Friday, May 31, 2013

Game 5

DJ Augustin does not belong on the court at this time of year.  And holy shit - LaBron in the 3rd quarter.  I've never seen anything quite like it.  I basically thought Indiana was the better team until LaBron just went nuts and the game was over in like a 5 minute stretch.  It was almost depressing.  I literally fast forwarded through most of the 4th quarter because the game was just over.

I can't believe how much trouble Indiana has just dribbling the ball and making entry passes to the post.   These are like the most basic things in basketball.

Americans are still only half as wealthy as we were before the recession.

I still think a substantial portion of pre-recession wealth was "wealth," ie unsustainable fake worth tied up in frothy housing prices in shitty living areas.  But still.  I suppose it was one of the unintended perks of going to grad school -- I had no money going into the recession -- and thus, no money to lose.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jalen Rose Advice To Young NBA Players

In a BS Report podcast, Jalen Rose advises young NBA players to model their games/careers on role players versus superstars.  He says there are only a handful of superstars, but young NBA guys can develop skills to become important role players and have great careers.  He didn't go into too much detail, but I took it mean, rather than trying to become the next LaBron - which no one will - try to be the best at a certain niche skill - like lockdown defense, or 3-point shooting, or post-up scoring.  Watching these playoffs, it totally makes sense.  Seeing guys like Kawhi Leonard, George Hill, Roy Hibbert, Udonis Haslem, always makes me appreciate the NBA role player and the difference they make on good teams.

I started thinking about it in the realm of filmmaking and career as well.  I've never quite framed the thought in this way before, but it makes sense from a filmmaking perspective to become highly skilled at a specific niche versus trying to be the next PTA or Quentin Tarantino.  Everyone strives to be an auteur, but this strikes me as akin to every NBA player trying to be LaBron.  As an outsider, it seems like an absurd pursuit.

It strikes me as a more reasonable goal for young filmmakers to pick a specialty based upon what the world needs:  maybe you will define yourself as an innovative writer like Charlie Kaufman, a special effects whiz like James Cameron, a tasteful producer in the mold of Scott Rudin, or a joke writer for sitcoms, a comedic music video guy, a low budget horror filmmaker.
Work-Life Balance

Men don't talk about the work-life balance.  They just do it.  It's called being an adult.
1 in 285,000

An academic does the math and doesn't think his odds of meeting someone are very good on a given night in London.

Then again, it seems like most people find someone at some point in their lives, so there must be something faulty in his math.

The two keys, if you ask me:  lower your standards and/or improve yourself.  If you're lucky, you'll only have to do one or the other.
Middle Class Woes

Even in an unlikely area:  quarterbacks.
I'm Just An Average, Everyday, Normal Guy

Jon Lajoie asks people to donate to his kickstarter so he can be rich.

I suppose if you ask me whether I'm in favor of Zach Braff, etc, like people raising money on kickstarter, of course I'm going to say No.  I won't donate and I think people who do donate should be mocked.  They deserve it.

On a legal and social level - of course - do whatever you want with your money.  You can go dump it in slot machines or buy lotto tickets or buy real estate on the moon if you want.  But please, please, please do not ask me to praise this as some sort of new-world, power-to-the-people, social-media-futurist bullshit.  Do not expect me to believe this is something awesome and we, as a society, should get excited about it.  It's asking for charity.  And therefore, it is yuckier when people like Zach Braff do it than say, a film school student.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ratios and Housing Bubbles

On how Houston avoided the housing bubble and is thriving post-Great Recession.
Houston avoided over-building problems in this recession by tightening lending and home construction in the early years of the crisis. Houston didn't really have a housing bubble in the 2000s. The ratio between its median house prices and median household incomes peaked at 2.7 in 2006. By comparison, a typical Miami family would have to spend five-and-a-half years of their total income to afford an average home in the city by 2006. In Riverside, it would take nearly seven years. So as housing values cascading all across along the Sun Belt -- by 40 percent percent in Miami and 44 percent in Riverside -- they merely dipped about 2 percent in Houston.
The big key to me is ratios.  Median house price is 2.7x median income.  See, that makes sense.  You make 100,000 a year, the house you buy/own should cost about 270,000.  One glance at SoCal real estate and you quickly realize how much money you need to make to have a reasonable mortgage.  If you get much higher, you're devoting an incredible amount of your income to mortgage, or put yourself in a very vulnerable position to fluctuating prices.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Doesn't Surprise Me

Seattle Seahawks lead the league in PED suspensions.  Those maniacs play liked a bunch of roided up monsters against the Niners the last couple years.  You'll notice of all the teams on the list with zero suspensions over the past three years, the only good one is the SF Forty Niners.  My guess is the Seahawks were tired of getting worked by the Niners and turned to the PEDs.

ps - Jim Harbaugh, if you are reading this, I have developed a game plan to stop Russell Wilson.  If you want to get in touch, please email me directly.
Culture and Economy

A really interesting blogpost.  I may start reading this guy.

Says "the pill masculinized women" and "leveling the sexes is idiotic."

He will not be listened to, but the man is a genius.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Easier to Look Good When the Economy is Bouncing Back

A nice profile of Jerry Brown in the Atlantic.  I think it's easier for Brown to look good when the economy is doing well...or at least...high income earners are doing well because that's where all the tax revenue in CA comes from.  Still, I like this quote:
The truth is that a reliance on rules and a mistrust of mere politicians have come close to ruining public life in California. “When given a choice between human judgments and formulas, we’ve always chosen the formulas,” Joe Mathews says. He is critical of Brown in many ways, and yet he says, “I would rather let the Jerry Browns of the world make decisions for me than some crazy set of rules someone thought would help.”
Yes, the system in California is screwed up.  Anyone who votes knows it.  Do you read those propositions?  Do you feel qualified to make those decisions?

In a total side note:  when the money is flowing, so long as you are not a total idiot, most decisions you make are reasonable.  Vacation?  Needed to recharge the batteries.  Car repair?  Spend to save in the future.  New clothes?  Help your image at work.  Savings/investments?  Easy to save more than 15% of the income.  But when the money is not flowing, no decision is without stress.  Vacation?  Can't afford it.  Car repair?  Is it worth it?  New clothes?  Waste of money could be spending elsewhere.  Savings/investment?  Nearly impossible.  I figure the same applies on a public scale.


Food:  Diner 371

In Anza, CA, which is horse country, south of Idyllwild and north of Temecula.  A damn fine breakfast burrito in an unlikely spot.

Film:  Austin Powers, the original

A great deal of fun.

Activity:  Riding horses.  Playing Yahtzee.

Prefer either of these to Facebooking or Internet dating any day.
Wanting To Be Liked

A 14-year old on her facebook habits.

I don't fear becoming obsolete because I don't use Facebook.  I fear the western world reverting to the social norms of middle school.

Money quote:
"If I'm not watching TV, I'm on my phone. If I'm not on my phone, I'm on my computer. If I'm not doing any of those things, what am I supposed to do?" Casey says.
We make our own culture.  All the advocates of Facebook and Social Media are turning us into 14-year old girls.  No wonder the economy is in the tank and people are anxious and miserable.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Restaurant:  Yang Chow

I've been craving a good white-person Chinese spot.  I'm a fan of Kung Pao chicken and rice and these kind of dishes.  Yang Chow gets good reviews.  Wow.  Disappointing.  Henry Hunan in San Fran blows this place out of the water.

NBA:  Loving the Pacers-Heat series.  Pacers have a dynamite trio in West, George, and Hibbert.  Too bad their guards cannot handle the ball.  Really pathetic.  But they aren't scared of Miami.

Random other crap:  Is it just me or does all this tinkering with email programs and other computer software stuff just make it harder to use?  Who is coming up with all these unnecessary fixes?  Don't these genius programmers have anything else to do?

Refn and Gosling booed in Cannes.

I must go to Cannes one day.  They view movies differently than everywhere else.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fan Fiction

Amazon building a market for fan fiction.

I've never thought much about fan fiction, but it made me realize what JJ Abrams and his crew, Marvel, and all these comic-book movies are making:  fan fiction.  Fan fiction has this lower-status amongst literature, but in essence, has taken over the movie business.

Strange days.

The actual result of Obamacare will be this:
Of course, we all know the real reason for this. it’s meant to force healthy young people to subsidize healthcare for older sicker people. Just force them to pay more for insurance than they ought to, and force them to buy more extensive coverage than is rational.
Not sure if this is unintended consequence or just the choice we made.  Insurance and medical stuff costs too much for old people to afford and someone has to pick up the slack.  Who else but the young?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Headline: Father who set up video to capture 'paranormal' activity accidentally films his girlfriend having sex with his teenage son instead.
Good For Intel

Funding a rebellion around data and returning power to people rather than the data aggregators (like Facebook and Google).

Cynics will argue Intel is trying to undermine competitors - ie software vs. hardware - as in where the money will be in the future.  Fine with me.  I hate how Facebook claims ownership of your data and then uses that info as a pyramid scheme to rip off investors.

Heard about a case on the radio the other day where Facebook was using some kid's picture in an advertisement and the mother sued the company because Facebook didn't get permission or pay the kid for the image.  Facebook tried to settle the case for $20 million by giving the Plaintiff's lawyers $10 million and donating $10 million to charity.  What?  Are they insane?  First off, they shouldn't be using children's data without parental permission.  Second off, they shouldn't be using anyone's image for profit without paying for it.  But this gets at the entire crux of what I hate about Facebook.  It seizes your information, your pictures, your comments, your friendship networks -- claims ownership of the information -- and then tries to leverage it into profit for members of the company and investors.  They would argue they are providing a service to the users.  If that were the case, they should charge the users to be part of the network and see how many people pay for it.  Nada.  It is scam game.  The buyer and seller are not making any sort of "real" exchange.

Facebook and their investors are hoping for some type of happy accident in the future where they can figure out a business model to turn it into a profit-generating company.  My bet is it involves claiming people's data and selling it to marketers and advertisers.  This deal people are entering with Facebook are like the Indians selling Manhattan for beads and bread.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Film:  House of Games

Mamet is a better writer than director.  "You came back for more like a dog eating his own vomit."  Damn.

This is a good little movie.

Film:  Star Trek Into Darkness

It seems like people are loving this movie.  Maybe I wasn't in a great mood or something, but my overall reaction is just -- eh.  They keep the action going and I suppose it fulfills the obligation of entertainment, but I dunno, I feel like I'm going to forget this movie in a week.  I didn't feel an emotion throughout the entire movie.  Reminds me of The Avengers in that way.  And the movies they borrow from were so recognizable - there were scenes ripped straight Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Godfather 3, A Few Good Men - not to mention prior Star Treks.  Am I the only one who feels this is sort of lame and unoriginal?

I guess this is just what movies are today.  They're designed to be worshiped.  And so you either get these situations where it succeeds and everyone has to get on board and worship it together (and those who disagree are viewed suspiciously) or the film doesn't succeed and you get this unthinking hatred that can only occur with outsized expectations.  Strange days.

Monday, May 20, 2013


TV:  Game of Thrones, S 3, Ep 8

I rather enjoyed this episode.  More streamlined, focusing on only a few storylines.  Quieter.  Funnier.  Particularly enjoyed the long wedding scenes where everyone is miserable.  An interesting analysis of the Cersai character in this discussion.
The show has tried to make Cersei a little more subtle and sympathetic than the books, but it's kept her fatal flaw: She can't see the difference between rivals and enemies, and can't recognize that it's as important to manage the former as it is to cow and crush the latter.
Very clear and interesting point.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Life Is Unfair

An analysis of who becomes good in the NBA and why situations matter.  All true.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


TV:  Gravity Falls

One of the best cartoon, kid-programming shows I've seen in a long while.  Premise:  a brother and sister pair of twins move in with their goofy uncle who runs a tourist-trap mystery cabin in spooky Gravity Falls, Oregon.  The small, rural town has mysterious woods nearby and all sorts of creepy local legends.  They brother and sister get into adventures with supernatural and fantastical characters and no one ever believes them.

Part Scooby-Doo, part X-Files, with a wacky, rapid-fire sense of humor.  Surprisingly intelligent.  In particular, the bad-guys sort of make the show each episode because they are generally set up with colorful personalities and ulterior motives and are well flushed out.  I much prefer this to anything Pixar has ever done.

And...if anyone wonders what the hell Linda Cardellini has been doing, she voices one of the side characters.

Restaurant:  Pizzeria Mozza

The pizza is terrific, but a bit overpriced.  Everything else, in my opinion, is extraordinarily overpriced.  I actually am not really a fan of this restaurant, especially given all the acclaim.  There are preferable Italian joints in the neighborhood.  Osteria La Buca, Osteria Mama, and Franco are all just about the same quality and don't carry the pretension, the over-crowded-ness, or the price tag.  Superficially, the menu prices aren't terrible, but they charge you for little add-on stuff, the plates are small, and the bill ends up being rather costly in the end.  I've never been to the Osteria, but I imagine it's worse.
Call Me Crazy

This isn't exactly what I meant when I said Facebook was dehumanizing, but still...
10% OF FACEBOOK’S USERS ARE NOT HUMAN-INCLUDING MARK ZUCKERBERG’S DOG, BEAST, WHO HAS 1.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS: Dogs, cats, horses, toasters: You name it, it has a Facebook page. Facebook now has one billion users – but ten per cent of them are not human, according to new research.At least 100 million of Facebook’s ‘monthly active users’ are pets, brands and companies – and even Facebook founder Mark Zuckeberg’s dog Beast has a page. According to e-Marketer, an internet market research company, only 889.3 million of the one billion users are real people.
Should mean something.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Good Advice

How to plan your life, when you can't plan your life.

When I think back upon basically every job I've ever had, at some point, just a few years prior, I had no idea that that job existed.  At least, in the specifics...

The only thing that is predictable is school.  And perhaps that is one of the flaws of school in general - the predictability of it - because life does not follow predictable rhythms.  Many people complain about college and grad school inadequately preparing students for the "real world," but the issue might be more fundamental - school simpy can't prepare one for the real world.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thoughts on Webseries

Went to El Cid last night to view webisodes.  Paid $8, watched a couple.  A thoughts on all this new stuff...the internet, webisodes, Amazon, Netflix, yada, yada...

On webseries - basically, these are an experimental area for comedy.  A companion to the stand-up circuit.  Dramas do not play well on micro budget, but comedies don't inherently suffer.  Downside of webseries is the same as the stand-up circuit, you gotta wade through a lot of crap to find the good stuff.

On Amazon and Netflix, etc making TV shows - I don't understand why people are excited about this development.  It's just tv.  It's different players getting involved with the tv landscape.  Can they make and select better shows that the networks and cable channels?  Maybe, but I wouldn't bet on it.  Just judging by Amazon using this voting tactic to select shows and to make movies -- I can't think of a worse way to make original, interesting, lasting content.

Regarding House of Cards, I wasn't a fan of the show, but it was regarded well critically.  But Netflix paid through the nose to get a prestige show.  Big deal.  Anyone can overspend and hire A-list people.  We'll see if it lasts. a content creator it certainly is a better time than 8 years ago when the reality landscape seemed to be taking over TV.  Now TV is back and the web is turning itself more and more into TV.

Armond White doesn't like Frances Ha.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Internet Destroyed the Middle Class

Fantastic interview.  Very true stuff.  Hat tip, Viner.

This all goes back to Napster.  This is what happens when you let college students decide how the world should be.  College students embraced Napster and stole all the music they wanted, justifying it with digital utopian fantasies like "information wants to be free."  Well, the music industry died.  Newspapers came next.  Movies are following.  And stupid, young people think, well, it's the corporations that die and the musicians, filmmakers, and journalists will live on.  Really?  That's just bullshit justification for taking music for free.  But the implications to society are much more.

Monday, May 13, 2013

We Can Play That Game As Well

VDH on why we shouldn't get involved with Syria.

Look, the US can very easily stand by on the side during Middle East instability or throw our weight around just a little bit here and there.  We can play the warring factions and tribal game.  We tried not to with Iraq because the game sucks and leaves everyone involved worse off for the most part.  But we tried it the other way - tried to bring civilized government and institutions to a country and it didn't take.  It cost us and everyone hated us for it to boot.  So yes, we can play this game like everyone else.  The people in the region suffer, not us.
Maybe I Will Join Facebook

An oldie, but a goodie.

Love this Memphis team.  They would be the most interesting match up with Miami in the finals.  Tony Allen is a defensive savant.  Offensively, he is borderline retarded.  I think the guy sees the game differently from all the other players on the floor.  This is why he is such a disruption.  You see him jumping into strange positions on defense they totally throws the other team out of rhythm.  The problem with his game - on offense he does the same thing.  He throws passes his teammates aren't ready for.  He can't make layups.  He can't shoot.  Very fun player to watch.  How awesome would it be to watch him guard LaBron?  Or Wade?  I can see him just taking Wade completely out of the game.

Film:  Iron Man 3

Better than most of these kind of movies, but still one of these kind of movies.  If you like Robert Downey Jr, there is plenty of good stuff for him to do in the film.  The dialog scenes were the best parts.  The action is beyond retarded.  Can't stand this computer stuff that totally loses proportion with the physics of the actual world.  Nothing feels scary or tangible.  Ben Kingsley does a fun turn.

Amazing these Marvel movies -- they make so much money -- and I just find them utterly disposable.  They are the equivalent of bathroom reading material and they make billions of dollars.  Strange world we live in today.

Food:  Tsujita Artisan Noodle

If you like ramen, this place is a game changer.  They serve a style that is popular in Tokyo where you get noodles on the side and dip them in the ramen-sauce and eat.  The soup is very thick, like in-between broth and bolognese texture.  Heavy.  You dip and eat all the noodles, then they pour hot water in the leftover ramen soup and you drink it.  Served w/ japanese style bbq pork.  Man, delicious.  Only served at lunchtime.  Place is tiny and always packed.  The time to go is between 2pm-3pm on a weekday when the lunch rush is over.  The place closes at 3pm and then changes into a dinner restaurant.

TV:  Game of Thrones S. 3 Ep 6

I sure hope they're building to something excellent this season because some of these scenes are pushing my patience.  They've really lost a center of the show this season by choosing to do a true ensemble.  There are so many story lines we are unable to become invested in:  Theon, Bran, Stannis, each of these bits are so minuscule and in the case of Theon, repetitive and boring, I can't see how they're going to payoff anytime soon.
Small Ball

Elizabeth Warren wants student loans to be at a lower rate.

Uh...who cares?  Haggling over interest rates isn't the issue with college cost.  Skyrocketing prices is the issue.  Lowering interest rates on student loans will only make push principal costs up in the long run and do nothing for students at large.  What a gigantic waste of time.  It's like focusing on dental problems when you have skin cancer.

Corporate Control of Things

You can't think of many successful movies not made by corporations anymore.  Tarantino is one of the only holdouts, but even he cannot escape the grasp of the money/power.

The Chinese simply recut his film and there's nothing anyone can or wants to do about it.  If you think this type of thing is going away, you're wrong.  The Chinese don't give a shit about artistic freedom or free speech or anything we take for granted.  Read one article about how China operates and you'll understand.  The Communists rule the country with a velvet glove.  They are nepotistic and utterly corrupt.  They'll stymie individual voices and steal intellectual property and resell it to line the pockets of the connected in the Party.  And we do business with them because of the money.  The people who run our country and the business world sell out the most basic and wonderful things about American culture for peanuts.  They sell it for second homes and a comfy retirement and cannibalize industries that they simply inherited and didn't even build.  Terrible.

Film:  The Great Gatsby

Didn't see it in 3-D although there were some obvious moments in the beginning designed for the 3-D experience that were simply awkward in 2-D.  Don't know what this means for the way movies are made and watched going forward.  I wished I saw those bits in 3-D, but doubt I would have enjoyed the film any more having seen it in 3-D.

Obviously an underwhelming movie.  The story just doesn't lend itself to a movie plot.  There is nothing to the story.  The only parts of the film with any energy are the spectacle set pieces in the beginning.

There isn't a tremendous amount to say about the film, but I want to talk about Leo.  He didn't work.  I don't know if it is the state of movie stars or what, but the charisma or the glamour or whatever you want to call it, simply wasn't there.  Maybe the contemporary audience just doesn't buy into movie stars anymore.  Maybe Leo has lost it a little bit.  But he doesn't become Gatsby.  He doesn't exude "that thing."

The movie star thing bums me out.  Did the business ruin movie stars?  Did the agents seek too much money and cause the studios to turn their back on the stars in favor of properties?  Did the studios stop developing stars because they lost leverage?  Did the audience stop caring about movie stars?  Whatever happened, it's bad for the movies.

On the brutality and corrupt corporate gloss.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Crazy Stat

Listening to a podcast on the way over and learned in the 2nd half of the NBA season, Steph Curry shot 46% from three-point range.  That percentage is especially amazing considering the following:

1. He took nearly 9 three-pointers a game during that span.
2.  He set the record for made 3's, so this is a statistically significant percentage.
3.  He is known as a 3 point shooter and defenses try to stop his 3's.  This puts more value on his 3's than say, Bruce Bowen getting open looks and hitting from the corner because defenses were geared to stop Duncan.

So then I got thinking...what is the value of a 46% FG percentage from 3 land.  Math:

Over 100 shots:

46% from 2 point land = 92 total points
46% from 3 point land = 138 total points

To score 138 points over 100 shots shooting mostly 2-pointers would require a 69% FG percentage...a basically unheard of percentage for a jump shooter or guard...and can only be accomplished by guys who only dunk the ball or put back offensive rebounds, ie Tyson Chandler or DeAndre Jordan.

Curry is making me - and the NBA - rethink what is offensive value and effectiveness.

If this guy played one-on-one with LaBron with 3-pointers, don't you think he wins?  He couldn't stop LaBron, but LaBron couldn't stop him either and he'd make more 3's.

Film:  Mud

Decent film, but nothing special.  Not a weeknight movie.  More of a weekend matinee to be watched when there is nothing else out there.  Another movie that made me feel depressed about movies through no fault of it's own.  On the one hand, it's a pretty good little movie and impressive for a young filmmaker.  On the other hand, the movie just isn't good enough to get really excited over.  And it's frustrating for me to think that only inspired movies should be paid attention to.  To me, average movies should be worth paying attention to.  In fact, they have to be, or we'll have no movies at all.  By definition, it is impossible to make only exceptional movies.

But craft-wise - writing wise - storytelling wise - the film drags big time.  Minor details don't make sense and only serve to put our main character in the situations our filmmakers wants him to be in, as opposed to an organic unfolding.  The theme is hammered over the head inelegantly many too many times.  And how many "I love you's" or "I love her/him's" should be allowed in a movie?  One?  Maybe two?  This movie had about 15.  Actually, just in saying writing that, makes me think even less of film.

Beasts of the Southern Wild was much more impressive.  I want to go back and re-watch George Washington at some point as well.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


The era of catastrophic success.

A lot of basic assumptions about how-we-live-life are changing as a result of rapid technological changes.  These changes impact the workplace, but the workplace has in many ways become the centerpiece of American life and even the foundation upon which the family exists or continues to exist.  The workplace effects money and health insurance, which in turn effects housing, food, education, and all the stuff of life.

The only thing I suggest for people:  get flexible.  The job you have or the job you want will probably disappear as a viable way to earn a living.  Learns skills than are not easily replaced by machines, if you intend to work.

Not Just Research, But Any Noble Pursuit

Tenacity is almost everything.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


Steph Curry unleashes the best single performance of the playoffs on them.  Their heart and soul - Duncan - is sick and doesn't play in the 4th quarter and OT.  Ginobli plays lousy until making the one big shot at the end.  Parker is missing those little mid range jumpers he usually nails.  And they still manage to win.  They should be feeling good.

On the downside, the Warriors dominate for 3.5 quarters and made them look old and slow.  Don't know what's going to happen.

Monday, May 06, 2013

The Difference

Yikes.  The Warriors were clueless at the end of the game against San Antonio.  The Spurs, down 3 with 25 ticks left, go down the court and run some motion plays, generating movement and defensive switches and off ball picks and get a wide open 3 to tie the game.  The Warriors go down and run a point guard isolation play (for the 4th time in row) and unsurprisingly, get a terrible shot.  The last several possessions of the game, the Warriors did the same exact thing and only once was it successful. Now going to overtime.  Anyone who says the Spurs are boring doesn't know anything about basketball.

UPDATE:  One of the best fourth quarter-2OT games I've ever seen.

UPDATE 2:  Popovich on Ginobli "I went from trading him on the spot to wanting to cook him breakfast in the morning.  On the first shot, he said to me 'this is what I do.'  I don't know...I stopped coaching him a long time ago..."

Al Gore is now Romney-rich.

I'd never begrudge anyone for making money -- even a lot of it.  But this fortune is a strange one, isn't it?  What did Al Gore make?  As far as I can tell, he simply became a spokesperson for environmentalism.

I can understand how Michael Jordan made money being a spokesman for shoes and tee-shirts, but since when did speaking out about saving the environment become a good business move?  What the hell is going on?

TV:  Game of Thrones, S 3, Ep 6

Laugh out loud, funniest line of the entire show "too old," in reference to Cersei as a proposed match for gay Loras.


First interesting thing I've read regarding Jason Collins story.
Ministries of Truth

Howard Kurtz gets the 3rd degree about mis-reporting on the Jason Collins story.

I love how the guy gets raked over the coals publicly by making one mistake reporting about Collins fiance.  No one is forced into this type of public apology and humiliation if, for instance, they lie about the Benghazi terrorist attack or don't bother reading the healthcare legislation that becomes law.  But those aren't issues for the "thought-police."  I find it bothering all the language about Jason Collins coming out is regarding "educating" people on homosexuality.  No...this is about policing politically correctness and keeping track of whether you have the right thoughts on these issues.
Benghazi Was A Terrorist Attack

And they knew it from the beginning and kept it under wraps. 

Perhaps you think Bush lied to get us into war -- or at the very least -- was too casual about the damning evidence.  But there is a trend with our two most recent Democratic presidents -- both keep covering up the nature and danger of the Islamic Fundamentalist threat in order to prevent the American people from wanting to do anything about it.  Clinton's underestimating of Bin Laden emboldened him.

As for a filmmaker being in jail -- and there is no peep from the Hollywood community or filmmakers from around the world -- goes to show that none of these people believe in freedom of expression, they're all just members of exclusive clubs -- Hollywood or Cannes -- and could give a shit about the people outside of their circles.

Thursday, May 02, 2013


Films:  Jerry Maguire and How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days

When you think the state of filmmaking is bad, all you need to do is rent some random old movies once in awhile and you realize the majority of films were always bad.  Whoa is Jerry Maguire lame.  An interesting film to watch considering what Tom Cruise has become.  The guy seems like an alien in this movie.  Like a cardboard cut out of a person.  And I'm a fan of Cruise, mind you.  The sheer volume of good movies the guy has made over the years is nothing to be scoffed at.  But Jerry Maguire - despite so many memorable bits - is so unbelievably sappy and saccharine - I almost can't believe it was once considered a big, prestigious film.

I couldn't get through more than 45 minutes of How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days.  And I was trying.  This wasn't me being an asshole turning off a movie.  This was me checking where we were in the movie 4 times before turning it off - minute 20, minute 25, minute 35, minute 40, minute 45 and I realized the thing was going to be 2 hours and I just knew I couldn't take it.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Inside the NBA

Is arguably the best show on TV.  Certainly the best talk show.  At first I didn't like Shaq, but he's grown on me and I think he's perfect.  But my suggestion for how they should structure the show:  Ernie, Barkley, and Kenny are the core and every two years they bring in a new guy to fill the 4th role.  At first, they had Webber.  Now Shaq.  I think when Kevin Garnett retires, he needs to be the other guy.  Can you imagine?  Garnett might literally attack Barkley one night after teasing him.

Last night, Barkley made the funniest comment to Shaq, he said, "I've seen you throw like five punches in your career and you never landed one."  They kept replaying Shaq trying to hit Brad Miller and Kenny was giving him grief saying Oakley was the one who hit him and he was trying to hit Miller and he missed him completely from like 1 foot away.  I couldn't stop laughing.

If Garnett doesn't retire, I suggest the following possibilities:

Alan Iverson
Bill Laimbeer
Tim Hardaway
Anthony Mason
Clive Drexler
Nick Van Exel
Dominique Wilkins
Gary Payton
Karl Malone

May the Contrarians Be Right

Study on the housing market crash.  Basic conclusion:  all popular perceptions are wrong.  At the very least, interesting.
The Miami-Heat-ization of America

Tonight I played in a soccer game in which our team got our asses kicked.  This has been happening more and more lately.  I've gotten my ass kicked in soccer more times in the past two years than my first 28 years playing combined.  Part of me thinks I'm getting old, but part me also knows the Miami-Heat-ization of America is to blame.  I'll explain.

The league is an intermediate men's 7 v 7 league.  My team is on the border of being intermediate and advanced and we've gone back and forth between leagues.  One of the teams dropped out, so the organizer recruited a replacement team which was basically an All-Star team from my 11 v. 11 league.  These guys are mostly D1 and D2 players and some of them are really, really good.  And this has been the trend in my soccer league lately:  the best teams often merge with each other or recruit guys back and forth.  All Star teams play in other leagues together against better competition and those guys come back and want to play together.   Meanwhile, our team is how I think men's teams should be -- a bunch of dudes who like each other and like to play sports together.  Most guys played in college, but not all.  Mostly D3.  We try to marginally improve ourselves, but we never kick dedicated guys off the team.

And now we can't compete.  Our league has no parity.  How can it?  One year, the third best team fell apart and half their guys went to play on the best team and the other half went to the second best team.  At the time, we were in the middle of the pack and now we have fallen way - almost hopelessly - behind.  I keep thinking our team is on the brink of falling apart.  And the strange thing is - we're actually not that bad for a men's league team.  Today was weird.  Picture those first two awesome teams now combining into an All Star team of only 7 guys.  That's who were were playing.  It would be as if the Golden State Warriors were about to play the Spurs in the playoffs except that the Spurs merged with OKC Thunder.  Does that sound competitive?  Does that sound fun?

What is happening?

A couple of things:  overemphasis on winning.  The magnet effect of better players coming together.  But more broadly speaking, it is the ascension of meritocratic values in place of the values by the old WASP establishment.  The old WASPS had problems -- they were elitist, sexist, racist -- if not explicitly, they at least presided over institutions which were.  But there were other values, too.  Being a gentleman had meaning, honor, pride, patriotism, charity, a sense of justice, etc.  It was not a mistake that the WASP establishment eventually opened the doors to women and minorities over time.  Granted, it didn't happen all at once, but it did happen and without much of a fight.  (the fight came mostly from reactionary forces).

The meritocracy has different values:  achievement, intelligence, speed, superiority, competitiveness (at least to get in, but not once you're in).  Some of these elements are great and make for exceptional people.  But there are downsides as well:  selfishness, arrogance, entitlement, political-correctness, a lack of compassion.  Basically, we've swapped FDR for Tracey Flick.

I'm personally skeptical of the superiority of the meritocracy.  It's been taken as a given since I was young this system was better and more fair.  But more fair for who?  Only the most talented and gifted in society.  The Luddites might in some ways turn out to be correct 400 years later -- that technology will enable the super-talented to render the masses useless.  There simply might not be any jobs for the majority - or a vast minority - to do in the future.  Further, the meritocratic elite tend to cluster into the best colleges and jobs and industries and then mate together, breeding child super-achievers.  All of these developments, superficially seem to be fair and awesome for the talented and the promise is that the talented will develop all these things that are better for society as a whole.  I am skeptical about this as well.  The WASP establishment created the Constitution, fought the Civil War, and made American the most powerful and richest country on earth.  The meritocracy created Facebook (the biggest pyramid scheme in history) and Google (an online yellow pages with email).  Granted, they haven't had as much time, but still.  I am not convinced the meritocratic elite make society better as a whole and suspect overvalues things that people in the meritocracy happen to be good at like Standardized Tests and following rules.

Anyhow, that was a strange long rant.