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.

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Ride Through New Orleans

Deroy Murdock's NRO piece on New Orleans today reminds me of the Ride Through Chernobyl site i posted about last year. Just the other day i was wondering if anybody was going to update us about New Orleans, or if it was just another important story about which the media had lost interest.

The column is worth a read, and there are some eerie pictures. Here's the key quote for me:

'I see a lot of media coverage, especially on television,' [local radio GM, David] Freedman says. 'It seems that there's always so much focus on the music, and the spirit, and the life of that music...But don't be fooled. This city is deeply wounded. I'd say it's like an amputee with phantom memory.'
Update: i got my first New Orleans beggar this morning. A guy came up to me on the sidewalk and introduced himself as a "New Orleans hurricane victim," then asked me for a dollar. Of course i didn't believe him, but i gave him a dollar anyway only because i always give money to beggars when asked.

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Wednesday Is Poetry Day

No poem today. Instead, i will quote some advice on how to read poetry, especially difficult poetry, which i discovered in the November 7, 2005, issue of The New Yorker. The advice comes from a worthy source, the great poet John Ashbery, in a long but fabulous piece about the poet, written by Larissa MacFarquhar.

This is how Ashbery reads. When he sits down with a book of poems by somebody else he goes through it quickly. He forms a first impression of a poem almost at once, and if he isn't grabbed by it he'll flip ahead and read something else. But if he's caught up he'll keep going, still reading quite fast, not making any attempt to understand what's going on but feeling that on some other level something is clicking between him and the poem, something is working. He knows implicitly that he's getting it, though he would find it difficult to say at this point what, exactly, he's getting. It's the sound of the poem, though not literally so--it's something like the sound produced by meaning, which lets you know that there's meaning there even though you don't know what it is yet. Later, if he likes the poem, he will go back and read it more carefully, trying to get at its meaning in a more conventional way, but it's really that first impression which counts.

. . .

It isn't that he believes that a poem can mean anything, or means nothing, or that language is irreducibly ambiguous, or that only an excavation of the author's unconscious can provide the key, or that the author's intention is irrelevant, or anything like that. He isn't interested in theory. It's simply that, for him, poems are pleasuable tools. He wants a poem to do something to him, to spark a thought or, even better, a verse of his own; he has no urge to do something to the poem.

People often tell him that they never understood his poems, or never understood them so well, until they heard him read them out loud. . . . [A] person might understand them better in readings because he is forced to listen to them in real time. He can't go back and try to make sense of this line or that, as he could if he were reading it in a book: if something sounds odd he must simply accept it and continue to listen, letting his mind catch on one phrase or another. And if he finds himself suddenly jolting back to attention after a minute or two of wondering whether he remembered to lock his apartment, or whether a crack in the ceiling looks more like a fried egg or France, or whether he should have a hamburger for dinner, he must accept that he has missed a bit of the poem, there is no retrieving it, and just enjoy what is left without worrying too much about how it all fits together.

In a sense, reading poetry is like appreciating fine art. i always try to remember to forget about prose, and the expectations of clarity one has from reading prose. Even the most dense poetry is communicating something. But just like painting or sculpture, if the message were something that could be communicated by prose, it would have been written in prose.

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November 29, 2005

If i Had A Blog

by annika b.

If i had a blog i would write about only shiny things
like my hair, or your nose

If i had a blog i would post naked pictures all the time
but of you

i would also post drink recipes,
and then drink them while blogging

If you had a blog you would name it after my cat, if i had a cat

If i had a blog i would write stupid free verse while listening
to my professor, and the boy with slightly wavy hair
who only raises his hand when he has something funny to say

Having a blog would be like being a superhero
but without the costume or the cool powers
i would wear boots and my underwear would be on the outside.

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November 28, 2005

Monday Night Football Pick, Week 12

Trust me on this one. Go with the Steelers and the eight points. Let the crowd bet Indy, they're going down. Trust me.

Update: Or not.

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November 27, 2005

A Weird Dream i Had

Remember that Seinfeld episode where Jerry wrote down a joke he dreamed up in the middle of the night? Then he couldn't read what he had written and when he finally figured it out, it wasn't funny at all. That happens to me too.

cruisedream.jpgLike last night, for instance. i had this dream about a new Tom Cruise movie called The Last Chiropractor. The promo was something like:

[cue announcer's voice]

Years of sleeping on Japanese bamboo mats have led Tom Cruise to his greatest role as...

...The Last Chiropractor!

[cue Tom Cruise's voice]

"You don't know the history of myofascial release therapy, I DO!"

[cue announcer's voice]

In the face of musculoligamentous sprain/strain...

In the sacroiliac of One Man...

Lies the Soul of a Warrior.

Once he risked his life for honor and country, but now his world has changed. Subluxation has replaced full cervical range of motion, and in the place of freedom and valor, he only finds chronic radiating pain, especially at levels C5-6 and L5-S1.

Thrust now into harsh and unfamiliar territory, with his life and perhaps more important, his spine, in the balance, the troubled American soldier finds himself at the center of a violent and epic struggle between the soft tissues of his neck and back, with only his sense of honor and a thorough knowledge of flexion/distraction technique to guide him.

Tom Cruise is...

...The Last Chiropractor!

Crazy huh? i'm telling you, i really did have a dream about that shit.

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Aspiring LL Stalker E-mail Of The Week

Yep, i'm still getting emails from LL fans all over the world, based on my humorous post from nine months ago. i don't know what's more absurd, the number of LL fans out there, or the fact that so many of them seem to lack any sense of irony.

Here's the latest one:

Hi, I'm [name redacted] from belgium (so my English isn't good at all but i'm going to try it) I love Lindsay Lohan, she is so beautiful, she is HOT. So my point is : if you got the e-mail, or phone number of Lindsay please give it to me, she is the perfect girl I just want to see her in Real, and I want to be her friend. She is a idol fot every girl, I like her style, the way she dresses her self, everything. You probably think that I'm a freak of her, but not I that way, you know. I'm 16 years old and please say against Lindsay that there is someone in Belgium who's a great fan of her. And maybe if I graduate when I'm 18, my parents said I could study in the USA, to play baseball also because it's my sport, maybe I will be a pro someday and maybe then Lindsay wil meet me ( Maybe), It's my dream to be a pro baseballer, and to have Lindsay as my girlfriend !!, and if that dream ever come true I will be the happiest man of the world I swear, so please introduce me to Lindsay if you ever got her e-mail or phonenumber.

Thanks for listening to me, it means a lot

[name redacted]

How sweet. i hope he gets to be her boyfriend someday, and if he does i hope he's smart enough to do all the driving.

Update: It's not looking good for Belgium dude. This is how LL treats people who are not in her social stratosphere.

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November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Day NFL Picks

Look for the Falcons to beat the Lions in Detroit and cover the 3 point spread. In the battle of division leaders, look for Dallas to squeak by Denver. Take Dallas at home, plus the 2 points.

Enjoy your turducken, too.

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November 22, 2005

The Next Weapons Controversy?

The NE round.

[I]t is a thermobaric mixture which ignites the air, producing a shockwave of unparalleled destructive power, especially against buildings.

A post-action report from Iraq describes the effect of the new weapon: 'One unit disintegrated a large one-storey masonry type building with one round from 100 meters. They were extremely impressed.' Elsewhere it is described by one Marine as 'an awesome piece of ordnance.'

It proved highly effective in the battle for Fallujah. This from the Marine Corps Gazette, July edition: 'SMAW gunners became expert at determining which wall to shoot to cause the roof to collapse and crush the insurgents fortified inside interior rooms.'

. . .

[I]t’s understandable that the Marines have made so little noise about the use of the SMAW-NE in Fallujah. But keeping quiet about controversial weapons is a lousy strategy, no matter how effective those arms are. In the short term, it may save some bad press. In the long term, it’s a recipe for a scandal. Military leaders should debate human right advocates and the like first, and then publicly decide 'we do/do not to use X'. Otherwise when the media find do find out – as they always do -- not only do you get a level of hysteria but there is also the charge of 'covering up.'

[The author is] undecided about thermobarics myself, but I think they should let the legal people sort out all these issues and clear things up. Otherwise you get claims of 'chemical weapons' and 'violating the Geneva Protocol.' Which doesn't really help anyone. The warfighter is left in doubt, and it hands propaganda to the bad guys. Just look at what happened it last week’s screaming over white phosphorous rounds.

Lawyers? Disproportionate force? Don't some of these same people want us to send 400,000 troops to Iraq. It's crazy. Do whatever works, i say.

In 1991 it was electric filaments that were inhumane. And they didn't even kill anybody. This time it's the white phosphorous nonsense. Nobody ever mentions that we used white phosphorous in World War II. If it wasn't for WP, it would have taken us much longer to break out of hedgerow country after D-Day. The world would be a different place, let me tell you.

Remember what Dupont said (or was it Monsanto?): "Without chemicals, life itself would be impossible."

Via commenter Shelly.

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Shout Outs To The New Lawyers In The Blogosphere

Congratulations are also in order for Law Fairy, The Angry Clam, Chris Cross, and GirlGoneMil, who passed the California Bar Exam. And i should also mention that my roommate Megan is the smartest, sexiest and most relieved new lawyer in the Golden State. And on Saturday, she was the most hungover too.

i know it's bad form to mention it, but good luck to those of you who didn't pass. i know you'll get em next time.

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Occasional Huge Comment of the Week® Winner

One might wonder why annika's bitch Casca has never been awarded the coveted Huge Comment of the Week® prize. No longer. His comment to the post immediately below is beyond worthy.

The worst thing about the blogosphere is the infinite supply of know-it-alls. They offend those of us who do.
Congratulations Casca!

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Deafening Silence

Is it me, or is the blogosphere deafeningly silent on this story. i think it's huge, no matter which side you're on.

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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

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November 21, 2005

"Boogie To Baghdad"

As far as i am concerned, there was one main reason Iraq was a serious threat to the United States. It's why Saddam Hussein had to go, and it's why Iraq needed to be turned into a U.S. friendly democracy.

The reason was, in the words of Richard Clarke, "Boogie to Baghdad." Byron York wrote about it in his most recent column:

In case you don’t remember, 'Boogie to Baghdad' is the phrase that Richard Clarke, when he was the top White House counterterrorism official during the Clinton administration, used to express his fear that if American forces pushed Osama bin Laden too hard at his hideout in Afghanistan, bin Laden might move to Iraq, where he could stay in the protection of Saddam Hussein.

Clarke’s opinion was based on intelligence indicating a number of contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq, including word that Saddam had offered bin Laden safe haven.

It’s all laid out in the Sept. 11 commission report. 'Boogie to Baghdad' is on Page 134.

i checked, skeptical person that i am. Here's the relevant quote from the Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States:
In February 1999, [CIA assistant director for collection, Charles] Allen proposed flying a U-2 mission over Afghanistan to build a baseline of intelligence outside the areas where the tribals had coverage. [Richard] Clarke was nervous about such a mission because he continued to fear that Bin Ladin might leave for someplace less accessible. He wrote Deputy National Security Advisor Donald Kerrick that one reliable source reported Bin Ladin's having met with Iraqi officials, who 'may have offered him asylum.' Other intelligence sources said that some Taliban leaders, though not Mullah Omar, had urged Bin Ladin to go to Iraq. If Bin Ladin actually moved to Iraq, wrote Clarke, his network would be at Saddam Hussein's service, and it would be 'virtually impossible' to find him. Better to get Bin Ladin in Afghanistan, Clarke declared. Berger suggested sending one U-2 flight, but Clarke opposed even this. It would require Pakistani approval, he wrote; and 'Pak[istan's] intel[ligence service] is in bed with' Bin Ladin and would warn him that the United States was getting ready for a bombing campaign: 'Armed with that knowledge, old wily Usama will likely boogie to Baghdad.' Though told also by Bruce Riedel of the NSC staff that Saddam Hussein wanted Bin Ladin in Baghdad, Berger conditionally authorized a single U-2 flight. Allen meanwhile had found other ways of getting the information he wanted. So the U-2 flight never occurred.

We wanted to send a spy plane over Afghanistan, but Richard Clarke was afraid (probably with good reason) that the Pakistanis would tip Osama off, and he'd get spooked and leave Afghanistan.

Please note what Richard Clark did not say:

He did not say, "At least we don't need to worry about Osama going to Iraq, because as everybody knows, Osama and Saddam hate each other, Osama being a religious fundamentalist, and Saddam being a secular infidel."

The argument that Saddam and Osama would never have cooperated is not only factually incorrect, it's naïve. People who hate each other form partnerships all the time. Look at most marriages. No, seriously, what about Hitler and Stalin, Stalin and Churchill, Herzog and Kinski, Bill and Hillary, Ungar and Madison, Owens and McNabb?

The whole WMD argument is a red herring. The administration thought it was their "ace in the hole" when they were trying to make the case before the U.N. Now the anti-war movement thinks it's their "ace-in-the-hole." i never bought into the WMD argument, either way.

The flypaper argument is similarly weak. It's only a part of the puzzle. Alone, it makes a poor justification for the war. The main reason we needed to get rid of Saddam, and make Iraq into an ally instead of an enemy, was "Boogie to Baghdad."

The advantages to both parties would have made a Saddam-Osama partnership inevitable, especially after we kicked butt in Afghanistan. Therefore, it was a strategic necessity to remove the possibility of that partnership. We achieved that goal, and that's a fact that people tend to forget.

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MNF Pick, Week XI

Big NFC North matchup tonight. Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. i'm going to try out a new analysis today, so stay with me and you'll see the beauty of it, then you can laugh at the suckers later.

Now the line opened with Green Bay favored by 3½ points. The current line is up to 5½ points. The conventional wisdom says Green Bay will do well in November at home against their arch-rivals, who play in a dome. Also, Brett Favre and company have a lot to make up for, with their recent Monday night debacles. Plus, the Vikings are without their star Daunte Culpepper, while the Packers are still led by fading superstar Favre. The Packers are also coming off a huge victory against the Falcons last week, and they will hopefully ride into this game with some momentum and renewed confidence.

So, naturally i would pick the Packers tonight. However, this week i am going with the George Costanza rule, which states as follows:

If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.
Thus, i am picking the Minnesota Vikings plus 5½ points to win.

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November 18, 2005

Happy Birthday Harriet (The Interview)

You may have read about this. Harriet the turtle, the world's oldest living animal, turned 175 on Tuesday.

What an incredible accomplishment, when you think about it. Harriet must have an amazing perspective on the world and history, because she's seen it all.

Harriet watched the industrial revolution happen, the rise of nationalism and the Revolutions of 1848. She must have followed the American Civil War with interest. Was she worried when she heard about the Russian Revolution? Did she think Hitler might really take over the world? Imagine her relief when Imperial Japan was turned away from Australian shores, or when the Cold War ended.

What would Harriet say about global warming? Were there any el ninos when she was a little girl on Galapagos? What was Charles Darwin like? Was he a talkative man? Did he believe in God? What are her opinions on the art movements she's seen come and go: romanticism, impressionism, expressionism, dadaism, surrealism, cubism, modernism, post-modernism and even post-post-modernism?

Does Harriet have any plans for the next 175 years? i hear she's in good health. Is she optimistic about her future, or ours? Is Steve Irwin a goofball all the time, or is that just an act?

There's so many questions i could ask Harriet, i decided to see if i could track her down via the magic of the internet. What follows is the exclusive annika's journal interview i tried to conduct with Harriet in a Yahoo! chatroom. Unfortunately i wasn't able to keep her online very long, but you know how it is in chatrooms. more...

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Joke Of The Day

CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer, on why all three major networks reported Rep. Murtha's "we must surrender" speech as the most important news story of the day:

Politicians make speeches all the time. Some matter and some don't. It was our opinion that this one mattered.
No word yet on why CBS didn't consider a recent "we must win" speech by the freakin' President of the United States in the same light.

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More Sports Blogging

So Randy Moss don't wanna play with TO? That's good. i'd hate to watch yet another future Hall of Famer riding the bench for Al Davis.

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November 17, 2005

How Perfect Is That?

It's 50% Love and 50% Lust

You and your guy are hot for one another, but you've also got a bit of a love thing going on.

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From Australia's Herald Sun:

Four Australian women have been detained while trying to board a plane in Syria, reportedly after gun parts were found inside a child's toy.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) said two women from Victoria and two from NSW were with two Iraqi women when they were detained at Damascus airport on Tuesday.

All six were of Iraqi origin, the department said.

A DFAT spokesman would not confirm media reports that the group was detained after a disassembled gun was found inside a toy being carried by a child with the women.

The ABC has quoted a Syrian police source and a diplomatic source as saying the women entered the airport in the Syrian capital with a child.

They said the women were detained after the gun parts were found in a toy the child was holding.

The women were reportedly trying to board a flight bound for Australia.

Via A Western Heart.

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