Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Friday Random 10
Posted by Raznor

Well, I'm in LA visiting Ross and the Bekka. Hermes is in the kennel, so alas there will be no dog-blogging this week. In the meanwhile, here's the last FRT of 2005. (woot)

1) "Desperado"- Johnny Cash
2) "Lonesome Day" - Bruce Springsteen
3) "Away From the Sun" - 3 Doors Down
4) "Theologians" - Wilco
5) "Cheating on You" - Franz Ferdinand
6) "A Certain Softness" - Paul McCartney
7) "Firedogs" - Ren and Stimpy
8) "St. Jimmy" - Green Day
9) "Logic of a Friend" - Badly Drawn Boy
10) "Rebel Rebel" - David Bowie

Hurray. Have fun everyone.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Saturday Dog Blogging
Posted by Raznor

Me carrying Hermes.

There weren't any oppurtunities this week of Hermes being adorable with the digital camera nearby. So, I thought I'd post this pic of Hermes past. When I adopted Hermes from the Humane Society, they sent him to the animal hospital to get neutered before I could bring him home. This was on the afternoon of August 10, when I was picking him up from the hospital. The picture was taken by Ben Andersen, Ross's best man when he married the Bekka, who stayed an extra day in Flagstaff to help me pick up Hermes.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Write your own caption!
Posted by Raznor

This is the original picture. Found via August.

Okay, I took care of the kids. Now you blow up the potatobaby and we get the fuck out of here!

The New World
Posted by Ross

Like Terrence Malick's lyrical "Thin Red Line," there isn't so much a story you follow as a visual current on which you ride. And it's not so much dialogue you're listening to, as poetry. And you just sort of sail along, and forget yourself. So with that in mind, I will attempt not to betray any significant plot points, but as the film is historical in nature, and as there is no Kaiser Soze moment, I'm not even really sure I could do so if I tried.

The first thing I jotted down in my notebook was how much Colin Farrell, as John Smith, happens to resemble new Yankee Johnny Damon.

The second thing I jotted down was how grateful I was that Pocahontas (the name, by the way, is never uttered in the movie; though I've noticed that Variety, at least, refers to her thusly in their review) wouldn't break out into some Menken-esque song and dance cringe-fest. I'll tell you this much: You can't handle the colors of my wind.

Pardon the tired phrase, but it's appropriate, in this instance, to call this film a feast for the senses.

Among the many, there's a most stunning image of Farrell sloshing through this almost virginal river in a coat of armor while holding a pistol. As if the pistol is hearkening in the modern era of man, of global expansion, untapped wealth and lots and lots of death. And the armor is simultaneously hearkening back to the dawn of modern warfare. Then, on top of all this is the river, its natural majesty mocking the paltry accomplishments we might call human progress.

But here's the kicker: we sure as shit showed that smug river! And the proof was in our drive home, across the asphalt wasteland that is West Los Angeles. Hell, in our neck of the woods, if a river dare show its face, we just pave the fuck over it.

Take that, nature.

Smith refers to the tribe they meet as the "Naturals," and muses at one point, after sampling what it's like to "go natural", whether to "Give up this life for a true one. Give up the name Smith." Because they don't have names. They don't have things. They simply live as natural creatures on this planet. And their reality is compelling. As is the European reality. The only constant in the equation is that it's human life.

It's such a tragedy of physics that a superior military must be the constant victor.

And the last thing that was written in my notebook was done so by the Bekka, and it reads, "Which world is the new one?"

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Posted by the bekka

Please enjoy this tasty selection of interesting items collected over recent weeks by yours truly.

-A hillarious non-dirty dirty-sounding word I learned while reading Bill Bryson's fascinating A Short History of Nearly Everything:
testudinal - adj., of, pertaining to, or resembling a tortoise
Go ahead - use it in a sentence today!

-A brief comment I wrote for a petition against the Government's intent to restrict access to Plan B (aka: the morning-after pill):
"It does no good to society by 'punishing the harlots' that have the misfortune to find themselves pregnant unwantedly, for whatever reason - rape, irresponsible sex, incest, birth control failure. With increasing restrictions to and controversy over abortion rights and access to birth control pills, a fast, safe, contraceptive method such as this is even more necessary today than ever before. Whether society at large feels they are morally justified in forcing women to bear undesired babies, know that unwanted children will have their revenge on the world, and your children and grandchildren will have to live side by side with them in the same society."
(Fashionable "Punish the Harlots" t-shirts soon to be available from Raznor's Overseas Totally Slave-Labor-Free Apparel, Inc.)

-On "gifts," "gift shops," and "gift-giving":
Everywhere you look, retailers are letting the whole world know that they are selling "gifts," often "for the whole family" that promise to be "just what they always wanted." You know, things like diamond necklaces, ipods, isotoner gloves. I have news for these retailers: you don't get to decide what a gift is! Something is a gift because someone has thought about something they'd like to give a loved one as a token of their feelings, or because they think they'd want/like/use it. Just because you’re giving it doesn’t make it a gift, and just because retailers tell people it's a gift doesn’t make it a gift either. Only you get to decide what a gift is - even though there may be stores that claim to be full of them. What they are selling is merely "stuff that you can give" (read: crap) that will delight in the brief moments of "receiving," but usually not much longer than that.

Happy Solstice
Posted by Raznor

It's time I took a stand against those radical secularists trying to destroy the true reason for the season. We are beset by these "Christmas" trees all the time, but dammit, they're Solstice trees. And they represent fertility, not some guy who was born 2000 years ago. Fuck that.

It's time we put the Soul back in Solstice. And boycott anyone who says "Merry Christmas". It's Solstice, motherfucker. Deal with it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

You can call us Aaron Burr from the way we're dropping Hamiltons
Posted by Raznor

Via August, this is the funniest thing to hit SNL since Old Glory Robot Insurance.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Friday Dog Blogging
Posted by Raznor

Hermes plus frisbee

Hermes plus chair

So here's a couple of pics for you for this week. It was a busy busy week for me.

Friday, December 16, 2005

O'Reilly Roast Beast
Posted by Ross

My general stance when it comes to rabid ideologues, particularly of the right wing variety, is to simply ignore them. However, Rosa Brooks in the LA Times today wrote an amusing Seussian satire called The Grinch Factor. Check it out.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

King Kong - with Spoilers!
Posted by Ross

There are great things to do on a Sunday night, and then there are GREAT things to do on a Sunday night.

The Bekka and I caught an early screening (thank you Writer's Guild!) of "Kong." My pulse is still pounding!

Being the drooling dork I am, skinny man Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy have catapaulted themselves right there with my all-time favorites. In fact, I hardly even categorize them as movies. They're simply dazzling appendages to Tolkien's timeless literature.

Honestly, I had no idea what to expect from "King Kong." I've seen the 1933 version on countless occasions. My dad used to run a TV station in Eugene, OR. He actually had his own oldies movie show years and years before such thing came into vogue on channels like AMC and TMC.

So I was very, very young when I saw the original "Kong" for the first time. And that stop-motion animation is very impressive. The scene where Kong goes mano-a-mano with the T-Rex... it's exciting, scary and captures the imagnation.

What I never really expected Jackson to do in "Kong" was to even approach some of the things he did in "LOTR." The Mines of Moria? Helms Deep? The Pellinore Fields? You're kidding me, that shit's untouchable, right?

Particularly the Pellinore Fields, where, essentially the hour-long act 2 is nothing but battle, set-piece piled onto set-piece, and you daren't blink because if you do, you'll miss something.

And yet, that's exactly what Jackson accomplishes on Skull Island. Suck it "Jurassic Park," there is everything! I was so over-stimulated I was starting to get a little vaso vagal at times.

And it's all so inventive. I generally hate action movies. Not because I hate action, but because they're usually so boring. I know, I've written a couple. They want action on every page, inspired or not. Just throw in a million edits, some exploding kneecaps and deafening sound effects and the audience won't know the difference, right?

Michael Bay generally puts me to sleep faster than Pink Floyd.

Those natives are scary as all hell. When the little girl bites Jack Black, and you're like, what's going on, and then you're like, holy shit, they're cannibals! They have to be. There's no vegetation on their side of the wall.

I didn't have any complaints about the script (hell, the screenwriter gets to be the romantic lead!). I mean, that narrative thrust that keeps you so engaged in "LOTR" isn't nearly as strong as "Kong." But, then again, "Kong" is an entirely different kind of story. I mean, it's a love story. It engages your emotions.

I remember at one point thinking, holy shit, I'm really starting to like this damn dirty ape (another brilliantly emotive CGI performance from the great Andy Serkis, who also plays one of the pirates). That sucks cuz I'm gonna be really sad when he has his great fall.

It wasn't "Lord of the Rings." But then again, what is?

And one thing's for sure, you're not gonna be hearing any complaints from my side of Skull Island.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

We must disarm Christmas before it's too late!!!
Posted by Raznor

Via Atrios, Sam Seder has some great commentary on the "War on Christmas". A snippet:

SEDER: Listen, as far as the war on Christmas goes, I feel like we should be waging a war on Christmas. I mean, I believe that Christmas, it's almost proven that Christmas has nuclear weapons, can be an imminent threat to this country, that they have operative ties with terrorists and I believe that we should sacrifice thousands of American lives in pursuit of this war on Christmas. And hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.

PHILLIPS: Is it a war on Christmas, a war Christians, a war on over-political correctness or just a lot of people with way too much time on their hands?

SEDER: I would say probably, if I was to be serious about it, too much time on their hands, but I'd like to get back to the operational ties between Santa Claus and al Qaeda.

PHILLIPS: I don't think that exists. Bob? Help me out here.

SEDER: We have intelligence, we have intelligence.

PHILLIPS: You have intel. Where exactly does your intel come from?

SEDER: Well, we have tortured an elf and it's actually how we got the same information from Al Libbi. It's exactly the same way the Bush administration got this info about the operational ties between al Qaeda and Saddam.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Richard Pryor

Posted by Ross

When I was an assistant working on "The Norm Macdonald Show", the writers did a cold open with Pryor. Norm plays this social worker, and he's doing an intake with Pryor's charcter, who, of course, can barely move. And yet, every time Norm turns his back, Pryor physically attacks him, and then, when he turns back, he's back in his chair. It was funny and cartoonish, and sort of sad too.

While they were getting ready to shoot the scene, I went out to Pryor's place in the Valley with wardrobe stuff or something. This was '99. It was such a surreal experience, being in Richard Pryor's living room, with all these framed photos of his comedy glory days.

There were like three nurses taking care of him, and Pryor was sitting at his dining room table, just looking completely zonked out. He had to take a lot of medication just to get himself to do that scene, but I saw him in what I figured was probably his usual state. They were feeding him some mashed up food and I guess I just felt a little embarassed. Like I was spying on a man at his most vulnerable of moments.

When I think back to this moment, I realize he was probably considerably more alert and with it than I had assumed at the time. And I wish I would've at least been able to say, while I was sitting there on his couch, watching him eat his mush, how much I admired him, how I grew up loving his work, something, anything. But I didn't.

And then I got the wardrobe sizes from one of the nurses, took one last glance at that great man, and left.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Saturday Dog Blogging
Posted by Raznor

Look it's Hermes.

Was a busy day, so wasn't able to get this earlier than this.

Meanwhile, in other Hermes related news, if you do a google image search on Hermes dog, you'll get a pic of this Hermes on the top page. Yay!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Keeping the Christ in Christmas
Posted by Raznor

The latest Penny Arcade is a must-read.

The Friday Random 10
Posted by Raznor

Well, it's that time of week again. No coolness self-audit this week. Just 10 songs, while I get some work done on my laptop.

And let's not forget that Lauren is great. Ok, let's go:

1) "Prophecy"- Remy Zero (note - between this and Gramarye, that's two rocking songs with deeply spiritual undertones on Villa Elaine. That's pretty cool)
2) "Hurricane Waters" - Citizen Cope
3) "Cold Brains" - Beck
4) "W.M.A." - Pearl Jam
5) "The Song is Over" - The Who
6) "Allison Krausse" - The Stills
7) "No Surrender" - Bruce Springsteen
8) "My Doorbell" - The White Stripes (by the way, did you see when these two performed this song on The Daily Show last week? That was awesome!)
9) "Everyone Has AIDS" - Team America Soundtrack
10) "Coming Up Roses" - Elliott Smith

And there you go. Dog-blogging tomorrow. Until then, enjoy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Posted by the Bekka

So, I heard this report on NPR this morning that said that if you within 1 mile of church, you are at 10% less risk of having a car accident near your house, but if you live within 1 mile of a restaurant, your risk of an accident increases to 30%. My question is, what if you have BOTH (as do the Bekka and Ross)? Is there some complex formula that is necessary? Maybe Raznor knows...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Saturday Dog-Blogging
Posted by Raznor

So will dog-blogging be permanently moved to Saturday? I don't know, but we shall see.

Anyway, Hermes graduated from obedience school on Thursday, so here's some pictures of that.

Hermes the graduate.

Hermes with another dog-friend.

And, since I missed dog-blogging last week, here's an extra of Hermes upside down on the couch.

Hermes upside down.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Friday Random 10 -the mighty return of the coolness self audit
Posted by Raznor

As always - requisite praise to our leader, although at my writing this, I don't see her doing no FRT yet, we'll let that slide. Let's get to the songs:

1) "Montage" - Team America: World Police Soundtrack - 9/10: nice way to start things off.
2) "Ren's Pecs" - Stimpy 7/10: Always nice hearing Billy West sing. I can't believe I actually put this CD on my iTunes.
3) "Imaginary Love" - Rufus Wainwright 6/10: It's a good song, and Rufus Wainwright is a great singer, but I'm not sure if we can classify him as particularly cool, per se.
3a) Some Japanese dialogue from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack. This is a 10/10 - although given only half the weight, as it isn't a song.
4) "Grace Cathedral Hill" - Decemberists 7/10: Decemberists are an awesome group, but this can't really be listed as one of their more awesome songs, though it is really damn good.
5) "Alphabet Street" - Prince 8/10: I keep adding CDs to this computer, but still have a high percentage of Prince songs. I'm not complaining, but I still need to add stuff. I have only 2.4 days worth of music here.
6) "Love, Reign O'er Me" - The Who -7/10: addititional coolness cos it's on the album Quadrophenia.
7) "Punker Plus" - Le Tigre - 9/10: a really fun dose of modern punk.
8) "Save Me" - Remy Zero - 7/10: sort of feels like the opposite of the last song. Ah, random play.
9) "Balled of Lemons" - Blonde Redhead 10/10: anything by Blonde Redhead gets an instant 10, especially if it comes from Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons.
10) "Muzzle of Bees" - Wilco 7/10: I'm out of comments, just say like the song.

Anyway, we get about 7.81/10. In your face.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Blog Against Racism Day
Posted by Raznor

So, it's Blog Against Racism day. I spent a while this week thinking about what I can bring to the table. I'm white as a ghost, and I've lived my whole life in parts of the country with relatively small black populations - most of my life in Flagstaff, my first 8 years in Eugene, college in Portland, and of course one semester in Budapest. Nor have I lived, unlike Amanda, in parts of the country where I hear much overt racism.

But what I can add is something that I think often gets left out of the picture, which is how racism affects Native Americans. I'm probably the only person I know who rarely refers to people as Native American, because there is such a cultural diversity among the Native American tribes, I think of it insulting to decide that Lakota, and Navajo, and Apache and Cherokee get lumped together like they're just one big - well - lump.

Flagstaff is very close to the Navajo and Hopi reservations, so whenever I speak about Native Americans, usually I relate to those particular cultures. When I think of recent oppression of Native Americans, I think of how the Navajo language helped us win World War II, and how, less than 20 years later, the government began forcing Navajo kids into boarding schools, away from their families, and punished them if they dared speak Navajo. It's a nice bit of White Man's Burden racism that the Aborigine people faced in Australia.

When I think of opression, also, I think of how it's always glossed over that America had a policy of genocide in regards to the Native American people in the 19th century. There is really nothing else to call it. During the Indian Wars, a general called on all patriotic Americans to kill as many buffalo as they could find, because, essentially, dead buffalo meant dead Indians. By the 1890's it was fully believed that the policy of genocide was successful, and there'd be no more Native Americans within 20 years. That's when people felt guilt for the whole thing. Nice timing there.

I think of how many times I have to counter people who complain about these "drunken indians", blaming the fact that the Reservation is the poorest place in the state on their laziness, selfishness, and drunkenness. I think of how I have to remind these people of the brutal oppression these people have been facing since Europeans first invaded their continent.

I think of how there's all this talk in the punditry about how great it would be for a Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. It would be great, but notice no one seems to think there should be a Native American Supreme Court Justice. I think how the Native Americans have become the invisible race. I think of Chief Wahoo, and of the Tomohawk Chop, the fact that it's perfectly acceptable to have team names like the Redskins, or the Chiefs, and all the fucking idiots who made the NCAA's ban on mocking Native American mascots controversial.

That is all.