December 31, 2004

Happy New Year!

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What a year it's been. i almost hate to see 2004 go. But it's time to celebrate an even more exciting year to come. Wow, 2005 already!

Have a great NYE everybody! Be safe. You know the drill: designate a driver and don't forget to bundle up when you're out in the weather. Don't want to start the year off with a nasty cold.

Thanks for all your many kindnesses this past year, and for just stopping by to read my nonsense. i love you all and i'll see you next year!

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Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year In Review

This and this is not just an example of masterful blogging, it's an entire year's worth of masterful blogging. And i'm not just saying that because i hate the L.A. Times.

Bravo Patterico.

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December 30, 2004

New Years To Do List (Subject To Updates)

Let's not call them resolutions. It's a to do list. Resolutions are so guilt-driven.

Blog related:

  1. Figure out CSS and clean up all the redundant HTML code in my template

  2. Go to three columns

  3. Move to the upgraded Movable Type system

  4. Add that Bear Flag blogroll

  5. No more posting about that racist skank Paris Hilton

  6. Interview Hugo

Personal related:

  1. Give up cigarettes

  2. Work harder

  3. Do moot court

  4. Take a weekend trip for the sole purpose of writing poetry

  5. Start that fucking book

  6. Get back into regular exercise, including strength training

  7. Watch more TV
Maybe that last one is counter-productive, i don't know.

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Useless 70's Music Blogging

Why was the band on the run anyway?

Why indeed.

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December 29, 2004

Hannes Bergstroem's Story

The story of how Hannes Bergstroem was found really got to me.

hannes.jpg
A 2-year-old boy who was found dazed and alone on a roadside in the wasteland of a tsunami-devastated Thai resort was reunited Tuesday with his uncle, who spotted the child's picture on the Internet.

The boy, identified by his uncle as Hannes Bergstroem, was found Sunday night on a road in Phang Nga province near the beach resort of Khao Lak, about 60 miles from the island of Phuket. He was taken to Phuket International Hospital where the staff posted pictures of the blond-haired boy with red spots all over his face from mosquito bites on its Web site on Monday. They also published his photo in a local newspaper.

. . .

A man, who identified himself only as Jim, told the Associated Press on Tuesday in a telephone interview that he found his nephew after he saw his picture on the Web.

'When I saw Hannes on the Internet, I booked an air ticket to come here in less than five hours,' said Jim, who rushed to the Phuket hospital on Tuesday from Chonburi province in Thailand, hours away from Phuket, where he was staying. 'This is a miracle, the biggest thing that could happen.'

Hospital staff said the boy had been babbling but workers did not know what language he was speaking They thought he might be Swedish because he was enthusiastic when a man spoke Swedish to him.

Little Hannes was reunited with his father today. That's them in the heartbreaking picture above.
On Wednesday, a Swedish toddler, Hannes Bergstroem, was reunited with his injured father at a Thai hospital, days after being found wandering alone in the wreckage. The 2-year-old's uncle had spotted the child's photo posted on the Web by another hospital and claimed him Tuesday, setting up the reunion with Hannes' father, Marko Karkkainen.

But Hannes' mother, Suzanne Bergstroem, was still among some 5,000 people missing in Thailand.

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Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Here is a poem by a third grader in Tempe Arizona named Michelle, who happens to be a very gifted poet. This poem, written in January 2004 is a fine example.


The Tsunami

I silently aim
towards the land where I'll pour
I send myself to the city
Here comes the crash that I hate
I brush the sand
I cover and say goodbye
to the homes, buildings and cars

I sink back in the ocean
and offer thanks to the earthquake


Michelle introduces her poems by saying: "These are the poems I have been making. I hope you like them. I am in the third grade. My poems don't rhyme."

How sweet. Honey, don't worry about the rhymes. i think they're wonderful. Keep writing, Michelle.


P.S. Another sad note: i just heard that Jerry Orbach passed away. So weird that i just wrote that poem about him. i didn't even know he was sick until i read Matt's comment.

Dawn Summers (guest posting at Alarming News) has a personal remembrance.

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December 28, 2004

Useless Health Blogging

Can you get a stye in your lip?

Would that be called a slip?

Do squids have lips?

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Useless Ice Cream Blogging

Dreyer's now makes an excellent spumoni flavor.

excellent spumoni flavor.

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Useless Parental Blogging

To my dad, great comedy = Jeeves and Wooster.

To my mom, great comedy = Dumb and Dumber.

How they ever got together i'll never know.

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Useless TV Blogging

Tonight i happened to watch a replay of Kiki Kourik asking Hilery Clinton twenty questions on CNBC. i only saw about thirty seconds of that love fest but it was enough...

i think my brain has now been permanently fucking damaged.

Where's a gun?

i want you to kill me.

WHERE'S A FUCKING GUNNN?

Kill me...

KILLLL MEEEE!

kill me

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Useless Mouse Blogging

Of what substance is the crusty black shit that collects on a mousepad and on the bottom of a mouse made of? It's hella gross.

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Useless Sandwich Blogging

i honestly don't see how Subway can stay in business with Quizno's out there.

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December 27, 2004

Paternal Super Bowl Pick

My dad picks Pittsburgh to go all the way this year. Who am i to go against the old man? But i'm not so sure.

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December 23, 2004

Finals Update

Finals are done. Overall i feel good about it. i tried to avoid the extensive post-mortems that everybody warned me about. i'm just glad they're over and i can relax for a few weeks until grades come out and we start all over again. Yesterday's test was property and i think i really nailed that exam, despite it being such a huge subject.

Afterwards there was much drinking and merriment. We hit the local law school hangout and the night included loud music of course, lots of beer, a few white russians which i made the b/f buy me, some pool, some smoking, more heavy drinking, and a heated but good-natured debate about the relative merits of Divac versus Osterslug at the center position.

Charissa and i are driving to L.A. this morning so Mike drove us home early. i was stinky drunk. We lost track of my roommate Colleen halfway through the night and were a little worried when she wouldn't answer her phone. But we figured she was okay after we saw a strange car in our driveway. As we stumbled towards the door, we also found this on the lawn. i took a picture to preserve the evidence and also because i was stinky drunk.

My environment was beginning to spin, so i went straight to bed. Early this morning, when Charissa got up to make coffee she was greeted by more evidence in the kitchen. Ho ho ho! Way to go Colleen!

What do you do when you find something like that? There are two options: One, pretend you didn't notice and maintain secrecy so as to preserve everyone's dignity. Or two, call attention to it in a way that will maximize embarrassment for the guilty parties. Charissa and i discussed the matter and, quite predictably, we chose option two.

Oh that gossip mill is going to be on fire next semester!

Alright, it's already late and we should have left an hour ago. i wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas in case i don't post before then. May Santa be good to you all! Ho ho ho!

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December 22, 2004

Exams Are Over

Let the drinking begin!

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Poetry Wednesday

The most poetic Bible translation is, i think, the New International Version. I don't know anything about its accuracy, but the NIV sure has beautiful rhythm.

Here's Isaiah, chapter 40. Read it as if it were a poem, listen to the meter, and you'll see what i mean. Feel the beauty and power in these words of prophesy, whose fulfillment we Christians celebrate this-coming Saturday.


Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord's hand
double for all her sins.

A voice of one calling:
"In the desert prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

A voice says, "Cry out."
And I said, "What shall I cry?"

"All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever."

You who bring good tidings to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
"Here is your God!"
See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
and his arm rules for him.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
Who has understood the mind of the Lord ,
or instructed him as his counselor?
Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge
or showed him the path of understanding?

Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;
he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires,
nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.
Before him all the nations are as nothing;
they are regarded by him as worthless
and less than nothing.

To whom, then, will you compare God?
What image will you compare him to?
As for an idol, a craftsman casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and fashions silver chains for it.
A man too poor to present such an offering
selects wood that will not rot.
He looks for a skilled craftsman
to set up an idol that will not topple.

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

"To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God?"
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.


Much as i love the poetry of the NIV, i can't read Isaiah 40 and not hear in my head the music of Händel's Messiah Oratorio, set to the King James translation.

O thou that tellest good
tidings to Zion,
get thee up into the high mountain.
O thou that tellest good
tidings to Jerusalem,
lift up
thy voice
with strength;
lift it up,
be not afraid;
say unto the cities of Judah,
behold your God!
behold your God!
behold your God!

Arise,
shine,
for thy light is come,
the glory of the Lord
is risen upon thee.


Amen.

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December 21, 2004

Has Anyone Seen Chuck Hagel Lately?

Really, where has he been? i haven't seen Specter either. Where can they be?

. . .

Oh never mind, i found 'em.

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Farewell Message To Bill Moyer

Bill Moyer is leaving PBS's stealth propaganda show Now. And i'd like to say to him, if i could: "Good riddance you fucking hack."

He's being replaced by the aptly named David Bronchitis, another fucking hack. Nothing changes on PBS.

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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.


Vocals:

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.

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Armor Geddon

Don't believe chicks dig tanks? Go read Redsix's latest installment of his Fallujah experience. It's all about firing that bad boy called the 120mm smoothbore. There's quite a few chicks in the comments section. i find myself looking forward to every new post by Lt. Prakash. Call it penis envy if you want, but chicks dig tanks.

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