Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Rock on, August Pollak
Posted by Raznor

I just wanted to congratulate August Pollak, who, for the second year running is batting 1.000 with his Oscar picks.

Friday, February 25, 2005

2nd Pic of the Day
That Scummy Guy That Took a Bribe While Officially an Amateur
Posted by: Ross

Chris Webber took money while he was an amateur. Scandalous!

I don't even remember why I'm all passionate about this all of a sudden. I didn't even listen to the news today, so how did it pop into my head?

In any case, I want to make a plea on behalf of the future Chris Webbers of the world. Because like young Chris Webber, many budding NBA stars, and, I would gander, NFL, MLB, and NHL stars, in the ranks of the NCAA are going to be tempted into accepting "gifts", cashing in their future earning power a little early, if you catch my drift, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

It's such a sleazy, deplorable practice.

Heard this one before?

Universities pay their coaches multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts to build winning teams. Those elite teams from Duke to Arizona, from Oregon to Georgetown, are raking it in by the millions, while the athletes are getting a free education. They're selling their star athletes' likenesses on merchandise, on media guides, on TV ads, while the athletes get to eat for free in the cafeteria.

Hey, I love college. I love it so much, I paid, and am still paying for it. So there is definitely a part of me that says fuck you, you spoiled douchebag and pay your lumps before leaving me in your dust.

That said, think about this...

And so with dreams of millions of dollars and a stable full of ho's within arm's reach, these teenage future millionaires of America are expected to, in every circumstance, turn down free shit that they want. Uh, easier said than done, dude. Especially, like in Webber's case, if other family members are involved.

Personally, if I were a college student, which, at one point I was, I wouldn't have a problem if I knew, for instance, that there was a modest pay scale for student athletes above and beyond their free education. I'm not talking millions of dollars, but, man, for a college student, an extra ten grand would be pretty nice.

Am I being naive? Is that not a lot of money, even for those whose yet unfulfilled dreams have seven zeroes in them?

Wouldn't it be a more effective deterrent to taking bribes, if it was okay for a university to say, "Look, you're still a college student, but since we raked in 500 grand on t-shirt sales with your face on 'em, here's an extra ten grand to have some fun with."?

AND because they're not hanging out with sleazy agents or boosters reps or whoever is dangling money in front of them, that means they'll be hanging out with their fellow students. And their parties would kick ass.

Friday's Random Ten
Posted by Ross

Rules are great. They might even be better than Jesus. For the Random 10, here are the rules:

1)Get an mp3 player or some software to play mp3s.
2)Put it on random play.
3)List the first ten songs.

And now for the moment we've all been waiting for, this Friday's Random Ten!

1) Isn't It a Pity - George Harrison. From "All Things Must Pass."
2) Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad? - Prince. From "The Hits 1."
3) Red Dwarf Theme - Theme song from the BBC Star Trek-esque sitcom "Red Dwarf." Fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun sun!
4) The Wind - Cat Stevens. From the "Almost Famous" soundtrack.
5) Raise Your Hand - Janis Joplin. From "Janis" a 3-CD box set.
6) Tell Mama - Janis Joplin. Also from "Janis."
7) How Could We Still Be Dancin' - Brian Wilson, with Elton John. From Wilson's newest album "Gettin' in Over My Head."
8) The W.S. Wolcott Medicine Show - The Band. From "The Last Waltz" box set.
9) Heroes and Villains - The Beach Boys. From "Classics: Selected by Brian Wilson."
10) Rael 2 - The Who. From "The Who Sell Out."

Hot damn, that was a sweet list!

Update (by Raznor): Just wanted to make sure that Lauren got her props here. That is all.

Today's Daily Pic of Day
Gettin' Down to Bidness
Posted by: Rebekka, special guest blogger

Can't wait to get yours? Click here.

This is an actual item that is for sale on Ebay. I love how it depicts W rolling up his sleeves, getting ready to get down to some serious business, with that stern, upward-looking face. Plus, you can never go wrong invoking the top two sacred Americana items du jour: the flag, and 9/11. It’s practically beatific. I’m so glad the artist stopped short of putting a ring of light around our blessed leader’s disturbing cranium. That would’ve just been too much. Here’s the actual text from the site:

“"The Reminder" - Created by renowned Historical Artist Ken Hendricksen of Kennebunkport, ME, this fine patriotic print is "hand signed" by the artist & mounted on a laminated wall plaque. Measures: 9.5" x 11.5". Also available 12" x 14.5" (email for quote). (Actual print does not list "The Reminder".)You'll be proud to display this in your home or office. Buy w/ confidence. Safe, courteous delivery. Deliveries to ALASKA , PUERTO RICO & HAWAII cost $25.00. No insurance or proof of delivery for APO addresses. WHY WAIT? BUY IT NOW!”

A few thoughts.

1. I’ve been to Kennebunkport, Maine, and somehow it doesn’t surprise me that someone from there would create something like this. It’s a little…how shall I say…quaint. And by quaint I mean podunk.

2. Wow. “Hand signed.” Not to be confused with regular old hand signed, without the quotation marks. Obviously they’ve never heard of the term “Autopen,” although granted, from a S&M (that’s Sales and Marketing, you sicko) standpoint, “Hand signed” sounds a lot better than “Artist’s signature reproduced on print just like the rest of the print.”

3. Whaddya mean the actual print does not list “The Reminder?” That’s my favorite part of this “fine patriotic print.” It emphasizes how important it is to remember…wait, what is it I was supposed to remember again? See? We DO need a reminder. They should be ashamed of themselves for such blatantly false advertising, which is obviously part of the left-wing-Yid-controlled Media. They want us to forget…uh…whatever it was we were supposed to remember.

4. How do you know I’d be “proud to display this in my home or office”? Don’t you tell me how to feel.

5. Are they absolutely sure that each and every delivery will be courteous? Do they have some sort of mind-control device that only works on mail delivery people? And where can I get one?

6. What self-respecting Puerto Rican would buy this?

7. True. Why should I wait? As a decent, God-fearing American, I owe it to the memories of the people killed on that tragic, fateful day to purchase as many copies of this soon-to-be-hallowed-masterpiece as possible as soon as possible and place one, no, better make that two, in every room of my house. I wonder if they make a bumper-sticker sized one. Plus I wouldn’t mind emblazoning this patriotic tableau on my toilet lid.

Poor Satchel
Posted by Raznor

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Fine, Europe Pic 3
Posted by Raznor

So here's me and Ross, standing in front of a statue of that one guy, in East Berlin. It kind of looks like Lenin, but then all Commie statues look alike after a while. I'm, of course, to the left. Ross, to the right. The glorious leader of East Germany towers behind us.

Europe Pic 2
Posted by Raznor

I was meaning to do this for a while, but in honor of Ross being named co-blogger, here's a pic of him and his beautiful fiancee at La Grande Place in Brussels (shortly after we got our stuff stolen, for those who remember).

I was practically lying down on the disgusting, smelly, cigarette butt covered ground to take this picture. I hope you appreciate it.


Next will be a pic of me, Raznor.

Sit tight.

Today's Glorious Pic:
President Bush's Yale Dormroom Wall

Posted by: Ross

According to Chaswick, Freshman year, the 43rd president would toke up and then stare for hours at his eight-foot tall Marley poster, longing for the rivers of Babylon. Posted by Hello

Since tapes recorded by Bush's "best bud" Doug Wead surfaced last week in which, among other things, the prez talked about why he would never admit to having smoked dope, I tracked down Vincent "Muddy" Chaswick, Georgie Bush's freshman roommate at Yale.

The year is 1964, and Muddy has just said goodbye to Mom and Dad. He slings his duffle bag over his shoulder and heads into the dormitory he'll be calling home freshman year. His RA gives him a key and sends him up to his dorm room. Muddy unlocks the door, just in time to see his new roomie taking the most massive hit from a spliff the size of a Snickers Bar.

This was little Georgie Bush, who had spent that previous summer with some friends in Jamaica. And when he came back, he was a "full-blown rastafarian," according to Chaswick, "or at least, that's what he believed.

"Yeah, he was always going on about how he wanted to return to Babylon and all that crazy shit. And also he grew his hair all long, you know, wearing it in these nappy dreds. You know, this was '64, before a lot of that hippie stuff had really caught on. Being born out of wealth and priviledge, it's not too surprising Georgie was ahead of the curve on that one. He was even farther ahead of the curve with his obsession with Reggae. When you think about it, he was probably the first college student ever to hang up a Bob Marley poster in his dorm."

At this point, Muddy gets a faraway look in his eye, laughs quietly, then adds, "Wonder why that never gets mentioned when people talk about the 'Bush Legacy'."

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The AARP will blow up your kittens with nukes!
Posted by Raznor

Check out this post from Uggabugga.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Grotesquely Inappropriately-named Pic of the Day is Back!
Hunter S. Thompson
Posted by: Ross

You're a whole different person when you're art. Hunter S. never forgave Trudeau for Duke. Posted by Hello

"My concept of death for a long time was to come down that mountain road [halfway between Louisville and Eglin Air Force Bace in Florida] at a hundred and twenty and just keep going straight right there, burst out through the barrier and hang out above all that... and there I'd be sitting in the front seat, stark naked, with a case of whiskey next to me, and a case of dynamite in the trunk... honking the horn, and the lights on, and just sit there in space for an instant, a human bomb, and fall down into that mess of steel mills. It'd be a tremendous goddamn explosion. No pain. No one would get hurt. I'm pretty sure, unless they've changed the highway, that launching place is still there. As soon as I get home, I ought to take the drive just to check it out."
- Hunter S. Thompson, exerpted from today's Los Angeles Times.

Reading Thompson's prose is like eating a hunk of dark chocolate knockout cake with that whipped icing: delicious.
I read FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS on an overnight train from Paris to Madrid in the summer of '98. And for me, it's places like this where Hunter S. Thompson will remain.

Kevin Drum gets his ass handed to him
Posted by Raznor

When Kevin Drum recently asked the inane question of "where are the women bloggers," I didn't respond because (a) it doesn't personally affect me, and (b) half of my favorite blogs are by women. From Echidne, to Lauren, to Amanda, to Bean and many others.

But now, Drum notes that the question of where the women bloggers are has been answered, with a note of annoyance, by - that's right - women bloggers!

May that be a lesson to you.

Update: In the comments to the above post, Morgan offers a non-exhaustive list of female bloggers in alphabetical order, and - hooboy - it's a doozie. She doesn't add hyperlinks (alas) but considering the length of the post, I can't say I blame her.

Everything I need to know I learned from watching 24
Posted by Raznor

Kevin Drum notes that, although torture has been used a lot in 24 this season, in no case has it been effective (yet - there's still 14 episodes to go). He concludes that the writers of 24 are saying that torture doesn't work, a valuable lesson in these times. So it got me thinking, what other important life lessons have I taken from the first 4 seasons of 24? Here's a small list:

1) If a terrorist looks in anyway middle eastern, or what one would stereotypically think a terrorist looks like, he is not the top dog. This means that when we see Osama Bin Laden's tapes, there's some white American, or charming British guy behind the camera, telling him what to say. I suspect Tony Blair. For no reason in particular.

2) No matter how good security is, there will always be a mole. I mean, come on. Nina and Jackie in season 1 were one thing, but how half-assed are CTU's background checks anyway?

3) Any terrorist plot will be stopped in a few hours, only to have the much bigger plot initiated. This is my theory for the intelligence failure on 9/11. They actually stopped some minor terrorist threat only to find out the real plan involved airplanes. That part probably hasn't been declassified yet.

4) Never trust an ambitious black woman. Be she Sherri Palmer or Maryanne whatever her last name is. You know, the mole from this season, who slept with that one black agent who got captured by the white, American uber-terrorist? Condoleeza Rice, I'm looking at you. Also note that these treacherous black women always have had sexual histories with the noble black men. Colin Powell?

5) Democratic presidents are overly idealized in an imperfect political world. Republican presidents never get their asses off of Air Force 1 during a crisis. Or maybe it's not Democratic presidents, but black Democratic presidents. Obama '08?

6) Jack Bauer is the baddest ass motherfucker on the fucking planet! I mean you saw when Arad hit him with that car? He just walked that off like it was nothing! I'm not sure how this applies to the real world, but it had to be said.

Well, there you go. Any other lessons feel free to use comments.

Monday, February 21, 2005

If I had an operating blogroll, this would so be added to it
Posted by Raznor

(Yeah, I'll have to learn enough html to update the template here one of these days)

Those of you who are as avid readers of Alas, Blog as I am, will remember when Barry (aka Ampersand) turned his blog into a group blog with the introduction of Bean. So it was that Bean contributed some extremely brilliant and insightful posts of her own, but now, just as Ezra Klein has torn off the shackles of Pandagon, and Bob Harris took his independence from This Modern World, so has Bean ventured into the land of independent blogging with her new blog Cool Beans.

It's definitely worth a read. Go, check it out.

. . . will this tendency of underbloggers seeking independence from they're high quality and popular blog homes foreshadow a Ross breaking away from this fairquality and modestly popular blog? Time will tell.

Well, that sucks
Posted by Raznor

Hunter S Thompson shot himself.

I really have nothing more to say.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Egyptian doctors remove baby’s second head
Posted by Ross
A friend of mine caught the photo and story this morning at the following MSNBC link.

Sen. Hagel Changes Position On Environment
Posted by Ross
NPR's The World has become my favorite news program. Yesterday I was listening to a story in which GOP Senator Chuck Hagel has come out and acknowledged global warming is indeed a grave threat. This acknowledgment is particularly significant considering that in 1997 Hagel didn't believe there was conclusive scientific evidence to support global warming.
In the interview, which you can listen to at http://www.theworld.org/, Hagel talks about a plan he's working on that would both reduce green house gasses and be profitable in the free market. Hey, he's a Republican through and through.
Left of center though I am, I don't claim to know all, or any, of the answers. Yes, it bothers me that the US refuses to align itself with Kyoto. But it bothers me even more that the Bush administration refuses to even acknowledge global warming as a threat.
It reminds me of AIDS in the 80s. For too long, Reagan just ignored it, because it was an embarassing subject, and because too many still believed it was God punishing the gays. But finally, Reagan was forced to start dealing with it. And now we see, in countries like South Africa, something like 2/3 of AIDS-related deaths going unreported because of much the same social discomfort we were dealing with twenty years ago in the States.
My point is, I don't care how we deal with global warming. And, moreover, I don't know how to deal with global warming, other than personally being good to the environment, you know, only driving the Humvee on weekends and holidays.
Hearing a Republican like Hagel saying it's time to start doing something about it, though, gives me hope that the agonizingly slow wheels of bureaucracy are finally turning to deal with this pressing matter, just like they finally did with AIDS in the 80s.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Day before Friday meme
Posted by Raznor

Well, I missed the friday random ten last week, so I thought I'd make up for it by doing it a day early this week. Remember here's what you do:

1)Get an mp3 player or some software to play mp3s.
2)Put it on random play.
3)List the first ten songs.

So here goes nothing.

1.) "Personal Jesus"- Johnny Cash (from his last album)
2.) "Hypnotize" - White Stripes
3.) "Sister Luck" - Black Crowes
4.) "Showbiz" - Muse (the live version from Hullaballoo, this and "Escape" are perhaps my favorite tracks from Showbiz)
5.) "Sing for Absolution" - Muse (again. I'm always kinda disappointed when doing this gives me two songs by the same artist in a row)
6.) "Lola (Instrumental)" - The Kinks (the popular transvestite love song in new and improved "instrumental" form - from Percy)
7.) "Burndt Jam" - Weezer
8.) "Stop the Train" - Bob Marley
9.) "Last Dead Mouse" - Mighty Mighty BossToneS
10.) "Just Another" - Pete Yorn

And there you go, have fun.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Lauren: The world's most awesome spreader of memes
Posted by Raznor

(Quick note: I can't believe how many times I've spelled it Lauryn, what's up with me)

This comes from Feministe of course:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

So I grabbed A Guide to LaTeX by Helmut Kopka and Patrick W Daly (note that's the text writing software used by mathematicians, not the material used in condoms):

LaTeX normally sets the upper case Greek letters in Roman (upright) type within a mathematical formula

Wow, I really am a nerd, aren't I?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Ross: the irritated consumer
Posted by Ross, the irritated consumer
So I bought a pretty kick-ass laptop over the summer. A Toshiba Satellite with a big wide screen for watching DVDs and the like. Anyway, a couple weeks ago, my AC adaptor broke. I do take this piece of hardware just about everywhere I go so I expect more wear and tear than most.
But here's the thing: I couldn't find a replacement for my AC Adaptor! The technology changes so quickly that the retailer where I got my computer, Compusa, didn't carry anything compatible. So I order it from Toshiba, and then I find out that not even they have any compatible adaptors in stock and I'm supposed to wait three weeks!
So I finally Froogled for a compatible adaptor, and, after contacting half a dozen retailers, I found someone who had one in stock, and, well, it just arrived and I am happy.
Still, it makes me wonder, why in the world is it this difficult to find a replacement part for something that is six months old? Makes me want to switch over to Mac. The biggest problem is I think I'd miss the "right mouse click" too much.
Stay tuned for more profound insight from Ross, the irritated consumer.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Daily Pic is Back For Today!
Dr. Pat Robertson

Posted by Ross

It took me a really long time to find this man's picture on the web! Posted by Hello

So, was just watching Chris Matthews interviewing Dr. Pat Robertson. He made a point of calling him "Doctor" and at one point alluded to Roberston being a graduate of Yale Law School. Good form. So those of us leaning center-left you know, we who are inclined to use the words "Pat Robertson" and "pure evil" together in a sentence - call us the Bill Maher crowd; or maybe even the Chris Matthews crowd - don't immediately tune him out.
Anyway, so Robertson is yabbering on about how these Evangelical Christians made up 22% of the national voting block and how they voted, surprise-surprise, solidly for Bush.
And, now that they got their man, what do these dudes want? Matthews posited to the Holy Man. Well, Chris, it seems like they're all pretty damn pissed that judges, or as the right-wing spin machine likes to puke out, "judicial activists," are presidentially-appointed as opposed to popularly-elected.
And, when you think about it, this is pretty fundamental, Constitution-writing debate here, because, while I firmly believe our Founding Fathers, while disregarding whatever "personal faith" they held, set out to create a secular society in which the non-popularly elected Church would not be able to exert its control, there has always been this tug of war between Federal Legislation and States Rights.
Okay, we get a pretty clear message from what we consider the stix or sticks or Styx or the middle of the country, that we're filthy, disgusting, secular sinners who are gonna FUCKING BURN IN HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But I think we're getting another message from them too, which is, you frighten us. We believe that you shun what we believe to be good.
Of course, quite conversely, we could say the same thing to them.
The point is, they're not making any kind of effort to understand us. I mean, really understand what makes people like us good.
And this is my segue into what I have been reading these last few weeks (slowly, yes, but such are my reading patterns), which is the Bible, or the Old Testament, or the Five Books of Moses, or, as my people call it, the Torah, the book of laws, which is also a part of that Christian Bible with Jesus that Dr. Pat Robertson likes a lot.
There was a scarring loss of faith, especially among my people, from that fucking bloodbath nightmare THE HOLOCAUST.
Over the weekend, at my grandma's funeral, at which I became re-acquainted with quite a few family members I hadn't seen in years, I recall both uncles being somewhere between bewildered and appalled that I would associate myself with such a crude document.
And I of course understand where people on this side of the centerline stand, because I stand with them. And it's pretty much the same shit: you guys, you 22%, really scare us. No need to go into the reasons you guys scare us, just as there's no need to go into the reasons why we scare you guys.
But, you know, even Dallas, Texas has a Whole Foods Market, and they serve sushi - it gave my fiancée food poisoning, but we appreciated the sentiment.
I don't think the Bible's such a bad thing. I actually think it's pretty cool. It's a rip-roarin' adventure and, you know, a pretty cool testament to humanity. I mean, this is pretty much as far back as we get any kind of written narrative.
I guess there's a debate as to exactly who wrote the text, be it God or man, but I don't believe there's a debate over who actually did the physical work, the writing on parchment. It was people, right?
You know, the true root of inspiration, as anyone who's made an attempt at art could attest, doesn't come from anything tangible. I might call it creativity, or muse. So, if we all agree - don't we? - this work was made by human hands, what does it really matter about the intangibles of its creation?
I don't really believe in the Bible dictating how I live my life, but it does dictate how many other people lived their lives long ago. And it tells what people of long ago believed to be good lives, and bad.
It's really quite fun from an academic perspective.
And to tell you quite frankly, I wish there were a way to teach it in public school, as a work of literature. From an academic perspective. The Old Testament, the New Testament, the Koran. Let the Churches and Synagogues and Mosques put their spins on the text.
If I were cynical, however, I might add, there's too much at stake for at least some segment of organized religion to give up its tremendous control it has over the populace, meaning PTA members would demand only their interpretation of the Bible be taught, and Super Intendant Chalmers will be elected to bend to the will of the parents, depending on where the school is located, and there'd be no way of separating Church and State on a Federal Level. Which, I do believe, would suit Dr. Pat Robertson nicely.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I'm Back
Posted by Raznor

So, as Ross posted, went to my grandmother's funeral on Monday. Ross is still up in Chicago, I had to return (I'm administering a test tomorrow).

Life goes on, ya know. And although Grandma's been sick for a long time, it was still sudden. A tough few days, but now I'm just trying to get back to my life, and hopefully posting with some semblance of regularity, finish up that post comparing Bush to Napoleon III that I've been trying to do for months, and get a few more Europe photos here.

As Elliott Smith said, "I can deal with some psychic pain if it'll slow down my higher brain."

Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Midnight Rambler
Posted by Ross

Thinking about Grandma dying, I guess, has me thinking about our very ephemeral role in this speedily evolving world. An entire generation is leaving this world for good. The Greatest Generation that saved the world from the Nazis is departing.
The concept of evolution fascinates me, I mean in a sort of sociological way, in actually witnessing it impacting our daily lives.

One of the aspects I find most annoying about politics is that it’s fighting for a world order that’s already on the way out.

I think for the first time since the sixties, we are at a generation defining moment. And that generation is our generation, the one that Time Magazine called the Twixters, or some such nonsense. We’re still very young, and we’re watching a troubling world unfold before our eyes.

When my dad was a kid, he believed he would see the end of the world in his lifetime. Afterall, he lived through Korea and the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam. The assassinations of two Kennedys, Martin Luther King and Malcom X. Nuclear proliferation. Just to name a few.

And here we are, once again, a generation that must be asking itself, are we going to see the end of the world in our lifetime?

It’s not very pragmatic to plan for it, but it certainly troubles me, makes me want to seek out safe answers. I wonder, though, if this is a way in which I am being controlled. A way of keeping me in my shell, of not participating in the world.
Maybe this isn’t about picking a side, hunkering down and screaming at anyone who disagrees with me, but rather being receptive to what’s around me and not letting this great big world get me down. I gotta learn to keep a hold of my head and keep my feet on the ground. Or at least that’s what the Kinks said.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Today's Exciting Picture:
Optimus Prime
Posted by Ross

Now THAT'S a toy! Posted by Hello

I'm off to Chicago this weekend, so is my bro Raznor. Our Grandma Adele died early this morning and the funeral's Monday.
I'm 28 years-old, and, amazingly enough, this is my first grandparent to die. There's a lot going through my head, my heart, my gut. Most of it is pretty hard to put into words.
I must've been eight or nine (can't remember if it was 3rd or 4th grade) when I got Optimus Prime in a package from Grandma. It wasn't my birthday or any special occasion. It was just a present from Grandma.
I remember being short of breath, which scared me. My mom said it was because I was so excited. Hell yeah. It was about the sweetest present a nine year-old kid could ask for. I mean, Optimus Prime is a pretty bad-ass robot, but then you got his trailer, which transforms into this command center. And then there's this little car named Roller which slingshots outta there. I always liked that little dude. The Roller in the pic is silver, but mine was blue.
Optimus Prime's arm fell off a couple years later and I lost the trailer and Roller along the way, but I'm pretty sure I still have old Optimus in a box of old, broken Transformers somewhere.
Anyway, so, that's happening now.

And Raznor wanted me to give you my playlist of ten random songs from my Media Player, so here they are:
1) Try Some Buy Some - George Harrison from Living in the Material World. David Bowie covered it in his most recent album.
2) Walk on the Wild Side - Lou Reed from Transformer (no relation to Optimus), an album, interestingly enough, produced by Bowie.
3) Sunday Morning - Lou Reed again, from Animal Serenade, his most recent live album, recorded at the Wiltern in Los Angeles June 23, 2003, a show I was fortunate enough to be at.
4) I'd Have You Anytime - George Harrison from All Things Must Pass, the first song on his transcendent first solo album, co-written by Bob Dylan. I swear I have other music, but such is the magic of the Media Player "shuffle".
5) How Do You? - Radiohead from Pablo Honey. A pretty rockin' song on the album best known for "Creep".
6) Llama - Phish from A Picture of Nectar. The rip-roarin' opening song from this interesting 1992 album. One of the first Phish songs I ever heard. The lyrics are completely baffling, but it's a great song. "Taboot!"
7) 20th Centure Man - Ray Davies from The Storyteller, a live cover from the Kinks' classic 1971 opus Muswell Hillbillies. I actually got to see Ray in concert in October '01. That and Dylan are probably the best two concerts I've been to.
8) She's Leaving Home - The Beatles from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. A bittersweet story of youthful emancipation. Sgt. Pepper was the first Beatles album I ever listened to. My parents had it on cassette right about when I got my driver's license in '93. For months, I listened that album every time I got behind the wheel.
9) Cry Baby Cry - The Beatles, again, from The White Album. This one's all John. The quote next to this song in The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics reads: "'It's all over now. It's the end, in a way, isn't it?' - Dianne Robbins, aged 15, of London on the day Paul was married." Lotta babies cried that day.
10) Have a Cigar - Pink Floyd, from Wish You Were Here. Floyd's masterpiece album, this track's a cynical meditation on showbiz. Love the line, "By the way, which one's Pink?"
Hasta luego.

Raznor still up for most humorous post
Posted by Raznor

For this gem. Go, vote!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Today's Super-fun Picture of the Day:
Billy West!
Posted by Ross

The voice of our generation? Posted by Hello

So, amazingly enough, until today, when I stumbled upon his website (http://www.billywest.com/), I didn't even know what Billy West looked like.
For anyone who likes cartoons, Billy West is a god. Of course, he's Fry from Futurama... not to mention Zoidberg, Farnsworth and Zapp Branigan.
These days, it's hard to find a cartoon in which he's not doing a voice.
Some of his other well-known credits:
The original Invader Zim (just for the pilot).
He's been both Ren AND Stimpy.
He was Doug Funnie when the show was on Nick, but not when it moved to ABC.
The Honey Nut Cheerios Bee.
And you thought I'd have something intelligent to write about the State of the Union Address....

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Today's Pic of the Day
Woodward and Bernstein
Posted by Ross

Bruce McCulloch and Will Ferrell as the famed journalists in 1999's "Dick" Posted by Hello

The State of the Union's only hours away. Is Bush's Watergate far behind? Just something to think about...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Where there's a Pic, There's a Day
The Other "Return of the King"
Posted by Ross

Rabbi Aragorn's in a hurry. Must be late for a bris or something... Posted by Hello

There was a time, boys and girls, when Return of the King wasn't 2004's Oscar-winner for best picture. This was a time when Return of the King existed on celluloid only as an exceedingly crappy 1980 animated film, directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr., the same duo that brought us 1977's The Hobbit, a much more fitting template for their animation style (and to their credit, Bass and Rankin also directed the brilliant 1982 feature The Last Unicorn).
Bass and Rankin's version of King is nothing short of baffling. It picks up, I don't know, 150 or 200 pages past where Ralph Bakshi's 1978 The Lord of the Rings left off. (Bakshi made it a good portion into The Two Towers before he ran out of steam and never finished it.)
A lot of characters are missing from the OK (that's slang for Original King; cool, huh?), like Legolas and Gimli and Eomer; and Aragorn, for some reason, looks like a Rabbi. And hey, I like Casey Kasem as much as the next guy, but it's pretty disconcerting hearing Shaggy's voice on Merry Brandybuck.
Thankfully, the OK makes up for all of its short-comings with toe-tapping musical numbers like "Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom", and the absolute show-stopper, "Where There's a Whip There's a Way."
It's like, there's Frodo and Sam, in Mordor, on their quest to destroy the Ring, and you're like, this is pretty cool and all, but what I really need is a musical number. Fear not, for this is the precise moment when a battalion of Orcs marches through, singing in beautiful falsetto and tenor, some extraordinarily moving lyrics, written by Bass, which go something like this:

Where there's a whip, there's a way.
Where there's a whip, there's a way.
We don't wanna go to war today,
But the lord of the lash says nay, nay, nay!
We're gonna march all day, all day, all day,
Cause where there's a whip, there's a way.
Where there's a whip, there's a way.

Where there's a whip, there's a way.
Where there's a whip, there's a way.
Left, right, left, right, left
Where there's a whip, there's a way.
Left, right
A crack on the back says we're gonna fight.

We're gonna march all day and night
And more, for we are the slaves of the Dark Lord's war.
Left, right, left, right, left,

Where there's a whip, there's a way.
Where there's a whip, there's a way.
We don't wanna go to war today,
But the lord of the lash says nay, nay, nay!
We're gonna march all day, all day, all day,
Cause where there's a whip, there's a way.
Left, right, left, right, left, right
Left, right, left, right, left, right
Left, right, left, right, left, right
Left, right, left, right, left, right
Left, right, left, right, left, right

Peter Jackson had an homage to Bakshi's LOTR in Fellowship of the Rings. Such a shame he couldn't do the same for the OK by filming "Where There's a Whip There's a Way".