Monday, November 30, 2009

What To Believe?

In this era of photoshop and political spin, it is hard to know what to believe anymore.

I find this nearly impossible to believe:

However, Gary Berntsen, the CIA operative who led the pursuit of bin Laden at Tora Bora, said in 2005 that his request for up to 800 U.S. troops to cut off the al Qaeda leader's escape route was denied.

I find it nearly impossible to believe someone had a bead on Bin Laden, asked for more troops, and was denied. How is that even possible? It denies all common sense. How stupid would the Bush Administration be?
And Things, They Are Not Working

Catching up on a Thanksgiving weekend Left, Right, and Center Podcast on the way to work today. Matt Miller spoke about a meeting he had with business leaders who feel particularly gloomy about the state of the country. This echoes an article Peggy Noonan wrote the other week. The spirit, right now, of America's elite, is down. Too many problems seem insoluble from the debt, to healthcare, to the economy, to jobs, to Afghanistan. Too many interest groups are influencing the debate. No one trusts government to put things back on track. No one trusts business to put things on track themselves.

I can't speak to the big issues, but only the small ones. It seems to me, there are too many passwords and account numbers. Somewhere along the line, we decided everything needed to be secure and efficient and what we have now is a world of passwords. These are things I need passwords for, off the top of my head -

1. Email
2. Bank Account
3. Computer Server at home
4. Electricity Bill
5. Car Insurance Bill
6. Cable Bill
7. Blogger
8. ATM code
9. Old Email Account for junkie stuff
10. Retirement/Investment Accounts
11. Bike Lock
12. Cell Phone Bill
13. CC security code
14. Zip Code
15. Alumni USC Password
16. Wireless Password
17. Online Tax Forms
18. Medical Insurance Number
19. Library Card Number/Password
20. Blockbuster Movie Rental Password

For Work
1. Server Password
2. Work Email Password
3. Blackberry Passwords x 3
4. Amazon Account password
5. Staples Password
6. Calendar/Computer System Password
7. Phone Messages Password
8. Credit Card Security Codes x 2
9. IMDB Pro Password
10. FedEx Password
11. PW Password x 2
12. Other computer passwords x 4
13. Variety password
14. Verizon password
15. Wifi Password

In total it equals about 46 passwords. Of course, there is the strategy of re-using similar passwords, etc, but let's think about this for a moment - I life a relatively simple life all things considered. I'm not married. I have one job. I don't own a home. I have one credit card. I pay taxes. I live as simple as anyone I know. I have nothing fancy or complicated financially. And yet, I have 46 passwords. I can't remember them all. They need to be written down (which makes them completely insecure).

Imagine running a business. Imagine making a feature film. Imagine running the finances for a family. Now imagine trying to fix the US Healthcare System or winning the hearts and minds of Afghani's or the Muslim World. There's a reason things feel insoluble - because if its goddamn hard to make meals, pay the bills, and muster the energy just to get through the day for one dude like me who keeps it pretty simple - how can we possibly run this gigantic organizations and systems such as the world economy or a country as complex as the US or even small countries like Afghanistan?

The problem with the financial crisis is that no one freaking understands it. Not the layperson or the politicians or even, I suspect, the boards at these institutions. How can anyone make informed decisions about problems we don't understand? We have to defer these decision to "experts" like Geitner and Lawrence Summers and we can't really tell or have any means to tell whether they are competent or not other than gut instinct. Something similar happens frequently with our computer systems and blackberries. No one understands how these things function with their passcodes and updates and databases. As a result, we are completely dependent on computer tech support and the more complicated the the issue, the more work they need to do (and money they make). Same thing with contracts and lawyers. I see 75 page contracts for a 10 G option. Just to review such a contract costs regular price 5 Gs. How can a society function like this? Our administrative costs exceed our output.

It's like we need a goddamn super computer to keep the world economy from crashing and another super computer to keep the supercomputer from crashing and a country to keep that super computer running. And it's falling apart as a result.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Angelina Not An Obama Fan


"She's into education and rehabilitation and thinks Obama is all about welfare and handouts. She thinks Obama is really a socialist in disguise," adds the source.


"Angie isn't Republican, but she thinks Obama is all smoke and mirrors," the source says.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Language, Language

And this is exactly what I was talking about in my last post:

1 IN 4 BORROWERS UNDER WATER: Home sales may have risen in October, but this ought to damp any celebration: The proportion of U.S. homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth rose to 23 percent. With nearly 10.7 million households having negative equity in their homes in the third quarter, a sustained housing recovery is unlikely.

How can it be said you own a home if you owe more money to the bank than it's worth. That's like saying you own a credit card with thousands of dollars of debt on it. In these instances, the card and house own YOU, not the other way around.
Obama's Katrina

Arianna Huffington wonders if unemployment will be Obama's Katrina.

Just as Katrina exposed critical weaknesses in the priorities and competence of the Bush administration, the unfolding unemployment disaster is threatening to do the same for the Obama White House.

The vacuous slogans of Hope and Change from the Obama campaign are revealing themselves right now. Has Hope or Change created jobs? Has it sorted out Afghanistan? Has it created a better healthcare system or pose any reasonable shot at doing so? Can we reasonably say the economy is back on track? Can we reasonably say there seems to be a plan to get the country back on track? Can we reasonably say there is a philosophy or overall approach to getting the country back on track?

What we have instead is a grab bag of compromises, superficial attempts for "everyone to get along", random decisions that do not seem rooted in a philosophical approach or outlook, and big displays of overcompensation that are out-of-sync with the realities on the ground.

We have beer summits and cash for clunkers and extended unemployment benefits a half-hearted stimulus, a half-hearted commitment to Afghanistan, and a ridiculous and overly ambitious healthcare debate.

JOBS. While the Obama administration is talking about Healthcare, Economic Recovery, and boasting about how the stimulus and bank bail out worked, people are out of work and don't know when or how jobs are coming back. We keep hearing about stimulus this, stimulus that, and it sounds to me like the check is in the mail. The stimulus was designed to bring back jobs. It hasn't. They argue, it has helped saved jobs that might have been otherwise lost. Maybe. Who knows. Many economists think the stimulus wasn't large enough. Others, like myself, am more worried about the massive debt and moral hazard created by the bank bailout. The Obama Administration seems to be toeing the compromise line - not spending big enough to fix it or not being committed enough to lower deficits in order to ride out the storm. I could honestly get behind either choice if were laid out to me and this is why we are doing this and why it's going to work and here are the drawbacks. Instead, I feel like we're getting juked stats and mission accomplished banners. "1 Million Jobs Saved" headlines, meanwhile half of my friends can't find work and the other half are worried about losing their jobs which they're already overqualified for.

AFGHANISTAN. He committed on the campaign to fighting there because it was the "good" war and created a nice (but false) narrative split between Afghanistan and Iraq. I don't know what the Obama Administration actually thinks about this issue. I know their "position," but I don't know what they actually feel in their gut. I don't get the sense he believes in winning the war the same way Bush believed in winning Iraq. I know people on the left criticize the very notion of winning and believe it impossible and irrelevant and unadult. I don't know...I guess I'm just old fashioned in that I think that if we start something, we ought to finish it or if the situation has changed or we learned more, figure out our interests and either cut our losses, continue the status quo, or just take some sort of position. I mean, from what I can tell, Obama is just following Bush's policies exactly except now he's bending over the generals and going to make a half-hearted commitment to Afghanistan with more troops to say he tried with the intention of pulling out in a couple of years regardless of what happens. To borrow from Chris Rock, it's sort of like the guy who goes out to the club, feebly asks one girl to dance, gets rejected, and then gives up and goes to the titty bar.

WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN. In the words of Zabotka in season 2 of the Wire, "we used to be a country that made things, now we just have our hands in the other guys pocket." We need to stop juking the stats and start making things again. It is the only road to real recovery - both financial and spiritual. Because the spirit of Americans right now is in dangerous, dangerous territory. We are down and don't see the fix. And the fix isn't in jigging the unemployment numbers to make them look better. It isn't falsely propping up housing prices again or borrowing against the future to pay for more entitlement programs. It can't be. Wealth does not come from inflated housing prices or tech stock booms. Real wealth comes from making stuff that is useful selling it to people. I don't see why everyone thinks various pyramid schemes are going to work. I know Healthcare costs are expensive. But how does it make sense that we are going to pay for this stuff with a government mandated program to cover the uninsured? How is the answer to rising healthcare costs expanding healthcare coverage? We already know Medicare has a 30 billion dollar unfunded liability. That means, we don't have the money to pay for it. And sure, Medicare is good for some people. If the government just gave me a million bucks to be paid back later by someone else, it would be good for me. No doubt. But don't pretend it makes any sense or is sustainable.

All of this would be change no one wants to believe in. Everyone just wants entitlements, easy money to cover their risk, and to be taken care of by someone else. We've all got our hands in each other's pockets and it's all turning American life into a game of hustlers and spinsters and phonys and beggars. And these people are the easiest to please.
"Kick a Ginger Day"

Ohhh Middle I miss of my absolute funniest, laugh out loud moments of my life was one morning in homeroom, there was an announcement over the loudspeaker:

"We would like to announce there is a game being played at lunchtime called Chewy's Prison Camp that will no longer be allowed."

Chewy's Prison Camp was exactly what it sounds like - an eight grader named Chewy would "trap" random 6th graders and force them to do all sorts of humiliating things, like push ups or eating grass or running wind sprints, etc. Not coincidentally, we were learning about WW2 in history class at the time... In any case, I remember the game's peak when Chewy somehow managed to lock two kids into the batting cage and demanded they fight. They were actually locked in - someone grabbed a lock off a locker and they were trapped. Kids were climbing all over the batting cage and yelling "Fight, fight, fight," like a scene out of Max Max Beyond Thunderdome. It was hilarious and surreal and cruel.

Facebook is being blamed
for getting a redhead beaten up at school for spreading the rumor of "kick a ginger" day.

Now I hate Facebook as much as anyone, but even I can't really blame Facebook for the cruelty of 12 year old boys. This stuff happened before Facebook and will happen after Facebook. Although, I suppose there is that whole issue of making cruelty easier...

Megan McCardle breaks down the healthcare bill -

I have to say, I'm woefully underimpressed with the argument that I am now hearing to the effect that "Medicare will bankrupt America anyway if we can't cut health care costs, so we might as well do health care reform."

Anyone who has dated a manic-depressive has heard some version of this argument. "I can barely make ends meet now, so I might as well use my tax refund check to buy a boat! After all, if I can't figure out a way to fix my budget, I'm going to go bankrupt anyway."

The argument Matt Miller often offers is the old "bending the cost curve," argument, that by getting more people under the Medicare or Public Option or Govt Paid For Healthcare umbrella, you begin to cut costs. I don't know why this is assumed...I've heard this argument before in a lot of contexts - and it kind of boils down to "if I only had some money, I could make some money." And well, usually the exact opposite is true - "If you could make some money, you'd have some money."
I'd See It

Lil' Wayne movie being blocked by Lil' Wayne even though he likes it.

And for some reason, this makes sense.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Anything Worse?

A New York Times Magazine article about when DNA testing reveals the father isn't the real father.

Not a lot things worse than discovering something like that.
He Was Just Pondering All His Options

Interesting op-ed on a WW2 blunder by Eisenhower.

Eisenhower was also a cautious, some would say indecisive, commander who favored a “broad front” strategy with all Allied armies moving in tandem on a solid front. His military objective was Germany’s main industrial area to the north, the Ruhr. Devers was operating too far south to help that effort.

True, the Germans knew the Ruhr was vital to them and fiercely defended it. But, as we know from several of their generals’ postwar memoirs, what they really feared was an incursion across the Rhine, which would have been a military catastrophe and a devastating symbolic blow to the German people.

The Rhine wasn’t crossed until March 1945. Had Eisenhower let Devers make his attack, we might now be celebrating the 65th anniversary of a cross-Rhine attack that quickly ended the war in Europe. Instead, we will soon mark the anniversary of the costliest battle in American history, the Battle of the Bulge.

It is obviously silly to Monday Morning Quarterback 65 years after the fact and impossible to know the outcome or Eisenhower's logic. But this author thinks it pretty certain the War in Europe could of ended much sooner with a more aggressive southern campaign. 80,000 American men died in the Battle of the Bulge. Today, we'd have pundits calling Eisenhower a war criminal. I don't see why Americans love to fondly remember WW2 as a good war. It was an awful war. A genocidal war on multiple fronts. Morally offensive beyond our imagination on numerous sides. It was necessary only because it wasn't prevented. The fact that we long for the clear black and white stakes presented in WW2 is somewhat disturbing.
Obama and Foreign Policy

Andrew Sullivan likes to say Obama's approach differs from Bush because he behaves like an adult when it comes to foreign policy. This well may be true. But I would counter, much of the rest of the world treats foreign policy like petulant teenagers, and behaving like an adult won't always get you anywhere when dealing with teenagers.

There are many indications that the man in charge at the White House will take a tougher stance in the future. Obama's advisors fear a comparison with former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, even more than with Bush. Prominent Republicans have already tried to liken Obama to the humanitarian from Georgia, who lost in his bid to win a second term, because voters felt that he was too soft. "Carter tried weakness and the world got tougher and tougher because the predators, the aggressors, the anti-Americans, the dictators, when they sense weakness, they all start pushing ahead," Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker in the House of Representatives, recently said. And then he added: "This does look a lot like Jimmy Carter."

Haven't these people seen Children of the Corn?
Breaking Up Banks

Per the Huffpo, the WSJ Editorial Board calls for a return to splitting up commercial and investment banks.

I admittedly know nothing, but the premise of lowering the moral hazard of bailing out banks for taking heavy risks seems sound. And I'm a person who likes risk. I like gambling. I like aggressive play. But not with the rent and the safety net. And not with the country.
Who Is The Worst NFL Quarterback?

After watching Jay Cutler's performance last week, I found myself wondering "is anyone worse than this guy?"

The nominees are:

JaMarcus Russell
Derek Anderson/Brady Quinn
Mark Sanchez
Kerry Collins
Jay Cutler
Brett Farve

Kerry Collins is bad, but I think can be removed from the list because he no longer starts. Derek Anderson no longer starts as well, although with a passer rating of 36.2 an exception might be in order. In Anderson's defense, the Browns are such an awful organization right now, it is hard to get a fair evaluation of his contribution to the awfulness. Cutler sucks at times, but also dangerous and plays for an organization who seems to be handicapped at the quarterback position. That leaves JaMarcus Russell, Brett Farve, and Mark Sanchez.

I vote for Sanchez. Here's why: everyone knows Russell sucks and he plays on a team without much potential. The Jets on the other hand, have a tough defense and a good running game and by the sheer awfulness of Sanchez have turned into one of the worst teams in the league. I also particularly like this fall from grace, as he ditched out on USC and was getting hyped all over ESPN and New York the first three weeks of the season and I heard chicks at the bar saying he was the cutest quarterback in the league even thought I knew he wasn't any good.

From Megan McCardle:

There seems to be an unhealthy obsession with tearing her down. And really, guys, if you'll just back off a little, she'll do the job for you. Have you seen that resignation speech? How about we all act like she's a former governor and vice presidential candidate, rather than Public Enemy #1?

It kind of disturbs me that I can't talk about Palin without adding a disclaimer such as, "I'm not a fan, but..." or "I don't like her, but..." for fear of getting my eyes scratched out. So f--- it. No more disclaimers. There is an unhealthy obsession with tearing her down.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The ladies take on Obama. And they aren't very nice.

Obama's admirers have loved his thoughtful thinkiness, his cerebreality. But that's getting old and cold.

Dither, dither, speech. Foreign trip, bow, reassure. Seminar, summit. Shoot a jump shot with the guys, throw out the first pitch in mom jeans. Compromise, concede, close the deal. Dither, dither, water down, news conference.....

Where is the animal fire inside the clammily cool Prez? Maureen wants to know. Was it ever really there?

The animating spirit that electrified his political movement has sputtered out.
The animating spirit...

Whose animating spirit provided the electricity back then? Did it come from him, or did we generate it from within as we looked at him and fell in love?

You know, I think what Obama seems to have become, he always was. Shake him all you want, Maureen, but you're like some Star Trek extra (in tights and a tunic) trying to coax heat out of the body of Mr. Spock. I'm afraid these earnest efforts are futile.

Should we face facts? Americans are sick of being hated by everyone around the world. And yes, we are hated. Why? Because the world is a bunch of assholes. Americans are tough, but like all people, want to be liked. And we're used to being liked. But something happened and I don't know when, some tide shifted shortly after the Cold War. There were always American haters, but this charge of "arrogance," caught on. A simple euphemism for resentment of power. It is charge we cannot refute and it is a charge not meant to be debated. The only thing that alleves the charge is becoming the victim. The only time the world felt sympathy for America was after 9/11 and it didn't last. The world hates being less powerful.

Now I'm going to make an opposite point - one that is factually true - whereas my above point is emotionally true: Most people don't hate America, but the ones who do, are highly motivated and therefore disproportionately loud and in some ways, powerful. Hate is highly, highly motivating. (see the number of my facebook and anti-Kobe posts). Hate and fear are incredible driving forces for human beings. And are preferable to powerlessness, futility, and exhaustion.

When you are hated, how do you react? How does a decent country react? They try to make themselves more likable. Which is why we voted for Obama. Because he is LIKABLE. Why is he likable? Because he was the underdog. He was the underdog because his profile was relatively low. His experience level relatively low. And because he was black. We want to be liked by the world and so we voted for a likable guy. We didn't care about his policies. Or who he was as a person, what he accomplished, or any of those things. We voted for him because we want to be liked.
Port of Call

Every now and then a movie drops out of no where and explodes like a bomb into the cinema. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is one of those movies. It demands being written about, but I am at a loss of what to say.

There are moments in sports when a player you know is really, really good does something similar to what he's done before, but on a little higher level, and it becomes transcendent. Most recently, Peyton Manning winning against the Pats kinda sorta falls into that category. Peyton did what he's known to do, but his performance was upped by getting into Belichick's head about it.

Anyhow, Bad Lieutenant is this for Herzog. He explores his theme of ecstatic truth within a remake of procedural cop movie with a crazy-ass bad lieutenant. And it goes to a level beyond what I imagined Herzog being able to pull off. And pull it off, he did.

Is this Herzog or Cage's movie, though? The slate review:

For all the terrible career choices he's made—his drive to succeed as an action hero seems to come from someplace even deeper than the desire for a huge paycheck—Nic Cage is unparalleled when it comes to playing self-destructive loons, men so uncomfortable with life they want to shed their own skin. As in Leaving Las Vegas and Adaptation, Cage's performance is funny, haunting, and genuinely bizarre. He hunches. He winces. He cackles explosively. As his character gets more and more strung out, his voice changes, growing louder, more pinched and nasal. (Mercifully, he never attempts a New Orleans accent.) He's forever inventing weird little bits of stage business: Before interrogating a witness, he takes an electric razor from his pocket and gives himself a five-second shave. Cage clearly enjoys the chance to play a role this over-the-top. "Right now I'm working on about an hour and a half's sleep," he warns a wheelchair-bound old woman before blocking off her breathing tube to maximize the effectiveness of his interrogation. But he also invests this doomed character with real pathos and never goes for deliberate camp. Whatever sick joke this movie's telling, Cage is in on it.

Cage is unbelievable in this film. You don't even realize the shades of madness until about midway through the movie. At some point, and I can't pinpoint it, I realized - holy shit - this guy has gone though like 20 different levels of insanity and he's still going. The build is remarkable both in the degree and subtly. I buy Cage in every single scene. There isn't a moment when he feels unreal. And yet, the places his performance goes are unknown to me as a human being. I can't imagine 75% of things he does or thinks or feels nor I have experienced those emotions. But it seems as if Nic Cage has. And he turned them into this energetic, mad performance. I swear to god he lost all his money for this role. Or this role caused him to lose all this money.

Thank you Herzog and Cage - you've washed the sour taste of Where the Wild Things Are, The Box, and The Informant from my mouth.

Long bike ride + bloody mary = afternoon nap.
Re-Watching THE OFFICE

Andy's line is actually much better than I even remembered:

"I was hoping Erin would ask me out, but things have not panned out on that front. So it's time for the nard-dog needs to take matters into his own paws."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Dish Served Cold

Everyone knows the studios are reigning in the cash on talent. It pervades the industry and Hollywood is in a quiet (or maybe not so quiet) panic. A career writer who used to share office space with us dropped by the other day. I asked him - is what I hear real? How are your colleagues feeling about work right now? What is the word on the street?

"I used to have work booked 2 years in advance. Now, it's just job to job. And I'm lucky."

My prying ears also overhear other conversations and who knows if it is true. The studios are orchestrating the reigning in of talent cost. They resent the grudge fuck of the writers strike from a couple years ago and started plotting their revenge. And here it is. From their POV - you don't want to work with us to share in the future risk? You going to grudge fuck us for the DVD deal made years ago? Okay. Go ahead. You have the power now. But there will be a comeuppance.

So here we are. The studios are starving the talent. We'll see what happens.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Expanding My Social Networking Hate

I did not like (or join) Friendster or MySpace. My dislike only blossomed into full on hate with Facebook - specifically - when it started a fake page of me.

But my hate is expanding at a rapid pace. I decided I couldn't be a full on hater without dipping my toes into the water. I sought out the least-worst social networking sites: linkedin and goodreads. I figured linkedin was under the guise of professional networking and goodreads would be people who read books and would be simple and low impact and I wouldn't have to know they guy I sat next to in 9th grade geometry was taking a shit right now.

But alas, it turns out both these sites are awful as well, just not as glaringly awful as Facebook. First of all, I was attacked on goodreads for writing about a book I read (the entire point of the site). I'd prefer getting jumped in the streets by attackers so I could face them down than the anonymous wails and cackles of random voices from the internet. They accused me of awful things - not actually reading the book, trying to sabotage the book, etc, etc. No actually, I just read it and thought it sucked so I was trying to save the world's time from one more pointless book. But no, the only people who read my post were people invested in the book itself. Anyway, I stopped doing goodreads after that.

LinkedIn is annoying. I get more requests from names I kinda-sorta-recognize but really aren't sure who they are. Was that a make-up person on a thesis film I worked on? Was that the guy who worked for a PG&E group from eight years ago? Was that guy in my Pomona seminar class? Is that an intern from two years ago? I mean, what is the point, really? Honestly. If you want to keep in touch, write me an email. If I want to keep in touch, I'll respond. That's it, dudes and ladies. Otherwise, leave me alone. Thanks.

There are a series of books out by prominent bloggers all with the same premise -

How Obama is ruining fill-in-the-blank.

Look at all the covers. Exactly the same. Bizarre.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Less Upset

A short, but relatively good explanation of what is going on legally with the KSM trial.

At first, I was taken aback by the decision of the Obama Administration to bring KSM to trial for a criminal act. Why would you bring to trial someone who already has admitted his his guilt and wants to be executed? Why would you bring a military prisoner who is a soldier in a war against the US to a US Federal Court to be tried on criminal charges? Why would KSM and a few other Guantanamo Detainees be held criminally liable, but the large majority remain in military court? What if he is found "not guilty" or "criminally insane" - are we really going to let KSM go? The whole idea seemed puzzling at first - and partisan - a way to reopen the waterboarding issue and indict the Bush Administration's handling of terrorism. Am I being a paranoid right winger? I don't know. Also related - what is the point of closing Gitmo in the way we are doing it? First of all, the legal standing of the detainees whether they are in Gitmo or elsewhere will be the same. Secondly, it just looks silly promising to close Gitmo and then not actually doing it.

But the above article explains the strategy of the Obama administration - try the easy cases in Fed Court and the tough ones in military court. All of it seems to be about sending a message...what exactly the message is...well...
No Mas

Why do I get breakfast burritos from taco trucks? A good 60% or more make me sick. No Mas.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rex Ryan

Blustering and cocky coach Rex Ryan reduced to tears this week - crying in front of his team.

I'd say it's a smart bet on the Pats this week - no matter what the line - unless Vegas is giving 40 points. Ryan was talking shit about the Pats earlier this year and Belichick is feeling angry after losing that Colts game. There is no way the Jets won't have 3-4 turnovers and no one can stop Brady-Welker-Moss. 48-7. Something like that. Poor baby Rex Ryan. I knew this would happen. You don't throw your lot in with Mark Sanchez. I saw that dude play in college. Talented, but not good. Big difference.
Movie Going

Last night, I was planning on attending the silent cinema screening of WITHNAIL & I with director Bruce Robinson. I don't know why it didn't occur to me before, but around 4pm I yesterday I thought to myself, "Maybe I should pre-order tickets." Bear in mind, this was on my calendar for over a week. Of course I go to the ticket site and learn it is sold out. I call the Silent Cinema. Sold out. No waiting list. Man, am I a retard.

In penance, I decide to try this supposedly awesome Lebanese spot on Westwood and rent the Criterion Collection DVD instead. (if I were a girl, I'd probably buy shoes). I figure Vidiots will have it. It was rented. Right now I'm just annoyed with myself. I have delicious Lebanese food waiting for me and no funny movie. I go to the Peter Sellers section and consider watching THE NAKED TRUTH. I wander over to the Hal Ashby section and consider BEING THERE. I also see COMING HOME and THE LAST DETAIL. In a ridiculous act of over-compensation, I decide I'm having a Hal Ashby week and rent all three. At the counter, it turns out they don't have BEING THERE in stock. Then I realize - WTF am I thinking - I don't have time to watch two movies in two days, let alone, three movies in three days.

I exit with THE LAST DETAIL and go home. It was still a nice night. Although renting a single DVD for one night at Vidiots costs $5. That's five Redboxes. Fortunately one LAST DETAIL is worth 5 Redbox DVDs.

And by the way, this is how I watch movies...I get in the mood for a good movie and I seek it out. I want to see WITHNAIL but can be satisfied with THE LAST DETAIL. I think others view movies the same way - or at least they should. The theater experience could work this way - but instead it caters to the quandrants. Generally, there are only one or two movies out at a time I could imagine spending my time and money on.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jealous Critics of Malcolm Gladwell

The Atlantic gathers negative reviews of Gladwell and asks - are they just jealous?

I'd argue not. Gladwell is like the Sinatra of the (insert clever Rat Pack Reference) of these youthful contrarian non-fiction writers - Michael Lewis, Steven Levitt, and Bill Simmons who write highly entertaining, generally contrarian, long form journalism and books. I love these guys. I love reading their stuff. But I have noticed a trend, the predictive value of all of their theories is next to useless. Michael Lewis "predicted" the market crash 20 years in advance. Big deal. I predict things will get back to normal again in 20 years. And they will and no one will call me a genius. Michael Oher - the subject of the Blind Side - might lose his starting position with the Ravens, if he hasn't already. The Moneyball A's aren't doing so hot right now and their picks from those Moneyball years are hardly worth mentioning. (if you want look at the A's success, you might want to examine their AAA farm system as they do seem to produce an inordinate number of good young players, but not necessarily via the draft).

Gladwell's BLINK is all about quick decision making vs. weighting all the options to death. And when you really think about it - is this a very sophisticated or insightful poit? Isn't this just a statement of the obvious, actually? Sometimes I just pick the first thing that looks good on the menu for dinner and it turns out great. Sometimes I mull every option and weigh every scenario and the choice turns out bad. Booya. Pay me a million bucks.

Anyhow, the writing is better than the ideas, and maybe that's okay.

A new book argues:

Rather than the root of all evil, alcohol is the root of all that makes us human: art, music, religion and other aspects of our culture all got their start in palaeolithic binge-drinking. That's the theory, and McGovern has found plenty of evidence to support it.

Well, well, well.
Innovative Thinking

FP article suggesting we should not destroy Al Queda, even if handed the opportunity. Instead, we should seek to manage it.

Like it or not, keeping a battered al Qaeda intact (if weak) is the world's best hope of funneling Islamist fanatics into one social network -- where they stand the best chance of being spotted, tracked, and contained. The alternative, destroying the terrorist group, would risk fragmenting al Qaeda into thousands of cells, and these will be much harder to follow and impossible to eradicate. It's the counterterrorist's dilemma, and the only real choice is the least unsavory: Al Qaeda must live.

and this is absolutely true-

Predator strikes should focus on competent bosses, yet spare their inept brethren. The former may be more cautious and harder to target, but such selective attacks will leave al Qaeda saddled with a heavy, ineffective midsection of leaders who just may lack the wit to plan hard-hitting operations.

Interesting ideas...
Conscientious Objector

Hasan wanted conscientious objector status for Muslims serving in the military against fighting Muslim countries.

I feel similarly bad for Kristin Stewart's distaste of her fame and celebrity.

They both beg the obvious question - if you don't want to fight in war, don't join the army. And if you don't want to be famous, don't be an actor.

I wish I could conscientiously object to reading bad scripts.
Free Advice, A Bit Too Late

Going to an Imam is not how I would suggest finding a wife.

The again, I'm not looking for someone to serve me -

"He said he wanted someone to help him serve, deploy and be understandable and understanding of his own military career," Hendi said. "He saw himself as someone ... continuing his service with the U.S. military till the end of his career."

Don't tell me Islamic terrorism doesn't have to do with sexual repression. We ought to start retaliating against state supporters of terrorism with pornography.

I don't know what came over me, but last night I watched Manny Pacquiao highlights. Man, he is good. He's obviously fast and fit and all that, but what surprised me was his power. For a guy his size, fighting up against larger opponents, watching highlights of De La Hoya who he just beat the shit out got me thinking...boxing is a dying sport. MMA is killing boxing. But watching Pacquiao - can this guy alone bring the sport back? Can he make it interesting again? I'm not even a boxing fan. All my life boxing has been boring, except for the brief period of time when Tyson was kicking ass.

Mayweather is coming out of retirement to fight Pacquiao and will probably get his ass kicked. You know you're good when the guys you just beat are saying, "Man, that guy is good." And you know they mean it by their tone...when there is actual respect and reverence for the other person's ability vs. politeness. That is the tone from the Cotta, Hatton, and De La Hoya fights. Their reactions are - damn, he just beat me.

Pacquiao is going to be a good test case and can be applied to the movie industry. If he can bring boxing back to prominence again, it will be evidence to my theory that people are attracted to quality and the reasons industry die are not "natural causes" or too much competition or new technologies. Internet did not kill newspapers. Bad content killed newspapers. Likewise, TV and the Internet and DVDs and Blue Ray and Video Games, will not kill the movies. Bad content will kill the movies. Boring fighters are killing boxing. Pacquiao will bring it back.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I can confirm, hundred of fans are camping out in Westwood right now, waiting for the New Moon Premiere on THURSDAY.

How To Game the BCS

Play in a weak conference and play one tough non-conference team. Look at the all the undefeated teams up in the top ten, many of whom have but one or two tough games on the schedule. Look at the Pac-Ten with potentially five of the top ten teams in the country right now - Oregon, USC, Stanford, Cal, and Oregon State. Are you betting against any of those Pac Ten teams playing any top ten school? Florida, Texas, Alabama, TCU, Cincinnati, Boise St, Georgia Tech, Pitt, or Ohio State?

Of the top five Pac Ten schools, they have lost a total of 3 non-conference games. 3! Oregon lost to Boise St. Oregon St lost to Cincinnati, and Stanford lost to Wake Forest. All games were within 10 points. Boise St and Cincinnati are top ten schools and bear in mind - those games were the biggest games of the season for both teams whereas for Oregon and Oregon St, they have USC, Cal, and each other to worry about.
Manning Got Into Belichick's Head

What an awesome football game. Manning leading the Colts from 13 down in 4 minutes to victory was Montana-esque. I can't remember such an impressive come back - against a longtime rival. The most remarkable element was something Manning didn't do intentionally - he got into Belichick's head and got him to make a super risky call. By driving so easily for that 1st score, Belichick knew he didn't want to give Manning a chance to beat him and figured he'd put the game into the hands of his strong suit - his offense - and rely on them to get the 1st down.

The call was brilliant. I wish football coaches did this more often. If it weren't for Faulk bobbling the pass, it was a 1st down, game over and we'd all be talking about Belichick's ballsy brilliance. Strategically, it was a sound decision. Punting at that point gives you a minor advantage. Don't we know that with 2 minutes remaining and one score down, time isn't really a factor? Any team with a half decent quarterback can drive the field in 2 minutes against a prevent defense and four downs. And especially Peyton Manning. Everyone knows he can do this. The hard element of the 2 minute drill is getting the ball into the end zone. And so it didn't matter that the Pats gave it to Manning in good field position.

The factor Belichick didn't take into account was momentum. The Pats offense had no momentum when they went for it on 4th and 2. They were just stopped on an excellent play by the rookie cornerback on 3rd and 2. They got up to the line and looked desperate. If you're ahead, you shouldn't play desperate. You don't go for it on 4th and 2 when you feel desperate. If Belichick would take his logic a step further, he would have thrown on first down, and tried to keep the clock running rather than do the old run 1 yard into the line move that all NFL football coaches do.

Anyhow, the whole thing made for a great game. I don't think the Colts or the Saints are going to win the Superbowl, though. Both teams are too dependent on their quarterbacks being perfectly in-sync. I suppose they can keep up the pace - both teams have thus far - but it strikes me as a too-brittle situation. The Colts offense relies on perfect timing and spacing, etc. A smart defensive coordinator will figure out how to disrupt it or Peyton will be off eventually and the rest will fall like a stack of cards. The Saints have tons of weapons, but Brees holds it all together. He's had some shaky games thus far, but they still manage to win. I think any team too reliant on a single player are particularly vulnerable come playoffs.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Two Best Sitcom Lines of the Year

"You've aged terribly." - Ron Swanson upon reuniting with his ex-wife.

"I was sorta hoping she'd ask me out. But it looks like it's gonna be up to the nard-dog to make the first move." - Andy Bernard regarding his crush on Erin the Receptionist.
Who Is Whiter?

The Black Eyed Peas or The Roots?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Will I Decipher Blood Meridian?

How long have I been reading this book? I don't know anymore. A month? Two months? I picked it up on recommendation from a friend, saw the length and subject matter, and figured I'd read it in a weekend. Oh no. I'm only 2/3 of the way through and almost feel like I need to start over. My mind wanders reading some sections as they are difficult. Other parts my eyes tear up. I don't know what to make of it. I don't think I understand it. I don't use a dictionary while reading, although I probably should. I enjoy reading stuff about Blood Meridian. I wonder when I'll finish this book.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ethics in Sports

From the disability article:

Let's think about Tiger Woods having not one, but two LASIK surgeries to achieve 20/15 vision, when what we consider the best of natural vision to be is a mere 20/20. Before his first LASIK surgery, Woods had lost 16 straight tournaments. Immediately following the surgery, he won 7 of his next 10. Advantage through technology, or not?

and this-

The first remarkable aspect of this is that for him, the "handicap" was the ineptitude of the contact lenses, and not the fact that he was visually impaired. (He suffered from -11 nearsightedness, considered the worst 1%, legally blind without corrective glasses or contacts.) The second is his own literal description of being able to now clearly see—without the impediment of burning, stinging eyes—hundreds of yards down the fairway thanks to his technological altering. He himself declares the advantage.

Interesting questions.

Carbon fiber legs for disabled runners.

I don't know if this is creepy or totally awesome.

UPDATE: A whole article (full disclosure - i have not read the whole thing, yet) on cheating and cyborg enhancements.
KSM to Trial

"Alleged" 9/11 Mastermind being brought to trail.

Back to the old war vs. crime distinction on terrorism.

Ask yourself this question: suppose that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's trial results in an acquittal or a hung jury. Would the Obama administration really let him go? If so, they are crazy. If not, why are they holding the trial?

I suppose Himmler was "allegedly" involved with the final solution and Japan "allegedly" bombed Pearl Harbor.

Whatever we are doing against Islamic Extremism - a war or a criminal investigation - the whole thing vacillates between being over lawyered and immoral, as if a courtroom verdict is necessary to determines what is right or true. KSM masterminded 9/11 - I don't need a courtroom to verify it or need a courtroom verdict to hold him to account. And do we really need lawyers to prevent torture? Isn't that just common sense and course of business in the army?
The Curious Question of Don Draper and Mad Men

I'm into the second season now and puzzled by the show. I certainly like that it exists - a show about adults for adults. A nice antidote to comic books and cartoons and politically correct nonsense masquerading as movies today.

But in contrast to Deadwood, the Sopranos, or the Wire, Mad Men is a bit...I don't know...boring.

I suppose one might say I need death and murder and other acts of violence to stay engaged in a show. Perhaps. Perhaps. But in watching Mad Men I don't find myself compelled to watch another episode in the same way I've stayed up until 4am on a weeknight to keep watching the Wire or the Sopranos. And certainly, it is no insult to be put in such company and no expectation by me that all shows - all dramas - need to reach those lofty standards.

It occurred to me watching last night an episode when Don Draper grabs a woman by the neck and reaches to her crotch and says, "Believe me, I will ruin him," this is a show for women. It felt like the type of steamy moment straight out of a ridiculous romance novel - the hunky hero - leering and lustfully taking the woman like a modern day tarzan. Hot, you say? I'm reminded of the Saturday Night Live skit when acne faced frat boys find a genie bottle and rub it asking for a lesbian make out session in front of them in their room. And sure enough they get it: two horrific butch lesbians sloppily making out.

In real life, I imagine a guy - any guy - hot or not - grabbing a woman by her neck and crotch in a restaurant and a real reaction by real people - I doubt - under any circumstance would find this hot. It's be freaking weird, people. And a tad creepy. Borderline sexual violence. Prude, you call me?

Gimme a break. It's about as ridiculous as Vince flopping into threesomes with chicks he meets at coffee shops in Entourage and a few steps away from a porno scene in which a hot nurse examines a patients penis and finds out is enormous and must fellate him right away.

Man Men skims the border or being romance novel porn. For women. Playgirl, not Playboy.
Hook Up Culture

ABC has an article about hooking up in college. I wonder if they realize it starts in high school?

When girls sleep with multiple people on different occasions, she is labeled as a 'slut' or 'whore,' but when guys hook up with multiple girls they're seen as heroes to the male race," said Rachel Sloane, a senior at UNC.

Since when is being a male a race?

Let's be honest - both men and woman should have the freedom to make stupid drunken mistakes and consort in all sorts of confusing and emotionally unfulfilling behavior that may result in STDs. This is America!
Eater 38

A good list of the rotating top 38 places to eat in LA.

It's a nice mix of places worth checking out whether they be pricey or cheap. A lot of burger spots...
Facebook Alibi

If I ever decide to commit a crime, I'll keep this in mind and have someone update my status for me.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


US Seizes properties funneling money to the Iranian government

Why should they get to take advantage of the international system of finance, real estate, and other forms of wealth-building so long as on the back end they cause chaos, sew instability, and pursue nukes?
The Thin Line Between Being An Asshole and A Sucker

Today I was bumped by another car on the way to work. On 11st street, the guy in front of me suddenly stops and decides to let someone turn left. He reverses. I see the lights. I can't reverse since there are cars behind me. Plus, I don't think the guy is going to move that much. But suddenly, his pace is fast and I know he's gonna hit me. I honk. LOUD. He bangs into me. He gets out of the car.

"Why don't you reverse?"

"Are you kidding me? There are cars behind me. Pull over to the side."

The guy gets back into his truck and pulls to the side so regular cars can go past. We get out. His old friend gets out as well.

"I don't know why you keep going if you see reverse."

"Dude. I was just sitting there. Not moving. I can't reverse because cars are behind me."

"Oh.... It looks like no damage."

I look at the front of my car. Just the license plate is bent a little.

"Doesn't look like much. Should we trade numbers?"

"Why? There is no damage."

"Just in case. Maybe my bumper falls off at work."

"Fine." He laughs as if I'm an idiot. I hand him paper. He writes his number.

"Do you want mine?"


I drive to work thinking - even if something were wrong, I'd be screwed by not waiting for the cops and calling my insurance right away. I checked the bumper again at work and there isn't any damage. Overall, I'm unsure if I acted like a dick or a pussy.
The Financial Woes of Writers

Can writing be considered a career?

Writing is more like taking a score or being an inventor...not exactly a career in the way most people use the word.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Gawker lays down the the law on bourgeois upper-middles partying it up on funployment.

So if you're a typical bitter struggling member of the creative underclass for whom both "severance" and "Funemployment" are both rage-inducing, untouchable fantasies, take heart in the schadenfreude provided by the stories of the once-affluent who fell so fast, so hard, so dumb. One 50 year-old ad exec married a 32 year-old woman in a $40k wedding, had a baby on the way, and was promptly laid off. So he did the prudent thing:

Although their rent was cheaper, Mr. Hipsher says the family continued to spend like before. They moved with three cars — two BMWs and a Chevy Silverado. They continued to buy cases of $36-a-bottle wine. They spent $250 a month on a cleaning lady, and Mr. Hipsher dropped $50 a week on flowers for his wife. The couple still dined out regularly.

Now that's all gone (including the wedding ring), and the couple is $70k in debt. Feel better now? Funemployment is for the weak. Bask in your poverty. It makes you tough. For when shit really gets bad. Like now!

I find myself justify a creative career in a number of ways and I've used the "toughening" argument before. It certainly doesn't make you soft - working hard for little pay, scrapping by, peddling material - and I guess that was my big fear of sucking off the corporate teet, ultimately, the fear of going soft.

Nevertheless a 401k would be nice. And a condo or starter home.
The Only Thing Worse...

Than having a not having a job.

-hat tip, Chris Rock
Feeling It

Double digit unemployment is the story of the year - no matter what the news says.

Taunting As Strategy

Has anyone in the national security establishment considered "taunting" Al Queda as a viable war-time strategy. It seems that organization and it's members would be particularly vulnerable to big-time public taunting.

I would start by declaring Al Queda an impotent effectiveless organization without any existing infrastructure. I'd point to their utter incapability of attacking anyone anywhere - civilians or military post 9/11. I'd argue 9/11 was an act of luck and really the result of one strong terrorist - Mohammed Atta - and Al Queda has no one and will never have anyone of his caliber again. I'd point out they don't have a single sustainable victory in any country - ever. Their only victories are parasitic victories where other people took over lands temporarily and Al Queda claimed those victories for themselves (ie Afghanistan).

Just for starters...
Listen, Jihadists...

A new Libyan Jihadist code threatens Al Queda. The fact is this - we will never get along with Jihadists. They suck. But we don't enjoy fighting them, either. If the Jihadists kept their own house in order and minded their own frigging business, we wouldn't need to invade their lands and kick their ass. We don't enjoy doing it. But what the hell to they expect America to do when their radical groups like Al Queda brazenly attack us. We're like most people and animals. We like to be left alone. And when threatened, we fight back. It's pretty much that simple. So to the extent that the Jihadists can reign in their own is welcome news by us. In fact, if they had simply done this from the get go we wouldn't be dropping them from unmanned drones.
Easy, People

Don't let Fort Hood get under our skin. He was a loon with gun. A bad tv movie.

9/11 worked because it was a surprise. It won't work again. The only threat these douche-bags truly pose is the WMD angle. And if we just sat it out there's a 50/50 chance they'd kill themselves before using it on us.

We understand these forces better - through the painful lessons in Iraq and Afghanistan. They will collapse under the weight of their own stupidity - we just need to keep nudging them along off the abyss.
Thanks, Gov. Schwarzenegger

I just noticed a drop in my paycheck this week. I guess California is either borrowing or stealing money from her taxpayers. I'm sure it will be going to something useful.

Columbia Prof Punches Woman

In a bar argument over white privilege.

Beer Summit!!!

Monday, November 09, 2009


I have a high tolerance for violence in sport - but there are two plays in this video which are absolute nasty, I'd-slap-the-living-shit-out-of-the-person-man-or-woman-if-they-did-that-to-me - 1) The Ponytail yank down. Anything that can damage someone's neck is pain nasty and uncool. 2) She goes straight for an ankle break on the tackle 30 sec in - diving from high and aimed down into the ankle and swinging her second leg in. I know that move. The only thing worse would have been going in two footed. I've seen seen this happen a couple of times in my career and 2-3 ankle breaks as a result.

In the words of Chris Rock, "I'd never hit a woman...but I'd shake the shit out her!"
The Movie Biz

Reading about the 20 year anniversary of the communist revolution sounds eerily similar to the state of the movie business.

Sebestyen's book shows how it all, eventually, became a matter of looking the facts in the face. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze seem to have resolved to do this after the meltdown of the Chernobyl reactor and the campaign of reflexive official lying that at first accompanied it. From then on, they accepted one thing after another: the inevitable defeat in Afghanistan and the unsustainability of the Warsaw Pact alliance. It was only a matter of time before a satellite government picked up this cue. The decisive moment came when the Hungarian authorities decided to open their frontier with Austria, allowing East German "tourists" in Hungary to begin an exodus to the West. (They had previously asked Shevardnadze for his reaction to such a move and been told that as far as the Soviet Union was concerned, it was their own affair. That was the end.)

How long can we listen to the clowns running the show? Year after year, the box office is down and fewer people go to movies and year after year they raise the price and tell us it's the most profitable year EVER and then they start laying people off and making fewer movies. The writing is on the wall. The movie people lost the energy to make movies and sold the studios to mega-corporations who don't care about movies. So we get THE BOX and PRINCE OF PERSIA.

Screenwriting is dying. MILK won Best Original Screenplay. MILK. Movie stars are disappearing. No one can open a movie anymore. Auteur's have lost their juice and are sinking into various forms of madness - Scorcese turning to cheap thrillers, Soderburgh into incoherence, Coppola into esoteria. The collective knowledge of movie-making, gained through years of experience, passed from generation to generation is dying and being replaced with digital fantasy worlds and computer generated cartoons. The unimaginative middle managers at GE and Viacom who made careers out of safe choices with their lives turn to board games and graphic novels as their saviors. No one has their own skin the game. People collect salaries and if they somehow make a mega-hit, get rich. So they all go for mega-hits with tie-ins to NFL games and McDonalds toys. This is how we got into the mortgage crisis and created a moral hazard with our government bail outs, by the way. If people had skin in their decisions, they wouldn't take stupid-dumb ass risks because they stood to lose. If you stand to lose, you hire the best and are happy at the end of the day with a little profit. If your bonus doesn't kick in until 500 billion dollars get made, sure, you go for PRINCE OF PERSIA rather than ZODIAC.

It would be one thing to be making a choice - a choice between the challenging or the commercial. Or one thing to come up with a slate and release horror movies at halloween and christmas movies at christmas or save your oscar movies for the winter. No one is even making oscar movies anymore. What movie could possibly deserve a nomination this year?

Movie people need to take back the movies and take back the studios. A young Coppola or Herzog would of steal Universal straight from Jack Donaghy.

Richard Kelly's new movie. Probably the worst movie I've seen in the theater in years. There are movies I really hate - like 500 Days of Summer or the Informant - where the philosophy of the movies are skewed and reflective of uninspired or boring filmmakers without an interesting POV. Or movies I really don't like - for instance Where the Wild Things Are - whose elements just don't add up to much at all.

But THE BOX is on a different level of bad. It is incompetent. The screenplay couldn't get through the first round of a competition. If it were an incoming submission, I'd read 15 pages and pass. Richard Kelly made Donnie Darko on accident, the same way Brett Farve beat the 49ers earlier this season on a miracle pass.

Kelly is an embarrassment. It seems like he doesn't actually watch movies or read stories or have any sense of coherency. But I don't actually blame him - it's like blaming a retarded kid for double dribbling in basketball (hat tip, Chris Rock), I blame the producers and actors and studio for putting Kelly in a game and taking our money. I mean - are they kidding me? This is a studio-released movie. If you were associated with The Box and somehow facilitated getting in to theaters, you ought commit hara-kiri with your movie career. It is that bad.

It is so bad, I willfully volunteer to quit the movie business if I'm ever part of a movie as bad as The Box. I preemptively fire myself and will never speak or talk of movies again. A brave person should have stood up at the studio screening and demanded the film be killed immediately before subjecting the public to it's gross incompetency. A braver person would have broken into the studio and burned the negative - a la the Valkyrie plot. It's one thing to pull the wool over our eyes with Where the Wild Thing Are. I understand most of the public is a bunch of morons and maybe, kinda, get fooled by indy music and hipster attitude and somehow sucked into thinking there is meaning where there isn't. I lived in Silver Lake. I watch Bored to Death. I get it. But The Box there isn't even the pretense of fooling the public. It's more just like - we're going to throw steaming shit in your face - bad craft, no story, random science that makes ZERO sense and you're going to pay for it with your time and money. I'm not even going to enjoy myself making this movie. I'm going to bore your socks off, like I'm bored. I'm not even going to be David Lynch weird. I'm going to take a dash of Lynch, a dash of the Twilight Zone, a dash of X-files toss in some scenes a beginning directors class would laugh out of the room, put in a few bumpy dolly shots and music score throughout and see what people say.

In summary - thumbs down.
Jihadists and Strip Joints

The Fort Hood dude visited the strip joint 3 times in the past month and one time spent 6-7 hours there.


Some of the 9/11 dudes did the same.

You can't tell me this jihadi violence doesn't have to do with sexual repression.
Awful and Pathetic

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — The U.S. Homeland Security secretary says she is working to prevent a possible wave of anti-Muslim sentiment after the shootings at Fort Hood in Texas. Janet Napolitano says her agency is working with groups across the United States to try to deflect any backlash against American Muslims following Thursday’s rampage by Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a Muslim who reportedly expressed growing dismay over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Backlash? Are they serious? They ought to be more concerned with preventing mass murders by religious zealots than preventing the backlash from such events. Jesus f---king christ. What a twisted moral universe we are entering...

Backlash? What was the backlash to 9/11 against Muslims in the US? Nothing. For all intents and purposes, nothing.
Time To Find A New Career

WGA trying to figure out why there is no work for writers.

Maybe because the studios no longer have a clue...

The three biggest movies of the past couple of months are not the result of the studio system - THIS IS IT, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, and PRECIOUS. Is there another legitimate "hit" out there? None of these are studio movies. They were made outside the studio system and picked up by the distribution arms. THIS IS IT maybe got some studio money, but all the footage had to do with something else entirely - a Jackson concert video.

For a system that very explicitly sold out to make "brands" and "hits" and "tentpoles", this track record is pretty piss poor.

Our industry is going the way of the dinosaur and newspapers...

Sunday, November 08, 2009


I'm developing mixed feelings about football. On the one hand, I love it. I watch every weekend. I enjoy watching all sorts of teams, not just the 49ers. But several things are happening -

1. The games are waaaay too long. Instant replay kills the flow of games. Challenges too.

2. The guys are too big, too fast, and too strong. Mostly due to steroids. And they hit so hard. With what we know about concussions and the long term effects to the players, I'm watching these guys continually putting themselves in positions to fuck themselves up. Like give themselves brain damage. I see helmets flying off during the games all the time. How long is it before someone comes in late after a helmet comes off with his helmet? What is the effect of it going to be on the league and the game?

3. The NFL is more popular than ever. I don't see these trends reversing themselves, although the NFL is putting more rules into place to protect the players.

I hate to sound like a ninny. But in my old age maybe I'm becoming one. Basketball and soccer - nice elegant sports that don't see to have the long term health problems or incentives to use steroids...yet.

Friday, November 06, 2009


Although I hate all this branded movie-making, the idea of a movie out of the board game RISK is slighting intriguing. RISK was my favorite game growing up. I was undefeated in RISK until late high school and my sisters decided to gang up and collude against me. They finally defeated me. Next game, I adjusted my strategy and was able to ward off collusion attempts, but the one loss remains a stain on my otherwise perfect RISK record against real people. In early college, I was defeated by a computer and have not played much since.

I wouldn't mind dusting off the old board again someday.

Robert Reich talks about how Presidents tend to overcompensate by not making the same mistake as their predecessors in the same party. His Clinton - Carter analogy is smart and the Bush II Iraq War argument goes without saying...

So is Obama overcompensating with his focus on Healthcare vs. the Economy?

I'd say so.
Wanda Sykes on Facebook

On Jay Leno last night (yeah, I watched part of it) -

"If I didn't want to talk to you in 5th grade, what makes you think I want to talk with you now?"

Amen, Wanda.

She took a whole different approach to my anti-facebook crusade...her point is that she doesn't want to keep in touch with people and be social. Since when does everyone want to be friends?

Thank you Wanda.
Oh Vey

It's so damn obvious...but it's looking like the Ft. Hood shooter was a devout Muslim with all sorts of radical ideas expressed in public.

From NPR (hardly the bastion of conservative fear-mongering)

He gave a Grand Rounds presentation. . . You take turns giving a lecture on, you know, the correct treatment of schizophrenia, the right drugs to prescribe for personality disorder, you know, that sort of thing. But instead of giving an academic paper, he gave a lecture on the Koran, and they said it didn’t seem to be just an informational lecture, but it seemed to be his own beliefs. That’s what a lot of people thought.

He talked about how if you’re a nonbeliever the Koran says you should have your head cut off, you should have oil poured down your throat, you should be set on fire. And I said well couldn’t this just be his educating you? And the psychiatrist said yes, but one of the Muslims in the audience, another psychiatrist, raised his hand and was quite disturbed and he said you know, a lot of us don’t believe these things you’re saying, and that there was no place where Hasan couched it as this is what the Koran teaches but you know I don’t believe it. And people actually talked in the hallway afterwards about ‘is he one of these people that’s going to freak out and shoot people someday?’

Instapundit nails it:

Kind of reminds me of that old Saturday Night Live skit on “The Shooting of Buckwheat.” You know: “What was he like?” “Nice guy, quiet, kept to himself.” “Are you surprised he shot Buckwheat?” “Oh, no — it’s all he ever talked about.”

**Shout out to the female police officer - first one on the scene who took the guy down and is recovering in the hospital. She's a gd-hero.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Anxiety Medication, Man!

Lincecum charged with the weed.
No Big Surprise

Is Buffett a tax-hypocrite?

One thing is pretty consistent across the board - people are in favor of higher taxes for other people and lower taxes for themselves. Why should Buffett be any different?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


The Niners are in trouble. Our best cornerback, Nate Clements, is hurt. As is our best offensive lineman, Joe Staley. These are the two most underheralded and important positions on the football field and to lose these guys is very bad news.

Despite it, we still played tough against Indy, but mostly because Peyton had an off day. We still couldn't score in the 2nd half.
$30 TV

Rumor - Apple is pitching to TV networks a subscription service to deliver shows via itunes. This would replace cable television as a delivery system. And then there's this:

Then there’s the delivery side of things; Apple has a lock on what are arguably two of the best mobile media delivery devices in the iPhone and iPod Touch, and should the much-ballyhooed Tablet come roaring onto the scene next year as rumored, Apple might have the best portable device for watching video media tied directly to iTunes. If the networks are willing to give Apple a chance, it might just be able to meet the converging demands of increased portability and on-demand choice right in the middle. Apple completely shook up the music business when it introduced iTunes; the potential is there for it to do the same to television.

The future, Mr. Gittes. The future.
The Best Laid Plans

Today I woke up early and jogged. Man, it felt good. Ate normal breakfast at home. Got to work right on time without rushing. New plan - 3 days a week - waking up early and jogging. Especially with daylight savings, fall, etc, it gets dark so early and light so early, it's fun. And plus, what's the point of staying up super late on the weekdays? Why am I in the habit of going to bed late and waking up at the last possible moment, snoozing and snoozing until I need to rush in the am just to get to work 5 minutes late?

Last night I grabbed food with a friend and decided NOT to drink. Because, again, why? I feel so good about it this morning. a) it cost less b) i didn't drink and c) it was still casual and fun.

We shall see if it sticks.

VDH really lays it on thick against the left wing plutocrats. He's on to something.

Who knew Al Gore was now a billionaire from his investments in "green" technology. That's a little worrisome...

As instapundit likes to say, "I'll believe there's a crisis when the people telling me it's a crisis start acting like it's a crisis."

I assume because so many people lost money in their 401k's and houses, older workers planning on retiring and decided to stay employed. Of course, this hurts younger and middle aged employees who want to move up into those positions and higher salaries.

One more way these hard times ripple across the spectrum.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fathers Can't Get No Respect

Well...maybe things are changing.

Fathers tend to do things differently, Dr. Kyle Pruett said, but not in ways that are worse for the children. Fathers do not mother, they father.

Dr. Kyle Pruett added: “Dads tend to discipline differently, use humor more and use play differently. Fathers want to show kids what’s going on outside their mother’s arms, to get their kids ready for the outside world.” To that end, he said, they tend to encourage risk-taking and problem-solving.
More Facebook Woes

I'm currently losing my epic battle with Facebook. I was left out of halloween photos, which I would like to see, but I'll sacrifice halloween photos to stay off facebook.

How long before sex tapes start showing up on Facebook?
No Theory

A critique of Obama's foreign policy - it is theory-less.

That's not good.

Monday, November 02, 2009

LA Halloween

Nothing fits LA better than Halloween. LA is a town of unfulfilled creatives all struggling to make it to a different level. Even the "successful" ones want to be doing something better or culturally more significant. Most of the rest of us are some sort of struggling "artist," and need outlets to pour this energy into. Halloween brings it all out. People go fricking crazy here. It's the only night of the year I wouldn't miss for anything. I'd stay home for New Years before Halloween. I'd eat alone on my birthday before missing Halloween in LA. It is the perfect Holiday for this city - costumes, candy, sluttiness.
Pot Calling The Kettle Black

Facebook is suing
a spammer for using their walls, etc for advertising.

Facebook is spammer - I've gotten a ton of unsolicited emails from Facebook asking me to join. Worse, Facebook is an identity thief - it started a page of me that wasn't really me and tried to ruin my reputation.

They should be paying me.
Stimulus, Growth, Etc.

A good breakdown of what's going on with the economic numbers and how headlines like "1 million new jobs created" are misleading.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


I highly recommend the Office Webisode "Subtle Sexuality." The final video = amazing.

You're my male primadona.