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  •   Latest Posts:  ::The Rantastic :: I am a geek, in many ways…::The Rantastic :: It’s been a year.::The Rantastic :: Get Ready for an Election::The Rantastic :: Mr. Rant’s Christmas Message 2014::The Rantastic :: Scotland Decides… NO.::The Rantastic :: Guess what… It’s raining…::The Rantastic :: A Christmas Message for 2013::The Rantastic :: Birmingham Central Library Vs. Library of Birmingham::The Rantastic :: Five years, and we’re still here….::The Rantastic :: It just gets earlier every year…. 

    A Christmas Message for 2013

     Posted in Thoughts on Things... at 22:20 on Monday, December 30th, 2013 by Mr. Rant

    Now the snow is gone (not that we had any) and the Christmas season has come to end, and to be honest I’m glad.  This year the “season of goodwill” (appropriately in inverted commas — as it really isn’t) started even earlier than in other years, and lets be honest I was sick of it by a week in.

    It has seemed like a none christmas this year, and in fact it seems to have been even more commercial, not that I am one to propagate the season’s real meaning, being an atheist and all that kind of makes that a none starter.

    I would however like to see some kind of goodwill to all men.

    The world is in turmoil, as is evident or will be to you if you take five minutes to invest your mind in some informational gathering from a news outlet.  I suggest we look at what sort of aid we should be offering to those in need,  and think very hard in fact, as to be honest, lavishly splashing around money isn’t going to sort the issue and each situation will inevitably end up at its own starting point.  Thus beginning the cycle and starting the whole process again, and the worry is, that those in need will have to come cap in hand for another injection of cash to move things forward.

    These are of course, the things that keep me awake at night*.  I do however have genuine concern at the turn the human race is taking over, lets say in the past forty years.  We are a selfish society, each day we are out for our own aims, be they monetary, goal driven or simply to get one over on someone.

    Let me state, unequivocally that, I do not have a problem with anyone bettering themselves or working hard to reach a goal that they want to achieve, this in itself is human nature and is a helpful thing to society, after all we would not have; electricity, the motor care, anything to do with America** if it weren’t for those simple humans striving to do something more with their lives.

    We could however take a note from their books that on the whole most of those people who invented/discovered something amazing** didn’t take their discovery for granted and actively used their new found knowledge for the betterment of society.  This isn’t often the case these days, and most ‘inventors’ are after a patent so that they can reap the rewards for the discovery in monetary value.

    I hope that we can ebb the flow of negative tendencies in humanity and hope that we can one day live in harmony, but alas that isn’t going to happen is it?

    Throughout history we have fought each other (this is beginning to sound like a novel), we have attacked one another, over land, resources, or even skin colour so that we can raise a flag and say that we are the best.  Worrying, but alas, each one of us is just a small cog in a much larger, much more aggressive and potentially deadly machine.

    So maybe in 2014, you should just make a small gesture just to improve the life of the man/woman/child next to you, and make their life just that bit better.

    *They don’t keep me awake at night.

    **Tongue in check, not entirely true, often not true at all.


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      Written By Mr. Rant.

    Birmingham Central Library Vs. Library of Birmingham

     Posted in Regeneration & Thoughts on Things... at 16:03 on Sunday, June 30th, 2013 by Mr. Rant

    In a couple of months times the new Library of Birmingham will open and we (the people of Birmingham) will beckon in a new generation of absurdly designed supposedly fit for purpose crazy looking buildings, sounds familiar doesn’t it? The planners in Birmingham have a history of approving slightly bizarre looking things, to name but a few; The Selfridges end of the Bullring, The Rotunda, and lets not forget the original Central Library, a much oft blogged about thing here at The Rantastic.

    As we move into the new Library of Birmingham one would hope that maybe Birmingham Library services finally has a place to store it’s treasures for the future seeing at the Old Central Library did nothing to help their preservation and by several accounts have systematically shortened their life spans, but lets not think about that now, lets instead focus on moving forward into a new dimension of librarial goodness, but alas we cannot.

    For now there is a battle brewing, one that has been brewing for a while since the new library was announced, one that seems to heat up each time the dreaded demolition is spoken.  Yes, people want to keep the Central Library. I can understand their logic, I love architecture and I understand the attraction of a brutalist design, just have a look at Auchinleck House on Broad Street, Birmingham, that’s a classic 60’s design and to be honest it’s hideous but I like it, and I’d like to see it stay but times move on and buildings have their day and sometimes, when they’re not fit for the purpose for which they were built it’s time for them to go.  Hence, it’s time for the Central Library to bow it’s head to the executioners axe and have it’s remains laid to rest.

    So can we please, please, get on to enjoying our new Library and start to forget about the old one?

     


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      Written By Mr. Rant.

    Five years, and we’re still here….

     Posted in The Blog & The Rantastic Podcast at 12:54 on Sunday, December 16th, 2012 by Mr. Rant

    I don’t think that when I started this website, five years ago, it would still be here after all that time. In the five years that I have been writing here we’ve seen some changes but the ethos of the website continues to this day, it is essentially for fun.

    In late 2007, The Rantastic was launched. I started out very small while we searched for a direction for the site, when it was born it didn’t even have it’s own home, it was hosted on a subdomain of another site I had a hand in until 2008 when therantastic.com was created. Since then the popularity has grown steadily and we now handle a little under 50,000 unique visits a month which is pretty good considering that this site doesn’t really serve a purpose.

    After the we purchased the website name, we started to put more effort into it’s design and development, the site facade you see hasn’t changed that much since it’s inception but many of our background processes have been tweaked and updated to make it more reliable, whilst the site is admittedly overdue a facelift, I’m happy to see it develop as time goes on rather than rush a new design out, but we are working on some updates for the future and a possible return of the podcast.

    For the future, it’s fairly certain that this website will still be here in another five years time, or at least I hope so. I’m pleased that I’ve kept the site ad free, and as open as possible, I hope to continue for a bit longer yet.

    One final thing:

    Thank you, for your views and readership over the past five years, I hope that we continue to make you smile, grimace and enjoy our little piece of the internet for years to come.


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      Written By Mr. Rant.

    It just gets earlier every year….

     Posted in Anger Level 3 & Gripes & Annoyances at 10:36 on Monday, October 22nd, 2012 by Mr. Rant

    We’re getting near to that time of year, we frankly we all start to go a bit mad. It’s October, and granted yes, its towards the end of the month, however, we’ve hit that point already where we are forced to endure the advertising that signals the beginning of the silly season. The time of year where people become nothing more than sheep, to be chased and herded into position, so that some powerful business/person can take the money that you’ve worked so hard for, and keep it for their own.

    I should note, that today is the first day of the October half term and boy does it show, the roads are quieter, the phone rings less and I can only guess that all the people with children are unable to work, and they’ve taken the week off to be with their children, those children that make everywhere busy, and those children who get in my way. A purely selfish moan. Alas, I am allowed to moan about my plight when it comes to those tiny feet that inter-tangle with my size 12 feet, and yes, before you ask; I do apologise, I am sorry that I trod on your foot and made you teary, but you really shouldn’t have got in my way.

    Of course, once the child is teary – incidentally before I continue I am aware that there is a undertone in this post, of the child hating. This in-fact is not true, I don’t hate them all, there is a one-percent tolerance when it comes to children, they’re not all bad, just most… I endure the wrath of the parent, the parent whose entire mental capacity is seemingly absorbed by the child, and is incapable of rational or even un-rational thought, they’re just focussed on preventing their little darling from running away, well they don’t do a fantastic job when it comes to corralling their sprog.

    “Timmy, stop there. No, Timmy, I said wait, you can have the biscuit lat.. No, you can’t have it now, you have to wait. Just wait, thirty seconds is all I ask, Come back Timmy! Come back now! OH GOD” – Said the mother whose child has slipped her grasp, sometimes those reins you see attached to young offspring’s back, begin to sound like a good idea. Yes, it’s tantamount to torture, but if it controls little Timmy and stops him from legging it, I’m all for it.

    So as we progress into that time of year where self control is less evident and virtually non existent the parents of little Timmy be rest assured that we, the childless, don’t wish to tread on your child, and just ask one thing, a little control, and some well earned silence.


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      Written By Mr. Rant.

    The Olympics

     Posted in In the Summertime at 19:38 on Thursday, July 26th, 2012 by Mr. Rant

    In less than twenty-four hours the London 2012 Olympics begin, I’m not looking forward to it, it’s not that I don’t like sport, I enjoy some sport, I even like some of the Olympic sports, so that’s not the problem. What I don’t agree with is how much has been made of the whole event. It’s been touted for seven years, and we’ve had to out up with it.

    We’ve had to listen day in and out about how it’s been planned, how hard people have worked to out it together and how much it means to people, I don’t begrudge people enjoying the Olympics but they would benefit from realising that not everyone enjoys watching people run, jump, skip and hop they’re way around a track.

    I’m sick of hearing about it now. I can’t wait for it to be over so we can all get back to normal and remember that we have lives that haves to be lived. Already on the opening day, we had the mess that was the flags of North Korea, I’m asking myself what else can we do to ruin this event, something that should be a big thing for those that enjoy that kind of thing has already been overshadowed by something so silly that the media felt it was the biggest story of the year.

    I’m hoping that the next two weeks fly by, and then it will be over and we won’t have to hear about it anymore.


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      Written By Mr. Rant.

    Crucifixion: Gunther Von Hagens

     Posted in The Religion Police & Thoughts on Things... at 23:32 on Monday, April 9th, 2012 by Mr. Rant

    Picture the scene.  It’s Easter Sunday and tucked away deep in the depths of television scheduling sits a programme aptly named Crucifixion.  Apt, you might think, after all it’s Easter Sunday and we’ve come to expect a programme or two about Jesus’ demise; but this was no ordinary foray into mono-theistic doctrine, this was Gunther Von Hagens.

    If you haven’t heard of or seen Von Hangens’s work, let me briefly explain what it entails and what you should expect.  Von Hagens created a technique called ‘Plastination’; this technique allows him to remove and replace with plastic, dead organic tissue.  Yes, dead and organic does mean; human, animal or indeed vegetable.  Gunther found fame in the early 21st century when he ‘Plastinated’ the remains of human body donors and embarked on an exhibition called “Bodyworlds” or in his native German “Korperwelten”.

    Macabre, you might think, and some would agree but for me it’s fascinating and educational, it allows us to see inside ourselves as never before and allows us to understand what we’re made of.  There’s something incredible about seeing the course a blood vessel takes as it meanders and courses through your body in a fantastic evolutionary path.  Von Hagens has over the past ten years or so has ‘Plastinated’ hundreds or specimens, charting our evolution in a style which has become a form of art.  He has also applied his technique to animals such as; gorillas, elephants and even a giraffe, as you can imagine it’s become as much entertainment as it has art, but personally, the biological aspect is one I’m keen to keep.

    In recent times, with his work becoming art as much as a look into ourselves and other organisms, Gunther has faced and created much criticism; it seems sometimes he is out to shock rather than provoke debate or provide a look at ourselves, it seems that ‘Crucifixion’ his latest work was more about creating a storm rather than  allowing us a scientific view of life.

    The brief for the project was to create a realistic crucified image, but here’s the kicker; using real ‘Plastinated’ human remains, now on paper that sounds great to an atheist like me, but in reality it was also going to cause a huge amount of anger and criticism focussed on Gunther, especially from those who believe in God and the story of Jesus.  I have no issue whatsoever with Gunther’s project, it was interesting to watch him create something that was shockingly beautiful and ultimately something that showed the struggle between life and death.

    However, my first thoughts on the programme and Gunther’s idea was that he was intentionally trying to piss the church and it’s followers off.  Careful now.  I have no issue with pissing off the church, I’ve done it enough with this very blog in the past, I do have issue with setting out with the intention to piss them off.  Oftentimes, especially here, it’s easy to get caught in the moment when you write so that your words can become harmful to a certain group of people, we however, don’t hold the moral high ground and certainly don’t intentionally set out to piss you off.

    It’s easy to see that Gunther – a confirmed atheist like myself – wanted to do something which he’d wanted to do for a long time, whether this is making a protest or fulfilling some form of ego boost that he may get from controversy, but also a portrait of a man who knows his own mortality and is dying.  We discovered that Gunther is dying.  He has Parkinsons disease and is rapidly deteriorating, it was upsetting to see him struggle to walk, talk and use his dexterity which he is so famed for.  There is too much we can say about Gunther, and I don’t wish to turn this into an obituary before it’s time.

    I think however, we must pose a single question.  Would he have done this project if he wasn’t dying?  I think so.  I believe that Gunther would have always created his own Jesus, one day sooner or later, I do feel that the reason it was done is because it was his last wish, his last stand and his very own creation story.

     


    Update Status: Modified at: 23:01, on April 11th, 2012.

      Written By Mr. Rant.