Thursday, January 31, 2013


A big thing of quotes.  I rather like this one:

Taste is not stable and peaceful, but a means of strategy and competition. Those superior in wealth use it to pretend they are superior in spirit

Wait...EIT Worked?

The case for torture.  Well worth reading.
Out of Biz

Mark Cuban on colleges going out of business.
The newspaper industry was once deemed indestructible. Then this thing called the internet came along and took away their classified business. The problem wasn’t really that their classifieds disappeared. It was more that they had accumulated a ton of debt and had over invested in physical plant and assets that could not adapt to the new digital world. 
When revenue fell the debt was still there, as were all the big buildings they had purchased, all those presses they had bought and the acquisitions they had made declined in value, but the debt accumulated to pay for them never went away. They were stuck with no easy way out. 
The exact same thing is happening to our 4 year schools. You can’t go to a big state university and not see construction. Why?
Very smart point on newspapers.  I did not know they had huge amounts of debt.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Even with the internet, I don't see how newspapers or at least the very basic model of news, is necessarily threatened.  People still need information.  They will pay for good information or at least watch ads for it.  Look at ESPN.  You're telling me that thing doesn't make a shitpile of money from their website?  From their channel?  And that's just sports news.

Film:  Repulsion by Roman Polanski

Showed at the Cinefamily.  Felt like seeing this film as part of my film education.  Not a joyous, effortless pleasure, but an interesting film, particularly from a directorial standpoint.  Polanski is a trickster and a magician in many ways -- he loves clever, in camera effects and blocking exercises.  Very intelligent and inventive, especially in contrast to how filmmakers make films today, which are so often reliant on effects or shot in boring ways just to easily understand the jokes.  Polanski does these small, surprising things throughout the film.  The drawback of some of his staging, however, is at times, a stiffness and unnatural human behavior.  Some of this is justified in the story telling and character - about a paranoid germaphobe who recoils at the touch of men.  But still.  Naturalism, it is not, and that seems to be how the contemporary audience likes it's media.  I think it will come across to many as dated.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cults and Madness

Conservatives warn ignore Girls at their own peril.  What is going on in our society?  Since when did entertainment become this thing we must digest for fear of being irrelevant?  It's like there is this giant PR campaign out there insisting Girls is this big zeitgeist show -- but a zeitgeist show shouldn't need to beg and borrow fans.  Why do the fans of Girls find themselves constantly promoting the show and trying to sell its merits like someone hawking car insurance?  Let the people who like it, find it.  Don't insist upon its relevance.

This cult of entertainment reminds me of Facebook in many ways.  The tone of joining Facebook began with this idea that one had to join Facebook to be cool and relevant and keep in touch.  They keep hawking their brand by adding new BS features, trying to sell something (ads or private information), and then eventually doing this stock offering to let early investors cash out.  Facebook hawks itself because the service it provides is value-less and diminishing and more resembles a pyramid scheme or a cult than a business or a product.

I just watched a mediocre episode of Parks and Rec.  The show does not claim to be anything more than it is - a TV comedy about local government.  But I think an episode of P&R says more about living in America today than Girls -- it just lacks the gigantic media hullabaloo.


TV:  Justified, ep 1-3, Season 3

The show isn't great and in some ways epitomizes how I think about TV drama.  I enjoy it nonetheless.  Walt Goggins makes the show...boy, can he deliver some great lines.  I do usually get a big laugh or two per episode.  Last night had an incredible line when Raylon has finally subdued this big dude who dreams of nothing more than managing cock fighters and can't stop talking about chickens.  Raylon is sick of hearing about it and threatens to shoot him with a bean bag bullet if he says one last think about chickens.  The guy can't help himself and goes "If you really think about, there's money to be made fighting these chickens"  (paraphrase) and Raylon shoots him.  I laughed out loud.

Other - Seinfeld reruns.  Great bit:

"Are you sure it was a date?"
"It was a date."
"How did you ask her out?"
"I said 'Do you want to go on a walk...or something...'"
"Well...a walk?..."
"Or something!  Jerry.  I said '...or something...'"
"Yeah.  That's a date."

Seinfeld at its best.

Klosterman interviews this kid Royce White who has interesting things to say about mental illness.

Basically, he thinks a majority of society suffers from it.  And stress.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What Is The Purpose of Social Security?

On generational conflict over money and how the current group of old folks are taking more than they put in.

Is Social Security insurance for old folks who can no longer earn a living, a forced savings plan, or an annuity?

I'm not sure.  I guess no one is.
The Guy Makes A Point

On fining NFL players for illegal hits.
"Not every guy can afford it," Reed said. "But teams can, and the league can. It's a billion-dollar business. You've got guys upstairs making $10 to 12 million just to sign papers and to fine people. We're talking about the wrong things sometimes."
Yes, maybe I've gone a little gay for Ed Reed tonight. I wouldn't be the first. But the man makes a point: the NFL and the advertisers are making plenty of dough off the violence in the sport to be sitting around board rooms feigning outrage.
Surreal and Clownish

Al Gore talking about his sale of Current to Al Jazeera.
Ed Reed

A wonderful story about Ed Reed on ESPN.  Damn, it makes you almost want to root for the Ravens.

Here's something interesting:
In time, Reed grew comfortable around Hall and her husband, Walter, who worked as a foreman at a nearby oil refinery. They had four children of their own, and Reed soon bonded with each of them. His life at home with his parents wasn't anything he wanted to run away from, but he understood the Halls offered a discipline he needed if he wanted to get to college. 
"One day he asked me, 'Do you think I could come stay with you? Because I know I'll get up and go to school every day if I'm here,'" Hall said this week, recalling the conversation while sitting on a bench outside Destrehan High School. "I said, 'You know what, baby? You're here at the house all the time anyway, you might as well bring some clothes and move in.' And once Edward gets in your life, he's in your life forever." 
It didn't matter that they were white and he was black -- the Halls soon became a second family to him, and Reed's parents supported the move. Each night, Reed would labor over his homework, pondering math equations with the same intense focus he would one day use to study NFL game film. One evening, Hall recalls, she was doing the dishes while Reed sat at the kitchen table, finishing up an assignment. She looked over his shoulder to double-check his work, and he shooed her away. 
"No, no, no, I got this Ms. Hall," Reed said. "I got it."
Of course, this is similar to the Michael Oher story in the Blindside. Difference being, in the article, it sounds like Ed Reed's family was fairly normal - middle class - both parents worked and were around vs Michael Oher's mother who was a drug addict. I'm not sure what I'm missing here...but it's something...a child going to live with another family in town seems like a gigantic choice, one that a "regular" family wouldn't make. Let's put it this way: most, if not all, families I know would not consider this an option. How common a thing is this? You hear this same story about two athletes on the same pro football team, imagine all the other people where this situation goes down or could go down. I suspect this is a thing in the African American community...right? Or is this a thing that happens in poor communities?  Strikes me as something to be figured out more deeply, although I can see it being something people don't talk about.
Django Unchained

A bit of a delay, but the Django Unchained podcast is up.
Why Barnwell Was Wrong About the Niners

Barnwell writes about how his prediction of a Niner regression was not all that wrong.

I hate this type of analysis -- mostly because it looks the wrong way through the spyglass.  It reminds me of screenwriting books which analyze why certain movies work after they've been made.  The irony with all these books - they are never written by people who write a good movies - and yet they proclaim to be able to tell you how to write a screenplay.

Backwards analysis is not the same process as making, building, or even making predictions.  Backwards analysis explains why such and such occurred, but doesn't offer much in the way of predictive value, nor does it factor in luck, timing, and all sorts of randomness, which is a huge component of life.

Analysis like this is for history and the academy and has its use.  But don't mistake it for being predictive or even in the same ballpark as the type of intelligence and strategy it takes to build a winning football team.

Barnwell's analysis is a more complicated version of the following --

1.  A team wins when they run the ball 30 times or more.  Therefore, the team should run the ball for the first 30 plays to maximize their chances at winning.

2.  Movies studios lose money when they make bad movies, so therefore they should only make good movies to profit.

You get my point.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Will The NFL Exist in 30 Years?

Bernard Pollard, Patriot killer, doesn't think so.

Eliminate the PEDs!  Players will stop getting bigger, faster, and stronger.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Well, He Doesn't Need to Get Reelected

Obama takes a swipe at football:
OBAMA TAKES SWIPE AT FOOTBALL: After presenting his new gun control proposals, President Obama sat down for an exclusive interview with The New Republic In the wide ranging interview, he took a swipe at football: “I have to tell you if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.”

Thursday, January 24, 2013

At What Age?

Will people stop using Facebook.
Years later, she was still attending the same parties, "all parties, bad parties," and only looking back was she able to appreciate her mistake: "You will have perceived by now that I was not one to profit by the experience of others, that it was a very long time indeed before I stopped believing in new faces and began to understand... that it is distinctly possible to stay too long at the Fair."
I always felt like Facebook was a bad party to begin with.

Film:  Guilty of Romance

The first Sion Sono film I've witnessed.  I'll watch others.  Totally bonkers.  Incredibly dark, strange, full of sex and madness and violence.  Felt long, though, and made me feel weird at night.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Being Stalked

James Lasdun on being stalked online.  I was hoping the twist at the end of the essay was that Nasreen (his stalker) had taken over his identity and published the essay.  But seriously, keep away from crazies and be very wary of the BS written on the internet.  One way to avoid crazy people is to not deal with folks "with nothing to lose."  Such people are a pain in the ass.
Interesting Interview

With a behavioral economist.
My advice for young researchers at the start of their career is… Work on your own ideas, not your advisor’s ideas (or at least in addition to her ideas). And spend more time thinking and less time reading. Too much reading leads people to think of small variations on existing studies. Admittedly my strategy of writing the paper first and only then reading the literature (or, more likely, letting the referees tell me what they think I should have read) is an extreme one, but it is better than trying to read everything. Try writing the first paper on some topic, not the tenth, and never the 50th.
Might be worth taking this advice for movie making.  In my short time in the movie biz, I've noticed a little "have-you-seen-itus" when every time you come up with an idea, everyone thinks you need to see every other movie or every other spec screenplay that tried to play in that territory.  I wonder at a certain point whether the return on time is diminishing.

Film:  Notorious

I realized about midway through the film, I'd already seen it.  I think it says enough that I'd forgotten it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why "Girls" Can't Overcome Its Racial Problem

I haven't heard an intelligent thing said about race in America in 15 years and I don't expect it to develop from a discussion about Girls.

But they bring up a point about "hipster racism" and then link to an article about the history of the term since it appeared on the internet.  Not interesting, but I think there is something to this idea of hipster racism or hipster asshole-ness, or hipster drunkeness -- a broader point about hipsterism in general.  Having "irony" or "self-awareness" does not make any set of behaviors or expressions of beliefs more valuable or more acceptable.  In fact, if anything, it strikes me to make such behavior less acceptable -- if you are ironically racist, isn't that in some ways worse than actually just being racist?  Same goes for being a shithead or a selfish little brat -- being "aware" you are these things and continuing to behave that way doesn't make it more endearing to me, but rather, less.

Anyhow, I wish someone would write a theory of hipsterism as a reaction of diminishing economic opportunities for white, college educated, 20-somethings in America, because I think it's painfully obvious this explains the explosion.  Yuppies were surely an economic development from the rah-rah 80s and huge economic growth under Reagan.  Hipsters - as a community have grown as a result of several trends - non-STEM college academic practices, lack of economic opportunities, and the internet allowing a forum for everyone to voice their opinion.
Taleb - Just in the 2nd Half of the Video

"Academics and governments like to add things, as practitioners, we like to subtract."

"Capitalism is not about incentives, it is about disincentives."

"The restaurant business as a whole is strong because every individual restaurant is fragile."

"Small states and city states love commerce and large governments love war.  It's what justifies a large government."

"Errors need to be multiplied."

"I like writing and the minute I'm bored with it, I stop."

Re: his book "Critics will hate it because they skim books, people who read, will not hate it."

"Someone in a limo does not take lectures on finance from someone who just took the subway.  That is to say, as a writer, you can take lessons from the Harry Potter lady or Seneca who lasted 2000 years, but not some academic at Cambridge."

"I won't tell you what you should buy, I tell you what is in my portfolio."

"Never trust ideas you don't have walking."  That is from Nietzsche.

"The only thing the elders respected was courage."

"My idea for living is taking risks for causes."

I'm a huge fan of this guy.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Film:  Arbitrage

Underwhelming.  Poor man's Michael Clayton.
The Super Bowl

The Niners were lucky to beat Atlanta yesterday.  The Niners were the better team, but came out flat (identical to what happened to Seattle the week before).  The Niners woke up a little quicker than Seattle (in the 2nd Quarter rather than the 2nd half) and were able to sustain Atlanta's counterattack.

Once the Niners settled down, they could move the ball at will against Atlanta's defense.  And luckily, Atlanta used up all their awesome plays in the first half.  Julio Jones absolutely molested the 49ers.  We could not guard him - he made several incredible catches.  We had a few defensive letdowns in the first half, but gotta give credit to Atlanta.  They have playmakers.

The most concerning thing to me was our lack of pressure on 4 man rushes.  The announcers were saying Atlanta brought in an extra offensive lineman, which meant we had 7 guarding 3 or 4.  Seems like enough, yet Atlanta was able to move the ball in the first half.  We finally began blitzing in the 2nd half.  The two biggest plays of the game came on blitzes - when Matt Ryan fumbled because we were bringing an all out, and when we knocked Ryan to the ground on a 3rd down, separating his shoulder at the end of the game.

The game was a little sloppy - missed FGs, turnovers, etc, but we got some luck (uncalled penalty on Bowman) - and that seemed to be the difference.  Last year the luck went the other way.

As for the Super Bowl matchup, I'm pretty zen about the whole thing.  The Ravens beat us up last year on Thursday night and I worry about their team.  They are confident enough to win and Flacco can make those big throws to Torrey Smith, which the Niners are only so-so at defending.  But now we have Kaepernick and it gives our offense another dimension which will hopefully give the Ravens problems game-planning for.  This is the only coaching match-up in the league I do not like.  Older brother Harbaugh has the mental edge over Jim and knows how Jim thinks.  The one problem with Harbaugh as a coach is he tries to get too cute at times and he is likely to do this knowing he is matching up against his brother.

That said, the good (and bad) thing about this Niner team is that it has the talent to control its own destiny.  We play good, we will win.  We play bad, we will lose.  The Ravens will not simply beat up in a straight up battle if everyone executes 100%.
Wise Man

Taleb talks about risk, anti-fragile, how the bankers hijacked our government, and other important things.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Film:  The Gambler

They don't make films like this anymore.  Small dramas.  I guess it just goes on TV.  I miss them.  This isn't quite as good as The Verdict or Thief, but is hunts in the same waters.  TV goes on for too long and inevitably will become contrived or require spinning off into different characters.  There are rare exceptions, of course, but let's not discuss those.

Then again, they are remaking the film.  So what the hell am I talking about?

UPDATE:  Thinking about the career of James Toback.  Strange one, right?  I haven't seen most of his stuff, but consider this:
The Gambler (1974) - Writer
Fingers (1978) - Writer/Director
Love and Money (1982) -Writer/Director/Producer
Exposed (1983) - Writer/Director/Producer
The Pick-up Artist (1987) - Writer/Director
The Big Bang (1989) - Writer/Director
Bugsy (1991) - Writer
Two Girls and a Guy (1997) - Writer/Director
Black and White (1999) - Writer/Director
Harvard Man (2001) - Writer/Director
When Will I Be Loved (2004) - Writer/Director
Tyson (2008) - Writer/Director/Producer
What would you call such a filmography?  There is no linear progression from this-to-this-to-this, like with many filmmakers.  No big hits.  No big breakouts or comebacks.  He goes from different forms - screenwriter to writer/director, back to writer, to documentary.  There are big time gaps and then little ones.  Movies no one watches or talks about and then medium hits that are occasionally referenced.  There is "James Toback" element to all the films, though, as if this is vital and perhaps important to the selling of the movie (as opposed to Irving Thalberg or Robert Towne or others who have 'mysterious' uncredited influences on tons of movies).

Just strange - almost because I never hear anyone even talk about James Toback - but the name seems to mean something.

The Gambler

"Hey Axel, you want to fuck my girlfriend?  She's 60 dollars on the street.  For you, nothing."
"I'll take a rain check."
"I won't even watch.  I'll lock the door.  You can tape the key hole."
Frame Job

Mike Smith obviously sent a prostitute to coax Crabtree into some illicit behavior and get him investigated on the eve of the NFC Championship.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Film:  His Girl Friday

Because great movies do not get old.
My Legal Advice

If I'm Manti Te'o's lawyer/pr guy, this is his best out:
The only way I see Manti Te'o redeeming himself now is if he announces he's gay. It would be the fastest fall from grace and subsequent redemption in sports history, with two possible outcomes: He is gay and he becomes the gay Jackie Robinson. Or, he isn't gay and still becomes the gay Jackie Robinson, but is forced to live the rest of his life pretending to be gay in the worst lie gone wrong ever. Either way, I think there may be enough here for a "Fourth-and-God Part III" movie.
If he announces his gayness, at least the entire story will make sense.  It was a cover to throw off his teammates that inadvertently exploded into a national new story.  Woops!  But then he can't tell the truth without revealing he's gay now that he's become a national football icon.  Tough situation.  And because he is a dumb 21 year old he comes up with the "she died of leukemia" story even though no one dies of leukemia anymore.

Now, the only problem with this angle, of course, is if Te'o is not gay.  Then he needs to pretend to be gay for a certain amount of time to let this all wash over - maybe not the rest of his life - but at least for awhile.  But then consider this:  if he isn't gay, he's already perpetrated (or been complicit in) one of the strangest hoaxes imaginable.  Why not take it to the next level?  Just keep riding the hoax further and further?  He's got nothing to lose, like a blackjack player who was up 100G down to his last grand.  What are you going to do now?  Walk away from the table?  No way.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Do The Lies Matter?

Lance Armstrong comes clean on Oprah.  It feels unremarkable, pedestrian almost.  Big deal - another athlete cheated.  Especially in contrast with the news of the Manti Te'o story which is so much weirder and more fascinating (timing couldn't be better for Lance).  Or the Tiger Woods story.

I can't help but think all this contributes to something negative in our culture, but I don't quite know what or why.  Or maybe 50 years from now, we'll all look back at this quaint little time when people superstitiously cared about drug use.  By then, various drugs will probably be the norm and we'll all be blissfully happy and content with our lives and live to 120 and run 4.3 40 yard dashes.  Ugh.  Count me out.

Oh Man

"She ain't no albino."
"She'll do until one comes along."
"She was born right here in this country."

1939.  His Girl Friday.  We haven't improved.
What's Next, the McBanMi?

McDonalds introduces the McBagguette in France.

I'd get a quarter pounder served on French Bread.  Actually sounds pretty good.
Bernie Update

My grandmother liked Bernie.  Maybe I need to re-evaluate the film.
Bad News

Americans are borrowing from their retirement savings.  But why?
I call it the tyranny of consumption smoothing, an underreported theme in welfare economics.
Which means what?  The poorer you are, the more risky and dumb decisions you will do money-wise because poverty and debt encourages such behavior.

It applies to countries as well, I'm guessing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Weirdest Story of the Year

I can't imagine there being a weirder story than this Manti Te'o fake dead girlfriend.

No matter how good this guy is at football, he can't have a career after this, right?  I saw him play against 'Bama and he didn't look good.

Also, when I go on my crazy diatribes about internet dating and facebook -- remember this story -- which is a true story -- and ask who is the crazy one - me or society.

Film:  This Is 40 and half of Gangster Squad

So I go on a walk down to the theater to see what's showing, hoping I can catch an afternoon viewing of This Is 40.  The wait is too long, so I buy a ticket for Gangster Squad.  Everything is wrong with the viewing experience:  the theater has the curtains covering up the edges of the screen, there are 25 minutes of shitty previews, and then the movie starts and it just sucks ass.  I almost decide to go get my money back, but I came all this way, so I just go and watch This Is 40 instead thinking, apparently, to test whether suicide is somewhere deep within me.

Turns out it isn't.  Let me start of by saying if I never see Leslie Mann or Paul Rudd in another film for the rest of my life, I will not complain.  Nor do I like what Apatow is doing -- essentially making the ultimate mumblecore movie -- and all that said, I didn't hate the film.  It had so many hatable elements - just a bunch of spoiled-ass babies screaming at the top of their lungs and tripping over the feet of their own lives -- endless self-inflicted conflict -- one after another without any sense of tragedy or irony in their being.  Just loud, petty people.  A pithy way to say it:  Apatow made a big movie about small people.

But then there's Albert Brooks.  And he's unbelievable and I just start thinking to myself - good lord - this guy needs to be in more movies.  And maybe there was something more going on, or maybe the bludgeoning, shrill voice of Leslie Mann finally just overwhelmed me, and I submitted like an Al Queda terrorist to enhanced interrogation techniques and just decided to enjoy the last 10 or 15 minutes of the movie.  I don't know.  What the hell.
Leave Bigelow Alone

She responds again to allegations of endorsing torture.

We should be worried with the haste in which our community jumps in to censor any bit of controversial film.  There are precedents for this - the lack of support for Theo Van Gogh from the film community, the jailing of the Innocence of Muslims filmmaker, but those were small time (nonetheless worrisome) and flew under everyone's radar.

The Senate calling hearings on Zero Dark Thirty set a thuggish, dangerous precedent, a shot across the bow from Washington to Hollywood:  don't rock the boat, don't do anything controversial.  Hollywood already censors itself - too frightened to hurt the feelings of the Communist Party - they won't portray China as bad guys in films anymore.

What is just as frightening is the Hollywood response.  Far too many people jump on moralizing bandwagon - forgetting the higher principle at stake - freedom of expression - and applaud the efforts to take the filmmakers to the woodshed, drag them through the muck, and intimidate others from taking any other perspective than the status quo liberal fallback.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Facebook develops a search tool.

Biggest pyramid scheme of the 21st century.

SI just jinxed the 49ers.

Bettors - take the Falcons and the points.

Film:  Bernie

Linklater apes Christopher Guest.  I'd heard nothing but good reviews, but myself was underwhelmed.  There were some good bits and decent performances -- not a bad movie by any stretch -- but I was just waiting for it to be over by the end.

McConaughey deserves some sort of award for turning in a variety of good small performances in 2012 - Killer Joe, Bernie, and Magic Mike.  I haven't even seen Paperboy, but I imagine he's good in that as well.
Clarence Thomas

He speaks for the first time in 7 years.  To make a joke about Yale Law School.
For many years, Thomas viewed Yale with undisguised hostility. The gist of his complaint was that he was admitted under an affirmative-action program -- and, as a result, suffered from a stigma that tainted his judicial career. ...
Tough to say Thomas hasn't done well in his career, only reaching the highest court of the land.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Film:  Magic Mike

Fantastic little movie.  First hour truly great.  Starts to lag after that and 3rd Act is weakest.  The girl steals the movie -- Cody Horn.  There was a dimension to her performance that is rare, a steadfastness, a dignity you don't often see.  You can say this stems from writing, but in lesser hands it rings false.  She brought it.

I can't figure out Soderbergh.  When he's good, he's so damn good, but his batting average on films is pretty low and he strikes out a lot.  Also, I'm not sure his films age.  Puzzling.  Haywire and Magic Mike in one year.
What Should We Worry About

My god, there is a lot to read about here.

I just read the first one:  Chinese Eugenics.  They are trying to breed better people and have no qualms with it.  The Western mind should and will find this rightfully abhorrent.  The writer argues we should set our emotions aside and see what can be learned from it.
Brady vs. Montana

Montana no contest.

The case for Brady:  more Super Bowl appearances and less talent surrounding him, playing in a more difficult era.

The case for Montana:  More rings.  Higher win percentage.  Better performances in big games.  Playing career much shorter.

A couple of details -- true, Montana had a fantastic supporting cast in 1984, 88, and 89, but in 1981 he did not.  He still won.  Montana played in an era of other very strong teams - 1985 Bears and the Bill Parcell's Giants, so while Brady played in the "parity" era, Montana had some super teams to contend with.  But...the most important details to me:  Montana won those games for the Niners.  Often, in the big time Patriot wins, the victories were a little flukie - how many times did Adam Vinatieri make a freak field goal?  The tuck rule game?  Montana wins were Joe driving down the Niners to score touchdowns with little or no time left on the clock.  The fact that Brady's career has gone longer is a double edged sword (due to better medical care, diet, etc) -- he has more Super Bowl appearances, but has also looked shaky and not played his best football at all times.  Maybe Montana sticks around longer and we see him fade or lose the magic or just get unlucky.  But that didn't happen -- so pound for pound -- era for era, I'd say Montana, no question.  This is GPA, not an accumulation.
Tax Code Hits Rich, But Not Very Rich

No surprise.  The main appeal of higher taxes is to make your slightly more successful neighbors pay more, not to balance the budget or responsibly reign in debt.
Love Our Society...

Single people should get weddings, too.

I remember passing 4th grade, but maybe I missed something.
Golden Globes

I don't watch the Golden Globes, but these lines are funny:
Loved Amy’s dig at the Titanic and Avatar director who’s probably the most hated homme in Hollywood: “When it comes to torture, I trust the lady who spent 3 years married to James Cameron.” Tina’s on the mark when calling Quentin Tarantino the stuff “of my sexual nightmares”. Great line from Amy announcing that Meryl Streep is a no-show: “She has the flu. And I hear she’s amazing in it.”
I'm a fan of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.
The Bomb

Rare ground POV picture of the Hiroshima bomb found.

I worry for the days when all the people who lived through this time pass along and the effect and awesome power of the bomb becomes more myth than tangible.  I fear for the rewritten BS history you can hear in any undergraduate class or dorm (and repeated by the likes of Osama Bin Laden) that the bomb wasn't necessary, etc, etc.  I fear this will bring about a time when someone thinks using these things will get them a strategic advantage.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Various reading --

Margin of Safety by Seth Klarman.

The book sells for $1000 on amazon because it is out of print.  I found it on the internet - a pdf for free.  This guy is a super hot shot investor of the Warren Buffett style and I'm sure his book is taught and read in business schools.  The thing with investing - no one who has a real job can possibly be good at it - and everyone who writes knowledgeably about it has the same advice:  don't trust anyone.  So what is an average joe supposed to do?   Makes one long for the good old days of pensions.  Anyhow, I'll peck away at this book.

The Party:  The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers by Richard McGregor

Fascinating, but dense, book about how the Communist party rules China.  Don't know if I'll finish this book since it seems like reading for a Comparative Politics class in college rather than pleasure reading at the end of the night, but it is pretty fascinating.  Despite the power of the party in China - it seems to act sort of like a social club one needs to join to advance in their careers - I think the more powerful individuals get economically (ie rich), they more political rights they will demand.  In a sense, the more successful China becomes, the less powerful the Party will be.  Anyhow, this is my instinct.  Remember - most people in China still don't have their own toilets.

Lush Life by Richard Price

Fiction!  Dense reading - especially considering the book is ostensibly a police procedural set in hipster Brooklyn - but reading an interview with the guy and what kind of work he put in research-wise, it would be a pity not to at least give this book a chance (although I may have started it a couple years ago and stopped).  Not a page turner, I find myself reading slowly and carefully...rare for me these days.
What Will We Do Without Stern?

Speaking truth to the power of Judd Apatow and all the boring hipsters who celebrate Girls.
"It's a little fat girl who kinda looks like Jonah Hill and she keeps taking her clothes off and it kind of feels like rape. She seems -- it's like -- I don't want to see that," Stern chuckled on-air, explaining how he'd recently been clued into the show by wife Beth Ostrosky.  
"I learned that this little fat chick writes the show and directs the show and that makes sense to me because she's such a camera hog that the other characters barely are on." "My opinion, if I was a producer on that, I'd say, 'Honey, you're a little too close to the project. You need to allow the other characters to breathe a little and let us get invested in them,'" he continued, adding the backhanded compliment: "Good for her. It's hard for little fat chicks to get anything going."
Sad Irony of Affirmative Action

Overwhelming data suggests affirmative action not only doesn't work, but has a negative impact on students it is designed to assist.
It is the mounting empirical evidence that race preferences are doing more harm than good — even for their supposed beneficiaries. If this evidence is correct, we now have fewer African-American physicians, scientists, and engineers than we would have had using race-neutral admissions policies. We have fewer college professors and lawyers, too. Put more bluntly, affirmative action has backfired.
The irony:  colleges know it.  Numerous studies show the same thing -- being mismatched in academic credentials with your college decreases student performance and frustrates their academic and career progress.  This applies to not only minority students given admission advantage, but also legacy students.  The logic is not difficult to understand.

Despite knowing the numbers and being unable to refute or challenge the results -- college continue to practice affirmative action and in some cases -- are looking to boost the practice to apply to specific majors and so forth:
Texas, however, takes the position that it needs "critical mass" not just in its student body as a whole, but in each classroom, program, and major. Under the "top 10%" policy, Texas had likely already achieved a "critical mass" of minorities across its student body. Classroom-level "critical mass," however, requires much more extensive preferences; it could conceivably justify racial discrimination in course registration and other more aggressive discriminatory practices.
Rational people knew affirmative action was a hoax and now there is a data to support it.  But it continues, not because it works, but because it is a political litmus test of your liberal credentials, and because it "feels" like justice.  Racial justice on the cheap.

This is what happens when you choose emotional truth over rational truth.  Look for it in many of our current policy debates.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Just saw my first paycheck of the new year and like most Americans, the take home pay is less.

We voted for it.
Stat Line

323 yards running, 4 touchdowns, 7.5 yards a carry -- as a team.  Niners show up with a convincing win against Green Bay.  The story was Kaepernick.  He looked shaky early, tossing a pick 6 on the first drive and then came back to dominate the game and outplay Rodgers with his running and passing.  He alone ran for 189 yards and when he got a look at the open field took off, outrunning guys in Green Bay's secondary.  The guys is FAST.

Does it end the Smith-Kaepernick argument?  Not yet.  But it puts a solid win and performance in the Kap column.

Fantastic day of football games.  Normally, I watch this much football and I feel terrible.  Today I don't.
Viva France!

France sends troops to Mali to fight Islamic Terrorists.  I have no idea of the wisdom of such a move, but I'm rooting for our froggie friends against the scum of the earth.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Piers Morgan gets worked in a gun control debate.

Truth is, we already had this debate and the proponents of gun control lost.  I used to be for gun control, but then realized it was more of a cultural bias than a coherent position.  I've change my mind over the years - it's pretty clear what the founders of intended with the 2nd Amendment intended.

Paul Schrader, Brett Eason Ellis, James Deen, and Lohan.  Hipster cred up the wazoo.  Sounds like the end of the world.

QT interview.
I Love This

A blog about the top 5 times Jerry Stackhouse beat down another NBA player.  I never knew Stackhouse was such a feared badass.
The Easy Path - B School and Law School

Megan McArdle says:  don't take it.  Instead, she suggests:
That's why it isn't much of a solution to the problem of distinguishing yourself in the labor market and gaining access to a limited number of highly sought-after jobs. And teaching yourself to go after what you want, and accept the inevitable rejection that comes with that, will add more to your earning power than anything they you could possibly learn in class.
Learning to handle rejection and knowing when to move on and give up -- incredibly valuable skills.
Bad Advice

Here is a column full of bad advice.  The last bit:
8. Your friends are your health insurance. As health care costs keep increasing, you will have to get a higher and higher deductible. This is where friends come in: people who have friends are more likely to be mentally healthy, and mental health brings physical health. And the Framingham Heart Study has shown that if you pick healthy friends, you’ll be healthy, too. And if they’re really good friends, you can use their health insurance policy instead of getting your own.
I've yet to go to a dinner party where someone fixed a torn ACL, but maybe I hang with the wrong crowd.
Richard Price

A long, old interview at Paris Review.  I found it interesting.  Just started Lush Life.
Stunning Statistic

One in every 17 hardcover books sold in the US is written by James Patterson.

I like this, on his writing process:
I’ll get up very early, 5:30 or so, and write some, then maybe three or four days a week I’ll go play nine holes of golf, come back, write some more and have lunch with my wife, Sue. Two or three days a week I take a 45-minute nap, work some more, then spend time with Sue and Jack for the rest of the evening. That’s it, seven days a week.
I haven't read any of his books, nor do I plan to.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


The tax code is burdensome.

Simplify, simplify, simplify.  That's what I'd do.

Looks like there was another attempted school shooting.  For anyone who thinks Hollywood movies and video games play a role in this, you'd be foolish not to include news media reporting as well.

And for those who think an assault weapons bans would solve everything, you'd still be faced with these type of situations (a kid with a shotgun).
Nate Silver Predicts

Seahawks-Patriots.  This would be a much more impressive prediction than the election.
Unintended Consequences

Biofuel - the use of corn as a replacement for fuel - has caused world wide corn prices to quadruple and making the people of Guatemala hungry.

Good job, tinkerers.

*Tinkerer = those who try to tinker with working systems to fix what isn't broken.
The Tyranny of the Hip

Victor Davis Hansen trashes the hip.
Hip is like “cool”, whose power I wrote about not long ago: a general sense of tapping into the popular youth culture of music, fashion, food, electronics, easy left-wing politics, and adolescent habit. Hipness is a tool designed to justify enjoying the riches and leisure produced by the American brand of Western market capitalism by poking fun at it, teasing it some, dressing it up a bit to suggest ambivalence over its benefits without ever seriously either understanding their source or, much less, losing them. 
Hip is a sort of Neanderthal mentality that is terrified of serious thinking, and thus substitutes the superfluous for the profound.
When you're right, you're right.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

What's This...The Fucking UN Now?

Oh man, the Sopranos...


RG3's entire knee is being rebuilt.  Kirk Cousins better practice hard, cause this ain't good.

This event reveals the media and the lemming public's hypocrisy.  In the aftermath, everyone suggests Shanahan should have taken him out of the game.  I'm guessing everyone will choose to forget the world taking the exact opposite position a couple years ago when Jay Cutler went down with an injury during a playoff game.  In that incident, the sporting public criticized Cutler for not playing injured, implying he was not tough enough - not man enough.  Now, RG3 has proved his manhood by destroying his knee and potentially his career (2nd reconstructive knee surgery - ask people how that goes).  What a bunch a-holes and hypocrites.


I was a huge fan of Zero Dark Thirty, but Armond White was not.
“High information readers” and “High information viewers” consume limitless propaganda while thinking themselves “engaged,” “enlightened” or Internet “smart.” This includes film critics who award Zero Dark Thirty and those pundits and politicians, such as Senators John McCain and Diane Feinstein, who disparage it. Both sides want confirmation of their feelings about Obama’s unmentionable war on terror; they see in the film what they want to find.
White - as usual - is half genius and half full of it.  Love the guy.

On feminism.
One characteristic of modern feminism is the strong belief that men are not entitled to judge women for anything, coupled with the equally strong belief that women are entitled to judge men for everything.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Film:  Crank

People say Crank II is awesome, but I don't see how it can be better than Crank 1.  This movie is awesome and I have no idea how they pulled it off or how more people don't talk about it.  This is a must see, awesome holy-fucking-shit film, and will make you re-think what can be done with cinema.  The movie is a spoof, a comedy, an avante garde art piece, a kick ass satire of high intelligence that far exceeds any of the Seth Rogen / David Gordon Green attempts to have fun with the action movie genre.

The idea is so clever it makes you bang your head against the wall and say "how did I not think of that."

Film:  Jack Reacher

Lame.  And frankly, I was surprised at how lame.  Two good parts - the car chase and the final, end, end scene and pretty much nothing else good throughout the entire movie.  Had a straight-to-video quality to it.  Could pair it with The Lincoln Lawyer.
Get Rid of the Security Blanket

I prefer the term: embrace the suck.
The Other 1%

A critique of the military promotion system from an insider.

Had I know the military was so dysfunctional, I may not have supported the Iraq invasion.  I thought they were good.
The Fucking Internet

On the demise of Barnes and Noble...and perhaps...books.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing about all this is the fact that, as with the demise of Borders, the demise of B&N has nothing to do with what its customers actually wanted, what’s best for mother literature or free speech, or anything other than made-up trends covering for killer capitalism. There’s still plenty of evidence that people like bookstores, for example, and even sales of hardcovers — let alone print books — are holding on. And so the lust for higher margins — whether from Godiva chocolates or ebooks — turned into fool’s gold for B&N. It’s perhaps a typical death in the Free Trade era, when companies lose all sight of their identity in the blinding light of the bottom line … but it’s the wrong death for a bookseller.
The Atlantic has a new article - hat tip, Phil - about how internet dating is problematic for creating healthy couples.
But what if online dating makes it too easy to meet someone new? What if it raises the bar for a good relationship too high? What if the prospect of finding an ever-more-compatible mate with the click of a mouse means a future of relationship instability, in which we keep chasing the elusive rabbit around the dating track?
The fucking internet is a ruse.  It offers this bullshit, utopian promise of something better.  And we cannibalize the good things in our world for this delusion.  Disgusting.  The Atlantic article is onto to something, but it fails to realize the scale.  This touches more than relationships - the very building blocks of the species - but everything:  culture, commerce, government, employment.  This internet - and we are letting it - will throw us into a state of perpetual despair.  Not everything should or can be free.  We must pay for things for them to exist - books, movies, information, news.  Nothing good will come from these delusions.  What is at stake?  Everything that is important.  What are we selling it for? Pennies.

UPDATE:  My solution:  stop internet dating.  Bang the girls and guys around you.  Get married, have kids.  Order the newspaper to your door.  Buy books from bookstores and READ them.  Pay for movies.  Rent movies from the video store.  Buy shoes at Nordstrom because they let you return and try on things.  Play sports.  Stop using tablets and the cloud.  Live.
There Goes the Franchise

Just the descriptions of RG3's injuries make me wince.  I don't see the guy lasting in the NFL.  Cowherd says it right - the guy is built like a sprinter, not a football player.  He doesn't have the padding to take a beating and gets into these weird angles and positions on the field.  Russell Wilson is built better - stocky and quick - even though he is shorter.

That said, I am also the one who predicted Adrian Peterson would have a lousy year and get reinjured.
Is This Supposed to Make Me Like Him More or Less?

Mayor Villaraigosa lied and partied with Charlie Sheen for hours with hot chicks.

Monday, January 07, 2013

What Is Middle Class?

Elizabeth Warren has trouble defining.

Well, it certainly isn't an easy as income level, especially when you consider fluctuations over years and cost of living in different regions.  But maybe the best way to define middle class is in relation to upper middle class and lower middle class.  Here's a scale I would propose:

Super Rich - Your unborn heirs will not need to work.

Rich - Your children do not need to work.

Upper Middle Class - You have more than one home and if you have debt, you could easily pay it off, but choose not to for management purposes.  Private schools are an option at all levels.  You hire people on a regular basis for things like baby sitting, nanny, house cleaning, etc.

Middle Class - You own a home, have all the right insurance.  Private school is a stretch or perhaps not an option at all.  You carry some debt, but also carry some savings.  College and/or a professional career are an expectation, but not vital.  You have a retirement account which could use more money.

Lower Middle Class - You rent or stretch to own a cheap home.  Insurance is a sometimes thing.  You carry debt that is a burden.  You don't have enough savings and retirement is tough to ponder.

Poor - Housing is a problem.  Food is a problem.  You need help to get by - from government or family.

Obviously, there are gradations in this scale, but as a general outline I think it works.
Torn ACL?

If RG3 tore his ACL, he is an idiot for playing.  I didn't see the game past the first quarter, but he looked done when he tweaked his knee.  He could have partially torn it on one play and fully torn in later - I did the exact same thing a couple years ago.

I don't see how a doctor does look at this on the sideline.  Anyone trained can tell an ACL injury just by physically tugging the knee.  I suppose you can't quite tell if the ACL is partially torn.
The Problem With TV

Can TV be about anything other than family or the workplace?  As such, will every serialized TV show be about broken male and female relationships?  About divorce?

Long weekend in Chicago.

Film:  Pitch Perfect

A rewatch on the plane ride.  Got better the 2nd time.  Enjoyable film.  Might stand the test of time better than Bring It On.

Reading:  The Odds by Chad Millman

The story of three Vegas sports gamblers lasting through one college basketball season.  Interesting and depressing world.  About halfway through, will finish.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


Al Gore sells Current TV to Al Jazeera.  From the NY Times:

Al Jazeera did not disclose the purchase price, but people with direct knowledge of the deal pegged it at around $500 million, indicating a $100 million payout for Mr. Gore, who owned 20 percent of Current. Mr. Gore and his partners were eager to complete the deal by Dec. 31, lest it be subject to higher tax rates that took effect on Jan. 1, according to several people who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
I guess I can't begrudge Gore for wanting to sell in order to avoid paying more taxes, but then again, isn't it the Democratic Party who wants to raise taxes on precisely this level of doing business? And how is this not totally creepy -- an environmentalist news channel being sold to an Arab propaganda network? I mean, come on... ...and who the hell would pay $500 mil for Current TV? Does it have ANY viewers?
White People

In some ways the anti-white-man rhetoric that has become standard and acceptable lately is the worst sign of all. If the term “hate speech” has a meaning, it most definitely would apply to a great deal of what has been said recently about that despised group. Those who are first to shriek “racism” and “sexism” when criticism is launched against a group defined as oppressed (blacks, women) are turning the tables and dissing white men with impunity. It is both hypocritical and vile, and especially offensive when cloaked in the sanctimony of those on the left who believe they occupy the moral high ground (that would be everyone on the left).
I do hear "white people" thrown around as a pejorative a lot these days.
Capital to Income Ratios

I don't find personal finance to be a particularly interesting topic, but in order to free oneself from the stress it can cause, it is a good idea to every now and again take stock of you situation.  Because the future is so uncertain, it is difficult to predict income and lifestyle years down the road, but here are some simple ratios that'll give a general guidepost and one can deviate as necessary based upon their particular situation.

The basic premise is you'll need 12x your income as savings when you retire assuming zero debt.  Your income can be taken literally, or as a "core income" for calculation purposes if you income fluctuates year to year.  CIR = Captial to Income Ratio and DIR = Debt to Income Ratio.

  • 25 years old -- CIR: 0.1 / DIR: 
  • 30 years old -- CIR: 0.6 / DIR: 1.7
  • 35 years old -- CIR: 1.4 / DIR: 1.5
  • 40 years old -- CIR: 2.4 / DIR: 1.25
  • 45 years old -- CIR: 3.7 / DIR: 1
  • 50 years old -- CIR: 5.2 / DIR: .75
  • 55 years old -- CIR: 7.1 / DIR: .5
  • 60 years old -- CIR: 9.4 / DIR: .2
  • 65 years old -- CIR: 12.0 / DIR: 0
You get the idea.  You debt goes down as you age and your savings goes up. Obviously these ratios don't take into account all the complexities of life, but at the very least, they provide a decent guidepost.  One other smart thing about the ratios is that they do not count housing as an asset - only a debt - because even when you are old, you will still need somewhere to live.
A Scene To Discuss

There is a scene at the end of Amour where a character confronts a pigeon.  I would like to watch this side by side with Life of Pi's tiger scenes to discuss what is more compelling.
Food, Econ, and Sports

And some other stuff - an interview with Tyler Cowen.
Nevertheless, he is worried about the number of people going into finance. “I think about this a lot: you’re young, you come from a smart, wealthy family, you’re somehow supposed to show that you’re successful quite quickly. Banking, law, consultancy allow you to do this; engineering, science and entrepreneurship less so. Your friends expect it, your parents, your potential mates do ... So we see so many talented people very quickly having to signal how smart they are but that may not be the longest-term social productivity.”

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


Book:  Homicide Special by Miles Corwin

Finished this over the holidays - truly terrific book about Los Angeles through the lens of the elite unit which solves homicides all around the city.

Film:  Amour

Not exactly a film subject - slowly dying from physical ailments - that makes one jump out of the chair and head to the theater.  But what a terrific movie it is.  I've enjoyed Haneke films in the past, but find the critical bubble and excessive praise surrounding his work a bit tedious.  The film is surprisingly emotional and powerful in small moments.  Haneke has a skill with pace as well - a few well timed surprises are able to keep you engaged and worried throughout what would traditionally be pretty plain scenes.  And the film is old school.  It has a strong POV about what love means and the way to conduct yourself in the world.

I watched the movie in the Laemmle Royal Theater on Santa Monica Blvd, which has been renovated into the best indy theater in the city (in my opinion).

And now into a tangent: what are movies?  Last night I got into a brief argument about Bachelorette since a few folks were defending the film.  I called it hateful and the characters detestable.  The response - and the one I've heard bandied about the show Girls - is that the characters "aren't meant to be liked."  People say this as if this is some sort of profound new positioning for entertainment.  Where this logic leads, I can only imagine.  When characters in movies or show behave in detestable ways, I root against them.  In drama, you want to root for your protagonist and against your villain.  Unless your work is tragic or satire.  But even then, you want to root for your character.  In any case, I think movies are supposed to be, in some sense, about how to live.  I think Amour succeeds on this level - it suggests a way of living, of loving, that is better than other ways.  A movie like Bachelorette shows how to live a shitty life with little redemptive quality and is made by unwise, immature, vain people.  Amour is made by a wise master with something to say - and he even goes so far as to enlighten us with what movies are with a bit in the middle of the film - what we remember from the movies are not the stories or even the details, but rather the emotions we felt.  The emotions are what lasts.
Seinfeld Today

And notice how it clarifies the parasitic nature of twitter in general.
Random Other Thought

Did Harbaugh start Kaepernick because he feared Pete Carroll would take the mantle of ballsiest coach for the Russell Wilson decision?
Playoffs?  Did You Say Playoffs?

All I care about is the 49ers.  I'll watch the other games - Seahawks vs. Redskins will be fun, another Peyton-Brady match up will be for the ages, watching AP run for at least one game will be fun, but the only story which truly matters for me is the Niners and going with Kaepernick.

I still disagree with the decision - on both levels - the heart and the head.  I'll try to break it down.

Heart:  Smith earned his starting spot.  There are no two ways about it.  The guy earned it.  He lost two bad games in the Harbaugh era - both against the Giants - who just might be a match up problem for the Niners.  Two games!  What did Kaepernick do?  Look good in one game?  And he gets the job?  Kaepernick didn't earn his position as a starting QB.  He didn't do anything over time.  Smith showed steady improvement and an ability to win.  He won over people (like me) who gave up on him years ago.  He earned a shot at taking this team to glory and it was taken from him by the guy who got him there.

Head:  The Niners can still only win one way:  jumping out to a lead and holding it with our strong defense.  We are not a come from behind team - not with Smith, not with Kaepernick.  We are not built that way.  We are built to physically destruct teams.  We do this by "game management."  We try to put together long, time consuming drives on offense where our superior offensive line wears down the other team.  This keeps our superior defense fresh throughout the game.

Last year, the first half of many Niner games would look ugly.  We'd dominate the game and be ahead 6-0 or 9-0 on several field goals.  Superficially, it seemed like we couldn't convert in the red zone and weren't putting away teams.  In reality, we were controlling the game with possession and putting teams into positions too difficult to score.  We were limiting the other teams offensive possessions.  In a league built around passing attacks, this Niner strategy could throw many teams for a loop and cause offenses to get "out of rhythm."  This strategy was developed even before Harbaugh and actually employed by the Saints when they beat the 15-1 Peyton Manning Colts in the Super Bowl in 2010.

People would not be impressed with Smith for going 10-14 for 95 yards and no touchdowns, as if this was a mark against his big play ability.  What in fact he was doing was chewing up clock, keeping our defense fresh, not turning the ball over, putting up 3 points on the board or pinning the other team inside their own 20.  The results:  13-3.  And I still hold we win the NFC Championship game if we have more than one healthy receiver.  Smith had no one to throw the ball to.

With Kaepernick, we are built differently.  And granted, Akers sucks this year, so our kicking game cannot help us control games like it did last year.  But with Kaepernick, we are better at getting the ball downfield and better at scoring quickly.  But does this help us win games?  It puts more points on the board, but it makes our defense get out there and need to play more snaps.  Evidence:  New England game and the Seattle game.  This tires our defense out and because we don't use many substitutions, makes us vulnerable.  I'm not sure this caused the Justin Smith injury, but we've certainly given up more points of late...and this is logical because we're giving the team the ball more.

But something else is going on that is more concerning.  Our run game.  Our rushing average has gone down since Kaepernick took over.  Why?  Kaepernick was supposed to make our offense more dynamic with his running ability and his "stretching of the field" it should open more running lanes.  But it hasn't.  I'm not sure why, but I think it has to do with not wearing out the defense.  We have too many 3 and outs, more sloppy play, turnovers, etc, and too many quick scores.  Last year, on the long drives, teams could not stop Gore even if they wanted to because their legs and strength were gone.

Here's the thing:  we went with potential over the sure thing.  In many cases, this is the right thing to do.  If you are a rebuilding team looking for the future, you get the guy of the future the reps.  I get it.  But not when you are built to win now and the Niners are built to win now.  Gore is 29.  Justin Smith is 33.  Our secondary is not full of young guys.  Vernon Davis and Patrick Willis are in their primes.  Sure, we have some good young guys - Bowman, Crabtree, Aldon Smith, our offensive line, but it isn't like our future is brighter than our present.  Our time is now.  The division is catching up.  Seattle is the team of the future with Wilson and their cornerbacks and Lynch.  There is no way we are going to get players of the Gore, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, and Vernon Davis quality to replace those guys.  Maybe Harbaugh sees the future and sees Kaepernick as the way to replace the ability to physically dominate teams through superior quarterback play.  Fine.  But let Smith play out this year - like we did with Montana - and see where he can take us.  He earned that much and the Niner fans deserved to see it.  If we can't get over the hump, fine, move on with Kaepernick next year.

Anyway, this is my logic as we head into the playoffs.  I feel no where near as confident this year as last year and last year the Saints, Packers, and Giants were better than any team we may need to face in the playoffs this year - and that includes red hot Seattle.  The Niners, as presently constructed, have taken a step back.