Thursday, October 31, 2013

What Fun

A review claiming The Counselor is the worst film every made...and it makes me want to see it.  Reviews are rarely fun to read.  Maybe at one time, reviews were meant to discriminate for the audience how to spend their time and money.  I no longer read them that way.  I read them now as texts unto themselves, like accessories to outfits.  This is a fun quote:
If you eat dinner at Burger King and the food sucks, it’s disingenuous to get all mad about it. This is more like having Alice Waters and Mario Batali labor in the kitchen for a while and then serve you a gray-green burger on Wonder Bread, with what looks like somebody’s pubic hair stuck to it. But surrounded with whimsical garnishes of fresh herbs.
Narrative Lies

A new book on the Matthew Shepard hate crime case suspects the killing had more to do with a burgeoning crystal meth scene than a hate crime.


And Big Papi winning the World Series MVP.  And everyone knows he's juicing.  What a joke.  I know how we can stop steroids:  you get caught, your career is over.  Kaput.  We lock up 18 year old poor kids in jail for dealing pot, effectively throwing their lives down the toilet and we reward millionaire drug users with MVP trophies, multi-million dollar contracts, and a slap on the wrist and wink, wink, nod, nod.  We're getting to a breaking point with this stuff...I think....
Heath Care

Costs are going up for some people.  But of course they are -- you don't insure the uninsured for free.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

World Sloppiness

Casually watching the World Series and the Cardinals just blew a run down play.  Unbelievable.  My high school coach would have us running laps if we blew a rundown.

Blackface for Halloween.
As a black man, I find myself wondering two things. First, why do I need white people to be offended on my behalf? Second and far more importantly, why should I be offended by something as trivial as a Halloween costume?
I’ve never quite understood why blackface should offend me. The act of wearing blackface does not harm me. It does not take something from me. It does not prevent me from acting upon my own judgment. It does not violate my rights. I accept that blackface offends some people. I understand that it may be distasteful. But I’m not sure why academics and journalists are so desperate to snuff blackface out of existence while ignoring or even advocating practices which actually harm black people.
People get offended because you get to feel righteousness without it costing anything.  A win-win.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Horrible Play Calling

Rams on the goal line at the end of a pretty good MNF game -- horrible play call on 4th down.  You have a back up QB and shit receivers and you throw a fade?  Huh?  The fade is for 1st down or if you have Calvin Johnson.

Spread the defense and draw up the middle.  Or pack the box and do a QB rollout with a run/pass option.  Let someone make a play.  That wasn't even close.
Profits Up, Earnings Down

Yep.  Profits are up because firms are cutting the fat and working people too hard.  Revenue is down across the board.  This is bad news.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hard Out There For A Villain

Myanmar's villains are having trouble getting work.

I suppose we all have to agree globalization is good.  And we all need to be nimble and crafty to get work.  But at some point -- shouldn't we even pause to consider -- all the workers and craftsmen and various skilled laborers who lose their livings to the companies who merely aggregate data on the internet?  Can I be skeptical of this system without being a Communist pinko bastard?  I mean, isn't it obvious we are cannibalizing ourselves?


Rams contact Farve to come back.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Do Trades Work in the NFL?

I don't know.  But Tony Gonzalez to the Chiefs is a good idea.  If anyone could come in and fit on a team, it would be Gonzalez.  And the Chiefs are at least one offensive player away from a true Super Bowl contender.  But who knows?  Maybe this only improves them incrementally and in the end, it will still just come down to luck.
Why Are First Born Children Smarter?

Average is Over

Tyler Cowen argues we are headed towards an increasingly stratified economy.  This will spell the end for democracy should it happen.

TV:  Masters of Sex, ep 1 and 2

I really enjoyed the 2nd episode.  I commented after the first episode "this is a girl's show" and I'm probably right.  I imagine the drama running out eventually.  There's only so long you can string us along on this will-they or won't-they type of stuff.  This is why I stopped watching Mad Men.  But that said, I'll keep watching this until I get bored.  The writing and characters and design of the show are quite good.  I actually think I prefer it to Mad Men, at least at the moment, and maybe just because it is something new.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Commenting on The Internet

I have the top rated comment on this internet post.  Should I be worried about myself?  Commenting on the internet?

Monday, October 21, 2013


Film:  Act of Violence

Terrific little noir film.  Robert Ryan.  I'm a fan.  Did anyone ever put he and Sterling Hayden in a movie together playing rivals or brothers?  Seems obvious.
Most Disliked Players in NFL by the Public

The list:

1.  Michael Vick
2.  Manti Teo
3.  Suh
4.  Big Ben
5.  Mark Sanchez

Interesting.  I diverge with the public a bit...I don't mind Vick or Big Ben...I imagine women are driving the dislike of Big Ben because of his sexual assault history.  And Vick -- well -- people love dogs.  Don't mess with dogs if you want to be liked.  The others are interesting because clearly, they are disliked for different reasons.

Teo is disliked because he is weird and foolish.  We don't like that.  Suh is disliked because he is evil and out to hurt people.  We don't like that.  Sanchez is disliked because he is overpraised and receives undeserved accolades.  We don't like that.

Build your own car.

If you lived in a modestly trafficked area, this would be a load of fun.

Kaepernick played great yesterday, even though he threw several risky throws and got bailed out of an interception by a silly roughing the passer call.  That moment changed the game.  But overall, the Niners going into Tennessee and getting a convincing win was impressive.  We are back to our style of football we were playing with Smith at QB and I love it.

Watched some of the Kansas City game as well.  It was not as close as the final score.  The Chiefs got cocky for a moment and Sean Smith let some back up receiver beat him over the top by Case Keenum. You could see this was a moment of taking the foot off the gas pedal for the Chiefs D.  They also fumbled near the goal line when they were about to put the game away and then obviously kneeled it out at the 2 yard line.  I'm saying the game "should" have been 24-16 at least.  But who cares?  They are the only 7-0 team.  If they can manage to split with Denver (who is looking kinda vulnerable, especially on D), they might even take the division, which would be a huge advantage to them in the playoffs.  Certainly, they are benefitting from a pretty easy schedule, but still.  7-0 is no joke, especially given a new coach, QB, and the 2-14 record from last year.  And it's not like any of the wins were exactly "lucky" anyway.  They've basically just beat every team so far.

Is it just me or do Peyton Manning's throws look weak?  It seems like his arm strength has regressed back to last year.  What's up with that?  Still, Denver is the only team that can be down 22 points in the fourth quarter and I'm keeping the TV on because there is a decent chance of a comeback.  Shit, when it was 30-36 and they got the ball back, I was pretty sure they were going to score and then we'd get to see if Luck could drive the Colts back.  Huge bummer about Reggie Wayne.  Right as I saw the play, I knew it was an ACL.  Turf, right?   I hate seeing that.  Can a 34-year old WR return from an ACL to play in the NFL?  Man...I dunno.  Bummer, too because the Colts have become the most interesting team in the NFL - beating Denver, Seattle, and the Niners, but losing to Miami and the Chargers and almost losing to the Raiders.

Who do I like for the Super Bowl at this point?

Buying:  Niners, Saints, Colts, Kansas City, Cincy
Selling:  Denver, New England, Green Bay

Don't really see any other possible contenders...some decent teams, but no one I see winning 3-4 playoff games.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


How older generations rip off the younger.  Several schemes:

1.  Social Security.  People get more money than they put in.  Why do we even have this system?
2.  Low capital gains taxes.  People in their 60s have five times as much wealth as those in their 30s.  All those capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than the folks who are working for income.  The guy has a good proposal to tax capital gains as income and lower the corporate tax rate to zero.
3.  Mortgage interest deduction and any policies designed to help homeowners.  He doesn't mention this one, but every cent you give to a homeowner is a cent out of the pocket of a potential homeowner.  There is no way around this logic and it obviously this benefits those who own homes (ie older generations) against younger one's.

Friday, October 18, 2013


Teenage streaker was going to be charged as an adult sex offender and instead, killed himself.

Who are these prosecutors?  What the hell is wrong with them.

One of my fondest high school memories was a streaker during halftime during a huge soccer game.  One of the funniest moments in all of high school.  Loosen up.

Film:  Sweetwater

A festival western starring January Jones as a vengeful whore killing her husband's murderers.  The film is not good, but it also wasn't totally terrible for a small film.  Ed Harris is in the movie and it is shocking how better he is than everyone else in the film.  If you ever need evidence to support paying actors well, just show people this film and you can picture a world where there are only subpar actors.  No one would watch a thing.
For Real?

Arian Foster is going public and selling shares of his future earnings.

I don't see how this is ever is going to be a good investment.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Enjoy the Decline

The more the government tries to tinker with the lives of of its citizens, the more perverse incentives result.

In screenwriting, a bad fundamental idea always leads to goofy patch-work solutions.  In the case of our healthcare system, there is a fundamental flaw of linking the majority of healthcare to the workplace.  This worked in a specific time in America and is simply no longer relevant to the global economy.  The residue, however, is nearly impossible to politically shake.  A quick understanding of how Singapore created their health system and you'll understand why they spend 10-15% less of their GDP on healthcare and get better outcomes -- basically you are forced to set aside money for your family into a "health plan."  When you go to the doctor, all services cost something.  In addition, the government subsidizes some health services to effect the overall cost (in theory, very smart because some health services are public issues - ie flu shots, other diseases, versus acute issues like broken bones).

And here is an interesting part -- the set aside money can also be used for retirement and housing.

It can easily be said this type of thing can only work in a small country versus a big, diverse one.  But if I'm the state of Oregon or North Carolina -- why do I not consider trying something like this?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Doing Well

People born in the 1930s and 1940s made significantly more money that people born in the 1950s and 1960s.

I'm sure there are many reasons for this, among them, luck.  Should we redistribute?  Why not?

My advice would be to follow the habits of the people from the 30s and 40s.

Novella:  The Alienist by Machado de Assis

In a mere 84 pages, this guy immediately became one of my favorite writers.  I can't believe he was writing in the late 1800s.  His style is incredibly modern.  The little book was part Confederacy of Dunces, part Bolano (Bolano wishes he could write like this guy), part Woody Allen.  Hilarity.  I loved it.

This is the series of novellas recently republished -- all by terrific writers.  Great little project.

TV:  Broadchurch

This was one of the better executed mysteries of the four I've watched recently:  Top of the Lake, The Killing, Prisoners, and Broadchurch.  Somehow, it got more compelling toward the end.  The mystery was only the plot engine, it was really a social examination of small town life in the UK.  I imagine many American audiences will find it a tad boring.  BBC, after all.  But if you like just straight ahead mystery stories, this one does the form quite well.
Not Working

When do they decide and scrap the Obamacare website for another year?

If this was such important legislation, you'd a thunk they could figure out how to make the system work.  This isn't brain surgery.  My car insurance is incredible simple to purchase.  When I get healthcare through my employer, it is just a straight sign up.  Obama is making Republican opposition look prescient - something they can't do for themselves.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Film:  Captain Phillips

I was surprised I didn't enjoy this film more.  It started well and did a clever thing with the first act break, separating the pirate attack into two separate events (this was probably based in reality, not so much cleverness on the filmmakers part).  As a side note, so often "real life stories" are able to do more interesting narrative things since the audience will "buy" odd storytelling techniques because it adheres to real life.  An easy example is bringing in major characters very late into the movie, which Captain Phillips does.  But anyhow, after the movie gets onto the lifeboat, it got repetitive and frankly, a little boring.  Too procedural.  And I couldn't help but a feel like the whole thing was this immense waste of resources.  How about you just put a machine gun or a rocket launcher on the cargo ship to ward off little pirate skiffs?  Do we really need a battleship, an aircraft carrier, and a team of Navy Seals flown in from Virginia to handle four fisherman?

Anyhow, towards the end, I was just hoping the movie was going to end and this is never a good sign.  Although in fairness, it was a late Friday night show and I get tired at that time.

Friday, October 11, 2013

No Longer A Story

Facebook does not allow you to remove yourself from search.  I suppose we just need to come to terms with the idea that all google and facebook searches and information can and will be viewed by those powerful enough to access it.

Book:  David and Goliath:  Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Much like his others, the original premise is quite interesting and the book gets progressively less interesting by the end.  Perhaps because the argument is so convincing early on.  To me, it could have been 100 pages just as well as 280.

Film:  Key Largo

John Huston does a hell of job with ensembles.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

25 Best Action Movies Since Die Hard

A pretty damn good list.
Soul Mates

Are made, not found. 

When someone talks of finding a soul mate, I know I'm talking to a moron.

How working women are changing society.
Save Your Cash

"America needs a stock market crash."

In our current climate, it is very possible.  If you are young, the best thing to do is save your cash and buy after it crashes.  If you are old, you should have a significant portion of your money outside of stocks.

I've come around to the idea there are only two ways to smartly buy stocks:  on a regular dollar-cost-averaging basis and/or when they are ridiculously low and you can't possibly lose money in the long run.  All other retail purchases are speculative.  Hoard cash for the once every five to ten years when stocks go super low because that's the only time to buy.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Sure...Why Not...?

Woman marries herself.
"Save Your Money"

My history of jazz teacher in college would tell us everyday as we left class "Save your money!  Save your money!"  One of better lessons I learned.  I guess Curt Schilling didn't take his class.

Poor guy blew every cent he earned playing bball on a video game company.  A video game company!  Jesus.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Waiting Tables

"I remember when you could pay your way through college waiting tables."

Equality of opportunity depends on having a system where someone can get a college degree debt-free if they want to work for it.

Film:  Gravity

A great reason to see 3D IMAX.  Rather enjoy the design of the film - a small genre piece about an astronaut getting home - done as a spectacular formal spectacle.  Is this a film or a ride?  There are certainly a few emotional moments, but the reason you watch the movie is for the shots, the action, the movement of the floating camera.  I can't say the narrative is anything other than a vehicle to deliver the images.  I suppose this is what makes it a good and not great film.  In some ways, it is a technical experiment.  This is not a criticism.  Curon is moving the cinema forward.  He is making a spectacle that is not a stupid comic book for nerds.  A film unquestionably worth seeing in the theater.  Bravo.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Two Nations Under Mammon

But there is currently no major figure in the public sphere that sees with any clarity the deep collusion of the all key players in its construction. So we continue down a road that will give rise to two nations, the winners wringing their hands all the way to the bank, the losers narcotized on a steady diet of cheap and deforming delights.

Vic Fangio jokes quarterbacks should be the ones getting fined for big hits.

In soccer, they are called "hospital balls," when you play a guy a ball that sets him up to go to the  hospital.  I was just watching Bills/Browns and EJ Manual tossed a ball to a receiver going over the middle on 3rd down, just lining him up to be drilled by a linebacker.

These flags on illegal hits are getting ridiculous.  If you have any common sense and watch the speed of the game, you can't possibly expect these guys to make the plays and then pull back on those last 1/2 seconds.  And if your QB throws a dangerous ball, why do you punish the defenders?

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


TV:  Re-watching Deadwood Season 1

Enjoying quite a bit.  Really enjoy how everyone - even allies - are continually at each other's throats, running schemes, and at times, overcome with moral behavior.  Quite enjoy the humor as well.  EB makes a side comment when Calamity Jane is going to talk to Alma Garrett something along the lines of "that foul-mouthed heathen going upstairs to converse with the junkie -- must be a conversation for the ages."

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Breaking Bad Death Dream...

...waaah?  A theory the end of Breaking Bad was a Walter White death dream.  Not even close.  Taxi Driver makes a whole lot more sense as a death dream ending and even that is debatable.  There is no indication or suggestion Breaking Bad was meant this way.  I suppose it means Walter had a death dream about Jesse having a dream.  It's just hard to end TV shows because TV shows are not designed to end.

On Bill Simmon's podcast the other week, Cousin Sal makes a funny point about the Sopranos finale, which is now the standard bearer for "artistic" endings.  He says "how can an ending be considered successful, when 70% of their audience thought their TV power went out?"  He makes a fair point.

I actually appreciate the entertainment factor of Michael Jordan's pettiness.  He claims he could beat LeBron one on one and Kobe steals all his moves.  Awesome.

How good was Jerry West?  He was before my time, but when asked who Jordan would want to play one-on-one, his mind goes to Jerry West first.  Interesting.