Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why Aren't Young People Buying Homes?

The Atlantic asks the question, but the answer is obvious: they're overpriced.

At least where I live.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscar Surprise

The biggest surprise - to me - during the Oscars was Gabourey Sidibe's reverence for the film My Left Foot.

Film: The Far Country

In many ways a spiritual predecessor to Deadwood and McCabe and Mrs. Miller.
This Is Why We Have Manners

The internet is a constant reminder of why manners exist. If they didn't, people throughout time would simply be shouting out their inane opinions and life would be like one big comment board or Gawker article about the Oscars. Hat tip, Stephanie.

But like so much in the show, her was was so obvious. It's all so safe. It's all so, well, old. It's like those girls in costumes handing out olde tyme snacks down the aisle during the commercial breaks. It's like trotting out Billy Crystal for another go round. It's like giving all the trophies to Harvey Weinstein and Martin Scorsese and all the other old white guys. It just reminds us that it's the same sad song and dance every year. This year the dance was a lot slower and more boring, but it will be back again next year, when we set up all the same pieces and start to waltz again. We wouldn't know what to do otherwise. And while this year's dance partners will be as quickly forgotten as a mediocre meal, we have to do it again. It's what's expected, it's what we love, it's an annual tradition. Yet again we'll wish the tempo was a little bit more brisk, even though it never is, but even that is a sad comfort from our boring lives.

There was a time in film school where I started to dislike the Oscars for "being so safe." Now, I think: why should we expect the Oscars to be rebellious or something other than what it is? Seriously. This is a massive, popular event. This isn't an underground rock show. Trying to make the Oscars "younger" and "hipper" will never work, nor would it be desirable. Is there not enough outlets and music and writing and movies for the "young and hip?" Are there really too many "traditions" in our culture at this moment? I think not. Maybe we should have more things that "bore" the people who spend their time commenting on blogs, even it they do somehow manage to make Martin Scorcese look like an old blubbering fart. After all, don't the rebels need something to rebel against?

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I've been struggling with the question of technological "improvement" for awhile. VDH does it more articulately.

The point is not to denigrate high-tech, but to remind us that it a tool that is as good or bad — to paraphrase Shane — as the person using it. But with one great caveat, today’s glitzy technology is so impressive, so captivating to the human brain that it has the ability to confuse us about master and slave, cause and effect, the pump and water in a way the abacus or the telegraph did not. Sometimes consumer high-tech is the Catholic pessimist Tolkien’s master ring, a thing seemingly of great potential, but one that might corrupt those who think they can use its power for goodness.

Use it — but beware that at best the speed, ease of use, and greater awareness at our fingertips simply accelerate, emphasize, and accentuate whether we are dunces and boors or pretty informed and decent folk. And at worst, it is more likely to make us the former rather than the latter.

Book: Far Bright Star by Robert Olmstead

Hat tip, Hatley. If you like Cormac McMarthy and Larry McMurtry, this is a good little book.

TV: Downton Abbey, Homeland. Almost done with each.

Film: Sexy Beast, Andromeda Strain

Both rewatches. Sexy Beast gets better Andromeda Strain, worse,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

How Companies Make Money Now

Pretty sad that the way AIG is able to make money is by receiving a huge tax break.

I'm just a layman, but it strikes me that AIG got bailed out and now doesn't need to pay taxes. That sounds like a good deal to me. If I go bankrupt would I get bailed out and then not need to pay taxes for 10 years? I doubt it. Herein, of course, lies the problem with the bailouts - if they succeed, then it's the government picking winners, if they fail, it's the government throwing good money after bad. Hard to spin either way.
Great Article

The Paradox of the Nostalgic Past.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Book: The Gurkhas by Byron Farwell

Skipped some section, but pretty amazing people, these Gurkhas.
Politically Irrational

Why are we politically irrational? Because it is cheaper to be so.

I wonder when we'll get a computer to run the government?
Bad Thing?

How is this a bad thing?

Automotive data provider Polk says that the average new car buyer is now holding on to his vehicle for a whopping 71 months – almost six years. Used vehicles are being held for over four years, almost 50 months, according to the new study.

Polk based its findings on vehicle registration data through September 2011, concluding that longer warranties, better reliability, and of course, a miserable economy, have contributed to the shift. By comparison, just five years ago Polk showed new car buyers swapping out after just 53 months – a year and a half earlier.

This merely proves rational-decision making.
Owing vs. Saving


10) Owing in our new millennium shall be less stressful than saving. The man with a little money in the bank is more worried that he thereby will be taxed more, earn no interest, or have his small sum expropriated, than the borrower is worried that he will have to pay back the full amount of quite a lot that he borrowed for his mortgage, credit card, or student loan. The saver is suspect of doing something bad to the borrower; savers are always active-voice beneficiaries, debtors passive-voice victims. An American without debt or a federal program to relieve it is not really an American. Before this Greek mess is over with, the press and elite opinion will have convinced us that the Germans who lost nearly $400 billion really are merciless and conniving and the Greeks who squandered it really are victims and largely innocent. In the modern age, the history of lending and borrowing does not count; the present ledger book trumps all: why do poor Greeks have to pay back rich Germans? Or better yet, if the defaulter of mortgage, credit card, and tuition bills is still poorer than those who lent him the money or others who did not take out such loans, why, then, should he become even poorer paying the richer back?

Not sure we are there yet, but we're headed in that direction.
Where Did The Novel Go?

Roger Kimball discusses.

I personally read less because the critical community is often selling fake art. Some of the monster works of the past 20 years are total drags to even pick up. I don't think this can entirely explain the death of the novel, but it is a factor for someone like me. I read less because I don't find very much good new stuff to read and if I do, rarely is there anyone to talk about it with. I watch HBO instead.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Real Jeremy Lin Story

I feel dumb talking about Lin because I've only seen highlights and read about him, as opposed to watching him in real time in a real game. But something struck me today listening to sports radio and all this discussion of what an amazing story it is because how close Lin came to being out of the league and how he just barely made it and how the NBA is biased and they missed this great basketball player because he went to Harvard, is too slow, is Asian, or whatever.

But it struck me: this isn't the story at all. In fact, the amazing thing about the story is that the NBA did find him and that the system DOES work, somehow. Think about this: Harvard, 6'2.5"-slow footed 2 guard. Brought a bad team to the tournament, where they didn't do anything particularly special. How many guys like this come through college each year? Say 10? So in a 10 year span you get, say 100 of these guys that just in basketball terms are roughly the level of Jeremy Lin. How many make the NBA? 5%? Maybe? Think about this - Stef Curry is an undersized point guard/two guard kind of like Lin. This guy brought a school smaller than Harvard to the elite 8 twice. Steve Blake - an undersized, not very athletic point guard - got his team to the final four a couple times, I think. Granted, maybe he had better support, but still, out of college wouldn't it seem like Steve Blake was a better prospect than Jeremy Lin? My point is this - take away the NBA. Say you just started a basketball league from scratch. You need to choose players. Some system develops for evaluating players and assigning them teams. There are about 400 players in the NBA, right? 12 x 32 plus injured reserve, something like that. What system could possibly find Jeremy Lin? Any system finds Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Dwight Howard. A mentally handicapped kid could tell you those guys were making it. How could any system pick a Jeremy Lin out of all the guys in the world to succeed? No single D1 school offered this guy a scholarship. He wasn't drafted by an NBA team.

But somehow he made it. That's the amazing story. Somehow the NBA has a system where a guy like Lin got a chance and he crushed it. Isn't that all we can really expect of any system?

Prior to Vegas I was thinking about how I need to be reading more fiction. I read something the other day talking about how reading is exercise for your brain. I don't know if it is true, but I liked the idea. Supposedly it creates connections in your brain, strengthening certain things (I can't remember what). I imagine studying math has a similar effect on logistical analysis, even though most math has little practical application.

So here comes Vegas, a truly awful place. A gigantic scam if there ever was one. The only question in Vegas is how much of your hard earned money will you manage to escape with. Thank God for ATM daily limits, the greatest financial tool ever invented by Bank of America. Most of the TV shows and movies featuring Vegas treat it comedically or romantically. This is wrong. Vegas is a villain. A serial killer villain that simply needs to avoided and survived. It should be treated the way the outdoors is treated in survival movies, as a menacing environment where one is lucky to get out with their dignity and wallet in tact.

But back to the brain. See, Vegas is like the opposite of reading. It is reverse exercise for your brain. It turns people into delusional maniacs. The entire place is built upon an irrationality - betting. Everyone knows the casino will win. The entire strip and downtown area functions on this certitude. And yet, we all toss our money into it, someone expecting this time will be different. It never is.

Dehydration. Hot desert. Static-y interiors. "Free" drinks. Salty food. Air conditioning. I'd like to see the hospital statistics on how many people die of dehydration each year in Vegas.

I won't be going back for at least a year.
Surprise, Surprise

Colleges plotted how to take advantage of Federal tuition policies.

The regnant phrase was “Don’t leave money sitting on the table.”

Why would anyone?

Film: A Separation

Almost an amazing film. That second scene...I need to watch it again...don't think I've ever seen anything like it in terms of how characters and information is introduced.

TV: Luck

I'm considering putting Luck under "reading" instead of "tv."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Advice to Hollywood

I don't agree with all of it, but it strikes me there are opportunities here.
Henry Miller

Writing commandments.
Milch Lecture

Pretty amazing stuff. He talks about his life - he's been through some shit. Most interesting, though, is his analysis of the Iraq war (toward the end) as a dramatic mini-series demanded by the American public in response to 9/11, and his accounting of the subsequent dissatisfaction with the war. He was a frat bro of George Bush, and has a great line about the guy, "He's more of a genial boob than a moral menace."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Film: Red Belt

I freaking love this movie.

TV: Homeland, around episode 6 or 7

This show just isn't very good. Acting style is varied. Mandy Patinkin is in Tinker Tailor, the CIA boss is in 24, and Claire Danes...I have no idea what Claire Danes is doing. The spy genre might be the most difficult of all subgenres. The demands of tv and film structure are not suited to the core emotional element of spying - which is internal. Literature is better suited.
Trader Joe's

Tried their private reserve Pinot Noir last night. $13 a bottle. Thought it was quite good. Seemed to me like a 20-25 bottle of wine.
Movie Piracy Study

It affects sales.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why Online Dating Fails

A pretty good economic analysis.

This "lemon market" phenomenon was first studied by George Akerlof in the used-car market, but his lesson is also true for dating, especially online. Say you're looking for a date on OkCupid. You know that the potential partners out there are of two types: good and bad. Everyone wants to find good dates -- and are wiling to lavish them with expensive dinners and whatnot -- and avoid bad ones. But there's a catch. Everyone in the market can pretend to be a good type -- say, by lying on their Internet dating profiles.

and thus,

There are good cars and there are lemons, and the prospect of getting a lemon drives down the price of used cars and pushes good cars out of the market.

Dating sucks.
No Sign of a Market

From Levine News:

In response to last week’s controversial LBN Question – (Assume you are a virgin, and you decided to sell your virginity. What, realistically, would be your asking price?’ The average Female answer was $10 million while the average Male answer was $1,000.

No offense to any women, but I wouldn't pay $10 million for anyone. Then again, I also wouldn't pay $1000 for any man.

Robert Wright thinks Jeremy Lin's success is due to being Asian? Wright thinks Asians might be better equipped to see assists:

In one experiment, East Asians and Westerners were shown pictures and then asked to remember what they'd seen. Westerners tended to recall the dominant foreground image. If the picture was of a beaming tourist with a mountain stream in the background, they'd remember the tourist clearly. The stream? Not so much. East Asians were on balance better than westerners at remembering the background.

Never mind that Jeremy Lin is Asian-American. This is one of the dumber race-based comments I've heard about sports in a long time, coming from a proud liberal no-less.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Boxing riot in Argentina.

JFK intern affair. Some of the details are pretty repulsive.

She says Kennedy once asked her to “take care of” his aide Dave Powers, who had served as the go-between facilitating the affair; she performed oral sex on Powers while Kennedy watched. The president later apologized to both of them.

On another occasion, she wrote, he asked her to do the same for his brother Teddy. She refused.

Then there was a party with a “fast Hollywood crowd” at Bing Crosby’s house in Palm Springs, Calif., that she attended with the president. A guest offered yellow pills that she believed were poppers, or amyl nitrate, a drug often used to enhance sexual pleasure.

Kennedy asked her if she wanted to try one and she said no, but she said he popped the capsule and held it under her nose anyway.

“Within minutes of inhaling the powder, my heart started racing and my hands began to tremble,” she writes. “This was a new sensation, and it frightened me. I panicked and ran crying from the room, praying that it would end soon.”

I imagine Bill Clinton being one of the more pleased folks upon hearing this story.
If This Happens...

...I'm going to be pissed. Congress looks at ways to tax retirement accounts.

When you're broke, I suppose the only people left to tax are the savers. Doesn't really incentivize savings, then.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Film: Tiny Furniture

Boring. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing about Netflix streaming, it really encourages turning bad/boring/otherwise unspectacular movies off. Was anyone else kind of surprised Lena Dunham wasn' should I say this...hotter?

TV: Luck

I'm picturing the scripts of episodes 2 & 3 of Luck without the "written by David Milch" on the front. I'm picturing a friend sending me to read them and saying "so what do you think?" I could see myself calling up the lunatic asylum and saying, "my friend has gone stark raving mad, he should be locked up immediately." I'm only partially kidding. I'll continue to watch the show, but it has the quality of a lunatic having penned the episodes - a person who is totally inside their own brain and we, as the audience, only are able to catch glimpses into the operational logic.

This may also prove that gambling is a tough subject to make into a good narrative. I can think of Bob the Gambler and little else.
On the Abuse of Stories

Big Data

From the NY Times:

Welcome to the Age of Big Data. The new megarich of Silicon Valley, first at Google and now Facebook, are masters at harnessing the data of the Web — online searches, posts and messages — with Internet advertising. At the World Economic Forum last month in Davos, Switzerland, Big Data was a marquee topic. A report by the forum, “Big Data, Big Impact,” declared data a new class of economic asset, like currency or gold.

Hmph. Someone still needs to, you know, make things. I like how they use Moneyball as an example. I'll make these data-fetish folks a deal: they can use their data and I'll take good pitching and we'll see what happens.
Wow. Really?

Bin Laden supposedly gave up on jihad.

Osama supposedly told his children and grandchildren. “Do not follow me down the road to jihad,” he said. “You have to study and live in peace and don’t do what I am doing or what I have done.”

The only real value in this is if the message is somehow conveyed and believed by those in the radical Muslim community. But still, pretty interesting and not entirely surprising. Living in hiding for 10 years can change a man.

Film: Chronicle

Clever moments and a decent overall film. I wish studios would make more movies of this scale - modest, big idea type of pictures. I did not care for the found footage - this is now officially the worst genre of movies simply for the dumb amount of time spent coming up with excuses about why the camera is on. Does anyone actually care about why the camera is on throughout the movie?

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Top 10 Whitney songs.

I was never a major fan, but her talent was transcendent.

This strikes me as an important story.

Loopholes, poor regulations, and off-shore havens allow corporations and the very wealthy to draw on the benefits of a strong nation-state without fully paying back in, eroding a system that's less tested than we might think.

Kind of sickening to think about...the habits of the incredibly wealthy and successful to avoid contributing to the systems and government that they rely on.
Dispatch from the Ghetto

Last week I served jury duty in Inglewood. I can't talk about the case and it was totally uninteresting, but I was left with several impressions from spending a wee bit of time in the ghetto. There is barely anywhere to eat lunch. I was at the courthouse and so presumably, there are a lot of employees and other folks around during the lunch hour. On my first day, I wandered out at lunch time to find a place to eat. There was a Mexican buffet that looked horrific, a Mexican taco place that was shuttered and abandoned, a donut shop that served sandwiches...none of these places were much of an option. I crossed the street to a mall type of area and there was only one place to eat - a fish and chips place run by a Chinese guy. At this point, I was running low on time and just committed. It was pretty gross and unhealthy. The salt and pepper and ketchup containers were sticky, the sodas served with a straw, the shrimp not like the stuff they sell at Santa Monica seafood to say the least. I would venture to guess 50% of the people I know would simply not eat this food. I, myself, would never eat it again knowing what I now know.

Many of the storefronts are abandoned. I was walking around the streets carrying my laptop in my bag and I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb, just like a total idiot. And here's the thing, I know very little about the ghetto, but I don't even think Inglewood is considered that bad. I probably shouldn't even call it the ghetto. I'm positive there are much worse areas south of the 10.

Walking around, I was trying to make connections with how this area was similar to other parts of thing that struck me is there were a lot of movie posters on billboards and bus stops and they are the very same movies plastered around the rest of LA. People were wearing sports gear and I actually felt like I overheard sports related conversations - basketball and football - I suppose just because the Super Bowl just happened. But the rest of it has a much different feel. I actually overheard one of the first overly racist things I've heard in awhile just waiting in line to get into the courthouse. Some black lady was chastising a random Mexican guy toward the front of the line saying something along the lines of "those people steal everything from black culture, why don't they act like themselves," or something to this effect. It was strange and totally unprovoked, for some reason she just felt compelled to say something aloud to the guy she was with.

Of course, the area was mostly black folks. One can easily forget there is a very large black community in Los Angeles if you spend all your time north of the 10. There is a middle school across from the courthouse. The building looked new and really nice, but it certainly had the institutional feel to it, and I could hear the loudspeaker making announcements, etc. I suppose all public schools are pretty much like this, but not knowing anything about the school or anything, I know basically no one I know would feel comfortable sending their kids to this school because of the neighborhood around it.

I suppose the logical comparisons with Inglewood, would be Echo Park and San Gabriel valley, as each of these areas are predominantly minority communities. Echo Park has a much different feel, perhaps because of the hipster gentrification, but also there is just a lot more street activity and food and other stuff going on. I know Echo Park isn't exactly known as a safe area, but it certainly feels safe most of the time I've been there. Inglewood is more spread out and less concentrated, and perhaps the court house area is not a major commercial district. San Gabriel has a different vibe as well, with the long boulevards and multitude of food spots. There is something more charming about the geography of Inglewood, however, the place feels older and civic than San Gabriel. I really don't like the feel of San Gabriel, the long, wide, roads with signs all in various Asian languages, and the blazing hot sun beating down. But goddamn, if the food out there doesn't give all of LA a total run for it's money.

There's Hollywood Park nearby, which always gave me a jolt of joy to see as I drove back to the freeway. It made me wonder about the old Forum days when the Showtime Lakers played and Inglewood was probably THE place to be during basketball season. I wonder if the community was different and more vibrant back then. And then again, maybe I was just in the wrong spot. Not like downtown is exactly nice where the other courthouse is - especially a couple blocks from it.
No More Football?

Grantland thinks about how litigation and safety concerns could be the end of the sport. I don't see this as likely, but it isn't totally out of the question.

This would be a much bigger issue than the article argues. The implication would be more than economic. It would be spiritual. It would be a signal about what type of society we are choosing to be: one that values safety and health over competitiveness and bravery and physical toughness. Maybe that would be a better society...I personally doubt it.

TV: Justified

The older I get, the more I come to appreciate knowing one's limitations. You see it in sports all the time, the type of player who knows his strengths and weaknesses and plays in a way to maximize one and minimize the other. And I've begun to grow very tired of the opposite, the type of player who thinks he is something he is not. I think the same can be said of films and tv shows. What I've come to appreciate and love about Justified is that it doesn't try and be something more than it is. I can see it being tempting, if you are making TV, to try and be The Wire or The Sopranos or any of the magnum-opus type of shows. But every show need not be this. Justified isn't trying to be an HBO show than happens to be on FX. It is just trying to be what it is - a more hard boiled Dukes of Hazzard. And it totally succeeds on this level. In fact, it is the only drama with commercials I've watch in years, pretty much since Friday Night Lights. Oh yeah, the writing, particularly the dialog, is really damn good.

Friday, February 10, 2012


On the 2nd lives of Pro Football players.

But with that said, I think the psychological aspect must be a killer. I'm trying to imagine someone telling me that I basically wouldn't be able to write after age 40, or so. I don't know how to say this, but I'd feel like my life was over. The only thing in my life above my writing is family. Family, friendship and writing are about all I've been successful at. What if that were family, friendship and football?


Film: Withnail and I

I was holding out a long time to try and see this in the theater as I know they play it at the art houses around LA every now and then. I caved last night. Incredibly enjoyable. Everyone says Johnny Depp based his Jack Sparrow on Keith Richards...but perhaps he based it on Richard Grant?
The Underclass

An interesting take on the Charles Murray book and poverty in general.

One study of low-income delinquent young men in Boston found that one of the factors that had the greatest impact in turning them away from crime was marrying women they cared about. As Steven Pinker notes in his recent book, “The Better Angels of Our Nature”: “The idea that young men are civilized by women and marriage may seem as corny as Kansas in August, but it has become a commonplace of modern criminology.”

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Everyone seems to think OKC is the best in the West, but whenever I see them play, they seem to be in tight games or losing. They seem to play their starters A LOT of minutes. Westbrook makes a lot of mistakes, turnovers, dumb shots, etc. They are an exciting, explosive, fun team to watch, but there is a lack of maturity to the way they play that makes it seem like they are still missing an element. I would contrast them with Chicago, who seems equally young in age, but plays with a lot more maturity and discipline than OKC. That would be a great series because obviously OKC has the ability to score and score quickly and that is where Chicago struggles.
Is Anyone Allowed To Do Anything?

Rob Gronkowski "called out" for partying after Super Bowl loss. This, of course, is a follow up to Giselle Bundchen being caught on video "calling out" Wes Welker (more accurately, taking a stab at him for not catching the ball). And this, of course, is on the heels of an anonymous Jets player "calling out" Mark Sanchez and further on the heels of Ed Reed "calling out" Joe Flacco and on and on and on and on.

Is anyone else concerned? Are we allowed to say anything anymore without fear of being recorded and then lambasted in the media? I grant you, this is only relevant to public figures, but more and more these days everyone is becoming a public figure - at least in their own worlds. I mean, who wants to bet this happens on Facebook in the workplace at nearly every single company where people are candid and unhappy and drama unfolds (which is to say, everywhere)? What is my point? Ease up. Stop judging. Let private conversations be private. Why should the Giselle thing be public? How would you feel if everything you said at a Super Bowl party was recorded and the interesting tidbits sent to peoples who would be offended? Does anyone want to live in such a world? Do we want everyone to talk like the mealy-mouthed politicians who can't say a thing with any humanity behind it? Are we just going to turn into a tidbit culture where words are constantly being misrepresented to create "drama."

Mitt Romney suffered from the same thing...he was trying to make a point about the very poor being supported by an imperfect safety net...but you listen to the clip and can literally hear him being cut off midsentence to purposefully misconstrue and trying to create a narrative about Romney being unsympathetic to the poor. It's true, you say? Romney is insensitive to the poor? Perhaps. But so are the majority of Americans, including most of his accusers. They don't care any more about the poor than Romney, they only care that people THINK Romney doesn't care more than they don't care. This is the kind of bullshit existence we are creating for ourselves. Knots upon knots of dishonesty.

And it affects me also. Last weekend, I was accused of not liking dessert. What? I never said I didn't like dessert. What am I, a lunatic? I don't eat dessert every night because I don't like dessert as much as I feel other people like dessert and plus, it isn't exactly good for you. So while I like dessert, I don't eat it very much because I weight my satisfaction versus the cost, both heath and financial. And this gets construed to say "Greg doesn't like dessert." I never said such a thing, but it sounds more interesting, so people like to say it. Ridiculous.

If you're looking for a reason, here's a decent one:

But wait, there’s more. Marriage doesn’t just cut expenses. It raises couples’ income. In the NLSY, married men earn about 40% more than comparable single men; married women earn about 10% less than comparable single women. From a couples’ point of view, that’s a big net bonus. And much of this bonus seems to be causal.

It makes you richer.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


In jury duty...waiting in the room...reading old magazines. Come across a book review of the new edition of David Thomson's New Biographical Dictionary of Film or whatever it is called. In it, is quoted his perfect summation of Inglorious Basterds, "brilliant, and uninteresting."

Monday, February 06, 2012

Old Style

Phil has started a blog.
Superbowl Thoughts

The most interesting part of the game was Belichick allowing the Giants to score a touchdown to give the Pats a chance to win. I loved the play. It increased their chance of winning from 5% to 25%. They really needed to complete the first pass on the drive, though. With only 57 secs left, and needing a touchdown, they didn't have time for mistakes or to be imprecise.

This year was a strange one for football. Other than the Packers, there were about 5 teams in the top tier that could all beat one another on a given day. Anytime these teams would match up in the playoffs, the game would simply hinge on about 4-6 plays going one way or the other. The Super Bowl was no different. The Giants recovering two of their own fumbles, Welker missing that catch, and Manningham making his...that was the ballgame. I think the Giants have a little bit better talent, but the Pats had a slight edge in QB and coach and that almost was enough to win.
Kubrick Interview

Very interesting Kubrick interview on The Shining. My favorite bits:

There is no doubt that a good story has always mattered, and the great novelists have generally built their work around strong plots. But I've never been able to decide whether the plot is just a way of keeping people's attention while you do everything else, or whether the plot is really more important than anything else, perhaps communicating with us on an unconscious level which affects us in the way that myths once did.

And then, this:

When I finished Barry Lyndon I spent most of my time reading. Months went by and I hadn't found anything very exciting. It's intimidating, especially at a time like this, to think of how many books you should read and never will. Because of this, I try to avoid any systematic approach to reading, pursuing instead a random method, one which depends as much on luck and accident as on design. I find this is also the only way to deal with the newspapers and magazines which proliferate in great piles around the house -- some of the most interesting articles turn up on the reverse side of pages I've torn out for something else.

TV: Luck

Not a good show to watch after the Super Bowl.

Sunday, February 05, 2012


SYRIAN EMBASSIES UNDER SIEGE: Protesters were so angry over Syria’s latest and most brutal crackdown on dissent—more than 200 people were killed in Homs over the weekend—and the failure of the United Nations to pass a resolution calling on President Bashir al-Assad to step down, that they attacked seven Syrian embassies all around the world Saturday.'re telling me the United Nations somehow failed to pass a resolution? Good God, what has the world come to?

Article about Facebook:

One other interesting bit from the Pew report: They found no evidence of "Facebook Fatigue." To the contrary, the study's authors say, the longer someone has been on Facebook, the more active they are. Same is true for people who have more friends. This is good news for Facebook and a sign that it is on a different path than MySpace. As more people use the site and build deeper collections there, they tend to stick around.

The article amounts to saying - Facebook is for popular people. Conveniently timed for the IPO. This is what you call a "good publicist."

How Google makes money. Turns out insurance companies, loans, lawyers, and other industries that rely on long term clients are where Googles makes the bulk of their ad revenue - and they'll pay up to $27 per click because even if 1 in 50 customers are hits, the prices is worth it.
LA Teacher Abuse Scandal

Wonder why we're in debt? The teacher fired for putting gigantic cockroaches on the faces of blindfolded students and feeding them semen receives a pension of $4000 a month.

Kenneth Rogoff

Interesting profile of an economist and recovering chess addict.

Rogoff’s real hero, however, was Bobby Fischer, the American chess champion of the 1970s. He remembers following the games from the famous Fischer-Spassky world chess championship in 1972, and being awed by Fischer’s play – “It was like seeing the hand of God at work; the originality, the simplicity.” He shakes his head in delight and amazement. Fischer even paid the teenaged Rogoff the compliment of analysing and praising one of his games in an article. But Rogoff did not let that go to his head. “I took that to mean that he knew I could never beat him. Because I knew he was hyper-competitive. I completely understood the message,” he chuckles.
Makers vs. Takers

In danger of America become a nation of takers.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

What Is An IPO

Definition of an IPO.

The Facebook IPO will be remembered as one of the greatest pyramid/ponzi schemes. The founders and their financiers are trying to cash out now before Facebook becomes the Myspace wasteland. It is certainly in their interest. What a joke American business has become. We don't produce anything anymore, we're all just speculators and gamblers now. From the article:

The internet boom changed all this. Firms no longer needed strong financials and a solid history to go public. Instead, IPOs were done by smaller startups seeking to expand their businesses. There's nothing wrong with wanting to expand, but most of these firms had never made a profit and didn't plan on being profitable any time soon. Founded on venture capital funding, they spent like Texans trying to generate enough excitement to make it to the market before burning through all their cash. In cases like this, companies might be suspected of doing an IPO just to make the founders rich. This is known as an exit strategy, implying that there's no desire to stick around and create value for shareholders. The IPO then becomes the end of the road rather than the beginning.

They're just trying to sell to greater fools.

And if you aren't convinced, let me put it another way: if you are running a profitable business, why would you go public? If Facebook made money, why wouldn't you just pocket the cash? What is Facebook spending money on? It can't have that many employees. They don't pay for content. If this is a good business, why go public at all? The founders and early investors are trying to cash out, that's why.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Aversion to Sex

What is going on in Japan? Youth are reporting to be less interested in sex and a reader points out, there is an economic reason. Makes sense to me. If you are struggling with your pride, it is tough to get laid.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Obama and College

On Obama's proposals to make college costs go down. Strikes me, the Feds getting involved with college education caused the price to go up and now his solution is to get more involved. Of course, that is always the liberal solution whether it is the right way or the wrong way...