Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dennis Miller

On Kerry, Bush, and Iraq. Not bad.

This guy is smart, but I don't think he's that funny.
Friends in the Middle East

We have operated under the assumption - on both the left and right - that there are friends to be had in the Middle East, and it's just about sticking with and supporting the right people. Perhaps this is a wrong headed assumption. Perhaps there are no friends to be had there at all. To me, this changes things.
Fair Enough

George Will writes about the lag time between observing a problem and acknowledging a problem in Iraq.

The administration was/is too focused and counted too heavily on the best case scenario, ignoring the worst case of invasion. And of course, we find ourselves much closer to the worst case than the best.

But what I still don't like is this notion that doing nothing about Iraq, and continuing inspections, or going along the pre-9/11 path of containment was some sort of neutral policy. This position, which was tested for 12 years, was not working. Now the clearest argument, I think, is that while the pre-Bush policy was not working in Iraq, Bush's policy is NOT WORKING WORSE.

Look, Clinton appeased the North Koreans and it kept them without nukes. Clinton, through the UN, did sanctions on Iraq and it inflamed anger across the Muslim world. Were these smart policies that contained truly ugly problems? Or were were kicking the can down the road and racking up credit card debt for later generations to deal with? Honestly, I don't know.

Are we right now, making the tough sacrifices so that future generations can be safe? Or are we creating a massive new problem that will cause nightmares for the future? I don't know either.

History will tell.
A Really Great Quote

So true, so true. No one is thinking about what you do or say...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Letterman and O'Reilly

Somewhat interesting.

I dunno. Sure, the Dems make take Congress back. I'm not sure it's anything to get too excited about. Both our parties suck in amazingly different ways. It's a fine time, isn't it?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Most Men Lead Lives of Quiet Desperation

While others lead lives of public desperation.
On A Similar Note...

as my last passage...my screenwriting instructor the other day told a funny story about how he was stressed out, fuming, and trying to figure out how he was going to get all his work done because he had landed three choice writing assignments. But he basically started kicking himself because he's like "This is the exact type of problem I WANT!"

I feel stressed out lately from too much stuff going on...but unlike earlier in film school when some of the projects had seemingly little future or present payoff, most of the things I'm doing now are good. I'm stressed, but it's the good stress, the kind of stress I hope will last.

Firstly, I've been majorly stressed the past week about doing a sitcom rewrite that is at least 3 weeks late. I feel bad, but finally sat down and reworked an outline this afternoon, and I think it could be pretty good. I sent it off and that will hopefully hold off the producer from breathing down my neck for a little while longer. This job will be paid, but I've already put a lot of work into it, and the hourly rate probably won't work out to be that much. But what the fuck, I'm getting paid to write. And that's been my goal. So here I frigging am.

Secondly, the video game project has persistent deadlines and I'm always behind. But I get paid for that work too and feel as though I do good work - for the most part. And again, it's like, you're working on a frigging computer/video game, that's awesome!

Thirdly, my classes - the pitch class and my writing class are loads of work, but it's all about coming up with projects and ideas and hopefully some of these things are the ones that will help my career get started, help get an agent, become my first directed movies, and so forth. So, to me, all of these things are worth the time and stress and because of that, I am able to keep pushing through stress and doing for the most part, good work.

Fourthly, business stuff. Finally, I've figured out what elements of producing I like versus which I don't like, and a way for me to focus on those. I don't love this stuff, but I like it...running SPO and trying to come up with a brand of movies to invest in...both things I'm doing that aren't directly making films, but are tangential to the business. I don't know if this stuff will lead anywhere, but I like it enough to not worry about it too much.

Fifthly, all the things that are on the complete back burner. I simply have no time for the following: Editing my movie from this summer, remixing an electronic music video from Phil's movie, writing a spec script to get a writing job/agent, sending any of my past movies to festivals, searching for a job after December. All these things I want to do, would even like to do, but there's no time...and I suppose, for the moment, that is okay.

A funny little story about how efficient the DMV has become. I've noticed as well. I scheduled 1/2 day to go down there and get my license renewed. It took 1/2 hour.

While some things in the world seem to be getting worse, others seem to be getting better. Who woulda thought?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Options In Iraq

It seems like we have two options that could help the US achieve limited goals. We of course have a series of other options that probably lead to massive failures.

1. Pull our troops out of trouble spots, keep a bunch of badass special forces divisions around in friendly areas in the West to to kill as many Sunni Islamicists as possible - anytime they poke their heads out too much or threaten to take control of any area. In short, keep the country instable, so that it cannot become a new Afghanistan and can still serve the flypaper theory of killing Islamicists there rather than here.

2. Start over. Bring in 500,000 troops. Completely disband the police forces and militias. Make it illegal to have a gun in Iraq and do what we did with Germany after WWII. Total security. Kill anyone so much as they raise a finger against the occupation. Bring security first and impose upon Iraq a civil society and civil government.

I'm not sure which approach I favor.
My New Favorite Website

Right here.

Friday Night Lights and 30 Rock. I'll be checking out the office and Heroes shortly...and applying to NBC for jobs.

And by the way...Alec Baldwin is my new favorite actor. The guy's delivered more good lines THIS year than anyone in recent history.

"In five years, we'll all either be working for him, or slain by his hand." Who the fuck wrote that?!? Awesome.

10 Year High School Reunion

That pretty much sums up the reunion. And maybe high school, for that matter.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Debate As A Security Issue

An interesting debate going on about the President's recent use of Caliphate in a speech.

Basically what we have surrounding the Terrorism and Islamism issues is a wrecked intellectual security system. We have "experts," plagued by political correctness whose principal goal is to not offend, we have security people completely disinterested in understanding the enemy, and we have an intellectually weak and ungraceful president who can't seem to find the right words to describe the problem he sees.

Last night, Andy remarked on how the rich political debate in the House of Commons was amazing to watch and probably strengthen's Tony Blair's own positions by forcing him to be on his toes. We have debates in this country, but it really isn't the same as seeing elected officials defending their positions, and doing so with a bit of flair and humor.

Maybe what we need in this country is a renewed emphasis on debate and intellectual curiosity, not as an end in themselves, but as a practical way to find solutions to security questions. I would be, as they say, down.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Oh Yeah, That's Why

This is the reason we deposed Saddam Hussein. I'm not kidding.
Why Should CAIR Care?

By what I hear and read this surprises me. But maybe it shouldn't.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

This Makes Me Want to Puke

We have a bunch of officials with varying roles in winning the war on terror and they don't know the basics of our opponents.


Friday, October 20, 2006


A consensus seems to be building, among generals and commanders on the ground that the effort to secure Baghdad has failed. That sucks.

Has the neo-conservative movement failed? Is it over? It shouldn't be cause for celebration.

Well, I always thought of Iraq like a poker hand...after the flop we had a nut flush and a straight draw, with a bunch of other players in the hand. Maybe a 40-60 bet, but the payoff for victory would have been huge, so the bet was worth it. I'd rather play like that than folding away an opportunities and getting slowly worn down by the blinds.

Anyhow, the turn clearly didn't help us, and here we are, trying to decide whether to stay in the hand or not before the river and facing a huge bet. Are we pot committed? Or do we save our chips for another hand?
Hold It, Everyone!

Kim Jong Il has apologized. Phew. Glad we averted that crisis.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Light to None

Light to no blogging this week, as I will be away from the internet.

I'll leave you with a fun essay on a super fun subject: Iraq.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


If the terrorists ever want information from me and need to resort to torture, they should force me to watch the A's hit with men in scoring position. I'll cave in a minute.

Chrissake, a sweep. That's frigging annoying.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Political Correctness on Campus

I've actively had my eye out for Political Correctness on campus for about three years. Subconsciously, I've had my eye out for it for much longer. In the media, particularly the right wing blogosphere, the common villian is the liberal faculty who instills politically correct values upon the students - sometimes against their will.

Although most faculty is liberal, in my experience, they are mature enough to recognize students for their aptitude, regardless of the students political persuasion. And generally, faculty is open to being questioned on their sometimes silly political beliefs. In general, they are able to have conversations and defend their beliefs, and generally are open to hearing points of view they don't share. After all, that's part of their job.

But where I've noticed a startling lack of originality and sometimes an obtuse political correctness is from the students. Particularly in my interaction with undergraduate students at USC. They seem incapable of discussing some topics for fear of being considered politically incorrect. They sometimes resort to using terms such as racist in complete seriousness to describe what at best, might be a stereotype. Because we are in film school and working with characters, throwing around the term racist to describe a bad character description is not only foolish, but almost purposefully malicious - particularly when it's clear the author did not intend anything hateful.

It is as if these students have never come face to face with real racism in their lives and think mispoken words or poorly crafted characters constitute racism. It's absurd.

A couple of examples:

We were talking about race and I said something like there are five races. This undergrad looked at me like I was crazy. I said "what?" He said, "Dude, that's like, racist." I said, "Why?" He said, "There are totally more than five races. There are all sorts of mixed races and ethnographic distinctions, and blah, blah, blah." And I was like, "Are you kidding me dude: there's white, black, brown, yellow, and red." Those are the basic racial categories. Look at the census." He was like, "Dude, I can't even have a conversation with you, you're ignorant."

Ignorant? For admitting there is such a thing as race? Jesus Christ.

Then there's the example of resorting headshots in our production office. Some students were completely against sorting headshots based upon race because it seemed old fashioned and stupid because no one cares about race anymore? Hunh? The fact is, sometimes people are looking to cast Asian actors. And that, in and of itself, is not wrong. Some students felt like it was our job to encourage people to look at casting outside the race that their characters were conceived as. Hunh? Why would that be our job? The silliness and general jitteriness students have with respect to discussing and breaking down race is absurd.

Anyhow, beware...it ain't all the faculties fault, it's a large part of the students too scared to be perceived as insensitive, too scared to weigh other values than diversity, too scared to think and question those silly red politically correct flags.
Don't Put it Past Them

Headline: North Korea Nukes Self in Desperate Plea For Attention
Micro Credit

A way out of poverty, annoying Islamicists, and empowering women.

All sounds good to me.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

What Is Film School?

A lot of coffee. A lot of bad ideas for movies being shot around. A lot of procrastination. A lot of busy work. But a pretty interesting place, all things considered.
The Big Hurt

I seriously thought we was hitting a slam this evening to win the game and propel the A's into an ass thumping of the Tigers. But it was not to be. We are down 0-2 and I have no logical reason to think we can come back and win, except that I do.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Can't Win That Way

Well you can't win leaving 13 men in scoring position.

And where the hell did the Tigers get all that pitching. For chrissake.

Anyhow, the Tigers aren't good enough to win seven straight games, so we'll get back in at some point in the series. That I'm confident in. Whether we will win, that's up to the baseball gods.

In other news, Netflix has a $1 million dollar prize to improving their recommendation system.

Monday, October 09, 2006

When You're Right, You're Right

For those of us who bought into the preemption doctrine, the North Korea development must be considered a massive failure. We are that much closer to getting the worst weapons in the worst hands imaginable.

On Fox News last night some douche bag was trying to blame Clinton's appeasement to North Korea in 1994 as the reason for this. I know his point, but can how can he honestly say this - today - with a straight face. It's almost as absurd as when the Islamic Fundamentalists point out the Shah being installed as a puppet regime as to why they are pissed here and now. It's a half truth, used as an excuse to do whatever one wants in the present.

Bush promised five years ago to not let the worst regimes have the worst weapons. He identified the axis of evil: Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as the focus of our attention. We look at these three countries today and must ask ourselves: are we better off than 5 years ago? Perhaps this is an unfair metric. Perhaps five years ago we were in the dark and our foreign policy since then has become more attuned with the actual threats we face. But nonetheless, it is a metric I do think we need to use, unless someone can point out a better one.

It is clear, how we've handled Iran and North Korea in the past five years, must be considered a failure. Iran is creating instability in Iraq, is developing their own nuclear technology, and we have no way of dealing with either. North Korea, now has tested a nuke, made us look like idiots, and will conceivably start a nuclear arms race in Asia. Not to mention the fact that they are both stupid enough and willing to probably get a nuke in the hands of a terrorist group. Not for a second do I think this is not a possibility.

Iraq, at best, can still be considered a toss up.

It's time to start owning up - I know a lot of people have been saying the same thing before me - we need a new direction. Who can deliver?

I don't know if the Dems can do it. It's either take back Congress and launch some serious discussion about how to modify our policies in this global war or it's about time to clean house in the Bush White House - and that basically means Rumsfeld stepping down.

Iraq, to me, was always a symbol that change needed to happen in the Middle East. Well, now there needs to be a symbol of change in Washington. Truman had to fire McArthur. Shit happens. Loyalty can only go so far. We've got a war to win.
Condemn North Korea

Let's say it all together now: Shame on you North Korea. Shame on you Kim Jong Il.

So There.
The Departed

A few quick notes: really liked the movie. Thought Marky Mark and Alec Baldwin stole the scenes they were in. It's easier for them, because they don't have to carry the plot. A smart comment by someone - DiCaprio was good, he seemed to not have slept for the entire movie. Great idea for a movie. When I got home, I thought about some of the plot things and they don't totally make sense, but it was a damn enjoyable film to watch.

It's good for Scorcese to make a hit like this.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Lemme Me Just Say This

If Congressman Foley was a hot chick, I'd think what he did was hot. As it is, I'm disgusted. Does that make me a hypocrite, a homophobe, or a partisan hack?

The test:

1. If Foley was a hideous chick, would it make you:

a) More disgusted b) Less Disgusted c) Equally disgusted.

2. If Foley was a Democrat, would it make you:

a) More surprised b) Less surprised c) Pissed off because it was really nice and ironic that he was a Republican.

3. If Foley was a good looking, out of the closet gay guy, would it make you:

a) Think it was hot b) Disgusted c) Shocked that a good looking out of the closet gay guy was a Republican.

My answers:

1. b
2. c
3. c

I guess that makes me a partisan hypocritical homophobe with a sense of irony about it.
A Liberal, But Not Considered One

Why I'm a liberal, despite not being considered one.
Now That's Good

Friday Night Lights has been getting huge reviews. You can watch it here on NBC.

There's a couple of amazing things here. First, is the presentation. NBC is figuring out how to use the internet for content and protect their business model. They show commercials during the internet streaming that one can't fast forward through. But the commercials aren't burdonsome to watch, so I don't mind. I love how you can see the show anytime, that you don't necessarily need to watch it on Tuesday night. Good idea.

But then there's the show. I haven't read many of the amazing reviews, so I'll just point out a few little brilliant details within the show.

The main character of the show is the new coach of a small texas high school football team. The entire state expects a championship and so the burden weighs heavily on him. During the big game it shows him trying to catch up on what's going on out on the field. He's watching the game, but it's so complicated and fast, that he needs help from the players themselves to explain what they're seeing and he needs verification to identify who the injured player is at a big moment in the game. This is a pretty incredible and true point of view on leadership. Instead of portraying leaders as all powerful, all knowing entities, whether for good or evil, this leader, while far from being incompetent, has, like everyone else limited information and scrambles around trying to figure out what's going on. Really amazing writing and insight, I think.

Watch for yourself.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Kubrick Despondant

According to this, he hated Eyes Wide Shut.

Sorry, it requires a little scroll down.
Over Sensitive

Fag hag is a particular term used for single, party girls who hang out with and party with out-of-the-closet gay men. It is light, fun term, generally accepted by the gay community, I think.

Perhaps it isn't politically correct, or even bigoted, but it refers to a specific phenomenon of straight women who spend a lot of time with gay men.

This Andrew Sullivan reader is a offended by the term, even though she misuses it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Playoffs

It's a whole different ballgame than the regular season. Regular season success, I think, depends mostly upon deep starting pitching and good defense.

To be able to contend for every game because of strong starting pitching is the best assurance for getting into the playoffs. It is also one of the cheaper was to get into the playoffs because pitching is such an elusive art. Pitchers tend to get hurt so often, it's tough to buy a great rotation. Plus, pitchers benefit from working in certain parks and with certain team dynamics.

But the postseason is a different story. Mostly, I think it is about streakiness. Baseball is a game of streaks and temperature. When a player hits .325 for the year, it usually means he's been hitting .250 for a good chuck of the year and .400 for a good chunk of the year. You've got to hope your hitters are hitting .400 during the playoffs...because if they aren't, at least one of the other teams is.

Streaky hitting isn't the only thing that's huge in the playoffs, however. The bullpen is huge. Bullpens that can close down games after the 7th inning are really tough to beat. If you've got a stellar bullpen, it effectively gives you 9 innings to win and the opponent 7 innings.

The final element that can determine post-season victory is a single, badass starter. In the regular season, the most a starter can do for you is win about 20-25 games max. You need about 95 wins to get into the post-season, so you're looking at 1 in 4 or so.

But in the post-season, in a seven game series, one starter can start 3 games. Games 1, 4, and 7. If you can have a huge advantage in 3 games when you get a Josh Beckett on fire or Oral Hershisher, they can win 3 of 4 games and give you a major advantage.

Anyhow, go A's.

Not that we haven't proven capable of losing a series when up 2-0, but what better position could the A's be in? Going home, up 2-0. Two solid starters lined up. Sounds good to me.

It's huge to win game 3 and take the series sweep. If we let up, they put Santana on the mound for game 4 and then try to get us back in the Metrodome in game 5 with all the momentum. We gotta come out, kick their ass, and rest for the Yankees.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

That's Why Screenwriters Are Usually Men

Evolutionary biology...of course!

I was very worried when we drew the Twins in the final day of regular season. Needing to beat Santana twice! Those feisty Twins in the Metrodome. Scary. Very scary. Add to it that the A's NEVER do well against the Twins. I just didn't like it at all.

But Zito, it looks like, came through huge and of course, the MVP, Frank Thomas...the big hurt. Hoo ha!

A's 1-0. I called second round earlier this year, and I smell it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

All of a Sudden

There are a bunch of movies I'm really interested in seeing. In order:

1. Inland Empire
2. Borat
3. The Departed
4. The Prestige
5. Black Dahlia
6. Jackass Part II
7. The Last King of Scotland
8. The Guardian
What's the World Coming To?

I just spent $12 on a lunch at Quiznos. That's right, Quiznos. Can we just invade Saudi Arabia already and steal all the oil?
Worth A Read

A terrorist plot in ancient rome.
Catching Up

I think we're starting to witness first hand how important oil is to our economy.

The last couple of years, it's been gas prices. Then, I started to notice food costs increasing at restaurants because food is costing more to transport.

But here's the real indicator: Starbucks is raising their coffee prices.

All little things thus far, but eventually my consumption habits will need to adjust. Maybe I'll start making coffee. Not a terrible idea.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


What is with bloggers huffing and puffing and pronouncing, "I will no longer read your blog or Sullivan's blog or Reynolds, or whatever."

What's with the emails? If they don't want to read, why don't they just stop reading. Why do they email these guys with pronouncements? It reminds me of child threatening to run away when the parents aren't paying enough attention. Grow up.

It's nice. Bery nice.
Here's An Example of How Sullivan Blows It

Look, he's posted a reader's email who makes a good point. In his final little aside, however, he has to say "One might ask the same of Glenn Reynolds, but I fear his cooptation by the administration is pretty near complete."

Like it was a goddamn Star Wars movie. What a tool.

The other movie thing that made me suspicious of Sullivan's position was his YouTube clip from the Seige, in which Denzel proudly states to the camera - If you torture this man, we've lost everything we've stood for...blah...blah...blah...and they've won. They've already won!"

Sullivan uses this clip as an example of great screenwriting which summarizes his point exactly. Hmmm.

I don't buy it. I never liked that section of the movie in the first place. I suppose you could make an argument what terrorism is ultimately about collective, mass suicide, that they know they cannot win, but just hope to bring us as low as possible - maybe. But that doesn't really constitute winning, the way I understand it.

But regardless, I'm not sure WE lose everytime we do something morally monsterous. I mean, America in WWII did all sorts of considerably more horrific military tactics than torturing prisoners - specifically - bombing civilian populations to bring our enemies to their knees.

Was this a compromise of our principles?

Again, you could frame an argument that the War on Terror is not WWIII, that we don't need to do this crap, and it's morally wrong. But I'm not buying what I would call "the absolute morally wrong" argument by itself. Because I do believe in the hypothetical situation in which torture was needed to prevent mass death, it would be morally preferable to do so. Therefore, it because a balancing of morals question, and does not fall into the "absolutely morally wrong."

An example of what I would call "absolutely morally wrong," would be Uday Hussein's practice of torturing soccer players after playing poorly. Under no circumstances could one justify this type of torture - for increased performance - or for the purpose of sadistic pleasure. There's a distinction to be made here, and conflating the two as both "torture," misses, I think, the point.