April 28, 2004

More Fun Stuff To Waste Time With

Via Breanagh McTavish, check out this fun website. Remember those two Iraqi kids who posed with a sign, and there was some controversy about whether it had been doctored? This site lets you create your own caption for the sign. i like this one. This is a cute one. Here's one for G&S lovers. And i found this one to be worth a few chuckles. Here's one for Neo fans.

i made some too. Here's one i made for all 80's movie fans, and one for Teen Girl Squad fans. And this kid deserves a piece of pie, doesn't he? And here's some free promotion; what a sweetie.

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Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Wednesday being poetry day here, i think the perfectly appropriate selection in light of my current dillema is this one, the most famous poem about dillemas:


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The beauty of this poem, which might be Frost's best known, is the deliberate lack of resolution in the final line. Just like with life.

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Thank You

i so appreciate the kind words, advice and encouragement you all have sent me. It's really heartwarming to read the comments and e-mails, and your suggestions are very welcome. i also appreciate the stories of hard decisions and their results that a lot of you have sent me, too. Makes me feel like i'm not alone. Also, i learned that some of you are contemplating even bigger life changes than me and to you i say, good luck. i'll be pulling for you, too.

i'm probably going to accept the offer from the good school. i spoke to a number of friends and some lawyers at work, who were also very helpful and encouraging. The partner i worked for told me that he would recommend me for a clerkship or part time job during the school year at their branch office up there.

My Dad seems okay with it. He says, "well we'll just have to go visit you." But i know he wanted me to go to UCLA, or Pepperdine. i didn't get into UCLA, but Pepperdine was his second choice for me because they're a relatively conservative law school. Still, he understands that the scholarship changes the equation.

My Mom remains the tough nut. She really laid it on thick last night. And it's not a situation of her desires vs. my desires. i don't want to leave her. It's not an easy decision for me. She suggested that i go for one year and try again to transfer to UCLA. That seems like an unwise way to go. i'm told law school transfers are not as easy as undergrad, nor are they a good idea, since it's only three years. It's better to stick with the same program. My plan is to convince her that three years is not that long, i'll visit every month or so, and that i will plan on coming back here when i'm done. She seemed really sad and worried last night, though. Which makes me feel like a total shithole.

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This Is Soooo Funny!

i'm serious. Trust me. This is like the funniest thing! It's called Teen Girl Squad. It's totally clean, but you might get in trouble for laughing your ass off at work. Watch all five Teen Girl Squad videos. Actually anything on this site is hilarious.

Thanks to Rambling Rhodes for the tip.

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April 27, 2004

Good News To Sadden The Heart

Bear with me. Stream of consciousness and all that.*

Sometimes you build a life and when it's built you say, that's good, i like it, i think i'll stay here for a while. Then you congratulate yourself, but it's all vanity. You have no control over where you'll be, or what, from one day to the next. And you think you can insulate yourself from the hard choices, but God finds a way to stir things up anyway. And it sucks.

No, i'm not pregnant.

i got accepted to a pretty good law school. Trouble is, it was a fallback school, because it's in a place that i had not planned to move to. To make things "worse," they offered me a scholarship. A big one. Too much money to just dismiss. i got into some other schools too, but they didn't offer to take me for free, and they're not as good.

The whole damn reason i left all my friends, save one, and moved here to L.A. was to be near my parents. It's part guilt and part love. They're getting up there in years. Both of them have had health problems recently and i've been glad to be here and near them. i don't want to be away and get the call. You know the call i'm talking about. i don't want to know that i wasn't here for them. My brother is useless in these things. It's gotta be me, to take care of them if they need it.

Oh, they're fine now. Perfect health. i'm just afraid, really terrified something will happen and i won't be here. That's the guilt part. My Dad can take care of himself better than my Mom, but he's the one with the more serious health problems. Still, sometimes i go through life just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Maybe it's guilt that says i can't accept something nice happening to me. Maybe i'm just a baby who after all these years can't leave my parents. i think back on the other times when i was at a crossroads and i always picked the secure road, forsaking the road to adulthood. Colby is the big one. i could be married now, but i couldn't jump into that really big unknown. When he came back and wanted to give it a second try, i bugged out on him.

Oh, the self-pity and wailing and melancholy over such good news. What's wrong with me. Most people accept change in their lives. Most people look for it. People are always trying to move forward. i didn't want to, really. i'm happy doing what i'm doing. Working one day to the next, looking forward to each weekend, and then the next. Not making any plans. i'll quit smoking when i'm ready, etc.

The damn LSAT came back and it was good. A few points lower than i'd hoped, but still good enough to open a lot of possibilities. Too good not to apply to Law School. Then the applications went out. A couple of rejections from some places i'd been counting on. Wait-listed at a reach. Then this one.

i suppose i'll have to go. It's only three years. Really, i want to go. I'm excited about going, despite what i've typed above. Really excited. It's just that i seem to want to cry every time i think about leaving my parents. And i don't even visit them all that often. Certainly not as often as i should. And when i do visit, perhaps i grumble and argue a bit more than i should too. Maybe that's part of the guilt trip.

At the root, i have a big problem doing things for me alone. i don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. It keeps one from being too selfish. i'm very aware of not wanting to be selfish. Though i think i am. Egotistical too. Hell, i write a blog, i got a big ego. i just don't want a big ego. But i gotta do something for me sometime. i can't keep putting it off, like i had wanted to.

The choice is this. Take the better opportunity, push myself, and deal with the worry. Or take a lesser opportunity and coast. If i go up north again, i will have to come back to L.A. a lot, if only to assuage my worries and so they won't miss me. i'll miss the people and the life i've built here, but i may like it up there too.

It's so hard to decide. i've known for a long time that i am a very indecisive person. Lacking real ambition too. Lazy, etc. Whatever.

i have to let them know by Monday.


* Written in a horrible fit of self-doubt, and pity. Not to be construed as the way the blog's author is actually normally in real life. Just a look inside her soul, for a little bit. Aaaack! A word from God would be good right about now.

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April 26, 2004

WWI Sports History

As noted in the aftermath of Pat Tillman's death, many sports figures gave up successful careers to fight in World War Two, including baseball players Hank Greenberg, Joe DiMaggio and boxer Joe Louis.

Baseball Crank reminds us that things were no different in the Great War.

* 'Harvard Eddie' Grant, formerly an everyday third baseman for the Phillies and Reds, killed in action October 5, 1918 in the Argonne Forest.

* German-born Robert Gustave 'Bun' Troy, who made a brief appearance with the Tigers in 1912, killed in action October 7, 1918 in Petit Maujouym, in France.

* Christy Mathewson, who suffered severe health problems from which he never recovered - possibly contributing to his death in 1925 at age 45 from tuberculosis - after inhaling poison gas in a training accident. (Ty Cobb also served in the same unit).

* Grover Cleveland Alexander, who as I explained here, would probably have made it to 400 wins or close to it if he hadn't lost a year at his peak to World War I, and who suffered lasting trauma from seeing combat with an artillery outfit.

* Sam Rice, who as I explained here, missed a year following his first big season after being drafted into the Army in World War I; Rice also got a late start in the majors because he’d joined the Navy at age 23 after his parents, wife and two children were killed by a tornado (Rice saw combat in the Navy, landing at Vera Cruz in 1914). Without those interruptions, Rice could easily have had 3500-3700 hits in the major leagues.

* Hall of Famer Rabbit Maranville also missed a year to the Great War, as did several others I've overlooked here. [links omitted]

Some big names there, if you follow baseball history.

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Democrats Take Another Tack

Can't seem to hurt number one? Try going after number two.

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Medals Schmedals

It all depends on what the definition of 'medals' is.

i don't really give a rat's ass what Kerry threw over the fence. It's the fact that he threw anything over, and the lies he told about the men serving in Vietnam, which he has yet to apologize for, that disqualifies him from the presidency, in my opinion. Not that you asked for my opinion.

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April 25, 2004

The Blog Warehouse

Sunday night seems to be the perfect night to cruise the blogosphere* and check out new stuff. Here's some of the good stuff i found tonight.


. . . Robofrost. i like his take on Dallas radio.

The thing about driving Dallas and its inevitably clogged highway arteries is that the Metroplex's radio stations freakin' rock, and rock hard. When I first scanned through my rental car's 10 FM radio presets, at least five blasted the bejeezus out me with heavy unadulterated loud-ass rock 'n' roll guitar. Classic, alternative, straight-up rock — you name it. Even the Christian rock station, 89.7 Power FM, completely rocked my balls off. It's nowhere near the same in cosmic cowboy Austin, so it was a blast to throw open the moon roof and rattle the asphalt and irritate some tightly wound Dallas yuppies and Range Rover soccer moms.
i don't know if that's true or not; the last time i was in Dallas, i think i was listening to country, or western, i can't remember. i was 13 at the time. But i will say, L.A. rock radio sucks, compared to almost any metropolitan area you want to name. Anyways, Robofrost's blog is pretty fresh, with some cool pictures, too. . . .


. . . Mike at Virginia Patriots explains why Iraqi mosques can be a legitimate target. . . .


. . . Matt Armstrong of Paste Magazine's blog sheds some light on an e-mail spam quirk i blogged about here. . . .


. . . All About Latvia reports that while Latvia debates its continued involvement in Iraq, the Latvian foreign minister denied a visa to an Al-Jazeera reporter without explanation. Good. If you ask me, the fact that he was from Al-Jazeera is reason enough. And in other Baltic news, Estonian blogger Tall Blonde reports an interesting statistic:

15% россиян не знают, кто такой Ленин
Scroll down to April 23 for the translation. It's Glogspot, and there don't seem to be any permalinks. . . .


. . . Snazzykat unilaterally declares this week Blogger Love-in Week!

Today - and the days hereafter (because love shouldn't be limited to one day if you don't come across this until Tuesday!) - is the start of Blogger Love-in Week. Go to each of the blogs you read and tell them why you love them so much. Then come back here and let us know you're a part of the love-in, which is sort of like a sit-in but with a lot more touchy-feely action goin' on.
i'm lagging in my own Ecosystem stats, so i thought maybe i should compose a nice blog comment spam bomb to lay on you all. Something personal like "i love you [man][girlfriend][blogger of unknown gender]! And here's why: [_______]."

Then i thought, bad idea. Spamming blogs with comments might cause someone to accuse me of being a "male college student capitalizing on cute pictures of his girlfriend" in order to raise my popularity on the blogosphere.

i think i'll just stick to trackback begging. (Ooops) . . .


* Some bloggers may shy away from the term "blogosphere," but i think it's quite descriptive.

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Ella's Birthday

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

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Shame On You Glenn!

glennbrit.jpg

i'm simply embarrassed for him.

Inspired by the Alliance's Filthy Lie Assignment.

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Six Days Shirt

i got a chuckle out of this idea. But i can't imagine anyone having the balls to walk around in one.

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April 24, 2004

Arion ater jacqchirac

Arion ater jacqchirac, a recently discovered pest, belongs to the family of spineless inverterbrates* which includes the garden slug. A voracious eater, it consumes indiscriminately and without gratitude. It secretes a disgusting oily slime that both lubricates its body and coats the path upon which it slithers.

chiracslug.jpg

Its tiny vestigial shell is of no use in protecting A. jacqchirac, which is why it begs shamelessly for other animals to protect its weak ass whenever it feels threatened. These particular mollusks smell bad, yet think themselves handsome. They talk tough, but inevitably cower when challenged. If you come across one, try sprinkling a little salt in its path and watch the creature squirm in pain and frustration as it tries to find a way around the simple obstacle. They move slowly and never in the right direction.


* An invertebrate is an animal without a vertebral column, or spine. Literally, it's a creature without a backbone.

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April 23, 2004

Pat Tillman

There's so much to say about the death of Pat Tillman, and i know i can't say it all. i knew about his story before he went into the Army because i listen to Jim Rome's show. i can remember the glowing praise Rome had for Tillman and his decision to give up his pro career to join the Army and enter Ranger training. Like Rome, i always thought he'd come back to us.

It's true that Tillman's sacrifice is equal to the sacrifice of all the brave men and women we've lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. But if there is a difference, it's that we civilians who have not been touched by any personal loss, have now been given a face to put on the sacrifice of those heroes who are over there protecting us. i feel Tillman's loss because i knew him as a fan, however remotely, and it brings home to me the sacrifices of all the men and women who have died or been injured to protect me.

Here's a very poignant salute to Pvt. Tillman written before he went overseas, which reminds us that Tillman joins the ranks of other great patriots like Ted Williams.

Here are some of the tributes coming in now.

And i want to note that Tillman was killed in action, on a mission to hunt Al Qaeda. He was literally killed in the act of protecting you and me.

Pat Tillman was my age. When 9/11 happened i, like many people i know, thought about enlisting in the armed forces. i also thought about the FBI or the CIA. But i didn't follow up on anything. There were others who joined and would join. i had my life and my plans, and my patriotic fervor subsided in time. Not that i ever became un-patriotic, but let's just say i chose not to make the personal sacrifice.

Pat Tillman did. And not only did he give up the comfy bed and the new wife and the safety of life in the U.S., he gave up millions of dollars too. Not only that, he was in the NFL. It's not just money. It's fame, too. He gave up the adoration that anybody who's ever played the game of football knows is one of the great perks of the sport. Chicks dig football players. i was a cheerleader, i know. Even a married guy like Tillman must have appreciated the rare power to turn heads in any bar or restaurant simply because they are in the NFL.

If somebody offered me three mil to join the Army, i would have done it in a heartbeat. But Tillman did just the opposite. He gave up an NFL contract for the opportunity to risk his life. Why? Because he loved America, and he had a sense of duty so great that i can't even comprehend it. And he not only risked his life, he gave it.

i know that somewhere up there this morning, Ted Williams is buying a beer for Pat Tillman and saying "good job soldier." God bless him.


More: i've been somber and teary-eyed all day, because of the news. Today being casual Friday, i took my usual Friday lunchtime power walk around Century City. i listened to Sean Hannity on my walkman. Of course he was talking about Pat Tillman, and saying the nicest things about our people serving in the military. That made me even sadder. Then he played Toby Keith's beautiful song "American Soldier" and i totally lost it.

Oh, and I don't want to die for you,
But if dyin's asked of me,
I'll bear that cross with honor,
'Cause freedom don't come free.
There i was, sitting on the curb in front of the mall, with tears streaming down my face. i looked like a mess. The poor valet guy had to ask me if i needed help. It was embarrassing; i'm not normally an emotional person. But all i could think about was how much i love and appreciate the people serving in our armed forces. i really do, i love them all. If it takes Pat Tillman's death to really bring that home to me, there's one good thing that comes out of his loss.

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April 22, 2004

XM-8 Question

One advantage to having this blog is my wealth of readers with superior ballistic knowledge. So, i ask you Publicola, Rustler, et al.: is the hype i've been reading about the soon to be available XM-8 true? Or is it all hype? i already know how most users feel about the M-16. Would the XM-8, in either the 5.56mm or 6.8mm version, solve our problem? It sure is a science fictioney looking thing.

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Another Officer Lost

Yet another senseless killing of a peace officer in Los Angeles occurred this week. Last night at 3:00 a.m. they arrested a sixteen year old, who just wanted to kill a cop. Any cop. California Highway Patrol officer Thomas Steiner was walking out of the Pomona courthouse after testifying on some routine traffic ticket cases. The wrong place at the wrong time. He was thirty-five years old and the father of two sons. i've been to the Pomona courthouse and it is a rough neighborhood, as i recall. i hate to hear about these things.


In a related story, California's lesser of two evils: Diane Feinstein, every now and then says or does something that i like.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein drew a standing ovation with her statement that a police officer's death is 'the special circumstance called for by the death penalty law.' Outside the church, Feinstein said she never would have endorsed [San Francisco D.A.] Harris had she known her opposition to the death penalty extended to officers.
Story here.

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April 21, 2004

The Magnificent Bastards

The "Magnificent Bastards" is the moniker of the historic Second Battalion of the Fourth Marine Regiment. Rush Limbaugh read this message at the end of his show today. It was written by the 2/4's CO and upon hearing it, i was filled with pride and gratitude at the power and sacrifice of these wonderful Marines:

Early in the morning we exchanged gunfire with a group of insurgents without significant loss. As morning progressed, the enemy fed more men into the fight and we responded with stronger force. Unfortunately, this led to injuries as our Marines and sailors started clearing the city block by block. The enemy did not run; they fought us like soldiers. And we destroyed the enemy like only Marines can. By the end of the evening the local hospital was so full of their dead and wounded that they ran out of space to put them. Your husbands were awesome all night they stayed at the job of securing the streets and nobody challenged them as the hours wore on. They did not surrender an inch nor did flinch from the next potential threat. Previous to yesterday the terrorist thought that we were soft enough to challenge. As of tonight the message is loud and clear that the Marines will not be beaten.

Today the enemy started all over again, although with far fewer numbers, only now the rest of the battalion joined the fight. Without elaborating to much, weapons company and Golf crushed their attackers with the vengeance of the righteous. They filled up the hospitals again and we suffered only a few injuries. Echo company dominated the previous day's battlefield. Fox company patrolled with confidence and authority; nobody challenged them. Even Headquarters Company manned their stations and counted far fewer people openly watching us with disdain. If the enemy is foolish enough to try to take your men again they will not survive contact. We are here to win.

What kind of enemy is it who thinks they can fuck with the Marines and win? If you ask me, i think the enemy is fully aware that they are going to their death when they attack the Marines, and that's why they attack.

i found another article about the 2/4 in Iraq, which is interesting because of the contrast in tone. Where the piece written by an actual participant is filled with resolute pride, the piece filtered by media bias exhibits a more somber, defeatist tone.

'I didn't sleep. I lay in the bed,' Oety recalled, sitting alone with a cigarette after a Marine memorial service Sunday.

The American deaths fell most heavily on Oety's 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines Regiment, a storied unit known as 'the Magnificent Bastards' that hardly needed another infamous battle on its resume.

Five died from just one 13-man squad ambushed on a road they patrolled every day.

'I can't stand that area,' said Oety, 24, of Louisville, Ky. But Oety did what his battalion is known for: plunging back in.

The contrast between the two perspectives is striking to me. Journalists, for the most part, are gutless, ignorant hacks. It doesn't surprise me that a journalist would focus on casualties, rather than accomplishments. Journalists don't understand what our soldiers, marines and sailors are doing, nor do they want to. It frightens them.


Update: Blackfive contrasts AP and Reuters coverage of the so-called cease fire.

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Wednesday Is Poetry Day

i'm going to try to make Wednesday poetry day here on annika's journal. A great way to start is with my favorite male poet, William Carlos Williams, and a poem relevant to today:


Peace on Earth

The archer is wake!
The Swan is flying!
Gold against blue
An Arrow is lying.
There is hunting in heaven—
Sleep safe till tomorrow.

The Bears are abroad!
The Eagle is screaming!
Gold against blue
Their eyes are gleaming!
Sleep!
Sleep safe till tomorrow.

The Sisters lie
With their arms intertwining;
Gold against blue
Their hair is shining!
The Serpent writhes!
Orion is listening!

Gold against blue
His sword is glistening!
Sleep!
There is hunting in heaven—
Sleep safe till tomorrow.


Take what you want from that poem; that's what poetry is all about. To me it's a wish that you and i will continue to sleep safe while the battle between good and evil goes on around us, whether we're aware of it or not.

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Kilt Stories

The Maximum Leader informs us that he has been known to wear a kilt,* then links to this story about a Marine who plays the bagpipes.

[1st Sgt. Dwayne] Farr, an African-American from Detroit, was inspired to learn when he saw another player who didn't match the Scotsman stereotype.

'I was at a funeral and I saw a Marine playing the bagpipes, and I thought, this isn't a big, burly, redheaded guy with a ponytail and a big stomach. He's a small Hispanic Marine. I said if he can learn to play the bagpipes, I can learn,' he said, chuckling.

When he is not on the front-line, Farr wears a kilt when playing, and some Marines have been skeptical about a member of one of the toughest fighting forces in the world donning what looks like a skirt.

But Farr is unfazed. . . .

'Kilts are something that fighting men wore many years ago, and we know that the Marines are fighting men. So real men wear kilts. And they are pretty comfortable too,' he said.

This story reminded me of an amusing vignette from the book i'm reading called Intimate Voices from the First World War. Here's the excerpt, written by a twenty-four year old German recruit at the western front shortly after the battle of Ypres Salient. Apparently it was the first time he'd ever seen a Scotsman:
There are lots of Scots amongst all the dead and wounded. Instead of trousers they wear a sort of short, warm skirt that only reaches halfway down their thighs. Well it’s not really a skirt, it’s more of a sort of folded wrap-around thing. It is a strange sight. I’m amazed the boys don’t freeze their bums off, walking around half-naked like that, because they don’t wear any underwear either.

That said, they do have a warm, heavy coat like the other English soldiers. The colour of their uniform is much more suited to the terrain than ours. It’s a sort of dirty brownish green. Their hats and wrap-around things are the same colour. The English soldier can move much more freely than we can. With their practical clothing and light packs, they can run like hares. This really is an advantage when under fire. But we’re still going to win.

Pretty funny, eh? That was written in 1914. i love the irony of the last line.


* Permalink doesn't seem to work, scroll down to April 16, 2004.

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Fantasy Baseball Tip

If you see a rookie from Asia, by all means pick him up. He'll often be ranked low and overlooked by the other league members. And he might just kick ass his first year, since no one will have any experience with him. Think Nomo and Ichiro in their rookie seasons.

This year i picked up Hee Seop Choi and Kazuo Matsui under the radar. Choi is currently tied for fourth place in the NL with 5 home runs. And he's playing for the defending champs, so i expect him to improve as the season goes on. Matsui is hitting a respectable .302 right now, although i may dump him for José Valentín pretty soon.

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