Friday, June 30, 2006

Huge Poker Hand

Tonight played a big poker game. One hand totally stands out as a weird one that had an interesting dynamic.

I was dealt a Jack-Ten, unsuited. One of my favorite hands to play. I raise before the flop. You should note, I have the big chip stack, about 3x as many chips as the two other remaining players. It's important to me to not let them back in the game by conceding all-in's.

One player folds.

The other player calls.

The flop comes out: 9-9-3. Not good for me. The player checks.

I smell weakness. I put out a medium sized bet. He calls. Hmmmm. The turn comes. A queen. (That gives me an open ended straight draw). I sense, from his check and call that he does not have a 9. I sense he might possibly have a 3, but I want to scare him off. I make a big bet that almost puts him all in.

I figure no matter what, he's going to fold. He would not have played 9's the way he did. If he's got a three, it's going to be a hard call to make. Would you want to go all in with a pair of 3's?

But there he goes - he calls. Damn. Okay. The river. It comes. Another 3.

So now the board is 9-9-3-Q-3. I look at my hand. I don't have shit. I didn't make my straight. I don't have a kicker. He just called a huge amount. What can I possibly do? He'll call any bet I make. So I'm stuck. Dammit.

I check.

He pauses. Now he smells weakness. He decides to go all in.

I think for a moment. My first instinct is to fold. I don't have shit. But his bet isn't THAT much more than what's already in the pot. It is significant, but not that significant.


The fact that a 3 came up on the river makes me think there is a smaller percentage chance he had a 3 in the first place. I got a weird gut vibe he didn't have a full house. He didn't seem full house confident. And he seemed surprised when I checked.

So then I get to thinking. The two pair plus the queen kicker might be the best hand. What are the chances he has an Ace or a King? He probably would have raised before the flop with either an Ace or King. I'm thinking he doesn't have it.

So I'm looking at the cards in the middle, knowing I can't possibily win the hand, but only split the pot and I make the call, because I don't want to lose it and don't think I will.

It turns out he has 8-10. We end up splitting the pot.

I found that to be an interesting hand.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


There is a lot of prejudice against ugly people. It will be the civil rights battle of the future. I'm not looking forward to it.
Slow Day

Is it just me or has this been the slowest day in the history of the universe?
Devil Wears Prada

Doesn't sound bad.

And they were giving away free coffee the other day. I missed it.
Peak Terrorist Theory, part II

Public negotiations with the insurgency, a new Bin Laden tape, the possible collapse of the Hamas this the beginning of the end?

I'd be happy to jump on the football field, or baseball, or basketball with Rome as well...anything but hockey, really.
Strange Place, This America

The other day, during the France vs. Spain game, I'm watching in a bar and talking with some folks who don't really know soccer, but are trying to understand. I can't help root for France because I love Zidane and Henry. The 1998 French team might be my favorite soccer team of all time.

For those who read my blog and to the lady in the bar, this might come as a surprise. Who could possibly like the French?

Well, I do. I told her I liked how the team played, how diverse they are, with blacks, muslims, and lily white frenchman. She said, "What do the Muslims do, stop during the game and pray?"

I said, "I don't think they do that."

She thought she was being funny. I thought she was being an idiot.

And I realized I have peculiar sensibilities. In one of my writing classes, a guy asked me if I had a lot of European friends because he thought I had European sensibilities. I guess a fondness for soccer and cheese would indicate such. But yeah, I like British writers and Northern California is sort of as Euro as it gets in the states, I guess. I also like Swiss chocolate/watches and Club International.

But then there's the rabid American in me as well, who has absolute distain for political correctness and sensitivity towards others. I'm a classic American liberal in that I think people ought to be able to say anything they want and if hurts people's feelings....too bad for them. I'm also a hawk and turn into an Israeli when those words turn into harmful actions. I support sending in tanks and planes to wreck havoc over anyone who f---'s with us.

In this sense, I don't mind Jim Rome talking all the shit he wants about soccer, but I reserve the right to call him a pussy so long as he isn't willing to come out on the field and play against me, for I would love to slide for his ankles and watch him squirm on the ground, while he all the other American pundits watch him and say, "Get up he's faking it."

Why would we be helping to stifle democracy in Egypt. This is an absurd policy.

This is a considerably worse idea than the Iraq War.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


In contrast to the Vons on Sunset and Virgil, which I rather like, the Vons on Alvarado is gross. I was going to buy milk, but noticed one of the bottles had chunks in it, so I concluded they all were potentially bad. The fruit looked terrible, bruised, worm marks. Yuck.

Then, I'm going down an aisle and three disgusting, fat ladies idle in my way while I pushed my cart up behind them. I was too tired and lazy to say anything like, "Excuse me," so I just waited while they laughed and jabbered and got candy and other junk food off the shelf to add to their thighs, the fat pigs. Disgusting.

I walked in the beer aisle and there was a huge fat man sitting on 12 packs underneath the cold beer section. I think he might of been asleep. He was fat also. I thought to myself - what the hell is this guy doing? Was he cooling off or something? It was evening, so it wasn't like it was all that hot outside. Very strange. I felt sick buying anything from the damn place since there were so many indicators of grossness.

I got oatmeal and bottled water, gatorade, and beer. How wrong could you go with those things?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Risky Business

I watched this movie on TV the other day. Great movie. There are so many good parts, but one amazing part that I keep thinking back to is towards the end of the movie, when Joel is out "selling" the idea of turning his parents house into a brothel.

He is at a cheeseburger hut with two high school losers. He asks the fatter of the two to go through all the money he spent on a girl. Joel goes through the accounting, food, movies, parking (the fat loser corrects him on one expense), but Joel points out another - gas. He totals up how much the fat loser spend, around $60 in total. And he asks what happened. His response:

"She slept with Jacobson."

And then the best part...the skinny loser, right next to him, erupts in laughter, laughing uncontrollably at his friend. A brilliant moment in the history of high school cinema.

A quick note on Italy and the stoppage time PK today. I do not like the Italian style of play, which I characterize as defensive, ugly, and tactically sound. The sheer numbers of men they are able to get back to defend is always frustrating to me, because I like to see beautiful passes strung together and a defense broken down.

But today, I must admit, I got a bit mesmorized by the Italian play. And it started with the defense, which I found to be incredibly tough and solid. The Australians were not going to get around a single Italian one v. one. That kind of individual commitment to defense was impressive, but almost moreso, was the fact that the other defenders were positioned so well, that even if Australia was going to get around, there wasn't going to be a breakdown.

Especially with 10 men, it looked as though the Italians were going to be impossible to score on...

...and then the PK. What a clever play. It goes against my style. It goes against how I play soccer, even my moral code. But the play was so clever, I respect it. Because going by my code of play, the guy would not have scored and won the game for his team. But taking advantage of the Australian slide tackle attempt, brilliant. I must admit, I like when offensive players are able to take/draw fouls, it puts more pressure on defenders and is a first line of defense against a slide tackle. If you know it's coming, you can dink the ball away and take a foul. It's a great tactic against a slide tackle.

So anyway, it looks like Italy is getting the Germany of 2002 treatment this World Cup. They will have a tough time beating any number of good teams in the tourney, but then again, any good team will have a tough time beating them.
A War

These guys are about to go to war over events they don't agree upon. What a joke. It's like a WWI exercise from World History.

What kind of government kidnaps soldiers?
Ku Klux Klan

Watching an A&E show on the KKK. In the 1920s there were up to 3 million members of the Klan. It was religious-based. It didn't advertise itself as going out to lynch blacks, but as a society bent on saving white protestant traditions.

Sound familiar? It seems to me we ought to be studying this movement and how it was defeated and use it as a template to fight terrorism.

I mean, there were 16 US Senators that were members of the Klan. This is not dissimilar from governments in the Arab world with members of hardcore Islamicist groups.
I'm As Guilty As Anyone

I don't know if I like reading about terrorism, but I sure as hell DO read about terrorism. So one of the questions is, if terrorism stopped being reported and read about, would it cease? Is it the only voice of the voice-less?

Is terrorism an information campaign disguised as a war?
Help From Iran?

A theory that Iran helped with the Zarqawi location. Hmmmm. Doesn't sound dissimilar to my proposal months ago. Yes, the proposal curious m thought chimps on a typewriter came up with.
This Is Huge

Bolstered by Zarqawi's death, it appears some factions of the insurgency are talking with the Iraqi government about serious negotiations. Awesome.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Badass New Car

I'd get it, if it fit in my garage, and I needed a car.

The prevailing wisdom with respect to the Miami jihadi's is that they were incompetents and never really a threat.

What was the quote I liked..."When have we not underestimated these guys?"

Because it's true, to our sensibility, these guys are tools, idiots, incompetents...Bin Laden was in a cave for 5 years before 9/11....and we all goofed on him.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Critique of Bush

Now this critique of Bush, I unequivocally support. The War on Terror, without a doubt, should not have been politicized. It was the President's job to do that. He did not.

As a side note, the Democrats and the UN didn't do a good job of unpoliticizing the conflict, either.
Lost In Translation

Lileks writes a nice little essay, jumping off an Ang Lee quote about making movies in America.

"The world’s least free place for making movies is the US, because it has a fixed model."

I think he must have meant "a" model.

Nate argues I'm too vague on what victory means in Iraq.

I'd argue that when the insurgency puts down it's guns and surrenders, that would qualify as victory.

What that means in practical terms is that the majority of insurgents or those tied to the insurgency get amnesty and become citizens of the new Iraq, in exchange for prison for those hardcore organizers and killers.

Does this mean some really bad people get to go free? It certainly does. But it also means that time gets even more on our side...a stable, free, Iraq will grow and prosper. An Iraq under Saddam or an Islamic Fundamentalist state will fester and breed anger, resentment, hatred, and terrorism.

To those in the anti-war crowd who are able to conceive of victory, I thank you, because at least a discussion can be had....I'd venture to bet you get a small jolt of pleasure and pride from events like the Iraqi elections, the killing of Zarqawi and the capture of Saddam. That little surge of happiness. I know what it feels like.

And to those who don't understand the idea of a enemy or winning vs. losing and prefer to talk in defeatist euphamisms, those who don't know what to feel when Saddam was captured or Zarqawi killed, well, you're looking more and more wrong every day. But then again, we already knew that.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


The other day I heard a story about the LAPD who places decoy cars in shitty neighborhoods with cameras inside. When someone tries to steal the car, the car drives for a little while and then shuts down. It is also equipped with a GPS device.

Apparently, the car thiefs know about the decoys and often show anger on camera as soon as they figure out they've been duped.

This strikes me as a very wise policy. And it is easy to test whether the policy works - just check the statistics of stolen cars.

Applying this similar logic to the War on Terror, the FBI made a big arrest in Florida, because an FBI agent was posing as an Islamic Extremist.

These types of tactics give enemies fits trying to figure things out. It gets them paranoid to the hilt. Terrorists are good at this psychological warfare. We should throw it back to them in spades...

...if it ever got real nasty we could do incredibly harsh things. In response to kidnappings, we could inject a soldier with a spreadable biological agent with some sort of antidote or immunity, but that infected anyone who came in contact with him.

When terrorists kidnapped this decoy, they would all become infected with this biological agent. If I were a terrorist and thought that the person I was kidnapping might be a boobytrapped bio-weapon, it would freak me the fuck out.

Don't think that'd pass the Geneva Convention.
I Guess It's Good News

Osama Bin Laden is going down in popularity around the Muslim world.

Can we credit the Iraq War? I don't think so. Although, I suppose if his popularity went up, we'd blame the Iraq War....Can we credit US foreign policy? I think we'd sort of have to...don't you?

The irony is OBL never cared about polls one way or the other.
Stupid Position

You'd have to make an improbable and unprovable assertation that we could've captured Osama had we NOT gone into Iraq.
Whatever Happened to Crazy?

I guess it became gay.

Is it stupid for me to think that one day down the line, it will become a wildly popular compliment in the African American community, "You so Gay?"
There's An Easy Answer

An article on how to shoot HD for 10,000 G's. Clearly, this is unwise...

...what's wrong with DV?
Liberal Hawks

A series of quotes:

"Unless we successfully partner with Iraqis, though, to build a new and more decent context, that terrorism bubble will eventually come back tenfold. We must get this right. Yes, I know, it may all turn out to be a fool's errand. A decent Iraq may be impossible. But I would rather go down swinging as an optimist than resign as a pessimist. Because if there is no way to produce governments that can deliver for their young people in the Arab world, get ready for a future full of Code Orange and Code Red."

-Tom Friedman

"If I had to write The Threatening Storm over again I certainly would not have been so unequivocal that war was going to be a necessity. However, I still would have pointed out that there was a strong case for removing Saddam's regime (for the reasons mentioned above) and that realistically the only way to remove him from power was to mount a full-scale invasion. I might have decided that when you weighed all the pros and cons, deterrence and invasion might have been roughly equal, but I would have pointed out that a key difference between them was that if you opted for invasion you were removing a great evil from the world and creating the possibility that we could turn Iraq into a real positive, as Tom and Fareed argued when they made the case on the basis of democratization. It would not have been as compelling, but my guess is that many readers would still have come to the conclusion that war was the least-bad choice among a menu of imperfect options."

-Kevin Pollack

"But Iraq should make us think about practical knowledge and nuanced judgment. One problem with liberal hawks is that great moral dramas are always more attractive to us than difficult long-term tasks."

-George Packer

"My own two cents, on the topic of WMD: I never did think that Saddam's weapons were sufficient grounds for war. I even said so here, in Slate, before the war. If WMD were the problem, containment and deterrence were the solution. But I can understand, sort of, why Bush and Blair ended up harping on the weapons issue, and why the Bush administration kept hinting at conspiracies that probably never existed. I don't defend Bush and Blair for speaking in these ways, and I hope that future elections will show that Bush has been punished for his misdeeds, and Blair has not. But I can imagine what drove them to do this.

It was because something is missing from our modern way of discussing the world. We know how to describe certain things—and have forgotten how to describe certain others, which are sometimes larger. This has been true of the war's proponents, except for a few of us lonely liberals (and even we have been inconsistent), and true of the war's opponents. It is a vocabulary problem. The words are missing."

-Paul Berman
Goodbye, USA

We played with some heart against Italy, but let's be honest, we're not that good at soccer (football). Every team we played in our first three games was a better team, more talent, stronger, faster, more creative. It's hard to win under those conditions.

The referees - maybe they did us wrong, but if it's one thing I've learned in all my years, looking back, it's almost never the referees fault.

The good: Bobby Convey and Clint Demsey

The bad: Landon Donavan and Claudio Reyna

The ugly: Demarcus Beasley.

I didn't realise how bad Beasley had been playing until today. He was atrocious. I would have benched him during the first half. Yes, he did get the assist, but nearly every other choice he made throughout the game was poor.

I don't really have all that much to say. My enjoyment of the world cup will not suffer now that the US is gone. thing...did anyone else read the statistic on the TV that Donavan hasn't scored a goal in 17 international matches. Is that possible? As a forward. I can almost promise that even I could score a goal in 17 international matches as a forward.

Why were images of Abu Ghriab incessently spread around the American media and the snuff films made by Zarqawi's crew not? Yes, you could and can find them on the internet...but why not the same media attention paid?
Anti-War Position

Someone raised a good point that if we knew in 2003 where we would be today, with respect to Iraq, would we have supported the war? The answer, implicit in the question, is "of course not." I myself have to admit, it's a tough question.

But what if you reframe it? Would you take where we are today after September 12, 2001? I should certainly say yes.

And for those who supported the initial war, but a year ago decided we should be pulling out, do you believe we are in a better position today that we would have been had we pulled out, with Zarqawi alive and claiming victory?

What we need in Iraq is a victory. A humiliation of the forces of Islamic Fundamentalism. They need to be driven out of relevance.
Good Point

When asked about whether the Bush administration underestimated the insurgency, Chris Hitchen's retorted, "When have we not underestimated these guys?"

A fair point, I'd say.

I've been listening to podcasts. I heard a stat - 1/3 of all men 22-34 are living with their parents. Is this possible?
Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder's filmmaking tips.
Who Ever Said Anything About Control?

A lament about Iraq, how the situation is uncontrollable.

NOTE: This post was written 10 days ago. I never finished it, but figured I should post it.

Well, no shit. Welcome to the world. All sorts of shit are out of our control. Whose ever tried to control the world? And they've all failed. It's too big and too complicated. Shit, it's hard to get all your friends to a birthday party, much less transform another country 180 degrees.

For the record, I agree with A LOT of what Derbyshire writes in his article. Except for one issue - we can't just whack them on the head and leave. That's what we tried in 1991 with respect to the Kuwait issue and what we did with OBL prior to 9/11.

What we can do, and what we should continue to do, is stand by those in the Middle East who prefer living under a democractic, secular modern country, as opposed to an autocratic, or fascist, or islamic fundamentalist societies. The gamble is that the majority of Iraqis prefer this way of life than the alternative, and I still think this is true. It's just been for a long time, this majority has been stifled by strong-men willing to do barbaric things to convince people otherwise. It's time we tried something else.

I've grown incredibly tired of this large group of pro-war hawks that supported the admittedly difficult choice to go to Iraq in the first place, and now come screaming back about what a poor idea it was...without any ideas about the future, other than a draw down and lowering our shoulders and admitting we were wrong and we won't do it again. Sorry if I think that's a bad idea.

I can't think of a safer position to critique from, the position that supports an admittedly risky unknown, and then when things get ugly or bad, backtracking and saying we were wrong all along (and notice, it's not really a WE, it's a George Bush and company was wrong all along, although they were amoung the chorus of supporters).

But this incessent whining about the administration negates the most important issue: we were and are in an incredibly difficult position, whereby it had become beneficial for any two bit, 3rd world politican to use anti-Americanism as a sure means towards finding popular support, especially in the Middle East. We need to counteract that balance with a credible threat, that if anyone gets too out of line, they are getting their ass kicked.

Now if there were evidence that Iraqis didn't want democracy and didn't care for our troops in the country and just wanted to go on living their own lives without our interference, I'd be the first one to say, let's roll up outta there. But that isn't what's happening. There are groups of fascists running around trying to kill Iraqis and American troops so that we'll lose our morale and leave the country, so they can claim victory and try the enslave the Iraqi masses. (Enslave is exactly what these Islamicists are after, enslaving women and shi'ia - we can't forget that, and if you're in favor of leaving it to them, you've got to be willing to admit it).

But instead, we've got the majority of Iraqis begrudgingly admitting they still need our help. And the majority of us, knowing, begrudgingly that we can't leave without victory.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Out of Town

Yes, there I was, in Tuscon, planning a shoot for which I'll be the AD.

I come back to read a few blogs and catch up. The most interesting article I found.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

That Was A Goal

Viera just pounded a header in off a corner - it was a goal. The korean keeper made a good save, but the ball was in.

Advice for France - give the ball to Henry.

Often it is said, why should America have any opinion or voice on what happens in Iraq, or anywhere around the world for that matter. It is sometimes tempting to think a) we can't make a difference and b) even if we could, it ain't none of our business. Let 'em do whatever they want to themselves...

But maybe it's because we've been there, too, and know the shame of being a nation that has committed awful atrocities and been party to our own horrific acts of violence and injustice that gives us the wisdom to say what's right and what's wrong.

The Civil War was largely about the South resisting change being imposed by Northern "occupiers." Some argued it was economic, some political, but in the eyes of history, it is a moral question - the question of slavery. That no man deserves to be a slave, and beyond that, no man is fit to be a master.

And what of Iraq? Is this a 21st century "civil" war, a war about the future of the globe? Because without a doubt, this is the century of globalization, shrinking national borders, shrinking of space and time, due to technology and information systems. In this shrinking world, is there no longer space for totalitarian regimes?

Is is a strategic question? Or is it a moral question? Or both?
Damn, Mama

I just caught the end of the ABC coverage of the Brazil-Australia game. I totally missed the game, but Eric Wynalda called Ronaldo a fat tub of lard wasting space, or something to that effect, to which Brent Mustburger added, Ronaldo probably was thinking about getting something to eat.

Holy shit! I thought it was both incredibly funny and completely cruel. Wow.
What A Fucking Idiot

An LA Times op-ed piece argues that Israelis are just as culpable as Palestinians in deaths caused by Palestinians. Yes, he actually says that:

Leon Wieseltier of the New Republic argued at the time that the equation is false because "the death of innocents was an Israeli mistake but a Palestinian objective."

The distinction might have had greater merit if Israeli strikes held out any prospect of ending, or even reducing, Palestinian terrorism. In fact, they have the opposite effect.

So let me get this straight - Israel fighting back against Palestinian terrorism causes more Palestinian terrorism. Right. Forget the moral bankruptcy of such a claim, but it's been fairly well proven false in several instances, PIJ's leadership being decimated and Hamas' cease fire for the past year and a half, for two examples.

But the op-ed goes on with more lies, the biggest one being the entire premise that it was an Israeli shell that killed a Palestinian family on the beach. In fact, it is well known now that it was a Hamas-made explosive that killed the family, well documented in several accounts, and yet, this guy can lie through his teeth to make a point that isn't true.

Not the mention his call for statehood was actually offered to the Palestinians in 1998 and famously rejected by Arafat. Why does he bother writing about a topic he clearly knows nothing about?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Fog of War

Is on TV. It's a great film. I can't imagine the destruction of WWII. Pure insanity.
As If You Didn't Know

The early warning signs of pure evil.

And the later warning signs of a region gone insane.
They've Done Us Proud

The US team can hold their heads high today after a grueling tie with Italy. The Masteoni red card was total bullshit. And that changes the game. We won the game of possession, played creatively: Donavan, Dempsy, Convey, these guys looked good. We were dangerous in the air with McBride and Bocanegra.

I am very pleased. At least this result makes the Ghana game matter and we'll hopefully see another game played with heart. It also makes the Czech-Italy game a must see as well. Rumor is, they will be played at the same time, so no teams will know the result and all will need to play assuming the worst.

I'll make my obligatory downside comment about the US - we've still yet to really score a goal. And I'm not sure if Donavan has EVER scored a goal in World Cup... are we world class? No. Are we close? I'm not sure. But playing with heart can mask deficiencies in talent.

Good job, Arena, on the formation change and substitutes. He figured out our strengths and played towards them, rather than around them. I don't really like the guy all that much, but he's a good soccer coach.
Ivory Coast

They are clearly the best team that won't be advancing. Playing Argentina to a 2-1 game and likewise with Netherlands, the small African nation ought to be proud. These are two teams that might make it to the finals, if not win the entire thing, and they gave them serious games. What a shame the schedule had to play out this way.

On the flip side...Germany. A team I traditionally don't like for multiple reasons - one, principally, Germany - come on, the image of that country in our collective consciousness will not get around the whole idea of Nazism. I remember my first time in Austria and getting onto a bus and the German language blared over the bus speaker, a chill ran down my spine because of my association with the language.

Their soccer teams did not help, huge guys, playing unstylistically, but smart, concentrated soccer, and inevitably winning against "weaker," if not more skilled, opponents. Prime example: Janecker. That big brute of a forward for Bayren Munich and the German national team. A SS officer disguised as a soccer player.

But now? They are hosting the cup and they play with some...flair. And heart. And courage. Are they, announcing themselves, 50+ years after the fall of the Reich, to be above it? Cheering their half black, 22 year old, star substitute, Odonkor.

I sure as hell hope so. And the future has hope.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Two Serious Issues That I Don't Think We Adequately Appreciate the Horror Of

Last week, Hamas declared the end of their year and half long ceasefire with Israel because of a the killing of Mohammed al Dura, on the beach in Gaza, said to be blown to bits by an Israeli rocket. An innocent family was also killed.

Well, now it turns out, after an investigation, that it was not Israel at all, but rather an accident - possibly by mines laid by Hamas to prevent an Israeli commando invasion.

Why is this significant? Well, for one, instead of admitting the mistake, Hamas and the PA are refusing to allow anyone but themselves to investigate the issue. Second, they are purposefully lying in order to stir up anger towards Israel both within the Palestinian community and the rest of the world. Three, they same groups have perpetrated the exact same scheme before, in the "Jenin" massacre, which wasn't a massacre at all.

Do we even fathom how wrong this is? It's an upside down, 1984 vision of the world. The Nazis did stuff like this. How dare we sit back and give credence or validity to any suggestion that the Palestinians have a right to land, or much less the right of return, when their political structures are based upon lie after is truly a horrific state of affairs, for the entire world, but mostly, for the Palestinians themselves.

The second issue is almost even scarier - the idea of the symbiotic relationship between the Media and Terrorism.

Turns out Zarqawi had as part of his strategy, "To use the media for spreading an effective and creative image of the resistance."

I watched the news after terror attacks. News organizations make money when terrorists blow things up. CNN was the distributor for the real life reality TV show of 9/11. From an economic standpoint, the news media and terrorists are complete bedfellows. This is a topic worth thinking about...
Peak Terrorist Theory

The central tenant of the "peak oil" theory is once we reach the point where all the known oil reserves are discovered, we will see the oil supply steadily decrease, causing demand to steadily increase, driving prices through the roof and hence destroying the global economy.

I have a theory with similar logic, but I call it the peak terrorist theory. My theory is that as we capture and kill more terrorists, it will lead to the rounding up of their cohorts and company, as we are seeing in the past couple days in Iraq.

As it becomes clear that the terrorists are being rounded up, we will see more of them turning on each other, more people previously scared of turning them in or sympathetic to their cause, will have more and more reason to turn on them. The financiers will see terrorism as a losing bet, and some will even get ratted out by their employees. The media will stop paying attention to their statements, as they are unable to mount attacks, always being on the run. They will become easier and easier to locate as no one will hide them. And then, VERY quickly, after a seemingly long, drawn out battle, Islamic Terrorists will vanish or become as relevant as the KKK is in our current society....and that is to say, not relevant at all.
One Reason Why Student Filmmaking Is Actually Bad For You

Producing. There's always been a weird aura around "Producing" at USC. On the one hand, it's the one thing USC does REALLY well. Most of the films made are well-produced, ie look relatively glossy, get finished, are paid for, people survive, Generally, everyone impressed on what a "production" was "pulled" off on limited funds.

On the other hand, within USC a lot of people tend to look down their noses at "Producing" as "unartistic," as if rigging cables and loading film and placing lights OR logging footage and dialogue editing qualify as art.

In any case, producing has this odd aura of being perceived as a glamour job in the real world, and a dirty, boring job within the film school. Both of which are probably misleading...

...but if USC is to be preparing Producers for the "real world," how are we doing? I certainly don't know the statistics of post-graduation, but I have my USC experience to draw upon to demonstrate some inconsistencies.

*One of the most sought after and "valued" aspect of a student producer is his/her ability to get stuff for free. Principally, this applies to labor, which is an unassumed cost on student films. But it also involves finding donations of food, discounts on equipment, grants, and so forth.

Because labor on student films is FREE, we never pay adequate attention to it's COST. Locke argues that our Labor is an extension of ourselves, that by mixing our labor with an object, we then own it. By neglecting true labor costs, and in a sense, using indentured servitude what are the producers gaining?

Well, we say, experience.

Experience in what?

A day spent producing a student film is a day spent looking for deals, discounts, what have you. Finding a suitable, but affordable location. Planning out the best scheme to rent equipment, trucks, and so forth, in order to scrimp and save and keep the budget down. Or maybe two days, or three days. What's the difference? Time and labor is no factor. Only once the day shooting comes can you no longer try to find discounts. And so the producer goes off to work and work and work and work, and in some sense, the measure of a producer becomes how much work they are willing/able to do for free. How many favors are they able to either call upon or weasel. How good of a hustler are you?

Let's take a sample. Producer A is GOOD. He/she can make a few phone calls, line up the normal discounts and make all the arrangments. He/she spends 1 hour and saves $150 for the production. Producer B is also good. He/she pounds the pavement, works 10 hours and is able to save the production $200.

In the Student world, Producer B is "better," more useful to the production. But in the "real" world, where money and time are factors, you'd be paying these producers both a salary and benefits, if you were ethical. At a MINIMUM, all told, you're talking at least $20 per hour. (for small, student-type projects)

Now reevaluate the situation. Producer A costs $20 and saves the production $150, which means a good days work. Producer B costs $200 and saves the production $200. Wait a second.

So what happens?

Producer A does not do student films, they get hired onto jobs and keep getting rehired. Producer B, however, is invaluable to student films, but of no value to anyone else. Ironically, the more valuable Producer B is to student films, the less valuable they are for real films.


And you see this issue of "free" labor actually damaging films, I think. Many student films try to build sets with the logic that we can get labor for free...while actually building a set is labor intensive. But in free labor, what you actually mean, is worthless labor. You get a bunch of monkey's running around, inefficient, and inexperienced, people building sets who have basically watched a lot of movies and learned how to use an Avid. As a result, one ends up spending a little bit of money renting props and flats, and a lot of Time and Energy to build a set that looks like shit.

If students were actually thinking of labor costs when going out to make films, perhaps the films would be better, and tighter, and stronger. Perhaps, they would keep tiny crews and make smaller stories, trying to ooze out every ounce of creativity to come up with simple, elegant shooting options, as opposed to insisting upon 35mm with huge crews and equipment lists - goods that only become affordable as a result of indentured servitude.

Who's just a theory.
I'll Take That Bet

I'd be willing to bet an African team wins the World Cup before America does.
Bullshit, You're Watching the World Cup

Everytime there's some type of tardiness, or someone doesn't call me back, or something isn't quite right in the AM, my immediate response has become, "Bullshit, you're watching the World Cup."

My boss calls this AM, "I overslept, I'm going to be late." BSYWTWC.

The mechanic says, "Your car will be ready later this afternoon, sorry we had a lot of work to do." BSYWTWC.

My dentist calls, "Can we reschedule your appointment for another time, we're all booked right now." BSYWTWC.

I ask my friend to coffee, "Ohhh, tomorrow is looking pretty busy in the AM." BSYWTWC.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Open Thread

I've never tried this before, mostly because I don't have enough readers, but I'm opening up an open thread/comment festival for the following question:

What makes you want to puke?

This is not a totally out of the blue question, as my stomach feels nauseous this AM for no apparent reason. But it's not the gagging up nausea associated with real puking, it's a dull nausea that won't end up in puking, but a feeling I used to get every year when I came down to Claremont before school for summer practices. I don't know if it was the intense workouts, the intense heat, or just coming into the unfamiliar sights and sounds. But I remember the feeling vividly (they say the sense of smell carries the most memory, but I think the sense of puke might actually carry quite a bit of memory as well). Maybe it was the smog. Anyhow, I remember college fondly for the most part, except that I often felt nauseous throughout.

They look sloppy. But for chrissake, look at the skill on this team. They should move on and give teams nightmares. But they need to figure out how to shoot. How many shots have they flubbed? And they play risky, mistake-prone defense.

Can we sub out that left wing? Man, mistake after mistake. Same goes for the right wing. Damn, these French wings suck.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Dropped by K-town to pick up a remote control we left at a restaurant. I tried explaining to the hostess what I was looking for, but we were having a lot of difficulty understanding one another. I said, "Remote Control. Television." I made clicking gestures. She looked at me like I was an idiot.

I said, "Saturday. Lost and Found."

She said, "Saturday!"

I said, "Si. El television," and continued a ramble in my less-than-steller Spanish. This tactic seemed to work as she ruffled through the lost and found and came up with the desired remote control.

I'm not sure what's funnier, the fact that I started speaking in Spanish or the fact that she understood.

I missed the Italy-Ghana game, but it appeared to be a good one. Or at least exciting. I'm afraid to admit the distinct possibility that the US won't score a point. I think they are decent, but they've run up against a good group and they don't seem to be inspired.

To be honest, I won't enjoy the World Cup any less if the US gets knocked out of the first round. I can see how that could be construed as being unpatriotic, but I've outlined my reasons in below posts. That being said, I don't think I could ever root against the US...unless of course they brought Alexi Lalas back.
US Team

Only caught the 2nd half, but the thing that stood out to me was that the US did not look dangerous on offense. We had a few chances, but we certainly weren't making the Czechs nervous. On the other hand, the Czechs looked solid all around and that number 10 was pretty damn good.

On the way to work today, I caught some ESPN radio talking about how good the US could be in soccer if we had all our best athletes playing. This theory has been going around for awhile and I'm inclined to believe part of it. His stance, however, was that we simply needed to get Brian Urlacher to play soccer instead of football, and we'd be awesome because bigger and stronger is better in every sport.

In fact, I actually think this is one of cultural reasons why the US ISN'T good at soccer, a bias towards bigger and stronger players versus smart and fast and skilled players. Look at D1 soccer programs over the years and you'll see line ups that are bigger and stronger than their counterparts around the world. But we'd get our asses kicked. Our problem in soccer is more than just getting the best athletes playing. It's an understanding of the game. Baseball, football, and basketball we have enormous amounts of intelligence and experience. Soccer, we are lagging WAY behind the rest of the world. We don't identify talent for specific positions. We can't tell the difference between good athelete and skilled soccer player. We favor size and strength over speed/quickness/anticipation....we don't identify center midfielders versus forwards versus defenders.

Just the guy's comment that Urlacher would be a good soccer player is silly. Now, Barry Sanders....that's a different story. He would be unstoppable.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Soccer for Intellectuals

I don't know if I consider myself one of these, but it's undeniable soccer is big these days. While Jim Rome still mocks it, more and more, such nonsense comes across as trying to prove something, rather than being funny. In short, not many are listening. Especially when in the next sentence he starts talking about hockey. Come on, man, get real.

I'm thinking of ditching work tomorrow am to watch the US game. This is weird. I'd be willing to give up like 35+ dollars to watch the game - from an economic standpoint. This is irrational. This is World Cup fever.

I've been thinking about practicing new juggling moves. Something is wrong with me.
Know Thyself

I've played competitive soccer for a long time. I've scored a lot of goals (although very few in college because I played mostly defense). But I've never been a good goal scorer. Just a good player who can score. I've had quite a few (probably 10 or so) games in which I've scored two goals. But I have yet to EVER score a hat trick, in all my years of competitive soccer (I'm discounting youth/kids games, which don't really count).

So it was today, in our first round playoff game against the number one seed, I get to start at forward and in the first 30 minutes, knock in two goals. I have two more good breakaway opportunities before the half, neither of which I convert.

We are up 3-0 at halftime and I'm thinking to myself, "This is it. I will score a hat trick today and it will be a good day to do so."

The second half begins, but ten minutes in, our defense is struggling. The number one team won't give up and keep pounding away. Our goalkeeper played an AMAZING game, but finally, they pound in a bicycle kick and it's 3-1. Our team looks a little worried. Their best player is a forward, strong, not too fast, good touch, who's been collecting the ball all day and had many opportunities, but was yet to convert. For some reason our defenders just can't cover him. I've marked guys WAY better and taken them out of games, so I know in my head, I've got to move back and help solidify the defense (which is looking shakey), in order to preserve the game.

Part of me wanted to stay at forward, to keep the pressure up, and to get a chance to score that hat trick, which I'm fairly confident I could have done. But another part of me, the main and I think better part of me knew, that doing so, was putting us at risk of actually blowing a 3-0 lead and not moving on the playoffs.

So I moved back to stopper and marked their number 10 out of the game for the final 30 minutes or so. We won 3-1 and I didn't get another shot on goal.

Now for me, this is a little microcosm for an understanding about myself and my future and my life...a lot of my identity and what I know about myself has come through sport and how I perform at various levels at various times...mostly just because I've played sports for so much of my life. But what this helps crystalize is two things: 1) I am not the type to ever achieve big-time glory. It's just not in the cards for me. I will probably never score a hat trick. I'll never "land" the hottest girl in school. I'll never win an Oscar. I'll never be famous. I'll never be big time. This doesn't bug me, it's just something I understand, and part of me would like to achieve something like that, but it just ain't gonna happen. I can get a taste of glory, get close, but I'll never get it all. I'll never win an MVP, I'll never been homecoming king, I'll never be the valedictorian.

BUT, I don't gamble big because I know I don't need to in order to win. So while I might not achieve glory, I know over the long run, I'm winning more than I'm losing. That's one of the reason's I'm confident in myself taking on a risky and challenging career, because I know in my heart, I'll have some form of success. I won't be the biggest, baddest guy in town, but I'll move on in the playoffs and win some games that I'm not supposed to.

Anyhow, I could have entitled this the narcissism post, but I don't honestly view it that way, in the end, it is what I said at the beginning...knowing thyself.
I Can't Stop

Making World Cup blog posts. But it's funny to think - a number of players are going to step up and play wonderful, heroic soccer during this tournament. We don't know who it will be, but we know someone will. Isn't that weird? That's what's great about competition, it almost guarantees someone will do amazing things.
Improved Commentary

Fox Sport News has much better commentary than ABC. Thanks.
Only A Couple Minutes In...

But Portugal has already scored. Figo made a sweet play to get around a defender. This guy is going to retire? Anyhow, Portugal looks good. They are notorious underachievers, like the Dutch and Mexico and Spanish, but these are all teams I like to see play.

I thought Mexico look great at times and really soft at times against Iran.

UPDATE: Christian Ronaldo just did a show off move on a cross. I can see why one could point to this style of play as a reason Portugal underperforms. Why not put in a solid cross? But I'm not a puritan when it comes to soccer. I'm a style affectionado. Not necessarily Brazilian, who many feel epitomize the "style" of soccer. I'm actually more of a fan of British style, which I characterize as offensive minded team play with special pride taken in tackling hard all around the field. Paul Scholes played this way. Roy Keane. Zidane plays this way as well, even though he's not at all British. I also like the Portugese style, with emphasis on wing play. But then again, I like the Dutch game of possession. And I talk shit about Brazil, but goddamn, they are fun to watch, aren't they?

UPDATE: I forgot. SPEED. Portugal is FAST. I love watching fast teams...back in 1998 that was what was so impressive about Michael Owen. His pure speed at getting aound defenders. Same with Donovan.
Speaking of the Community and other Hippy Bullshit

Last night the power went out at my house around 6pm. I didn't notice until about 7pm, as I awoke from a nice little nap. (Note on naps - 1 hour is the perfect amount of nap time. Any longer, and you feel mushy, any shorter and you feel unsatisfied).

The power was out. I couldn't use my laptop to finish my work project, so I was stuck. I couldn't watch highlights. I didn't have night plans. I couldn't make any food. What was there to do?

I go outside and apparently, my neighbors all felt the same way. It wasn't quite dark yet, and everyone was kicking it in the courtyard, doors open, chatting it up.

I got to thinking, why don't people do this all the time? Wouldn't this be nice?

The streets were packed with people sitting outside just watching each other, smiling, all knowing we couldn't be watching TV or whatever else everyone does behind closed doors. Anyhow, interesting little moment...
What I Like About the World Cup

I feel like the world kinda slows down to pay attention to soccer matches. I know not a lot of people in the US are into it. And that's fine. But I feel like a citizen of the world knowing so many people are watching these games and other things are basically put on hold for a little while. Something about that appeals to me. Perhaps it's procrastination.

I mean, in South America, their stock markets close on the days when their teams have games. In Mexico, no one is paying attention to presidential elections. It's refreshing to know there are other things that can take precedence over economics and politics.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Spanish Channel

I might start watching the Spanish channel coverage because these announcers annoy me so much.

I feel like I'm listening to this guy critique the play, except that he's a total idiot. It would be like hiring me to comment on the World Series of Poker. Why the hell should someone listen to me commenting on how awesome players ought to be playing poker...what's worse, is that I'd probably be wrong half the time.

This guy is talking about Ivory Coast playing poorly...but Argentina is playing a sloppy second half. Ivory Coast has had most of the possession and yet he's saying they aren't possessing it.

Soccer - it brings out partisan feelings. People don't see the same game.
More World Cup

Watching Ivory Coast v. Argentina. This is a good game. Watching Ivory Coast...this small African nation plays goooood soccer. They play like the British.

It makes me think...10-20 years ago, the African teams weren't strong, but with so many of their talented players playing overseas, their national teams have gotten not just talented, but good.

It's globalization, man. It might be ugly at times, but this is where the world is heading and it's a good thing.

UPDATE: Yes, Argentina is up 2-0 (but they were offsides on the 2nd goal). Argentina has great finishers. But I like the Ivory Coast's soccer better.

Everyone who reads my blog regularly know I am not one of those left coasters who gets a hard on for talking shit about the US and our neanderthal (fill in the blank - cultural, politics, whatever).

But I must say, our coverage of soccer is embarassing. Can't we import some real commentators? I could give a shit about Alexi Lalas and Brent Musberger.

I also hate comments like, "Trinidad and Tobago is like George Mason from the NCAA tourney and Sweeden is like a number 1 seed." Ahhh, not really. Do they think we are all idiots and can't understand soccer as seperate from some American sport?

Here's the thing...I'm a fan of globalization. That means I'm a fan of the US exporting our best product - democracy around the world. But it also means I'm in favor of importing goods we do not excel at, ie soccer knowledge. We can't, as a nation, learn about the game by listening to idiots simply because they have American accents.

Our team is getting good. Not that good...we are yet to have a world class position player. We will when a position player is a major force on a big European club. That means an American field player on Juventes, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man U, Real Madrid, get the idea. That's not to take away from Donovan and Beasley, who are great players, but they aren't playing with the best. I'm willing to believe that Japanese players are good at baseball. But it wasn't until Nomo and Ichiro came over and proved how good they were at the highest level, that I became convinced.

Anyhow. I guess we're getting there. These things take time.
World Cup

Barely was able to get out of bed this AM to see the 2nd half of the England-Paraguy game. Lame game. England didn't look good. I don't like how conservative Paraguy plays. They have this guy Cuevas, a really exciting player, that they sub in when they need a goal. Why don't they start him? I saw them play Germany last year in round 2 (live) and they literally played for the tie, not even subbing in Cuevas in during overtime. This was after he scored two goals in a first round game against Slovania in like 15 minutes. He threw a fit after the game, because Germany ended up winning 1-0. I think Ballack scored a goal in OT, with like 5 minutes left, after which Paraguy subbed him in. Paraguy was playing to get to PK's. I hate that style. So did Cuevas, he was throwing a fit. I felt bad for the guy. This was clearly the most talented guy on the team and he here has a chance to play on the world stage and the coach is sitting him, presumably because he was a) young and b) maybe deficient in some aspect of his game (defense?). Who knows.

Point is, England didn't look sharp, but they still have a lot of good players. I want to see this Roony play.

On the other hand, the Sweeden-Trinidad Tobago game is good. Sweeden looks strong and fast and skilled. Trinidad is outmatched, but it's still 0-0 and soccer is a weird game.

I have hope.

Friday, June 09, 2006

World Cup

Couldn't watch game 1, Germany v. Costa Rica, but from the internet, it looked like a decent match - 4-2.

I must admit, my least favorite team in the world has always been Germany. I don't like their big, lumbering, inelegant style of play.

I am not a passionate fan of any team, but mostly of the game and style of play. The same goes for me in basketball. Ironically, the complete opposite is true for baseball and football, in which I'm a completely irrational fan-boy for the Oakland A's and San Francisco Forty Niners.

My favorite teams to watch, historically: England, Argentina, France, Nigeria, Netherlands.

My least favorite teams to watch, historically: Germany, Iran, Italy.

I used to hate watching the US of Alexi Lalas (exception - Tab Ramos was badass). But the 2002 team was a new breed of American soccer and I really like watching them play.

I love watching Brazil, but get tired of their dominance. I like to see them lose. One of my favorite teams of all time, France 1998 against Brazi was one of the most fun soccer games I've ever seen. Although, I must admit Ronahldino is maybe the single most fun player to watch...Henry, also. Zidane from 1998-2000...
That's the Sound of Me Joining the Applause

All day I wanted to get to blogging about Zarqawi's death. Finally, now, even though it's old news, I get to. How does it make me feel (that's the big question when you're in film school)? Goooooood. I doubt if I've ever been happier about the death of another human being - although Zarqawi only qualifies in biological terms. This guy was clearly one of the most vile pieces of trash on the planet.

There are several strategic reasons why Zarqawi's death is to be applauded:

1. Boost American and Iraqi morale. Although I would hardly argue that killing Zarqawi alone justifies the Iraq invasion, it certainly is a mark of progress and an accomplishment by the troops on the ground. Specifically, Task Force 145, which the counterterrorism blog has been following for some time, who seemed to be behind the ramping up of pressure on Zarqawi's network the past month or so.

2. Eliminating a tough, resiliant leader of our enemy. Say what you will about Zarqawi, he was a good terrorist. Good at terrorizing people, raising money, staging attacks, publicizing his organization. Good terrorists, I think, are just like anything else, hard to come by. It takes years of training and experience and aptitude to become an A-list terrorist and I don't think it's that easy to replace these guys. That's why we need to keep after them and keep killing and/or capturing.

3. Raising the Cost of being a terrorist. After 9/11, we realized the cost of being a terrorist wasn't high enough. Yes, you made it onto the FBI list and weren't welcome in the country, but there were plenty of places in the world you could go and hide out. Killing Zarqawi provides a good example of how sticking after these guys will eventually yield results and that the outcome for ANY terrorist will eventually be the same. They need to know this, that becoming a high or medium profile Islamo Fascist terrorist means we will eventually capture or kill you. This is one of the main reasons I am not in the camp who believes OBL isn't operationally important anymore....

4. Cut Off the Face. Zarqawi was the face of the insurgency. He was a rallying point, a consistant force, that never quit. He and his crew were the vanguard of the insurgency. This may yet prove to be wrong, but we'll see what happens...I imagine this hurts the insurgents long term ability to raise money and rally new recruits.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Gee, You Look Happy Today!

Well maybe it's because the World Cup starts in two days. Or perhaps it could be because it's Altman-fest this week. Or perhaps because the NBA finals starts tomorrow. Or perhaps the New Beverly Schedule is AWESOME for the next couple of weeks. Or perhaps I've got a mix of pretty damn cool jobs. Or perhaps because I'm going to Spain. Or perhaps because I'm giddy about film projects for the rest of the summer. Or perhaps I'm warming up to the idea of dating. Or could it be the 2nd season of Arrested Development on DVD. Hmmmmm.

UPDATE: Or maybe THIS is the reason. CNN is reporting Al Zarqawi is dead. It's about time.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Democracy Takes Time

Indeed, a little reminder.

Ideas trump the men involved with them. The idea of democracy as the only long term solution to the grand problem of the middle east is a whole hell of a lot bigger than George Bush, Tony Blair, or any of the people immediately involved. I also think it is a better idea than the alternatives.
I Root For the Suns

I'm loving these playoffs. But I gotta admit, the Mavs are GOOOOD.

Mavs are a better team, Suns just need to knock down shots and play at their pace to have a shot. Out of 10 games, Mavs will win 6 or 7.
Oh Well

I supported Dunkin Donuts before I knew they went along with immigration laws.

Nate discusses why liberals aren't willing to engage in rhetoric against illiberal regimes.

Apply the same logic to the pro-war position and we'll stop criticism of the Bush administration handling the war because it gives credence to the far left, Moveon, ANSWER coalition, anti-war/anti-globalization/anti-American camp.

Because "only a naif would view criticism in a vacuum," he's right, and he's siding with the anti-global movement, the social welfare/anti American French, and any number of murderous thugs who oppose the US flexing our muscles because it threatens their ability to illegitimately govern.

Privileging that group to the Bush administration is nothing to be proud of, if you ask me.
Tangible Example of Intangibles

Sporting analysts talk about intangibles. Steve Nash clearly has them. They are the values added to a team that don't show up on a stat sheet.

In the 3rd quarter tonight, Josh Howard and Dirk are giving Phoenix trouble. But Howard has 3 fouls. Nash drives to the hoop and draws a foul on Howard, giving him 4, leading to Avery Johnson benching him. This leads to a Suns run that gets them back into the game and into the lead.

I'm not positive Nash intended to get the foul on Howard. I'm not sure he knew exactly how many fouls Howard had. I'm not sure if he strategically made the choice or not. But then again, maybe he did.

Either way, it's a great play that doesn't show up on the stat sheet.