Tuesday, January 31, 2012


TV: Justified, new season

Justified is just really good old fashioned tv.

Film: When We Were Kings

Wasn't this supposed to be one of the great documentary films? Didn't it win an oscar? Man, I was disappointed. About 20% of the movie is about boxing. I think this is revealing of a certain attitude in filmmaking around the time it was made that movies needed to be about "something more." I think perhaps, movies need to be about something less. I wish the whole thing was a simple technical breakdown of what choices Ali made during the pre-fight and then the fight itself. Instead, there is all this hoopla and music - really, really ridiculous music. Entire sequences of inane music. Then a sappy wedding slide show-esque bit at the end. What the f was that? Anyhow, Ali is a watchable, charismatic figure, and the filmmakers seemed to do everything in their power to enhance what doesn't need to be.

This past weekend, I tried several new places to eat. The standout was All About the Bread, a sandwich shop in West Hollywood. They did their homework. It is a mix between Bay Cities and Larchmont Wine and Cheese. Really delicious. I'm not ready to crown them tops or anything, I still prefer Bay Cities, but for the relatively much less wait, and the fact they are new, really damn good. I obviously need to try more sandwiches, including their Italian Godmother style sandwich and the meatball.

Little Dom's in Los Feliz was also very good. Very busy, though. Excellent bartender, made some great cocktails, and dinner was very classic Italian stuff. I ate whitefish piccatta. Delicious. I'd go there often, except that it is all the way across town. Medium price, so really more of a date spot.

Spice Table was a bit of a disappointment. Supposedly one of the best new LA restaurants. I found it middling. Vietnamese/Malaysian type of food, so lots of sharing dishes. We had an 830 reservation and didn't get seated until 850. Annoying. Overpriced wine list. Small portions. Food was good, just nothing spectacular. Parking a pain in the ass around Little Toyko. Just overall, a bit disappointing. I went to an Indonesian place called Simpang Asia the other week in Palms. The price was about 1/3 and the dinner better tasting.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Belichick's Film Sessions

Mann and Milch, if they ever work together again, could do a character study of Bill Belichick.

TV: Luck, Homeland, Downton Abbey

I need to see more of Luck to discuss it the way it should be discussed.
Is Gay a Choice?

It's hard to keep up with the politically correct answer.

Oh Boy!
Losing Patrons

It seems Hamas is losing their patrons.

Thus, Hamas could now be in serious trouble. The spring that has helped Islamists elsewhere in the region has deprived Hamas of its longtime patrons and emboldened and empowered its enemy at home--PIJ. It must somehow adapt--quickly--to the new climate. This helps explain its seeming moderation, though it has given hints of this possibility for years.
Epic Warfare

On the state of men's tennis. Highlight:

What I realized during this Australian Open is that Nadal sets the tone for this state of affairs more than anyone else, certainly more than Federer. Roger is so cool and frictionless that, most of the time, he seems less like a prism of epic intensity than a dispassionate analyst of it.6 Djokovic, since his ascent, has been so much better than everyone else that he's largely been able to act like a careful clinician, the administrator of his own talent. And Murray has lost to the other guys so often that his anger and frustration seem basically inconsequential. In other words, the game may be epic for the fans, but you won't always catch that ground note of holy-shit intensity if you only watch the other three players. Left to themselves, they don't exactly project deep contact with the secret fires of time.

Nadal, though? He plays like he's fighting giants. It's not just the sneer, or the muscles, or the hair, or that forehand — you know, the one where he swoops the racket all the way around his head like he's whipping the team pulling his chariot. It's also that frantic tenacity that used to drive me so nuts. Federer seems devastated when he loses but he also seems to sense losses coming and accept them before they arrive. When Nadal falls behind, he turns the match into life and death. He gets mad. He hesitates less. He hits the ball harder. He doesn't look sad or scared. He looks defiant, and he plays like he's possessed.

As a result, he carries matches to a higher plane than they have any business reaching. Djokovic could and should have won the Australian final in four sets, but Nadal refused to surrender, played lethal tennis, and took Djokovic to a place he'd never been. Instead of notching a routine victory, Djokovic had to tap into the same well of inspiration that Nadal was already drawing from. You could say that all these guys have learned what it means to fight on the plains of Troy because Nadal does it in every match. And we see him do it, so we know what it means, too.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Burning the Flag

300 ARRESTED AT OCCUPY OAKLAND: Police arrested 300 people at Occupy Oakland in California Saturday, after demonstrators broke into City Hall and burned a U.S. flag, following a day of protests that saw officers fire tear gas to disperse rock- and bottle-throwing activists. Police continued to stand guard around City Hall to prevent any more protesters from entering the building, while fencing was torn down at a convention center following the most turbulent day since police raided the Occupy Oakland camp last November.

I'm not really sure these people know how to engender support for their gripes. I don't think burning the flag is the way to generate sympathy. To this day, I'm not sure exactly what these people want other than for someone else to pick up the bill.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Alex Smith

Is he the long term answer? I don't know. He played great this year. He earned a starting spot for next year. Do we sign him to a multi-year deal? I hesitate. Why not sign him to a short deal with loads of performance incentives? The guy has already gotten paid. He made tons in his rookie deal. I say a two year thing with lots of incentives.
Really? Do Less?

Maybe the best answer to the housing crisis is for the government to do nothing at all.

The argument is simple and logical as the best ones usually are.
Tax Ideas

From the readers of the Atlantic. I agree with their main point: simplify, simplify, simplify. I believe in progressive taxation, so I think there should be about 5 different tax rates and very few, if any, deductions. Shoot, I don't care if there are 10 different tax rates. That doesn't matter to me. The main point, is that it should be clear what you are paying, why you are paying it, and what others are paying. With regards to capital gains, I agree the rate should be low, but not for investing other people's money - only your own. People who professionally make money from capital gains - this should get treated like income, since it is income.

Big tax deductions like college tuition credits and mortgage interest deductions are good in principle, but they end up facilitating bubbles in the long run. I'd get rid of them. People will actually be more free if they have less incentives to take on debt. They'll still buy houses with or without the deduction because that's part of the American dream. Or maybe it will go away. So what? I don't care if we become a nation of renters with a lot of cash in the bank. That doesn't seem to me to be a fundamental social problem. I don't think people have any less stake in their community if they rent their places.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Did I Miss Something?

Some mayor in Connecticut says he'd eat tacos for dinner to support the Latino community, the community gets outraged, and then sends him tacos?

None of this makes sense. Saying he'd eat tacos to support the community makes no sense. The community getting upset makes no sense. Sending tacos - if you are upset - makes no sense. Although, it does make me want to eat tacos.
Good Analysis

Of the State of the Union. I forgot about this, which was another silly point, along with the bullet proof vest that can stop any bullet --

And the worst was the bizarre proposal for states to force students to stay in school until graduation or the age of 18. Beyond the obvious enforcement questions, by the time people drop out of high school, they're normally already badly lagging their classmates, with low grades and test scores, and high rates of truancy.

This is an obvious case of putting the cart before the horse. Kids who drop out of high school are delinquent types who are of course, more likely to commit crimes and get in trouble later. By forcing them to stay in school, this won't magically turn them into honor students. If it were that easy, don't you think we would have, you know, done it already? This reminds me of football announcers who say things like "The 49ers win whenever Frank Gore rushes the ball 20 times, so why don't they just give him the ball 20 times and then they'll automatically win." See, they are mixing up the order. When the 49ers are ahead, they will tend to rush the ball more and when they are ahead, are more likely to win. Anyway, this kind of stupidity will seemingly go on forever so long as human beings exist.

A fake all time soccer fantasy draft. If you want to know why America is no good at soccer, you need to look no further than this draft. 1 American taken in spot 159 of 160 - and that - a goalkeeper. Probably a suck up vote anyway.
Killing Hollywood

The drive to fund start ups to develop new forms of entertainment. All I can say is: good luck. They will invent the most boring, useless APs and "interactive web series" known to man. I know this because while I was at USC, lots of people thought very hard and a lot about these things and they always ended up way clunkier than a single well written scene brought by a student to a directing class.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

If You Have 4 Hours

A dissertation on the finale of the Sopranos and what it all means. Admittedly, some of it reads like a 9/11 truther argument, but the guy makes a definitive case that Tony was shot in the the side of the head by the Man in the Members Only Jacket. I'm sold.
The New American Divide

On what divides Americans today.

Hat tip, Phil.

I blame the feminist movement only half jokingly.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

State of the Union

I have it on in the background and I swore I heard Obama say we should invent a lightweight bulletproof vest that can stop any bullet. I'm no military expert, but that seems a bit fantastical.

UPDATE: Listened to the 2nd half. Found little to disagree with.
US Will Be Fine

Drenzer writes about why the US is recovering fine from the economic crisis and is actually stronger relative to China, etc, than in 1991.

From a big perspective, he is probably right on about how the US is de-leveraging fairly smoothly and although public debt is up, that's probably the right thing to do while the de-leverage is going. Also, the best news is all this oil shale development, which means the US will be less Mideast Oil dependent by 2030. Probably smart to keep all this stuff in perspective.
How Fragile Things Are - Football

It looks like Peyton Manning is done in Indy. Right now it seems likely they will release him, and I imagine he will retire. Can't picture him playing anywhere else. Strange to think about - if someone said a year ago this time Peyton Manning would never play football again - it would've been among the stranger things imaginable.

Nominations are here.

The usual mix of undeserved and expected.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

On The Wars

Calling for an exit from Afghanistan from an unlikely pair of sources.

I find in America today we are both too hard and too easy on people and institutions. Where is the public anger over the fact our military - which is supposedly the best in the world - can't defeat a rag tag army like the Taliban in over 10 years and at an expense of billions per week? This is like having Kobe, LaBron, Wade, Dirk, and Dwight Howard on your team and losing to a team of journeymen. What is the problem? I'm no war expert, but it strikes me, the only reason to fight is to win. If you can't win, don't engage the fight. How else can you justify the expense in blood and treasure?

On the other hand, Joe Paterno died today of lung cancer. It is too bad the final chapter of his life ended on such a strange note. It sickens me how much the mass media jumped on this story and loved the "irony" of Joe Pa, this supposedly moral pillar of the community, turning the other cheek toward child molestation by one of his assistants. What did we expect Joe Pa to do? Be a football coach, cop, district attorney, super hero? What would any person do if they found out someone close to them - a friend or family member - might be a child molester? Would we all conduct a perfect investigation like Columbo and corner the evil person into admitting his/her guilt? What did the world realistically expect Paterno to do? Be as good at dealing with law and justice and child rape as it is at coming up with football game plans? Isn't this asking a bit much of an individual? I didn't realize it was our job to be police as well as coach, parent, husband, and all the rest.
Niner Game

Incredibly lame way to lose the game. Ironic, as the Niners did not beat themselves all year, and then go out in the NFC Championship game and fumble away two punts to lose. Bummer.
The 2 Minute Drill

Why do defenses play the 2 minute drill differently? I see no reason why defenses should adjust when under 2 minutes in a game or half. Or maybe it is just the offense goes into no huddle, I'm not sure. It seems like a lot more points are given up during 2 minute drills than other times during the game.

Film: Red Tails, Haywire

A strange weekend for cinema. Red Tails felt like it came from a parallel universe where the past 25 years played out a lot differently both in the world and in film. It had the feel of an 80s TV show with a ton of CG effects.

Haywire, I read, got a D+ cinema score. It really is not a good movie and makes basically no sense. That said, I was enjoying myself in the theater and laughing at the silliness of parts, especially the end. Soderbergh makes some real stinkers, but as far as I'm concerned, this is not one of them.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Media Vultures

A lot media folks are criticizing Ed Reed for questioning about Flacco getting rattled in the Texans game.

The media folks are such vultures. They say the same thing Reed says about Flacco, they ask players about this very issue, they want "honest responses" from players. They criticize people like Belichick, who purposely says nothing to the media, and then the moment someone says something honest, ie exactly what they want, they jump on him.

Also, remember two weeks ago, when anonymous sources criticized Mark Sanchez from the Jets. All the radio guys were saying "man up! don't say anonymous stuff...blah...blah...blah" Then they jump on Ed Reed? What a bunch of hypocrites.
Oil Pipeline

David Frum on why Obama is making a mistake by opposing it.

The true locus of opposition to the pipeline is not Nebraska, but California, where big liberal environmentalist donors have seized on the pipeline as a talismanic cause. These California environmentalists do not want to redirect the pipeline. They want to stop it altogether, so as to leverage an end to further Canadian oilsands development.

What will curtailing oilsands accomplish for the environment? Nothing. This is a big planet full of oil, and if the United States does not buy its oil from Canada, it will buy its oil from somebody else.

So long as demand runs high, oil will be imported and burned. And it’s not like pumping the oil from the Gulf of Mexico, or transporting oil from the Middle East in tankers, is exactly environmentally risk-free.

I'd like to see pricey oil to curb use found within US borders or bought from countries like Canada. I don't see the incentive of cutting down domestic oil production to further our dependence on the Saudis.
Soccer and Boredom

A great article on soccer. Highlights:

Danny Blanchflower, 1972: "The great fallacy is that the game is first and foremost about winning. It's nothing of the kind. The game is about glory. It's about doing things in style, with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom."


Here's the full quote: "I go about the world, hand outstretched, and in the stadiums I plead: 'A pretty move, for the love of God.' And when good soccer happens, I give thanks for the miracle and I don't give a damn which team or country performs it."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


The moguls pull Obama support.

The issue at hand — piracy — is a legitimate concern. But Google and those Internet guys have been swiftboating the entertainment industry by saying we’re trying to shut down the Internet just because we don’t want them to advertise pirated movies. As for other claims, we make 24. We don’t make national security problems.”
A Simple Fix

On why Romney pays a low tax rate.

Investment managers income from investing other people's money should not be considered capital gains. I think that is a pretty clear tax loophole.
And That...

...is why I don't internet date.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I obviously don't fully understand the implications of the law because I'm not a lawyer and/or an internet search engineer. But several things strike me - it pits content creators (Hollywood) against content distributors (Google, Wikipedia). Obviously the creators are more protective of their copyrights than the distributors who proclaim to be interested in protecting copyright, but only if it isn't too onerous on them and hence slows their searches and advertising. Then there is the issue of legislators and their tendency to write dumb laws that end up having unintended consequences. So where do I stand on the issue? Well, I think the internet does pose a huge problem for content. And everyone is used to getting their content for free. It sort of reminds me of when their were blackouts in New York and all the stores started giving away their beer and food because it was just going to go bad. This was probably a cool moment to be walking along the street. But a situation like this cannot continue. I just don't think information of any value can be free forever, just like the free food in New York cannot be a constant. So as a general principle, I support measures to stop piracy because in the long run, we'll end up cannibalizing ourselves. And I do think Google, Wikipedia, and Facebook profiteer off cheap information by aggregating it (not paying for it) and then selling it. Do I have a problem with this? Sort of. I use Google and Wikipedia, but I'm highly skeptical of these internet companies and their compilation of data and inability to turn profits. All these IPOs, I've become convinced, are simply ways for the founders to "cash out" and be able to turn their creations into money since they don't generate much revenue relative to cost.
"Private" Info

Facebook gives your private info to politico.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Film: Girl With A Dragon Tattoo

So many questions. First, why does Daniel Craig wear his glasses like an Abraham Lincoln beard for the entire movie? Is that an actual thing people do? Was this how Craig won the role? Did he walk into Fincher's office and say, look David, since all I'll be doing all movie is looking at old photographs and walking through snow, I better have something to do with my hands, so I'll just be wearing my glasses from my cheek to my neck and every time I need to read something, I'll have to move them to my eyes. Then, people will know I am acting.

Second question, what makes David Fincher make this film? Does the man just want to work? That can't possibly be it. He must have his choice of projects from now until 2020. He can't need money. He does not need a hit to remain relevant. Our arguably best working director selects this garbage material? I cannot fathom he was actually drawn to the book or the story. What was the point of this movie? The best explanation I can imagine is that he had a great idea for the title sequence.

Okay, so the first 1+ hours, all I could think about was how much better an episode of Law and Order SVU was at storytelling that this nonsense. Finally, maybe at the 1.5 hour mark, there is a like a 20 minute sequence that was tension filled. Then we get the scene with the bad guy explaining himself, which as far as bad guy explaining themselves scenes, was a good one, which is sort of like saying she was hot for a fat girl.

Then, we have the ridiculous 4th act of the movie that turns into the easiest embezzlement of 32 million dollars I've ever seen, followed by one actual human moment of empathy at the very end of the movie.

I knew I wasn't going to like this film. I knew it when I read the book. I knew it when I saw the preview. It is only my regard for Fincher that brought me to the theater, but this man is making a growing list of couldn't-pay-me-to-watch-again-movies.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Good Tip To Remember

Louie CK on Pootie Tang.

“Pootie Tang was a huge mistake, it should have never have been made,” he said. “That experience was very painful, I was sucking at making the movie and got fired off of it, and they put my name on it anyway…. But failing at Pootie Tang is one of the reasons for why this show is good. The army of failures I’ve had are the reasons that I’m good at what I’m doing now.”

Learning from mistakes - smart.

The refereeing thus far in the playoffs has been great. They aren't calling alot of bullshit pass interference and holding penalties. They are letting the teams play. Finally.
Correlation vs. Causation

A good example of the stupidity of statistics:

There’s a line of demarcation where too much Brees becomes a bad thing. It’s somewhere in the low 40s. Yeah, Brees threw 44 times in victories against Houston and Jacksonville, 45 times in a three-point win over Carolina and 47 in a December victory against Tennessee. But none of those was pretty, and Houston was the only playoff team among that bunch.

In games in which Brees attempted 43 or fewer passes, the Saints were 8-0. They also were at their best in those games. They had a running game, some defense and no huge mistakes by the special teams.

But the Saints apparently didn’t notice that trend. They put too much on Brees on Saturday, and they did have some valid reasons for that. Brees didn’t help matters with two interceptions, and the Saints turned the ball over three times in the first quarter.

The article suggests the reason the Saints lost was that they relied too heavily on Brees. If, the article says, they had Brees throw under 40 times, the Saints would have had a better chance of winning. Here is a great example of the media getting things totally backwards. In games when the Saints are ahead, they are much more likely to run the football and hence, Brees pass numbers will be down. In games when they are behind, like yesterday, they are forced to throw the ball more to play catch up. The fact that they threw the ball 63 times was because they were behind, not the reason they were behind. These columnists are so stupid. The statistics tell the story of the game -- they don't make the story of the game. If the Saints ran more yesterday, they would have never even caught up with the 49ers once they were down 17 points. The Niners D would have stopped them and the game would not have been close. It is as if these people have never watched football before and are relaying on statistics to tell them something anyone with a brain and a set of eyes can see on the field.

Furthermore, if Alex Smith hadn't become a miracle worker, and there wasn't much reason to think he had it in him, we'd be talking about Brees' performances as one of the greatest playoff performances of all time and the Saints coaches as genius' who were able to rally their team back from one of the worst playoff deficits of all time. As far as I can tell, Brees got fooled on that one interception by Goldsen and his second pick was not a bad play as it was 3rd and long and he just chucked it up and it ended up working pretty much like a 35 yard punt -- basically a smart, calculated risk.

In short, I thought Brees played a near perfect game. The same cannot be said of the Saints defense.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wow - Niners - Saints

That might be the best football game I've ever seen. Just the match up and contrast of styles, the unlikely big plays, the determination displayed by both teams. It did come down to the 49er offense, which somehow delivered after playing terrible all game. Those final two drives were awesome. Note we didn't even need to convert any 4th down plays. The most tense was the 3rd and 7 long TD run after the 12 men in the huddle penalty. What a play call. Alex Smith making a play with his legs.

The thing I didn't expect - Vernon Davis. Good lord those were some big plays. I always thought the guy was a 1st quarter player and not clutch. He made not just the 2 big catches, but the one that put them into field goal position prior to Smith's TD run. He was quite simply, THE MAN today. I thought it was going to be Crabtree in the playoffs. Turns out it was Davis. Good for him. The guy's come a long way and he knows it too, the emotion after the TD catch. Great.

But finally, a shout out to the heart and soul of the team: the defense. Let's be clear: the Saints are a great offense. They had won something like 11 straight games and Drew Brees threw for more yards than anyone in the history of the NFL. They made huge plays. But the Niner defense was ferocious. The turnovers were inflicted. For the most part, they weren't mistakes by the Saints, they were plays by the Niners. There were a couple plays during the game when the Saints bobbled or dropped passes because they were tired of getting hit. The Niner's KO'd Pierre Thomas - which is something like the 6th or 7th running back they've injured this year. I hesitate to celebrate this - as it is an aspect of football that I find troubling - the brutal injuries inflicted on running backs. But goddamn, they Niners hit you hard. The Saints are a tough team. They aren't particularly strong, but Sean Peyton is a tough coach, but you could tell, they were not excited about getting hit today.

One last note - there are comparisons being made to the TO catch in 1998 against Green Bay. This play was better. In 98, that play was desperate and lucky. It was make that play or lose the game. There was no time on the clock, Steve Young had once again mismanaged the clock at the end of the game and they were forced into a desperate situation. This play was better. More controlled. Smith knew he had one shot at the end zone before a field goal try to send the game into overtime. He slung in a perfect pass that had no downside. If it is incomplete, they kick a FG and go to OT.
First Half - Niners Saints

Wow. What an insane first half. Really a tale of two quarters. Niners dominated the first with three turnovers and a couple touchdowns. Saints dominated the second quarter with two nice touchdown scoring drives.

I am very worried about our defense getting tired. We are on the field way too much. Alex Smith is playing bad. Besides two touchdown tosses, he looks jittery. I am also a bit annoyed with our play calling - how are we not running on 1st down every single possession? I don't think the Saints can stop our running game. Also, our 3rd and long offense is looking terrible. We know they are blitzing and we can't do anything about it. 3 sacks on 3rd and long already. Michael Crabtree needs to catch the football. 2 drops, even though 1 was a bad throw. He still needs to catch it.

We win this game by beating them up. We had them on the ropes in the first quarter and didn't knock them out. They win this game by tiring us out. Run, run, play action. That is what our offense needs to do. Alex Smith needs to make some plays with his feet. We need to have some long possessions. Our best possession was actually the first one of the day, where we brought it out from the 2 yard line out to the 40 or 50. The rest have been too short. I have no problem with us running the ball on 3rd and 6 or under, also.

This game is going to come down to the Niners offense. We know the defense came to play and will do their job. If our offense can keep Brees off the field in the 2nd half, we will win. If not, we lose.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

University of California Bans Smoking

In 2014 all smoking will be banned on UC Campuses.

When the anti-smoking stuff started in California, I thought it was a good idea. It makes bars and restaurants nicer. The skeptics said it was a slippery slope and soon they would try to ban smoking all together. Whhhaaa? I said. Well, the skeptics were right. You give the nanny state an inch, they will take a mile.

PS - Opponents of Obama's healthcare plan argue the exact same thing - that when government controls healthcare, they will use it as justification to stop all sorts of bad behavior like smoking, drinking alcohol, eating red meat, fast food. Look - it's happening right in front of our eyes. What reason do we have to believe this won't occur?

Do we want to live in a country like this? I think the answer is self evident.
I Guess...

American soldiers pissing on dead Taliban soldiers is a huge news story. Am I the only who thinks killing them would seem more offensive to "the Muslim world" - or whoever finds this offensive - than pissing on the corpses afterward?

I'm not justifying the behavior or anything, but the situation is reflective of the absurdities of war and our coverage of it.

From Instapundit on Google changes:

I’ve noticed more and more unforced errors of the change-for-the-sake-of-change type from Google. They’re not, it seems to me, making changes based on user needs, they’re making changes to keep Google employees busy.

I've noticed too. I'd sell the stock if I had any.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Good Jobs

Was listening to some pundits recently talking about American jobs. Someone made a point, one of the bigger issues right now in terms of society and employment is the dearth of good jobs - these are jobs people enjoy doing, challenge them, pay them well enough to live comfortably, etc. When we talk about jobs-jobs-jobs we don't really mean minimum wage service jobs or factory jobs that pay $12 an hour, because a) those jobs are miserable and b) they don't pay enough to support a family. So what we ought to be discussing is good jobs. Middle class jobs. Herein lies the problem. I believe there are good jobs and they are really difficult to find because they are few and far between and the people who have them rarely leave them. Many of these jobs are not traditional jobs that you are hired to do - many are self created or the result of years of hard work before starting one own's business, etc. These type of jobs, I think, the government cannot do much to create. This leads me to believe we need to radically de-escalate what we expect our government to be able to do in terms of job creation.
Marin County

Bans tobacco smoke, but allows for marijuana.

Santa Monica has the same laws. I'm from one place and live in the other, and feel basically the same way as this guy:

I happen to loath the smell of tobacco smoke. I’ll do anything to avoid it, and happen to benefit a great deal from the ever-increasing number of non-smoking laws. Having said that, I still find disturbing a mindset that thinks it’s appropriate to dictate to people what they can do in their own homes if they’re unlucky enough to rent, not own.

These laws are a lawsuit waiting to happen. The guys ends the article:

Stories such as this one remind me that one of the best things about leaving liberalism behind is the fact that I no longer have to grapple daily with the cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy that is an integral part of the “liberal” mindset.


In the law, they distinguish between different types of speech. Certain speech, such as political speech and newspapers are more protected than say, advertising speech by the First Amendment. I think we need something similar for technology to distinguish between important, useful technology and unimportant, time wasting technology. Why do we need such a distinction? Because I believe we fetishize the "new" as if technology is a cure-all solution to human problems. Also, there is a temptation to think technology is useful merely because it exists, but this is certainly not the case. In many cases, technology can be a step backwards. A few cases to illustrate my point--

1. 3D in movie theaters and televisions. 3D sucks. It is a less pleasurable consumer experience than 2D and only in rare exceptions is worth the additional cost. Yet, we have invested tons of time and money into making theaters compatible and consumers pay for this with surcharge ticket prices. The movie business is losing audience with the combination of the stupid 3D glasses and extra prices of tickets.

2. Facebook. It is totally unclear to me what problem Facebook has solved. Prior to Facebook, was there a pressing need for people to view other people's pictures more immediately? As far as I can tell, Facebook is at best, a new layout for email and at worst, a horrible time sucking, mind numbing, life wasting activity.

And then, a few things to think about in terms of amazing technology that we totally take for granted:

1. Indoor plumbing. Amazing. Water available at the flip of a switch. Toilets. Warm showers. Imagine how much indoor plumbing has improved the length of life and health of millions of people in each generation. I don't think this is properly appreciated. Just go camping for 5 days to test my theory. See what you miss first - Facebook, 3D, or indoor plumbing.

2. Dishwasher. I don't have one, which is how I know how important it is. My twin goals for wherever I live next - a porch where I can set up a BBQ and a Dishwasher.

On the Niners defense:

The Saints run the ball well and have gotten better in that area as the season has gone on. Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory bring a nice mix of speed and power. I think we could see more of the Saints' running game than usual in this one.

Mike Sando: The 49ers will welcome the challenge. Arian Foster, Felix Jones, LeGarrette Blount, Jahvid Best and Montario Hardesty are among the NFL backs the 49ers have injured since preseason. They roughed up LeSean McCoy, too. Unless Marshawn Lynch suddenly shows up in this game -- and, hey, the Saints wouldn't want to see him, either -- the 49ers' run defense should be OK.


So much media focus was on waterboarding, but the worst element of Gitmo is described here. We held innocent men for over 7 years and for no intelligible purpose. The media focused on waterboarding, but fail to mention for the most part, it was only done to 3 people. That doesn't justify it, but it certainly puts it in perspective.

Film: Carnage

I wish more great directors would try projects like this -- small project that test their basic skills. I'd almost watch this a second time just to watch the blocking. Polanaksi is so clever. The movie doesn't feel "stuck" in the single apartment, even though the whole thing takes place there. He does this by clever blocking, arranging the characters physically in the space where they are emotionally at the moment and then just picking the right angle to shoot. I'd have to watch again to understand all the subtleties. The performances are great. Christoph Waltz is fantastic. There are a few writing things I "bumped" on, but I was forgiving because the essential ideas in the play-turned-movie were compelling enough for me so say "fine, that didn't pass the smooth, real life test, but I'm willing to go along for the ride for the sake of the story." Movies can get away with a little of that. Less than plays and sitcoms, but a little.

I'd don't want to spoil anything, but there is one moment in the film that for me, tops the list of moments-like-that in movies. I suppose this makes no sense, but I'd rather not ruin it for anyone else.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Livescience: unconsciously, everyone wants to date a hottie, which is why online dating fails.

I can't come up with a better response than Instapundits: Un-consciously?
New Orleans-San Francisco

What a great build up to this game. This game can go so many different ways.

Pro-49ers point of view: The Niners have come to play in every single game this year. They simply do not have major letdowns. There is a reason they went 13-3 and secured the number 2 seed. Jim Harbaugh has them prepared for every single game. He is going to bring some trickery to the play calling. Their three losses are as follows - Cowboys in overtime that required a major comeback and some crazy plays by Romo. A Ravens Thursday night game where the Ravens D was possessed, the Niners had injuries on the O-line, the subplot of coaching against his older brother, and the game still hinged on two weird penalty calls that overturned a long bomb and an interception. The closest thing to a let down was the Arizona game where the Niners still only lost by 2 points, but gave up some big plays in the secondary and failed to convert in the red zone during the first half. Halftime score of that game - 9-0.

The Niners have the best defense in the league and a surprisingly good ball possession offense. They are built to keep the Saints offense off the field. They can run on the Saints all game long with the tandem of a rested Gore and Hunter. They have the best special teams in the league, they force turnovers, they are rested and relatively healthy, they have home field advantage and the Saints are not going to be as unstoppable on grass. We've seen teams like this win over and over in the playoffs - the Jets beating New England, the Giants beating New England, the Ravens beating New England, Seattle beating New Orleans, the Saints beating the Colts.

Another factor - consider the Niners almost beat the Saints last year in a Monday Night game that was blown by dumb play calling by Singletary. That won't happen with Harbaugh. Also consider, the Niners provided the blue print the Saints used to beat the Colts in the Superbowl - that year - the Niners lost to the Colts 18-15 in a weird game. My point - the Niners have experience playing in these games from the past and this year are much, much better.

Lastly, the Saints can make mistakes and the Niners live off other teams mistakes. You saw moments when Brees made some bad plays against Detroit and Detroit could not make the turnovers and make them pay. The Niners will make those plays. The Niner defense is the best in the league and will be pumped out of their minds. New Orleans has not faced a defense this good.

Pro-Saints point of view: The Saints are the hottest team in the league. They did not punt against Detroit. No matter how good the Niners defense is, they will not be able to stop the arsenal of the Saints. The Saints will wear down the Niner defense, who does not substitute very much, and will expose their secondary. The Niners have not faced a single top offense this year - New Orleans, New England, Green Bay, or Carolina. The Niners got beat long by John Skelton and Larry Fitzgerald - a much weaker set of weapons the Saints are going to be able to throw at the Niners. The Saints have an awesome tight end and Sproles. As good as the Niner linebackers are, they will not be able to stop them all day.

Also, the Saints killed the Niners in pre-season. They are going to pressure Alex Smith all game and force him to make plays. Who thinks Alex Smith can outduel Drew Brees? No one. The Niners have no deep threat. The Saints will gear up to stop the run and force the Niners into 3rd and longs all day like the Ravens and then blitz Smith, who will eventually make a mistake or take sacks. The Niners cannot blow out the Saints, so even if the game is close at halftime, New Orleans still feels like it can win because the Niner d will get tired in the 2nd half and the Saints can light it up quick like they did against Detroit.

Sean Payton will also come up with some good play calls. They are going to go for it on 4th and short to lengthen their possessions and wear down the defense because he has so much confidence in his offense.

Keys to the game: The Niners need to win the turnover battle to win and need to run the ball effectively. Alex Smith must make a few plays. The Niners have done this all year, so it is not outside the realm of possibilities. The Saints need to tire out the Niner defense in the first half with long drives and no huddle and making fourth down conversions.

Anything is possible in this game, except for a 49er blowout. History suggests, the Niners could be in for a huge letdown as they are new to this situation and New Orleans is playing at such a high level, and have so much experience. But the Niners haven't had a huge let down this year and Harbaugh has had his teams prepared for big games - remember how Stanford played in recent bowl games.

Should be a fun game.
College Football

I dvr'd the game last night and watched it in like 45 minutes. For games one doesn't passionately care about, this is the only way to watch. You realize what a time suck and how many stupid commercials you waste your time sitting through. The BCS is such a stupid system. They basically gave away the national championship by scheduling this year. Think about this - LSU had to play 14 games - and since week 1 were the number 1 team in football. Meaning every single game, the other team was geared up to play them. They had to play an extra game, the SCE title game against a very good Georgia team. They had a regular SEC schedule (the hardest in college), played Oregon in week 1, and played the SEC title game and then were rewarded with a rematch against Alabama. Are you kidding? Of course they are going to lose at some point. If Alabama and LSU played 10 times, they'd split 5-5. So what is Alabama the national champion? Because they won the rematch? Dumb, dumb, dumb. A very good example of the NCAA system that found a worse solution to a non-problem.

Curbs movie ticket prices.

Good move by business, bad move by government.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Best Blog Entry 2012!

An ode to Miami Vice, the tv show. I think we have a frontrunner.
Oh, Language

A Madonna interview with Hungarian newspaper translated back and forth between Hungarian to English to Hungarian back to English.

Film: North Dallas Forty

Moreso than any other sports movie, I actually felt the physical pain endured by athletes in this film. I was wincing at times. Very much a spiritual ancestor to Bull Durham. Not quite as funny and definitely more dark.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Words With Friends - 655

I must record this as I don't think I'll ever score this many points again. 655 against a stranger. I don't know how to make a screenshot from my ipod.

Tony Blankley died. He was easily my favorite contributor to Left, Right, and Center.
Tebow Magic!

So those two pass plays for long yardage and a touchdown where nice and lucky and all the stuff of Tebow magic. But let's not forget the play before where Tebow totally puts his receiver Decker in a vulnerable position to catch that ball and he gets injured by Harrison's hit. I'd hate to be one of his receivers. You never see Brees put his receivers in those positions.

Saturday, January 07, 2012


Actress is suing IMDB for posting her age without her consent.

All this online information is out of control. Nowadays people think they have a right to all sorts of information about others and these online sites like Facebook, Google, IMDB, etc, sloppily use whatever information they can gather to enrich themselves. I myself had a problem with IMDB when they linked by common name to some other person suggesting I wrote all sorts of cartoon episodes for some random shows. In one meeting, someone asked about it. It took them forever to update it. What right does IMDB have to publish this information? And what obligation do they have to ensure it is correct? These are important issues as it affects people with reputations and careers. I've noticed the folks that are flippant about these issues are ones without reputations and without careers -- sort of like not caring about property rights until you've got some property you want to protect.

Film: second half of Broadcast News

There was literally nothing on TV - no sports I wanted to watch after working out this AM, so I watched it again. It isn't transcendent art, but it is the best Hollywood can do. The New Beverly would be brave to schedule a Broadcast News and Working Girl double feature and title it single working women in the 1980s series or something. The studios cannot make a movie as good as either of these films right now - why is that? Their comedies are not as funny and their dramas are not as substantive. Albert Brook's speech to Holly Hunter about why William Hurt is the devil should be taught in screenwriting classes. If you're going to do a speech, here is the standard you need to get up to.

Film: The Big Lebowski

Imagine if the Coen Brothers had only made this one movie. We'd still remember and talk about them. Now consider they also made Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing, and the Man Who Wasn't There -- three movies which - if they were their three best movies - would put them up there among the most important working directors. But of course, these aren't their three best movies, these are their second tier because they also made No Country For Old Men and Fargo. I don't even need to mention their other good, but what I consider minor, work. Let's put it another way - I've never felt like anyone has heaped too much praise on the guys. I'm not sure I can say that about any other working filmmakers.

Friday, January 06, 2012


Tonight, I go mad. I was watching some of the Laker-Warrior game at a bar and paying mild attention to Kobe. He is old. He lost the ball a couple of times - something he does quite a bit since he often forces the issue on offense - but I had a thought -- perhaps it is because the Lakers are clearly past their prime, and Kobe is past his prime, and the Lakers are obviously underdogs in the West - but a thought occurred to me -- is there still hope for Kobe becoming something worth rooting for. Sacrilege? Just wait until later in the post...

It is about grit. Kobe has always been a weird dude. An unlikeable teammate, a guy who always needed more help than he let on. A bad shot taker. A guy with an overblown reputation for being clutch. An unremarkable defender. A mediocre passer. A guy was always much more fun to root against than to root for. But there is a version of all these negative traits becoming something else in older age. That thing is grit. Imagine Kobe playing 5 more years. Imagine the Lakers not getting Howard (I don't think they will). Imagine Kobe just showing up every night until he is 38 years old, playing the same old style he's always played, taking too many shots, trying to do things his body won't allow him to do anymore, chucking up ridiculous 3's. Imagine his teammates. Guys like Ariza, Barnes, Gasol, Artest, maybe a maturing Bynum. Imagine them not making the playoffs one year. Imagine them losing in the first round to superior teams like the Clippers, the Trail Blazers, OKC, etc. But then imagine this team 4 or 5 years from now, where these other teams have matured into the veteran teams, mature teams, and then you have this Laker team, with a few newer guys around, and this aging relic, this guy, Kobe who still takes the shots at the end of the game. And it's almost like a joke, like no one even recognizes him as a top 10 player anymore, but he figures something else out, like he finally comes to understand his skill set and his mental toughness somehow becomes transcendent and he can still get off his shot and realizes the value of the people around him, and becomes this guy who brings a toughness to his team, who still yearns to win. Imagine this version of Kobe, the beaten down veteran, the guy other teams don't even worry about anymore, imagine this version going for his 6th title to match Jordan. Maybe this becomes someone we can root for.

Of course, the more likely scenario is the shitheel requests a trade next season.

Onto other things...and as long as I'm committing sacrilege, let me offer another thought: the first season of Cheers might be better than the first season of Seinfeld. A younger version of myself just tried to break into my apartment and stab me. But seriously, I just got finished watching Cheers season 1. That is a mature show. It is like Tim Duncan showing up in the NBA ready to play and win an NBA title. Seinfeld is like watching a young Jordan play. You can sense potential - almost infinite potential - but it is unformed and unruly and not mature. And you have to take away the future achievements - the future greatness - and view it for what it is - and it isn't genius. Not yet.

A brilliant defense of the liberal arts major by the great Virginia Postrel.

The argument that public policy should herd students into Stem fields is as wrong-headed as the notion that industrial policy should drive investment into manufacturing or “green” industries. It’s just the old technocratic central planning impulse in a new guise. It misses the complexity and diversity of occupations in a modern economy, forgets the dispersed knowledge of aptitudes, preferences and job requirements that makes labor markets work, and ignores the profound uncertainty about what skills will be valuable not just next year but decades in the future.

Pundits are entitled to their hypotheses, of course, and if they’re footing the bill they can experiment on their children. But they shouldn’t try to use the rest of the population as lab mice.


Hat tip, Naveen.
Equal Opportunity

If you really wanted to go crazy with the equal opportunity, you would force highly educated people to marry less educated people.

I would expect the household to try to achieve the level of education of the highest parent. This should increase the education level and life opportunities outcome for double the amount of families.

On the downside, the highly educated parent would probably get annoyed at explaining movie plots.
Good Article on Supporting Ron Paul

Really good article.

Several major points:

1. On the charges of Paul being "crazy"

Labeling people “crazy” as a means of dismissing their views — basically depicting political disagreement as a mental illness — is one of the oldest and stalest means of discrediting people who dissent; it’s basically the prime weapon used to enforce mainstream orthodoxy and punish dissidents.

He goes on to fairly discuss "Bush Derangement Syndrome" and other ways people simply resort to the crazy label to demonize opponents. Obviously, Sarah Palin comes to mind. In fairness, the only person I've referred to as crazy is Michelle Bachman and that's not because of her policies, but rather because of her eyes.


Consider what happened in 2007 when a conservative blogger and law professor, Glenn Reynolds, suggested that the U.S. begin assassinating Iranian scientists. Numerous people — such as Law Professor Paul Campos and myself — pointed out how warped and criminal that idea was. One of those most vehement in expressing horror and disgust at this proposal was none other than Kevin Drum, who went so far as to denounce it as Terrorism:

I imagine a lot of people agree with [Reynolds], but his recommendation really demonstrates the moral knot caused by George Bush’s insistence that we’re fighting a “war on terror.” After all, killing civilian scientists and civilian leaders, even if you do it quietly, is unquestionably terrorism. That’s certainly what we’d consider it if Hezbollah fighters tried to kill cabinet undersecretaries and planted bombs at the homes of Los Alamos engineers.

Fast forward three years. Iranian nuclear scientists are actually being murdered. That is almost certainly happening through some combination of Israeli and American actions — at the very least with the approval and complicity of the Obama administration. Where is the outrage and denunciation that was spewed at a mere blogger for suggesting on the Internet that this should be done? Now that it’s actually being done, doesn’t it necessarily mean — using Drum’s reasoning when aimed at Reynolds — that President Obama is a “terrorist”? And if so, isn’t it understandable how eager some people are to find means of doing something other than steadfastly devoting oneself to this politician and working for his re-empowerment by, for instance, changing the terms of the debate?

His major point is that progressives don't really believe in the major criticisms they forwarded during the Bush Administration, especially since they are silent on many of the same issues now that Obama is in office and following those same policies related to detentions, assassinations, civil liberties, etc.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Portland Trail Blazers

Who is this Raymond Felton? Jamal Crawford? Gerald Wallace? Did I totally miss something in the NBA the past couple years? These guys are ballers. And they have LaMarcus Aldridge and gotta-be-about-to-retire Marcus Camby. But man, what a fun team to watch. Making the Lakers looks like old men in this second half. The only place where LA seems to have an advantage is Bynum, who outweighs everyone on Portland by 50 lbs.

They also have this French guy off the bench who looks pretty good. I like teams like this - teams with a mix of players with different skill sets - they can play inside, they have dribble penetrators, slash style players, a few shooters, a few long guys on defense, and look to go about 8 guys deep. Mavericks had this last year. Only thing Portland seems to be missing is "the man," the guy everyone else knows is getting the ball toward the end of the game - the Nowitzki, Kobe, Wade, Durant type of player. Maybe someone will emerge this year. But teams lacking this type of player often end up like the Atlanta Hawks of the past couple years, out of the playoffs pretty quickly. Then again, the Chauncey Billups Pistons were kind of like that and still won.
Good For Target

Target features an ad with a Down Syndrome kid without making a big deal about it.

Good for them.
Bag Law

I continue to be discouraged by the total and utter hypocrisy of the Santa Monica bag law. I go to the grocery store, they charge me for bags, and yet they have this ridiculous McDonalds-Monopoly style game for which they give me like 20 little cards and a game board and all this paper nonsense that will basically go straight into the trash. So let me get this straight - Santa Monica charges consumers for bags for "environmental" purposes and yet allows advertisers to create all sorts of wasteful products to help sell their bullshit? What a joke. Especially since I reuse those grocery store bags for garbage and recycle bags. So annoying.

TV: Cheers, finished full 1st season

What stands out to me in this show is how adult the whole thing feels. While watching, it feels like adults are manning the store. They have Tip O'Neil as a guest star in one episode. As much as I love 30 Rock, the whole thing feels youthful to me. Cheers seems to have a wisdom and melancholy that comes with age. The irony, of course, is that I loved this show as a kid.

The Arab League puts the Sudanese Intelligence Officer who oversaw the genocide in Darfur in charge of overseeing the Syrian protest crackdown.

I know the Arab League isn't the UN, but it kinda makes you wonder about these international organizations.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Krugman on Debt

On why government debt is different than personal debt.

Fair enough. To be fair, liberals tend to worry about debt when it comes to things like defense spending and war, but seem to find it less important when it comes to unemployment benefits and healthcare.

I'd buy one - the best map of the United States.
Inequality or Poverty?

Obviously poverty is a worse problem than income inequality -- arguably, income inequality isn't even a problem at all.
Google Sucks

Forget all these internet companies. Google is becoming just as bad as facebook. First, this past weekend, it asked me to enter my birthdate so they could better target ads. More info on me out there in the world? No thanks. So I lie and tell them I am a 10 year old girl. They immediately disable my account and force me to enter my credit card information before restoring it. Because I need my email for work, etc, I of course do it. So in an effort to restrict my information on the internet, I end up giving them more. Then, they switch the gmail "look." Why? I'm fine with the look. Just leave it, for godsake. If I want to change it, I'll change it myself. In conjunction with the same bullshit they pulled with blogger a few months back, I've had it with Google. If I find a thing to change to, I'm going to do it. Maybe even set up my own domain. I don't like being beholden to these ridiculous internet companies - I know this free stuff is too good to be true - and it was only a matter of time before they start charging us or stealing our information and selling it. They need to make money somehow - it can't all be speculation.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Flight Attendants

Remember when they used to be hot, agreeable women back in the 60s and 70s? I don't, because I wasn't alive yet, but I've heard. Now, flight attendants are petitioning to get 30 Rock removed from flights because of Baldwin's Words With Friends incident.

Also, they protested Jodie Foster's Flightplan because it portrayed them poorly. What happened to these people? They are becoming among the most obnoxious profession, if you can even call it that.

Monday, January 02, 2012


From an article about cool aps.

Platform: iPhone/Android

What I like best about the new SproutSocial app for iPhone, which ties into the subscription-based SproutSocial service on the Web (sproutsocial.com; $9 a month), is that I can post status updates to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn at the same time. That's a real timesaver, especially from my iPhone. The app does not have the extensive reporting features of the Web version, which shows you daily progress on finding new followers, but can be used to search for posts, read direct messages, and scan other feeds.

I've got a timesaver: don't use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn at all. Look at that magic - I just saved you even more time. The very existence of such an ap is all the proof you need that this stuff is all nonsense, just like the pop up guy that needs to explain the football rules to the average joe watching the game at home. If a guy like me, who has consumed a disgusting amount of football games in my life, doesn't understand the rules properly, there is a good chance there are too many rules and too much of this instant-replay nonsense.

Film: Ides of March

Afterwards, the person I watched the movie with asked me "what do you think was the worst part?" My response, "Worst how? Like worst technically from a craft perspective or worst from a 'most tasteless perspective'?"

If there was a subconscious contest going on between Brad Pitt and George Clooney to see who could better use their movie star status to make great films, Pitt devoured Clooney this year. Ides of March is a negative point for Clooney - a really tasteless, borderline repugnant film that casts an eerie cloud over Clooney's intellectual chops. Is it possible the guy is not very bright? His early directoral efforts were impressive - Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and Good Night and Good Luck. Both modest movies, smart test-the-water-see-if-i-can-do-this-directing-thing efforts. Then comes Leatherheads and Ides of March. Leatherheads was just forgettable and lazy, but Ides of March is unskilled, tasteless, and faux intellectual. Clooney is not a writer, that is for sure. And he and Heslov don't have a very good track record of producing - look at this list since 2005 - Men Who Stare at Goats, The Informant, A Scanner Darkly, Syriana, Leatherheads, Ides of March - these are really, really bad movies - like terrible movies. I left off Michael Clayton, which they did produce, and is an excellent movie, but that's hitting 1 for 7.

On the flipside, Pitt obviously had a hand in getting Moneyball and Tree of Life made this year. And although I'm not a fan of Tree of Life, it is hardly an embarrassment, and Pitt's performance is quite good. I hate to link to this article, because I don't like it, but I got a kick out of the Tree of Life section (from Grantland).

Under the section -

Successful movies we will be embarrassed that we liked in five years

Amos Barshad: It's Malick so no one will actually turn on it, but I nominate The Tree of Life. At some point in the middle of this (was it the 100th shot of Brad Pitt clenching his handsome jaw? The 1,000th of sunlight breaking out from behind leaves? Maybe just that one of Jessica Chastain floating?) I had resigned myself to the fact that this movie would never end, that I would live out the rest of my life in that theater, watching pretty scene after pretty scene that I did not understand. More dinosaurs plz.

Nevertheless, other films Pitt helped get made or produced: Assassination of Jesse James, Kick Ass, Eat Pray Love, Benjamin Button, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, A Mighty Heart, Babel.

Note: I'm not counting movies like Burn After Reading, Inglorious Basterds, Up in the Air, Fantastic Mr. Fox - all pretty good movies - but clearly filmmaker stuff that could have gotten made without Pitt or Clooney.

In any case, Pitt's movies in the past six years or so, seem to me, much more respectable than Clooney's. Even his failures like Benjamin Button are respectable failures whereas Clooney's are more pie-in-the-face failures.