Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Senate Allocates $12.37 for Public Schools

Posted by Ross

With the US saddled by record deficits, thanks in no small part to the global wars on terror, drugs and reproductive rights, Congress this week allocated $12.37 to fund nationwide schools.

The funding was secured when Sen. Ted Kennedy (D - MA) threw down the $7.00 he had in his wallet, which was met by another $3.00 from Sen. John McCain (R - AZ).

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R - TN), them emptied out his swear jar, which accounted for the final $2.37.

"Education funding this year truly was a bi-partisan effort," Frist, who's primed for a run at the presidency in '08, told reporters. "I literally reached across the aisle to take the seven bucks from that Kennedy cocksucker."

He then plunked a quarter into the swear jar. Sources close to Frist believe it will be used to fund the VA.

After the education budget was signed, the Senate then moved onto more pressing matters, approving $15 billion to set up a new branch of the justice department that will soley focus on the prosecution and incarceration of medical marijuana users.

President Bush thanked the Senate for all its hard work.

Friday, July 29, 2005

A New List That Planet Earth Desperately Awaits: the 101 Greatest Screenplays

Posted by Ross

As you might have gathered from the title of this gripping piece, the WGA (aka Writers Guild of America), the institution in which I am a proud member has decided to do some sort of list or something about the 101 Greatest Screenplays.

Anyway, they let us members pick our ten favorites and then send them in as a way of spreading the sweet elixir of list democracy.

And for the sake of posterity (not to mention posterior - as you sit on that place when you watch these movies, or something), these are my 10 picks, in no particular order aside from alphabetical:

1) Aliens
2) Animal House
3) The Big Lebowski
4) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
5) Dr. Strangelove
6) The Graduate
7) Lawrence of Arabia
8) Sullivan's Travels
9) The Thin Man
10) The Wild Bunch

I just wanted a video game, not eternal damnation in hell
Posted by Raznor

If you've been following the recent controversy surrounding Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and the now infamous "Hot Coffee Mod", you'll love this:

So I was sitting around the other day, playing "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," when suddenly I received an email with an attachment called "hot coffee mod." So I did what I always do when I get programs from strangers in my email: I ran it.

Then I went back to playing the game and didn't notice anything different, except for when I took my in-game girlfriend back home, she now asks "how about a little coffee?" Naturally I got excited, because I was expecting to see a scene with the protagonist, Carl, and his girlfriend, Denise, sipping a tall cup of joe and discussing the finer points of globalization and how cultural distinction will shape future generations. Instead, I was shocked to learn that Denise wasn't talking about a delicious beverage made from roasted beans, but what she was really talking about was SEXUAL INTERCOURSE.

There's more. Read the rest.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Eli Andersen's Great Adventure, Continued

Posted by Ross

The latest chapter of Eli Andersen's epic kayak trip from Alaska to Washington appeared in my e-mail inbox recently. Here's what he had to say.

Dear family and friends,

This message comes from the middle of this journey, I am in Prince Rupert, BC. i have woven my way along nearly 550 miles of Pacific Northwest coastline in 42 days and 550 miles remain. The middle is a challenging place to be.

The time and miles since Wrangell have brought me through low moments and very special experiences. I left that town on the 6th of July under dark clouds and hard wind. The first water leg was through the Zimovia Narrows which is 35 miles long and quick like a river, it was there that I was introduced to the trial by wind that i would face for over a hundred miles. In large bodies and tight channels of water there was a wind that conquered the tides. The water level would change as it was expected to do but the current just kept grinding along in wind driven madness as if it had forgotten the moon. To continue my progress I began resorting to very early morning starts generally with an afternoon siesta followed by paddling late into the evening. All to avoid the wind, it was hard to keep up. I spent 15 hours in Open Eyes in a single day to reach Ketchikan. As I read that last sentence now it seems a little crazy. And as i remember pulling into the dock then, I felt slightly crazy. I was very fortunate to have been given the number of a family there from a good man I had just met back in Wrangell. I spent three nights and two marvelously restorative days with them fishing, making music, baking, eating, talking and sharing time. When I left Ketchikan and continued working my way towards the midpoint i first began to feel the sensation of my heart being pulled from both ends.

In my movement South the landscape has softend from the jagged snowy peaks to shapes more round. The animals around seem to be changing also. I now see more ravens than eagles. Potentially it is more seasonal then latitudinal but there are now more fish jumping out of the sea then i have seen before. There are Sockeye that throw themselves sideways and skip across the surface and other salmon that jump in a more straightforward manner. Just when I was beginning to think i was out of humpback territory i had my closest encounter with one yet. It was in the morning as i came around Tree Point into the Dixon Entrance, this stretch was exposed and there were waves breaking against the rocks and immense ocean power surging around me. Directly off my tail i heard an exhale blast and first thought it was a wave that had broken and would overtake me, immediately I turned to see the top of its head and down the length of its back and the barnacles that had found a home on all that deep dark blue skin. Its breathe mist blended with the rain falling on me. We almost touched.

These rare email opportunities make it hard for me to convey all i want to. But the message I want to send is that i am alright, i feel healthy and strong. I am thinking of each of you and those thoughts bring me smiles and happiness.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

On Dogs and Goddesses
Posted by Raznor

So yes, Brett, the greatest dog to exist, died yesterday at the age of 14. And the kindly Goddess of the Snakes Echidne was nice enough to offer him an honored post on her blog.

A big thank you to Echidne. You made my day.

Brett was an incredible dog. Two years ago the vets thought he was a goner. His skin was flaking, he could barely walk, and they thought he had a brain tumor. But he pulled out, and he no longer had the energy he once had as a young dog, but he had a good life after that. I miss him like nothing else, but am glad he was a part of my life for that time.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Bye Brett, I Love You
Posted by Ross

I wish I could pet you one last time. You will always be a loving memory.

Sunrise doesn't last all morning
A cloudburst doesn't last all day
Seems my love is up and has left you with no warning
It's not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Rally Monkey Has to Be Put Down

Posted by Ross

The Rally Monkey, may he rest in peace Posted by Picasa

The Rally Monkey, beloved mascot of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who helped cheer on a World Champion and warm the hearts of a nation, is dead.

In the break before the Angels came to bat in the bottom of the third inning against the Yankees tonight in Anaheim, the Rally Monkey, as usual, was released from his cage so he could dance the “Macarena” on top of the visitors’ dugout to the delight of the assembled fans.

Tonight, however, the Rally Monkey, still stinging from the news that his brother the Rhesus Monkey, had been the cause of a deadly outbreak that only through the combined star power of Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo and Cuba Gooding Jr., could ultimately be contained.

As the music began to play, the Rally Monkey, instead of doing his cute little dance, began to masturbate before the crowd of slack-jawed Orange County Republicans. Angered and scandalized, the fans began to boo the Rally Monkey, who responded by screeching and flinging his own feces into the stands before animal trainers had to shoot a dart loaded with sedative into the Rally Monkey’s neck.

He was then taken off the field and euthanized.

“It was the most outrageous and disgusting act,” Roger Grulahan, a Newport Beach accountant wearing a ‘Suck it, Osama’ t-shirt, said. “Imagine, one of God's own creations engaging in such depravity, such immorality. What of the children? Won’t anyone think of the children?!?”

Grulahan then climbed into his Cadillac Escalade and drove to Wal-Mart.

Addressing assembled media, Angels owner Arte Moreno reassured fans that a new “much, much better” mascot was on the way.

He then pulled on a gaudy gold-painted cord, releasing a curtain and revealing the Rally Panda, an endangered giant panda from China, whose fur had been dyed Angels red and blue.

“If the Angels don’t win,” Moreno told reporters, “the Rally Panda will die of sadness. In actual fact,” he added, taking a look at the forlorn beast, “he might die anyway.”

Moreno went on to add that reports of the Angels next mascot, the Rally African Elephant, were greatly exaggerated.

This qualifies for high fashion?
Posted by the bekka

Two questions:
1) Who would pay for this?
2) How can I get them to give me money too?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

One big ol' heh-indeed to that
Posted by Raznor

August Pollak on Bush's SCOTUS pick:

So after three straight weeks of discussion about the relevance of the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice, and O'Conner's statement on the need for women in the Court, and the issues over whether Democrats will filibuster a minority or not... Bush has made the daring, revolutionary decision to nominate... some white guy.

Alrighty, then.

Yep, there sure ain't a litmus test
Posted by Raznor

The great Pandamanda has the details regarding Bush's nomination for the Supreme Court.

When Bush says there's no litmus test, he's not lying. He just has no idea what "litmus test" means.

Hard Working Cameraman Providing the Public with Much-Needed Fingerprinting Footage

Posted by Ross

So Texas Rangers ace Kenny Rogers hasn't taken too kindly to cameramen of late. And the problem with lashing out at cameramen is, well, it's all on tape.

Rogers, a marvel at 40 years-old, is having another superior season. He gave an interview at the All-Star Game last week in which he took responsibility for his actions and has subsequently turned himself into authorities while appealing a 20 game suspension.

But what happened the other day? Well, if you read the so-called sports news, or watch ESPN, you'll see that Kenny Rogers lashed out at another cameraman, as if he were some sort of rage-aholic, addicted to the sweet, sweet elixir of rage-ahol.

Of course, if you actually watch the footage, it makes your skin crawl. I saw it on Sportscenter last night. Rogers is being filmed at the police station as they're taking his prints. He doesn't raise his voice, simply asks the cameraman to leave.

And so what happens? He zooms in on Rogers and then tells him, "I'm just doing my job."

Pretty pathetic job, I'd say. Rogers is in police custody, humiliating in an of itself, especially if you are 40 years-old, and, to add insult to injury, the camera is in his face the whole time. Why? Because it's news-worthy? Because the public demands it? Or simply because he can?

There's nothing quite like seeing someone wealthy, or famous, or beautiful at their most vulnerable. I guess it makes the rest of us feel better about ourselves.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

On supporting the troops and supporting the war
Posted by Raznor

I've been renting and watching Band of Brothers lately. It's truly an excellent series. But I was watching an episode earlier today and I had an epiphany.

Iraq is a fuckmire. It's a fuckmire because there's not enough boots on the ground. I, in the meanwhile, am 23. If I thought this war was necessary, useful, or in any way good, I would hate myself every single day until I enlisted.

But what do we hear from these war supporters? "Support the troops". That's it. Here's a hint to everyone - supporting the troops is what we detractors do who don't like the war but realize most of the people whose duty it is to fight the war are decent human beings and deserve respect, and who we hope won't die. When someone who supports the war says "Support the troops" it's a nice lazy way of not saying "serve your country". It's their way of continuing to love the fact that there's a war as long as they don't have to sacrifice squat. It's a disgusting, childish, and dishonorable stance.

I have a cousin who does not support the Iraq war. He's also a lieutenant, and very well may be going to Iraq soon. If he is - god forbid - sent to Iraq, I am sure he will fight honorably, because that's his duty. And to think of those who do support the war who are perfectly able to enlist, it makes me want to projectile vomit. Preferably on one of them.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Rove
Posted by the Bekka
Karl Rove never went to college. Read this and other disturbing facts about the most powerful non-elected official in America in this excellent article from the Guardian.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A note to CNN
Posted by Raznor

Okay, let's be realistic. You could change your name to the Bush News Network. You could take 23 hours out of the day to report on how Republicans are great, the war in Iraq is going swimmingly, and how Bush is the first true prophet of our one Lord Ronald Reagan, and the right-wingers will still call you the "liberal media". These people have no logic or sense of reality. That's why they're Bush supporters in the first place.

So please, please stop trying to be Fox News. Everytime a reporter says with a straight face that "there's definitely a major smear campaign going against Karl Rove" it just goes further to proving that you guys have no credibility left.

Via Josh Marshall.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Goodbye social life - hello virtual social life
Posted by Raznor

I finally got World of Warcraft yesterday. And it owns my soul. Very little posting until my orc is level 20.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Posted by da bekka
So, for those of you who may not know, Ross and I are getting married in, oh, say, T-minus 30 days and counting. That explains why I've all but dropped off the face of this blog in recent weeks.

I'm also a nervous 'net-surfer - I google when I'm antsy. I search for anything I think will can help me plan my wedding while I'm trapped behind my desk from 9-4:30 every weekday. And recently, while looking for floral ideas, I came across this. Two words: ta cky.

Needless to say, we bought three dozen (assorted colors) that read, "Happy Triple-Bypass, Uncle Louie!" followed by a rather detailed graphic of a human heart. Uncle Louie was very touched.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Continuing Adventures of Eli Andersen

Posted by Ross

A Thereauvian e-mail landed in my inbox the other day from Eli Andersen, who, if you might recall, is in the middle of an epic 3 month solo kayaking journey from Alaska to Washington.

Here's what he has to say:

Dear family and friends,

I am very alive and well, currently in Wrangell, AK. As you can imagine, opportunities to communicate through the computer are hard to come by in these parts so allow me to make up for this infrequency with length and detail.

I should start somewhere near the beginning;
After Ben dropped me off at the terminal in Bellingham I eased Northward aboard the MV Columbia under brilliant open skies. For three days on the ferry I kept an eye on the map
tracking where we were and transfering the images that I've emblazed on my mind into what I could see and finally grasp on a worldly scale. I relaxed and let my emotions and thoughts simmer and swirl within my body.
Plans changed in Juneau. After meeting the friends of a friend I stayed with in town I cancelled the final leg of my ferry ticket to the town of Hoonah, and used the money to buy a pair of the rubber boots everyone here walks around in. I was happy to be able to wave bye to new friends on the dock as i started off, rather than as a stranger in a new town. So I began paddling West to Glacier Bay.
To begin with the weather held magnificently contributing to a feeling that for as much as I am out on this adventure I am being ushered into something. The very literal immersion of this experience, the moving with the water in all its authority and patience, gliding over depths i can only imagine extends back onto land where daily and nightly I'm exposed to the sounds and encounters of the creatures there. And as for the creatures, I have never before been in a more richly alive part of the world as I am now. I shared the confines of a small bay alone with a group of humpback whales bubble feeding, a feeding method by which a few circle around blowing bubbles to corrall small prey and then take turns coming up from beneath to surge into the food and blast through the waters surface. Their size and mystery caused an aweing sense of humility to pulse into me. They are creatures in the realm of the biggest and most powerful of all that has ever lived on this earth. I did not feel vulnerable that they might eat me-- they don't have any teeth. I felt something more like that they knew I was there and that they could know anything important about me, they spend their lives criss-crossing the Pacific ocean in an ancient rythym staying tuned to some purpose and sufferring the imposition of cruise ships and motorboats and silly little kayakers with amazing grace. I have seen them or heard them breathe almost every day so far.
In Glacier Bay i came face to face with a Black bear that surely outweighed me. It lumbered into my camp and was surprised to find me there. It was not after my food or a hassle. I heard it heavy stepping right near my tent one morning and i dashed outside to do I don't know what and we stared at one another for a few long seconds then it snorted and huffed raising its body up and pivoted on its hind legs to mosey back into where it came.
On my first day South I crossed 6 or 7 miles over Icy Strait, it was a beautiful day and i left early with the tide, before the wind would come up. With a sense of how long to go and the energy increase i've felt with each significant crossing I was talking to myself wildly and singing and paddling hard. There was a lot of action all around with sea lions prowling, so many eagles and other sea birds swooping around and whales underneath it all. On that day out in the middle of Icy Strait a name came to me for my kayak. I call this ooligan Open Eyes.
I am very proud of this kayak, it is just right. It has been faithfully with me through some hard times, every night i drag it up the beach or rocks and every morning I drag it back down. In it I have been capable if not all that comfortable in windy, chaotic and over-the-deck washing 3 and 4 foot seas. We have pierced swirls and eddy lines that try to change our course and have pushed against currents when i have not managed to be perceptive enough to find a helpful water vein. Slow travel builds such intimacy.
The weather has changed as it must and held me up at times i've wanted to go and other times i've been so glad to rest. There have been days without a glipse of sun or any blue and rain and coldness that come with that. It has been heavy and grey for over a week. As funny as this might sound, for me it has taken on the character of a host who upon greeting you is most gracious because they want you there, they want you to come in and be comfortable. But once they have you in with them and they have your commitment to be their guest more important to them then your comfort is that you learn to the best of your capacities what it is that might be going on in the house -- for your own good.

along with the weather and the creatures, the sense I have of being ushered owes to the great care I have received from many people along the way. Over and over I have been filled by the generosity of very good people. It has caused me to at times find myself alone on the shore crying while feelings overwhelm and wash over me, this fortune is such a wonder.

For all I have written and all I have not, I am a third of the way through. So much will change, the struggle and the beauty will continue. The coming third stands to be more desolate and unpopulated. Bigger and rougher water will likely come, along with a deeper exhuastion. I am often thinking about the people i care about and can not now be with and how i might more fully embrace the next opportunity.
thank you for allowing me to share.

in water, on land, under sky


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Well, that's just fucking terrible
Posted by Raznor

I'm sure you've heard by now about the attacks on London. I really have nothing to add to that.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Karl Rove: Traitor
Posted by Raznor

So, it's now official, Karl Rove leaked Valerie Plame's name. As Greg says, Rove's name should go down in history as being synonymous with treason. While we were fighting a war in order to allegedly halt proliferation of WMDs, Rove leaked the name of a WMD expert, for solely partisan gains.

Not particularly surprising, I guess. If you remember, when this broke, I had a post about how this had to be Rove's handywork. (I've spent an hour searching the archives and couldn't find it, if someone does and wants to provide a link, then great!)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Yay, we're doomed!
Posted by Raznor

I woke up this morning with my clock radio set to NPR and the first thing I heard on this fine July first is that Sandra Day O'Connor is resigning. I haven't worried too much about the Supreme Court lately since I figured, as was the conventional wisdom, it would be Rehnquist resigning. And although that would pave the way for (*shudder*) Chief Justice Darth Scalia, replacing an arch-conservative justice with an insane wingnut justice wouldn't have too adverse effects. But if the moderate O'Connor is replaced with an insane wingnut, well, then we'd be, to put it lightly, severely fucked up the ass with a red hot, poison tipped poker. Metaphorically speaking of course. And I don't have faith in the Democrats to prevent a wingnut. They'd have to postpone a vote until after the midterm elections and hope for a majority that would kill the extremists Bush is sure to nominate. And as Bush doesn't know the meaning of the word "compromise" (or "intelligence" or "integrity" or "cat") that's going to be their only option.

Further Reading . . . Respected Constitutions . . . So Long Sandra Day . . . and US Policy Coming to its Senses?

Posted by Ross

Maybe you wouldn't expect to read the following from someone who blogs, but I don't necessarily believe blogging is going to create a new world order in the way information and news is processed.

This isn't to say the blogging phenomenon hasn't yielded some amazing perspectives from people who, in other times, would not have had any voice whatsoever, from soldiers in Iraq to youthful dissent in Iran to all ranges of the political spectrum here in the US.

And as if several hundred cable channels, DVDs and amazing video games weren't doing enough to distract potential readers, media publishers have to compete against blogging commentary, as well as real-time stock updates, sports scores, news stories, all available online and without cost.

I do believe, in the long run, as long as it doesn't shy away from new technology, print media will be just fine, because, at the end of the day, the best writing, the best research, and a great degree of independent thought can be found in your local newspaper... it certainly can in mine, the Los Angeles Times.

And in this spirit, I would like to present three articles in this week's Times for further reading....

First off, among the myriad of provocative material Robert Scheer covers in Tuesday's column entitled Iranian Revolution Is Thriving in Iraq is the following:

Elections are only one component of a thriving democracy. Unless restrained by a respected constitution and functioning balance of powers, democracy can be subverted by demagogic leaders.

One such country that happens to be restrained by a respected constitution is... us! And though those on the left may bemoan the fact that the White House and Congress are red as can be, a terrific editorial yesterday by Andrew D. Cohen, The High Court, Between the Lines, finds promising progressive trends from the most recent session of the Supreme Court that might not be undermined even if Dubya replaces Sandra Day with Anne Coulter.

Finally, also on yesterday's editorial page is an article by Timothy Garton Ash, The United States Sobers Up, pointing to trends that the Neocons are on their way out and US foreign policy is beginning to be shaped by... say it ain't so... reality.