Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Another great European filmmaker dies. I'd say "what's going on," except for the fact they were 94 and 89, respectively. I don't know much about their personal lives, but I'd venture to guess they lived long lives because they spent a good portion of it doing something creative and rewarding.
A Hell Of An Obama Endorsement

Persuasive. But still wrong on the war.

To be fair, I better read carefully Obama's position before I fail to get on the bandwagon. But then again, I don't trust heroes or angels...and yet it seems to be what people want - and what Obama can provide.

In the afternoon I like to have a soda. My soda of choice is overwhelmingly Diet Pepsi. I love it.

Oftentimes, I like to eat a salty snack with the soda and the only option we have at our office is popcorn. Now, for some reason, with this brand of popcorn I like how regular coke compliments the popcorn. I have no idea why. When I opt for the popcorn, I choose to drink a coke instead of a Pespi.

So a weird thing happens...I go into the kitchen with the intention of getting a Pepsi and end up leaving the kitchen with a popcorn and coke through a set of rational choices. I've done this multiple times.
Amazon Prime

I used the trial subscription when I purchased a cord and then I also bought two other things this weekend because of the free shipping, an ipod radio converter and a new hardback book.

I would've just bought the ipod thing from radio shack, but it was half the price on amazon with the free shipping. The book I wanted was a hardcover best seller, a new book on the CIA. Normally, I don't pay premium price for a book - I wait for the paperback, get it as a gift (for some reason my parents like hardcover), or I'll get it from the library. Once in awhile, if I REALLY want or need to read a book, I get the hardcover, but it is rare.

But with free shipping, and the amazon discount, the book was only $16, which is pretty affordable for a 700 page hardcover. I'm sure the paperback will cost 12-15 at the store anyway, so I saw it as a good deal.
Done Deal

Rupert Murdoch just bought the Wall Street Journal. Don't ask me what this means.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A War We Might Just Win

From the NY Times.

Gee, that would be nice.

Heard GW a little bit today on the radio doing a press conference with Gordon Brown. I've said it before, I'll say it again, I think the guy is right on the WOT. We can turn on backs on the grotesque violence perpetrated by terrorists around the world and do our best to prevent it hitting our shores, or we can pick strategic places to combat these thugs and deal them crushing losses on their turf. Iraq is the second chapter of this war...and one where we are in a position to win.

Friday, July 27, 2007

How We Really Feel?

Does the Onion nail a really sophisticated truth through humor: Is Our Wealth Hurting Africa's Feelings?
Maybe The Most Fascinating Thing

I don't know if I'm partially drunk or totally narcissistic, but maybe the most interesting think I've done in a long time was find this old file of emails in an old hotmail account from summer 2000 and read them. They are remarkably well written and funny and smart and maybe I'm not a total idiot...in hindsight. A lot of stuff about jobs and work and friends and in this other file an email correspondence with a college prof about writing letter of recommendations to film school. So weird.

Do we all realize that the Hitler's and Martin Luther King's of the future will have tremendous amounts of their correspondence captured by google in their gmail accounts...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

More Incentive to Write

Artful writer on the economics of screenwriting. Scroll to bottom.
Poor Baby

One person can make a difference...sounds more like, I want the world to agree with my foreign policy proposals...sorry, lots of passionate people hold different beliefs. You don't get sympathy from me for being stupid.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Go Vineet

Filmmaker Magazine's new filmmakers to watch.

I would say I have conflicted feelings over this.

The reason: I know more people, including kids, smoke because of the way it is portrayed in movies. And smoking is bad for you. But I also know smoking gives a cool texture to films and to imagine movies without smoking is somehow...sad.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thank God For the Internet

Somehow, people still manage to find Half Asian Full Asian on Youtube.

The most recent comment string discusses whether the guy in the blue hat (me!) is ugly or merely average looking. Thought you might enjoy that.
Other Movies Watched

Princess and the Call Girl - lame softcore porn. Really pretty girl who can't act at all.

Charleen - a short documentary by Ross McElwee about his high school poetry teacher. I am a big fan of his work.

Dance Hall Queen - not a good movie, but not bad either. Shot on DV in Jamiaca, it is about a drink vendor who transforms herself into a dancehall reggae queen. Pretty good music and a few good performances, notably one by a 15 year old girl, her daughter. It really stood out. I also have a fondness for the DV look blown up to 35mm. Movies like the Celebration, 28 Days Later, Inland Empire, and this Dance Hall movie really have a nice color palette and feel to them. I know these were all shot on different cameras, but they share a quality that is missing from the newer generation of DV and certainly HD. I don't exactly know how to explain it...but it almost reminds me of earlier color film when the latitude of the stock wasn't so great and you got blowout when bright.
One Bright and Shining Moment

A heavy handed documentary about George McGovern. I resist using agiprop because it ain't quite that, although the opening sequence borders on it.

I am still puzzled by the Iraq = Vietnam narrative. In this documentary you have quite a few hardcore leftists baldly stating, "We fought on the wrong side in Vietnam." Their thinking, I imagine, is that Ho Chi Min was fighting an anti-imperialist war, not a communist revolution. Another argument, the conservative/ Real Politick argument against Vietnam would be - mind our own business and leave a non-important "piss ant" country (LBJ's term) like Vietnam to themselves.

I don't see how either of these arguments apply to Iraq. Clearly, we are not fighting on the wrong side in Iraq - opposing a Sunni Terror state under Saddam or a Sunni Terror state under Al Queda is not the side we should be fighting with. Maybe...just maybe...the Iraq is unimportant argument holds up. But we certainly cannot argue that Iraq is less important than Vietnam. Iraq is hugely more important from a strategic perspective, being a keystone state in the most volitile region in the world, which also happens to be the home of most of the known oil reserves.

In any case, it is clear by our actions anyway that Iraq is not Vietnam. Protests were large at first and now dwindled to nothing. Maybe the sad fact is we just don't care. At least that's the message in this blog post about the "never again" promise after the Holocaust.

Maybe we don't care that much if Saddam is in power, terrorizing his own people. Likewise, we don't care that much if our soldiers are over there fighting a confusing war. We cared about fighting in Vietnam, but could give a flying shit about the Khmer Rouge or Rwanda or Sudan...or even Afghanistan.

I guess the difference is this: in Vietnam there was a draft and American's were dying in fairly large numbers over a hopeless and unimportant cause. Let's not pretend that American bombs killing Vietnamese citizens mattered to public opinion...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Movies Today

Working Girls. Shot by Judy Irola. Okay movie set almost entirely in an upscale NY whore house.

Still Water. A Pakistani movie about a son becoming involved with Muslim fundamentalists in 1979 and discovering his mother is a Sikh who refused to kill herself to save her family honor and became a Muslim. Good movie - one of those where you feel like you've learned about another culture.
Enjoying Combat

Yes, I bet a decent number of soldiers enjoy combat and even killing the enemy. I know that it is taboo to say...they are supposed to be reluctant soldiers, solemnly doing their duty. But I doubt that is true.

The only thing I can compare it to is sports...during soccer games, when things get messy, and you're hating the other team, there is often that guy on the other team who's been giving cheap shots during the game, talking trash, and otherwise trying to bully an advantage. I do sometimes try to set this guy up, let him think he has space for one more touch, just so I can give him a really, really hard tackle that will hurt him. Yes, I want it to hurt...never injure, but hurt and hurt enough that he doesn't want to go in another tackle with me or any of my teammates for the rest of the game. That on the next challenge he takes that split second off because he remembers the crunch of the earlier tackle. And I don't mind if I'm late and taking a foul or a card if necessary either, because there is a certain attitude it takes to win...in sports and I imagine in war. I don't believe in playing dirty, but at the same time, I've never accused anyone of playing dirty either. I really dislike the type of player who complains about another guy playing rough or hitting too hard. The solution: hit back, but do it fair. And if you complain to the ref, it should be to gain strategic advantage, not to try to find "fairness."

In any case, it is nothing like combat I'm sure, but the psychology of hurting others exists and isn't something I think we should be all that scared of.

Friday, July 20, 2007

49 Up

This film vaulted into my top ten today. It is one of those rare movies that is so good, it makes me not want to make movies. It makes me think I should become a garbage man or a retail clerk. At my very best, in my highest estimation of my future self, I do not think I could make a film this humanistic, emotional, or true. It is part of the series 7 Up, 14 Up, 21 Up, 28 Up, 35 Up, 42 Up, and so forth, in which British filmmaker Michael Apted takes 12 or so British children and interviews and films them every seven years to see how they've changed and stayed the same. The movie started out with dual premises, the Jesuit idea that a personality is formed by age 7 and that in Britain, the class you are born into determines your future prospects.

But what Apted discovers is so much more interesting. People change, they stay the same, dreams are abandoned and discovered, people have families, they grow old, they find joy and they find sorrow. It is so simple, yet infinitely complex. It is one of the great humanist projects of this century. Everyone should watch it. I look forward to going back and watching the other episodes.

Politics, race, class, gender recede into tiny little meaningless dots in the story of 12 different lives. Just incredible. Roger Ebert called it noble.
The Chill Argument

Believe me, I'm a proponent of the chill argument - let the idiot terrorists eventually evaporate from their own stupidity. Or count on regional allies to do the job. That's what Sullivan proposes for Waziristan and essentially proposes for Iraq - moving our troops out of the way.

Problem is, this was our foreign policy from the end of the Gulf War 1 to 9/11 and by all accounts it failed miserably. As far as the new democracy promotion agenda from Iraq to Palestine to Lebanon - who knows? It certainly isn't obvious to me that we are in worse shape than on 9/10. I still think if we play our cards right, we can come out ahead.
Sad News

The guy who ran the New Beverly, one of the great, affordable, old movie houses in LA passed away. He ran the place since May 5, 1978 - twenty three days before I was born. I didn't know him, but I'll miss him.
Shaking Up the Politics of the Region

I hope this bears out.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I usually find the ascot wearing director turned actor a tad annoying. My opinion, however, has been radically altered by a performance in a Law and Order Criminal Intent episode. Bogdanovich basically plays Hugh Heffner and every time he's on screen I'm laughing out loud.

I have this impression of the guy taking himself very seriously - maybe I'm misreading him - but in this L and O he's just romping around and having a good time. Very impressive.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jock vs. Nerd vs. Cool

I like this discussion of how the jock vs. nerd vs. theory of K-12 plays out in the real world.

I do think my life would be easier or clearer if I knew which of these categories I fell into. I excelled at sports as a youngster, but wasn't quite a jock. I was in the smart classes, but wasn't quite a nerd. And I hung with the cool kids, but wasn't quite cool.

It sort of worked like this...on the sports teams I was usually on the cool end. In the smart classes, I was the best athlete. And with the cool kids, I was usually one of the smartest. Sort of sounds like a recipe for failure - excelling at all the things in least competition...

So now I blog.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Did The Baja Fresh Girl Like Me or Think I'm Crazy and How I Know I'm American

As a prelude, I find it difficult to top a summertime Sunday evening tennis match under the lights followed by Baja Fresh. The new item they are advertising is the "enchilada burrito," which is the same as the wet burrito, essentially a red taco sauce and cheese over a regular burrito, heated up.

I like the wet burrito...but only with meat. A bean and cheese or veggie burrito should not be wet. Baja Fresh has an odd selection of burritos - they have about three different kinds and I cannot remember the exact differences.

I ask the girl how the enchilada works - she says in fairly broken English - order any burrito and you can make it wet. The menu is set up a bit confusing because some burritos list meat and other do not, but all of them list meat options below.

This conversation actually required a bit of back and forth because of the confusing menu and the way the wet burrito is advertised. I noticed when the communication gets a bit hairy, I raise my voice and start talking louder as if it will help. This is how I know I'm American.

After taking too long to examine the menu, I decide the bean and cheese and guac burrito sounds the best. I'm not too hungry so I say to myself - save the wet for another time. Stick with the staple. I order the burrito and insist it should not be not wet. She gives me this look, "well, why'd you ask about it then, asshole," and then says "Chicken or Steak."

"It comes with meat?"


"Chicken. And actually, can I have it wet, then."

If the first look was questionable, the second look was not.

As I waited for my food, she started to clean up, they were soon closing down. When I finally got my food, she insisted on opening the door for me and gave a big smile.

My theory is that she thought about my order and realized that yes, the wet burrito does make more sense with meat, and that guy wasn't a total idiot and I feel bad for giving him a bad look earlier.
I May Be Totally Wrong

If I'm totally wrong about the Middle East and terror and everything, this is why.

When I listen to people complain about Bush's incompetence, it makes me think of people who complain about how bad movies are. To an extent - they are right, most movies are bad. And most politicians are incompetent.

The greatest leaders have presided over terrible times. Lincoln and the North mismanaged the Civil War. Prior generations of politicians compromised and never resolved the fundamental issues that led to the war. Is the Civil War their fault? Is sacrificing nearly a generation of young American men due to political incompetence?

After a certain point with people who bitch too much about movies - I suggest making one and seeing how it turns out. Likewise - try to develop a foreign policy to deal with a schmuck like Saddam and a place like Iraq. Good luck.
Miami Vice vs. The Insider

I love both movies, so my opinion is irrelevant...but, you look at these two scripts and you notice some crazy ass shit, hijo. Miami Vice - Insider.

I know both these movies backwards and forwards. Insider is basically word for word what comes on the screen. Miami Vice is all over the place - lines totally changed, entire sections of scenes removed, entire scenes gone, characters coming in at different places. One might be able to make a comment about the differing "success" of each movie - Insider was Mann's peak performance whereas Miami Vice was lost in chaos from the get go.

Or - maybe the simple fact is - Insider is a shooting script and Miami Vice is an early draft. Maybe I should quit trying to be smart.

This might be the best blog post I've ever read.

Economics is becoming sexier every day. No joke. There is serious innovation going on right now with this Freakonomics stuff. This is the type of thing that will inspire generations of students and could lead to serious human progress.
Arafat Was A Homo

Well, that explains his hideously ugly wife.
A Fundamental Difference

Are we at war with radical Islam or are we simply experiencing a high amount of terrorism related to our foreign policy. This is the fundamental question and most foreign policy disagreements stem from this issue. Link.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I didn't know this was a thing, but I suppose it makes sense.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Okay, So Let's Invade Waziristan

Every damn news organization is talking about Al Queda's renewed capability. I'm down for pulling the Manuel Noriega sneak attack, we're in, we're own chopping down as many AQ training facilities as possible wherever they are. Sorry folks, this is the deal post-9/11, we have a right to go blow up camps who are arming and training folks to kill us.

What other conclusion can be drawn from this intelligence?

Thursday, July 12, 2007


A map of single men vs. single women. It looks like all the single men are on the West Coast and all the single women on the East Coast.

40,000 + more single men in LA than women. No wonder...
But Don't You See

Of course, drawing down in Iraq is the goal. When it is reasonable to do so. Articulating it in these terms is the correct way to approach it. But not for most liberals - they want capitulation, they want to pull out of Iraq in shame of what we did. It would not be enough to pull troops home in a reasonable fashion - it needs to be accompanied with castration.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Sullivan and a lot of other think it's totally foolish to stick in Iraq. That doing so requires lying to ourselves about the possibility of "success" there.

But how is it not equally foolish to say we've lost two wars - against AQ and in Iraq? Does our society look like a loser of a war? If we've just lost, I'd say everyone should be so lucky.
Iraq Debate Hiatus

I thought after the appropriations went through, the Iraq debate was on hold until September when Petraeus is scheduled to report. Here is an article outlining how the surge is working already.

At this point, whether one agrees with the war or not, it seems reasonable to wait until September to get the report from the ground...and then decide from there the best strategy.

UPDATE: Ouch - yes, that does put a hole in the article. But I still agree with it.
100 Years Time

Does what happens now and in the next decade in Iraq matter for the next 100 years? I've always thought so. I guess that's where I agree with Al Queda and not with most Americans. It seems to me most Americans think what happens in Iraq doesn't matter much in the scheme of things. Not unlike Vietnam, which when all things considered, doesn't matter much to the world, just to the American psyche. And of course, to the Vietnamese and a few neighboring states - Cambodia, Laos, etc.

And the article is right - Bush seems to be wrong on a lot of things, but on what I believe to be the biggest issue facing America (and frankly, the world), today, I think he gets it right.

Oh well.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How I Know I'm Not Gay or Homophobic

In hindsight, I'm surprised this hasn't come up before at my Netflix position, but today I got my first gay softcore porn film. In the que it appeared as "Sideline Secrets," and I thought - cool, maybe a documentary about coaching. Stupid idiot.

So I start watching and I quickly realize this is a gay coming out drama. Fine. Then ten minutes in, we get a masturbation scene. Unartful and unpleasant. Again, fine. Then, we get a shower scene. How are we brought into the scene? A close up cock shot. WTF? Totally gratuitous. Unnecessary.

Have I ever complained about gratuitous violence, boobs, vaginas? No. Does this make me a hypocrite? I don't give a shit.

I was tempted to opt out of watching, but either my work ethic, curiousity, or shame (of maybe being too homophobic) forced me to trudge through. And there were lots more fantasy sequences, unnecessary shirt removals, ass rape, blow jobs, random nakedness, and a whole lot of showers. These gays were very clean.

There were time where I was not paying close attention to the image, but rather the clock in the corner because yes, I had to look away. Luckily it was softcore.

BUT...through this experience, I have come to conclude that I am not homophobic. Why? Because while watching this movie I found nothing morally repugnant about the characters, I felt no ill will towards them or their actions (except for the ass rapist), and at times I sympathize with a gay guy longing for someone or being ostracized.

But before admitting to being open minded, one factual problem remains - it's gross!Low budget pimply faced, ugly assed gay dudes making out with each other, naked and hairy and gangly and in threesomes in bathtubs is motherfucking disgusting to look at. Objectively.

Would it be equally gross if fat, hairy, cherubish women were doing the same? No, not equally, but still gross. Girls are prettier than guys. Sorry. They are. Guys are better at sports. They are faster runners. Girls are softer, prettier, more pleasant to look at. I'm freaking sorry, it's true, and it's not homophobic.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Isn't the desire to leave now Iraq just anger and bitterness towards the Bush administration ineptly handling the situation?
What Are We Going To Do?

Fight these savages everywhere? Well, yes.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

That's A 50 Year Old

Like Sullivan, I'm allergic to self righteous pop stars, but this is just plain badass.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Been needing a new pair of jeans for awhile now. Sometime ago, I decided against fashionable, expensive jeans in favor of Levis since I like them good enough and my last fashionable pair of jeans ripped apart at what I thought was a premature age for jeans to die. But since I don't shop very much, I'm not too savvy about what different stores offer. In short, I didn't know where to go to get Levis. I thought a mall would surely have them, so while in Glendale today, I stopped by the Galleria area and went into Nordstrom. To put into perspective, Nordstrom has always basically been my home base for shopping, resulting from the proximity of the department store to my house while growing up. At this mall the two main stores were Nordstrom and Macy's and the Nordstrom men's section was a tad better than the Macy's. They used to have big sales once or twice a year and you could load up on good clothes for fairly reasonable prices.

In Nordstrom today I look around for jeans. I'm not joking, the least expensive jeans I found were $180. For jeans. What happened? I remember when there were a only very few brands that could pull of this ridiculous overpricing. I consider $80 jeans expensive - so there was no way I was going to even try on one of these uber costly jeans. I ask the gay guy wearing a Ben Sherman suit if they had Levis. He said, "No. Try Mervin's." He tried not to be insulting, but I don't think one can say "Try Mervin's," while dressing nicely without being insulting. So I did. Sure enough, Mervin's had loads of Levis - on sale. Granted 80% of them were lame, but I found two cuts I liked and got a couple of pairs. Total price: $69. For two. That's what I'm talking about.

Friday, July 06, 2007

A Problem We Face

We can't bomb Waziristan back to the stone age, since they are already in it.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Interesting Point

Sure, Americans see it as a right to dissent and see things from another perspective...even the perspective of our enemies. The irony, of course, is that our enemies don't care whether we dissent or not - they dislike us all equally.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Wine Country Chronicle

9:30am - Scheduled departure time.

9:45am - Everyone arrives - Jake, Phil, and I. We debate who will drive. Phil's car has a busted headlight. My car is stick shift and has no ipod connector. Jake is hungover. Jake drives.

10:00am - Stop at Western bagel. Eat bagels in the car - fairly messy and difficult.

10:45am - Get caught in massive traffic on 101.

12:30pm - Stop for gas and McDonalds.

1pm - Massive traffic thins out after Ojai.

1:45pm - Drive past a huge Indian casino.

2pm - Stop at Kalyra Winery, where Miles and Jack meet Stephanie in Sideways. Get a tasting for $7. Lots of girls. We see a bachlorette party dressed in all pink tank tops, but do not talk with them. I can't remember all the wines we taste. We started with a Chardonay and another white followed by four reds and two dessert wines.

2:45pm - We head towards Lompoc and drive through Solvang, a kitchy tourist town, where the Hitching Post is. We decide it might take too long to drive out to Lompoc and want to hit as many wineries as we can before 5pm, when most close. We turn around and head towards Los Olivos.

3pm - We decide to hit the next winery we drive past, regardless if it was in Sideways. We stumble across Rideau Winery. This place is nice. Cheese samples, artichoke dip, free jumbalaya. Of course the wine tasting costs $15 and no bottle is under $60. Similar to Kalyra, we start with a Chardonay followed by another white and onto the reds, Pinots and Syrah's. The wine was tastier but in small portions. This winery is total luxury in the the middle of the country. The pourer is a young girl with pretentious, albeit probably good, taste.

3:45pm - Lincourt winery is right down the street. We hit it up. This is my favorite winery. The wine area is small and so people don't linger at the counter and have to move about, creating a more social atmosphere. It pays off as we get to talking with a group of young girls from LA. They take our picture - the one posted above. They have a wine tour guide whose been taking them around to avoid driving. Good idea. She recommends a winery right up the street we can hit right before closing. We agree to possibly meet up with the girls later at the Casino or the Hitching Post. I think the lady pouring wine must like me because she pours my glasses consistently larger than Phil's.

4:45pm - Just before closing we find Blackburn winery. Only us and a couple remain. We are feeling a little saucy right now. We ask about Sideways and the pourer and the other lady tasting didn't like the movie. I got a bit hostile and defensive. We drank wine and it was clear the owners wanted us out of there right at 5pm. We drank quickly and were off.

5:30pm - Excited because of the potential of meeting up with ladies later in the evening, we decide to change our hotel reservations and find one closer to Solvang, the Hitching Post, and the Casino. We stop at cutesy motels, figuring they can't be too expensive. The first one is $200 (our hotel in Lompoc is $125 with two double bets) and has a pool. The one next door is $150. We take it and plot to break into the pool next door later on.

5:45pm - Get our stuff into the hotel and clean up a bit.

6pm - Hit a tasting room right down the street. We get generous pours and each of us try the different types of grapes we liked during the day. They poured the wine into a little glass thing and then from that into the wine glass.

7:15pm - Try to get into the Hitching Post early. It is busy and we can't. We decide to drive down the street to the hotel where Miles and Jack stay and drink beer at the sports bar.

Sports bar - we get a pitcher of beer and play cut throat. Jake dominates the game. The girls haven't called and we regret not getting their number. Stupid.

8:45pm - Hitching Post. We get a nice seat and the atmosphere is just like the movie, with a little bit darker light. We order Pinot and steaks. Yum. Food is good, except I think I chip off a piece of a molar. We get into a big argument about whether Death Proof is a good movie. Other patrons can definitely hear us and must of thought we were obnoxious.

10:25pm - Girls still don't call, they must have met other guys. We head towards the Casino. We drive along dark highway roads, but the full moon illuminates the surrounding hills. We finally figure we went the wrong way. We turn around, head back, and find the Casino. We totally passed it.

Casino - the place is packed. This area is pretty sparcely populated, so it is incredible to see how many people are in the Casino. There is no drinking allowed. We get cash from the ATM. I play blackjack for $10 a hand and get up $60. Then I lose massively and start betting bigger (I know it sounds stupid, but sometimes I play against the grain) and end up getting down $50. I quit. Jake plays 3 card poker and wins around $60. We hear a rumor about a bar.

11:30pm - We try to find this bar and get lost in a small town with about 3 streets. We drive up and down the blocks and see about 1 person. We drive back towards the main road and stop at a gas station. Jake asks random people driving in cars where the place is. We get directions. We stumble upon a parking lot and see a place with people streaming out the front doors drinking.

11:45pm - We roll up to the bar and bad pop music plays on the dancefloor (yes, there is a dancefloor). We see the girls in the distance...with two other guys. They charge us $5 at the door. Should've been a sign. We enter and somehow Phil gets lost. A really thick guy comes up to me the minute I walk in the bar and asks whether I have pepper spray. I say no. He pushes me aside and says get outta my way. I had no idea how to react. I order beers. Jake is angry at the situation. Phil comes in with the bouncer and it turns out our IDs had gotten switched around. We get our beers.

12am - We start talking to the girls again, but it isn't nearly as fun with competing dudes and the ever present feel of a fight about to break out.

12:15am - We leave.

12:30am - A final stop at the Hotel sports bar with the pool and a final beer. We ponder how we handled the situation with the beef cake who was looking for a fight. We are miserable, drunk, and tired.

1am - Back at the hotel we watch The Bodyguard and The Thomas Crowne affair until we fall asleep.

10am - Breakfast at the nice diner across the street.

Head home.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Timeline

Of Hamas.

This is a detailed timeline of different Hamas tactics employed in their early years that paved the way for the organization. So many Americans think these jihadist organizations spring up as a result of Israel or American foreign policy, when in fact, they are calculated movements designed with a specific purpose in mind and a long term strategy. To effectively combat them, we need to knock at their weak points and frustrate their their short and long term strategic goals. Then they will wither away.
London and Glasgow Terror Plots

CBS news reports that the plotters were recruited by AQ in Iraq.

This event strikes me as rather significant on several levels. When I first heard about it, I was surprised that highly educated medical professionals with decent jobs would be willing to engage in terrorism. In the past, there have been highly intelligent terrorists, namely Mohammed Atta...who acted as ringleaders for big plots, but most of the guys involved were idiots. The most notable example being Richard Reid, the half retarded shoe bomber. I can see a fanatic like Atta, a dedicated and celebrated jihadist throwing his entire life into the jihadist cause. It gave him purpose, meaning, celebrity, and the satisfaction of a job well done. Perhaps he could not achieve any such fame or glory in any other profession. And I can see how idiots can be talked into anything, including blowing themselves up.

Additionally, I even understand the home grown terrorists, second generation immigrants feeling ostracized in their home countries turning to radical acts of violence in a late teen, early adult thrashing out of displaced masculine values. They see the news get crazy ideas and influences from terrorists. These types are not dissimilar from the Columbine shooters in America.

But this third group, the group caught in London and Glasgow, is a bit worrisome to me because I don't quite understand them. Here are guys with lives and professions who presumably get some type of satisfaction from their work and seem to be doing fine and well in their adopted country. They are obviously all rational, intelligent human beings, and must be able to see through the transparency of the stupid jihadists. Fine, they have a beef with Britain and probably the West at large, but they must share a similar beef with a silly ideology like Jihad. But furthermore - even if push cames to shove and they would choose Jihad over the West - committing to an act of terror (and a relatively small one at that), almost seems not worth their talents. This strikes me as odd and frankly, irrational.

On the last level, they failed. It seems like total dumb luck from the article that the bomb simply didn't go off with the cell phone timer. Hey, I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often, knowing how often my alarm doesn't go off or my computer stalls or I drop a call. But if I were plotting a terrorist attack, I'd know damn well I got one shot at it and would make damn sure to see it through. These guys failed in that regard.

But anyhow, the CBS report above says they were recruited by AQ in Iraq to infiltrate Britain. This makes more sense to me, that they weren't in Britain by choice, but because of the mission and hence kept their heads down and appeared to be good citizens. This puts them in the Atta category and not some new category of Jihadist style. I'll try to keep up on the story and developments.

Monday, July 02, 2007

New Genres

The Jihadists are exploring a new genre of filmmaking, moving away from the pornographic beheading horror pics into pornographic gay sex pics. Good for them.
If They Weren't Filmmakers...

Peter Bogdanovich - Professor of Literature
Lars Von Trier - Serial Killer
Quentin Tarantino - Comic Book Store Clerk
David Lynch - Weatherman or Painter
Werner Herzog - Explorer
Michael Mann - Safe Builder
David O'Russell -
Woody Allen -
Steven Soderburgh -

to be continued

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Walid Phares outlines how understanding Jihadist ideology and techniques explain the recent events in Gaza.
Learning From Mistakes

We know Al Queda adapts, but so do we. How US commanders are taking past lessons from Iraq and employing them successfully against the enemy.
Leave It to HBO

To come up with something interesting to play with online.