Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Thursday, March 31, 2005


Posted by the bekka

So, I've been moving a little slowly in recent mornings, which means that after I listen to the 9am NPR news update on KCRW (http://www.kcrw.org), I switch over to KPCC (http://www.kpcc.org) for "Democracy Now" (http://democracynow.org) until I get to work. I've learned the following disturbing things about Iraq recently:

1) Remember how American troops shot at a vehicle containing Italian reporter Juliana Sgrena, recently released from her capture by Iraqui insurgents, and killed Italian government hostage negotiator and secret service agent Nicola Calipari? Remember how official news reports said they were driving along the secured road to the airport at excessive speeds and were warned to stop before they were opened fire upon at a checkpoint station?

Yeah. Turns out that NONE, I repeat NONE of the official U.S. incident report is true. Sgrena says that they were driving down a road that is unknown and inaccessable to anyone except for the American military - it used to be a secret road that Saddam Hussein used to get from the airport to his palace. NO Iraquis can gain access to this area, and the road has NO checkpoints. They were driving along at a normal speed when a tank parked on the side of the road shot 4-inch diameter shells at them...from behind! That's right. The tank waited until they had passed and then fired into the back seat: the only uninjured passenger was the driver. And now the US Government won't release the car for inspection. It's another JFK, "she said, THEY said" situation. Scary.

2) Everyone remembers seeing pictures of American troops tearing down Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad back on April 9, 2003. What relatively few people know is that the day before that, US troops opened fired on the Palestine Hotel, located across the square containing Hussein's statue, which at the time was housing over 100 international reporters, some American.

The following (which I'd like to entitle, "Can you say d'oh?" comes from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/media/media_watch/july-dec03/palestinehotel_08-13-03.html

"The tank round killed Taras Protsyuk, a 35-year-old Ukrainian cameraman for Reuters, and José Couso, a 37-year-old Spanish cameraman working for the television network Telecinco. The journalists had been filming the fighting from the hotel balconies, witnesses reported. Three other Reuters cameramen were wounded from the blast.

"The enemy had repeatedly chosen to conduct its combat activities from throughout the civilian areas of Baghdad," and utilized "the Palestine Hotel and the areas immediately around it as a platform for military operations," the military's statement said. Soldiers saw what they believed to be an enemy observer and sniper on an upper-story balcony of the 18-story building, and "they also witnessed flashes of light, consistent with enemy fire, coming from the same general location as the building," according to the Central Command statement.

The soldiers then fired a single tank round at the building, and only later learned the building was actually the Palestine Hotel and served as the home base for many correspondents covering the war.
U.S. Central Command concluded that the "activities on the balcony of the Palestine Hotel were consistent with that of an enemy combatant" and therefore U.S. forces acted in "self-defense." "Baghdad was a high intensity combat area and some journalists had elected to remain there despite repeated warnings of the extreme danger of doing so," according to a summary of the military's report."

3) Last but not least, the "Boy, should've seen that one coming" award goes to U.S. Intelligence officials for this gem. The secret source who provided much of the information about Saddam Hussein's WMD's (now deemed to be "dead wrong") and who was never interviewed in person by the FBI or CIA was nicknamed (get this) Curveball.

I love America: it's so great to live in a country that's never wrong!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

To be fair . . .
Posted by Raznor

So, as you gather from Ross's last post, he wrote the script for a movie that turned out to suck balls. It wasn't the first time, and it won't be the last time. But to his credit, for Wild Things 3 there were, shall we say, extenuating circumstances.

Let me set the stage. So I've graduated from college, and I'm heading south to LA, to spend a few days in Ross's apartment before the two of us fly off to Europe for a kick ass, 5-week Europe trip.

I arrive on Thursday, on Monday afternoon, we fly from LAX to Amsterdam. Perfect, right, a few days to relax and finish up packing. Or is it . . .

'Cos Ross wasn't spending that time packing. [Update: Ross requested I remove what I originally wrote in this paragraph, and I respect his wishes. Suffice to say, he was called in and spent the majority of the weekend preceding our trip on rewrites. As a friend of ours who works as a location manager said, "If you want work in this town, get a plane ticket."]

So, yeah, Wild Things 3 turned out to suck. But hey, what do you expect.

And while we're at it, let's just agree to pretend that Alien Lockdown and Marines were just never made, hm?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Ross' minute-by-minute diary, as he watches one of his own HORRIBLE CREATIONS:


Posted by Ross

It's time. I am about to undertake the loathsome task of actually having to consume the crap I help make.

Hell, Ain't it cool news got to trash it, and they didn't even get a writing credit...

Alright, here I am, got my Trader Joe's microwave turkey meatballs and some cold chocolate soy milk. Let's rock-n-roll.

Not much subtlety...

That ankle bracelet looks stupid.

It's so sleazy.

Kick me in the nuts and call me a hack if you must, but I tried to write a good movie.

There's the Cubans again. We wanted to make 'em Japanese business men because Andy had a joke where Mr. Nakatomi yells at his side-kick Mr. Cato "Not now Cato!" like in the Pink Panther movies. Anyway, we couldn't have Japanese as villains because representatives of the studio, Sony, didn't want to offend the corporate mothership. So we went back with Cubans, because there was a red herring bad guy in "Wild Things 2" named Cicatriz who was Cuban mafia. It's like we have a vendetta against them. I mean, why didn't anybody think that making Cuban mafiosos the bad guy twice might suggest a slight bias against the good people at the Cuban mafia. And they are good people, I love them, one and all.

It's so sleazy!

This pool, ugh! Must fast-forward. They're making that poor girl act while her tits are showing through her wet T-shirt. Jesus masturbating Christ, if you're gonna make porn, MAKE PORN.

Yeah! Detective Morrison, finally. I asked the writer's guild if we could get a character royalty for Detective Morrison, ably played by Lindon Ashby, with his movie-star good looks and B-list resume (hey buddy, we've all been/are still there). Anyway, we thought because there was character carryover from the second to the third, that we'd cleverly secured ourself some extra compensation. As it turns out, since Wild Things 2 was not an original piece of work, but an adaptation (as are all sequels, which is why Richard Linklater got nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Before Sunset), and so no character royalty payments.

Thank God for Morrison, because the way things are going, his scenes might be the only ones I won't have to fast forward through.

Here in the police station, it actually looks like a real movie, or at least a real TV show like CSI or something.

I HATE THAT. Among all the other generic, warmed-over, done-to-death mechanisms in this story, we had to rehash the rape plot.

We did come up with other ideas, but the only way we could get the job was to write a detailed treatment. And, at some point, you just want the job, and if the only "idea" they're agreeing to is to rehash the rape plot, man, at some point, it just ain't my film.

She's a minor. I'm pretty sure she doesn't have to face the man she's accusing.

This is irritating, because I consulted my mom, an attorney, on all the legal parts of this film, and there was a point when my mom approved the legal stuff in the screenplay. That was before the all-knowing execs got involved.

The court scene is so unrealistic. GOD! OH I HATE THIS! Must fast forward.

Feeling very disconnected to the material.

Am turning off TV. Will I ever watch this movie again?

Sorry, America.

But you know what, I'm still framing the fucking poster and hanging it on my wall, because, know what? I got my name on a movie poster and you don't.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

That Wacky NBA
Posted by Ross

Imagine a baseball season where the New York Yankees are languishing 5 games below .500, where the Boston Red Sox fans have been saying "wait til next year" midway through May, and where the haplesss Devil Rays are the class of the division.

Okay, so that scenario will likely not be played out this baseball season, but a similar one is playing out in the wild NBA this season.

I'm an Oregonian, and have been a Trail Blazers fan as long as I've been a basketball fan. Watched those great Clyde Drexler-led, Adelman-coached Blazers teams of the early 90s make the finals twice. Then, later on, watched the Dunleavy-coached, Rasheed Wallace-led Blazers push the mighty Lakers to the fourth quarter of a game 7 conference finals, before LA went on to beat the Pacers in the first of their "three-peat."

Until last season, the Blazers had had an NBA-record run of 22 consecutive playtoff seasons snapped when they finished with a 41-41 record, in ninth place. Hell, this season, we WISH the Blazers were that good. Right now they're 24-44, with the only thing Blazers fans can be hopeful for is a high lottery pick that yields a dominant center.

Living in LA, I've not forsaken the Blazers as my favorite team, but I've definitely grown to love the Lakers. It wasn't too hard with the Shaq quotables and Zen-master Phil Jackson at the helm, with Malone and Payton, and even troubled Kobe leading the charge last season.

There was a point this season when the Lakers, led by Kobe, the only Laker star left standing after they were stunned by the Pistons in last year's finals, looked like they were a lock for one of the four bottom playoff spots in the Western Conference.

What a difference a seven-game losing streak makes. Now the Lakers find themselves with an abysmal 32-36 record, in tenth place in the division, six-games back of eight seed Denver, and 3 games back of 9th place Minnesota.

Did somebody say "9th place Minnesota"? Believe it or not, former powerhouse Minnesota has been sucking some serious balls this season, even with MVP Kevin Garnett having his usual stellar season. And these guys don't even have the excuse of having lost Shaq.

But going back to the Lakers' monumental collapse. This is reminiscent of what happened to the Jordan-Pippen-Jackson-led Bulls after they won their sixth championship in eight years, in which, great as they were, with no signs of dropping off (should personel stay in place), they just got dismantled. Almost as if the owners, players and coaching staff all reached this silent agreement (with the fans outta the loop, of course) in which they would all move on.

In the 90s, there was much symmetry in the NBA. The Pistons won their second championship in as many years over the Blazers. Then the Bulls went on to win three straight. Jordan retired just when Hakeem Olajuwon was the best player in the world, leading the Rockets to two straight championships. Jordon comes back, leads the Bulls to another three-peat. Then he retires, the Bulls break up and drop like an anvil, while the Spurs emerge as champs in the strike-shortened '99 season. Then it's three-straight for the Lakers, bookeneded, a year later by the Spurs. Then the Pistons.

It's been like a book, and, perhaps, with the Pistons winning their third championship to end this cycle, it's time for a new book to be written.

First of all, don't look now, but the Eastern Conference, finally proving it's no slouch with the Pistons' trouncing of my Lakers last June, sees Shaq's new team the Miami Heat with the league's second-best record.

Also, those zany Washington Wizards, the team that not even the great Michael Jordan himself could bring back to playoff life, is the number three seed (yes, they are only seven games over .500, but it's still quite an accomplishment).

Also, you gotta be interested in the Celtics (4th seed and rising), who've gotten Antoine Walker back in the trading deadline's shrewdest transaction.

Last season, as the Lakers were voluntarily dismantling itself, they traded a very unhappy Gary Payton to the Celtics. GP was furious, feeling disrespected after signing, just a year prior, a contract well-below his worth to play PG for Phil Jackson, to play alongside Shaq and Kobe and Malone, to win that championship that had been denied him while with Seattle, when Jackson and Jordan beat the crap outta the Sonics in the '96 NBA finals.

But Celtics' coach Doc Rivers, a great PG in his day, implored Payton to stay with the Celtics. And then, before the trade deadline, the Celtics traded GP and others to the Hawks for Walker and others. GP refused to report to the lowly Hawks (a league-worse 11-58... ouch!), his contract was nullified, and he re-signed with the Celtics.

So, like Shaq, GP definitely gets the last laugh on the Lakers.

So the NBA east, though still boasting heavyweights like Miami and Detroit, is still the weaker conference in all, with its current number eight seed Philadelphia at .500, as opposed to the West, where their number eight seed Denver (re-animated and lethal once more after George Karl took the helm) is at .559.

In the West, it's been a competitive free-for-all for years, where you may have a .600 winning percentage, and still be a six or seven seed. This year, the six seed, Sacramento, has a .606 winning percentage.

But kicking some serious ass this season is number one seed Phoenix, resurgent after missing the playoffs last season, with former Suns draft pick Steve Nash back from Dallas at the point, and emerging, and undersized, superstars Shawn Marion at power forward, and Amare Stoudamire, at 6'10", plugging the middle.

Also, Seattle has somehow continued to win. The Sonics are the three seed in the west, .706, in spite of a roster that, though balanced and fast and talented and built in the image of its coach Nate McMillan, doesn't boast the same kind of star power as Phoenix.

Yes, it's a new world. Remember perennial playoff contender Utah? No Stockton, no Malone, and they're in second-to-last place, .319. Remember perennial playoff contender New Orleans (once the Charlotte Hornets)? They moved to the western conference this season, and, now they're even worse than Utah, last place, .232.

Remember the woeful Vancouver Grizzlies, that miserable franchise that signed Big Country Reeves to a tragically fat contract that seemed more indicative of the center's girth than his quickly declining skills. Well, they moved to Memphis, and now they're about to make their second consecutive (and second overall) playoff berth, as the number seven seed out west.

I could keep going, but Raznor ain't payin' for this revolutionary sports analysis, so I can just up and stop writing at any

Thursday, March 24, 2005

posted by the bekka

And boy, can she cook! Posted by Hello

So, I'm a fiddler, and I'm always looking for paraphenalia on Ebay. When I came across this pic, I had to post it. This model doesn't have the slightest clue how to hold a violin (I don't know if a non-violinist can tell that, but just looking at how she's holding her right hand makes me wince). Most people who sell musical instruments on Ebay are content with simply displaying a picture of said instrument. But this seller must have thought, "sex appeal - that sells!" And he got the hottest Russian mail-order bride he could find to pose with his instrument.

However, if that's the case, wouldn't you want to make "Alma" (which is apparently her name) look as hot as possible? Or at least use a picture where she's not in mid-blink? And a background that doesn't look like the inside of a bomb shelter?

Okay, maybe I'm being nit-picky. This guy is trying his best, and I shouldn't make fun of that.

But then why does it feel so good?

(Suddenly interested in learning to play the hot chick...er...I mean...violin?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Great Grandstanding
Posted by Ross

So I get this e-mail from MoveOnPac, whatever that is, I guess what moveon.org used to be. It's Eli Pariser's thing. I never really read anything more than the headline. And so, in that tradition, I'm only going to comment on the headline of that e-mail.

It reads:

"Tell Congress to stop grandstanding on the Schiavo tragedy"

Yeah, I get it. Republican congressmen are douchebag opportunists who are seizing on the one last bastian of the right. Because that's what mobilizes the "base." You know, that "base" that makes up like 30% of the country.

The only reason, in my profound ignorance, I even spew out a statistic like 30% is because in Robert Sheer's column in the LA Times yesterday, he cited a stat that said 70% of those polled disapprove of what Congress, and subsequently old El Presidente himself, are doing by inserting their ideology on a family tragedy that has been handled perfectly well by the courts.

Which, of course, pisses off the Pat Robertsons of the world. Because, didn't ya know, Pat Robertson hates the judicial branch of our government. And this is coming down to a show-down with the executive and legislative on one side, and the judicial on the other.

Don't you think it's just the slightest bit heartening that the old fail-safe "checks and balances" is working pretty darn well?

Let the Congress grandstand. They're the Congress for fuck's sake, that's what they do!

And let them lose. Let all those mean, nasty bastards who have been dumping toxins into the ground, and sending us off to war, and creating propoganda-disguised-as-news, let them lose one for a change. Let them really see what happens when you latch onto a "base" that's about 100 years out-of-step with the rest of planet earth.

Fuck the Schindlers
Posted by Raznor

I mostly agree with everything August writes here, except one thing. I've never had any symapthy for Terri Schiavo's parents. They've made every attempt to lie, and slander their daughter's husband. Hiring Randall Terry hardly comes as a shock.


Posted by the bekka

Okay, so I know you want to do more to speak out about the Schiavo fiasco. Visit this link to petition Congress to stop wasting time on this case and move on to the real issues facing Americans:


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

In Honor of Raznor's News Moratorium:

. . . Raging 'roids . . . Record Books . . . Terrified Umps . . . Wise-man DePodesta . . .

Posted by Ross

Has this not been the most bizarre pre-season in baseball? I felt like I was watching the McCarthy hearings in bizarro world. Like anyone's ever going to mistake Mark McGwire for Dalton Trumbo.

And it's like we have to subscribe to this bullshit shroud of mystery around Barry Bonds. The strangest thing about it is, there's still this part of me that really wishes he'd never pumped the 'roids, because Bonds is one of those superstars for the ages, and wouldn't it be beautiful to keep him pure forever.

There's murmurs about taking all these guys out of the record books, you know, like the Olympic committee does if it finds its athletes have been cheating. But baseball doesn't work that way, and, if you think about it, that's kind of a beautiful thing.

Historically, this will be known - as a certain pariah puts it - as the era of Rampant 'Roids and Smash Hits.

Just like we look at certain eras of baseball history as dead-ball eras (in the late sixties, when pitchers like Denny McClain and Bob Gibson dominated, when, in '68, Carl Yastrzemski led the league with a .301 batting average, first, baseball officials lowered the pitcher's mound, then, a few years later, introduced the designated hitter), live ball eras (Hack Wilson and his 190 RBIs in 1930), eras in which no one gave a rat's ass about the long ball (back in 1909, Ty Cobb let the league with 9 home runs), or that early baseball era when umpires would fear for their lives against the drunken, infuriated fans, so too will we look at this era and muse, so that's how they played the game back then.

But I think we can all be certain there's a lot more fun to be had with steroids this season. Which is why you have to again admire Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta, who's made a conscienscious effort not to have any players who might get caught up in scandal this season. Not Shawn Green of course (a good Jewish boy who won't play on Yom Kippur injecting HGH in the tuchus? Now that's scandal!). But Adrian Beltre? He did go from 23 homers in '03 to 48 in '04. Last season, we all said he was merely, finally, living up to his potential. But the other thing we were saying last season is that Beltre would never leave LA, that he loved living here and the Dodgers would have to fuck up worse than Rumsfeld if they failed to ink him to a long-term deal.

But the Dodgers never really even negotiated with him, and he signed with the Mariners.

Beltre is also a Scott Boras client, and Boras and the Dodgers, at least under previous administrations, don't have the loveliest of track records.

Still, the question remains, why did Paul DePodesta, maybe the smartest guy in all of baseball, with the elastic payroll flexibility of the Dodgers, not even make a good-faith attempt to re-sign their MVP?

Did he know something we didn't?


Posted by the bekka

I find it horrifyingly ironic that scads of U.S. citizens, lobbyists and legislators have all jumped into a frenzy of action in order to save a woman who has had no meaningful brain activity for 1 1/2 decades from starving to death when over 24,000 people die of starvation worldwide every single day.

Imagine if we could get as worked up about something that wasn't about the pro-life agenda.

Want to do something about it now?
http://www.thehungersite.com - click each day to feed the world's hungry!

Taking a break from the news
Posted by Raznor

Last night's Daily Show coverage of the Terry Schiavo case, although hilarious, has left me pissed off. Especially the moment of Zen, where we see Tom "I am above God" DeLay ruthlessly smearing a private citizen. And Bush, who couldn't leave his fucking Crawford ranch for a tsunami, leaves to force this woman to continue her painful existence.

Oh, and I have to disagree with my brother on this one. The only similarity this has to the pro-life argument is it's ignoring all science in order to intrude on yet another woman's body.

In any case, I'm spent. I can't spent another minute reading this stuff before going into outrage overload. So I'll take the day off, play some Warcraft III, and relax.

If you want to read about the whole Terri Schiavo thing, I recommend heading over to Alas, A Blog start from the top and read all the way to the bottom. Or vice versa, if you dig chronological order.

Monday, March 21, 2005

"Citizen Ruth" redux

Posted by Ross

I feel like I'm pointing a high-powered telescope into a personal, painful family drama that may make good TV, but, no matter how you crack the egg, is none of my damn business.

I speak, of course, of USA's most famous vegetable Terri Schiavo.

You know how when you're in an argument, you're rarely arguing about what you think you're arguing about. In this case, the argument over poor Terri Schiavo has more to the debate of whether living biological tissue is sacred, which has much more bearing on the abortion debate, which, until there's a new way of looking at it, is never going to be satisfactorily resolved.

I'm sickened by all sides of this ridiculous issue. Because at the heart is a tragically fragmented family that had to resort to the courts to solve their heartbreaking dispute. And the rest of us, it's about drawing the lines of where we stand on the abortion issue and then hoping our side wins.

As for me, when it comes to picking sides and then hunkering down, I'll do it with baseball.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

. . . Baseball . . . Phillips for Ishii . . . Cold-hearted Moneyball GMS . . . Is LA the next Boston?

Posted by Ross

So the Dodgers pulled the plug and got themselves a catcher they can insert right into the starting lineup, when they dealt erratic lefty Kaz Ishii to the Mets for Jason Phillips.

General Manager Paul DePodesta is basing this decision on a myriad of criteria, the first of which is that David Ross and Paul Bako, the righty-lefty combo he had hoped would pull its weight with the stick, have been as lackluster in the spring as they were last season.

Bako's poor offense surprises no one. From DePodesta's standpoint, he's an experienced veteran who knows how to field his position, and also a valuable asset late in games as a left-handed pinch-hitter.

It's really Ross who's the disappointment. At 28, when he's supposedly approaching his prime, he looks back on a season in which he's hit .170-5-15-.544 ops.

DePodesta was still hoping Ross would make the cut out of spring training, live up to the promise he showed in the second half of 2003, when he would start on Paul Lo Duca's off nights, or even push him to left field. That's because that summer Ross hit .258-10-18-.892 in 124 at-bats.

Now, after 15 at-bats this spring, in which Ross is hitless, he's essentially been supplanted by Phillips, and looking more and more the odd man out.

You'd think one reason the once-promising catcher has been hung out to dry has something to do with the fact that, in his good season, Ross walked only 13 times. Last season, in which he had 41 more at-bats, Ross walked only 15 times.

They must be feeling the aftershocks in Oakland for that ugly stat.

Without having immediate access to Phillips' minor league stats, it seems pretty clear, like he had Ross at the beginning of the Spring, DePodesta is banking on the promise Phillips showed in the 2003 season, as opposed to 2004.

That's because in '03, Phillips hit .298-11-58-.815 in 403 abs, and in '04 dropped to .218-7-34-.624 in 362 abs. Though even taking his '04 stats into consideration, I think it could be said Phillips walks at a rate closer to Lo Duca than Ross.

Phillips has been leading the Mets at .550 (11-for-20) this spring. And he's about $3 million cheaper than the frustrating Ishii, who, for some reason won 13 games last season despite striking out only one more soul than his 98 walks, and posting a 4.71 ERA.

As a Dodgers fan, I see a lot of pain, in particular from my cousin Barry who really misses Beltre, because of DePodesta's sometimes cold-hearted approach to such an emotional game. I guess I find the whole enterprise a little more exciting. DePodesta, like Boston's Theo Epstein before him, is a disciple of Billy Beane's Moneyball approach with the Oakland A's, where, in spite of a payroll of what, this season will be about a fifth of the Yankees', they put a playoff contender on the field year after year.

That's because Beane can't afford to waste money the way the big teams do, and, therefore, strives to get the most value out of his spending dollar.

Imagine someone like DePodesta using that philosophy on a team with the big-market payoll flexibility of the Dodgers. Oh, wait, I thought of someone: Theo Epstein. I think it's safe to say the Red Sox have so far done right by him.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Friday's Overdue Random 10
Posted by Ross

Lauren needs her love for inventing the Random 10, so, Lauren, we loves ya!

And now for the main event:

1) Sparks - The Who, from "Tommy"
2) (She Was a) Hotel Detective - They Might Be Giants, from their compilation double album "Dial-a-Song"
3) Happy Xmas (War is Over) - John Lennon, from "The John Lennon Collection"
4) Catch Me Daddy - Janis Joplin, from the "Janis" box set
5) Sunken Treasure - Wilco, from "Being There"
6) Never Get Old - David Bowie, the kick-ass track from his newest, "Reality"
7) You Got It - Roy Orbison, from "Mystery Girl"
8) A Place in the Sun - Stevie Wonder, from his box set "At the Close of a Century"
9) My Generation - The Who, from "My Generation"
10) Death of a Clown - The Kinks, from "Something Else"

Whew, that kicked some serious ASS!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Alaska, Wolfowitz, Dean and Tyler Durden
Posted by Ross

I just find it so amazing that those greedy bastards are still doing everything they can to get their paws on the great Alaskan wilderness. Jesus, aren't the rivers and streams and skies of our part of the continent good enough? We don't even live there!

And I just love how they keep asserting how they're certain the wilderness won't be harmed in the least once they start drilling for fucking oil. Not in the least. I mean, certainly, in the past, the oil industry has used only the most painstaking scalpel-like care when it would come into contact with the delicate Alaskan wilderness. And let's not forget the stabilizing hand big oil plays elsewhere around the globe. You know what, I trust them.

I'm a guy, right, and because of that, when I watch TV, I'm constantly opening and closing the battery case of the remote control. Now, your average remote only has so many openings and closings - we'll say 170,000 - before it opens and closes no more and the plastic finally breaks off. And we know when we're getting close to that point, because, all of a sudden, when we turn the remote right-side-up, the battery case no longer stays in place and you need to tape it up to keep it from getting lost between the couch cushions.

Anyway, that's a metaphor, or something, to what seems to be happening to the environment. We let big industry rape it within an inch of its life and then we put on the bandaid.

It's funny, because just a couple weeks ago, I was actually, tentatively, thinking, maybe our president has come to his senses, you know with signs pointing to trends that there may be a movement in a direction other than negative in the middle east, and then I wake up one day and say to myself, so that's what they meant about 'starving the beast.'

All of a sudden, I find myself wondering, will Paul Wolfowitz (Paul-fucking-Wolfowitz!) actually do a good job at the world bank?

We live in such a moralistic, crime-and-punishment society, where a person must be crucified for his sins. You know, on one end of the spectrum, you might have an ex-con finding it next-to-impossible to earn an honest living even if he's completely rehabilitated or whatever.

And it works in the other direction too. Like Wolfowitz, right, a neo-con fuckbag, yes, but he also happens to be a pretty brilliant dude. Maybe the World Bank is a place in this world where a brilliant neo-con fuckbag can actually do something positive. I mean, at least you gotta reserve some hope, right?

I was saying, right before the election, I'm changing my party affiliation from Democrat to Independent, no matter who wins. Of course, I was hoping Kerry would win. Anyway, he didn't, and so far, I haven't changed my party affiliation.

So many of those pundits, even the sensible ones on NPR, continue to bash Howard Dean, that he's some, I don't know, cancer or something, because he's so extreme or something. No need to get into that ridiculous assertion. The point is, right before the primaries last year, when I started paying attention to the candidates, and listening to debates, I liked Dean. And I still haven't had any convincing evidence to make me dislike him now. And so I guess I'll remain an impatient Democrat a while longer.

Because the Democrats really try their best, you know, to push progressive social agendas, and they're not as huge of pussies when it comes to the foreign policy as they're painted to be. But then you always have these slimy, oozy, dirty, filthy, disgusting discrepencies, like Joseph Biden's stern support of the credit card company BASTARDS just because he's from Deleware. Remember that last scene in "Fight Club," with the Pixies and exploding buildings? That was beautiful on so many levels.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

And now a happier note
Posted by Raznor

If you clicked the link to Amanda in that last post, you'll notice that instead of linking to Mouse Words, the link was to Pandagon. This is because Amanda is now the official coblogger at Pandagon. Read her introduction here.

I'm pleased with this. Amanda is one of my favorite bloggers, and Pandagon one of my favorite blogs. Plus Amanda and Jesse are perhaps the two greatest fiskers the internet has to offer, and now they're at one convenient location. As the kids say, wOOt.

Good news for rapists!
Posted by Raznor

Via Amanda who got it from Lauren, this is just infuriating:

A 16 year old girl was drunk at a party and gang raped while she was unconscious. This was all on videotape, yet a man who participated in it was acquitted by a jury.

But what's really horrible is how the man got off, as Lauren put it:

“Criminal sexual assault is when it occurs against your will,” he [the defense attorney] said. I also saw on a TV news segment that this attorney asked the young woman if she “consented to going to the party and if she consented to getting drunk.” Where the fuck does the fury start? What the hell does it matter if she consented to attending a party? Did the front door have a sign on it like at an amusement park: All who enter cannot sue for personal injury. What the fuck?

Now, I know that defense attorney's jobs is to use anything they can within the law to help their clients get off. But asking the girl if she consented to going to the party is really beneath contempt. It's a defense that works only if the victim is a raped woman. If someone lets a friend in their home, and the friend stabs them, you wouldn't say, "Did you consent to letting your friend into your house," and expect it to exonerate the stabber.

I mean really. There almost seems like there's some snarky joke I could make there, but right now, I'm just far too pissed off.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Perfect Plan
Posted by Raznor

Quiddity has developed an ingenious compromise on the whole Evolution vs Creationism debate. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Left and Center
Posted by Raznor

No- this isn't a post about baseball . . .

Jesse Taylor writes a great dialogue between Centrists and Liberals. My favorite is the Center's view on compromise:

Centrist: We go out and bitch uncontrollably about the left, then propose something that looks a lot like watered-down conservatism. We then walk into a room with Republicans, lay our plan on the table, and assume they're laughing with us rather than at us. If worse comes to worse, we just start insulting you again.

Read the rest.

A Couple of Thoughts From the Prodigal Blogger
Posted by Ross

So it's been a while since last I posted. Both grandmas died last month, which was hard and just pretty much sucked. And then I was up in Flagstaff participating in this Authors in School thing that was set up by my high school creative writing teacher, you know, because I'm a writer and all. I'm looking forward to getting back into my routine and hoping all the seniors still in my life stick around for a little while longer.

Anyway, so in light of anything topical to say, here's a couple of thoughts I had recently that I wrote in my journal:

- Our parents soothe us and make us feel safe when we're children. But what soothes us and makes us feel safe when we're adults? God, government and goods.

- The reason the quality of entertainment is so bad is because of the vast sampling of our population that's emotionally crippled.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Friday is Europe Picture Day
Posted by Raznor

On our second day in Paris, Ross, the Bekka, and I took a walk to the Louvre. On the way there, I saw the Eiffel Tower against the overcast sky and knew it had to be a picture. This is currently my desktop wallpaper.

Friday Random Ten
Posted by Raznor

Well, you know the rules, and it's all maintained by Lauren, so here we go.

1.) "Trogdor" - Strong Bad
2.) "Bob Barker" - Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and Jack Black
3.) "Alphabet Town" - Elliott Smith
4.) "After Midnight" - Eric Clapton
5.) A song with an untranslatable title from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack (now that's something, isn't it?)
6.) "Grey Street" - Dave Matthews Band (aka the most depressing Dave Matthews song ever)
7.) "The Part You Throw Away" - Tom Waits (seriously, what random 10 would be complete without some Tom Waits? None I tells you)
8.) "Plug In Baby" - Muse
9.) "Mojo Pin" - Jeff Buckley
10.) "Old Girlfriends" - John Wesley Harding (A singer I heard of thanks to the High Fidelity soundtrack)

And there you go. Another successful week, I'll say. I especially like how the first two turned out to be comedy pieces.

Posted by Raznor

Your Brain is 53.33% Female, 46.67% Male

Your brain is a healthy mix of male and female

You are both sensitive and savvy

Rational and reasonable, you tend to keep level headed

But you also tend to wear your heart on your sleeve

Via feministe.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

What else would I do?
Posted by the Bekka

From an actual pre-recorded phone menu:

"To end this call at any time, please hang up."

I'll beg your question
Posted by Raznor

As a mathematician, I am often annoyed by common misconceptions of mathematical concepts. For example, in recent comments over at Alas Darly told me:

Also, to get from generation 1 to generation 1000 you have to go through generation 456.
If you cannot understand that you could not have understood Cauchy Mean Value theorem in Mathematics either. Shame on you, a grad student in Mathematics.

Besides the fact that his (her?) amazing grasp of mathematical biology extends to Freshmen year calculus, this is a complete misuse of the Mean Value Theorem (or as we math-dudes are wont to call it, the MVT) as the MVT deals with continuous functions over compact sets, generational indexing is discrete (we don't have generation 9.235 for example).

My point in all this is that I can fully understand why philosophers or students of philosophy are annoyed by technical misuse of the phrase "begging the question". But as John Holbo explains, this is really just your standard case of technical usage not meshing well with colloquial usage.

here's a language nit: "The denser linking pattern of conservatives begged the question of whether the conservative bloggers had a more uniform voice than the liberal ones did." Philosophers are always bothered by this usage. We prefer to reserve 'beg the question' for venerable 'presuppose your conclusion'. But there is considerable pressure in favor of the shift. Not only is it clear how the phrase could mean what these authors mean by it, but 'x demands that we ask y' is just plain something you often want to say. And 'begs the question' is really better than 'x demands that we ask y'. "The denser linking pattern of conservatives demands that we ask whether the conservative bloggers had a more uniform voice than the liberal ones did." That makes it sound like I'm too worked up, like our little puzzle has just gotta vault to the front of the line. But why doesn't 'begging' sound irrelevantly fawning? Probably because logicians have pawed all the connotations off it. Now that it's worn smooth and servicable, all these folks want to take it from us, damnit. Should I give in? Worry about something important? What do you think?

I think this is a time where logicians need to suck it up and let the layperson use this phrase as he or she sees fit. I personally never use the term "begs the question" to mean "presupposes the condition". Why? Because we already have an entirely valid expression that means just that, which most people recognizing as meaning just that - circular logic! We say "that argument is circular" or "you're assuming what you seek to prove." If you say "You're begging the question" the common lay-response would be "which question?" In the meanwhile, saying "begging the question" to mean "x demands we ask y" just sounds awesome in a debate.

It's just like how the term "facet" doesn't mean "(n-1)-dimensional face of an n-dimensional polytope" except to mathematicians.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

New E-mail
Posted by Raznor

The amount of spam at my old address was getting too much (thank you trolls), so now my e-mail changed. It's teh_raznor, instead of the_raznor. Take note.

Posted by the Bekka

An actual conversation exchange from my life.

FRIEND: "We musicians can usually smell each other out."

ME: "True, but I wear these other hats here, so I smell different."

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Someone at the National Prostate Cancer Coalition is having way too much fun
Posted by Raznor

I mean, seriously.

Link via August Pollak.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Truth is stranger than percentages
Posted by the Bekka

Spotted on an actual sign in Culver City:

"Futuro Car Detailing: 110% Hand Wash"

Absolutely baffling, but I'd love to know how they manage it.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Friday is Europe Picture day- why not?
Posted by Raznor

Our new coblogger bears a striking resemblance to this display at the Louvre.

In honor of the great Bekka being named new coblogger, here's a picture of her from that trip. Ross took this picture when we spent a day at the Louvre. I, in the meanwhile, was busy in the French room, admiring the paintings of Napoleon.

Friday Random Ten
Posted by Raznor

Rules are rules, you know them by now. Obligatory link and props to Lauren and we're ready to start.

1.) "Fired" - Ben Folds
2.) "Venice Queen" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
3.) "Forever Broke" - The Seatbelts (this song is played at the end of the first episode of Cowboy Bebop)
4.) "Sail to the Moon (Brush the Cobwebs Out of the Sky)" - Radiohead (the parenthetical titles on Hail to the Thief are just awesome)
5.) "Finished with Lies" - They Might Be Giants
6.) "High School Dance" - Mighty Mighty BossToneS
7.) "Baby You're a Rich Man" - The Beatles
8.) "Dusty" - Kings of Leon (how appropriate - I heard of this band thanks to a post at Feministe)
9.) "Still in Love Song" - The Stills (besides Elliott Smith's "Say Yes" possibly the greatest love song of all time)
10.)"Catapult" - Phish

All right, that's it for this week. Have fun.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

And then there were three
Posted by Raznor

Well, now there will be another blogger added to the pack - Rebekka! AKA my soon-to-be sister-in-law. She already has an excellent guest post here and you can see her picture here. I'm not sure how I'll rename the blog to account for it. Raznor's, Ross's and Rebekka's rants seems to long of a title. I'll probably just go back to calling it "Raznor's Rants" and have a subtitle that appropriately credits cobloggers and the fact that we're totally reality-based. I'll let Rebekka introduce herself when she wants.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Mmmmm, unintentional hilarity
Posted by Raznor

Via Oliver Willis, apparently John Hinderaker has taken a break from calling libruls out of touch to write this gem:

One "Chris Rock," the host, whom I've never otherwise heard of, led off with an idiotic anti-Bush tirade. $70 trillion? Interesting statistic. What was noteworthy was not the host, who obviously knows nothing, but the crowd--every single person there laughed and applauded.

I mean - wow. What do you say to that? Way to take Chris Rock to task for his exxagerations. Also, I'll add how offended I am by the positive portrayals of Hitler in The Producers.