Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Terrorists or Insurgents?
Posted by Raznor

Right wingers seem to hate it when the people Americans are fighting are called "insurgents". They ought to be called "terrorists", then we can kill and torture them without any moral quandary. Now to be sure, such demands are lacking in subtlty, and the regularity of demands that people always say the counter-American/Iraqi security force actions be called pure evil is annoying to say the least.

Still, they have a point, which cannot be denied. There are scum-of-the-earth asshole, bastard terrorists in Iraq who would do the world a big favor by spontaneously combusting. We need only remember watching Zarqawi behead NGO workers on video to be reminded of that. Still, by simply dismissing counter-American acts as terrorism, we run the risk of oversimplifying a very nuanced situation by dehumanizing the enemy.

The thing is, terrorism is a last-resort tactic taken by desperate militants. Think of the Kamikazes in the second world war. My military history may not be exactly up to par, but I believe you didn't see the Kamikaze until after the Battle of Midway, which crippled the Japanese navy, and left their eventual defeat all but inevitable.

My point is that terrorists are not a serious tactical concern. Certainly there is concern for the sake of innocent human lives lost, but terrorists cannot cause serious harm to structural infrastructure in the same way an Army can. An insurgency on the other hand has popular support, and can have serious tactical concern, though not strategic concern. As an example, consider the mortar attacks on an Army barracks recently. This caused a considerable tactical difficulty, as it managed to kill and injure soldiers in the base, but the base was still standing, and fully active, and, I'd assume, was able to resume standard operations immediately after, and perhaps even during, the attack. Or more recent, attacks on polling places during the election today/yesterday killed innocents and caused considerable difficulties in running the election, but overall things went pretty smoothly.

I've mentioned earlier (don't feel like finding the post now), an insurgency cannot militarily defeat a modern Army, especially one with the resources of America. But it can make the area ungovernable to an extent that terrorists cannot, primarily because an insurgency has popular support. By having an elected government in Iraq with more legitimacy than Bremer's counsel, or the America-appointed Allawi interim government, can have a considerable effect on any insurgency's popularity, but realistically, it probably won't be enough. We have seen in the past year and a half since Saddam's government in Iraq collapsed an insurgency that has been gradually growing in ability, organization and boldness of attacks. I wouldn't expect that to change in the foreseeable future.

Of course, maybe I'm wrong, and I hope I am, still any good news about the elections this week should be taken with a grain of salt. We simply cannot know the results of these elections until after, say, 6 months.

Kathleen Parker? More like Hackleen -uh - Parker
Posted by Raznor

Saw this article "The Virtuous Vs Sponge Bob" via Pandagon and it just begged me to be fisked. So here we go:

Among the many blessings I have failed to fully appreciate is my exemption - thanks to my children's advanced years - from having to know much about SpongeBob SquarePants.

What a coincidence. Among the many blessings I've failed to fully appreciate is my exemption from having to know much about Kathleen Parker. But such an innocence cannot last forever.

Until recently, I've been only blandly aware of the cartoon character and his underwater cohorts, but now learn that SpongeBob - an otherwise blithering sea sponge - is really a covert operative for The Homosexual Agenda.

Holy crap. Them crazy gays be gettin' their stuff all over the place. They must be really desperate if they're recruiting cartoon sponges.

I mean seriously, when was the last time you've heard about "The Homosexual Agenda". It must be really important if it's capitalized. It sort of reminds me of how we always capitalize things like Hogwart's Castle, you know, their official titles of things, but exist entirely in the realm of fantasy.

For those otherwise distracted, SpongeBob is the protagonist in both a movie and a television series. Hugely popular among the kindergartner-second grade set, he sometimes holds hands with his starfish friend Patrick, which supposedly accounts for SpongeBob's reputed popularity among gays.

He holds occasionally holds hands with Patrick? Well, clolor me convinced. Thank God it got cancelled when it did, we were probably one season away from an all-male-sea creature orgy featuring SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidwerth and Mr. Krab. Think of the children.

And hence the notion that his appearance in a new video, "We Are Family" - aimed at teaching schoolchildren about diversity and tolerance - is really a subterfuge for the pro-homosexual agenda.

Wait, make up your mind. Is it "The Homosexual Agenda" or the much less official sounding "pro-homosexual agenda"? I want to know to what degree I need to fear this oppressed minority.

The SpongeBob saga has gained plenty of attention - what with gay activists on one side and Heaven's gatekeepers on the other. Focus on the Family's James Dobson has said the video promotes a pro-homosexual agenda. The American Family Association's Ed Vitagliano wrote in the organization's journal that the project's subtext is celebrating homosexuality.

So celebrating diversity is fine, as long as we don't include them damn homos in on it? And come on, "Heaven's gatekeepers"? Remember what Jesus said about vanity?

The video, which is scheduled to be aired next month on networks and distributed to some 61,000 schools, was conceived shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a way of teaching tolerance in a hate-filled world, say its creators. The idea was that teaching children in their tender years to respect differences would pay off in the long run, leading to a cheerier world in which, presumably, Middle Eastern religious nuts wouldn't fly planes into buildings.

Somehow, I think they've missed their target audience, but never mind. Making the video doubtless made many grownups feel better about their own sorrows and helped move them toward that utopian finale so favored by the bracelet-and ribbon-wearing population - Healing 'n' Closure.

Ha ha. Man, that's clever. 'Cos it's only the Middle Eastern nuts who need to be taught about tolerance. And not idiot Town Hall columnists who spend five hundred words talking about how much they hate gays. Those are fine.

There's now a We Are Family Foundation, a Web site (wearefamilyfoundation.org), a letter-writing campaign urging that March 11 be declared national "We Are Family Day," and, of course, ways to contribute money.

In fact, SpongeBob plays a minor role in the video and seems to have been unfairly impugned. While I vigorously favor protecting children from phase-inappropriate discussions of sexuality, I don't see it here. That said, there's still plenty to cringe about if you're more sympathetically inclined toward Randle Patrick McMurphy than Nurse Mildred Ratched.

WHAT? Nurse Ratched? My God, I have got to get some of those drugs she's taking.

What Dobson, Vitagliano and others really are objecting to is that kids viewing the video might be inspired to visit the "We Are Family" Web site and happen upon the Tolerance Pledge, by which one promises to respect all people, even those whose "abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own."

Ah crap, we gotta like dem cripples, heathens, foreigners, blacks, and homos? How utterly non-Christian.

Respecting all people is hardly a radical idea for Christians, but Dobson says on his Web site that inclusion of sexual identity in the pledge "crosses a moral line." Personally, I'm still puzzling over "other characteristics." In any case, the pledge seems unlikely to traumatize children, who probably won't find it interesting, if they find it at all. It isn't mentioned in the video and is available only on the Foundation's Web site.

If teachers decide to incorporate the Tolerance Pledge into their class curriculum, then that's a matter for closer scrutiny and Dobson is right. In the meantime, there's no coercion here. We're unlikely to witness droves of brainwashed tykes reciting diversity pledges to the annoyance of their beer-swilling parents.

And it would be annoying, let's be clear.

Wait, who is Parker trying to mock here? But on the other hand, the fact that she's pullin this article out of her ass makes me feel better out of fisking her off the top of my head.

What the SpongeBob controversy has revealed is that pledging allegiance to diversity and tolerance is religion by any other name - just as irksome to the devout as Dobson and Vitagliano are to the secular. The purveyors of Feel Good Vibes can be just as dogmatic and unyielding as those who condemn from the pulpit. Whether defending literal scripture or advancing bumper-sticker virtue, the self-anointed protectorate are essentially cut from the same cloth.

And Kathleen Parker pulls out of her playbook - yes that's right - libruls are intolerant for not tolerating intolerant people!! But what I love (besides the fact that tolerance is a religion apparently) is the fact that she seems to imply that it's impossible for people of one religion to tolerate another a mere three paragraphs after writing, "Respecting all people is hardly a radical idea for Christians". I guess if you define "people" as "heterosexual Christians," right? Nothing wrong with that.

And they're likely bound for similar rewards. For what we know about human beings is that people tend to resist that which is imposed from on high. By some natural law that we might call "SpongeBob's Ironic Rule of Reverse Effects," channelers of piety usually exact the opposite of what they intend.

There's nothing like a preacher railing against sin to whet one's appetite for iniquity. And there's nothing like force-feeding children a diet of dogma to turn the little darlings into intolerant totalitarian tyrants. Or angry renegades who will seek an outlet for their rage.

Excellent, she finishes off with a little o' that good ol' fashioned moral relativism. "Be kind and tolerant" is so totally the same thing as saying "hate all fags." Yeesh.

Still, at the end of the day, there's nothing like a little hackery to get you going. I swear, I pity anyone who cares about SpongeBob's sexual orientation. I mean really, some people are so pathetic.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Great '89 Fleer Billy Ripken Error Card
Today's non-daily Pic of the Day!

Posted by Ross

Imagine being 13 years-old and finding this kick-ass cuss word in a pack of Fleer! Posted by Hello

1989 was an exciting year to be a baseball card collector. For most of the 80s, there were only three major card companies, Fleer, Donruss and Topps. Score came onto the scene in '88, with glossy fronts and backs, instead of the usual cardboard backs from the Big Three. In '89, Topps brought back its old-school oversized Bowman series, but it was Upper Deck that reinvented the hobby that year, and its most sought-after card was Ken Griffey Jr's rookie card.
People were starting to notice baseball cards. Even non-fans started collecting them. And a new phenomenon also burst upon the scene that year: the error card as collectible. Dale Murphy's reverse negative in that Upper Deck set was legendary. But none was more famous than Billy Ripken's "fuck face" card, which, if I recall correctly, was worth upwards of $20 that summer.
For a time, many in the baseball world considered Billy among the best defensive second baseman in the game, but he was always overshadowed by big brother, future Hall of Famer, and double-playmate Cal. And there was even a time in the 80s when the Ripken brothers were in the Orioles starting lineup and father Cal Sr. was the manager.
As far as the story behind the card is concerned, from what I read at the time, as a prank, big bro Cal wrote the offending words on the bottom of Billy's bat before the photo shoot, and Fleer didn't notice the error until after the card had been published.
In subsequent printings, the curse words had been covered with a black box or later whited out. I actually had a copy of the "Fuck Face" card for a time. Ended up trading it for Mark McGwire's beloved '85 Topps Olympic card. A better transaction, as it would turn out, than my '89 Griffey Upper Deck, which I traded for an '89 Donruss Kansas City Royals team set. Jeff Montgomery anyone?

Friday, January 28, 2005

Is Michael Spivak the coolest mathematician ever?
Posted by Raznor

I mean, second to me, Raznor, that is.

I'm currently working my way through Spivak's Comprehensive Introduction to Differential Geometry Vol I (it's nearly 500 pages, and the first installment in a five-volume set, which is what we mathematicians call "pretty fucking comprehensive") and he has quite a number of humorous little lines in there, and I'm only on the first chapter. Included among these:

"For many years I have wanted to write the Great American Differential Geometry book."- pg ix

"After this hassle with point-set topology, we present the long-promised examples of manifolds."- pg 6

"There is one 2-manifold of which mostbudding mathematicians make the acquaintance when they still know more about paper and paste than about metric spaces - the famous Moebius strip."- pg 9-10

And that's as far as I've gotten. I wish I had a picture of the cover to show you, for it is too unbelievably awesome for words.

That is all.

Introducing a New Gimmick: The Pic of the Day*
* not a daily feature of this blog
Posted by Ross

Yes dear readers, in an attempt to attract that key demographic of huddled masses yearning not to do their work, enjoy the newest exciting feature of this blog: the non-daily Pic of the Day. Enjoy!

Lake Titicaca (aka: comedy gold) Posted by Hello
At 12,500 feet above sea level, Lake Titicaca covers 3200 square miles, spanning from Peru to Bolivia.
Containing both the words "titi" and "caca", Lake Titicaca also is the most hilarious body of water on the planet, as voted by the Worldwide Electorate Brotherhood of Explorers, Aquatic Scientists, Seamen, Entertainers and Ship Captains (better known by the acronym WEBEASSES) .
In second place was the Yellow River (thanks in large part to the 1964 book of the same name by IP Freely). And holding its own in third place: Northern Alabama's Corn Chunk Pond.
Stay tuned for more exciting and informative Pics of the Day!

Blogs what are they good for? (unlike war, actually something)
Posted by Raznor

I agree for the most part with this post by Tom Tomorrow, but I think he underestimates the importance of blogs, mostly because he (correctly) notes that they aren't important in the way the Right Wing blogosphere seems to think.

The thing is, the internet is still a new medium, with lots of little marketing niches to explore. So every so often, we see how these niches get filled in ways never done before. Homestar Runner shows how the internet allows cartoonists to make a living by going directly to the consumer (Mike and Mark Chapman make plenty money off of t-shirt sales). Howard Dean's campaign showed how you can use the internet to receive previously unheard of levels of campaign contributions almost exclusively from small donors (the fact that his campaign frivolously lost all that money in ineffective advertisements is beside the point). And blogs, well blogs fill a little niche of their own.

The internet allows an unprecedented level of pornography information at the user's fingertips. What blogs do is sift through that information to make it easier for people to find what's significant. It's like a search engine, only with commentary. Be that for news, politics, games or pornography, it's a need that is specific to the internet, and it is one blogs fill.

Friday Random Ten
Posted by Raznor

Lauryn has taken up leadership of the great tradition started by Roxanne, wherein you fire up the mp3 player, put it on random, and list the first 10 songs. I know that last time I posted 20, but in the interest of tradition, I shall for now and the future limit myself to 10. So without further ado, enjoy.

1.)"Shvarts Un Vays"- The Klezmatics (always nice to start off with some good ol' fashioned Klezmer)
2.) "I am the Bullgod"- Kid Rock (yes I know he's an asshole, but Devil Without a Cause is a fun album. Deal with it)
3.) "Give and Take"- Seatbelts (like last time, this is still Yoko Kanno, from Cowboy Bebop soundtrack)
4.) "Nothing Came Out"- The Moldy Peaches (like Lauryn, nothing like having some underground-ish band to show how cool I am)
5.) "Don't Know How To Party" - Mighty Mighty BossToneS (can't think of a parenthetical comment, so I'll ironically parenthetically comment on my lack of parenthetical comment - sort of a meta-parenthetical comment)
6.) "Rhymin and Stealin"- Beastie Boys (something old school to show I'm still with it)
7.)"Purim"- Andy Statman Quartet (wow, 2 Klezmer songs in a random list of 10, ain't that nuts?)
8.)"Iris"- LIVE (perhaps my favorite LIVE song, in fact)
9.)"Electioneering"- Radiohead (You know, I've always liked the track "Fitter, Happier" because of how well it leads into this song)
10.) "Stormy Sky"- The Kinks (I'm glad that I once again have a Kinks song on the list)

Well, there you go. Hope you enjoyed it.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

LEFT BEHIND: A Clever Conceit Even If It Pisses Liberals Off

Posted by Ross

Like many secular Americans, without having actually read a word of any of them, I have marveled at the mind-blowing success generated by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkin’s Evangelical Christian sci-fi series Left Behind.
In addition, like many secular Americans, I have not read the Bible, though this is something I am remedying, currently working my way through The Schocken Bible: Volume 1, the Five Books of Moses.
In partial response to a January 12 editorial in The LA Times by Stephen Prothero entitled “A Nation of Faith and Religious Illiterates”, it is an academic goal of mine to make it through the Old and New Testaments as well as the Koran.
But back to Left Behind. The conceit, from what I understand, is that, the end times are upon us, and all those who have been “saved” are called up to Heaven, leaving all the sinners behind to either get saved or wait for the Apocalypse.
Say what you will about the artistic merits of such an endeavor, personally, I cannot deny the provocative nature of the material. And so here is another perspective inspired by Left Behind, a short story I call…

Staying Behind
It was foretold in the Book of Revelations, so those who were in the know weren’t all that surprised. I, on the other hand -- as well the handful of billions who were a bit behind on our New Testament reading -- was surprised by the turn of events.
I was actually asleep for most of it, but, from what I saw on the news, or heard from people who’d seen it, what happened was, the sky opened up and all the believers were taken to heaven to be in the presence of the Lord.
It was all over in about half an hour and it took Evangelical and Catholic alike, Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, Baptist. Well, at least the practicing ones, you know, not the ones who’d been sinning on a daily basis.
And the rest of us, we were left behind, as the saying goes.
What happened next wasn’t chaos or wanton destruction or Armageddon. This, even though the President, Vice President and two thirds of the Congress were all gone.
But people sure were talking about it a lot. Especially the lapsed Christians. They were the worst. “I was just about to start going to church again,” was a common refrain. So was, “I know I shouldn’t’ve missed the last confessional.”
A lot of people took their own lives, but there were others, like me, who just kept going.
Time kind of got weird after that. Mostly because people stopped keeping track of those kinds of things. But sometime later, a month we’ll say, agents were sent down, and a message was sent far and wide that the Almighty was merciful, and those remaining would have another chance.
This is when the chaos began. Hitherto unused and empty churches were looted. Bibles became a scarce commodity. People would take any holy sacrament they could find in hopes it would give them an advantage, desperate to become good Christians so that the next time, they wouldn’t be left behind, as the saying goes.
The agents of the Almighty took up residency in the vacated places of government, and went about the tremendous undertaking of saving immortal souls.
From my vantage point at the end of the four-mile line leading to City Hall, you could see a stream of ethereal light shining down upon the edifice of our salvation. It was a stunning sight… at least for the first hour or two. Try waiting in line for three weeks, and even the divine becomes mundane.
We waited and waited. And no one pushed or fought or stole from each other. No one lost their place in line if they had to eat or go to the bathroom. We just did unto others, as the saying goes.
The following is the transcript of my interview once I finally got to the front of the line:

Me: What does one have to do to not be left behind?
They: Well, first you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior.
Me: Okay. What’s next?
They: Read the Ten Commandments. Follow them to the letter.
Me: Done and done.
They: Baby killing won’t make you any friends up there, so you’ve gotta oppose abortion.
Me: Sure thing.
They: And under no circumstances will there be any talk of evolution.
Me: Seriously?
They: Seriously.
Me: Even in the context of “God’s divine plan”?
They: Even in the context of “God’s divine plan”. Also, no premarital sex.
Me: What if I’ve already…
They: Don’t worry. You’ll be purified.
Me: Thanks. But no evolution, right?
They: Right.
Me: It’s just… I’m pretty sure there is more than enough proof that evolution has been happening since the…
They: Look, you wanna be left behind again or not?
Me: What if I am? What happens? Fire? Brimstone?
They: Yes.
Me: When?
They: You know that one joke about how a guy that asks God what a million years is to Him, and God responds that it is as a second.
Me: I know that joke. And then the guy asks him what a million dollars is to God, to which God replies, a penny.
They: And then the guy asks God for a million dollars, and God says, I’ll give it to you… In a second.
Me: I used to think that joke was kinda funny. You guys tell a lot of jokes up there?
They: Not really. Just that one.
Me: So, what you’re saying is that the timeframe for the apocalypse isn’t exactly clearly defined.
They: Exactly.
Me: So the apocalypse probably won’t happen tomorrow or the next day?
They: Probably not… but you never know.
Me: So what do you guys do up there?
They: We sing a lot. Feel holier than thou. Close to God and all.
Me: Is it… fun?
They: It’s Heaven.
Me: But… do you guys have a good time up there?
They: It’s HEAVEN.

So what happened was, I decided not to go. And They left. So did a lot of other people. Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Sikh, Atheist, Anarchist, Transcendentalist, Marxist and Secularist.
And the rest of us, we stayed. The world quieted down. It was peaceful. The sun still rose in the east, set in the west. The polluted air and rivers and oceans started to clear up.
And that was life. We lived. We died. We evolved.

Amanda, Queen of all Fiskers

Posted by Raznor

Mousewords has some of the greatest fisks ever. Check out this one where she tears apart a "male privelege counter-list" by some fool and this one from a quiz for people who love George W Bush in the same way some love Justin Timberlake. Go.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Hey there readers. This is Raznor's brother Ross signing on as new co-blogger. I was honored he would ask me, and am excited to see what this partnership will yield.
It sort of reminds me of that one scene in Return of the King, you remember, where Minas Tirith is surrounded by all these orcs and trolls and then Grön breaks down the gate and the king of the Nazguls is kicking ass and Gandalf whaps Denethor upside the head and then the Riders of Rohan come with the dawn and start kicking some more ass, but it's not enough ass, so then Aragorn jumps off the ship with Gimli and Legolas and the army of the dead and they fight Oliphants and Eowyn kills the king of the Nazguls. Well anyway, what I mean to say is Return of the King is a damn fucking good movie.
So, I write movies for a living, and so far some of them have come out straight-to-video. You know, like Sniper 3, which I co-wrote. And it turned out pretty good, as far as movies go. And that's pretty much how I make my living and I write original stuff on the side, hoping one day that will be what I do for a living. I also write a lot of stuff that I don't really know what to do with, so I'll start sharing some of it in here.
And actually, just last week I wrote a brief editorial that I submitted to the LA Times for publication. The complete and utter lack of a reply from the reputable daily leads me to believe it won't be appearing on the second-to-last page of the California section.
So, for my first post as Raznor's co-blogger, I present to you, the reader, my rejected editorial to The Los Angeles Times about some of my thoughts relating to the upcoming elections in Iraq.

Will Jan. 30 Have a Hollywood Ending?
It seems like such a hair-brained scheme. I mean, could you imagine President Bush saying, “Okay, here’s the plan, we overthrow Saddam Hussein real fast-like and then knuckle down in this quagmire with an ever-more-resilient resistance and hold out long enough to hold popular elections and then marvel at how the magical elixir of democracy quells even the most malignant of social unrest.”?
We have proof, courtesy of the bloodbath of humanity known as the twentieth century, that you can’t demolish a society and then expect it to be rebuilt in a matter of years. What we are learning is that you can rebuild a demolished society, but it takes a lot more time and a lot more love.
Imagine if this were an action movie. The hero would be some renegade rich kid who’s never played by anybody’s rules -- the post-modern anti-hero, get it? He knows there’s a job to be done, and by hell or high water, he’s gonna get it done.
And he’s gonna piss everybody off while he’s doing it, but in the end, he’s going to execute the most amazing, stunning, edge-of-your-seat nail biter, the one-in-a-million shot, the kill-the-bad-guy-with-the-gun-you-duct-taped-to-your-back, the Darth Vader-throws-the-Emperor-to-his-death, if you will, and after a few choice explosions set to Van Halen or Styx, everything comes out beautifully.
And the audience in the theater is cheering. And kids are sneaking back into the theater to see it again.
This is what I pray will be the outcome from the vote in Iraq on January 30: one hell of an ending to an edge-of-your-seat ride. But coming from someone who’s written a movie that ends with a one-in-a-million shot, it’s especially hard to believe these things actually happen off the silver screen (or, in my case, the TV screen).


As you'll notice, the title of this blog has changed to "Raznor's and Ross's Rants". I'm pleased to announce that my brother Ross, who has often commented at this site, has agreed to be co-blogger. I'll leave Ross to introduce himself to y'all, but I think he'll add quite a bit to this blog.

Encouraging words in dark times

I meant to post this a while ago, but Paul Glastris at Political Animal posted this great quotation:

A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt...If the game runs sometime against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."
Thomas Jefferson, 1798

Mind you, he wrote this in a time much like today, Federalists had control of the Legislature and the White House, and they were doing everything they could to consolidate their power. And Jefferson was right, two years after writing this, Jefferson beat Adams for presidency, eliminated the Sedition Act, and continued having sex with slaves. (Okay, everything wasn't peachy kean in 1801, but they were better than they were in 1798 thankyewverymuch) This is important to keep in mind in trying times such as these.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Music list

Last week I was following the lead of Lauryn, Roxanne, and a few other bloggers (I know I saw it elsewhere) I tried making a list of the first ten songs that come on after putting my Windows Media Player on random play. Unsatisfied with the first ten songs that came out, I added 5 more, and just by chance my list ended (quite awesomely I should add) with "Why Don't We Do It in the Road". But then there was an error when I tried publishing and I lost it. So now I'm attempting it again. Here's how Roxanne explains da rules:

1. Fire up your IPOD, MP3 or other digital music player
2. Set to random or shuffle
3. List the first ten songs

Except I shall list the first 20 songs (my laptop music collection is quite extensive), 'cos posting more songs makes the list more fun (for me that is, and that's all that matters). So here goes:

1.) "Wiser Time"- The Black Crowes
2.) "Dirty Blvd."- Lou Reed
3.) "By Your Side"- Default
4.) "Riot On Broad Street"- Mighty Mighty BossToneS
5.) "Up There"- Satan (From South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut)
6.)"Call Me Call Me(live)"- Seatbelts (actually Yoko Kanno, from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack)
7.)"So Right"- Dave Matthews Band
8.)"Smile"- Remy Zero
9.)"Expecting"- White Stripes
10.)"Easy Way Out"- Elliott Smith
11.)"The Beautiful Occupation"- Travis
12.)"The Downward Spiral"- Nine Inch Nails
13.)"Rule By Secrecy"- MUSE
14.)"Micro Cuts"- MUSE
15.)"Changes" - 3 Doors Down
16.)"Alice"- Tom Waits
17.)"On the Outside"- The Kinks
18.)"A Punchup at a Wedding"- Radiohead
19.)"Poor Edward"- Tom Waits
20.)"Shooting Star"- Elliott Smith

And there you go. For the record this took nearly two hours to complete, but I'm quite satisfied with it. I'm even copying the whole thing now in case blogger fucks up on me again. Here's hopin'.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

All Blogger Cabinet

Fred Vincy post on his dream cabinet reminded me of something - a bit back, I alluded to the fact that upon becoming President, I'd have an all blogger Cabinet. So, I thought I'd list which bloggers would be in my administration.

President: Me, Raznor, of course.
Vice President: Atrios - his celebrity status will give me, President Raznor, the edge I need.
Secretary of State: Juan Cole. Seriously, we need an expert on the Middle East for a position like this.
Undersecretary of State: Ampersand - check out 'Alas, A Blog's comments section, the man's a master of diplomacy.
Secretary of Defense: General J C Christian, Patriot. Need I say more?
Secretary of Homeland Security: Echidne - those terrorists won't stand a chance when they cross the Goddess of the Snakes!
Attorney General: Jack Balkin. Obvious reasons.
National Security Advisor: Solomon. He'll know how to handle it when the shit hits the fan.
Press Secretary: Bob Harris. I mean, why not?

Well, that's all I can think of off the top of my head. Use the comments and recommend any other cabinet positions (you may even do the self-serving act of nominating yourself, as long as you have a blog). I'll update the post as I see fit.

Update: Well, Solomon for one likes what he sees.

Ya damn skippy I would know how to handle things when the shit hits. In fact, the Secretary of Defense better watch out when I show up cause I'm a rollin' stone, baby!! Kickin' ass and to hell with taking names. Names complicate the ass kickin'.

He has a commenter who's taking this way to seriously though, so I'll say, there are oversights here. Mostly it's the blogs I regularly read if I can fit them in a position. My favorite blogger, August Pollak isn't even represented, but what can you do. He can work on the campaign. But for any other oversights - deal with it. I didn't give this cabinet more than a second's thought because it doesn't deserve more than a second's thought. It's a gag, man.

And they say the left has no sense of humor . . .

Koufax Award Pre-Nomination

As you can see here, my Cthuhlu post has been nominated for a nomination for a Koufax Award. Vote Raznor. You know Cthuhlu is da bomb!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Signorile vs Sheriff Holcombe

ON Americablog they have the audio of Mike Signorile's phone interview with Alabama Sheriff Holcombe, who wrote on his website that gays are an abomination. My favorite part of the interview was where Holcombe foolishly tried to get Signorile to admit how baaaad gays are (personally transcribed from the audio):

Holcombe: Do you want to describe what homosexuals do to each other?

Signorile: Are you asking me a question?

Holcombe: Yeah. Why don't we just - you know - since it's such, not such a terrible thing - despicable thing, just in common language let's - let's uh let's hear what these gays do to each other.

Signorile: Well, sir, you know what they do to each other? They fuck, just like straight people fuck.

Bam, shot down Sheriff Holcombe.

In any case, the whole thing is worth listening to.

Bill O'Reilly: bat shit insane!


O'REILLY: Dr. King would be appalled by the secular culture, the attacks on Christmas, the demonizing of Christianity. By the way, where's the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] and other pinheads when Martin Luther King's picture is displayed on public property? He openly advocated the philosophy of Jesus and proudly declared himself a Christian. What say you, ACLU? Dr. King yes, the creche no? Think about it.

Okay, as Dib once eloquently said, there are all kinds of things wrong with that.

First of all, let's not get into the whole demonizing Christianity bullshit, O'Reilly seems to think all Martin Luther King was was a minister, and not, you know, a civil rights leader. He was an advocate of socialism, and spent his life fighting Bible Belt Christians - yes, Christians - who felt the Bible proved they were genetically superior to blacks. I have a feeling King would be much more concerned with the conservative Christian WASPS who claim they are the only oppressed group in America than with the ACLU.

Secondly, despite being a minister who never hid his own Christianity, unlike the ten commandments, or pictures of Christ, Dr. King is not a religious icon. I'm sure this is hard for conservatives to grasp, these are people who don't understand the difference between reading Marx and being a Bolshevik, but let me make this clear, and all caps and boldfaced - PREACHING RELIGION AND BEING A RELIGIOUS CENTRAL FIGURE ARE TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THINGS.

Anyway, I hope this was a help.

Slight edit for clarity

Monday, January 17, 2005

New TGS!!

Sooooo good!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Inauguration Day: Save Money, Spend Money

I received this e-mail from my bro's fiancee on one way to protest George II's coronation:

Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is "Not One Damn Dime Day" in America.

On "Not One Damn Dime Day" those who oppose what is happening in our name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms of consumer spending. During "Not One Damn Dime Day" please don't spend money.

Not one damn dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse purchases.

Not one damn dime for anything for 24 hours.

The object is simple. Remind the people in power that the war in Iraq is immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for starting it and that it is their responsibility to stop it.

"Not One Damn Dime Day" is to remind them, too, that they work for the people of the United States of America, not for the international corporations and K Street lobbyists who represent the corporations and funnel cash into American politics. Not One Damn Dime Day" is about supporting the troops. The politicians put the troops in harm's way. Now 1,200 brave young Americans and (some estimate) 100,000 Iraqis have died. The politicians owe our troops a plan -- a way to come home.

There's no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left or right wing agenda to rant about. On "Not One Damn Dime Day" you take action by doing nothing. You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed.

For 24 hours, nothing gets spent, not one damn dime, to remind our religious leaders and our politicians of their moral responsibility to end the war in Iraq and give America back to the people.

Please share this email with as many people as possible.

So seems like something to do. But the question then becomes what to do with the money you've saved? Well, Echidne has the answer, in the form of an e-mail she received from Katha Pollitt:

Are you wondering how to protest Inauguration Day (January 20)? Here's a
way to make a powerful political point and also help women in need:
"honor" George Bush, the most anti-choice President since
Roe v Wade, by making a donation to the National Network of
Abortion Funds. You know how pro-choice groups sometimes counter
anti-choice demonstrations by asking people to Pledge a Picketer
(give a small sum per demonstrator)? Think of this as Pledge a

NNAF, an umbrella for 102 local abortion funds around the
country, helps poor girls and women with unwanted pregnancies pay for
their abortions. Last year the member funds of NNAF donated $2 million
to help nearly 20,000 poor women across the country-- but the need is
so much greater. By making a contribution to this important work you
not only help women, you send a message to anti-choice Republicans --
and their Democratic friends -- that safe, legal and AFFORDABLE
abortion matters to you and that you are not willing to have women's
wombs turned into a political football to placate religious extremists.

To donate by credit card, go here
and click the “Donate Now” button. Checks made out to NNAF can be
mailed to NNAF, c/o Hampshire College, 893 West Street, Amherst MA
01002-3359. So that we can keep track of special Inaugural donations,
please be sure to write "abortions--Inaugural protest" in the
designation box or memo line. Bonus for on-line donors: If you
dedicate your contribution to George W. Bush, you can send an e-card
from the donation page and let the White House know that you celebrated the inauguration by supporting access to safe abortion.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could raise enough money so that no
woman in our rich country had to continue a crisis pregnancy for lack
of a few hundred dollars? Small donations quickly add up, so whatever
you would like to give, NNAF will be thrilled and grateful to receive

Please forward this e-mail to your friends and post it in your lists!

Katha Pollitt and Jennifer Baumgardner

There, everything fits together in a nice little package, yes? Have fun.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Europe '04 Part I: Anti-award runner up

I finally shall begin posting pictures from my Europe pic from this past June. This will occur at an irregular schedule, but I'll try to average about one a day for some time. We start with what I was going to submit for the feministe anti-award for largest, hairiest mole:

This was taken in Haarlem, Netherlands. None of us had seen a mole before, and thought this was kinda cool. Note that it has no eyes, and the huge paws it has. Ah, underground mammals. Shortly after this picture was taken a crow came to try to eat the mole, but gave up, leaving the rotting corpse in the middle of the nice park trail where this picture was taken.

Best Quote of the day

Or a couple days ago, depending on how you count it:

I could, for instance, come up with an utterly contrived thriller-esque situation wherein I must expose myself to a room full of children in order to save lives, but if I'm seriously pushing it, the underlying argument isn't about saving lives. It's about wanting kids to see my naughty bits.

From Jesse.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Why I, Raznor, shall win a Feministe Anti-award

Among the Feministe Anti-Awards is the "Pretentious Math Whiz" award. I think it's clear to anyone who reads this that I, the great Raznor should win this award. Sure there's those bloggers who use statistics to prove points, but who besides me actually uses math. As you remember, I wrote a post last year entitled Language, math, and "man". And I've even used set theory to help me find a logical flaw in the fundamental pro-life rhetoric. The award should be mine - and as long as no one else has written why they should have it yet - will be.

Update: Found set theory post, updated blog.

2nd Update: Victory! I'll post the official award icon soon . . .

3rd Update: Got the picture up, now I have all the glory. Dah ha ha ha!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

You know, I've always liked the Pacific

Via Lauren:

I am the Pacific Ocean!
Which Extremity of the World Are You?
From the towering colossi at Rum and Monkey.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Social Security reform? More like Social Security deform

Kevin Drum has done the best posting on Bush's proposed Social Security reform, and if you read nothing else, read this post on how unrealistically rosy projections on Bush's most likely proposed policy plan make us worse off than the worst case scenarios where we do nothing. But at least it'll be more expensive. Meh? Meh?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Quick review of Life Aquatic

I should say I've loved each of Wes Anderson's first three films (that's Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Royal Tannenbaums for those who didn't know) and Life Aquatic was no exception. Just brilliant. And this could be Jeff Goldblum's first great movie ever. The Lost World: Jurassic Show didn't quite cut it.

Yes, as a matter of fact, it does snow in Arizona

Understand though, Flagstaff is 7000 foot elevation. As I'm writing this, there's a blizzard raging outside my window. I can barely see across the street.

In Raznor related news, believe me, I am so almost done with the Bush/Napoleon III comparison. It's a tough post to write.

Until then, enjoy yourselves.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Raznor's new language rule #1 for 2005

You know, the word "mindfuck" is such a great word. And unlike other forms of the word "fuck" you can't change the "fuck" part to make it kid-friendly without losing the meaning of the word. You can say "screw you" or "friggin' unbelievable", or alternatively "un-friggin'-believable", but you lose all sense of meaning if you try to say "mindfrig" or "mindscrew."

With this in mind, I shall decree that the word "fuck" shall no longer be considered taboo when in close proximity to "mind". Now you may aptly describe movies like Memento and Being John Malkovich, even with kids present.