Saturday, December 27, 2014


One of the great pleasures of the holidays, for me, is board games. In regular life, they seem ridiculous and a childish waste of time. But is it okay to waste time on Christmas vacation and to spend time with family inside the house. Add this to my mother asking me to clean out the board game closet and I find Risk sitting in the living room table beckoning. A game got me hooked. So much so, I've turned to free Risk games online.

Risk, when you get good at it, reminds me how geography matters. In our virtual world, we can easily forget this. What are some of the most sought after territories on the Risk board? The Middle East and the Ukraine. Surprised? Look at where they are. Ukraine is the gateway between Europe and Asia, crucially important and strategic. If you hold Ukraine, you don't need to waste resources protecting your entire Asian border. The Middle East is between African, Asian, and Europe. My brother and I invaded each other between The Middle East and Afghanistan back and forth, numerous times. I feel like our foreign policy establishment and military ought to play Risk weekly.
Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

An appreciation of John Milius.
It is the mid-1980s. There is a party at the house of screenwriter Paul Schrader. Milius, who wrote Dirty Harry and Apocalypse Now and directed Conan the Barbarian and Red Dawn, is there when Pauline Kael arrives. Kael is the liberal New Yorker film critic. To her, a Milius film is only slightly better than a slime mold. Milius has had some wine. He has an intermediary tell Kael that he would like a “conference” with her.  
A message comes back: Kael wants to know if Milius, who in meetings with executives was fond of displaying pistols, is armed. 
 “Tell her I’m not armed,” Milius says. “But I myself am a weapon.”

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Racism In Academia

Several professors are suing their former employers for racial discrimination. Although I know nothing of these cases, I suspect the larger issue is the winner-take-all value of a tenured professorship and the denial of tenure leaving these folks without options.
Independent Theaters

This is the best moment for independent movie theaters and independent film in a long time. They are showing The Interview, and demonstrating clearly why they are different from those governed by corporate values. Amen.


Film: Selma

I was not a fan of this film, although the second half is stronger than the first. There are emotional moments, but I wonder if watching a MLK speech on youtube would be equally emotional. Much of the storytelling is not particularly well done. The transitions were non-existent at times, and I was often confused where we were and what was going on. Sloppy, I'd call it.

The thing that stood out to me - in a bad way - was the missing Coretta Scott King character. She was like a blank stare of nothingness. I had no idea what was going on in her head. And it seemed like the movie thought she was an important character. The irony is that we get this type of non-character from a female director doing the MLK character. And if we asked her, I think she'd say the critical relationship is between King and her, but who knows....

Anyhow, I'm incredibly surprised the movie is getting acclaim.
Hipsters Since...

I know someone who's been eating avocado toast since the 1980s. This person is my grandmother. I know another who's been using a single cup coffee serving since the 1960s. This person is my mother.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Cultural Suicide

Digital storage will not last.

I'm no tech master, but I know when CDs were first selling, everyone said they'd last forever. Hardly any of my old CDs will even play anymore. And that hasn't even been very long.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014


Film: Fistful of Dollars

Film print. New Bev. Never seen before. Obviously not as good as The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, but still, quite a bit of fun. Music really enhances these films. The type of movie that makes you want to make movies. Hollywood hasn't produced one of those in years.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Did He Do It?

To me, this is the only interesting question of Serial. The legal questions, simply put, are not interesting. We all know the criminal justice system is deeply flawed. Just like we know, income inequality is getting worse, Islamic terrorism is a problem, Hollywood is producing shitty movies, public schools are lousy in poor areas, and we should all be saving more money for retirement. Big fucking whoop, is what I say. I'd like these things to be fixed, but like most people, one can only do so much. I'm personally working on the Hollywood producing shitty movies problem. I trust others are working on the others.

And the question of whether he did it is simple: is Jay lying?

The only detail I found interesting in the finale was Jay's coworker talking about the days after the murder when Jay was telling him basically what he told police, that Adnan did it and he helped bury the body. This is interesting, because he would've been saying this story BEFORE any police coaching. To me, this adds some credence to the story.

Serial - The End

Well, of course it was unsatisfying. What do we now know that we didn't after the first episode? Basically, trivia.

(Total side note: went to a Seinfeld trivia night the other night and was reminded why I dislike trivia nights so much -- people know way too much useless crap. I find it depressing. Whereas home games of Trivial Pursuit can occasionally be fun, these public trivia-wonk folks creep me out. Look, I know way too much about Seinfeld and felt like an ignoramus around these trivia people. What is wrong with them? How can anyone spend so much time memorizing pointless crap?)

Which brings me back to Serial. I guess I don't have any profound thoughts that haven't been aired elsewhere. I find the storytelling to be round about and often based upon premises I fundamentally disagree with. I don't think we got the information presented in the podcast the same way the detectives, judge, and jury got the information. I find it relevant the detectives were 100% convinced they got the right guy, the jury only deliberated for 2 hours, and the judge seemed mighty convinced as well. I feel like the entire podcast was sort of like an extensive NFL replay. And Sarah K was, like a desperate, pathetic football fan, always looking for any type of evidence to poke a hole in the prosecutions case (and overturn the call her way). She SO BADLY wanted the conviction to be wrong, but she couldn't find it. In the end, the only thing she could fall back upon was that if she was in the jury (which she wasn't, nor was she presented the evidence in the way the jury was presented the evidence), she would've voted to acquit. And look, maybe I would've too, because by no means am I 100% (based upon only listening to the podcast) that he is guilty.

But I still think he did it.

And that is the question that interests me coming out of the podcast. I do not come away with a sickening feeling about our justice system. I come away with one feeling: I really want to know what happened. And to me, the angle she never explored but which I think would provide answers, is an analysis into Adnan's family. I want to know about the father. And I want to know about the mother. I want to know why there is one brother who does not talk to the rest of the family. I want to know if there was abuse in the house. I want to know if the father ever assaulted anyone. I want to know why the father has fallen into a weird, deep funk and never talks. I want to know if Adnan ever got suspended from school as a youngster for violence.

I realize none of these things are relevant to the court case, but I still want to know. Because I suspect the answer to the question of why this seemingly good kid probably murdered a girl in cold blood lies therein.

OTHER MAJOR SIDE NOTE: Why I think he did it. 1) No reason not to buy the basic timeline, thus making the serial killer angle seem far fetched. 2) Jay was involved because he knew about the car 3) It seems more likely to me that Jay's basic story is correct than the alternative, which is that Jay successfully framed Adnan for some unmotivated murder and managed to fool detectives, judge, and jury, AND Adnan simultaneously had no alibi or recollection of the day it happened. 4) Adnan comes across to me a schmoozer and liar. I know that is not grounds to convict a person...however, Koenig and others use the exact opposite-logic to suggest his innocence. They believe he is a good, decent person. Adnan, to me, seems like a vain, arrogant, nincompoop, who talks around issues rather than facing them head on. I became convinced of this when he tried to exonerate himself by explaining how it was impossible for him to drive to Best Buy by a certain time. Koenig cites the fact that Adnan has been a model prisoner since the incident. Well, Jay hasn't been convicted of other crimes, I don't think. If he were the murderer, or somehow involved more, doesn't it seem likely he would've displayed more such insane behavior since this incident? Furthermore, it's not like OJ killed anyone else anyhow. Adnan's model behavior, in other words, proves nothing to me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Theater chains cancel "The Interview" en masse.

I'd quit if I worked at any of those places. Shameful.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Film: Into the Woods

Sleep inducing. Realizing I'm not a fan of Sondheim adaptations into movies...


An interesting piece on Lena Dunham and rape culture.
The only rape culture preying on impressionable, confused, young women, such as Jackie from Rolling Stone’s discredited story, is the culture created by Dunham, Lady Gaga, Rolling Stone and an industry far more interested in pushing a political narrative into the mainstream than punishing specific attackers. The details become phased out. Evidence becomes inconsequential and the narrative then becomes a moral fable, to be followed, believed and adhered to on broken knee without any bounds to truth, no different than an HBO sitcom or a pop song. Accusers are to automatically be believed without merit, because they then join the ranks and grow the movement. It becomes a crusade. Claiming to be raped becomes much more glamorous and acceptable than surviving and punishing an actual rapist. It becomes cool and then becomes a necessity to fit in.
I have a big problem with all these public accusations. I simply don't know what to make of them. Are they to be taken seriously? Are they to be believed? What am I to think? Maybe I'm missing something, but if someone is raped, it is a serious crime. And when a serious crime occurs, it should be reported to the police. Look, I understand it could be hard to prove and perhaps the judicial system, flawed as it is, won't offer justice. But at least file a fucking report. I mean, how can you be a victim of a serious crime, know the person who committed the crime is out there and probably will do it again, and simply stay mute? It makes no freaking sense.

Side note: James Franco and Seth Rogen are canceling their press tour. Pussies. I still think Salman Rushdie made a gigantic mistake by going into hiding all those years ago. It taught the fundamentalists that we Westerners can be scared. When you reward behavior, you get more of it. So every time someone pusses out, they are encouraging these things to happen to others. And look, I recognize I'm saying this from behind the safety of a keyboard and blog and if I had children, etc, etc, I'm not out there on the front lines either. But I sure as hell wish people would behave with a little more bravery. I sure as hell wish Salman Rushdie, rather than going into hiding, told the Islamic Thugs he'd be happily living in New York and carrying a .45 automatic if anyone of them wanted to come have words with him. I mean, the reason we have these freedoms to publish books and movies and people like Lena Dunham, Seth Rogen, and James Franco are multi-millionaires for doing their schtick is because some brave people in the past and the present stood up and fought for freedom, for the right to free speech and expression, for women to be treated equal and to have equal opportunity. And every day someone stands up to murders and rapists in courts and testifies against them to try and make their communities better.

Lena Dunham, instead, pockets this info until now and keeps it all hush-hush, while, if we believe her, she probably allowed this rapist to go around raping others because she didn't feel like reporting it. I just don't get it...

Hacking Solutions

There's actually a super simple solution to the fear of hacking: de-digitalization.

The movie business could easily function without digitalizing the crown jewels. After all, it did for over 100 years.

I think we put too much faith into these IT folks. In my experience, the IT crowd always talks a bigger game than they can actually accomplish. What are the crown jewels for movie studios?

1. Contracts
2. Footage, rough cuts, and final cuts
3. Scripts

None of these things MUST be online. Let the hackers have the emails. Even the ID theft...I fail to see what exactly can be done with this information other than someone coming up with fake identities and making fake credit cards, etc.

I don't know about other businesses, but if I were the US Gov, I'd seriously think about housing design stuff for major weapons systems on PAPER in a secure location vs. letting it exist in cyberspace.
Killing With Kindness

Andrew Luck is known for complimenting other players on the field.
Several players told the newspaper that, whether intentional or not, Luck's good-guy act has gotten in their heads.
What's the famous quote? Something like "A genius is a man who can be most like himself."

Monday, December 15, 2014


Idea: The Chiefs should line up Jamaal Charles as a wide receiver occasionally. I basically think in all sports, your style should be dictated by your talent and your goal ought to be to get your most effective players on the field. On offense, the order of Chiefs talent is:

1. Jamaal Charles
2. Travis Kelce
3. DeAnthony Thomas
4. Dwyane Bowe
5. Knile Davis
6. Jason Avnant
7. Anthony Fasano

Their other receivers are too crappy to mention. I'd like up 2 tight ends or 3 backs, sometimes with only one wideout...also, I'd sometimes line up Charles as a receiver and get he and Davis in the game at the same time. I'd also line up Kelce as a receiver sometimes, like the Saints do with Graham. They need to figure out something to mix up their offense because they are really good at 80% of the game, but can't quite beat the better teams without some more diversity on their offensive plays.

CTE is Super Real

Video series on GQ called Casualties of the Gridiron.

Football sure is fun to play and watch, but this concussion thing is bad...

...How motherfreaking Rodger Goodell is getting paid 44 million bucks a year and the NFL isn't working on some sort of health policies for the former players is borderline criminal.
They Made Me Write About Lena Dunham

It turns out Girls is a serialized horror movie—more gruesome, frightening, grim, dark, and disturbing than anything that’s ever occurred to Stephen King. 
The young people in Girls are miserable, peevish, depressed, hate their bodies, themselves, their life, and each other. They occupy apartments with the size and charm of the janitor’s closet, shared by The Abominable Roommate. They dress in clothing from the flophouse lost-and-found and are groomed with a hacksaw and gravel rake. They are tattooed all over with things that don’t even look like things the way a anchor or a mermaid or a heart inscribed “Mom” does, and they’re only a few years older than my daughters.
Pretty much.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Kobe Not Even Close to Jordan

According to stats.

Frankly, I don't see why we Kobe Bryant is more comparable to Manu Ginobili.

They play similar positions, have similar skill sets on offense, and don't play much defense. Both are successful only playing with dominating big men. Basically, the main difference is that Kobe flings up way more bad shots and Manu in his later career came off the bench.


Film: A Most Violent Year

Disappointing. I think Armond White is correct and Hollywood needs a dramaturge. What happened to the Producer? These auteurist projects are wastes of good costumes and acting and lust cinematography because the drama is dull and confusing. As I'm watching the film, I yell out, this story is nothing but inciting incidents! The drama never starts. The characters never take any action.


Calling out Lena Dunham as a liar.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Film: Foxcatcher

This is a bad year for "prestige" movies. Inherent Vice is the worst one, but Birdman and Foxcatcher are tied for 2nd for terribleness. I'm surprised at how little these films have to say about...anything...really. Foxcatcher offers no insight to the crime the film ends with. It happens almost randomly. There seems to be something about "America" going on in the film -- it certainly comes up a lot in conversations and is both too on the nose and without any substance. Can we conclude anything other than Steve Carrell is a weirdo with too much money? Cannot everyone in the film see it? How is this reflective of America? Other problems: very little happens throughout the film. There is little warmth save for what Ruffalo can bring. The actors were committed, so it seems, but what they are committed to, feels very slight and utterly depressing. For a much better treatment of similar material, I suggest Warrior.
The Voice of A Generation

Lena Dunham: never mind the truth, it is about my feelings.

If Lena Dunham is the voice of a generation, I worry very much about that generation.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014


TMZ releases a video of Sio Moore and Kaepernick talking shit to one another in the tunnel at halftime.

On Cowherd yesterday, Dilfer and Cowherd were talking about how Kap is a broken man and how he used to be such a fun loving, nice, smart kid. Dilfer thought he needed a Mike Holmgren type coach who would hug him and nurture him. I never saw it. I always felt like the media and some people in the football world looked at him through rose-tinted glasses. The guy never once has displayed the ability to read defenses or succeed consistently in the pocket. And while he did run well, the Niners running game as a whole suffered right from the beginning of when he played because he never audibles at the line (as you see Peyton, Brady, Brees, and yes, Alex Smith do) into a hand off because he spots the defensive mismatch.

Kaepernick reminds me of Matt Barnes, personality-wise. Both guys are mixed race and raised in predominantly white areas. Both have a lot of tattoos and see themselves as "tough" guys, and get into needless scrapes because they have chips on their shoulder for some reason. They aren't tough in the way Anquan Boldin is tough or Justin Smith is tough. Those guys are unspoken tough guys. You don't see them getting in fights because no one wants to fight them. They are tough, without having chips on their shoulders. Kap and Barnes aren't even tough in the way Steve Smith is tough. Smith is feisty and has a Napoleonic complex and is an instigator. Kap and Barnes are punks. They are petty. They overreact to slights by the other players. They feel the need to overcompensate and prove their toughness.

Matt Barnes is a competitor and has been a productive player on some teams, but he is more like a bench player. You would not want Matt Barnes as the face of your franchise. And this is the problem with Kap. He has the make up of a football player, but maybe not a quarterback. He isn't a leader. How in the world is your quarterback getting into a halftime shit-talk with a rookie linebacker on the 1-11 Raiders? That is pure stupidity and immaturity. You can say all you want about Kap being a nice kid, etc, etc, he just isn't a QB or a leader.

Saturday, December 06, 2014


Film: American Sniper

A strange film. I did not enjoy any of the flashbacks or domestic stuff, but enjoyed the war fighting sequences. The end was incredibly bizarre.

What's the last really good film made by Clint? Gran Torino was okay, but I think you need to go back to Million Dollar Baby.

Still, Unforgiven.
Calling My Short

NFL world turning on Kaepernick.
TheSidelineReview's John Middlekauff asked NFL executives and scouts if they'd rather have Kaepernick or Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, and surprisingly, all of them picked Carr. The belief is that Carr has lasting and growing skills as a pocket passer while Kaepernick's inconsistency as a thrower is a permanent problem.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

I Was Wrong

Jesus. They have a video of the cops in New York strangling the guy. Disgusting. Manslaughter if not murder. A total outrage. The guy clearly was not a threat.

Reading a little bit about this NYC police case...and the cop strangling the guy...I think the smartest argument, the argument to get the most people on your side to reduce police brutality, violence, and murder, would not to focus on race. Race makes people stop listening. And most people believe we are headed in the right direction regarding race relations in this country. I just saw a group of black comics last night and to a person, most of them made racial jokes about how they don't experience racism the way their ancestors did. One lady joked that she was glad she was born in the 80s, because if she was around in the 60s, she wouldn't have made it. She couldn't handle the police dogs and fire hoses and would've preferred to make sandwiches for the marchers. Another guy talked about how his mother was racist against white people because they treated her like shit. He was like, "I get along with white people, they put me on a TV show." Point being, EVERYONE can get behind the problem of police using excessive force unnecessarily. We all relate to police excess and power mania. And perhaps, just perhaps, this not only happens to be the polically smart movie, it might also be the truer narrative as well.

Film: The Duellists

Is this Ridley Scott's first movie? Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine both play soldiers in the French army during Napoleonic times who fight in a series of duels. The movie isn't great, but it is gorgeous, the entire thing lit like a Vermeer painting. Would be great to see in a theater on a 35mm print.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Trailers Better Than Movies

Just watched the Inherent Vice trailer and it is excellent. It reminds me of the trailer for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Both films are convoluted and suffer from the excesses of auteur filmmakers. In rewatching Tinker Tailor, I realized a problem with the story adaptation from a movie perspective -- there was no plotting reversals. The story is a straight ahead linear narrative and deals more with the history of the characters, a history of a generation of spies, old friendships, old lovers, and ghosts from the past. It works in literature, but films are unable to explore history in the same way. Films need more gigantic movements in plot and story because the inward emotion of history and literature cannot be conveyed outwardly -- even by good actors. Tinker Tailor needed a red herring. Tinker Tailor needed a major midpoint reveal. It would've helped clarify the film.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Can I Get an Amen

The first good article on affirmative action I've read in years.

Film: The Gambler, 2014 remake

I enjoyed the film, although I suspect it will not be terribly well received overall. I guess in some ways, I'm just a sucker for men-in-crisis films and will watch anything with cool one-liners, cars, and underground gambling dens. But let's put it this way -- I'd way rather watch this again than two other significant big budget indies of recent note: Birdman or Inherent Vice. And in some respects, I think I enjoy a movie like this a bit more than Nightcrawler, although Nightcrawler is a better movie.

The cons of the movie: characters like the jerk off sound of their own voices waaay too much. The movie rips the entire plot from the original The Gambler and then pusses out at the end with two significant changes.

Pros: Supporting cast is incredible.

Book: Ask the Dust by John Fante

A re-read and for me, does the best job of capturing what it feels like to live in Los Angeles of any piece of art.

The end of the penultimate chapter "I went for a walk through the streets. My God, here I was again, roaming the town. I looked at the faces around me, and I knew mine was like theirs. Faces with the blood drained away, tight faces, worried, lost. Faces like flowers torn from their roots and stuffed into a pretty vase, the colors draining fast. I had to get away from that town."

If you haven't felt that, you haven't lived here.
A Good Time Waster

Economic concepts in Seinfeld.

Admits to being wrong about Kaepernick. He says "a lot of people were fooled."

Eh hem. Not me.

It will be interesting to see when Harbaugh leaves the Niners and the Niners cut Kaepernick, will he pick him up on the cheap. I highly doubt it. Harbaugh realized he made a mistake by tying his fortunes to Kap and ever since, there has been drama with the front office.

I don't think anyone believes Alex Smith is elite, but it was foolish to think "you can't win a Super Bowl with Alex Smith." First of all, the Super Bowl or bust line of thinking is for fools. Smart people focus on the process and a set of values and the results follow. Dumb people focus on the results first and try to take short cuts. And look at the Niners now. Perhaps Kap had that higher upside potential. But I believed Smith had earned the right to compete for a Super Bowl with the Niner team they had assembled. This was not Harbaugh's team -- it was a team Harbaugh took over with tremendous talent that was underperforming. He had elite players all over the place - Justin Smith, Navarro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Frank Gore, a loaded O-line, Vernon Davis, and an experienced QB who taught himself how to win football games when he had the right tools. In 2012, the Niners were the best team in the league and managed to lose against an inferior Ravens team because they got out gamed planned by a more experienced coach and neither Harbaugh nor Kaepernick were ready. I think Smith would've been more ready.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Ambition Explosion

In China.
Why Oh Why?

Kaepernick vs. Wilson and how Kap consistently makes bad plays from the pocket.

I've watched the Niners all year, know they stink, and yet I still picked them to win yesterday. I can't believe my own stupidity. They looked terrible in their last three games, but found ways to win against lousy opponents. I knew they were playing a good team this week and yet, out-thought myself because I haven't been impressed with Seattle this year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Student Mugged

Says he deserved it because of his privilege. 

Reminds me of the quote "A liberal is a man too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel.”

I also imagine his privilege isn't going to last very long. He will be desperate and poor in no time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I guess I basically agree with this.

As to the various talking points:

1. Never met anyone who thought "black lives don't matter."

2. Are the people protesting the Ferguson incident the same people who celebrated the OJ verdict? I dunno why these voices are worth listening to...frankly, they seem delusional.

3. I remember talking about race as a kid in school and it seems like it has become a much more difficult subject to talk about. In fact, I'd argue it is almost impossible to have a discussion about race these days that isn't complete nonsense. Here is an example. Hat tip, Andy.

The writer suggests 12 things white people can do about Ferguson. I'm only half white, so I suppose I can do 6.

1. Learn about the racialized history of Ferguson and how it reflects the racialized history of America. 

Uhhh....okay...but I also have the autobiography of Ulysses S. Grant on my nightstand and I'd like to read that first. Along with a biographies on Christopher Columbus, Mao, and Stalin, so I'll get to the racial history of Ferguson after I finish, you know, actual important historical books I want to read.

2. Reject the “he was a good kid” narrative and lift up the “black lives matter” narrative. 

Is this a narrative or just a statement of the obvious. See above.

3. Use words that speak the truth about the disempowerment, oppression, disinvestment and racism that are rampant in our communities. 

Yes, Big Brother.

4. Understand the modern forms of race oppression and slavery and how they are intertwined with policing, the courts and the prison industrial complex. 

I didn't know sentence could make me fall asleep.

5. Examine the interplay between poverty and racial equity. 

Did it. Done.

6. Diversify your media. 

This should actually read: read what I read and agree with me, since it is impossible to actually BE diverse, otherwise you'd spend all day reading.

7. Adhere to the philosophy of nonviolence as you resist racism and oppression. 


8. Find support from fellow white allies. 

Sure...although allies is kind of a strange word since you know, we're not nation-states, nor at war.

9. If you are a person of faith, look to your scriptures or holy texts for guidance. 


10. Don’t be afraid to be unpopular. 

Enjoy it, actually.

11. Be proactive in your own community. 


12. Don’t give up. 

Too late, I have.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Film: Interstellar

I think this might be my favorite Nolan film.
What Is Cinema?

Re-watched The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly last night. My favorite scene of the movie is above -- and it is a stark reminder of what cinema at the very essence. Cinema is not story. Cinema is not spectacle. Cinema is not entertainment. Fundamentally, Cinema is Movement. Characters, objects, and the camera moving through space is what separates cinema from the other forms which influence it, including music, stories, spectacle...
No Way To Handle It

There's a reason we have a judicial system -- because this court of public opinion is absurd. Maybe Cosby did all these horrible things - drugging and raping numerous vulnerable women. The number of women coming forward are hard to ignore. But is this the way to handle it? Public shaming about incidents happening 25-30 years ago? It strikes me as a terrible way to handle the situation both for Cosby, the victims, and the public at large. What I do not understand about these cases is how these victims don't come forward initially and demand justice. You see it over and over, but I cannot fathom being drugged and raped by someone and not going to the cops and saying: this mother-f-er drugged and raped me. I want him in jail. People will say he is powerful. Powerful? Who cares? And really, what power does he have? Money. Name me a single American who thinks because someone has money, they ought to get away with a crime. You will find none. This is our country, we rule it, and we make it what we want. And consider this as well -- the victims who didn't come forward and insist Cosby be brought to justice -- they bear at least some responsibility for the victims who came after them. So whatever shame and victimhood they feel, I think, is a poor excuse for shutting their mouthes when something could've been done about it instead of now coming forward in a gang wanting the lynch mob to publicly humiliate and take down the man.

Friday, November 21, 2014

I'll Just Cut and Paste the Whole Quote

From here.
“‘Social justice’ is an awkward term for an immensely important project, perhaps the most important project, which is to make the world a more equitable, fair, and compassionate place. But the project for social justice has been captured by an elite strata of post-collegiate, digitally-enabled children of privilege, who do not pursue that project as an end, but rather use it as a means with which to compete, socially and professionally, with each other. In that use, they value not speech or actions that actually result in a better world, but rather those that result in greater social reward, which in the digital world is obvious and explicit. That means that they prefer engagement that creates a) outrage and b) jokes, rather than engagement that leads to positive change. In this disregard for actual political success, they reveal their own privilege, as it’s only the privileged who could ever have so little regard for actual, material progress. As long as they are allowed to co-opt the movement for social justice for their own personal aggrandizement, the world will not improve, not for women, people of color, gay and transgender people, or the poor,” – Freddie DeBoer.
Ugly Chiefs Loss to the 0-10 Raiders

Plenty of blame to go around, so I'll start...

1. Game Plan and sticking with it the first half

The Chiefs ran basically the exact same plays they ran last week and the Raiders were ready for it. Charles Woodson in particular seemed to take delight in shadowing Jamaal Charles in the first half. The Raiders were denying the run and the screen passes. Why the Chiefs didn't see this right away and take some shots downfield is completely puzzling to me, especially the way the refs call PI now. I actually think the rain in some way benefits the offense because the slippery field is difficult to cut and react to pass routes.

In the second half, down 17-3, they finally opened it up and quickly scored 2 TDs. Why they didn't see this earlier is puzzling.

2. Parker

The Chiefs have one MAJOR liability: their cornerback Parker. Two weeks ago, he was the defensive player of the week and now, I basically think he deserves to get cut. He jumped about 3 times on balls, none of which he intercepted or broke up, resulting in long pass catches and the final TD. Horrible, horrible plays. And they were playing the Raiders. He was also getting beat against the Seahawks. These are terrible passing teams. Peyton Manning is going to eat him alive. A better corner and the Chiefs win that game. They don't do a PI on third and long. They don't give up huge pass plays to a crap team like the Raiders. He's given up PI 3rd and long first down plays two weeks in a row now. You simply cannot win like that.

3. Alex Smith cannot run the 2 minute drill

For a normally intelligent quarterback, Smith cannot for the life of him run the 2 minute drill. I've seen him with a tremendous number of opportunities over his career and he is simply not good at it. I'd even say bad. I thought earlier this year he did run it well against Denver and just couldn't get it in the end zone. Why don't these guys just go watch old Joe Montana footage? The drill is simple. You need to get yards on first down. The defense will give you easy throws. Make quick decisions before taking a shot downfield. Smith often throws incomplete passes on 1st down, tries to do too much, holds onto the ball too long. Use the running back, especially when you have Charles. Just do swing passes and pick up 8 or 9 yards and then get up quickly and run another play. You get these yards on first and don't worry about the clock yet because your enemy in the first half of the 2min drill is the downs -- and the enemy towards the end of the drill is the clock. Smith worries too much about the clock right away, I think, or maybe worries about the yards. Anyhow, he is bad and needs work on this.

4. Not Scoring That 4th Quarter TD

The Chiefs were at the Oakland 12 on first down tied 17-17. They needed to score a TD there, midway through the 4th quarter. They ran shitty plays and couldn't get it in, and scored a FG. That was the one time in the game they had momentum and they couldn't put them away.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What Am I Even Doing?

I've seen shockingly few of these best of 2014 movies.
9/11 and Power

I'm coming around to the POV that America basically overreacted to 9/11.

I'd still like to point out, I don't agree with the liberal position against the Iraq war and that it was essentially about oil. I still believe it was about 9/11 and facing the threat of Islamic Terrorism as a region problem in the Middle East. And maybe there was someone out there talking about Islamic Terrorism smartly at the time, but I followed the debate closely, and don't remember it. Today, I feel like Al Queda essentially got lucky on 9/11 and it wasn't necessary for America to try and shake up the region to contain and combat the threat. But you gotta remember, we were scared and had every reason to believe -- and still should -- that Al Queda and like minded groups want to use WMDs against us. So, we made a mistake. But the thing about mistakes is that often you can't know they were mistakes until they were made...
Jamal Charles

A good piece on Charles. Since I can't stand how the Niners play, I've taken to watching the Chiefs and Alex Smith play the last couple years. So I've watched Charles play a lot. If you hear Charles speak, he does not come across as smart. In fact, he sounds outright dumb and borderline unintelligible at times. Which is strange because if you watch him play, he is one of the most intelligent running backs I've ever seen run.

This seems small, but he almost always knows when to go out of bounds and when to stay inbounds. So many players and coaches mismanage the clock in football games. How many times have you seen a player try to get four extra yards when there is under a minute to play and the team needs the valuable time and timeouts to get a final score? Or the opposite, when a guy goes out of bounds to avoid a hit when his team is running out the clock? Both happens all the time. I've noticed Charles always make the right decision.

Also, Charles does an incredible job with spacial awareness -- spotting holes that split second before everyone else and uses his speed to get through them. In contrast, watch a back like Trent Richardson run -- or even Knile Davis on the same team -- they almost never see the same holes Charles sees. For a smaller back, he goes between the tackles quite a bit, and effectively.

There was a run last week where Charles broke through into the secondary and then decided to move almost completely laterally. The move ended up doing nothing, because he got tackled, however it was an incredibly intelligent thing to do that you almost never see a running back do because he knew the space had run out and he tried to create more for himself by moving sideways. He is going to do something like that again and it'll end up being a touchdown.

Also, he doesn't not take punishing hits for a running back. Smart players know when they are going to take a hit and try and avoid it. This is probably the number one reason Charles, over other RBs his size and speed, is so successful.

Last week, Charles had a fumble, blamed himself on the play and immediately said, next time, I'm just going down. In contrast to a player like Kaepernick who lies and bumbles about the mistakes he makes during games (dumb penalties - he lies, misreading coverages - he says he'd do the same thing over again). To me, this is a sign of deep intelligence and understanding of the game, when you make a mistake, you b) immediately know it is a mistake and b) own up to it. Note: owning up to it is also a sign of character, but intelligence and character are not mutually exclusive and may even reinforce one another.

At any rate, the article talks a little bit about his learning disability, which explains somewhat how he comes across in interviews - slow. But if anything, I would say that reveals a bias in my estimation of a person's intellect, because it is obvious to me Charles is among the smarter offensive minds in the league. There is a reason he is the all time leader in yards per run at 5.5. At the end of his career, we might be making an argument for his as one of the best runners of all time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I Think This Is Rather Obvious

From Andrew Sullivan:
You can understand how we got here, of course. For far too long, girls and women were second-class citizens, marginalized, frustrated, punished, and denied the possibility of advancement. But a visit to any American college campus today will show how far we have come from those pernicious days. Instead, we are arguably at the beginning of a different crisis—a crisis of the American male. Until we find a way for men to chart a course that is not dependent on the subjugation of women and yet is unmistakably their own, that crisis will continue.
And Western feminists not only don't care about this issue, but are openly hostile and condescending to the notion. This is why their positions hold no weight on moral grounds and are better understood as attempts to gain power.

Film: The Fugitive

They don't make them like they used to. The wife and I rewatched this great film and she screams at the TV "that's a real train!" during the near-beginning action sequence. Ahhhh. Film. How low we have come that this is now a historical curiosity. I know making films is hard, but why can't Hollywood generate one film on par with The Fugitive each year. It seems reasonable, does it not? Just one. And it is not like this is some avant garde, dream-like request. This is just a simple action-chase film with good characters and people love it. Strange.

A thought on rewatching -- doesn't the bad guy plot actually make no sense whatsoever? Why the hell would the head cardiologist at a hospital decide to kill Richard Kimble? So the drug company could sell shitty drugs to doctors around the country? Does a head cardiologist really need extra money? And why did he try to kill Richard Kimble? Kimble hadn't even figured it out yet. I only bring this up because IT DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER. The great acting, the chases, the fun dialog, the cat and mouse, and Tommy Lee Jones all make it irrelevant.

A couple years ago, I rewatched and didn't care for the use of flashbacks. Now, I've lessoned my stance on such things...the filmmaking is a bit dated since the B&W, etc was copped by Law & Order, etc...but the film is all about tension. They milk tension in every single little section of the film and the flashbacks contribute to it. Two excellent, small moments in the film - Kimble at the hospital where a cop is looking for him. They introduce this random cop character looking for Kimble right after he's shaved and changed his clothes. They bump into each other in the hall and have a little exchange. They milk some excellent tension out a scene that in other movies, our hero just grabs clothes and cuts his beard. Another great tension builder is towards the end in the subway. Kimble is riding and he sees this greasy looking El Salvadorian guy reading a tabloid where his picture is on the back page. Kimble and we see the picture, the greasy El Salvadorian doesn't...yet...he flips the paper around casually and then looks over at Kimble and gets skittish. He leaves his seat to go find a cop, meanwhile, the one-armed man boards the subway (already set up that he is after Kimble). Chaos and fight ensue, but this added layer of tension creates a very gripping scene that in other movies just might amount to a dumb chase between 2 guys.

Musical: Kinky Boots

I enjoyed. I don't know why I like musicals so much. Perhaps because they seem so different from my interests and I know so little about how they are made and designed, I can just sit back in awe at the creativity and joyousness. The story was good, the musical numbers not as catchy as the best ones. I like to go to the big award winning ones about once a year.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chiefs and Niners

Niners get 5 ints from Eli Manning and manage 16 points. The Niners are winning because their defense is playing amazing, but their offense is anemic.

The Chiefs are straight up good.

Film: Inherent Vice

It seems Birdman has competition for worst film of the year. This is an incoherent, unfunny mess and the only question for me is whether auteur filmmakers are betraying the audience or whether the audience betray them by offering only unfettered praise for whatever they dish out, like undisciplined parents with insufferable children.

PTA is regressing as a filmmaker. Forget the mess of script, the direction isn't even good in this film. Just long scenes of characters talking in close up. The acting is serious and perhaps good, as are the costumes and makeup and some good Neil Young songs, but who really cares?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Weekly (Or Maybe Even Yearly) Highlight

My email got in Bill Simmons mailbag.
 Q: Since 2011 and the arrival of Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco, did you know Alex Smith is 33-15-1 as a starter in regular season games against the spread? That’s a .687 win percentage! By comparison, over the last three years, Manning is .601, Wilson .601, Brady .536., and Luck .675. How are you guys not all over this? —Greg Johnson 
 BS: And he always needed a nickname! Now he has one — The Coverer. Good Lord, did I do enough to jinx the Chiefs minus-2 yet? Let’s just move on.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Not That Kind of Sexual Predator

Brilliant article. Hat tip, Andy.

The best part:
My main beef with modern leftism isn’t even that it’s rooted in the stupid idea of equality but that it lives, breathes, and gains succor and strength through the most unabashed sort of hypocrisy I’ve ever seen, and I thought I’d seen ’em all. Modern feminists of the unforgivably overprivileged Jezebel ilk—the sort of white girls who hate being white yet loooooove being girls—twist their labia in knots over the sorts of trifling “microaggressions” and “shaming” behaviors which are so insubstantial that an electron microscope couldn’t detect them, yet their entire platform consists of attempting to lob nuclear shame-bombs at men. For all they wail about male “sexism”—and that’s ALL THEY FUCKING DO—nearly every word out of their yaps is a hate-dart aimed to degrade, humiliate, and demoralize men.
"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

Is it just me or does Samantha Power sound exactly like Donald Rumsfeld?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Kobe Breaks a Record

Most missed shots in NBA history. Sounds rights.

Film: The Hunter

On DVD, with Steve McQueen. Saw it because I just visited Chicago and there is a famous scene where a car drives out of a corn-cob looking building into the Chicago river. I feel like the director screwed up the shot by not getting it wider. Anyway, I miss jazzy scores and shooting with stars on real locations in films. Today, it would all be special effected up. The movie isn't great, but got me in the mood to re-watch Dirty Harry.

Film: Theory of Everything

First sequence was okay, but as a whole, a very lacking film. There was no science! I got zero sense of the most brilliant physicist on the planet actually does day to day. I got no sense of the challenges or frustrations with his work, of which, there must be many. He wasn't just born a genius. Instead, the movie is basically about a divorce, about as boring a subject as one could conjure, I imagine.

Film: Nightcrawler

Almost a really good film. Jake Gyllenhaal has found his calling: playing an emaciated sociopath. He was brilliant. His hands, eyes, and smile were overly large and freakish. He could fit into a circus. The red Challenger floating around Los Angeles at night like a shark. The violence of pointing the camera at people. So much potential. But...

...the music was awful. Distracting. Overly ironic. Cheap. The scenes that failed the movie were the long ones -- the two when the characters closest to Gyllenhaal realize he is a sociopath. Renee Russo would've walked out of the restaurant. His shooting partner, gotten out of the car and left. They weren't that desperate. They didn't really need him. Gyllenhaal was creepy, not seductive. He wasn't the devil, he was a serial killer. The writer couldn't get out of the scenes. The movie had to continue, so the characters stayed. But they were not driving the story. Later, the car chase at the end was a huge mistake if you ask me. It was beyond obvious. It is what a third rate producer would call for in a story meeting. They were making an 8 million dollar tiny-ass movie. The movie could've ended in the restaurant. Why blow their wad? Relative to their budget, this was like their train sequence in the Lone Ranger, the exploding bridge in River Kwai. But in those movies, we've built towards this cinematic extravaganzas. Here, it was nothing but a de rigueur chase. Everything that happens afterwards is unnecessary and repetitive. Meaningless. And this is why it is almost a good film.
Hate Crimes

On where the logic of "hate crimes" leads.

I don't see a hole in the justice system that "hate crimes" fill.

Keep your 2 cents and take your own advice! *hits whip dance* #IDontGetTired #WhoDoYouLove #Se7enPounds

A photo posted by colin kaepernick (@kaepernick7) on

Here is our franchise QB boasting after going 14-32 and not being able to generate any offense in the entire 2nd half except for a freak 51 yard down 4th and 10 breakdown play. The Saints gave us the last game. I can't stand watching this team.
I Believe Someone Wrote a Song About This

Jack Ma says being the richest man in the world makes him unhappy.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Very Thoughtful And Probably Right

A new theory explains why neighboring countries invade one another: elites worry about the domestic attraction of the neighbors political institutions.

It certainly applies to Russia-Ukraine.

If this turns out to be right - and it makes complete sense - it explains why many of our Middle East policies fail -- or at least run into furious opposition and often incite wars.

The lesson is you probably should play to win or not get involved at all.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Thank You!

Sal Paolantonio goes on Cowherd and says the Niners made the wrong choice at QB with Kaepernick AND Kaepernick blew the Ravens Super Bowl.

He watches tape and he's right.

If feminism is all about choices, what about this research that women choose to pay themselves less than men for better life balance?

Suggests there may be other reasons for the gender pay gap than misogyny...
Pretty Bad

Obama wrote Khamenei himself for help battling ISIS in exchange for a nuclear deal.

Yikes. As a conceptual idea, this isn't terrible, but you do it through State Department proxies, not leader to leader with the Ayatollahs. Jeez, that's clumsy.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Skip Bayless Speculates Correctly

Bayless thinks Harbaugh is gone next year because Harbaugh doesn't think Colin Kaepernick is the guy.

My position on Kaepernick is incredibly well documented here at Public Musings and if I am correct, it will be one of my best calls ever, since the entire sports world disagreed with me and the sports media continues to cover for Kaepernick. I swear every article I read about the Niners meltdown involves blaming Greg Roman, the offensive line, the coaching, the front office and not a single one takes the position that Kaepernick is the problem. Kaepernick is the problem!!! There is massive cognitive dissonance happening here -- Kaepernick gets better treatment in the sports media than Obama gets from the liberal media.

I would argue Kaepernick hasn't regressed at all. He hasn't changed much as a QB. He got incredibly lucky at the beginning of his career and had few spectacular games that were widely watched. This often happens when a new QB subs in for an old QB because the teams have not game planned for the new QB. (see Nick Foles, Michael Vick, Mark Sanchez right now, Josh McCown, Matt Flynn, all these guys were the toast of the town for a few weeks) Yes, Kap has a specific skill set -- he can throw deep down the field well and he can run. When he first came into the league, defenses were not prepared for the Niners to do either of those things. Some teams didn't have the personnel (Packers), others didn't have the scheme. But this was -- and remains -- a gimmick. Kaepernick was never good at reading defenses, making decisions, running through his progressions, or throwing anything but fastballs. His throws have no touch. And he is not a leader. His incompetence is rubbing off on teammates. His erratic decision making makes it difficult for others to get in synch with him. Crabtree, Boldin, Davis, Gore are all having WORSE seasons than in previous years. The only receiver doing okay this year is Stevie Johnson -- a new receiver. That is strange. Good players develop chemistry over time. The Niners are developing the opposite of chemistry -- Kap is the cancer spreading to the rest of the team and the poor playing is exposing the problems between the front office and Harbaugh.

Meanwhile, look at what Alex Smith is doing over in Kansas City. KC shit the bed in the first game, played the most difficult schedule in the league over 8 games, and is 5-3 with a plus 62 point differential (4th best in the league). They have worse personnel at every single offensive position than the 49ers except Jamal Charles (no little thing), and yet, are playing better right now. Their run game is solid - even without Charles - and after losing 3 offensive lineman in the off-season. Why? Because Alex Smith knows how to get his offense into advantageous positions to run whereas Kaepernick does not. This is a process of outthinking the opponent. Peyton does it the best, which is why, despite being slow and uncoordinated, he never takes sacks.

Anyhow - the Niners will continue to regress with Kap at quarterback. It is a very safe bet.

UPDATE: An example of the media bias in favor of Kap -- just saw this article talking about Kap's historic season. The Niners are playing like shit and they're talking about Kap's impressive stats. Ugh.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Right Wing Conspiracy

Lena Dunham accuses Right Wing nutjobs of...quoting her?

Some feminist makes an interesting point:
Like Caitlin Moran, Lena Dunham exists in that vapid and overly-self-conscious niche of mainstream feminism where the overwhelming concern is white women, their problems, their lives, and much talk and examination of the size and shape of and feelings about their bodies. It’s all very surface-level feminism. Lots of talk about accepting your body and being able to have the kind of sex you want, not much about the lives and experiences of anybody outside their demographic, accompanied by the assumption that of COURSE we must all be interested. It’s light, it’s easily digestible. And when we are in that nook, that warm little wrinkle of surface-level feminism that focuses on the “me me me”, it can become escapism. Liberating on an individual level, for sure, empowering even, but ultimately it’s for the individual and not for the collective. And so what do white feminists repeatedly do when their go-to feminists of the comfortable escapism variety mess up? We keep ignoring it, letting it go, moving on, chalking it up to a misunderstanding.
I find it hard to distinguish between feminism and complaining.

Monday, November 03, 2014

She Trafficks In This

Lena Dunham upset over accusations she molested her sister, which she writes about in her book.
Dunham writes of casually masturbating while in bed next to her younger sister, of bribing her with “three pieces of candy if I could kiss her on the lips for five seconds . . . anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl I was trying.” At one point, when her sister is a toddler, Lena Dunham pries open her vagina — “my curiosity got the best of me,” she offers, as though that were an explanation. “This was within the spectrum of things I did.”
Little kids do weird things. But what's not cool is the adult gleefully sharing this stuff to sell books. Then again, this is what Dunham does. She over-shares, solicits outrage, disgust, and any sort of emotion she can wrangle in order to make the discussion about her.

What I don't like about her and her fans is that she is a child of privilege who plays the victim. Strike that. What I don't like about her is that she plays the victim.

Sunday, November 02, 2014


Kaepernick on his fumble to end the game today:
"I know I crossed the line. I was looking into the end zone," Kaepernick said.
No. You lead your supposedly "explosive" offense to 10 points against a sad sack 2-5 team. The problem is Kaepernick. We have weapons everywhere.
The Chiefs and Football

Just saw DeAnthony Thomas return a kick off about 70 yards. I don't see why Thomas and players like him are not more valued in the NFL. The guy was a 4th round draft choice, but every game he plays, he makes at least one big play. Percy Harvin, DeAnthony Thomas, Sproles -- these type of guys are rare-- not every team has one -- and yet, teams regularly let them go, draft them in the late rounds, or, in the case of Harvin, trade for a 6th round pick. As far as I can tell, these guys are amongst the most valuable on the field.

One of my favorite cities in America, although I've never lived there through a winter. Very decent, intelligent people. Spectacular architecture. Great food. The entire place seems sensible compared to Los Angeles -- the city exits because of the river and the gigantic water supply of Lake Michigan. The streets make sense. The buildings make sense. The transportation make sense. Look beyond the beaches and Los Angeles is a strange, not entirely logical, place. One could more accurately consider Los Angeles more a series of villages than a city at all.

Film: Guardians of the Galaxy

Watched on the plane. Probably the best Marvel film, which isn't saying much. All the usual idiocy of chasing orbs and nerd crap, but the heart and humor won me over in a few parts. I appreciated the filmmakers generally not taking the whole thing too seriously. All that said, I'm sure a week from now, I'll forget I even saw the movie.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wishful Thinking and Corporate Greed vs. Nature

Lost in the egg freezing discussion. The facts.
We’ve since been led to believe that science has mastered Mother Nature. This is not true. I know. I am a former patient of three clinics in the Bay area, all of which were happy to sell me services as long as I could pay the bill. I had multiple fresh and frozen embryo transfers. Instead of taking home a baby, I came away with tremendous heartache. And my experience is not unique. Around the world, there are an estimated 1.5 million IVF procedures each year, and 1.2 million fail.
The article says egg freezing is the "Wild West" of medicine.

Personally, I think American women are continually being sold a lot bullshit under the banner of "Having It All and Leaning In, etc."

Film: Birdman

Que pasa?!? I must be totally out of it, because this movie was not good. First of all, it is supposed to be a dark comedy or a comedy of some sort. I laughed maybe once. I was bored. I wanted the thing to be over. My mind remembered during the movie, oh yeah, I never like Iñárritu movies.

Let's talk about the main flaw: writing! The dialog and drama in this film is terrible and borderline incompetent. Naomi Watts has this line "God, why don't I have any self respect!" right after she stood up for herself and told Ed Norton off for acting like a piece of shit. It made no sense.

Several characters give unprompted speeches about the past. Dull. Very dull. Inarritu's dramatic instincts are pure melodrama and the only thing that distinguishes his films from soap opera is the flamboyant direction and inclusion of massive ACTORS ACTING REALLY SERIOUSLY.

The discussion of Superhero movies in the culture was about as interesting as Superhero movies themselves. Is real life Michael Keaton really haunted about playing Batman? Or any of these actors who played a silly role in the past? Do I think Val Kilmer sits around lamenting his star has fallen and worried about doing "'real art"? I doubt it. I bet they think about incidents in their past much like most people think about incidents of their past -- "oh yeah, that's who I was then, huh. Isn't that kinda funny to think about. What do I feel like eating for lunch?"

Anyways...I just heard a lot of praise and buzz for the film, which just goes to show the culture of movie criticism sucks just as much as the movies themselves these days. Maybe more.
Bill Maher, Again

The guy is talking sensibly. Who would've guessed.
BILL MAHER: You know what else I find disturbing is that everybody in America just sides with their own people and doesn't look at the facts. The cops, I saw on the news a couple of weeks ago, were wearing bracelets or something that said, "I am Darren Wilson." Why do you want to throw your lot in with this plain murderer? 
And Michael Brown's people. I'm sorry, but Michael Brown's people say he is a gentle giant. Well, we saw of when he was in that 7-11. No, he wasn't a gentle giant. He was committing a robbery and he pushed that guy. He was acting like a thug, not a gentle giant. He certainly didn't deserve to be shot for it.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Puzzling Team

The 49ers are a puzzling team. A few reasons to be optimistic:

1. They've played a super tough schedule and handed both the Cowboys and Eagles their only losses.

2. They will be getting significant help on the defense back later in the year - Bowman, Smith, Willis, and some secondary injuries.

3. They will have an easier schedule from here on out.

A few reasons to be pessimistic:

1. Only one win - the Rams - was dominating and impressive and even in that game, they fell behind.

2. They've been lucky so far -- getting the Eagles when they were decimated by injuries, the Cowboys right before they figured out their identity, and won a toss up game against Kansas City. They could easily be 3-4 or even 2-5.

Who knows.

Online Dating

"It's a classic tale of boy-meets-girl, girl-tries-to-break-into-boy's-house-through-the-chimney. Firefighters came to the aid of Genoveva Nunez-Figueroa, 28, after she became lodged in the flue at the Thousand Oaks, Calif., home of a man she said she met online."

Full story.

Book: The Good Spy by Kai Bird

Fantastic book for those interested in the modern Middle East. The Israelis sure did a lot of damage to themselves by isolating, and at times killing, moderates in the Palestinian cause. And the development of Hezbollah can be traced to the meddling of Israel in Lebanon. I can't figure out if Israeli's policies are:

1) Very cynical and worked to prevent a legitimate Palestinian state.
2) Necessarily tough in an unforgiving neighborhood
3) Incredibly stupid and short sighted and a causal factor in the radicalization of the Muslim world

Maybe all three.

Film: We're the Millers

Okay, so I didn't watch the movie, but I came home from Rage and the wife was watching and I caught the end. She didn't like it and nor did I in the few bits I saw. So the premise is Jennifer Aniston is a stripper, Emma Roberts is a homeless girl, and Jason Sudeikis is a pot dealer. Not that I have a ton of familiarity with strippers, pot dealers, and homeless people, but it strikes me that none of these people were well cast. I know its easy to jump on movies that don't work -- but this movie seemed particularly "off" in just the few bits I saw. It bore no relationship to life. It seemed like a vehicle for "crazy stuff to happen" with an arbitrary lesson learned by the protagonist so that the filmmakers could feel like they were making a movie. Really awful stuff. Also, the movie looked like bad television. I had just seen Rage and it was not a well directed film. Camera was in strange places at times, the transitions were inelegant, story beats were inserted and never paid off, and there were ridiculous, unmotivated slow-motion shots. But at least the movie was trying. It was experimenting with direction, unsuccessfully. But "We're the Millers" was like watching a football team going out and playing to not get humiliated and being okay losing, whereas at least Rage was trying to win, even if they got their asses kicked. I dunno if that analogy makes any sense.

Film: Rage

A film starring and directed by George C. Scott. His son is poisoned by the army testing nerve gas and he goes on a rampage. Movie was a bit slow for my taste - I almost fell asleep during a few points - but there were a couple awesome moments. One, George C. Scott kills a cat. Two, he blows up a research facility using dynamite and the explosions last for a minute or two. The other standout element of the film is that George C. Scott just brazenly murders security guards and cops who had nothing to do with his son's death. It was strange to see. Ah...B-movies. Oh yeah, this screened at the New Bev.

Monday, October 20, 2014

No Mistakes

An article about Alex Smith's mistake-free game against the Chargers.

The article mentions two drops, but another huge costly wideout mistake was AJ Jenkins somehow stepping out of bounds with the entire field open in front of him for an easy touchdown. Horrible play and there reason Jenkins can barely get on the field.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


I love how all the Sunday Night Football announcers can talk about is Kaepernick's talent. The team is behind 42-10, getting their ass kicked, and they're admiring the strength of his arm. The position is quarterback, not who can throw the football the fastest. Although the loss isn't totally Kap's fault, everyone knew the defense would struggle early in the year and the offense was supposed to be more explosive to compensate. I do not see it.
Why Football Is Awesome

Seattle-Rams game today featured two incredible special teams plays by the Rams. Just now, the Rams pulled a fake punt way back in their own territory to maintain possession and not let Russell Wilson get the ball back to tie the game. I absolutely loved the call. Gutsy, creative, brilliant. That's one thing football has over other games like basketball, baseball, soccer -- the strategic element. Basketball and soccer flow and there are tactics used by teams, but rarely can you see a team pull off a strategic decision that literally "fools" the other team completely. Same in baseball. There are trick plays in all of the sports -- but none of them generally involve one team completely faking out the other team. When it works, it is a beautiful thing.

The other play was something I've never seen before. A punt in the first half. The punt returner totally fakes out the coverage team by running to the opposite side of the field to where the ball was punted. The coverage team follows the returner, not where the ball is punted. Meanwhile, one of outside "blockers" sprints back and catches the punt. He turns up field and runs for a TD while the coverage team was on the other side of the field. Unbelievable.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bill Maher

Is it just me, or is he making a lot more sense these days?

He's coming down more on the side of common sense.
To Accept or Reject a Prize

Camus accepted and Satre rejected the Nobel prize. Each had his reasons.

Film: Fury

A few good scenes -- meaty, long, men-talking scenes. As a whole, however, only ok. Action sequences were not particularly interesting and at times bordered on ridiculous, super-hero-esque. I didn't particularly like the scenes inside the tank -- obviously the space is cramped and there's a reason they are fewer movies filmed in tanks as opposed to submarines.

Shia LaBeouf was quite good, surprisingly. Actually, most of the actors, except the lead, delivered solid performances.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Work, Work, Work

Facebook and Apple will help female employees freeze their eggs.

McArdle has a good point that parenting isn't necessarily going to become easier in ones 40s and 50s than in the 20s and 30s. The other thing that bugs me about the whole debate is the portrayal of having children as this terrible burden and career-blocker. I imagine most of the folks in the position to take advantage of freezing their eggs are high-achieving and self-described ass-kicking individuals -- and yet they somehow find it difficult to manage kids and work -- something literally every mother on the planet somehow managed before them. I know having kids can be hard and expensive, but those are all decisions we've made for ourselves. I think what does this really boils down to is upper middle class obsessions about money, status, and delaying adulthood for as long as possible.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Film: Harry Brown

Now that was like a 70s flick. Could easily be paired with Rolling Thunder or the original Get Carter. Or hell, even Rambo. Not profound, but quite a good little film. Also, you get to see Davos Seaworth, Jorah Mormont, and Walder Frey all before their Game of Thrones fame...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Simple Answers

Fukuyama believes 9/11 was a "lucky blow" and Islamic Terrorism is full of  "really marginal people who survive in countries where you don’t have strong states . . . Their ability to take over and run a serious country that can master technology and stay at the forefront of great-power politics is almost zero,” he says now.

If you believe simple answers are usually right, I'd say he is.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

It's Good To Be Seinfeld

Seinfeld shits on the advertising award he wins.

"I hope you're happy that you made me happy for the five minutes until I walk to the edge of the stage and it hits me that this is all a bunch of nonsense."

Someday someone will have the balls to do this at the Oscars. And I don't know if that will be a good day or a bad day.

Films: Gone Girl and Charlie's Country

Are movies supposed to give the audience pleasure?

I didn't enjoy either film. Charlie's Country was boring. It confuses the dramatic tradition of tragedy with a victim-narrative, that is, one of those stories where the main character is a victim of a fallen, shitty world. This is not drama. This is a polemic.

Gone Girl is a mess. The characters, foolish. Was this supposed to be a satire? The whole thing is so completely ridiculous, I am tempted to enjoy it on a spoof-razzie level. But I don't think the filmmakers intended it that way. I actually have no idea what the filmmakers intended. A comedy? A horror? A thriller? A procedural? I wasn't bored during the movie, but I wasn't enjoying it, either. The dialog in the opening scenes were a giveaway -- some of the worst movie writing in history -- I had no idea what either character was saying or alluding to or what the hell was supposed to be happening. And then the various twists. I don't want to expend the mental energy to poke holes in the entire exercise. All I can say is that Fincher has an ability to create tension with the camera simply by a character opening a door, but in the guy's recent work, the narrative storytelling seems to have regressed to the level of TV and Lifetime movies. Narratively speaking, The Social Network is a TV movie, Gone Girl is a Lifetime movie, and House of Cards is a daytime soap opera. The only difference is the presence of movie stars and heavy-duty craft.

Although thinking back, maybe Se7en is really just a straight-to-DVD movie idea with the same elements.
Niners-Chiefs Game

Best game the Niners played all year. Harbaugh outcoached Andy Reid. Alex Smith couldn't deliver a final TD scoring drive. Chiefs blew the game if you ask me -- a few important dropped passes and costly penalties. I can't tell if the both the Niners and Chiefs are good, or whether they are both mediocre. Either way, they seem pretty evenly matched. I'd still take Smith over Kaepernick.

It looks like ESPN is planting stories in the media to discredit Bill Simmons and Grantland.

Nevertheless, I can see why Grantland's readership isn't growing. Nothing on the site is edited. Bill Barnwell writes endless, tedious columns. Simmons is a better writer and content creator than editor/leader of a site.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Nothing If Not Entertaining

I had to go somewhere during the 6th inning of last night's A's-Royals Wild Card Playoff game. I recorded the rest. I left when Moss jacked his second home run of the night and felt awesome. 5-3, Lester pitching. We were hitting Shields. Felt like the game was ours. I come home, having received a few texts indicating something went wrong. I love the recorded sports game, but hate this element of texting, which ruins anything truly surprising from happening. No texts means nothing exciting. If something crazy happens, a text comes.

Still, I watch the recording. 7-3 in the eighth inning. Are you kidding? The game is over. And then, the game turned into a little league game. The A's couldn't throw out a single basestealer. The pressure started mounting. Tension up the ying yang. Panic. My recording ran out of space in 11th inning. I didn't even get to see what happened. I watched Sportscenter.

Another absolutely brutal post-season loss for the A's. This type of loss defines the Billy Beane era. There's a special irony in being defeated by basestealing, a practice Beane openly shuns as pointless to success in baseball.
James argued that offensive statistics like on-base percentage and slugging percentage were undervalued while offensive statistics like batting average and stolen bases were overvalued.
Okay, maybe he doesn't totally shun it, but he doesn't subscribe to it much.

Nevertheless, the game was awesome. Totally exciting and sloppy and best of all, a reminder that the whole thing is just a game and supposed to be fun. Joyous, guilt-free entertainment.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Reminder of the pleasures of baseball.
Incredible Movie Trailers

Taken3. This will be my favorite franchise until it ends.

After thinking about it and reading about it, ESPNs suspension of Bill Simmons reeks of deep corruption.

I heard the podcast live and thought nothing of it. Simmons calling Goodell a liar. Big deal! The entire liberal establishment called George Bush a liar about the War in Iraq. None of them got suspended. And the irony is that Bush didn't lie about WMDs. The intel was bad. And chances are, Goodell knew about the tape or purposefully didn't want to know. What a joke. I was hoping for his commentary on the Patriots meltdown. ESPN probably did him a favor.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Chiefs, No Joke

Boy, that was a whupping put down on the Pats. Maybe the Pats stink, but the Chiefs have played three good games in a row now, thumping Miami and almost beating Denver. They need to figure out clock management in the last few minutes because at the end of the half, they completely screwed up a situation to score another touchdown (not that they needed it).

Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis are easily now the best 1-2 running back punch in the league. Charles or Shady McCoy are probably the best runners in the league now that Peterson is gone. And Davis is FAST for a bigger guy. He popped through a hole early in the game and tore off a 48 yard run -- that was impressive. And they discovered this new tight end -- they are looking sharp on offense. If Donny Avery can stop dropping the ball (he usually does, but not tonight), they will continue to be a dynamic team.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Book: The Rare Coin Score by Richard Stark

The introduction of Claire. A good one -- could be made into a small movie.

Logging: The Two Faces of January

A perfectly decent film. (emphasis on decent)

In my opinion, Kirstin Dunst is not attractive enough to inspire jealously amongst these two men and it was not a particularly impressive Viggo Mortenson performance. I will give him points for playing a different type of character, however.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Shocking Statistic

Before last Sunday, Patrick Willis was only called for five accepted penalties in his career.

One of the bright spots watching the Niners this year has been Willis. He's playing awesome and is a joy to watch. The last couple years, he's been a little overshadowed by the play of Bowman, but this year is a nice reminder of how good a player (and person) Patrick Willis is.

The other bright spots this year:

1. Justin Smith showing no signs of age.
2. Carlos Hyde looking a little dangerous
3. Stevie Johnson looking like a good possession receiver

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Nudge Policies

Cass Sunstein and Barak Obama want the government to "nudge" people into good behavior. I, on the other hand, think the people ought to "nudge" the government into good behavior. After all, it was the US government conducting nudge policies which got us into the financial crisis (ie pushing home ownership to those who couldn't afford it) and the Iraq war (help revolutionize Middle East politics).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

N Word

Kap used the n word, which is why he got flagged against the Bears. Note: I predicted this when it happened.

Several things:

1. I get a lot of NFL players will say things like this in the scrum, but its still a dumb thing for a QB to say.

2. But even dumber is to shine on a light on it by lying and protesting the flag. This is the behavior of an immature 17-year-old, not a leader. If you are stupid and get a penalty like this, keep your mouth shut and learn not to do it again. Don't lie and say you didn't do it.


Cartoon: Lego Movie

Didn't like the beginning or end, but middle was clever at times and had a few good jokes. Kinda-somewhat-meta-and-original.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Film: A Walk Among the Tombstones

Creepy movie. Almost a horror film. Some of the casting isn't great. Could've used a little more levity in spots. But overall, I still enjoyed.

I want Kaepernick's press agent. ESPN blogs he had a good game when he leads the team to score a whopping 14 points and loses to Arizona. The press coverage on Kaepernick is completely absurd. It was from day one. Why does the Niner run game stink under Kaepernick. When Smith was QB, we had the best rushing team in the league. Over in KC, Jamal Charles, arguably the best running back in the league gets hurt, they lose three offensive lineman, and this guy, Knile Davis steps in and is running for 100 yards a game and over 4 yards a carry. Explain.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Weird Play

Watching the Niner game and the Niners just converted a 4th and short. Before the play, Gore was whispering to Kaepernick. I think Gore is helping Kaepernick read the defense.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

How Gangs Took Over Prisons

In California. Good article. I'd argue, bad penal policies.
Capitalism, Past Its Prime

TV makers are pushing 4K television in homes. I predict this fizzles like 3D TV. Does anyone honestly think we need higher resolution than HD? Absurd.

As far as I can tell, companies are spending an incredible amount of resources creating crap to push on consumers. The computer companies are pushing consumers towards buying new computers. That's really all iPhone and iPads and tablets and iWatch and various "wearable" stuff is. More computers. Software and Internet companies are pushing consumers to spend more time facing their screens to attract ad revenue. That's it. They want content and games and eyeballs.

All of this is crap. This is not technology to substantially improve the lives of people. It does not inspire wonder. It does not advance human understanding. It is, in my opinion, a lot of waste.

There are major questions about the future that need answering (some bigger than others):

1. Can human life survive a catastrophic event such as an astroid, nuclear war, or a major solar eclipse, sunspot, etc?

2. Can the West successfully subdue barbarian movements around the world (most notably in the Islamic world)?

3. Can the earth sustain continued population growth and development of 3rd world countries?

4. Can we contain the skyrocketing costs of higher education and health care?

Those are just a few. And it strikes me, new technology could be useful towards solving many of these things. And yet, we're spending a tremendous amount of time, resources, and energy making crap. We don't get those resources back.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Kaepernick's Reads Aren't Right

From the Press Democrat:
A reporter asked Kaepernick if he felt he was in control of his game. Kaepernick’s response: “I’m not going to say I felt good about the game or what I did but as far as my decisions, I mean, I saw the coverages. I went where I wanted to with the ball.” Right. He’s supposed to see the coverages. But did he see what he thought he saw? 
Later in the press conference, a reporter asked Kaepernick what he saw on the incomplete pass to Michael Crabtree on fourth-and-9 from the Bears’ 17, the play that ended the game for San Francisco. Without anyone prompting him or pressing him, Kaepernick said, “They had Cover 3, we got the look we wanted, we just have to make that play.”
Coverages again. He didn’t need to go there. And he shouldn’t have, because he was wrong, dead wrong. 
The Bears were playing Cover 1. I’ll explain the difference in simple terms. 
Cover 1 is man coverage – defensive players chase specific offensive players around the field. Cover 3 is zone coverage – defensive players defend specific areas of the field. Simple as that. 
If the Bears were playing Cover 3 – a zone – Crabtree would have been the correct read and the 49ers probably would have scored the touchdown. Crabtree ran a route across the goal line and would have been wide open in an empty area of the field between three deep zone defenders and four underneath zone defenders. That’s if the Bears were playing Cover 3. But the Bears were not playing Cover 3. They were playing Cover 1. So, Crabtree was not wide open. He was smothered by the Bears’ No. 1 cornerback, Tim Jennings. And that means Crabtree was the wrong read, just wrong against Cover 1.

Was there a right read? Yes. Anquan Boldin was the right read. He was matched against a rookie fourth-round-pick safety, Brock Vereen. No one ever heard of Vereen. Vereen can’t cover Boldin, not in his dreams. And Boldin beat him easily, faked him out with a double move. Boldin raised his right arm to show Kaepernick he was open, that he had beaten Cover 1 man coverage. Boldin raised his arm as he entered the end zone with Vereen hopelessly behind him. The raised arm meant, “Throw me the ball.” 
Kaepernick didn’t see the arm go up. Kaepernick didn’t see Boldin. Kaepernick never even looked for Boldin. Kaepernick thought he saw Cover 3, so he made up his mind he was throwing to Crabtree all the way. 
It gets worse. Even if Kaepernick had seen Boldin, Kaepernick wasn’t in a position to throw to him. He scrambled as soon as he dropped back, reacting to pressure that had not arrived. HE dropped his hands and turned his feet to the left, parallel to the line of scrimmage. He was physically incapable of throwing back to his right where Boldin was. Kaepernick threw over the middle to Crabtree, the pass was high and late, Crabtree dove to catch it and the ball flew through his hands. It would have been a miracle catch if Crabtree had held onto the ball. No miracle for Crab and Kap. 
Let’s recap what Kaepernick did: 
1. Misdiagnosed the Bears’ coverage during the play.
2. Never looked for Boldin, the 49ers’ best receiver.
3. Dropped his hands and turned his body away from Boldin. Couldn’t throw to him even if he saw him.
4. Unprompted, announced the wrong coverage with confidence at his press conference and indicted himself. 
Yes, he indicted himself. It’s one thing to misread coverage – every quarterback does that, I’m sure. It’s another thing not to realize he misread the coverage more than 30 minutes after the game, after he’d had time to think it over, after he spoke to Boldin and offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Kaepernick still was in the dark.
I don't know all the technicalities of football. I don't know the vernacular. But I sports and I know field spacing and can read people. And I've been saying for two years now, Kaepernick doesn't know what's happening on the other side of the ball. He can't read the defense. He's constantly confused. He calls more timeouts and gets more delay of game penalties than I've ever seen. He audibles into plays that don't work. He locks into his first option and if he doesn't throw it there, he scrambles.

Alex Smith is a better quarterback. The Niners should have kept both Smith and Kap and never let the other team know who was playing when. They should of played them on different series. Smith should have been the starter and Kap comes in for a few series to confuse the defenses. No one has ever done this before. I'm not sure it would've worked, but it would've been damn interesting to see tried. If the Niners ever got a lead of 10 or more, just play Smith to manage the game.