January 31, 2005

A Fabulous Prize Will Be Awarded

What could possibly be more absurdly ridiculous than Victor's impromptu Joe Don Baker haiku contest last September? i don't know if that boondoggle can be topped, but i'd like to give it a try.

So today, in a moment of dubious inspiration, i decided that i should hold a kiss.gif haiku contest. Like last time, there will be a prize for the winner. Unlike last time, i will pick a time limit and stick to it.

i think KISS is funny, but it doesn't matter if you despise them, or if you're a lifelong member of of the KISS Army. Hell, half the contestants in the Joe Don Baker contest never even heard of the man. All entries are welcome, and will be judged strictly according to my own secretive and arbitrary criteria.

Please feel free to post your entries here by 10:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Thursday, February 3, 2005. i will then select a winner, who will receive a very nice mystery prize. The rest of you i will see in the boardroom, where somebody will be fired.

Update: Thenk you to everyone who participated. Fifty excellent poems were submitted. Now i must try to decide upon a winner.

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Can't Be Too Careful

Whoever says the Iraqi Security forces aren't very good is an ass.

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Voting Rights: An Exercise In Pretty Pictures?

i wonder what the left wing pundits would have said during the height of our country's civil rights movement. Would they have the gall to call African American voters risking their lives to cast a ballot just "an exercise in pretty pictures."


Voting matters. Democracy matters. Back in the sixties there were many people, i'm sure, who said that African Americans didn't want to vote, and couldn't be trusted to participate in Democracy. Those people were called Klansmen.*

Are the nay-sayers in the media, who refuse to see the democratization of Iraq as a good thing, any different than old fashioned racists?

* You know about the Klan. That's the organization that Democratic Senator Robert Byrd joined.

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January 30, 2005

This Just In...

...iraqi elections are a failure...

...not all iraqis voted...

...turnout was only 60%...

...under saddam 100% of iraqis voted...

...that's a 40% drop-off...

...new government is illegitimate...



...halliburton!!! halliburton!!! halliburton!!! halliburton!!! halliburton!!! aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!...

...abu graib abu graig abu graib abu graig abu graib abu graig abu graib abu graig abu graib abu graig abu graib abu graig abu graib abu graig abu graib abu graig abu graib abu graig abu graib abu graig abu graib abu graig aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!!!!!!...

...WMDs WMDs Condi lied WMDs WMDs Condi lied WMDs WMDs Condi lied WMDs WMDs Condi lied WMDs WMDs Condi lied WMDs WMDs Condi lied WMDs WMDs Condi lied WMDs WMDs Condi lied WMDs WMDs Condi lied WMDs WMDs Condi lied !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...

...gaaaaaa buh buh buuuh ga ga ga...

[head explodes]

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January 29, 2005

The Iraqi Election

iraq election.jpg

i've been out all day and i just got in, so i turned on the tv to find out how the elections are going. Geraldo is on a rooftop, waving at the pilots in the Longbows circling overhead. Cameras inside the polling place show a couple of election workers sitting at tables, but no voters. Geraldo is wearing a flak vest. He's talking by remote with Susan Estrich, who's being as pissy as ever: she's happy but, but, but, where are the WMDs? Idiot. And there's a lone voter down below, waving the Iraqi flag bravely as he walks from the polling place.

Geraldo is in Baghdad, i think. He's very optimistic, but judging by the video, things don't look too promising. Hopefully there are more voters in other parts of the country. i'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Update: First off, did you see Condi on the George Stepanopolus Comedy hour this morning? Hott! She looks great in a black suit and my bitch boots. When she asked me if she could borrow them, i was all "i don't know babe, are you sure..." But dayyumm, gurl!!!

Nextly, Ted was right. Stepanoplus says that turnout estimates range from 55% to 70% and Fox news picks a number in the middle, at about 60%. By any standard, this has to be seen as great news.

Now, Evan Bayh is telling George Stepalotomous that he disagrees with the fat senator from Massachussetts, we shouldn't cut and run. Steppopotamus is now asking why the senator voted against Condi Rice. Bayh is talking, but i'm not getting a clear answer from him. He voted no because of her "mistakes in judgment" but that doesn't seem consistent with a centrist position. i think Senator Bayh's vote may come back to haunt him if he meets Senator Clinton, who voted yes, in the primaries.

Update 2: Why does every pundit feel the need to remind us that "just because the elections were successful, doesn't mean that there won't be more violence." Is there anyone in the world who believed that the insurgency would end after the election? Has anyone said that?

Update 3: Let's not forget that today is the Vice President's sixty-fourth birthday. Happy Birthday Dick!

Update 4: Here's an excellent question. i know the answer though. They're a bunch of hypocritical cowards.

Update 5: Moxie posted today: "...for those of us who love America, the beauty and payoff was seeing the joy (of those who previously had to vote for Saddam or face his assassins) vote yesterday for what they believed. Without fear." Nicely put.

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Which Tort Am i?

and go to mewing.net. because law school made laura do this.

Cool, that's my favorite tort anyways. It's like khaki, 'cause it goes so nicely with all my other torts.

Via Micah!

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January 28, 2005

The 282+1 Book Meme

Here's a new book meme. Starting at the top left of your first bookcase, count off your books from left to right until you find the twenty-eighth book. Turn to page twenty-eight and copy the first full paragraph you find on that page. What book is it? Have you read it? Did you like it?

Why the number twenty-eight? i don't know; i had to pick a number and today is January 28th. Besides, if you don't have at least twenty-eight books in your home, the books you do own are probably not very interesting anyway.

Here's mine:

Now to invent something touching the more private career of Claggart, something involving Billy Budd, of which something the latter should be wholly ignorant, some romantic incident implying that Claggart's knowledge of the young bluejacket began at some period anterior to catching sight of him on board the sevety-four--all this, not so difficult to do, might avail in a way more or less interesting to account for whatever of enigma may appear to lurk in the case. But in fact there was nothing of the sort. And yet the cause necessarily to be assumed as the sole one assignable is in its very realism as much charged with that prime element of Radcliffian romance, the mysterious, as any that the ingenuity of the author of The Mysteries of Udolpho could devise. For what can more partake of the mysterious than an antipathy spontaneous and profound such as is evoked in certain exceptional mortals by the mere aspect of some other mortal, however harmless he may be, if not called forth by this very harmlessness itself?
What a bunch of gobbledygook! It's from Billy Budd, Sailor and Other Stories by Herman Melville. i have not read it, and after typing that entire paragraph, and remembering just how turgid Melville's writing is, and what an unpleasant experience reading Moby Dick was... well i think it's fair to say i'd rather be smoking Billy Budd than reading it.

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Shake That Moneymaker!

From Magicvalley.com:

Fidgety Behavior Is Linked to Lean Physique

The difference between being obese or lean may be due to how much a person is apt to stand, pace, wriggle and shift about over the course of a day, a team of scientists reported in an intensive study of the consequences of fidgeting.

. . .

The extra energy burned by the fidgety lean group was about 350 calories a day -- well within the reach of most people. The extra calorie burn amounts to at least 10 pounds a year.

So how come i gain weight when i try to quit smoking?

The most interesting lines from the article were these, i thought:

Each participant wore a special, high-tech set of underwear, which were rigged with sensors and data loggers originally designed to monitor jet fighter motion. The underwear could track most body movements.

Fresh undergarments were supplied each day. Data from the used underwear were downloaded each day to a computer.

Dang, if underwear could talk... i'm not sure if i'd want to know the data offa some people's undies. But then again, there might be some undie-info i'd be very interested in downloading, if you know what i mean.

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Carnival Of The Poetries Update

Oh my, how could i have missed Kevin's latest haiku offering, on the Star Wars meme. An excerpt:

Princess Leia knows
she can never tell poor Han
that she blew Chewie
If Kevin were a gigantic slow moving furry bearded ram (and i can point to no evidence that he is not), i might be tempted to dub him the Basho of the Bantha.

While you're at it, check out my lastest attempt to augment my referrals.

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See Publicola...?

See Publicola...? Not every 2A story out of California turns out badly.

A Modesto homeowner who said he's been the victim of numerous burglaries in recent weeks shot a man who allegedly broke into his home Thursday morning.

Greg Collins' home is undergoing extensive remodeling. Collins said he slept in his garage overnight with a shotgun in an effort to protect his property.

At 5:25 a.m., Collins said he was awakened by the sounds of an intruder breaking in to the garage.

'Luckily, I found the shotgun, pointed it at him, told him to freeze ... He chose to lunge at me, so I had no choice at that point but to shoot him. I did use a 12-gauge shotgun so that I wouldn't kill the man,' he said.

Apparently, there are no plans to prosecute the homeowner.

Is there hope for Cali yet?

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i Guess He Forgot To Put Jesus First...

Looks like Leroy Wells may have to wait a while before he can become "the next William Hung."

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January 27, 2005

No More Trains?

When i first heard about the Glendale Metrolink disaster, yesterday morning while getting ready for school, my first reaction was typically post 9/11. i turned on the tv, saw the helicopter footage of the scattered train cars, then the announcer said, "President Bush will speak to the nation in a few moments." Shit, i thought, another Madrid?! i had jumped to an unnecessary conclusion, thanks to the strange juxtaposition of news stories at the moment i turned on the tv. But it got me thinking how vulnerable our rail system is to sabotage.

The L.A. Daily News headline asks a question that we all know the answer to: "Could any safety procedures have prevented this tragedy?" The short answer is no. The long answer is yes, but making train travel completely safe would make it so expensive that passenger rail could not exist.

Engineers, lawmakers and others engaged the issues of rail safety and security on Wednesday as Southern California reacted to the tragedy.

Some said the main factor is the lack of grade separation -- allowing the trains to operate at street level -- with only small barriers to deter motorists from getting caught on the tracks.

'If you look at our train systems out here, there are many more accidents and deaths here than elsewhere,' Moore said. 'It's 50 to 100 times higher than the national average, just from people attempting to commit suicide. And one of the reasons for that is the tracks are very accessible.

'If they had put through grade separation, they would never have been able to afford the system. If grade separation had been required, there would have been no Metrolink. And, now, maybe there shouldn't be.'

Metrolink officials have said grade crossings cost $20 million to $50 million each -- while the agency has an annual operating budget of $110 million.

i have long been an advocate for European style passenger rail in this country, but now i'm rethinking my support. i used to ride BART every day, when i lived in SF. A high speed connection between Southern and Northern California, like Spain's AVE line between Madrid and Seville would be so convenient, but i don't know if i could ever feel safe riding it. What a coincidence that on the same day as the Metrolink disaster, the California High-Speed Rail Authority approved a 700 mile route for high speed passenger rail service through California's San Joaquin Valley. It's such a great idea, but maybe post 9/11, it's an idea whose time has passed.

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What Day Is It Kids?

It's annika munuversary day!


Happy Munuversary to me!

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January 26, 2005

Blog Potpourri

. . . Generalissimo Duane forsees a bigger fight over Alberto Gonzales than we saw over Dr. Rice. Let's hope his math is worse than mine.

. . . RatherBiased reports that CBS's "expert" Marcel Matley is accusing the network of harming his professional reputation as a forensic expert. i'd say he has a case. No lie. If i were a lawyer, i'd sign him up in a heartbeat.

. . . Jordana posts a recipe for Salmon Chowder that looks so yummy, i may try it this weekend.

. . . David writes about my favorite Kipling story of all. Read the classic short story here.

. . . Gennie (who's awesome at this sorta thing - did you check out her Xmas list?) has a load of great suggestions for Valentine's day giftgiving.

. . . Jennifer takes a look at men's couture this time, and the runway pictures are freaking hilarious!

. . . Over at Blackfive, Matt posts the results of his discussions with a few dozen soldiers he served with and their thoughts on the war, Rumsfeld, and troop strength. Some of it is surprising.

. . . Ted, aka Munuviana's elder statesman, alerts us that tomorrow is the one year blogversary of The Gantry Launchpad, and urges us to rocket over there and wish Casey a happy blogversary.

. . . Which reminds me. Tomorrow happens to be my one year Munuversary! Yes, it's been one year since i blogged my first authentic post as a Munuvian. Mucho thanks again to Pixy, Susie, Joe Don and everyone else who helped me move over here. Mu.nu totally rocks!

. . . And speaking of Pixy, he asks a real fun question: "When they make MuNu: The Movie, who will play you?" hmmm. i think it has to be Brittany, who else?

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Today Is Poetry Wednesday

Emily Dickinson wrote:

Who never lost, are unprepared
A coronet to find;
Who never thirsted, flagons
And cooling tamarind.

Who never climbed the weary league—
Can such a foot explore
The purple territories
On Pizarro’s shore?

How many legions overcome?
The emperor will say.
How many colors taken
On Revolution Day?

How many bullets bearest?
The royal scar hast thou?
Angels, write "Promoted"
On this soldier’s brow!

Hang in there, G—

More: Don't miss the Maximum Leader's tribute to Robert Burns!.

Nor should you miss Queenie's Everyday Haiku. An excerpt:

winter skin itching;
unkempt nails claw at the breast
titties is too hot

And then Venomous Kate, picks up the meme with her own series of haiku:

gray river of dust
flows along edge of carpet
vacuum cleaners suck
And finally, Cameron picks a fight with modernist shibboleths, with his poem about poetry.

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January 25, 2005

Time To Start Thinking Poolside

We're not even out of January yet, but i'm getting swimwear catalogs in the mail already. It's still sweater weather here in Sacramento, and most of the country is freezing cold. But last weekend, i was in L.A., where the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the weather was its usual perpetual summer. Which, of course, got me thinking about planning my seasonal wardrobe.

So using my fine fashion eye, i'm able to tell you what's going to be hot by the pool and at the beach this summer. i think i can sum it up with these four words: polka-dots, halter-tops, boy-shorts and beads. Okay, so maybe that's seven words, but this is a post about fashion, not semantics, so listen up.

What in the world could be cuter than a polka-dot two-piece? They wrote a song about it didn't they? Trust me, everything is gonna be polka-dots this year. My favorites are at Vicki's Secret, including this classic triangle string-tie in white with multicored dots. Trés adorable. There's also a halter-top in the same pattern. Raisin's has a similar top and bottom, but the price is not as nice. Vicki's is actually swimming in polka-dot styles this year, for instance: bows and ruffles, and spumoni flavored, and this comfy looking tankini halter, equally perfect for volleyball or a picnic.

Old Navy hasn't yet come out with their summer styles yet, but you can get this green string top for only $4.99, which should be paired with black boy-shorts or these green and white numbers. A bikini for under ten bucks? That's cheapo, but with Old Navy you usually get what you pay for, so be forewarned.

And Nordy's has a polka-dot tankini set in stark black and white that makes me dream about being poolside at some Palm Springs bungalow, wearing dark cat-eyes under a floppy white chapeau, baking on a chaise-lounge and maybe sipping a fruity concoction served up by that nicely-tanned-yet-not-too-bright young poolboy that occasionally wanders in and out of my fantasies. You know, the one with the perfect abs? Whew.

i hope we're all thankfully over last summer’s bandeau craze. The demise of that silly fad was undoubtedly hastened by the unfortunate Kirsten Dunst unveiling of 2004. Not only was the bandeau top impractical, it wasn't very flattering either. Although they're not for everybody, halters will take over this summer, and the good news is that they're practically impervious to unintended incidents of Dunstation. Here's a hella cute retro gingham pattern.

Venus calls boy-shorts "hot shorts." Like Jessica, i prefer a low rise version with drawstring. Solid color boy-shorts are very versatile and great to match with a triangle top or tankini. Carabella does the boy-short thing with stripes and polka-dots, and these low rise O'Neills prove that you can look super sexy without being too cheeky.

As for beads, i'm seeing them on the ends of string-ties, but also as a decorative accent. i think this bikini is gorgeous, but i don't like the idea of spending $150 on something i'd be afraid to get wet. Ujena turns the beads into a belt.

One final warning. i have a sneaky suspicion, since the movie is coming out this summer, that we might see some Daisy Duke inspired swimwear on the racks. i think my visitors are sophisticated enough to know this already, but let me just say it outright: Anything Daisy Duke is by its very nature cheesy and is to be worn only at halloween.

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January 24, 2005

Operation Elephant Takeover

Here's more evidence for my theory about violence and the left wing. From The Associated Press:

The sons of a first-term congresswoman and Milwaukee's former acting mayor were among five Democratic activists charged Monday with slashing the tires of vans rented by Republicans to drive voters and monitors to the polls on Election Day.

. . .

The activists — all employees of the John Kerry campaign — are accused of flattening the tires on 25 vehicles rented by the state Republican Party to get out the vote and deliver poll watchers Nov. 2.

. . .

A criminal complaint said the defendants originally planned to put up Democratic yard signs, placards and bumper stickers at the Republican office in a scheme they called 'Operation Elephant Takeover.' But the plan was dropped when they learned a security guard was posted at the GOP office, the complaint said.

One witness told investigators the five defendants, dressed in 'Mission Impossible' type gear, black outfits and knit caps, left the Democratic Party headquarters at about 3 a.m. on Nov. 2, and returned about 20 minutes later, extremely excited and talking about how they had slashed the tires.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Seth Boffeli said the five were paid employees of Kerry's campaign, but were not acting on behalf of the campaign or party.

. . .

Rick Wiley, state GOP executive director, discovered the vandalism on the morning of Election Day.

'It was unbelievable that people could stoop this low in a political campaign,' he said. 'I figured it had to be someone from the opposition. But I didn't think someone on the paid Kerry campaign would do this.'

Wiley didn't say whether the vandalism prevented anyone from voting, but said poll watchers were about two hours late.

Via Redsugar Muse.

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1/8W+(D-d) 3/8xTQ MxNA

Happy January 24th!

Misery is expected to peak on Monday, as 24 January has been pinpointed as the worst day of the year.

January has been long regarded as the darkest of months, but a formula from a part-time tutor at Cardiff University shows it gets even worse this Monday.

Foul weather, debt, fading Christmas memories, failed resolutions and a lack of motivation conspire to depress, Cliff Arnalls found.

. . .

The formula for the day of misery reads 1/8W+(D-d) 3/8xTQ MxNA.

Where W is weather, D is debt - minus the money (d) due on January's pay day - and T is the time since Christmas.

Q is the period since the failure to quit a bad habit, M stands for general motivational levels and NA is the need to take action and do something about it.

Dr Arnalls calculated the effects of cold, wet and dark January weather after the cosiness of Christmas coupled with extra spending in the sales.

He found 24 January was especially dangerous, coming a whole month after Christmas festivities.

Any energy from the holiday had worn off by the third week of January, he said.

By Monday, most people will have fallen off the wagon or abandoned the nicotine patches as they fail to keep New Year's resolutions.

That compounds a sense of failure and knocks confidence needed to get through January.

The fact that the most depressing day fell on a Monday was not planned but a coincidence, he said.

i'm not depressed though, i'm just hungover.

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January 20, 2005

Hail To The Chief

i love the grand melody of Hail To The Chief. It's always inspiring. But did you know that there are lyrics to that song?

Hail to the Chief we have chos-en for the na - tion,
Hail to the Chief! We sa-lute him, one and all.
Hail to the Chief, as we pledge co-op - er -a- tion
In proud ful-fill-ment of a great, no-ble call.

Yours is the aim to make this grand coun-try grand-er,
This you will do, That's our strong, firm be-lief.
Hail to the one we se-lect-ed as com-mand-er,
Hail to the Pres-i-dent! Hail to the Chief!

Yay, four more years!

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January 19, 2005

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Better late than never, but this one is worth the wait. It's by Eighteenth Century English poet, Thomas Gray. Like many a favorite poem, it's about temptation and desire.

On a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes

’Twas on a lofty vase’s side,
Where China’s gayest art had dyed
The azure flowers that blow,
Demurest of the tabby kind
The pensive Selima, reclined,
Gazed on the lake below.

Her conscious tail her joy declared:
The fair round face, the snowy beard,
The velvet of her paws,
Her coat that with the tortoise vies,
Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes—
She saw, and purr’d applause.

Still had she gazed, but ’midst the tide
Two angel forms were seen to glide,
The Genii of the stream:
Their scaly armour’s Tyrian hue
Through richest purple, to the view
Betray’d a golden gleam.

The hapless Nymph with wonder saw:
A whisker first, and then a claw
With many an ardent wish
She stretch’d, in vain, to reach the prize—
What female heart can gold despise?
What Cat’s averse to fish?

Presumptuous maid! with looks intent
Again she stretch’d, again she bent,
Nor knew the gulf between—
Malignant Fate sat by and smiled—
The slippery verge her feet beguiled;
She tumbled headlong in!

Eight times emerging from the flood
She mew’d to every watery God
Some speedy aid to send:—
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirr’d.
Nor cruel Tom nor Susan heard—
A favourite has no friend!

From hence, ye Beauties! undeceived
Know one false step is ne’er retrieved,
And be with caution bold:
Not all that tempts your wandering eyes
And heedless hearts, is lawful prize,
Nor all that glisters, gold!

That was a fun one, wasn't it? Did you catch that not-so-hidden reference to nine lives in the penultimate stanza?

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