Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day
Posted by Raznor

Let's not forget these people. They were sent to war on a pack of lies and an experiment by a few armchair generals who thought that not allowing questions is a worthwhile substitute for actual knowledge.

And don't forget these people, as the civilian deaths number between 21,000 and 25,000. Victims of a callous disregard for the lives of Iraqis, by our military and by our media, and by extension by us as well.

Pity those whose deaths do nothing. Nothing to help bring peace, nothing to help secure America. And don't forget those who sent them there. The man who says he'll err on the side of life has set in motion a war that has claimed 27,000 and counting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Michigan Lawmaker Requires Women to Withstand the Test of Fire Before Getting an Abortion
Posted by Raznor

State Rep. Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc Township, introduced the bill. He has said he hopes giving women the option to provide entertainment to abortion providers before getting an abortion, that is should they survive.

Robertson said the bill is a logical extension of Michigan's jumpin' through hoops law, which requires women to perform acrobatic stunts while singing the Star Spangled Banner.

"Women will be given the opportunity to be amply punished for being the sluts they are, that they may truly make an informed choice," Robertson in a news release.

Okay, this isn't exactly what happened, check the story here, via Amanda. The real story is that Robertson wants to force women to get ultrasounds in order to get abortions. Essentially making getting an abortion harder and more expensive. This is based on the Informed Consent Law, which requires a 24 hour waiting period before getting an abortion, you know, since so many women are just out there getting tons of abortions all willy-nilly like, apparently.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

"Is it too much to ask that a religious institution sporting such an abysmal record in dealing with these matters stop dictating the bedroom behavior of its millions of followers?"

Posted by Ross

So muses Robert Scheer (whose name, I realize, I've been misspelling for months) in his column today in the LA Times about the Catholic Church's attitudes toward homosexuality in light of its own cover-ups of abuse, entitled "A Hypocritical Church's Sex Lessons."

"Sadly," Scheer continues, "it probably is. The church will continue to face eruptions of sexual scandal because of its renowned insistence on a sanctimonious medieval morality ignoring the main lesson of this sorry affair: Sex is natural, becoming ugly and exploitive only when denied healthy outlets.

"For our civil society, the message is even more compelling: Yes to the life decisions of responsible adults, gay or heterosexual; no to the sexual dictates of a church that cannot be trusted to monitor its own behavior."

Monday, May 23, 2005

Hooray, course evals
Posted by Raznor

Well I read my course evals today, which being that I taught College Algebra is - you can imagine - quite painful. Here's a summary:

1. Students in both classes thought I was funny. Guess that's a plus.
2. Unlike last semester, no one thought my sense of humor was inappropriate, but then there wasn't as many students with such vitriolic hatred of me as last semester. Maybe this means I'm improving?
3. In one of my classes, I had one student say he/she was bored by my going to the basics when expaining a problem on the board, and another who was frustrated that I skipped too many steps. There's no pleasing everyone I guess.
4. Most other complaints were regarding aspects of the class that were beyond my control (the fact that for all sections the tests are worth 50% of the grade, for instance, which I never really liked anyway) which I would feel better about except:
5. Just about half of my students actually filled out the course evaluations. Who knows what the rest thought.

Well, another semester down, anyway, huh?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

A Fun New Blog Game: why is the right wing/left wing (cicle which wing applies) a complete asshole for their opinions about the hot new Saddam pictures?

Posted by Ross

At the end of last week we got that delicious bit of news that Saddam Hussein had been photographed in his underpants (Saddam Hussein wears underpants? Who knew?) among other poses sure to be revealed in next year's Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Issue.

I quite liked curmudgeonly lefty Bob Sheer's take on the whole thing on Left, Right & Center on Friday, when he mentioned that he didn't particularly find the images humiliating as much as he found them humanizing. I would have to agree. It's hard to paint a monster out of a flesh and blood human being on his knees washing his clothes (or whatever it was he was doing; I find the whole thing so distasteful, I've yet to seek out the photos).

And who was the only publisher cynical and sleazy enough to allow these pictures to be printed in his two high profile tabloid newspapers?

The inscrutable Citizen Kane for the new millennium, Rupert Murdoch.

As Homer Simpson, another Murdoch property, might marvel, "Journalism. Is there anything it can’t do?"

Malcolm Glazer may be a dick, but how many billionaires aren't?
Posted by Ross

It's been pretty big news here, so I can only imagine what it's like in England... no, not the re-election of Hugh Grant... I mean Tony Blair. I'm talking about Malcolm Glazer becoming majority owner of Manchester United.

These guys are the Yankees of English soccer. Unless you ask them, in which case they will claim to be bigger than the Yankees.

Remember, the English are a little more socialized than we Americans, so they are particularly insanely, rabidly, throat-slashingly furious that their precious team is being bought by some foreign plutocrat.

Okay, first off, I just have to say, honestly, people, rich fucking plutocrats are rich fucking plutocrats no matter what nationality. Like the Bushes and the Saudi royalty, it is the kind of club that crosses borders. I find very little kinship with George Steinbrenner, beyond ridiculous generalities like: we're both white, and men, and like baseball.

I guess the British are just not as used to beloved Major League franchises being run by indifferent owners (not that Glazer WILL be indifferent, mind you), such as octogenarian billionaire and Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad, who a few years ago would have happily folded the proud franchise for a fun cash prize.

Even Andy, my usually level-headed British writing compatriot, is absolutely aghast at Glazer's blasphemous daring.

There were a couple of points I attempted to get across as, what I felt to be, sound counter-arguments.

The first was the example of the Seattle Mariners, who, back in the early 90s were being sold to Nintendo. Which would mean Japanese owners... which would mean... what exactly?

Well, no one really knew, but a lot of them thought it would be bad. Like decades of misery in the division's basement - while playing in the ugly, cavernous (though inspiringly populist) Kingdome, which year-in-year-out would be voted worst food in baseball - wasn't bad enough.

This for the vibrant, progressive grunge rock Mecca Pacific Northwest gem of a city.

So what happened? As Ken Griffey Jr, Randy Johnson and A-Rod all emerged, the Mariners spent the next decade in their only golden age, which would culminate in a legendary 116-win season in 2001, and give birth to the beautiful Safeco Field (and the somewhat heart-breaking destruction of the Kingdome).

And now the Mariners are an internationally beloved franchise, with legions of rabid Japanese baseball fans following their beloved Ichiro in right field, the man who last season broke baseball's long-standing single-season hits record.

Turns out sake and sushi are pretty sweet baseball concessions.

The other argument I tried to use on Andy was to remind him that his favorite team in the whole wide world had sold... SOLD (like the Red Sox SOLD Babe Ruth) the only soccer player any American has ever heard of besides Pele, so you KNOW he must be great... David Beckham to Real Madrid.

And now Manchester United is no longer the Yankees of the late 90s, they're the Yankees of the late 80s... read: they're not as good.

And honestly, Malcolm Glazer could be the worst thing that ever happened to Manchester United... which means he’d have to do something worse than selling his best player. And in America, we remember what happens to teams that sell their best player...

85 years later you win the World Series!!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Yet more powerful words
Posted by the bekka

I heard this a few weeks ago on Democracy Now - this is the statement that Pablo Paredes, a Navy petty officer who refused orders to board a ship last December heading to Iraq, made to the court at his trial before sentencing. I was deeply moved - and suprised - by what he had to say. America could use some more Americans like this. Read on, dear blogosphere.

"Your Honor, and to all present, I'd like to state first and foremost that it has never been my intent or motivation to create a mockery of the Navy or its judicial system. I do not consider military members adversaries. I consider myself in solidarity with all service members. It is this feeling of solidarity that was at the root of my actions. I don't pretend to be in a position to lecture anyone on what I perceive as facts concerning our current political state of affairs. I accept that it is very possible that my political perspective on this war could be wrong. I don't think that rational people can even engage in debate if neither is willing to accept the possibility that their assertions, no matter how researched, can be tainted with inaccuracy and falsehoods. I do believe that accepting this in no way takes away from one's confidence in their own convictions.

I am convinced that the current war in Iraq is illegal. I am also convinced that the true causality for it lacked any high ground in the topography of morality. I believe as a member of the Armed Forces, beyond having duty to my Chain of Command and my President, I have a higher duty to my conscience and to the supreme law of the land. Both of these higher duties dictate that I must not participate in any way, hands-on or indirect, in the current aggression that has been unleashed on Iraq. In the past few months I have been continually asked if I regret my decision to refuse to board my ship and to do so publicly. I have spent hour upon hour reflecting on my decision, and I can tell you with every fiber of certitude that I possess that I feel in my heart I did the right thing.

This does not mean I have no regrets. I regret dearly exposing the families of marines and sailors to my protest. While I do not feel my message was wrong, I know that those families were facing a difficult moment. This moment was made in some ways more difficult by my actions, and this pains me. That day on the pier, I restrained myself from answering the calls of coward and even some harsher variations of the same term. I did so because I knew this wasn't the time to engage these families in debate. I thought that I became in many ways a forum in which to vent their fears and sadness. And I didn't want to turn that into a combative situation in which the families were distracted more by our debate than simply empowered by their ability to chastise my actions. All that being said I still feel my actions made some people very unhappy and made others feel that I was taking away from their child's or their husband's goodbye, and I regret this.

I also regret the pain and stress I have caused those near and dear to me. I know that my lawyers feel that it is ill advised of me to say these things, and I am aware of that. My lawyers have had a very difficult time with me. They also thought that it was ill advised me for me to plead not guilty. It is this I truly want to explain, both to them and to the court. I realize I did not board the Bonhomme Richard on December 6 and that I left after the ship personnel and Pier Master-at-Arms refused to arrest me. Given these confessions one may find it hard to understand why would anyone admit to the action but not plead guilty to the crime. It is this question that has also been the topic of much reflection for me.

I never deny my actions nor do I run from their consequences. But pleading guilty is more than admission of action. It is also acceptance that that action was wrong and illegal. These are two things I do not and cannot accept. I feel, even with all the regrets and difficulties that have come as a result of my actions, that they were in fact my duty as a human being and as a service member. I feel in my mind and heart that this war is illegal and immoral. The moral argument is one that courts have little room for and has been articulated in my C.O. application. It is an argument that encompasses all wars as intolerable in my system of morals. The legal argument is quite relevant, although motions filed and approved have discriminated against it to the point it was not allowed into this trial.

I have long now been an ardent reader of independent media, and, in my opinion, less corrupted forms of media, such as TruthOut.org, Democracy Now!, books from folks like Steven Zunes, and Chalmers Johnson, articles from people like Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein. These folks are very educated in matters of politics and are not on the payroll of any major corporate news programming, such as CNN or FOX News network. They all do what they do for reasons other than money, as they could earn much more if they joined the corporate-controlled ranks. I have come to trust their research and value their convictions in assisting me to form my own. They have all unanimously condemned this war as illegal, as well as made resources available for me to draw my own conclusions, resources like Kofi Annan's statements on how under the U.N. Charter the Iraq War is illegal, resources like Marjorie Cohn's countless articles providing numerous sources and reasons why the war is illegal under international, as well as domestic law. I could speak on countless sources and their arguments as to the legality of the war on Iraq quite extensively. But again, I don't presume to be in a position to lecture anyone here on law. I mean only to provide insight on my actions on December 6.

I understood before that date very well what the precedent was for service members participating in illegal wars. I read extensively on the arguments and results of Nazi German soldiers, as well as imperial Japanese soldiers, in the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials, respectively. In all I read I came to an overwhelming conclusion supported by countless examples that any soldier who knowingly participates in an illegal war can find no haven in the fact that they were following orders, in the eyes of international law.
Nazi aggression and imperialist Japan are very charged moments of history and simply mentioning them evokes many emotions and reminds of many atrocities. So I want to be very clear that I am in no way comparing our current government to any of the historical counterparts. I am not comparing the leaders or their acts, not their militaries nor their acts. I am only citing the trials because they are the best example of judicial precedent for what a soldier/sailor is expected to do when faced with the decision to participate or refuse to participate in what he perceives is an illegal war.
I think we would all agree that a service member must not participate in random unprovoked illegitimate violence simply because he is ordered to. What I submit to you and the court is that I am convinced that the current war is exactly that. So, if there's anything I could be guilty of, it is my beliefs. I am guilty of believing this war is illegal. I'm guilty of believing war in all forms is immoral and useless, and I am guilty of believing that as a service member I have a duty to refuse to participate in this war because it is illegal.

I do not expect the court to rule on the legality of this war, nor do I expect the court to agree with me. I only wish to express my reasons and convictions surrounding my actions. I acted on my conscience. Whether right or wrong in my convictions I will be at peace knowing I followed my conscience."

Friday, May 20, 2005

What's in a Name? Especially if it's still a long-ass drive?!?

Posted by Ross

In your friendly neighborhood totalitarian regime, you're gonna have your petty criminals, rapists, murderers. It goes with the terrain of governing over huge swaths of population, and, as in the democratic world, there is a system in place to neutralize such deviations of society without it contaminating the populace.

But unlike the democratic world, your friendly neighborhood totalitarian regime doesn't take kindly to those who will speak or write in a manner that may portray said repressive regime in a negative light. In Iran, for example, there is a persistant government crackdown of bloggers, which has garnered some international press.

In "1984", you might recall, when Winston has been imprisoned, it is noted that the criminals, rapists and murderers are almost chummy with their captors, while the harshest, cruelest punishments are given to those who have dared place themselves at ideological odds with Big Brother.

It's the power of words. Because once a thing is said, once a thing is consumed by a populace, it cannot be unsaid, cannot be unconsumed, and this can many times place the powers-that-be in a precarious situation. So the Nazis burn books. The Catholics ban books. And the American populace... doesn't read books.

We've been witness, these past two weeks, to the phenomenal impact of the written word when a Newsweek article that mentioned Koran flushing at Guantanimo sparked violent, deadly protests in Afghanistan. Nevermind the Bush administration's masterful ability to deflect its own flagrant human rights violations onto the "liberal media; nor the fact that, whether Koran flushing actually happened, there is still compelling evidence that the Muslim holy book has been desecrated at Guantanimo; nor the fact that the article was merely the straw that broke the camel's back for the desperately poor, war-ravished Afghans.

What we are witnessing is the almighty power of the written word. And though this power may stem from the actual "words on the page," it also comes from interpretation, spin and, ultimately, the nebulous concept of "who's to blame?" Not that finger-pointing necessarily solves problems. But it did help get Bush re-elected.

And now we get to another fascinating chapter in the power of the written word: the Dodgers-Angels interleague series this weekend. Why so much news? It has to do with the Angels' name change over the off-season, in which they went from the Anaheim Angels (Anaheim, being the headquarters of former owner and Mein Fuhrer the Disney Corporation) to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This name change infuriated the town of Anaheim. Angry letters and lawsuits followed, but when the smoke had cleared, Los Angeles remained part of the Angels' name.

Nevermind that, well before the Dodgers trekked across the country from Brooklyn, the local team was the Los Angeles Angels of the legendary Pacific Coast League.

So, now that there are two LA baseball teams - in name only, of course - journalists, satirists and morons alike will beg the pointless question: "which is LA's real team?"

Of course the LA Metropolitan Area is so massive, it could easily fit a third Major League team (or fourth, if we include the San Diego Padres into the equation). But as far as I'm concerned, there's only one way in which the Angels will ever take the Dodgers' place as number one in LA: if they actually MOVE here.

Do you realize what a fucking trek it is to go to Edison Field? Like an hour drive on ugly freeways through urban sprawl. And then, when the game's over, you get to get back on the freeway, where you crawl through the gridlock traffic created by the ballgame, until, an hour and a half later (if you're lucky), you finally get home.

I say let 'em keep the name. The White Sox and Cubs are both Chicago. The Yankees and Mets are both New York. The Lakers and Clippers are both LA, for fuck's sake.

So worry, if you must, about what's in a name. As for me, I'm more concerned with whether the Dodgers can field a productive third baseman.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Glenn Reynolds is shockingly being intellectually dishonest
Posted by Raznor

Jesse Taylor is so disgusted with Insty's latest idiocy that he's considering quitting blogging. (Don't Jesse!! Please!) Here's what Reynolds wrote:

ANDREW SULLIVAN seems to think that I should be blogging more about Abu Ghraib, and less about the Newsweek scandal. Well, I think he should be blogging more (er, at least some) about the worse-than-Tiananmen massacre in Uzbekistan, and perhaps a bit less about gay marriage. But so what? What people blog about is none of my business. Andrew seems to feel differently, and beyond that seems to have endorsed the "fake but accurate" defense of Newsweek's reporting.

As you can guess, it goes downhill from there. But I wonder what Sullivan said, hm?

Actually, it wasn't Sullivan per se, but a letter from a reader of Sullivan's, that seems to be dead on:

Like yourself, I was particularly struck by the suggestion made by Instapundit that Newsweek's error was "the press's Abu Ghraib". Initially, I interpreted the parity as one of moral fault: the idiotic idea that similar consequences make similar crimes. But in considering its relation to the surrounding arguments - i.e. Reynolds' not-so-subtle premonitions about the future of free speech - I arrived at a more cynical interpretation: namely, that it ultimately didn't matter whether the reports of torture were true or not (since we now know that Muslims will riot and hate us either way) and so just as Newsweek shouldn't have reported its story, the original Abu Ghraib story should have been likewise silenced. This also fits with Reynolds' recent musings that other documentation may also be fake, thus calling into question the legitimacy of the entire torture story.
To evaluate these two interpretations, I went back to the week in May '04 when the torture story broke, and took a random sample (as a social scientist, such are my habits) of Instapundit's posts/updates to compare his reaction to that of the Newsweek scandal. The Newsweek story was the subject of 22 of the 40 posts/updates, all of which expressed admonishment. In contrast, the sample of 40 posts from the Abu Ghraib weeks contained only 2 expressing admonishment of the abuse (and even there, it is qualified), while the 12 other posts/updates on the abuse scandal either: A) Attempted to minimize its moral and practical significance, or B) Tried to discredit the evidence as fake or exaggerated by anti-troop, liberal media bias.
In other words, Reynolds' treatment of the real torture story was almost indistinguishable from his treatment of the fake torture story. For Reynolds, a false report of torture represents the same, basic problem as its demonstrable, photographic truth: namely, the subordination of the media's liberal agenda to that of the U.S. in wartime. This, it seems to me, is the real implication of the notion of "the press's Abu Ghraib": the tendency to view The News, not by the criteria of empirical validity, but by the patriotism and political pragmatism of its consequences.

(Note: although that above is the bulk of the post, you should click on the above link for the great Lashawn Barber punchline)

Now, what's interesting, is that the criticism of Reynolds in the above is completely different from how Reynolds portrayed it!! It wasn't about Reynolds not talking about Abu Graib enough, it's the fact that his only focus on it was any bullshit crackpot theory that seemed to prove that awful MSM was lying for some reason. Then when Newsweek makes a small error in a larger report he latches onto it like a lion to a zebra that's also been laced with LSD.

It's not that he's ignoring Abu Graib, it's that he doesn't care. Torture those I-rakkees as much as you want. Glenn doesn't know no one there, therefore it's all A-Okay, the only bad thing is when reporters actually report it.

And you know, speaking of Reynolds and the Newsweek thing, a big heh-indeedy goes out to August and Jesse. (for a different post than linked to above, read it)

Fucking assholes at Walmart - update
Posted by Raznor

So Prop 100 failed. I was shooting pool last night with a friend when I heard about it. Some asshole yuppies clapped. I guess they're glad that Nazism in the form of a zoning ordinance failed yet again.

Good thing I was already drinking.

Update: I realize now, perhaps too late, that I didn't mention what Prop. 100 was. It's the measure mentioned in this post. Basically it means that there's gonna be a new Super Walmart in Flagstaff. Take that Nazis.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Chapelle No-show

Posted by Ross

At least out here in lala land, the continuing saga of Dave Chapelle has become something of a spectator sport. There's billboards proclaiming the new season of his insanely successful Comedy Central show will be starting any day now. Yet, the sad fact remains that no new shows have been made because... well, no one's really sure why.

There's been plenty of rumors circulating. I was even at an interview with Eric Idol on Monday night, and during the audience Q&A, someone asked Idol what he thought about Chapelle.

But something I so far haven't heard anybody mention is that Chapelle himself hinted on his very show that something like this might happen. It was in the form of a funny sketch, in which Chapelle marries Oprah, becomes phenominally rich, and no longer has any desire to work, worrying the Comedy Central brass as he disappears for long spells of time, sits on the couch all day watching TV, and so on. Sound familiar?

That's because Chapelle has become insanely rich with his fast-selling DVDs and recent contract signed with Comedy Central. Is it a case of art imitating life? Well, yeah. But, more to the point, that sketch served as fair warning of Chapelle's emotional state.

It's like after another tragic school shooting, once the dust has cleared, you start to realize that there were signs, lots of signs, that either weren't noticed, or were misinterpreted, or outright ignored, about how troubled this kid was.

Before Brian Wilson dropped off planet earth, he wrote a song for Pet Sounds called "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times."

And in "Help", John Lennon was doing more than creating a timeless rocker and centerpiece for the Beatles' second film, he was describing in rather painful detail his fragmented mental state.

Stephen King wrote a novel a few years back called "Bag of Bones," whose protagonist is a King-esque author who finds himself unable to write another novel. Yet he keps publishing because he has a back-log of emergency novels kept in a safety deposit box.

When King announced a few years ago that he would no longer be writing novels, I remembered "Bag of Bones," and wondered if King hadn't been, for the last few years, publishing old novels he'd kept in a safety deposit box. That would explain "Insomnia."

And so David Chapelle continues to do whatever he needs to be doing. But it's not all bad. At least South Park continues to churn out new episodes.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Wal-Mart: Lying assholes
Posted by Raznor

So here in Flagstaff, in two days there's a referendum that would, in effect, prevent Wal-Mart from opening a Super Wal-mart in town. So of course, it's time for Wal-Mart to play dirty, and really downright despicable:

FLAGSTAFF - It wasn't as though the most contentious election in city history, whether Wal-Mart can build a large supercenter, needed any more fuel thrown on the fire.

But there it was last Sunday, a full-page ad in the local Arizona Daily Sun of German Nazis throwing books into a bonfire under the headline "Freedoms worth keeping" and a mini-essay questioning whether Flagstaff residents should allow limits to be placed on shopping.

That's The Daily Sun for you. This is what you get when your local paper is owned by a bunch of out-of-state Republicans. This is why I get the Arizona Republic which, although it leans conservative, has a bitchin' sports page.

But what I found remarkable about the above article was this:

Wal-Mart has bankrolled the campaign, which is also the most expensive in city history, to the tune of $280,700 through the Protect Flagstaff's Future political committee as of April 27, the last reporting deadline before the election, according to campaign filings.

That, despite Wal-Mart Chief Executive H. Lee Scott Jr. telling the New York Times last month that the corporation would "never again try to go over the heads of local politicians" to try to expand their stores. Wal-Mart sponsored an unsuccessful referendum in Inglewood, Calif., last year to try to sidestep city zoning.

Oh interesting tidbit on "Protect Flagstaff's Future". The other day I was watching American Dad on Adult Swim, and there was an anti-Prop. 100 commercial, the gist of which was "Maybe it's out-of-state special interests that want to limit your shopping choices". Then of course at the end if you look at the bottom of the screen you'll notice that major financing comes from Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas!!!

Well that's what we get for living in the best Democracy money can buy.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Current Events Man Takes On... Current Events!

Posted by Ross, the Current Events Man

I was listening to NPR yesterday. I also read the newspaper. This is why I am a genius in area of current events. Now, behold my powers!

Pity the army recruiter. He's having more and more trouble getting youngsters to enlist. Maybe this has something to do with the MASSIVE DEATH TOLL continuing to pile up in Iraq.

I was hearing Scott Peterson from the Christian Science Monitor reporting on the violence and he sounded positively shell-shocked. I am wondering if we aren't going to start hearing more and more journalists "crossing over" like Walter Cronkite did all those years ago in the aftermath of the Tet Offensive.

Clearly the Catholic Church is concerned about the carnage, taking a firm stand... against Spain's legalization of gay marriage!

That's right, the Roman Catholic Church, the same fuck heads that scourged the Spanish countryside with the great Inquisition, are now telling Spain the baby Jesus weeps tears of pure acid every time a gay or lesbian couple gets a tax break. Thank the three men Don McLean admires most we're more sensible here in God's America.

And then there's the riots in Afghanistan. The impoverished inhabitants of the War on Terror's Ground Zero are up-in-arms over reports that there's been Koran-flushing happening in Guantanamo. Not to mention the smearing of so-called menstral blood. What these foolish people do not understand is that the prisoners there are "enemy combatants," not "human beings." Duh!

I was hearing a feature about this South African radio program called "Cheaters" that's based on some American program of the same name, that I've never heard of. Anyway, basically, the program's team of investigators go out and spy on unfaithful spouses, boyfriends and fiancees and then has the cheater confronted by his, and as far as I can tell the bad guy is always a dude, significant other. Anyway, the net result has been that infidelity has gone down, which, in South Africa, with its insanely high rate of HIV and AIDS, is a good thing.

But it got me to think about other regimes, such as Iran, that repress any and all rights for women, and it made me think, what, in a male-dominated society, would we not want women weighing in on? Perhaps, I thought, it's the issue of infidelity, which seems to afflict the male gender much more severly than the female.

I had a class in college and we did a unit on literature in the Muslim world, and my teacher said that the concept isn't that women are bad, and therefore must cover themselves in shame. It's rather that women are beautiful. And men are weak.

And finally, let us ponder deeply the following musing:

Which Bolton do we hate more: John or Michael?

A worthy read
Posted by Raznor

Over at Pandagon, Amanda has recently finished up a series on Men's Rights Advocate. It's all a good read. The conclusion includes links to the first four parts.

Finally, a telephone company willing to make a stand against teh gay
Posted by Raznor

You must, right now, head over to Wonkette, read the post, and listen to the audio link. It's feakin' hilarious.

Link via August.

Monday, May 09, 2005

High Fidelity Challenge Part II

Posted by Ross

Hmmm... get work done or play a new blog game? Not much of a contest there, at least not when it's a rainy Monday in LA and I've got 45 minutes before karate.

Top Five Lyrics that Move Your Heart

Since we're featuring three songs in our wedding, they'll take up the first slots...

1) The Beach Boys - God Only Knows

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I'll make you so sure about it

God only knows what I'd be without you

2) George Harrison - What Is Life

What I feel - I can't say-
But my love is there for you any time
of day
But if it's not love - That you need-
Then I'll try my best to make everything

(and tell me) What is my life
without your love? -and tell me, who am I
without you, by my side?

3) The Beatles - Here, There and Everywhere

To lead a better life I need my love to be here...

Here, making each day of the year
Changing my life with a wave of her hand
Nobody can deny that there's something there

There, running my hands through her hair
Both of us thinking how good it can be
Someone is speaking but she doesn't know he's there

I want her everywhere and if she's beside me
I know I need never care
But to love her is to need her everywhere
Knowing that love is to share

Each one believing that love never dies
Watching her eyes and hoping I'm always there

I want her everywhere and if she's beside me
I know I need never care
But to love her is to need her everywhere
Knowing that love is to share

Each one believing that love never dies
Watching her eyes and hoping I'm always there

To be there and everywhere
Here, there and everywhere

4) Warren Zevon - Keep Me In Your Heart

Shadows are falling and I'm running out of breath
Keep me in your heart for awhile

If I leave you it doesn't mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for awhile

When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
Keep me in your heart for while

There's a train leaving nightly called when all is said and done
Keep me in your heart for while

Keep me in your heart for while

Keep me in your heart for while

Sometimes when you're doing simple things around the house
Maybe you'll think of me and smile

You know I'm tied to you like the buttons on your blouse
Keep me in your heart for while

Hold me in your thoughts, take me to your dreams
Touch me as I fall into view
When the winter comes keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you

Engine driver's headed north to Pleasant Stream
Keep me in your heart for while

These wheels keep turning but they're running out of steam
Keep me in your heart for while

Keep me in your heart for while

Keep me in your heart for while

Keep me in your heart for while

5) The Beatles - The End

And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make.

Top Five Instrumentals... in no particular order

1) Jessica - The Allman Brothers
2) Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys
3) Theme From the Last Waltz - The Band
4) Layla (the second half) - Derek and the Dominoes
5) Marwa Blues - George Harrison

Top Five Live Musical Experiences in chronological order

Make that Top Six. Sorry, just couldn't keep it to five.

By the way, I think it's only fair I state for the record, Bekka and I have tickets for Wilco at the beautiful Greek Theater in the middle of the June, and then, September 4, SIXTH ROW tickets to see Brian Wilson (these are the best tickets I've ever gotten BY FAR)... so the top concert list might very well be changing in the near future.

1) Ray Davies... The Storyteller... John Anson Ford Amphitheater... 10/19/01
2) The Who... First show after Entwistle's death... Hollywood Bowl... 7/01/02
3) Bob Dylan... Wiltern Theater... 10/15/02
4) Lou Reed... Animal Serinade... Wiltern Theater... 6/24/03
5) Neil Young... Greendale... The Greek Theater... 7/22/03
6) They Might Be Giants... UCLA Royce Hall... 4/17/04

Top Five Artists You Think More People Should Listen To

1) The Kinks - beyond their top three or four hits that get radio play
2) The Flying Burrito Brothers
3) The Velvet Underground
4) Andrew Bird
5) The Pretty Things

Top Five Albums You Must Hear From Start to Finish

1) Brian Wilson - Smile
2) Wilco - A Ghost Is Born
3) The Beatles - Abbey Road
4) The Who - Tommy
5) Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

Top Five Musical Heroes

1) Brian Wilson
2) Lou Reed
3) Neil Young
4) George Harrison
5) Bob Dylan

This was a phenomenal way to spend the morning!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

High Fidelity Challenge
Posted by Raznor

I got this from Amanda and it seemed like fun, and although she didn't tag me (why oh why??) I thought I'd give it a try. So here goes:

Top Five Lyrics that Move Your Heart
This is hard, as I'll have to think hard to pick which Elliott Smith song I'll use. Which is why I'm using two of his songs. And this comes in no particular order, as it's nothing I've ranked as of yet. So here goes:

1) Elliott Smith - King's Crossing

Frustrated fireworks inside your head
Are going to stand and deliver talk instead
The method acting that pays my bills
Keeps the fat man feeding in Beverly Hills
I've got a heavy metal mouth, it hurls obscenities
And I get my checks from the trash treasury
Because I took my own insides out

2) Elliott Smith - 2:45 am

I'm looking for the man who attacked me
While everybody was laughing at me
You beat it in me that part of you
But I'm gonna split us back in two
Tired of living in a cloud
If you're gonna say shit now you'll do it out loud

3) Wilco - Hummingbird

His goal in life was to be an echo
Riding alone, town after town, toll after toll
A fixed bayonet in the great Southwest to forget her

She appears in his dreams
But in his car and in his arms
A dream can mean anything
A cheap sunset on a television set
Can upset her
Like he never could

Remember to remember me
Standing still in your past
Floating fast like a hummingbird

4) The Kinks - "Life on the Road"

The entire song here is just amazing, starting with the dream of living on the road, the disillusionment, and acceptance. I'll just write the last lyric, taking a cue from Amanda by emphasizing the lyric that really affects me:

One of these days I wanna go home
Visit my friends and see all the places I used to know
And say goodbye to a world that's too real
Goodbye to a world that's forgotten how to feel.
And it's slowly using me
And there's no security
Sometimes I hate the road,
But it's the only life I know

But I'm living the life that I chose
So I'll live out my life on the road.

5) Ben Folds - "Still Fighting It"

Good morning son
I am a bird
Wearing a brown polyester coat
You want a coke?
Maybe some fries?
The roast beef combo's only 9.95
But it's okay
You don't have to pay
I've got all the change

Everybody knows
It sucks to grow old
But everybody does
It's so weird to be back here
Let me tell you why
The years go on and
We're still fighting and
We're still fighting it
And you're so much like me
I'm sorry

Top Five Instrumentals

Once again, in no particular order

1) The Kinks - "Lola (Instrumental)" on the album Percy
2) Remy Zero - "The Golden Hum"
3) The Seatbelts - "Sax Quartet" (Okay, is it cheating to pick songs off of the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack? I didn't think so)
4) Louis Armstrong - "West End Blues"
5) Minibosses - "Contra"

Top Five LiveMusical Experiences

Okay this one is in a very particular order:

1) Ben Folds at Reed College - This was actually the second night in a row where I saw him perform. On Thursday night he performed at the Roseland in downtown Portland, then the next night there was a free performance at the Reed College Student Union. It was amazing. At the Roseland he was performing for his fans, so from time to time he'd just solo perform an old Ben Folds Five song. At Reed, he couldn't count on people being major fans, so instead, he offered anyone to send a poem up front and he'd set it to music. Someone ended up sending up a physics textbook, and he did this major song for the distance formula.

2) Wilco at the Orpheum - this was last week here in Flagstaff. I already wrote a bit about it earlier this week. But they performed for 2 hours, and when they did Spider, man, that's the greatest guitar part ever.

3) Pete Yorn at the Roseland - Nothing particularly special about this performance, except for the fact that Pete Yorn's amazing musical genius emanated out of him like the light from a thousand suns. Plus, Remy Zero opened for him.

4) The Who - I went with Ross, so maybe he'll remember where exactly this was performed. But this was part of the last tour before Entwhistle died, and it was just a great show.

5) Minibosses - Performing at Renn Fayre last year. They're a rock band, two guitars, a bass, and drums, and they perform themes from old nintendo games. I mean really, how cool is that?

Top Five Artists You Think More People Should Listen To

1) Elliott Smith - quite possibly the greatest singer-songwriter of our time, tragically took his own life a year and a half ago. Here's what I wrote shortly after his death:

I'm not sure if you can really understand this if you haven't listened to Elliott Smith. If you have, and you really allowed yourself to get lost in his beautiful and haunting melodies and lyrics, then you will. His music affects you like few things can. Right now, I'm listening to "baby britain" off of XO, and it's like the music just is flowing through me.

2) Muse - Just an awesome band. Matt Bellamy is one of the greatest singers of all time.

3) Blonde Redhead - A very unique style, it may take a few listenings to get into them, but once you do, it's just great.

4) The Decemberists - This is the only album I've ever bought that I had never heard a song of theirs before buying. And I don't regret it one bit. They're a great, great band. And fun fact - their label is Kill Rock Stars - which was Elliott Smith's label before he signed on with Dreamworks.

5) The Stills - Lola Stars and Stripes is one hell of a great song.

Top Five Albums You Must Hear From Start to Finish
Okay, back to being in no particular order:

1) Remy Zero - The Golden Hum

2) Muse - Origins of Symmetry

3) Pete Yorn - Musicforthemorningafter

4) Elliott Smith - Either/Or

5) Tenacious D - I mean, you gotta love the D.

Top Five Musical Heroes

1) Elliott Smith - Should be obvious by now.

2) Pete Yorn

3) Bruce Springsteen - I remember when I heard "City In Ruins" on the radio something like 2 weeks after September 11, and thought "wow, how did he write such an amazing song so quickly." It's like after the attacks, he's like "man this sucks. I think I'll immediately write an amazing song about it, as I'm apparently some sort of musical god" And I'll throw Clarence Clemens in with him.

4) Pete Townsend - seeing him live made me realize he completely rocks.

5) David Bowie - mostly because I'd never be able to morally justify not putting him on this list.

All right then. I'll pass this on to my cobloggers, Ross and the Bekka. Good luck you two.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Ajai Raj kicks ass
Posted by Raznor

For those of you who don't know, Ajai Raj is the University of Texas sophomore who was arrested for the heinous crime of offending Ann Coulter. He's written a response to the whole thing over here, and you need to click on that link and read it right away.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Buenos Cinco De Mayo
Posted by Raznor

I just realized - a year ago today I was defending my thesis at orals. I made my orals board delicious tortas. Ah memories.

Last Weekend
Posted by Raznor

I meant to post this upon getting back, but last weekend was a hell of a great weekend for Raznor. Especially if we determine for some reason to start the weekend at Wednesday night when Wilco performed at the Orpheum. (a fantastic show by the way) Then I headed back to Portland for Renn Fayre at the ol' alma mater, while taking advantage of the extremely generous hospitality of Ampersand and his housemates (6 of them if you include little baby Sydney), including the ever insightful Bean. Then I return home in time to catch the Suns sweeping the Grizzlies, and a hilarious new Family Guy. Truly life has favored me. More posts to come.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Raging 'roids... and not the ones on yer arse

Posted by Ross

I LOVE this article at ESPN.com:

House: 'I tried everything known to man'

Essentially, it's a declaration by former major leaguer Tom House that when he was a pitcher in the 60s and 70s, he, and just about everybody he knew, was doing enough performance enhancing drugs to make the baby Jesus weep tears of pure acid.

My favorite House quote:

"I pretty much popped everything cold turkey. We were doing steroids they wouldn't give to horses. That was the '60s, when nobody knew."

Sorta like in the 30s, when nobody knew giving kids a soft drink at the sodee fountain, whose secret ingredient was cocaine, was a bad idea.

Or in New Mexico in the 50s, when people would grab their lawn chairs and sunscreen and go watch the gov'ment test another "perfectly safe" nucular weapon.

Or a couple hundred years ago, when a frothing chamber pot of fresh urine was the Victorian equivalent of a wheat grass shot.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Posted by the bekka

Baghdad (from Associated Press)

Officials from the Iraqui Census Bureau announced this morning at a press conference that, as a result of the attacks by both insurgents and foreign troops, there is now no longer anyone left to kill in their humbled country.

"It's an unfortunate eventuality," said Census Bureau Chief Akbar Ibn Yusuf, "but an unarmed civilian population can only last so long in the crossfire of the kind of conflict we've been experiencing. I mean, listen to the news, people! Sure, 20 or 50 or even 100 casualties sounds like nothing, but over time it really adds up. On a personal note, I had to cancel my weekly canasta game," Ibn Yusuf added.

In an unprecedented gesture of goodwill, Barak Hasim, the only surviving insurgent in Iraq, raised a white flag of surrender at a media conference today. "I just woke up at the training camp this morning and there was no one around when I went to get breakfast. I realized that all my comrades had martyred themselves. I was scheduled to martyr myself today, but it all just seemed so futile all of a sudden, you know?"

"We've been anticipating this for some time now," added U.S. Army Field Sgt. Derek Hume, who is now serving his fifth tour of duty in Iraq. "After a while, you just run out of people to blow up, you know? It's kind of a relief for us, though. There's been talk that they'll let us go home now, though I'm sure they'll find something else for us to do here. God, I love serving my country!"