Friday, June 25, 2010

Fun Listening

Mexican audio of the Landon Donovan goal. Hat tip, Andy.
Don't Fight With Retards

TOP TALIBAN COMMANDER CHEERS MCCHRYSTAL SACKING: The Afghan Taliban has a saying: "Americans may own the watches. But we've got the time." As President Obama sacked Gen. Stanley McChrystal this week, replacing him with Gen. David Petraeus, Taliban commanders watched events unfold from afar, and then declared this was yet another victory. The change of leadership, was said to give them even more time in their fight against U.S. forces. Ahmadullah Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said that sending Gen. McChrystal home in the middle of the war, in such a inglorious way, was good news as it proved how troubled and divided the U.S. political and military leadership had become. "Before Gen. McChrystal, many strong military generals suffered defeat," in Afghanistan, Ahmadi said. "The Americans know that Afghanistan is the 'graveyard of empires.' But even so, they invaded this country."

The Taliban boasting about Afghanistan being the graveyard of empires should not be taken seriously. It may be true. So what? Look at what they win...a divided country perpetually at war with itself.
Blogging in Vietnam

I guess blogging is big in Vietnam. Cool. See, goes to show even a war we lose, 30+ years later it can be all right.

Debt is greatest threat to National Security.

Someone's got to pay for it. Who's it gonna be?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Regretting Putting A Man on the Moon

I'm starting to regret that we ever put a man on the moon. This enormous feat of science has done nothing but serve as inspiration to every half-cocked moon-bat delusion cooked up by people who can't change their own oil or explain how electricity gets into homes. And I include myself amongst these people, I'll have you know. In 2002, I supported turning Afghanistan into a democracy. In 2010, I realize the foolishness of this enterprise. It would be smarter for me to run a marathon on a recently repaired ACL than to think we could bring "democracy" to Afghanistan.

The gushing BP oil wreck underlines what is true - we cannot control everything, we cannot do everything, we must make choices and allocate limited resources, and prepare for worst-case scenarios.

I was watching Bill Mahr the other day and he was hectoring oil companies and other boogie men and talking about windmills and solar power and all this freaking nonsense. The audience and his guests were clapping wildly and I felt like yelling at all of them, "how the fuck did you all get to the studio today? How do you think all these sets were built, all these cameras constructed and shipped here?" All of this was built on the lubrication of oil - a cheap combustible fuel - that allows people and objects to be moved around and transported at a cost. Do they honestly think freaking windmills are going to generate enough electricity to fuel people and goods getting around? Sure, the science exists, but do you want to spend your entire life savings to travel to Los Angeles and be an audience member of the Bill Mahr show? Because that's how much it would probably cost in real dollars. Solar panels? These stupid f---king hippies really think solar panels are going to warm their homes in the winter and run the air conditioning when it is hotter than all hell during the summer in LA? Well, if we can put a man on the moon, we can make a green economy. Yeah, get back to me when you can change your own oil, create one functioning business, write one good screenplay, build one piece of furniture, raise one healthy family, or any simple, useful thing and upon realizing how hard it is to accomplish these small, human feats, then explain how this green economy will work.
Oh Yeah, Another Good Point

This time by Tom Friedman.

What do we win if we win? At least in Iraq, if we eventually produce a decent democratizing government, we will, at enormous cost, have changed the politics in a great Arab capital in the heart of the Arab Muslim world. That can have wide resonance. Change Afghanistan at enormous cost and you’ve changed Afghanistan — period. Afghanistan does not resonate.
Longing For Slavery

There is elegance and tragedy in these words.

It isn't the same, but I felt a bit jealous of one of our new interns today thinking about just being a Freshman in college again on summer break. I remember those times - prior to the burdens of being a fully adult - and remember it fondly. Obviously, I wouldn't go back...well...maybe just for a little while.

A pretty good analysis of the whole McCrystal fiasco.

6) The Left is in a trap in Afghanistan of its own making. From 2007-8, Obama et al. created a false narrative of Afghanistan as the good war and Iraq the bad, predicated not on facts, but only on casualty rates, public opinion, and their own desire to strut national security toughness without ever making gut-check decisions. Afghanistan was quiet in 2007 and so seen as stable—so why not adopt a “let me at ‘em” attitude? Iraq was scary, so why not trash it as Bush’s lost and unnecessary war? But Afghanistan has no tradition of secular literacy, Iraq a little—and no ports, terrible terrain, no oil or cash to work with, a nuclear Pakistan next door, and so on and on. Some of us cringed when we saw that Obama was taking the tougher challenge and boasting of his warrior cred, and trashing a war that was winnable, and indeed in the very process of being won. Nemesis again for the nth time with this president. (Cf. Guantanamo suddenly no longer the gulag, or renditions and Predators no longer terror).

And he gives proper shout-outs to Ryan Crocker -

Crocker is also a much underestimated figure, whose professionalism and competence will increasingly be appreciated, in contrast to the current diplomatic team in Afghanistan. We owe him a great deal; he was not an advocate of invading Iraq, and yet when asked to serve did his best to carry out a policy that saved lives and a country itself. He was a far better candidate for a Nobel Prize than Obama will ever be.)


I guess my major disagreement with Hansen is that he still thinks the Afghanistan war in both winnable and worth winning. I'm not convinced of either. I don't mean to be myopic here, but I've been on this point for a long time now, that Afghanistan is not of geo-political significance except insofar as Al Queda uses it to operate. And it basically no longer does. Couple that with what we're working against here - a culture of corruption with no history of democratic governance, no inkling that the country can be transformed, with a neighbor who we call our alley and yet supports the Taliban to give itself "strategic depth" against India. All this just strikes me as a bad poker hand, the type you want to get out of when the stakes go too high. It's like we're going for an inside straight draw and maybe with an outside chance at a's smart to stay in the hand - maybe - it the stakes are low because the pot is large. But in this case, pushing more and more US troops in there going into year 9, it just doesn't seem wise. Plus, there are other looming and existing issues related to Islamic Fundamentalism - the Iranian Bomb - Hamas in Gaza - Hizbollah - and the threat to us from IF, even with Al Queda gone from the earth, isn't over. This is a long battle and we need our resources and to get our economy on back on track to pay this sort of adventurism. And maybe I've learned something over these past 10 years about Al Queda - that in many respects they just got lucky on 9/11 and as awful as that day was - our society not only can survive, but can thrive, even after taking a lick. We've still got the big stack. So why risk it on a bad hand? Better cards will be dealt us in the future and we ought to play those. For instance, the Iranian protesters. We should have given them more support...but other things like that will happen again. And when they do, we want our money and our reputation in good position to take advantage. This McCrystal incident does not help either.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I'm Not Getting Over This

The more I think about McCrystal's baffoonery...I can't get over it. We hired this guy to run the war effort? Either he is a complete and utter dope without any ability to project the effects of his actions or he was a man in an impossible situation and created his own "out." Both are cause for serious concern. What did he think was the "best-case" scenario of this article being published? What did he hope to accomplish? For people to start paying attention to Afghanistan again? Why would he want that? And this is guy who we rely upon to run a highly complex military campaign, employing the basically unproven and untested COIN strategy? It displays a lack of discipline, a lack of common sense, a lack of strategic thinking...all things you would want in a military leader. Makes him look like a wannabe cowboy doing "thrill seeking liquor store hold ups." What a douche.
Will Phil Jackson Retire

If I were him, I would. Can you imagine dealing with Kobe and Artest day in and day out? He should go coach high school or something.
You Cannot Be Serious

On how Obama sees the war.

My takeaway from all this was that President Obama had come to believe, as had I, that the very ambitious set of goals articulated by his predecessor were unattainable but that he believed saying that was politically untenable. Since he had campaigned on Afghanistan as a "war of necessity" that the Bush administration had under-resourced to pursue a "war of choice" in Iraq, he couldn't very well say, mere months into his term, that Afghanistan wasn't worth it after all. Further, bugging out before the job was done would lead to charges of weakness that no president, particularly a Democratic president with no military bona fides, wants to fight...

So let me get this straight. They don't take Obama at his word. In fact, they suspect he would send American troops to die for a war he didn't believe we could win for political reasons and...YOU SUPPORT THIS? Sick. Deranged. Horribly cynical. And wrong in every sense one can be wrong.

This is all making me ill.
The Runaway General

General McChrystal was just fired because of this Rolling Stone piece.

I can't express how ridiculous and embarrassing this whole situation has become. The Rolling Stone piece paints a picture of an impotent and unprepared President getting bullied around by a frat-pack of know-it-all military dudes lead by McChrystal. McChrystal comes across as an asshole. The type that boasts of never eating, never sleeping, being anti-authority, all this kind of macho crap. I never trust people like this. Especially to lead. They can't possibly make good decisions (as evidenced by signing off on this piece). And maybe this is why we can't beat a two-bit primitive and unpopular army like the Taliban.

And then, to have the audacity to publicly trash his boss and the vice president or worse, have his subordinates do it in his stead? No one always agrees with their boss, but I'm sorry, we're talking about the President, his the Commander in Chief, and to try and publicly humiliate the guy - is he dumb? Did he want to get fired? What choice did he give Obama? And all this in a Rolling Stone magazine piece? Really unbelievable.

As for Obama, this stinks for him. First, his hand-picked man in Afghanistan basically throws him under the bus and gets himself fired. It brings the spotlight over to Afghanistan and Obama's "surge" and how it isn't working the way the surge worked in Iraq. And ironically, Obama calls upon Patraeus to step in, taking a play directly from Bush's playbook -- a play Obama ridiculed when he was running for President. What is going on?

We are in serious danger of "losing" in Afghanistan. But here's the greater irony - it doesn't matter. Afghanistan is not important to the United States, so long as Al Queda is not using it as a safe haven and able to launch attacks. Everyone knows Al Queda central is in Pakistan. So what happens if we draw down in Afghanistan? Nothing. If we retreat completely and disengage from the region, yes, there will be long term consequences. But what if we draw drawn to mostly special forces and work closely with the Indian military to keep the Taliban off-balance and to continue to hit Al Queda with drones? We play for the cheap tie and for us, in that part of the world, should be enough. Because what is the other option? No one, including McChrystal and Obama, thinks we can "win." They don't use the language for it or behave like it.

What a bunch of clowns. I don't know why people don't care about this more. It's all just out of sight, out of mind.

On the other hand, good US victory in the World Cup today.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Oh, The French

They really are doing nothing to contradict the stereotypes. The coach refuses to shake hands with the South African coach after the game. Is he serious? The game didn't even matter, the French couldn't advance.
Excellent Article

On Cristiano Ronaldo, the ultimate athletic villain.

When he is not near the ball, he will jog with all the urgency of a man crossing a city street just as the light has begun to blink. When an opponent has deigned to knock him to the ground, and a foul has not been called, he will lie there, lounging, for 30 seconds or more, as if to make sure that everyone sees what someone has just done to Cristiano Ronaldo. When a teammate fails to score after receiving one of his brilliant and perfectly positioned passes -- as happened at least twice Monday -- he looks to the sky and rolls his eyes, because, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo would have scored if only Cristiano Ronaldo could have passed the ball to Cristiano Ronaldo.

Much of the article talks about how no American athletic is quite like Ronaldo. Kobe is the closest, but the difference is Kobe tries to be liked. He tries to be funny in the press conferences. He wants to have friends and be a good guy. He isn't, but he tries. Cristiano Ronaldo does not try. He does not care. He is a true villain. Kobe is just weird, but not quite a villain.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Is It Right Wing Delusion?

Can we write off criticisms of Obama's foreign policy simply as right wing delusion? Powerline makes interesting points:

Osama bin Laden famously said that "when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse." The truth of that statement depends on which meaning of the word "like" is being employed. People may not like the strong horse in the sense of feeling kindly disposed towards it. But they will tend to like that horse in the sense of backing it. (The question, "who do you like in the fifth race today" is a question about which horse one is backing not which horse one wants to pet).

and thus

Speaking of leaving Afghanistan sooner rather than a little later, Great Britain's new Minister of Defense, has said he wants to withdraw British units from Afghanistan as quickly as possible, and Prime Minister Cameron is said to be preparing for a "rapid withdrawal." Like the Afghan government, the Brits see Obama's weakness and are reacting accordingly. You might pet a weak horse, but you'd be a fool to back it.

Since his emergence as a national figure, Obama has fretted about America's lack of popularity in the world. It does not seem to have occurred to him that, though being disliked may be unpleasant, the most serious trouble begins when a nation is viewed with contempt by its enemies and with pity by its friends.

Of course the smart argument against being the "strong horse" is the question of when does it end? When do we ever get out of Afghanistan? The right's answer, of course, is "when we win". But do they honestly believe that is possible? How do we win in that godforsaken place. Like the New Zealanders this past Sunday, I don't mind playing for the tie here, keeping troops there to go after AQ and Taliban should they get too big for their britches, but being perfectly happy just keeping them on their back heels all the time and bopping them on the head when they get too big for their britches or out of line.
Great Title

Gotta link to this article, just because of the title: The Paranoid Delusions of the Expert Class.

It is about the threat of children having "best friends."


Caught two LA Film Festival movies this weekend. It was nice to be in the film festival scene for a little bit again and I was lucky enough to avoid the atrocious and brain-deadening boredom endemic of the general film festival movie experience.

COLD WEATHER came recommended as an indie-sherlock holmes style mystery. And about 1/2 of the movie was exactly that. It took awhile to get going, but eventually the story became a mystery when a young man with the help of co-worker and his sister (with whom he lives) tries to figure out the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend who ostensibly came to town for "work." It took place in Portland and the first act was quite slow and gave no indication of being a detective movie. The director lingered on shots for an impossibly long time. Someone next to me somehow found humor in a big wide shot of the ocean with our two characters eating sandwiches as a seagull flew around screen. I did not. Nothing happened in the full minute this image was on screen. There was one breathtaking shot of a bridge with a slow zoom and two characters standing on it. But this is not a photography shoot, it is a movie and you must sneak in the artistry in the action...not in addition to it. The movie finally picks up when the detective elements start going and finally our heroes are getting somewhere in the mystery and BAM - the movie suddenly ends. It was as-if the movie ended at the end of the 2nd act. We never find out what was in the briefcase, we never find out who the bad guys are, what they are up to, how our missing girl got involved, or why she "disappeared" in the first place. The movie was basically a good second act with a typically indie-boring-we're-in-love-with-the-red camera-and-the-indie-images-it-produces-and-our-actors-facial-expressions first act. The filmmakers said, "we were interested in capturing how real people behave," in the Q&A. Why? If I wanted to see "real" people, I'd watch a documentary or my own goddamn life. Real people behaving is not drama. Sorry, it isn't. I like my drama straight. Still, 1/2 a good movie is pretty damn impressive and there was talent displayed both from a writing and directing standpoint. The best shot of the movie is a dolly around a library stack as the brother and sister seek out a baseball statistics books. This shot is superior to the bridge shot as it involves character action, coupled with a lovely camera movie and big curves of space on screen.

Hatley's portrait of Levon Helm does is in no need of a public musings dissection. Let me just say Levon's performance of Atlantic City made me want to yell out in celebration and I wish I had. I know you're not supposed to do such things in a movie, but it was for a moment, it was a concert for me. Very good cutting in this scene between two cameras, the close low def video footage mixed with the wider, high definition video. Levon's philosophy of life is not the same as mine, and yet I'm very much glad folks like he exist.
How to Create Jobs

From what I've been reading and listening to, a few good ideas on how to create jobs:

1. Payroll tax holiday to make it cheaper for businesses to make new hires.

2. Decrease the value of the dollar. Right now, the dollar is artificially high because the Chinese buy tons of dollars to keep their currency low and the Euro is getting trashed. This makes our exports more expensive and therefore people buy less. We need to figure out how to get this back into balance.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Racist Bastard

This guy won't sell his house to an Asian.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Starting a Dating Site

There is an irony that an online piracy site is starting a dating component based upon "social trust." Getting vouched for by a bunch of thieves strikes me as not the greatest of ways to meet someone. But regardless of the thievery - why anyone would trust anyone with respect to dating is beyond me. Kevin from the Office nails it when Michael asks hims to set him up on a date with a good woman and he replies -

"Michael, if I knew any good women, I'd take them for myself."
No Charging For Facebook

If no one is willing to pay for Facebook, it gives you some idea of its value.

The rhythm of the World Cup has thrown me off. I'm used to doing work, errands, business during the day and then unwinding at night with movies, going out, reading, you short, the best, and most exciting part of the day comes AFTER all the business of living is done. But not during the World Cup. Now, my mornings are the most exciting time of the day. I'm left in a weird state come mid-morning or mid-afternoon, an emotional hang-over of sorts. Not major, but just...I don't the best part of the day happens first. Strange.

I didn't get to think or savor the NBA championship game because the US-Slovania game was so much more exciting and thrilling than a rather ugly, boring, NBA finals-race-to-the-bottom. Good on the Lakers for being able to win a game like that, it felt like a Boston game, but they couldn't make baskets or rebound.

Excellent US game and I can't figure out the call that negated the third goal. Giving the referee the benefit of the doubt, I suppose there was a lot of physical contact during the kick and they'll rarely call that foul on the defense in the situation. But it was a pretty clear no-call. Yes, the US scored, but who knows when the whistle was blown and whether Slovania defenders stopped defending. You can't hear anything. Nevertheless, an exciting game and the US still has a decent shot at advancing. What is the rule for a tie? Goal differential? Presumably England will win out and the US can still advance at 1-0-2.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Rick Reilly is a retard for these World Cup suggestions.

Getting new goalie gloves? Is he serious? The faking? Again, is he serious? Does he watch Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce draw fouls every night? It's part of the game. Stoppage time? This guy doesn't get the sport.


So, if male, you're a douchbag if you deny a woman marriage and a "demi-god" if you are tied to a woman? Does the author of this article have any idea that her oozing sense of entitlement (read the article to get the gist of it) might be a turn-off? Probably not.

Perhaps if she spent a little more time asking "What the hell is in marriage for 30-something year old guys with self-indulgent types like me, she might come up with an answer for why so many guys in their thirties are single. Throw in the unfair legal battle these same guys have watched their dads, friends, and uncles engage in during divorce and she will know exactly what the hell is happening to 30-something guys. Rather than the regressed or confused "douchbags" she thinks they are, they are simply wise to the ways of the world.

Thank you, mam.

My advice to women seeking men: don't be a whiny hag, work out a little bit, be cool. Cooking and big boobs are a plus, but not necessary.
Not For Me

Jobless claims "unexpectedly" fall.

Well, we can't conduct another census to get people back to work. Or, I suppose we could, but people would actually see through that...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Interesting Interview

Michael Totten and Victor Davis Hansen

A really good section on Israel:

VDH: Or more. It's a unique society and deserves credit for what it is achieving now and has in the past. I'm just baffled by these supposedly liberal thinkers who point out that there are still hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees. They seem unmoved by the fact that the Arab states ethnically cleansed Jews from Baghdad, Cairo, and Damascus.

MJT: Those ethnically-cleansed Jews are in Israel now.

VDH: Exactly.

MJT: They are refugees, too, but they don't demand the right of return to Baghdad.

VDH: Why would they want to be perennial refugees? There's no purpose to it.

MJT: There isn't.

VDH: If you and I know that, why can't the Obama administration understand it? They're smart people, they're empirical, so I have to ask, why can't they accept this? Is it because they're afraid of the power of oil? Is it because Obama wants to be a charismatic Gandhi-like figure? Is Obama anti-Semitic? I don't know what the answer is.

MJT: I don't think the president is anti-Semitic. I get the sense he doesn't want to polarize the world against the United States, so he's going to go along to get along. If ganging up on Israel is the popular thing to do, he'll do it. If the Organization of American States wants to isolate Honduras, Obama doesn't want to be only the head of the state in the hemisphere doing the opposite. That might make the United States look it's returning to Yankee imperialism again, even if it's not true.

Not all countries are created equal.
World Cup: First Impressions

First impressions can be misleading, but now we've got a chance to see at least a taste of every team. I haven't seen every game, but nevertheless have formed a few impressions based of what I've seen and the highlights.

The strongest teams appear to be Germany and Argentina. The teams I like to watch and find exciting in some capacity: Germany, Argentina, Spain, Ivory Coast, Uruguay, South Korea, United States, Brazil, England, Mexico, France, Netherlands.

Disappointing teams: England, Portugal, Italy, Nigeria, South Africa

Surprising Good Looking: Ivory Coast, Uruguay, Germany, Japan

Even though Spain lost, I think they'll move to the second round and be formidable.
Very Fun

My hotmail account is nearly completely phased out, although I still use it for craiglist postings and some bills, etc. I was cleaning it out last night and have a bunch of old emails from around the time I was graduating college. What a hoot to read some of these old emails between me and a lot of people I've completely lost touch with. (I'm not on facebook, so I'm not in touch with randoms from my past). It touched off all these memories of times I almost forget. One summer I lived in DC and became friends with a couple people several years older than me because I was an intern and still in college and they had just graduated. I re-read some email exchanges between myself and them seeking advice after graduating college. Here is a portion of one of my emails.

So what do people out of college do? What kind of jobs? Are any particularly good? Do you notice some people having a better time than others? I like to write. Do you know anyone who writes for internet or print media publications? How does one get involved with that type of shit?

I suppose this probably isn't too interesting to others, but it brings back a whole different state of mind and time in the same way old pictures can.
World Cup: Spain-Switzerland

The first big upset of the Cup. Spain has the best players in the world, but I don't think they have the best team. Obviously, their defense looked a bit spotty. I have no idea why they played with only one forward most of the game. Their strength is attack. The best shot of the World Cup thus far was the cross bar hit by the Spanish defender off a corner kick. Good god, I don't know if I've ever seen a ball hit that hard. Torres isn't himself - if he was 100% - Spain would be pretty damn unstoppable. Then again, the Swiss played tough defense and got a fortunate goal. Cool thing about soccer - anything is possible.
NBA Finals

I didn't see much of what seemed like an ugly game. People talk so much about the Lakers not showing up sometimes - but what about the Celtics? The section I saw, they couldn't buy a basket. They missed lay ups. It was awful. Game 7 could go either way. If it is close, however, I'd go with the Celtics because the Lakers - other than Kobe - shut down when a little pressure is on them.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Is anyone faithful anymore?

Al Gore's split from wife Tipper after 40 years of marriage was a shock to everyone who thought theirs was the ideal marriage. Now Star can exclusively reveal that the former Vice President was having an affair with Larry David's ex-wife — for the past two years!

I can only imagine the insufferable environmental pillow talk.
World Cup: Brazil-North Korea

Caught only intermittent parts of the game, but pretty exciting ending. Brazil often goes 0-0 at half against inferior opponents and then explodes in the second half and it looked like that was what was happening -- although that first goal they scored was pretty improbable (I only saw it on replay). They did possess for 75% of the game, so it was only a matter of time. But that NoKo guy made a fantastic first touch to put himself in scoring position.
World Cup: Ivory Coast-Portugal

Ivory Coast was clearly the better team, but always seemed to lack an additional attacking player in the box. The perfect illustration of this point was Drogba's cross in the 90th minute, as he was expecting to have someone far post. The entire game, Ivory Coast never got someone on far post, even though they were attacking most of the game. A bad loss for them, as they need to play Brazil later and winning this game would have put them in the drivers seat in terms of getting to the 2nd round. I hope they do as they are an exciting team - the best African team so far.
Irma Thomas

I downloaded three songs after watching Treme last night. I think they'll be more in my future. Or a record.
The End of Affirmative Action

Evidence that discrimination is no longer an important factor in keeping women out of math-oriented professions. I like this quote:

Tierney concludes: “I’d love to see more girls pursuing careers in science (and more women reading science columns), but I wish we’d encourage their individual aspirations instead of obsessing about group disparities. I can’t see how we’re helping them with scare stories about the awful discrimination they’ll face. And I can’t imagine that many scientists, male or female, are looking forward to being yanked out of the lab to play Gender Bias Bingo.” The point, however, isn’t improving science. It’s all about providing jobs and authority for diversity specialists.

I'm pretty sure affirmative action will be over within my lifetime. And that's a good thing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rondo the Freak

Rondo is one of the most fascinating basketball players I've ever watched play. Every game he makes 3-4 raise-your-hands-over-your-head plays, and just say "Wow." And it's a mixture of offense, defense, passing, scoring, rebounding. Yesterday, it was his tip-in over Kobe Bryant. Incredible play. Also, he's stolen the ball or knocked it away from Kobe at least 3-4 times during the 4th quarter in this series and this really throws Kobe off. (Note: Kobe has yet to have a good 4th quarter in this series - jinx!!!) His block on Fisher the other game was incredible. Other crazy play yesterday - his lay up way up off the glass.

And on the flipside, he made several HUGE turnovers yesterday trying to do improbable things. On a busted fast break he tried a behind the back along the baseline to go 1-3 and get an easy hoop, but stepped on the baseline. He tries crazy passes on fast breaks and Kendrick Perkins and Garnett have trouble handling them. He even rolled a diagonal ball to Ray Allen yesterday that ended up not being a turnover, but was a pretty stupid play. Doc Rivers went with Nate Robinson for a long time in the 4th quarter yesterday and I'm pretty sure it was because of Rondo's turnovers.

Like I said, an fascinating player to watch.

U.S. FINDS VAST MINERAL DEPOSITS IN AFGHANISTAN: Has Afghanistan hit the natural-resources jackpot? A Pentagon study says it may have found untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan worth $1 trillion—far more than has ever been found in any previously known reserves. More importantly, according to senior U.S. government officials, the reserves could fundamentally change the Afghan economy, as well as the Afghan war itself. The deposits—which are full of iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and metals like lithium—are so enormous, in fact, that Afghanistan could become a mining capital of the world. "There is stunning potential here," Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, told The New York Times. "There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant." The newfound reserves will be critical in reshaping the country, which has a gross domestic product of only about $12 billion. Maybe the new discovery will make Americans care about the war in Afghanistan again.


I wonder why the Taliban couldn't find these mineral deposits. Or, wait a second, it's because they're incompetent retards.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

World Cup: Ghana-Serbia

Despite missing their top player, Michael Essien, Ghana still looks impressive. They were the more dangerous side, although Serbia played solid defense.

Thus far, the world cup has been characterized by a lack of offense. No one is finishing. I think the announcers said not a single striker has a scored a goal yet in the Cup. This is through 7-8 games so far - pretty remarkable. I wonder if it is just first round jitters or the weather or stronger defense or lots of strategy planning for the first game by the teams/coaches.

This victory puts Ghana is a good position to move to the second round in a really tough group. Presumably Germany will move forward as well, but I think they are missing their best player, Michael Ballack, as well.
World Cup: US - England

A strange phenomena - I love America and I love soccer, but I don't love American soccer. I root for our team, but don't feel it in my bones the way I can tell other people from other countries root for their teams. I always expect us to play poorly. We played okay yesterday. England played much worse than I expected. Rooney didn't do much. Their center mids - Lampard and Gerrard are too similar - they both play like a holding center mid and neither gets up an attacks like a Zidane or Rosicky or even Donavan when he plays center mid. England has strong players all around and ought to be better, but their second striker isn't super dangerous and again, lack that attacker/finisher coming up behind the strikers.

Clint Dempsey and Landon Donavan are both good players. Altidore made that really nice turn in the 2nd half and almost scored a 2nd goal. Impressive. Our defense was really disorganized in the beginning and that allowed the first England goal. Good that our team didn't fold and we got lucky with the England goalie pulling a Bill Buckner. We'll take the tie, for sure, as we should win our next two games and then get out of the first round. Anything can happen after that - at least now our team seems capable of an upset as we have several players who are dangerous offensively.

On the flipside, we are also capable of blowing a game and although I didn't watch Slovania or Algeria play, Slovania won, so we need to beat them or beat Algeria 2-0.
World Cup: Argentina-Nigeria

Argentina had tons of chances and yet only won 1-0. I suspect they will put up a lot of goals at some point in this tournament. Nigeria did not look as strong as years past. Messi terrifies defenders and I imagine will finish better as the tournament goes on. Argentina is the best team I've seen so far.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Did Phil Jackson make a mistake by playing Kobe and Gasol in the early 4th quarter last night? The game was decided in that 4th quarter and somehow Baby and Robinson brought the crazy energy and once again, the subs outplayed the Laker starters (like Phoenix game 4). Are Kobe and Gasol gassed? Is Phil Jackson secretly terrified Bynum is running on fumes and wanted to close the series last night?

Game 5 is huge. Whoever takes game 5 takes the series, I bet.
And Why Not?

Online dating assistant. Why not pay someone to weed through all the crap out there and set you up on dates. It makes perfect logical sense. Someday soon, maybe we can all just be handed the perfect person on a perfect platter and we won't have to do a lick of deciding or wooing. Let computers decide for us.

Why do I think online dating is retarded? Because I don't know if I like someone by their goddamn resume or their pictures from last Halloween or how clever they write emails or use emoticons. I don't even know if I like some stranger I sit down with for a few minutes because we like the same bands or same movies or same books or have the same stupid political opinions. I'd fall for the good auditioners with no substance, the ones who practice in the mirror, the ones good at pitching. I'd pass on the great ones too normal to practice. I know this. I don't know anything about someone after one or two dates. I decide whether I like someone by the way I see them interact in the world and how the world reacts to them. I am attracted to people not because they like the same shit as me, but by their charisma, their rhythm. It takes time. People grow on you. Others wane. Isn't that how it's supposed to work?
World Cup: France-Uruguay

I watched much of the game at my work computer between lunch and it being a really slow day. Despite a 0-0 score, the game was rather compelling. Both teams looked strong. I was surprised how good Uruguay looked. This is a nation of only 3.5 million people - smaller than Los Angeles. They look better to me than the US team, but I guess we'll see tomorrow. They were happy to take a tie after going down to 10 men in the end there. But they had some chances and looked dangerous at times. Uruguay's #10 is a player to watch - Forlorn. I will check out their other games to watch him play.

France misses Zidane, of course. Should Henry play more? I guess he didn't have a good season this year and is getting a bit old. Both defenses were stingy in the box and disciplined. I wonder if these teams both will continue to have trouble scoring. It is hard to tell whether the lack of finishing is due to tough defense or not having enough poise/creativity in the box.

This is an evenly matched group A with in the top 3. Mexico needed a victory against South Africa. I think Uruguay and France will both beat South Africa, so Mexico is going to need beat either or both Uruguay or France to move on. Those games will be good - Mexico-Uruguay and Mexico-France. Mexico usually moves past the first round, but might not this year.

A nice little fact - Uruguay has actually won two world cups - in 1930 and 1950.
World Cup: Mexico - South Africa

I only caught the first half as I needed to attend physical therapy. Mexico looked far superior, but failed to capitalize on several good opportunities. South Africa looked bad. I forgot how much pleasure I get just from seeing the way the teams look. I thought South Africa would at least have a few white players, being a Dutch colony, etc. But I guess not. Mexico looks a little stronger than in years past, but perhaps it was because of a weak South Africa team. Bad offsides call in the first half, although the goalie was out, so it was close. Mexico should have been up 2-0 at halftime, and then just got away with a tie in the end. Soccer is funny like that. Surprised how excited I am to watch basically any WC game right now. Tomorrow's games should be nuts.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Elton John against gay marriage.

“What is wrong with Proposition 8 is that they went for marriage. Marriage is going to put a lot of people off, the word marriage… I don’t want to be married. I’m very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership… You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships.” – Elton John

What a homophobe.
Rocky Relationships Tougher on Young Men Than Women

A study finds.

Contrary to popular belief, the ups and downs of romantic relationships have a greater effect on the mental health of young men than women, according to a new study by a Wake Forest University sociology professor.

Not totally surprising. I'd argue it is the existence of the "popular belief" of male coldness that leads to these results. Dudes don't talk about their hurt feelings and so yes, it gets all bottled up and weird. Chicks, on the other hand, won't shut up about it and so while being annoying, allows them to get it off their chests. Can I be making bigger gender generalizations? Woman should cook and men should chop wood. There.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Cool Watches

I like watches.
Nice Guys


Taliban fighters are burying dirty needles with their bombs in a bid to infect British troops with HIV.

Hypodermic syringes are hidden below the surface pointing upwards to prick bomb squad experts as they hunt for devices. The heroin needles are feared to be contaminated with hepatitis and HIV. And if the bomb goes off, the needles become deadly flying shrapnel. Deadly needles become flying shrapnel.

The tactic, used in the Afghan badlands of Helmand, was exposed by Tory MP and ex-Army officer Patrick Mercer.

These guys are all about shock and fear. Do they not watch the NBA on ESPN and Magic Johnson? That's what we do with HIV.
No Good Soccer Movies

Article about why there aren't any great soccer movies.

Fact is, there are very few good sport movies at all. And Raging Bill is hardly a sports movie.
Why We Watch

Last night's basketball game is why we watch sports. Total unpredictability. Derek Fisher are you f---ing kidding me? Did you see that lay up drive to the hoop where 3 Celtics molested him and he still managed to knock it down? This is Derek Fisher we're talking about - a 36 year old point guard significantly slower than me - who was never all that good to begin with. Ray Allen was as bad last night as he was good for the first half of game 2. Kobe and Pierce were terrible. Garnett finally outplayed Gasol. It's like Garnett and Fisher got together and took roids or 24 hour energy drinks. What happened? Very strange. I predicted that if Garnett outplayed Gasol and Rondo played Kobe straight up, the Celtics would win. Both those things happened last night and the Lakers won. Because of Derek Fisher. Unbelievable.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


OBAMA WANTS AN 'ASS TO KICK': Start with Tony Hayward: President Obama tells Today's Matt Lauer in an interview set to air Tuesday morning that he wants to know "whose ass to kick" over the BP oil spill. Responding to criticism that he is relying too heavily on experts, Obama said, "I don't sit around talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick." He also rebuts his critics who say he was too slow to act: "I was down there a month ago, before most of these talking heads were even paying attention to the Gulf." A new poll, meanwhile, shows that, one month out, more people disapprove of the federal government's handling of the oil spill than they did at the same time after Hurricane Katrina, 69 to 62 percent.

This exchange is tonally odd and clutsy. If, as it implies, the oil spill is someone's fault - as opposed to the nature of living in an industrial world where mistakes like this will happen - how can Obama not know where fault lies? It didn't happen yesterday. It happened weeks ago. Shouldn't fault be apparent already?

It makes Obama look like a drunk looking for a fight and stumbling around the bar asking everyone "who spilled a drink on me!"
Drinking Rules

Some thoughts on drinking from Chris Hitchens.

Don't drink on an empty stomach: the main point of the refreshment is the enhancement of food. Don't drink if you have the blues: it's a junk cure. Drink when you are in a good mood. Cheap booze is a false economy. It's not true that you shouldn't drink alone: these can be the happiest glasses you ever drain. Hangovers are another bad sign, and you should not expect to be believed if you take refuge in saying you can't properly remember last night. (If you really don't remember, that's an even worse sign.) Avoid all narcotics: these make you more boring rather than less and are not designed—​as are the grape and the grain—​to enliven company. Be careful about up-grading too far to single malt Scotch: when you are voyaging in rough countries it won't be easily available. Never even think about driving a car if you have taken a drop. It's much worse to see a woman drunk than a man: I don't know quite why this is true but it just is. Don't ever be responsible for it.

Pretty good.

Monday, June 07, 2010

My Thoughts On Israel Acting A Little Crazy

Reading a book called "The Strong Horse: Power Politics and the Clash of Arab Civilizations." The book is all about how we took 9/11 too personally. His point - political/tribal violence is the norm for Arab tribes/countries who have been fighting amongst themselves for political power for thousands of years. There are no institutions set up for any type of peaceful transfer of power. Politics is a death-match and when you lose, your head gets chopped off and so you kill, torture, coerce, and sick bad dudes on your near and far enemies. 9/11 brought what is fairly standard-Arab political violence to the shores of America and we did not understand it. We interpreted it as an act of war and have made an attempt to distinguish between moderate and fundamentalist Muslims and state and non-state actors and those regimes who support terror vs. those who don't, etc.

Lee Smith argues, this is a backwards way of looking at the conflict and entirely American-centric. In fact, we need to understand how Arab political culture values the "Strong Horse" and how strong tribes lead until a stronger tribe seizes power violently from them when they get to fat or caught with their pants down. 9/11 was just one little spec on the map of inter-Arab violence designed to empower Al Queda in relation to their inter-Arab enemies - the House of Saud, the Northern Alliance, etc.

What does this have to do with Israel? Israel understands the nature of Arab political culture - if not totally - certainly a lot more than we do. When Israel acts all crazy, I give them a pass, because when dealing with crazy, you gotta be a little crazy. There ain't no other way to see it. There is no hand holding, kumbaya, let's all get along solutions in the Middle East. All those people's heads were chopped off ages ago.
Here We Go

IRANIAN SHIPS SET FOR GAZA: Things in Gaza are quickly getting out of hand: The Iranian Red Crescent has announced plans to send two aid ships to Gaza this week after receiving the blessing of the country's foreign ministry. "One ship will carry donations made by the people and the other will carry relief workers," said the organization's director for international affairs. The matter could rise to the level of an international crisis if the Iranian Revolutionary Guards make good on their pledge, announced on Sunday, to protect any ship delivering aid to Gaza. "Iran's Revolutionary Guards naval forces are fully prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys to Gaza with all their powers and capabilities," said Ali Shirazi, the Ayatollah Khamenei's representative within the Guards. Shirazi indicated that the Guards are still waiting for the go-ahead from Khamenei.

Sadly, this sounds like the beginning of a Tom Clancy novel. Look out world.

Sunday, June 06, 2010


"I Discovered My Husband Was Gay."

One of these day, I will cease to find stuff like this funny. But not today.
Game 2

Interesting game. Gotta love how hard both teams played. Gotta be concerned if you're Boston with KG who is pretty ineffective against the Lakers bigs. Gotta be impressed with Gasol - he is often the most dangerous guy on the court. Why don't the Lakers go to him in the last five minutes more often? We all know the hype with Kobe being the best "closer" in basketball, but come on, just look at FG percentage. Gasol in the post is more dangerous than Kobe on the perimeter. Rondo basically played Kobe straight up today. Rondo is such a strange player. He can't shoot for shit, but he plays tricky defense, is good at finishing in the paint, can rebound the hell out of the ball and seemingly can run forever. Really interesting player that changes the entire game. Good thing about the Celtics - with Ray Allen and Pierce you have two guys that can conceivably "go off" in a half or a game. Ray scoring 27 points in the first half carried the Celtics. Having two players who can light it up makes you dangerous. Underrated element of Ray Allen's game today - he played damn good defense on Kobe as well. Good omen for Celtics that they can win a game on the road with Pierce and Garnett having subpar games. But whereas you know Pierce will be back, it isn't clear Garnett is just overmatched down low.

Friday, June 04, 2010

I'll Admit It

I'm as a big a Laker hater as anyone, but if they play like they did last night, they will win and win easily. The Lakers have created serious match up problems for the Celtics with Artest on Pierce and Kobe on Rondo.

The only way I see the Celtics winning is if Rondo can figure a way to go off and play Kobe straight up. Does anyone actually see that happening?

Garnett is a lunatic and so high strung in the 4th quarter, it is almost painful to watch. Missing two or three easy put backs and launching that outlet pass 150 MPH out of bounds.

For the Celtics to win, Garnett needs to outplay Gasol (won't happen) and Rondo needs to play Kobe straight up (not happening).

In 2008, the question was whether Kobe - as the best player in the series - could defeat a superior team in the Celtics. He couldn't. The goal for the Celtics was for Pierce to play Kobe straight up. Which he did - at least - I would argue he outplayed Kobe.

But the Lakers no longer rest on Kobe. They rest on rebounding and points in the paint and it frees up Kobe. You can see it on the guy's shoulders - he's not so high strung and weird right now.

These numbers tell a perfectly sad story.

US employers added 430,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls in May, but 411,000 of those were temporary census workers.

The thing about these government jobs...they're paid by taxpayers, ie the productive members of society. Government spending is a stop-gap measure that can help alleviate the corrosive social effects of unemployment for a short period of time. It is not a long term solution to a healthy economy.

How sad is it that our job growth is to pay people to basically harass us to fill out some forms?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I Somehow Missed This

I guess Monday, in addition to Memorial Day, was also quit Facebook day. Who knew? I suppose you needed to be on Facebook to hear about it.

Apparently, the effort fell flat. But of course it did! Who the f--- needs a goddamn group to tell them to quit Facebook? If you're going to do it, do it. The problem with all these trolls on Facebook is they want to be doing whatever everyone else is doing. If you need a goddamn special day to quit facebook, I have one question - how the hell do you put your own pants on in the morning? Seriously, do you ask permission to wipe your ass after taking a poop? Can we organize a wipe-your-ass day?

Jesus Christ.

Side note - am I the only one beginning to sour on this whole globalization thing? It seems to me we are missing some advantages of a pre-globalized world. Back in the day, if Greece ran out of money, it was tough shit for Greece. Nowadays, Greece runs out of money and it threatens to bring down the Euro and then the dollar and our stock market crashes - through essentially no fault of our own. Similarly, this whole banking crisis was inextricably linked to globalization and the subsequent bailout required because of the reverberative effects to the entire world economy should the US banks all fail.

It feels like we just go gung ho into all these things and we don't even know what any of it means or is. Globalization, facebooks, derivatives, all this nonsense, nobody understands any of it. There is too much going on for people to understand and make informed decisions. We can't even plug a goddamn hole in a gushing oil well under the ocean. Shit is hard. And we try to do too much and everyone acts like they know the answers and they don't. And even if they did know the answers - they probably couldn't execute the plan correctly. You hear people throw off the phrase "we put a man on the moon" as if to say, we can solve every single problem that ever existed - from healthcare, to environmental disasters, to islamic terrorism, to global financial meltdown. Fact is, we can't solve all these problems, but we could manage them better.

Maureen Dowd is picking on Obama.

Jeez, if a liberal pres can't keep Maureen Dowd off his back, how does he expect to persuade Netanyahu or Ahmadinejad to do anything we want?

I love this bit from her article:

In “Dreams From My Father,” Obama showed passion, lyricism, empathy and an exquisite understanding of character and psychological context — all the qualities that he has stubbornly resisted showing as president. It was a book that promised a president who could see into the hearts of other people. But there’s so much you don’t learn about candidates in campaigns, even when they seem completely exposed. writing a good memoir doesn't mean he'll be a good President?

In seriousness, I like Obama as a President better than as a writer. I can't count how many times I fell asleep trying to read DFMF.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Shrewd Point

Peggy Noonan on the oil spill.

The American people have spent at least two years worrying that high government spending would, in the end, undo the republic. They saw the dollars gushing night and day, and worried that while everything looked the same on the surface, our position was eroding. They have worried about a border that is in some places functionally and of course illegally open, that it too is gushing night and day with problems that states, cities and towns there cannot solve.

And now we have a videotape metaphor for all the public's fears: that clip we see every day, on every news show, of the well gushing black oil into the Gulf of Mexico and toward our shore. You actually don't get deadlier as a metaphor for the moment than that, the monster that lives deep beneath the sea.

Sex In The City 2

A fantastic review.

SATC2 takes everything that I hold dear as a woman and as a human—working hard, contributing to society, not being an entitled c**t like it's my job—and rapes it to death with a stiletto that costs more than my car. It is 146 minutes long, which means that I entered the theater in the bloom of youth and emerged with a family of field mice living in my long, white mustache. This is an entirely inappropriate length for what is essentially a home video of gay men playing with giant Barbie dolls.

I won't be watching.