Thursday, February 28, 2013


Anne Hathaway is not your friend.
I recognize that there is an entire publicity industry designed to get us to "like" people whom we essentially pay to see work. 
And perhaps it's fair to judge whether or not that industry has been effective in making you think you know Hathaway in a way that you probably do not. But the fact remains that you don't really know any of these people. Anne Hathaway is an actor. This is not a synonym for "Homecoming Queen" nor "special friend." She does her job better than most. That should be enough.
Indeed, we are so hard on people these days, it's a wonder anyone wants to be in the public eye.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Book:  The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

A Christmas gift, a book about the Arab wars, I thought it would be good.  I decided to stop reading.  It wasn't bad, it just wasn't good.  And I've gotten to the point where I realize there is so much good writing out there, there it just isn't worth the time on the lesser stuff.  Not when I already don't read enough to begin with.
California Teachers Union

Someone needs to take them on.

The common mantra are teachers are important and they should get paid more.  Hogwash.  They get paid adequately for working 9 months out of the year, generally having stability, and the lack of market pressure stress.

Consider the results of shitty public education in California:

1.  Eliminating equality of opportunity.  Everyone knows education - in theory - should be the great equalizer and the primary way for disadvantaged people to rise up out of poverty.  Shit, it might be the only way with a real and lasting impact.

2.  Hurting home prices and living standards.  Anywhere with shitty public schools runs the risk of being ghettoized and/or a two-tiered society.  Los Angeles is ground zero of this.  Communities become the super rich and the people who work for them.  The super rich send their kids to great private schools and the people who work for them send their kids to shitty public schools.  And they live on top of one another.  This is the stuff of Latin America in the 80s.  American democracy, quite simply, will fail if this model persists.

If California fancies itself as being the most progressive state in the Union, the very least we should have is top tier public schools.  This is a stain on our community.
Bob Woodward

Calls Obama not deploying an aircraft carrier because of the sequester a form of madness unseen at a Presidential level.

Of all people, he would know.
Alex Smith

Traded to Chiefs.  I hope they make the playoffs.  I root for the guy.  A good challenge for he and Andy Reid.
Don't Do That, Stef Curry

Warriors-Pacers shoving match.  Stef Curry tries to shove Roy Hibbert.  Not a good idea.  What is Stef Curry 160?  Crazy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Film:  Minnesoda Clay

New Bev screening.  A little messy, felt a bit like a first draft screenplay made into a film.  I still enjoyed it.
Older Entrepreneurs Better Than Young Ones 

From Instapundit.
“I came away from that meeting, and many that followed, convinced that not only were these older entrepreneurs equal to their younger counterparts in passion and commitment, but when it came to interpersonal skills, business experience and networking they were clearly superior. . . . While young entrepreneurs enjoy an obvious edge when it comes to energy, health and irrepressible optimism, much of that advantage is dissipated on endless searches for connections and capital, unrealistic product dead-ends and on-the-job training.”
I'd bet it applies to most jobs, not just entreprenuers.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscar Thoughts

I've come not to expect much from the Oscars and why should we?  It is one of the few events which should be for everyone and hence, somewhat tame and boring.  If it were up to me, I'd try to keep it classy (as opposed to "relevant") only because that's the myth we're trying to buy into with the Oscars - that there is such a thing as excellence and timelessness and those things ought to be celebrated.

For that reason, I will avoid whining about Argo and Life of Pi winning many awards because I did not love the movies.  That said, a few notes:

- Tony Kushner was robbed of best adapted screenplay.  The craft of the screenplay from all the source material and history is simply astounding.  I was happy for the young Argo writer because I'm sure it means something for his career, etc, but in terms of accomplishment, these scripts were in way different leagues.

-Michelle Obama was a real turn off moment for me.  I didn't understand it at all.

-Didn't like the John Wilkes Booth joke.  Ugly.

-Why were we watching musical numbers from Chicago and Dreamgirls?  This made no sense.  They aren't old enough to be classic and not from this year.  Very, very odd.

-I was bummed Buzkashi Boys did not win best short film only because I know Sam French from film school and would have enjoyed his speech.  In fairness, I have not seen any of the short films.

But hey, I hear the ratings are up and the Oscars lives to see another day.  The year was strong for movies and that is a good thing.  Nowadays I'll just happy if the movie biz can continue to truck along.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Film:  Superman, the Richard Donner version

Not enough credit is given to this film for laying the groundwork of what Batman and Marvel are now doing.  People talk about Nolan putting Batman into the real, contemporary world, but the entire 2nd half of the Superman film essentially does the same thing.

Some notable things about the movie, since I hadn't seen the film since I was a kid:

-My god are the beginning scenes on Krypton bad looking.  Even by 1978 standards.  It really makes you remember how remarkable the visual design of the original Star Wars exceeded anything else being done at the time.  I would think TV Star Trek was better designed than Superman.

-Lex Luther is not even mentioned until 1 hour into the movie.  Superman does not meet Luther until almost 2 hours into the movie.


Dwight Howard on candy:
"Am I a big candy person? That's an understatement," he joked. "My pantry is full of candy. Skittles just sent me 30 pounds of Skittles. I have a nightstand full of every candy you could think of. Skittles, blow pops, Laffy Taffy, Reese's Pieces, Kit Kats, all types of candy was in the drawer. They had to clear it out."
He and Lamar Odom should have a Halloween candy eat off at the Staples Center.

Friday, February 22, 2013

More Screenwriting Podcast

I made fun of Craig Mazin in an earlier post, but I really enjoyed him talking about what it was like to get terrible reviews.  Remarkably honest.
America's New Mandarins

McArdle nails the phenomenon.
All elites are good at rationalizing their elite-ness, whether it's meritocracy or "the divine right of kings". The problem is the mandarin elite has some good arguments. They really are very bright and hard-working. It's just that they're also prone to be conformist, risk averse, obedient, and good at echoing the opinions of authority, because that is what this sort of examination system selects for.
In conclusion:
But they are not the only qualities worth having, and the things that mandarins know are not the only things worth knowing. My grandfather had maybe ten books in his house (that weren't written for children), but he could take a failing service station and make it succeed, while I'm pretty sure that I would take a successful gas station and make it fail. He also, I might add, was very successful at actually running a small town (as an alderman) and a charitable institution (the local Rotary). I'm not sure we're better off cutting off the paths to success and power taken by people like him, so that we can funnel it all through a series of academic hoops. I'm not sure we haven't ended up with a class of people who know everything about gas stations except what it takes to make one succeed.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why Are Romantic Comedies So Bad?

The writer has some answers:
Among the most fundamental obligations of romantic comedy is that there must be an obstacle to nuptial bliss for the budding couple to overcome. And, put simply, such obstacles are getting harder and harder to come by. They used to lie thick on the ground: parental disapproval, difference in social class, a promise made to another. But society has spent decades busily uprooting any impediment to the marriage of true minds. Love is increasingly presumed—perhaps in Hollywood most of all—to transcend class, profession, faith, age, race, gender, and (on occasion) marital status.
The 3 Page Challenge

John August, Craig Mazin, and Aline Brosh McKenna critique amateur writers 3 page challenges on their podcast.

Craig often has especially harsh words for the writers, criticizing their lack of voice, their lack of originality, and lack of understanding of the present state of comedy.  And I can't help but think - isn't this the guy who wrote Hangover Part 2 and Identity Thief?

Anyhow, public critique - particularly of amateur work - isn't a pretty sight.  But maybe there is a learning element in there.
I Rather Like This Quote
To admire an artist for his own sake, although certainly a compliment, can also be a way of suggesting that he has no place in the larger scheme of things
But I'm not entirely sure what it means.  I suppose it has something to do with the ideas and the work as separate from the artist-the-person.

In film, I've been searching for alternative theories to explain the filmmaking and film watching experience beyond the auteur theory because I find it very limited and limiting in how we think about movies.  Or at least misused and certainly excessive in many film watching circles.

Here is a dismissive quote from Sarris in one article, that maybe deserves more weight:

"Obviously the auteur theory cannot explain every vagrant charm of the cinema."

But I'm still not behind the simple premise that bad directors will always make bad movies and good directors will always make good movies, or at the very least, movies worth paying attention to.  We end up putting the cart before the horse in order for the theory to hold and ascribe importance to films that may not deserve it and neglecting others which may matter in some ways more.  I just think ideas and stories matter on their own, beyond the force of personalities behind a film, not to mention a certain technical competence that comes from a myriad of forces, some arranged by the director, but others arranged by money and skills of hiring and good luck.
MFK Fisher

A wise woman:

“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.”

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Film:  Skin Game

A Western showing at the New Bev starring James Gardner and Lou Gossett about two con men trying to get ahead in the slave trade.  Basically the idea was to take the Maverick character and pair him up with a young black man and make a racial comedy.  The film was middle of the road.  I enjoyed some bits, but it wasn't laugh out loud.  Certainly had some elements Tarantino took for Django.  Fun to revisit the New Bev.  Don't go there enough. bummer...the print was made for TV and was a pan and scan cut.  Ugly to watch.
Brave New World

VDH makes some points.

To understand the effect of no, or very low, interest, think of the billions of dollars in cash that are silently transferred from those who have saved to those who have no cash. The former receive little or no interest from the banks. The latter take out mortgages or car loans at historically low interest rates.
and this
Does it really make all that much difference whether you are a doctor at 70 who religiously put away $1,000 a month for thirty years, compounded at the old interest, and planned to retire on the interest income, or a cashless state employee with a defined benefit pension plan? The one might have over $1 million in his savings account, but the other a bigger and less risky monthly payout. Suddenly the old adult advice to our children — “Save and put your money in the bank to receive interest” — is what? “Spend it now or borrow as much as you can at cheap interest”?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Jordan at 50

A terrific article on Michael Jordan at outside the lines.  On what Michael Jordan used to do with his dad:
"The thing we'd do," he says, "we'd stay up all night and watch cowboy movies. Westerns." 
Jordan still watches them obsessively, and it's easy to imagine he does it to feel the presence of his father. 
One of his employees joked that she'd rather fly commercial than on Jordan's Gulfstream because a passenger on his plane is subjected to hours of shootouts and showdowns. 
"Name a Western," George says. "He'll tell you the beginning, middle and end." 
"I watch 'em all the time," Jordan says. "I watch Marshal Dillon. I watch all of 'em." 
"I think his favorite Western is my favorite Western," George says. "You and I have three we really like," Jordan says. 
"'Outlaw Josey Wales,'" George says. 
"That's my favorite," Jordan says. 
"Two Mules …," George begins. 
"… for Sister Sara," Jordan finishes. 
"The other one I like is 'Unforgiven,'" George says. 
"My father loved that," Jordan says.
This is why we make movies.
Pat Riley - Gordon Gekko

All the sports radio is talking about these last two days are old Laker stories because of Jerry Buss passing away.  One little detail that slipped out was the inspiration for the Gordon Gekko character being Pat Riley.  Can't believe I never noticed it before.  Perfect.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Leaving Facebook

Americans are leaving in droves.  I like this bit:
It didn't indicate where internet users are going instead of Facebook.
How about living?

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Film:  The Gatekeepers

A documentary about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the POV of six former Shin Bet leaders.  This was the first movie in a long while where I really felt ripped off and wanted my money back.  Terrible film.  No cohesive thread, just a long, rambling, cutting back and forth interviews interspersed with archive footage and reenactment footage.  Can't believe it was nominated for an Oscar.  I don't think I'll be seeing documentary films in the theater any more.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For

Women who outearn their men are less happy.
Using wage and prescription medication data from Denmark, we . . . show that men outearned by their wives are more likely to use erectile dysfunction medication than their male breadwinner counterparts, even when this inequality is small. Breadwinner wives suffer increased insomnia/anxiety medication usage, with similar effects for men. . . . Our results suggest that social norms play important roles in dictating how individuals respond to upward social comparisons.
A rather astute conclusion:
They suggest just as strongly, and to our mind more plausibly, that the traditional marital division of labor is better attuned to the biological differences between the sexes than is its reverse. If that's true, then the continuing march of feminism can be expected to leave many more unhappy women and men in its wake. Happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


I can't accept the "everyone is cheating" and we need to accept it and move on with respect to PEDs in sports.

I want - at the very least - the illusion of fairness.  You wouldn't watch games if they were rigged.  The uneven use/rules related to PEDs and other forms of performance enhancement, are, in a way, rigging the entire sport.

And then on the frightening level, all you need to do is whatManny Pacquiao squirm on the ground after getting KO'd by a juiced Marquez to know why collectively PEDs is a problem.  When an NFL player gets his neck broken on the field by a guy who plays like Ronnie Lott, but is 40 lbs heavier and a couple ticks faster, we're going to regret taking any sort of cynical attitude toward the drug use.

I can get behind things that help recovery time, etc, but there has got to be plenty of knowledge out there about the negative long term effects of certain things and we surely need to figure out a system that everyone understands and can abide by.

Article about how only sitcoms deal with male-female relationships.  Guess the guy doesn't watch Justified.

Cost of Modern Relationships

Someone does an accounting.

Seems like things should be cheaper.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


TV:  The Americans Pilot

I was sort of enjoying this pilot until they used In The Air Tonight and a shot for shot rip off of the iconic sequence at the end of the Miami Vice pilot in the middle of the episode.  Just really bad form.  I don't see how you can do that with a straight face.  Man, I wished they didn't do it, because otherwise this show had the makings of really good TV.  Oh, and with the homage, my mind couldn't help but conjure the image of Crocket and Tubbs banging in the car and this wasn't pleasant for me.

I really like what FX is doing.  Justified, Louie, and The Americans.  Not bad.  Even Archer from the little I watched isn't bad.  I particularly like how FX is trying to be all high and mighty like HBO.

Film:  Play It Again, Sam

A must see in the repertoire of Woody Allen films if for nothing more than it was written, starring, but not directed by him.  And you will know it.  The film is strange and both feels like and unlike an Allen film.  Also, the film takes place in San Francisco and Marin County and was fun for me to watch on that level, too.

Was a test run for Annie Hall.  There are some stand alone hilarious moments, but overall not the most enjoyable or mature of his works.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Film:  Side Effects

Will hold off detailed analysis for podcast, but I enjoyed the film a lot more than I was expecting.

Book:  Food Snob Dictionary

Read in one sitting.

Couples who drink together, stay together.

This makes an odd sort of sense.

Saturday, February 09, 2013


TV:  House of Cards ep 1 and a half

Another show of despicable characters.  Does cable TV think this low of us?  Or more scarily, does cable tv think we think this low of ourselves?  A show about a Machiavellian political couple?  Kevin Spacey pulling a Ferris Bueller and talking to the camera?  Boring.  I'm not sure I'm going to finish this mini-series.  Law and Order SVU is better TV drama.

Another thought:  these new shows are retarding the classic archtypes of tragic figures and anti heroes.  Tragic characters and anti-heroes are imperfect, flawed characters who often do not prevail.  We love them, however, because they flounder between good and bad and usually do battle with worse characters in a dark, unfair world.  In the best cable shows - the Sopranos and The Wire, both "protagonists," Tony Soprano and Jimmy McNulty are flawed anti-heroes, but battle against worse forces within their own families and work place places, respectively.

These new cable shows are strange for the way in which they celebrate the most conniving, evil, "ahead-of-the-game" characters and we are supposed to delight in their wickedness.   I just get bored.  Even their tactics and the stakes feel so small and petty.  Who honestly cares about most of this stuff?  A leaked first draft of a bill?  A column someone wrote in college?  It's just pettiness.  There is nothing large at stake, nothing philosophical.  I felt like back in the day, West Wing addressed issues in a much more emotionally and realistically impactful way.

The first episodes of Girls had the same quality, but set in an ugly hipster world that just felt small and petty to me.  I imagine Dexter is the same -- I mean -- we're really going to take the POV of a serial killer.  Come on.

Friday, February 08, 2013

A Grand, Lovely Eulogy

To 30 Rock.

The show was excellent and will continue to be watched for years, I imagine via Netflix and syndication.
The Final Analysis:  Kaepernick vs. Smith

No one is even still debating Harbaugh's decision to bench Alex Smith in favor of Kaepernick anymore.  Superficially, the decision seems to be a winner - the Niners went further this year than last year and put up more offensive numbers.  Crabtree came out of his shell.  Kaepernick electrified the league.

But consider this:  Alex Smith is going to land somewhere next year and play.  The Niners lost a very winnable Super Bowl game.  Kaepernick looked shaky for large amounts of the game.  And this year loss feels a lot worse than last years NFC Championship loss.

I still think it was a mistake.  I realize this makes me sound crazy, because the Niners were close to the Super Bowl this year, but I think the following statements are true:

1.  Alex Smith was playing better this year than last year.

2.  The defense played worse when Kaepernick played.  One interpretation of this situation - Harbaugh knew the league was figuring out our defense or knew our guys getting tired and injured and knew we needed an offensive upgrade.  Another interpretation - Kaepernick makes more big plays, but also more mistakes that lead to short drives and turnovers - both of which cause the defense to be on the field longer.

3.  Although the Niners got to the Super Bowl this year, they had lucky breaks in both the Green Bay and the Atlanta game.  Green Bay's fumble on the punt return and the defensive play at the very end of the game against Atlanta were key plays that could have easily swung the game the other way.  Likewise, last year, we fumbled away two punt returns and lost to the Giants.  Basically, one could argue all those games came down to luck.

4.  The Super Bowl, on the other hand, really didn't come down to luck.  The Ravens outplayed the Niners even though it was close at the end.  I can't help but think Alex Smith would have led us to an equally close game, whether it was a win or loss.

5.  Crabtree played better when Kaepernick was in the game and we had more big play potential and the threat of the pistol run.  But we had less turnovers, better redzone play, better clock management, longer time of possession, better running yardage when Alex Smith played.  To me, this does not represent a no brain trade off.

6.  Win Loss Record under Harbaugh:  Smith - 19-5 (79%); Kaepernick 7-3 (70%).  I do not count the tie against the Rams because each of them played about 1/2 the game.  This number is tricky for a variety of reasons:  strength of schedule and strength of team over time and small sample size.  But the numbers should indicate, at the very least, a non-no-brainer.

In conclusion, I still believe this was Alex Smith's year.  He had earned the right to try and lead the Niners to victory.  If he succeeded, great.  If not, we have the Kaepernick option for the future.  Now, we are committed to the Kaepernick option.  He is a good, exciting young player.  But we do not know what the future holds.
Strange Case

Dorner, the ex-cop on a killing rampage, seems very strange indeed.

Although we are all familiar with the story about the serial killer neighbor "seeming normal" while he was keeping heads in the fridge, this case is a little more odd.  The Dorner guy does literally seem like a normal guy in the descriptions of him.  I suppose we could find out later he did some weird stuff in his past, but even the incident he was fired over seemed relatively small potatoes and no indicator of going batshit insane.  And unlike many spree shooters, whose prior actions scream out "ticking time bomb," this guy does not.

His manifesto, if you take out the references to murder, sounds like a typical centrist internet manifesto of political and artistic views.  Not really bizarre or outside the mainstream.  Maybe he is the first centrist madman.

On Forbes, there was an appropriate quotation for this story:
“ Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important...they do not mean to do harm...they are absorbed in their endless struggle to think well of themselves. ” — T.S. Eliot

Thursday, February 07, 2013


Book:  Lush Life

Finished the book.  Pretty good read.  Not amazing, but just a small contemporary story, a good old fashioned yarn that captures the way we live today.  Everyone says good stuff about Price dialog, so I'll try to refrain from pouring on the cliche, which wasn't quite as "amazing" as people give him credit for.

I want to drive here:  HWY 33.

This is totally insane.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013


I'm planning to write a final analysis of the Kaepernick decision, but I haven't had the time (and I'll need it).  But I caught this little news today: the Giants released Ahmad Bradshaw.  The guy is 26 years old with a history of injury problems.  As you see in the article, he is noted for being one of the toughest guys on the team and one who always played through injuries.

I hated playing Bradshaw.  I thought he was a really good running back and always very effective against the 49ers.  But this is how toughness and skill can be rewarded in the NFL - cast out on your ass.  It's the economics of the game, and I get it, but it nonetheless makes me feel a sense of tragedy about the way the world operates - how it can punish people who do things the right way and reward those who do foolish things just by virtue of luck and timing.  It isn't fair, is all I mean to say.  And it comes as no surprise, but I think this matters that we understand the world in this way - as an essentially tragic place - because it matters in how we conceive of public policy.  The opposite of a tragic viewpoint is a utopian one and I think this is very dangerous and stupid.  It gets us into situations where we justify all sorts of decision making because "that's the way it should be" as opposed to seeing the world for what it is.  This is rather theoretical, but as we begin to pay for Obamacare and witness our unemployment stagnate at a too high rate while the government acts as daddy deep pockets to companies who get into trouble, you begin to see how utopian visions of the world are problematic.

In any case, here's to Bradshaw.  A baller even though I hate his team.  I'm sure someone will sign him.
Welcome To The Post-Modern

Paul Schrader's The Canyons in the media, yet again.  He makes an interesting point:

What we came to realize is that people go to Sundance to get a profile, and we already had a profile. What we want to do is capitalize on that, and not blow it by showing the film and then not be able to take advantage.

Maybe this will be the first movie where the movie doesn't matter at all. It'll just be the hype, the stories on set, the crazy people getting mad and offended and upset by each other, the media, the film festivals, twitter, big Hollywood, the porn community, and any and all of the above. I suppose some people will find this brave new world a good thing. I don't.
So This Is Really Just a Tax, Right?

The projected cost of Obamacare will go up by 190% for younger males (age 27).  The bare bones premium will go up from $2000 to $5000 per year.

There was a time period when I was on this exact type of insurance between quitting my day job and getting into the WGA.  I remember it being a really big bill, especially when you add it to the other costs of living - rent, utilities, car insurance, etc.  And this, while not a lucrative time in one's life, nor hopefully long, it can be hugely important in terms of establishing oneself professionally.  No one should underestimate this aspect -- for young men trying to establish themselves, they need to be able to take calculated risks.  The consequences are huge.  Those who are able to jump start careers will make families, buy houses, become leaders in the community, and pay large amounts of taxes.  Those who don't are more likely to become deadbeat dads, dependent on the government in some way in the future, and not useful to society.

Forcing these guys to pay an extra $3000 per year for the same coverage is a lot to ask.  Most won't be able to afford it -- and they'll be more likely to stick in dead end jobs to keep the coverage.  Even the better off ones who can borrow from family or tap into savings to pay for it will not be well off because the very nature of living in this state of professional risk requires not knowing how long you will be in it.  Maybe insurance costs at this level for 1 year is tolerable.  But for 3?  5?  Not a good option.

Maybe in the long run, Obamacare will cause premiums and healthcare costs to go down.  Maybe they'll go down on their own.  Or maybe it'll end up just causing more paperwork and a shuffling of costs to productive segments of the healthcare pool and giving more goodies to the less advantaged.  I suppose that is always an option with any of this stuff and can always be justified by the same logic -- they need it more.  I just hope we don't run out of people to pay for these things.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


Kaepernick won't take a break.

I don't know if this is a good or bad idea.  Usually, I'm a fan of breaks, but Kap has a lot to learn and is a young guy.

I hope Justin Smith takes a long break and has another 2 seasons in him.
Brian Eno on Politics

What worries him:
"Most of the smart people I know want nothing to do with politics. We avoid it like the plague—like Edge avoids it, in fact. ...We expect other people to do it for us, and grumble when they get it wrong. We feel that our responsibility stops at the ballot box, if we even get that far. After that we're as laissez-faire as we can get away with. ... What worries me is that while we're laissez-ing, someone else is faire-ing."
Why would a smart person want to get involved with politics?  It is ugly and nasty.  And it strikes me at the high levels we get ambitious and cunning people.  These traits are smart, in a way, but they aren't the same as wise or patient or fair, ie the values I'd like to see more of.
High Taxes

Michelson complains about high taxes.

They've gone up this year - a lot - if you pay them and pay attention.

Film:  John Dies At The End

Disappointing movie after hearing great word of mouth.  Why didn't people mention it with the caveat that it's really nerdy?  I haven't seen the Phantasm films or anything, so I didn't know anything about the filmmaker other than he's been around awhile.  What is this genre?  I suppose the best examples are the old Sam Raimi Evil Dead movies, but there are a lot of these kind of budget horror / nerd-hero goth, punk, kind of aesthetic.  I feel like there is a group of kids at every high school who loves this kind of stuff.  There are a strange set of values in this film and others like it.  On the one hand, they are kind of smart, with a complex grasp of weird theoretical physics, religion, occult, and even literature, history, and science.  On the other hand, they are an infantile representation of human relationships, in particular the nature of men and women and seem almost virgin-ish.

Part of me wants to lump these kind of movies into comic book stuff, but I think there is something different going on.  It is some kind of blend between comic book, horror, and satire.  The Crank movies are almost in this vein, but for action films.  I'd say the 2nd Evil Dead and Crank are my favorite of whatever genre this is called.

Monday, February 04, 2013


I liked the company as a DVD rental business.  Now, it is trying to become HBO on the internet, and that seems tough.  Especially with all the competition:  Showtime, HBO, FX, AMC, and even NBC to some degree.  They must compete with all these other outlets who have been doing it for longer.  What advantage does Netflix have?  I suppose the streaming technology -- but is that really much of an advantage?  I just don't see their edge anywhere.  Nor do I see "high quality" TV as a particularly underrepresented product.  What makes Netflix think they can produce better shows than the other channels?
The Bad Calls

I suppose the Niners got away with a penalty last week when Bowman didn't get called on the last play of the game for the Falcons, but the Niners did suffer from bad calls not going their way at the end of the game - the PI on Culliver extending the drive was a could go either way; as I suppose was the hold on Crabtree.  Both went against the Niners.

Also, the hold on the punt and Ed Reed jumping offsides on the 2 point conversion were two other big non-Raven calls.

We're all taught not to complain about the refs, but I dunno about this whole idea that the game was well refereed.
Interesting Logic

Why Amazaon is special and Apple is not.

In general, this is a solid argument for taking the long, hard road.
Notice How They Slide This In on Super Bowl Sunday

Today on Meet the Press, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta admitted that information gleaned from waterboarded detainees was used to track down al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and kill him.

So what does that make Feinstein's efforts to drag Katheryn Bigelow in front of Congress? The Feinstein Hearings? What does that make Oscar voters who refused to endorse the movie on political grounds? Frauds? Fools? Liars?

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Super Bowl Meltdown

How do you not show up for the Super Bowl?

I know, the Niners made it a game, but they really only played 1 good quarter all game.

This Niner team was incredibly frustrating to watch play all year.  They are super confident and talented, but play sloppy and make stupid mistakes.  On days and at moments, they look like world beaters.  At other times, complete chumps.  The Super Bowl was a microcosm of this dichotomy.

The mistakes:

1.  Penalties.  Too many in critical situations.  First play of the game, negating a 20 yard catch.  A couple on 3rd Down to give Baltimore 1st downs.

2.  The Kick Return.  The guy was only touched by one Niner on the play.  They covered all the other kicks well.  It seemed like a mental letdown - but how do you have a mental letdown coming out of halftime?  Bruce Miller got held on the play, but still, there are 11 guys.

3.  The interception.  Sloppy.  The fumble was annoying, but that can happen.  Plus, the Ray Rice fumble basically evened it out.

4.  The play calling.  Overly complicated, in general.  Really bad from 1st and 5 with the game on the line.  What were with the roll out plays?  Why would you do that with Kaepernick?  You do roll out plays when your QB is in danger of being sacked.  How many times did Baltimore sack Kaepernick all day?  Once?  If you spread the field and they blitz, chances are Kaepernick could run right up the middle.  Also, we never ran those plays all year with Kaep and he doesn't know how to throw it.  Just horrible play calling.  Not to mention the Ravens were missing Ngata at this point.  Run at the replacement guy for crissake!

5.  Time outs.  Not getting plays in has been an issue since Kaepernick took over.  They used two time outs needlessly before actually needing them to get the ball back with time.

6.  Pass defense.  Some catches and plays were unavoidable, but generally speaking, they made it too easy for Joe Flacco to look awesome.  This is our number one priority for next year to upgrade.

7.  Aldon Smith.  It would be nice for this guy to make a play given that he was in consideration for defensive player of the year at one point.  He made zero sacks in his last 5 games.

Watching the game, it seemed like the Niners were the better team.  You'd guess the Niners would win 8 out of 10 match ups.  But it doesn't matter.  The Niners were sloppy and cocky and arrogant.  And we lost because of it.  Really shameful - not because we lost - but the way we lost.  We got outclassed by an inferior team.  We got out prepared by the coaching staffs -- that is twice the Ravens have gotten the better of Harbaugh.  The Ravens and the Rams are the two coaching match ups we always lose.  I suppose that can happen, but it's disappointing to happen in the Super Bowl.

Also, I know this is annoying, but I definitely think the officials missed several calls against the Ravens.  3 big holding calls went totally uncalled.  On the kick return, I think Miller got held.  On the last offensive play, Crabtree was held.  Maybe the ball was uncatchable, but the guy grabbed him.  On the punt, I think Miller was held again as he was trying to sack the punter and this allowed time to come off the clock.

But ultimately, these games never really come down to the refs (except the GoldenTateGate), and the Niner defense couldn't muster another stuff when we needed one (at 31-29) and the Niner offense couldn't put the ball in the end zone from the 5, even with all the the other BS.

This game will always be remembered where the Niners got beat by an inferior team.  Oh well, good think it's only football.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Law School

Applications down 20% in one year and 38% since 2010.  Yowza.  I suppose people are catching on that the world doesn't need any more bad/unhappy lawyers (it can always use good ones).  Buyers beware:

The upshot of all this is that unless you're graduating from a truly top program -- and then, only if you graduate reasonably high in your class -- going to law school has turned into professional Russian Roulette. If it works out, you survive to pay off a truly enormous debt burden. If you don't make it on the job market, you've just spent three valuable years of your life sweating through deadening lectures and high-stakes finals for nothing, probably consigning yourself to a quarter-century loan payments the process.

Boy...this sounds lousy. People should only go to law school if they really love the study and/or practice of law. Both is even more preferable.

Friday, February 01, 2013

$20,000 Per Year

The minimum cost per family under Obamacare.
Super Bowl

Dumb to make predictions, but my gut says the game comes down to 3 things:

1.  Niners run attack
2.  Baltimore's deep passes
3.  Minimizing mistakes

Whichever team wins 2 of 3 wins the game.  That is to say, if the Niners dominate the run - 200 yards or more - they win that battle.  If Baltimore has success on deep throws - they win that battle.  And whoever dominates the turnovers/big special team plays/freaky stuff - that is what the game will come down to.

Go Niners.