. My dad had the original vinyl record. I say "had" because I stole it, and now I have it. Of course I can't play it, because I don't have a working record player, but so what. It's a collector's item.

The otherwise lackluster Kevin Spacey movie about Darin's life did a good job of showing how Darin changed from a bobby sox rocker to a Sinatra-esque swinger with the release of That's All. Every song is a gem, especially the most famous single to come off of that album, "Mack The Knife."

Dick Clark begged Darin not to record "Mack," but thankfully he went and did it anyways. Now, its become a jazz standard that even twenty-somethings like myself know by heart. What other song written by a communist (Bertolt Brecht) can you say that about?

On the back of That's All, they reprinted a telegram from Sammy Davis, Jr., which I love:


Really, when you talk about guys who could swing, the name Darin belongs right up there next to Frank and Sammy.

Posted by annika, May. 14, 2006 | link | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

May 09, 2006

AI Blogging

If I have any influence at all with this blog, let me use it now.

Vote for Elliott Yao Ming tonight. He totally annihilated the competition. And the competition was exceptional. But the dude with the bad teeth fukken' rocked!

Vote for Elliott!

Posted by annika, May. 9, 2006 | link | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

24 Blogging

Perimeters on this show are about as successful as they are in real life. Just ask OBL, Musab al-Zarqawi and John Allen Muhammad.

Posted by annika, May. 9, 2006 | link | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

May 04, 2006

The First Rule Of Lost

Hook up with a guy . . . get shot and die.

Update: Nice try Scof. But your theory, "DUI = bad career move," while it has some supporters, fails to explain Shannon's death earlier this season, right after she hooked up with Sayid. Thus, my theory is superior.

Posted by annika, May. 4, 2006 | link | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

April 25, 2006

AI Blogging

I had no intention of liveblogging AI tonight, but the first third has been so eventful, I can't help it.

Paula's meds need adjusting again. Urgently.

I was blown away by Kat. The judges were listening to a different performance. She should be safe though, I think her split second fuzz flash will ensure that.

Is Andrea Boccelli blind? I had no idea. I can name a dozen legitimate opera singers that are ten times better than him. I never understood his popularity until now.

Eliott Yao Ming was fantastic.

Pickler's "Unchained Melody?" Chain it back up again, I'm begging you.

Paris did not impress me. She sounded a bit like Gladys Knight in the beginning, which made me wish I was listening to Gladys instead. I didn't like the arrangement either.

Black velvet? I think Taylor has dandruff. I agree with Randy and Simon, a karaoke and lounge act. I can't put my finger on why, but Taylor has been sucking lately. I think he has mastered one genre, and outside it he's really unremarkable.

Chris looked hott. I totally love him. The performance could've used one or two more rehearsals. I liked the flamenco style of it, but Chris and the guitars seemed out of synch during the first half. He finished strong though.

The top three are clear: Eliott, Kat and Chris. However, the judges screwed it for Kat, and Taylor's fans are loyal. They will prop him up in the voting. Probably Kellie's fans will do that too, though she was the weakest of the six tonight. All of this makes me afraid for Eliott. If he goes tomorrow it will be a travesty.

So vote for Eliott.

Technorati: .

Posted by annika, Apr. 25, 2006 | link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

April 19, 2006

Sci-Fi Fiction News.

May 16th is the release date for Elemental: The Tsunami Relief Anthology: Stories of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Elemental has an introduction by Arthur C.Clarke and more than twenty stories by Brian Aldiss, David Drake, Jacqueline Carey, Martha Wells, Larry Niven, Joe Haldeman, Eric Nylund, Sherrilyn Kenyon writing as Kinley MacGregor, and a Dune story by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson, and many others.
Arthur C. Clarke lives in Sri Lanka. According to Amazon, all publisher and author profits will go to the Save the Children Tsunami Relief Fund.

I love Sci-Fi anthologies. My favorite one so far has been Redshift. They're a great way to find out about new authors, and it seems that some writers are more willing to take risks in the short story format than in a novel.

Posted by annika, Apr. 19, 2006 | link | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

April 17, 2006


I just read an interesting article about John Updike. I've never read him. Are there any Updike fans out there? Should I give him a try?

Correction: Actually, when I was in undergrad, I tried to read Memories Of The Ford Administration, but it was pretty boring, so I never finished it. But I'm wondering if the Rabbit books are better.

Posted by annika, Apr. 17, 2006 | link | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

April 05, 2006

Oddsmakers Give Bucky The Boot

From the LA Times:

Online odds makers, are ignoring country rocker Bucky Covington's safely above the top three finish on last week's "American Idol" show and selecting the singer as most likely to see his journey end in tonight's results show. And chanteuse Katherine McPhee, who shocked audiences when she earned the second lowest vote total last week, is nonetheless deemed safe by the gamblers wagering on the show.

Pinnacle Sports, which offers a separate betting line on "Who will be eliminated" lists Covington as the most likely to go at 3.58 to 1 odds, closely followed by heartthrob Ace Smith [sic], who earned last week's third lowest vote tally. Katherine McPhee remains highly favored to win among Pinnacle bettors, trailing favorite Chris Daughtry.

I concur.

Update: Wild ending. I can reveal it now, since I have no Hawaiian readers, and I'm not sure Kevin watches AI in Korea.

The stunned silence after Mandisa's name was called is something I've never heard on AI before. While this field may not contain the best performers in Idol history, the talent is very evenly matched. So it's really hard to predict who's going next. I think Mandisa went because lots of people assumed she would last 'til the end, and therefore voted for someone else. Plus, she really didn't do that good last night, as Country is not her best genre.

Let me also revise and extend my remarks about Kelly, which I made after the top 24 were picked. I was wrong. I think she may have a shot at the prize, and last night she showed some serious game.

Bucky dodged a bullet, though.

Posted by annika, Apr. 5, 2006 | link | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)
Rubric: Arts

March 30, 2006

Hips Don't Lie

Memo to Katherine McPhee: don't attempt Christina ever again.

Memo to Bucky: You're next. As the MySpace bloggers say: "he can't sing good."

the hips have spoken.

Posted by annika, Mar. 30, 2006 | link | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

March 16, 2006

Commie Star Trek

Check it out.

Via emailer Hannes.

Posted by annika, Mar. 16, 2006 | link | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

March 14, 2006

AI Blogging

Top four for me were Katharine, Paris, Taylor and Chris, in that order. Katharine and Paris were almost tied, but I gave the edge to Katharine because I didn't expect her to be so polished as she was.

But let me tell you, there's a reason Stevie Wonder is an icon. When Randy, who's prone to exagerration, said that Stevie is one of the greatest singers in the known world, Randy was lying. Stevie is one of the greatest musicians in history. You could see how the top twelve struggled with what he makes sound easy.

And Stevie's effect on people reminds me of how devotees react when they get close to the guru. It's supernatural.

Finally, I think Kevin may have bought himself another week.

Posted by annika, Mar. 14, 2006 | link | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

March 08, 2006

AI Thoughts

Okay, cuz I know you've all been waiting for my AI thoughts.

Top three for me were Ace, Gideon and then my crush, Chris. Kevin will be going home tomorrow night along with, unfortunately, Gideon. I'm a huge Gideon fan, but I'm afraid his genre is too old fashioned for the average voter. But he led the competition all the way tonight. All the way until Ace came on, that is. Ace completely blew away the field. Completely. It totally slipped my mind how well he can do an MJ song.

Check in tomorrow night to see if I'm right.

Posted by annika, Mar. 8, 2006 | link | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

AI Blogging

Everyone sucked last night, except for Melissa. Even Mandisa sucked, which was surprising. But it's real tough to sing Chaka Khan and do it better than Chaka can. And Simon was way off his game. He thought Melissa was awful, when she was the only decent act on the show.

Posted by annika, Mar. 8, 2006 | link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

March 06, 2006

New Salad Dressing Discovery

Safeway Select's Tuscan Style Basil. And it made WebMD's list of approved "light" dressings. So you can drink it right out of the bottle.

Posted by annika, Mar. 6, 2006 | link | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

March 05, 2006

Obligatory Oscar Wrap-Up Post

Crash wins.


Okay, now that that's over with, on to March Madness. You gotta like Duke again this year. Villanova too. Arizona and Gonzaga will disappoint, as they do every time. And Geo. Washington is overrated. Keep an eye on Alabama. If they make the tourney, they're worth at least one upset.

Posted by annika, Mar. 5, 2006 | link | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts & Sports

March 01, 2006

Idol Blogging

It's the first time I've ever said this about a contestant, but if Chris were to take Randy up on his offer to make a record right now, I'd probably buy it.

Posted by annika, Mar. 1, 2006 | link | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

February 28, 2006

24 Blogging

Smeagol lovess the Curtissesss.

Posted by annika, Feb. 28, 2006 | link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

February 27, 2006

The New Monday Night Dilemma

dilemma: noun. A situation that requires a choice between options that are or seem equally unfavorable or mutually exclusive. Late latin, from greek, di- meaning two, and lemma meaning proposition or assumption. Example: Starting tonight, NBC will run The Apprentice opposite Fox's 24. Normally, this would not be a dilemma for people with foresight enough to pay the extra four bucks to get DVR with their cable service. But what if you said to the cable guy, "Hey why do I need to spend four more bucks when I already have a VCR, and I know how to program it?" And then the cable guy shrugs because he knows how wrong you are, and also that he will be back, at a price, and with a lot more inconvenience to you. And then on a night like this, when you need the VCR, you suddenly realize that the damn thing won't work with a cable box unless you tape the thing you are watching. In other words, you can't tape one show and watch another. It would make sense for you to be able to do that, but I'm now informed that you cannot. Which is a real pisser. So the only solution, until the cable guy can be recalled, is to watch 24, and then tape the CNBC re-run of The Apprentice on Wednesday. Synonyms: bind, catch-22, difficulty, fix, impasse, jam, mess, perplexity, pickle, plight, predicament, problem, quandary.

Posted by annika, Feb. 27, 2006 | link | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

February 22, 2006

American Idol Blogging: The Guys

Patrick: Not bad looking in a Tom Greene sort of way. His neck is as long as a giraffe's. He picked an Etheridge song??? Slow start, but he picked it up. A solid journeyman performance. Not spectacular.

Looks like Seacrest traded the gingham Maryann shirt for an Alexander Julian knock-off. I wonder if he shops at Marshall's. You know you can get some really cheap designer looking clothes at Marshall's. Not that I'd ever shop there.

David the crooner: Funny, the first guy sings Etheridge, the second guy sings Freddy Mercury. Is there a pattern forming? WTF? OMG! he sucks! It will be hard for anyone to drop a performance worse than that one. He's like the drunk guy on karaoke night. I agree with Randy totally. That was seriously horrible.

Bucky: He's a good looking kid. Let's see what he can do. He's been off key for most of the song. Crap. So far this night has been amateur hour. Did I just hear this guy stutter?

Simon is being nicer tonight than usual.

Will: Reminds me of Bobby Brady or Seth from the OC. When he was in the final two, I thought Sid should have made it instead of him. Ha ha. Nice moves, kid. His voice is not up to this Jackson 5 song, but I like his energy. I see some potential. The most memorable performance so far. Lol, Paula agrees, definitely Bobby Brady.

Sway: He's going to sing "Reasons." Another one of my favorite songs ever, so i'm nervous for him. The song is to high for him. That velvet jacket must have cost him a pretty penny. He's butchering the song. Too bad, because Sway had a good voice in the auditions.

Interesting side note (or not): Did you ever notice that the Cingular Wireless commercials always show five bars? Yet I've never seen an actual phone with more than four bars.

That guy who does the CareerBuilder.com commercials with all the chimps is one brave dude. Those fuckers will eat your face off. Chimps are not nice animals.

Chris the bald guy: He's one of my early favorites from the auditions. He's going to sing Bon Jovi. Cool performance. Excellent rocker voice. Best so far. Simon was wrong, he does have charisma.

Kevin from historic Levittown: What will his D&D buddies say if Kevin makes the big time? "*sniff* hnn hey Kevin. Can I run your character hnn while you're in Hollywood, *sniff* hnn?" When Simon said his performance was vocally excruciating, Kevin's mom looked upset, but dad's expression was like "You know, he has a point there."

You know what? I really like the fact that Becky is so supportive of every guy who gets up there. Did you see her gettin' totally into Kevin's performance? Good for her.

Gideon: This dude talks like a preacher, it's funny. He's singing "Shout?" lol. "Can we dance with your dates?" haha! There were no flashes of greatness in that performance. But he's got potential, given the right song. Don't let Simon get in your head, dude. You have a nice smile.

Eliot Yao Ming: He don't look Chinese. His performance was A'ight. One of the best tonight sure, but that's not saying much. He'll do okay until they get down to twelve. But he's got to bring it up a notch to make it all the way. Simon is whacked. This guy is not the best male vocalist they've ever had, that's just plain off.

Bobby: "Copacabana?" That was fun. He has a real Nathan Lane meets John Goodman appeal to him. I agree with Paula, it looks like he totally commits to whatever he does.

Did you notice they got two singers left and 25 minutes to fill? When I was doing plays, I always sang faster on opening night.

Ace: He is stunning. And Ace Young is such a great rock and roll name. Average vocals, which seem stellar compared to tonight's competition. But I'll predict right now that he will be a finalist. Easy. My suggestion for Ace is to make sure the word "naked" appears in every song he sings this season.

Taylor: This guy is the biggest character in a cast full of characters. "Levon" is about family values?! I think he needs to pay more attention to the lyrics. I'm pulling for Taylor. I became a big fan when he took the long walk playing a harmonica. However, I fear his look is too old for the average AI voter.

If I was going to vote for anybody tonight, it would be Chris though.

Posted by annika, Feb. 22, 2006 | link | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

February 21, 2006

American Idol Blogging: The Ladies

Mandisa from Sacramento. This girl can bring it. She's 29 too. Let's hear it for the older girls. The Heart song shows versatility; no one expected her to go Rock right out of the gate. Simon is absolutely right, she has thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the girls. Mandisa will be a factor.

Kelly from, Abermarle North Carolina. Cute, small town girl, yada yada yada. I sense that she does not have the emotional toughness to dig down and fight when it comes to the later rounds. But then, did Carrie? Maybe not, but this girl does not have Carrie's voice.

Becky. Too glamour girlish. Guys will love her, girls will hate her. She's frickin annoying too. She relies on too many vocal gimmicks, and she's not that good a singer. Springseen is not for her, either. Bad choice of songs.

Ayla, the athletic chick. She's so tall, I think she could hurt Ryan. I actually like her voice, despite her overuse of the vibrato. I also liked her black outfit. I just don't see her making it into the top two or three. Plus, she thinks she can divide her attention between basketball and AI. I wouldn't be surprised if she were forced to make a choice sometime in the next few weeks. Smiling more would definitely help her chances.

Paris. This girl can also bring it on. Oh and one of my favorite songs in the entire world too, "Midnight Train To Georgia." She has a little trouble with the lower register. But she's having a hell of a good time up there. The judges gush over her. I like her too.

Stevie, Sacramento representin' again. Opera training, multilingual. Where's her breath control? Nervous I guess. I'm such an armchair singer, like I wouldn't sound like shit up there. But as Randy might say, dude that was not good. Why would she pick such a crappy song?

Brenna. I predict this girl is going to bug the shit out of America. And she picks "You Are the Sunshine of My Life?!" Let's see how she does. Okay. Predictably, a bad song choice, and her attitude is all wrong. It's a ballad, what is she doing? I don't know what she's doing. That was shit, dude. Nice grille though. Her ortho did a great job.

Heather. If I didn't know her name, and I had to guess it after taking one look at her, I would guess Nicole. But my second guess would be Heather. I like her personality. But the girl is a shower singer. Her boobs are worth ten thousand votes, and her voice is not ready for prime time. Boring fucking song. And what's with all the altos this year? Lets hear some more sopranos.

Melissa. She's got a different look than the rest of the beauty queens. I'm glad she decided to go brunette. Another alto, but I like the throaty quality to her voice. She's more comfortable at the low end of the spectrum, and she can belt it too. If she picks the right songs, she can go far. At first, I would have said this was a safe song choice, but she nailed it. I agree with Paula, amazing.

Wow, Melissa said she has never been shown on AI until now? I find that hard to believe. Those shows were taped and pre-edited. I can't understand how they could fail to show one of the final twenty four at least once.

Lisa, the sixteen year old. Very pretty and sings good too. A little "pitchy." She's trying to work the crowd. I expected better from her tonight. She'll make it into the middle rounds at least, though. She's got heart.

What drugs is Paula on this year? They're totally different than the ones she was on last year. She's too mellow. I think I liked the hyper Paula better.

Kinnik. I miss Vonzell, and I think the judges did too. Holy crap. When I heard she picked Oleta, I said forget it. But I was way wrong. That was the performance of the night for me. I'm sorry the judges are all whacked. I didn't hear no sharps. Even still, better sharp than flat on that song.

Katharine. A little advice honey. You might want to re-think the whole emulating Barbra thing. As Walter Matthau once said of her: "Great talent... difficult person." She can sing, but it wasn't a standout for me. She does this strange dancing thing. It's weird, like she's having a seizure or something. Dude, she was up there but she was not the best of the best tonight. I'd say she was like number five, maybe six.

Posted by annika, Feb. 21, 2006 | link | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

February 13, 2006

The First Rule Of 24

A hostile with key information is a hostile down.

Posted by annika, Feb. 13, 2006 | link | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

February 08, 2006

Memo To Sound Board Operator At The Grammys

You suck.

(One of many examples: Sly's first public appearance in 13 years and you'd think they might have shown the man more respect. Or didn't you think people would want to hear the vocals?)

Update: See pictures of Sly's sweet hairdo at Tony's.

Posted by annika, Feb. 8, 2006 | link | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

February 03, 2006

Dancing Blogging

Admit it, Casca. You got a little-teary eyed when Tia got booted.

And Barry is great.

Posted by annika, Feb. 3, 2006 | link | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

January 30, 2006

Dark Days In Television History

April 27, 1995: The first appearance of the David Puddy character on Seinfeld.

Nothing against Patrick Warburton. I was just watching a Seinfeld rerun tonight -- the face-painting episode -- and it finally dawned on me. The decline of Seinfeld's writing definitely coincided with the emergence of the Puddy character. By season seven it had stopped being a show about nothing and become a show about callousness, thus jumping the shark.

Posted by annika, Jan. 30, 2006 | link | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

January 25, 2006

My First AI Post Of The New Season

1. Have you noticed how touchy and flirty the guys are with Paula this season?

2. Put me in the column of folks who are bored with the Diva voice.

3. The Sacramento area representin' tonight - embarassingly. What was with that MJ impersonator they passed? Eeek. And that dude from Elk Grove who tried to sing Clay? Bwahahaha.

Posted by annika, Jan. 25, 2006 | link | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

January 24, 2006

Unsolicited Advice For The New CW Network

We already got a country and western network on cable. It's called CWT. Not everyone likes country music, but I have a solution, which should help bring in more viewers.

Add David Gilmour to the Gilmore Girls' cast. This will bring in the casual rock & roll viewer who would otherwise channel surf past the CW network.

On a somewhat unrelated subject, Time Warner cable service sucks logs. Comcast is way better.

I would also suggest tinkering with the names of some of CW's sitcoms. Smallville should be changed to Well-hungville, to capture the more discerning female viewer. And Everybody Hates Chris should be Everybody Loves Chris. Why would I want to watch if you're already telling me I'm not going to like the main character? And it goes without saying that America's Top Model should be changed to America's Top Nude Model, or maybe America's Top Drunk Nude Model. That's a no-brainer and a sure ratings getter.

Finally, fire Les Moonves. I don't like him, and I never know how to pronounce his last name. It sounds like he should have been a character on WKRP.

Posted by annika, Jan. 24, 2006 | link | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

January 19, 2006

Dancing Blogging, The Sequel

Jerry: Posture, dude. Stop watching your partner. You can do better. My mom still loves you.

Giselle: Wow. Another nice routine. I love the tango. It's so fun with a partner who knows what he's doing. The judges are whack. She did good.

Drew & Cheryl: If Drew shows improvement every week, it's because Cheryl is probably the best pro on the show. And he's coachable. Only negative: he wasn't in synch at times (no pun intended).

Aside: I checked out that skating show last night, expecting it to be better, but it was not as entertaining as this dancing show.

George: He's so funny. But that was not good. No posture. No movement. By the way, is he Warren Beatty's long lost brother, or what?

Lisa: Casca is right about her lips. I thought she did fine. I love the bubble-gum flapper suit. I could not pull it off, but my friend Betty would totally wear something like that. She's curvy like Lisa Rinna. I wonder if that outfit is for sale at Lisa's store?

Stacy: I send my boyfriend out of the room when she's on. Fantastic. Best tango of the night so far. The ringer didn't disappoint. The judges suck.

Master P: He's like Kobe, uncoachable. When he dances, I want to leave the room. I could tell he was trying harder this week, but it's hopeless. He dances worse than my brother. On the other hand, the judges still suck.

Tia: Schwing! Better than Stacy's! The best choreographed routine of the night, too. That dorky judge said: "a little too much of an Argentinian flavor." WTF? Isn't that a good thing when doing a tango?

Final thoughts: The best jive was Drew's and the best tango was Tia's. Master P should probably be eliminated tomorrow night.

Posted by annika, Jan. 19, 2006 | link | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

January 12, 2006

Dancing Blogging

Lisa Rinni: cute, but no cigar.

Drew Lachey: ho-hum.

Tia: I think the chick judge is propping her scores up. Much better this week though.

I'm becoming a big George Hamilton fan. He's having the most fun out there and he refuses to take himself seriously.

Tatum Oneal: did she just flash a cameltoe?

Jerry: love that guy. Great routine too. Nice job.

Wrestler chick: her bod adds 1 to 2 points to her score. It's not fair. She's got to be gettin it on with the dude. I can tell.

Master P: ironically, he could use a little more hip-hop in his step.

Giselle Fernandez: nice abs, but who is she? Is she a celebrity? I thought hers was the best choreographed of the night.

Update: My mom, who previously could never be bothered with anything football related, now announces that she has a crush on Jerry Rice.

Posted by annika, Jan. 12, 2006 | link | Comments (25) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

December 03, 2005

Big Day In Rock & Roll History

Today is the 37th anniversary of Elvis Presley's 1968 Comeback Special, a legendary event in music history.


From NME.com:

By the mid-'60s, The King was washed-up, so his detractors claimed. The world was being wowed by the experimentalism of The Beatles, the Stones' dirty rock'n'roll, the string-drenched sonic onslaught of Phil Spector. Presley was a distant memory, an anachronism, remembered mainly for his decline from hip-swivelling slick-haired rock Adonis to slightly campy balladeer sleepwalking through a string of bad movies. Then, in 1968, after years absent from live performance, Elvis decided to put on a show in Las Vegas, go back to his musical roots, perform some rock'n'roll standards with a stripped-down band, recapture the raw energy that characterized his '50s heyday.

It should've been a disaster - like, who was this old nark with his bad hair and blues standards? But no! He gathered together a coterie of brilliant musicians, including ace guitarist James Burton, slung on a leather jacket and a six-string, and got up onstage and blew everyone away.

He kicked off with 'Blue Suede Shoes', went on to do 'The Wonder Of You' which stayed at Number One in the UK for six weeks, joked with the band, improvised, messed around, looked cool, and won millions of fans back. From then on, until his death in '77, he remained The King, and his crown was never threatened again.

Posted by annika, Dec. 3, 2005 | link | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts & History

December 02, 2005

Apprentice Blogging

My money is on Randall. He's a team player, who knows when to lead, and when to play the supporting role. His past mistakes have not stuck to him. The chick, on the other hand, will always be remembered for her ill-advised loyalty to that loser friend of hers in one of the earlier episodes. She's good, but can Trump expect that she'll never make another judgment call like that?

It seems this season can't end soon enough for Trump. He axed two last night. Anybody know if the show's been picked up for another season? i think Trump's getting bored with it, like the show is one of his ex-wives.

Posted by annika, Dec. 2, 2005 | link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

November 30, 2005

Jack's Back

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

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

Link via Dawn.

Posted by annika, Nov. 30, 2005 | link | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

November 22, 2005

World's Greatest Old TV Show Themes

For no particular reason.

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

Honorable mention goes to:

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

Most Over-rated theme songs:

The Monkees
The Brady Bunch
The Addams Family
The Jeffersons

Posted by annika, Nov. 22, 2005 | link | Comments (18) | TrackBack (1)
Rubric: Arts

October 26, 2005

Invasion Blogging

Swamp fishing for a giant golden spermatozoon?

i gave this show its one chance, and it failed miserably.

Posted by annika, Oct. 26, 2005 | link | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

October 20, 2005

Apprentice Blogging

Is it me, or does Zenthrura sound like the stupidest fucking idea for a movie you've ever heard?

And it got made?! My rabbits in space idea is like ten times better.

Posted by annika, Oct. 20, 2005 | link | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

October 19, 2005

My New Least Favorite Commercial

Ameriprise Financial.

Oooh look at the old hippie-turned-yuppie. He still surfs and drives a VW bus. Groovy.

Buncha freakin clueless narcissistic hypocrites. i guess they don't want my business.

Update: Am i alone? i don't think so. Here's another.

Posted by annika, Oct. 19, 2005 | link | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

October 17, 2005

The Colbert Report

First episode: strong.

Second episode: inspired.

Posted by annika, Oct. 17, 2005 | link | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

October 12, 2005

The Next George Lazenby?

The rumor now is that Daniel Craig may be the next James Bond. i thought Pierce Brosnan had a few more movies left in him, but what do i know. Daniel Craig is not someone whose name i recognize and in this article he appears blonde. IMDb says he played Ted Hughes in Sylvia, that depressing Sylvia Plath biography with Gwynneth Paltrow. i thought he was good in that role, and Hughes being such a controversial figure he must have had to walk a fine line. Craig was also in the first Tomb Raider, but i can't remember his character.

i say again, what was wrong with Pierce Brosnan?

Posted by annika, Oct. 12, 2005 | link | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

September 22, 2005

Apprentice Blogging

Apprentice blogging will get me through this slump.


Apprentice blogging will get me through this slump.

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

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

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

Dear Father,

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


Posted by annika, Sep. 22, 2005 | link | Comments (26) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

September 20, 2005

Graphic Novel Idea

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don't steal my idea.

Posted by annika, Sep. 20, 2005 | link | Comments (17) | TrackBack (3)
Rubric: Arts

September 19, 2005

After Seinfeld

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

Posted by annika, Sep. 19, 2005 | link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

August 22, 2005

Reflections On A '95 St. Supery Cab

i'm no wine expert, but i'll give it a try. i emailed Pursuit, who is the unofficial sommelier of annika's journal, and asked him if it was time to drink that $12 bottle of '95 St. Supery Cabernet i'd been holding onto. He responded thusly:

I'd suggest that you drink it pretty soon.

I hope you've kept it on its side

i had.
and in a reasonably cool place.
No place is cooler than wherever i am.
While some reds can be great beyond ten years, my guess is the St Supery is probably in its sweet spot now.
So i tried it with beef this weekend and, while it's not Silver Oak, it was good.

(If you're ever in Napa, i recommend the St. Supery winery tour. Very informative.)

As for the '95, i liked it. Almost rust in color, plum and berry predominates, and there was no trace of tannin. A hint of oak [i have no idea what i'm talking about, btw] and big but not overly complex. All in all, a good $12 investment.

Tasted good tooo.

Update: Although i have no idea what a tannin is, this pro seemed to agree with me that the '95 didn't have any.

Posted by annika, Aug. 22, 2005 | link | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

August 21, 2005

See, i'm Not The Only Girl Sinatra Fan

So is Robyn, of North American Patriot. Here's a great tribute.

Posted by annika, Aug. 21, 2005 | link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

August 12, 2005

Jazz CD Recommendation

annika's musical revue

i don't know if any of you take my advice on music, but here's one anyway. Dizzy Gillespie's 1959 recording, Have Trumpet, Will Excite.

i love Dizzy. i'm going to name my son after him. "Not "Dizzy," but "John Birks." How does "John Birks Rodriguez" sound?

The personnel on this record are not well known to me, but they sound great together. i'm especially impressed by the piano player Junior Mance. Check out the first tune for some great piano work.

The second tune, "My Man," is fun with its long moody intro, which leads to a bouncy piece that references two other unlikely classics "O Solo Mio" and "Moten Swing." Dizzy's great sense of humor is on display in this one.

"Moonglow" is a standard, and here it features a long swinging flute solo by Les Spann. On "St. Louis Blues," Spann switches to jazz guitar for another uptempo solo.

"Woody 'n' You" is a Gillespie written tune that always swings no matter who does it, even more so when the author is blowing. High note fans, like myself, should be happy with the man's solo.

"Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams" is another standard, with Dizzy blowing a muted trumpet up and down the scales. It's also the longest song at 7:13.

The next song is "There Is No Greater Love." The title sounds like something Coltrane might have written during his religious years, so i checked the liner notes. But no, it was written by Isham Jones, an old bandleader from the 20's and 30's, who should win the award for "white musician with the most black sounding name." Dizzy's version is a romantic tempo song that's probably the best thing on this CD.

The rest of the CD is three more alternate takes of "No Greater Love" and two alternate takes of "I Found A Million Dollar Baby In A Five And Ten Cent Store." i don't know why Verve does this. It's not like you're getting more music, since the alternate takes don't sound any different to my ear.

But if you're into jazz at all, take my advice, this is a pretty decent CD.

Posted by annika, Aug. 12, 2005 | link | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

August 09, 2005

Quick And Dirty Tom Yam Gong

Fans of Thai cuisine know what i'm talking about. If you get the urge for some spicy Thai shrimp soup, but don't want to leave the house, here's what you do. And it only costs pennies.

You need the following items:

Top Ramen Picante Shrimp flavor
can 'o' shrimp
1 teaspoon fresh milled black pepper
half a can of generic brand veg-all
half a can 'o' mushrooms
Soy Vay Island Teriyaki sauce, maybe 3 tablespoons or more
dash of chilli powder, Durkee seasoning or Mrs. Dash
lime juice if you got it, but who has lime juice?

Alright, don't be tellin' me this is not real Tom Yam Gong. i know that. The real shit has lemon grass and big shrimp and those really really hot peppers and is served over a little flame to keep it simmering. i love it when it's so hot it makes you cough. My recipe is fake Tom Yam Gong with noodles, but it can hold you over when you're real poor or real lazy.

Don't skimp on the Ramen flavor, that's essential. It must be Nissin's Picante Shrimp. Also, i wouldn't substitute any other brand of Teriyaki sauce, but that's me. i love Soy Vay's stuff and use it all the time in lots of recipes.

i favor Durkee seasoning and Mrs. Dash instead of Lawry's or other season salts because there's less sodium. Mrs. Dash is especially good on any Asian style soup, i think.

So anyways, the construction of this quick and dirty recipe is simple. Boil 2 cups water, add the noodles, and cook uncovered for three minutes. When that's done, turn off the heat and add everything else. Let it sit covered for a few minutes to heat everything through. Or, you can simmer a little bit longer, but that tends to overcook the noodles.

Enjoy with a beer.

Posted by annika, Aug. 9, 2005 | link | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

August 04, 2005

Cornet Chop Suey

Today is Louis Armstrong's birthday.


Don't forget to listen to a Louis Armstrong song today.

Posted by annika, Aug. 4, 2005 | link | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

July 30, 2005

This Day In Military History

Today is the 141st anniversary of the Battle of the Crater. If you don't know what that is, i suggest renting Cold Mountain tonight. i love that movie.

Anyways, the Battle of the Crater was one of the craziest episodes of the Civil War. It was an idea that should have worked in theory, but in execution was fucked up from start to finish. If you think of all the Federal blunders committed during the Civil War, it's a wonder we're not two countries today. But we stuck it out, thanks to a man named Abraham Lincoln, whose resolve did not waver despite innumerable setbacks and intense opposition to the war.

Speaking of Civil War films, one movie that i saw recently, which doesn't get enough credit as a fabulous CW movie, is The Horse Soldiers from 1959. It was directed by John Ford, and starred John Wayne and Bill Holden. i think that's all you'd need to know in order to go rent it ASAP.

Posted by annika, Jul. 30, 2005 | link | Comments (10) | TrackBack (2)
Rubric: Arts & History

July 27, 2005

Over There

If you, like me, were impressed by tonight's premier of FX's Over There, there's one thing we should both remember. Forty Americans died and 426 were wounded, most of them seriously, in the real life "over there" this month. Actors get paid big bucks and go on talk shows when their work day is through. While those who have volunteered to protect you and me in Iraq and Afghanistan don't get that kind of fame or money, but their sacrifices are real.

i hope the show stays centered on the American experience. i was happy to see that they did not try, at least in tonight's episode, to put a human face on the enemy or tell "their side." Let Ted Koppel and his buddies at Al Jazeera do that; there's enough relativism in the media as it is. i also did not detect any overt political messages, either right or left.

i imagine some observers might be upset that not every character was Tom Hanks. i don't mind that kind of realism in war movies. As a war movie fan, i like the Adam Baldwins and Nick Noltes the best. These are the complex characters who may seem like assholes with less than honorable motivations, but they get shit done. i bet there are lots of them in real life and thank God for it.

i'm also not bothered by Over There's portrayal of soldiers complaining about the Army. i'm not a veteran -- and i know that many of my visitors are, so correct me if i'm wrong -- but soldiers always gripe about the military. And there's always some incompetence and poor decision-making in any organization. Hell, does everything run smoothly at your job? It doesn't at my job, that's for sure. People who point to mistakes made in wartime as a reason to surrender are simply people who don't know what the fuck they're talking about.

So overall, i thought tonight's episode was pretty good, and i would say that if the rest of the series follows the same tone it should help our war effort. Which is more than i can say about anything else i see on tv that's war related.

[cross-posted at A Western Heart]

* If you're interested, you can read about the latest disgusting media attempt to demonize an American soldier here. Also, you might be interested to know that a soldier who used a dog to frighten some detainees might spend more time in jail than the convicted LAX Millenium bomber.

Posted by annika, Jul. 27, 2005 | link | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

July 05, 2005

Them's Fighting Words...

Tony Pierce on Jack Kerouac:

first of all if i get called a hipster again im going to move out of los feliz. i dont drink coffee i dont wear man purses, yes im intentionally bald but only because the girls love it. i dont wear white belts. ive worn the same pair of shoes every day for three years. i dont listen to my bloody valentine radiohead coldplay or sleater kinney outside of bars talking about new order. fuck mac fuck jamba juice fuck coffee bean and fuck the nu art. fuck cinespace fuck silverlake fuck vice fuck piercings fuck the return of cocaine and fuck vinyl.

so definately fuck jack fucking kerouac

the pretty facade of the beats. who didnt have the genius of ginsberg, the creativity of ferlinghetti, or the muscle of burroughs.

simply put keourac is the simple plan of pop, hes the costas of broadcasting, hes the jay leno of late night. popular but empty. soft and spineless.

every time that someone compares on the road to huck finn mark twain gets to travel to hell and poke jack kerouac in the fucking eye.

his stories arent sexy theyre not funny theyre not enlightening theyre not innovative and history has not been kind to him.

howl alone dwarfs the entire kerouac catalogue, justly, and hollywood has yet to fully exploit burroughs, so wheres that leave your boy? in history books solely. one hit wonder. lucky to be there. neal cassadys buddy. period.

charles bukowski singlehandedly could take on a army of jack kerouacs, and he provided likeable characters. when you put all your eggs in one basket, that of making yourself the main character, you better hope that people will like you and will be rooting for you. sal paradise? give me henry chinaski and an ugly girl.


i read On The Road years ago and for a few weeks it almost changed my life. Almost. i love Bukowski, but he never had that effect on me. Still, Kerouac never made me laugh like Buk can. i didn't know which side to take in this controversy until i read this:

on the road makes me so happy that i was not on the road with jack kerouac. i first read it when i was riding couchettes through europe as i was turning 21. it was a gift because thats what people give twenty year olds as they head across the pond for the first time. alone.

the second time i read it aloud to prisoners at gitmo who then flushed themselves down the toilet.

people read jack keroac because theyve never read william carlos williams's white mule or hems garden of eden.

its the same reason they listened to pearl jam.

Holy crap, Tony. That was so funny, i think you convinced me.

Posted by annika, Jul. 5, 2005 | link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Arts

June 05, 2005

Sucky CD Giveaway

i'm trying to clean out some stuff this afternoon and i found these in my closet. An old beau left them with me years ago. i hate throwing shit like this away. i could sell them on eBay, but that seems like a lot of trouble. So if anyone wants these six sucky CDs, i'll give them to you for free.


They are Chris Isaak's Heart Shaped World; The Lightning Seeds' Cloudcuckooland; k.d. lang's Ingénue; Sweet's The Best of Sweet; Roy Orbison's Mystery Girl; and Springsteen's Lucky Town. An eclectic mix.

Let me know if you want them by clicking here. Too late. We have a winner!

Posted by annika, Jun. 5, 2005 | link | Comments (8)
Rubric: Arts

May 22, 2005

Useless Grey's Anatomy Blogging

George and that nurse. What a bizarre couple.
He has no hair on his body. She has no lips.

Posted by annika, May. 22, 2005 | link | Comments (2)
Rubric: Arts

May 17, 2005

An Easy Choice

Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.
Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.
Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.
Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.
Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.
Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.
Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.
Brittany & Kevin or Law & Order.

sorry Brittany.

Posted by annika, May. 17, 2005 | link | Comments (6)
Rubric: Arts

May 07, 2005

Now We're Talkin' Real Pizza

My previous attempts at homemade pizza dough didn't turn out good at all. The bottom was never crispy enough, and the toppings made the top soggy. Boboli was a reasonable alternative, but it's not real pizza. So i was on the lookout for a better way.

Here's what came out of the oven tonight.


The secret is the pizza stone. i can't emphasize enough how essential this kitchen item is. Stick it in the oven first and preheat that bastard up to 500°, then sprinkle some cornmeal on it and slide the pizza on top. Then turn the heat down to 425° and cook for 18 minutes.

pizza closeup

That's mozarella, sun-dried tomato, pepperoni, mushroom, pineapple and crushed red pepper.

Perfecto. Bellisimo. Molto buono. Grazie T.S.!

Posted by annika, May. 7, 2005 | link | Comments (18)
Rubric: Arts

Things You Find On eBay

This is pretty funny.

Posted by annika, May. 7, 2005 | link | Comments (5)
Rubric: Arts

April 21, 2005

Apprentice Live Blogging

Got a late start. Missed the project assignments.

9:10 - Hey Net Worth, if the cell phone don't work, pick up a land line. That's a no brainer.

9:15 - Net Worth is making a tabouret. Magna a lazy susan.

9:25 - i'm waiting for Craig to throw a tape dispenser at Kendra. That would be funny.

9:28 - On second thought, that's not a tabouret, it's a credenza.

9:29 - Craig's doin' a verbal smackdown on Kendra. If they lose, Tana is golden in the boardroom. But Kendra has immunity, interesting. Craig has totally missed that key dynamic, which could be his undoing.

9:31 - No, i changed my mind again. Since it has wheels, it's a tabouret. It looks expensive too.

9:33 - Net Worth lost. Back to the ivory tower, boys.

9:35 - Haha, the Staples "Desk Apprentice" is actually for sale. i think it's stupid. Too big for most desks, plus you need to keep the area around it clear so it will spin, thus it takes up even more space.

9:39 - The rainbow room looks suweet. i just heard the male half of the tv audience let out an audible sigh of disappointment when Carolyn revealed she was married.

9:42 - It's traditional at my place to say "Trump" in unison when the boss walks into the boardroom.

9:43 - Can lawyers be creative? Sad to say, in my experience, mostly no.

9:45 - Alex, you're a loser, face it.

9:48 - i love that Jetta commercial where the dude's on a job interview and his car radio comes on accidentally and it's way too loud.

9:50 - Alex is the "hungriest person here." Should have had lunch before he went in. Brin has trouble "taking risks." Might have wanted to keep that to himself. Trump just smelled blood.

9:52 - "Branson went after me, I killed 'im. Cuban went after me, I killed 'im." Whoaaa. Nice trash talkin' Don. What about Martha, i wonder?

9:53 - It's Bren. He didn't want it. i just watched him commit boardroom hari-kari. Talkin' about how he'd rather be home with his kids. i can respect that. Oh well. Another bow-tie bites the dust.

9:59 - In the cab, did i hear Brin clicking his heels together three times?

Posted by annika, Apr. 21, 2005 | link | Comments (7)
Rubric: Arts

April 14, 2005

Apprentice Blogging

By far the best Apprentice episode of this season. It had everything: drama, tears, comedy, sex. Well maybe not sex, but Tana and Craig did sleep in the same room together, while Kendra was having orgasms over her brochure design.

Oh and by the way, i was blogging about the Solstice over a year ago. And i think the picture i took would have looked great on Net Worth's brochure. At least mine was in focus.

Posted by annika, Apr. 14, 2005 | link | Comments (4)
Rubric: Arts

April 13, 2005

Funniest Reality TV Quote Of The Year...

"Only in a America can a black man have a Rolex, drive a Audi, and y'all be workin' at Burger King."

--Burger King drive through patron, upon seeing Paris and Nicole working the window.

Runners up:


--Simon Cowell to Anthony Federov.

"Are you not a homosexual?"

"Sir, I am not a homosexual."

--Boardroom exchange between Trump and hotheaded Chris.

Posted by annika, Apr. 13, 2005 | link | Comments (8)
Rubric: Arts

April 11, 2005

The Great Moussaka Experiment 2005

annika's Great Moussaka Experiment 2005 is underway as i write this. Recipe from my Greek roommate's mom. Fingers crossed. Pictures to follow.

Here it is.


The result was a little disappointing. Nowhere close to being as good as Charissa's mom's. After some dispute, we decided to make it a vegetarian moussaka, but i still think it needs the meat filling. i sliced the eggplant too thin for one thing. Also, there was too much liquid, so we should have used a slotted spoon to add the filling. The cheesy top crust was the best part though.

Posted by annika, Apr. 11, 2005 | link | Comments (7)
Rubric: Arts

March 29, 2005

Tuesday TV Thoughts

i'm a huge Nadia fan. i love her style. But she was flat tonight. i mean she wasn't in key. It was painful.

i had high hopes for Anwar when he auditioned. He's a voice teacher, but Randy is right. He's not been good for quite a few weeks in a row, and only saves himself with some big notes at the end.

Carrie. i've been expecting her to do "Independence Day" ever since she auditioned. That was like a given. i think she sewed up the Sean Hannity audience tonight.

Scott. Ho-hum. Federov. Yawn.

Niko. i'm with Randy. That was a'ight. Just a'ight.

Have you tried that Coke with lime yet? Too sweet for my taste.

Do you miss Mikalah? Me neither.

Constantine's appeal is too narrow to hold much longer.

Vonzell has a black belt? That's not surprising, 'cuz she's kicked ass two weeks in a row now. Carrie was good, but not as good as Martina. Vonzell was absolutely just as good as Whitney on her song tonight.

In my mind, Bo, Vonzell and Carrie are the front runners.

House, Scrubs or Jim? Please, isn't there anything better on Tuesday night? The Amazing Race is out, because i've reached my tolerance limit for reality tv.

i could always study. There's a thought.

Posted by annika, Mar. 29, 2005 | link | Comments (4)
Rubric: Arts

March 27, 2005

Useful Easter Egg Blogging

Happy Easter. Here is my quick recipe for Eggs Benedict, fashioned when i didn't have all the proper ingredients or a lot of time. But i think my substitutions make it a little better.

2 eggs
sourdough baguette
thin sliced ham or turkey sandwich meat
Knorr's hollandaise sauce
pepper jack cheese <-- the key
fresh ground pepper
Poach the eggs 4 to 5 minutes and prepare the hollandaise sauce according to the directions. Slice the baguette into inch thick slices. Toast the slices.

Spread margarine lightly on one side of the baguette slices. arrange the meat on top. Plop the egg on the meat next. Pour a few tablespoons of the hollandaise on next. Then crumble the pepper jack on top and sprinkle with roughly ground pepper.

The secret to any eggs benedict dish is simultaneity. The various ingredients cool down so fast that you have to time things right to get it all together and eat it while it's still hot. Or, you can always assemble it and hit it with the microwave before you dig in.

By the way, i tried Rachael Ray's method for perfect hard boiled eggs this morning and it worked beautifully. Cover the eggs with cold water; as soon as it starts boiling, turn the heat off; cover and wait ten minutes. That's it. Perfecto.

Posted by annika, Mar. 27, 2005 | link | Comments (6)
Rubric: Arts

March 19, 2005

Book Meme Tag Thingie

i'm honored that Candace tagged me for this Book Meme Thingie, which originated at The Pink Bee. Here we go:

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

i never read Farenheit 451 either. i read one book by Kurt Vonnegut, and i figure that should take care of any obligation i have to read Bradbury. Anyways i did a quick google search for books mentioned in F451, which led me to: Alice's Adventues in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Totally re-readable, and one of the first real books i ever read. (As opposed to books with lots of pictures.)

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Not really. i guess the closest i came would be Dean Moriarty from Kerouac's On The Road. i was more in love with the book itself, which threatened to change my life totally for about a year after i read it. That was my celebrated hippie phase. i loved the way he looked at things; he never seemed to miss the inherent coolness in any experience.

The last book you bought is:

Fiction: American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. Non-fiction: His Excellency by Joseph J. Ellis, whose historical biographies are always more about ideas than people. School related: Emanuel's Criminal Procedure.

The last book you read:

I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe. Flawed, it was. And thick as a casebook. Still, Tom Wolfe has this way of describing contemporary culture in a way that makes you feel like you're seeing it for the first time, as a visitor from outer space or the future would. There were a few vignettes that were strangely familiar, too.

What are you currently reading?

American Gods is in my school bookbag. Also, on my bedside table is the volume of Robert Frost poetry Matt sent me. And on a little table in the garage where i smoke cigarettes is The Crossley Baby, which sucks, but i'm trying to finish it. Next to the toilet is Watercolor School by Hazel Harrison.

Five books you would take to a deserted island.

1. Like Candace and Ginger, i would take the Good Book
2. The Brothers Karamazov.
3. Robinson Crusoe, which is an obvious choice isn't it? It could double as a survival manual.
4. i like Ginger's idea of Swann's Way. But i would take the whole Remembrance of Things Past set. There's no telling when i'll be rescued.
5. From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun. A history of the last five hundred years, which i started last year, but put down.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

i pick four: Matt, Paul, Weggy and Sheila, because i know i'll be fascinated by anything they say.

Posted by annika, Mar. 19, 2005 | link | Comments (3)
Rubric: Arts

March 17, 2005

Happy St. Patrick's Day

i notice that a few bloggers have posted pictures of their favorite Irish beverage in celebration of today's holiday.

Eric posted about Caffrey's, a brew i have not yet sampled.

Preston posted about that old standby, Guinness, a brew that i am all too familiar with. And if Matt were still posting regularly, i know he'd put up a Guinness photo, too.

Here's my Irish brew of choice:


Slightly bitter, a hint of cocoa, very complex on the palate. Murphy's Stout makes Guinness taste like water by comparison.

No beverage pics at Sheila's but she's got a bevy of great St. Patrick's day posts, as i expected. i'm still eagerly awaitin' to see what the Irish Lass will post. And Happy Anniversary to Dizzy Girl Gennie and her hubbie!

Update: Ted wants a Corona. A Corona?! i won't even drink that shit on cinco de Mayo.

And the best St. Patrick's Day gift of all: bad-ass John is back! With a post on his drink of choice to boot!

Now, if we could just work on Bill at Bloviating Inanities.

Update 2: i almost missed Michele's Guinness Ice Cream recipe until just now. Don't you miss it.

Posted by annika, Mar. 17, 2005 | link | Comments (14)
Rubric: Arts

March 15, 2005

An Idol Mind

Bo Bice made a believer out of me tonight. But i'm still sayin' Nadia Turner is the next American Idol.

And Constantine is way cute. He did a nice job with that Three Dog Night song. Or was that Blood, Sweat and Tears?

i feel sorry for Vonzell. She's got a great voice, but trying to do Dionne is like trying to do a Sinatra song. It's impossible to listen to without comparing it to the master.

Mikalah gave up on the competition weeks ago. i think she's as surprised as anyone that she's still there.

Anwar had an unusually bad night. Anthony and Scott did well, without standing out. Lindsey should be gone by all rights; she's totally out of her league.

Which one is Carrie and which one is Jessica? Aren't they the same person?

And Nikko is back, but not for long, i predict.

Posted by annika, Mar. 15, 2005 | link | Comments (4)
Rubric: Arts

March 12, 2005

New Book

i finally finished the Tom Wolfe book. Maybe i'll give you my mixed review later. Next up, based solely on the strength of Lorie's recommendation, i'm going to read American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Posted by annika, Mar. 12, 2005 | link | Comments (3)
Rubric: Arts

March 06, 2005

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Haven't seen that much tongue on tv since Huell Howser went to Canter's on Fairfax.

Posted by annika, Mar. 6, 2005 | link | Comments (7)
Rubric: Arts

February 28, 2005

Useless Bachelorette Blogging

So now that Jen gave up on this latest guy, can ABC please give up on The Bachelorette? i don't ever want to see that chipper asss on the tube ever again. Dude. Like how long can you stretch out 15 minutes?

i hardly ever watched this show, but i noticed tonight that Jen really has no sense of humor. i mean, can't they get a chick with some personality? Jerry is so much better off, he's not only a babe, but his great sense of humor would have been wasted on her.

Posted by annika, Feb. 28, 2005 | link | Comments (6)
Rubric: Arts

Useless 24 Blogging

i'm not sure why the writers of 24 felt it necessary to include the whole "Ms. Driscoll's crazy daughter" storyline, but i'm certain it was unnecessary for them to end it in such a predictably tragic way.

Now the law student in me asks why "the clinic" didn't use a stronger sedative when she started acting up, and why they didn't restrain her for her own safety. Come on, don't tell me the CTU clinic didn't have any spare restraints?

There's a wrongful death suit there, but how much is a schizophrenic dependent worth?

Posted by annika, Feb. 28, 2005 | link | Comments (3)
Rubric: Arts

The TV Commercial That Annoys The Shit Out Of Me...

...fortunately, i don't have a problem with irregularity, so i'm just pointlessly annoyed at that commercial with the chick getting dressed and her boyfriend or husband keeps playing that Eric Clapton song on his laptop, you know that song from Clapton's boring sucky phase (which in my opinion equals anything he did after Cream, and continues to this day), the part where he sings "she's wondering what clothes to wear . . . she's wondering what clothes to wear . . . she's wondering what clothes to wear . . . This evil commercial never fails to insert that awful song into my consciousness until i drift off to sleep, if i'm lucky.

Other commercials i hate include any in which chewing noises predominate, such as all the Carl's Jr. commercials and the new "Cheerios are good for babies too" spots, and also any commercial with kids singing.

Posted by annika, Feb. 28, 2005 | link | Comments (10)
Rubric: Arts

February 24, 2005

Robot Chicken

Don't forget to catch Robot Chicken tonight at 12:00 p.m. on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.

Here's the New York Daily News review:

Robot Chicken is the brainchild of actor Seth Green (Dr. Evil's son in the Austin Powers movies) and Internet stop-motion short filmmaker Matthew Senreich, and an outgrowth of their early, Sony-funded experiments with Internet animation.

The concept, fleshed out by head writers Doug Goldstein and Tom Root, is as weird as it is original: Imagine an SCTV sketch series poking fun at TV and film, but with animated action pictures and puppet likenesses playing all the parts.

The first Robot Chicken, co-created and co-directed by Green and Senreich, premiered Sunday night on Cartoon Network, and encores Thursday at midnight and 3 a.m.

Viewers may want to take a toy collector's approach to this show, by taping every one and trading with friends. This show's a keeper -- and definitely rewards repeated viewing, because some of the skits go by with such blinding speed, they're almost subliminal.

A puppet president doing a commercial that says, 'I'm George W. Bush, and I approved this message: Tacos rule!' -- five seconds.

The scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz, getting stabbed with a shiv in prison and bleeding straw -- eight seconds. The skit's title, which justifies the conceit: 'Oz.'

There are longer productions, too, ranging from a 'very special episode' of Transformers, which turns out to be a medical public service announcement starring Optimus Prime, to a delightfully accurate parody of the classic 'This is your brain on drugs' PSA spot, in which Rachael Leigh Cook trashes her apartment with a cast-iron frying pan.

In Robot Chicken, the real Cook provides the voice of her stop-animated puppet counterpart (cheaply superimposed cartoon mouths match up to the recorded dialogue), who continues her rampage outside the apartment -- for a very long, very funny drug-induced temper tantrum. It may be Cook's career-high performance, though that's not much of a compliment.

Other celebrity voices adding to the fun in the premiere include Macaulay Culkin, Seth Macfarlane, and lots of characterizations by Green.

i haven't seen the show, but this being Robot Week, i feel it is my duty.

Posted by annika, Feb. 24, 2005 | link | Comments (4)
Rubric: Arts

February 11, 2005

Poll Results

The poll results are in. You've decided that the best replacement for Dan Rather at the CBS Evening news is actor Keanu Reeves. With 63% of the vote, support for Mr. Reeves was more than five times that of his closest competitor, über-news-tart Kiki Couric.

Mr. Reeves' journalistic credentials are unclear, however many experts believe that CBS executives should not worry about a lack of news experience, given the current state of the CBS Nightly News' ratings and credibility.

Keanu Reeves, 40, is perhaps best known for his role as Neo, the stoic hero of the Matrix film trilogy. His other credits include Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, in which he played Ted, and Speed, opposite co-stars Dennis Hopper and Sandra Bullock. Others may remember Mr. Reeves best for his early starring role with River Phoenix in the 1991 film My Own Private Idaho.

Mr. Phoenix could not be reached for comment.

Posted by annika, Feb. 11, 2005 | link | Comments (4)
Rubric: Arts

February 10, 2005

TV Trivia

Without Googling: who did the voice of Pebbles Flintstone in the 1971-72 Saturday morning cartoon, The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show?

Hint: she's better known for her work on a night-time TV show, which also premiered in 1971.

And while we're on the subject. Does it seem strange to you that Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm grew up next door to each other, and their parents were best friends, but they ended up dating in High School? i mean, isn't that almost like dating your sibling? You'd think they'd want to branch out a little.

Posted by annika, Feb. 10, 2005 | link | Comments (8)
Rubric: Arts

January 16, 2005

Cheapo Wine Pick Of The Week

1999 Trinity Oaks Zinfandel, $4.99 at Bel Air Market. This is good shit. Tastes like a ten dollar bottle of wine. Looks and smells good too. The 1999 label isn't as pretty as the one pictured here, but don't let that fool you. At that price, i could drink two bottles tonight, but i won't.

Posted by annika, Jan. 16, 2005 | link | Comments (7)
Rubric: Arts

January 14, 2005

Just An Observation

It is impossible to listen to Louis Armstrong's 1931 recording of Stardust without tearing up. Trust me on this.

Posted by annika, Jan. 14, 2005 | link | Comments (1)
Rubric: Arts

January 13, 2005

Memo To The Makers Of The O.C.

Please tell the talent to stop chewing while talking. It doesn't project casual coolness, it's just gross. It doesn't matter how attractive the speaker/chewer is. Mouth sounds are gross, especially when amplified by a 5.1 home theater system.

Also, everybody in the real O.C. is Republican. Even the kids. So have a clue, and stop inserting those snide liberal one-liners into the dialogue.

On the other hand: Peter Gallagher singing? Not bad. Surprisingly good, actually.

Posted by annika, Jan. 13, 2005 | link | Comments (5)
Rubric: Arts

January 08, 2005

The Comfort Lunch

If today isn't a day for the comfort lunch, i don't know what is. Dark clouds, cold rain, wind, hangovers, and the unspoken subtext of impending grade announcements have quieted our little house of mirth here in the Big Valley. Times like this call for - no require - a grilled cheese and tomato soup lunch.

i still remember the afternoon my grandmother (on the German side, the midwestern side) disclosed to me to the secrets of her famous grilled cheese sandwich. She had a big house in the country, with chickens, ducks and bunnies in the back yard, and a big pyramid-shaped strawberry planter in the front.

(A short aside. My grandmother had a vegetable garden too. Besides the usual carrots, cabbage, potatoes, green onions, tomatoes and broccoli, she grew a thing called kohlrabi. It's a relative of the brussels sprout and cabbage family, with a fine German heritage. i must have been about six or seven when she cooked it for me and my brother during one of our weeklong rustic summer holidays (our parents would drop us off to get us out of their hair). i've never had or seen kohlrabi since, but the memory of it is bound tightly with my memories of Grandma and that garden. Now that's a comfort food.)

She also made the best italian salad dressing. But my grandmother's take on the classic grilled cheese was simple, which is as it should be. i've tinkered with it over the years, but the essentials are still there. Assemble these items:

(In a pinch, mayo can be substituted for margarine or butter. Mrs. Dash or another season salt can be substituted for cayenne, if you like.)

It's not about the ingredients, it's about technique.

First spread a thin coat of margarine over one side of each slice of bread. (Grandma always used real butter, of course.) Make sure to spread the margarine out to the edges of the crust. There should be no bare spots. You want the entire side of the bread covered because this will be the side of the bread that gets grilled.

Next lay the bread out, margarine side down, and cover each piece of bread with enough cheese that you can't see any bread underneath. If you're slicing the cheese, it should be medium thickness. Not too thick, but thick enough so some of it will melt out of the sandwich. the cheese will be doing two things here: enveloping the meat, and occasionally dripping onto the grill to create bits of fried cheesy crusty goodness.

Arrange whatever meat you're using on top of one piece of bread. The proper technique at this step is to create air pockets in the meat (if you're using thin sliced ham) for the cheese to melt into. i bunch up the ham into little flowerets to achieve this purpose. The ham should never be laid flat, because that just makes for a boring sandwich.

Now heat a nonstick pan until little drops of water splashed from your fingertips dance happily for a moment before evaporating. Keep the pan on medium heat. This recipe is not recommended for electric stovetops, because temperature control is the key to a perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

You might want to start the soup now. Campbell's tomato soup should be heated to a simmer, but never boiled. i like to add a half can of water only, although the instructions call for a whole can. Sometimes i'll mix in a dash of white pepper, and i garnish it with a sprinkle of dried oregano.

Back to the sandwich: sprinkle fresh ground pepper and cayenne pepper over the slice of bread with cheese on it, then carefully flip that slice over onto the slice with the ham. When the pan is ready, slap the sandwich down onto it making a "thwump" sound. It should immediately start to sizzle. The "thwump" and the sizzle are important; it's part of the whole comfort thing.

Do not leave the stove, while cooking. You need to peek under the sandwich and check its color constantly. A side is done when it's golden brown and speckled, never black. The pan should be hot enough to melt the cheese thoroughly, but not burn the bread. Too low, and you get a soggy sandwich. Too hot and it gets black on the outside before the cheese in the middle melts. Adjust the flame as needed.

Grilling the sandwich right is a slow and loving process. The perfect medium temperature is achieved with practice, when the globs of cheese reach down and begin frying on the pan at the exact moment that the first side is the perfect color, you have mastered the art of the grilled cheese.

After flipping, grill the other side until it's golden color matches the first side. Now for the fun part. Slide that baby onto a plate and, before eating, spread a thin coat of real horseradish (not cream sauce) over one side. Slice diagonally, park yourself on your favorite couch near your favorite coffee table, cuddling in your favorite comfort blanket, flip on the TV tuned to HGTV or some other favorite comfort program, and enjoy with soup.

Update: Here's a switch; i post a recipe, while the multi-talented Candace posts a poem!

Update 2: SWG brings us another grilled comfort food, for Elvis Day.

Posted by annika, Jan. 8, 2005 | link | Comments (7)
Rubric: Arts

January 05, 2005

Useless Alias Trivia Blogging

The exterior shot of the tunnel in Rio De Janeiro, where Sidney went to meet Tomazaki with the samurai sword, is actually the tunnel underneath Grand Avenue between the Los Angeles Music Center and the Los Angeles County Courthouse.

Bonus trivia: i think the mausoleum in Moscow, where Sidney's mother is buried, is actually the Westwood Cemetery, where Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood are buried.

Can you believe i only lived in LA for one year?

Posted by annika, Jan. 5, 2005 | link | Comments (3)
Rubric: Arts

January 03, 2005

Artie Shaw's Passing

The great bandleader and clarinetist Artie Shaw died last Thursday. i just read about it today and it reminded me of this old Poetry Wednesday post, where we discussed Artie Shaw in the comments section.

Posted by annika, Jan. 3, 2005 | link | Comments (0)
Rubric: Arts

December 20, 2004

Holiday Gift Advice For The Jazz Lover

annika's musical revue

Since both of my parents are big fans of traditional jazz, Derrick and i grew up hearing that music almost exclusively in the house. My listening tastes branched out when i got into high school, but now that i'm older, i find myself returning to the old standards more and more. i'm not an expert, but you might be surprised how many standards i can sing along to. And i probably have as many opinions on jazz as i do on popular music.

That's just my way of prefacing the following helpful hints for those visitors here who may have one or more jazz lovers on your gift giving list. Trust annika. i've built a pretty decent CD collection over the years and since the standards, by definition, never go out of style, i'd like to share some of my wisdom with you. Here are my recommendations from out of my own collection. i could never get tired of listening to any CD on this list.

Big Bands:

Kansas City, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - i never saw the movie, but this disk is full of loud, hella fun big band horns. The one Kevin Mahogany vocal is a highlight.

Slide Hampton & The Jazz Masters, Dedicated To Diz - i saw this band in concert at San Francisco's Masonic Hall. There's a back and forth battle of the high note trumpeters on one song that knocked me out when i heard it live. It is my number one favorite CD of my entire collection.

The Best of Woody Herman & His Big Band, The Concord Years
- This one features a trombone version of Round Midnight. Yes, trombone. But it's one of the best versions of that song i've heard.

Count Basie At Newport
- Basie, live. What more do you need to know? The all-star appearances include Lester Young, Jo Jones, Roy Eldridge and one of my favorite vocalists, the late Joe Williams.

Small Combos:

John Coltrane, My Favorite Things - The title song is my favorite Coltrane tune.

The Best of Bill Evans Live on Verve - A great selection of very romantic and soft piano standards.

Johnny Griffin, The Little Giant - i heard 63rd Street Theme on the radio once and i was compelled to rush to the nearest music store for this CD. i was not sorry. Puts me in the mood of being in the big city on a cold wintry day, i don't know why.

Wynton Marsalis, Standard Time, Vol.3: The Resolution Of Romance - One of the first jazz CDs i ever bought. Very romantic stuff, and brings back some nice personal memories every time i listen to it.


Mack The Knife, Ella In Berlin
- This classic jazz recording shows why Ella was and always will be the best, ever. She puts on a clinic.

Carmen McRae, Carmen Sings Monk
- Another classic jazz CD. The only way i can remember the names to any of Monk's instrumentals is to think about Carmen singing the words.

Sammy Davis Jr., The Sounds Of 66 - Anyone who likes Sammy will absolutely love this live recording from the Sands Hotel's Copa Room.

Mel Tormé, The Great American Songbook: Live at Michael's Pub - i got a ton of Mel Tormé, but this is my favorite.

Compilations, etc:

Duke Ellington, Reminiscing in Tempo - This is a great intro to the music of America's best composer. Some of it's in mono, but one of the stereo songs is an eight minute version of Come Sunday by Mahalia Jackson that brings tears to my eyes.

Frank Sinatra Sings The Select Rodgers & Hart - Every song is a winner.

The Essential Dinah Washington - My mom and Dad wore out the grooves to their Dinah Washington records when i was a kid, so when i finally bought my own CD, it was this one.

All The Things You Are: The Jerome Kern Songbook - Lots of different artists here; mostly hits and a few misses. But Ella's version of All The Things You Are is so beautiful i have to recommend it for that alone.

Posted by annika, Dec. 20, 2004 | link | Comments (5)
Rubric: Arts

June 23, 2004

Sal's Famous

Although i make a damn good California style with artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese on Boboli, when dining out i'm firmly on the side of New York style in this controversy.

Chicago-style pizza vs. New York-style. What's the difference? And what about other styles - Neapolitan, Sicilian, Californian?

Every pizza style has a devoted following. If you want to start a heated discussion, just tell a fan of New York-style that you prefer deep dish.

Where do you come down?

Posted by annika, Jun. 23, 2004 | link | Comments (11)
Rubric: Arts

May 17, 2004

Darth Vader Gargoyle

Kevin Kim tells of a gargoyle* at Washington D.C.'s National Cathedral, which is carved in the shape of Darth Vader's head. i was skeptical, but it seems to be true. Can anyone verify this? Have you seen it?

* Technically it's a grotesque; gargoyles being a type of grotesque that directs water through a spout, which Darth Vader does not. Kevin correctly refers to it as a grotesque, which deflects, rather than spouts water. Why do i call it a gargoyle, then? i happen to like diphthongs, that's all.

Posted by annika, May. 17, 2004 | link | Comments (2)
Rubric: Arts

May 06, 2004


i should do a Friends post. But really i'm waiting for Ginger and Candace to weigh in on tonight's historic end to the iconic TV sitcom. i'm torn between wanting to watch it and wanting to resist participating in a cultural phenomenon. i watched the Seinfeld final episode and i felt robbed afterwards. If i refuse to watch Friends tonight, it will be my curmudgeonly protest over all the hype surrounding this show, which "jumped the shark" years ago. But since the Lakers aren't on tonight, i'll probably tune in for a little bit, just so i'll be able to participate in the watercooler debriefing tomorrow at work. Maybe the cast will get drunk and make fools of themselves in the final minutes, like they did when Cheers ended.

Posted by annika, May. 6, 2004 | link | Comments (2)
Rubric: Arts

Just When You Think Art Can't Get Any Stupider

This idea is not only idiotic, it makes me a bit queasy in the tummy just thinking about it.

A Dutch artist has used a flap of her own skin to make a replica pistol to be shown at an Amsterdam art show. . . .

. . .

[S]he made the tiny replica pistol with a piece of skin . . . surgically removed from her abdomen. The puckered skin was stretched and sewn over a plastic and fiber pistol mold.

Meester said she had the flap of skin removed under local anaesthetic to allow her to make the pistol. The surgery left her with 16 stitches. She froze the skin, then defrosted it to make a replica weapon preserved in formaldehyde.

It's fucking unbelievable what passes for art these days.

And here's the funniest quote i've seen in a long time:

If everyone made a pistol from their own skin, I think they would think twice about using a gun. I think there would be less violence in the world.
Brilliant woman, just brilliant.

Posted by annika, May. 6, 2004 | link | Comments (5)
Rubric: Arts & The Huh? Files

April 25, 2004

Ella's Birthday

It should be noted that on this day, in 1917, the greatest singer in history was born: Ella Fitzgerald.

Posted by annika, Apr. 25, 2004 | link | Comments (2)
Rubric: Arts

April 14, 2004

annika's Own Political Artwork

i made these, but they sure would look good on your sidebar, i think.

kerrytile.gif    kerrylittle.jpg    sheets.gif

(If you do take one, please copy it and load it on your own server so Pixy doesn't get mad at me for using up his bandwidth. Also, a link back here would be appreciated, but not required.)

Posted by annika, Apr. 14, 2004 | link | Comments (7)
Rubric: Arts & annikapunditry

April 11, 2004



i took this photograph last weekend outside the state capitol building. i thought it might be cool to Van Gogh-ize it with PhotoShop.

Posted by annika, Apr. 11, 2004 | link | Comments (4)
Rubric: Arts

March 25, 2004

Anita Blake Book, First Impressions

i've been reading Blue Moon by Laurell K. Hamilton, which is one of her Anita Blake, vampire hunter books. It's like an adult version of Buffy. So far it's okay. i'm about a quarter through it.

The heroine is tough talking, always insists on the last word and kicks a lot of ass. The writing is technically proficient, but Ms. Hamilton does have a few annoying habits. For instance she always describes what every character is wearing in every scene.

In the case of her male characters, every single one of them has long hair. They all like to go around showing off their torsos, either in see through shirts or simply bare-chested. Hamilton always takes the time to describe what their stomach muscles are doing. i'm like, okay i get it already, they're in shape. The author seems fixated on a very specific type.

Also, the aforementioned protagonist is kind of a bitch. Someday i'd like to see a kick-ass girl heroine who's not also a ball buster. Can't a girl be nice and still be tough when she needs to be? If and when i finally write my sci-fi police woman book, that's how my lead character will be.

Posted by annika, Mar. 25, 2004 | link | Comments (6)
Rubric: Arts

March 03, 2004

Another Passion Review

Do read Matt's comments on his viewing of The Passion. It's a personal angle i hadn't considered, but one i think is very true.

Somehow, despite knowledge of what Jesus did for me, I've never felt the sacrifice on an emotional level--certainly not to the degree that seems appropriate, given the magnitude of His suffering and its eternal implications for mankind. It's never been as real to me as something that I'd experienced personally. Tonight, though, it was different.
Glogspot permalink problem, scroll down, you know the drill.

More: Here's another very thoughtful review by blog-friend Desert Cat. It's Glogger again, so scroll past the Safire related post to his March 2 entry entitled "The Passion."

Posted by annika, Mar. 3, 2004 | link | Comments (3)
Rubric: Arts

February 23, 2004


i've read a lot of eulogies for Sex and the City over the last week, but none written as beautifully as this one at Candied Ginger. Thank you girls!

Posted by annika, Feb. 23, 2004 | link | Comments (4)
Rubric: Arts

February 02, 2004

Happy Groundhog Day

"Rise and shine, campers, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today!"

Ha ha. i love the movie. Bill Murray is the best. i laugh and cry and think, every time i see it.

"A thousand people, freezing their butts off, waiting to worship a rat."

Posted by annika, Feb. 2, 2004 | link | Comments (4)
Rubric: Arts