Friday, January 31, 2014

Unintended Consequences

Assortive mating leads to income inequality.

In America today, women in the marriage-able range have the same economic opportunities as men.  I know this anecdotally and by experience.  (note: perhaps some hangover from earlier generations still skews the stats and having children puts a damper on career-advancement, but unless men start having babies anytime soon, I do not see an alternative)

The effect on marriage: assortive mating, ie successful men and women marrying one another.  The unintended consequence of assortive mating: increased economic inequality.

Who would have thought rising economic opportunities for women would cause income inequality  -- but that's what the data is saying.

Choices, choices.
My Super Bowl Prediction

The game will come down to game-plan and coaching.  I believe the Seahawks are a better all-around team, and would win 6-7 out of 10 games given the injury condition of Denver.  But in a single-game setting, elements of surprise and misdirection will be the deciding factor.

For instance, last year, the Ravens came in with a defensive game plan to stop the read-option by hitting Kaepernick no matter whether he kept the ball or not.  I think this won the game for them.  It helped that Joe Flacco played out of his mind and they returned a kick off for a TD, but the Ravens were an inferior team talent-wise to the Niners and came in with a better game plan.

The Saints beat the Colts the same way several years ago by limiting Peyton's drives via ball control and the aggressive onside kick play (which fit into this plan).

So the question comes down to:  Denver offense vs. Seattle defense.  Will Denver run some interesting plays to chew up yards and wear down the Seattle defense?  Or will Seattle get up on Denver receivers and make the short passing game impossible?

Pete Carroll vs. John Fox?  I'd give a SLIGHT edge to Fox.  Carroll is underrated as a tactician, but Fox has been here before.

Manning vs. Wilson.  I'd give a slight edge to Peyton.  Wilson is also underrated for his brains, but Peyton is Peyton.

So, I'm picking Denver and the points, even though this is probably just as much emotional as rational.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Reading:  East of Eden

I love this book.  Rather than try to express why, I'll just let Mr. Steinbeck do the talking:

"Mr. Edwards carried on his business of whoremaster in an orderly and unemotional way.  He maintained his wife and his two well-mannered children in a good house in a good neighborhood in Boston.  The children, two boys, were entered on the books at Groton when they were infants."

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I Love This

Map of India by population.  It could fit Egypt, Thailand, Italy, Turkey, Cuba, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Macau, Mexico, Ghana, Turkey, Argentina, Iraq, Vietnam, Brazil, the Philippines, Canada, and several other modestly sized countries inside it.
Doing As Little As Possible

In praise of passivity (in government).

I'd vote for a candidate who got up there and said "look, my only goal is to make life more simple for more people.  Easier to pay taxes.  Easier to get a job.  Easier to see a doctor."  A slogan of "easy" rather than "hope."  What a crock of shit that turned out to be.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bad Decision Maker or a Fool and  Is There A Difference?

In-depth analysis of Kaepernick's throw to Crabtree at the end of the game.

Everyone agrees it was a bad throw - not just because of the result, but because of the decision.  Kaepernick basically thinks Crabtree vs. Sherman favors Crabtree.  He is wrong.  What irritates me, is that he sticks by his decision, which also makes him foolish.

Quarterback is a highly complicated position that requires quick thinking and good decision-making.  The game audio has been released and on the big 4 and 7 play when the Niners jumped offside, giving Seattle a free play and they scored a touchdown, Wilson KNEW he could get the Niners to jump and said as much to Carroll on the sideline.  That was the most important play Wilson made in the game.  On Kaepernick's most important play of the game, he blindly tosses the ball into a mismatch when he had another receiver wide open.  That's why Seattle is going to the Super Bowl and we are not.

Kaepernick is a great athlete, but I don't think he can read the defense or make consistently good decisions.  I would not pay him top-dollar and bankrupt my team.  He will not make the other players better and he is not a franchise quarterback.  Manning, Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Wilson, Luck, all these guys have super bright heads on their shoulders in addition to the physical skills of being a quarterback.  Kaepernick's legs and strength are more dynamic than any of these guys.  And he is a competitor.  But the most important feature of being a QB: the decision-making is missing.  I still think the Niners should have stuck with Alex Smith.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Vlad Putin and the Chinese Commies Are Licking Their Chops

I don't watch Girls, but I am entertained by round-table recaps about how horrible the people are.

If I'm Vlad Putin or the Communist Chinese, I'm just licking my chops at American decline.  They don't need to do a thing, just let this generation of people grow up.  They'll piss away the centuries long experiment of America, spend every cent of savings, indebt any future generation if they can even manage to have children, make negative scientific process, piss off every ally around the world, and just generally ensure our immiseration.

This is HBO, our premium cable channel, for the "elite" customers.  Per the article, I actually think Taylor Swift gets it right "casual cruelty under the guise of truth-telling."  Maybe there is hope for the future.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bankrupt on $375,000 a Year

The whole story here is paying 10G in alimony per month.  10Gs!  How can anyone be liable for that kind of dough?  People think student loan debt in the 100,000Gs is horrible indentured servitude, how about being responsible for 10G a month for the rest of your working life?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Bar Fights

Many initiators of bar fights recently experienced sexual frustration, rejection, or reversals.  I could have guessed as much anecdotally.  Goes to my theory that suicide terrorism is rooted in massive sexual repression in Salafist thought.

Film:  August: Osage County

Does this director watch movies?  The camera positioning is noticeably poor.

Also, I've seen this play and watching the film is a good lesson on the difference between language in plays and language in films.  Great theater language can easily come across as poofy and false in movies.  The camera sees too much.

Book:  How Wars Are Won: 13 Rules of War

Loved this book.  A great primer on military history and strategy.  Reading this book, I'm dumbfounded by how little contemporary Americans think and talk about military history.  First of all, many of these major Generals completely shaped modern history.  The battle of Hastings, the Battle of Trafalgar, Sherman's March to the Sea, Vicksburg, the American campaign of Island hopping in the Pacific, Mao's conquest of China and fight against Americans in the Korean War, just to name a handful.  I'm pretty sure most of my contemporaries could talk about every movie Spike Jonze has ever directed, and at the same time, couldn't explain in the most basic terms what happened in the Korean War.  Isn't that just absurd?  Are we filling our minds with all the wrong kind of information?  Methinks so, especially in the digital age.  READ A BOOK!

TV:  True Detective Ep. 1 and 2

Really enjoyed the 2nd episode.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Explaining why Obamacare is beyond rescue.

This really, truly has nothing to do with Republican opposition to the law.  These arguments detail exactly why Obamacare is not working by it's own standards.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Thank You, Internet

Tarantino will shelve his next movie because a draft of the script leaked.  I understand the reaction.  It's probably a bit over-emotional, but still understandable.  Scripts are works in progress.  Plus, unless they are intended to be spread wide, why spread them wide?  Who gains from this?  Some trolls on the internet?  I don't understand why people do this.  Is the 2 minute status bump you get from passing on a QT script worth it?  Anyhow, why anyone wants to read a first draft of a script is beyond me.  It's a lose-lose either way.  It's good and it ruins the movie for you, it's bad, and then you read a bad script that'll never get made.  Dumb.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Cowherd ponders how Seattle is able to find 3rd and 5th round picks and scraps released from the rest of the NFL and turn them into the best team?  PEDs anyone?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Other Small Representative Detail

On the 4th down play with 02:01 left in the game, the Niners got a first down and Kap ran up to the line trying to get another play going.  He didn't realize it was the two-minute warning.  It was a small thing, but not having this type of game awareness is a killer in pro quarterback.  Here is Kap in the press conference.  His shortness is a strange affectation, unnatural, and comes across as trying to be too serious.

Reaction To Game

I'm incredibly disappointed.  This is the 2nd year in a row the Niners got outplayed and outcoached on the biggest stage.  I'll break this down into the Ugly, the Bad, and the Good.

The Ugly

1.  Kaepernick's abilities as a quarterback.  2 interceptions, 2 fumbles (1 lost), a horrible delay of game penalty, a dumbass jump throw that should have been intercepted.  If Peyton Manning did this, the headlines would be choker.  If Alex Smith did this, we'd want to run him out of town.

2.  Offensive game plan.  Totally devoid of creativity.  Our running game was pathetic.  Our receivers couldn't get open.  How many times do we need to play Seattle to figure out something on those guys? We had all our "weapons" and couldn't do crap.  Our touchdowns were on a lucky throw to Boldin that Troy Aikman said on air "I was sure that pass was getting picked off" when it left his hands.  And off the big broken play Kaepernick run.

3.  Bowman's injury.  Makes me not want to watch football.

4.  Crabtree has another hugely disappointing big game.  This is the guy who held out for more money?!?  Guys who get paid big money need to show up in NFC championship games.  Against the Giants two years ago, people blamed Alex Smith.  This year, who do we blame his disappearing act on?  The Seattle secondary?  Perhaps.  But still, if you want top receiver money, you better play well against the best.  I can't tell if Kap threw a bad pass on 3rd and 2 or whether Crabtree just totally bailed out on a play and didn't want to get hit.

5.  The secondary on deep balls.  Rodgers seemed to be in a good position to make a play on that ridiculous 4th and 7 touchdown, but he missed it.  Whitner got out of position on the long pass.  This has been a problem for 3 years and gets exposed at the worst times.

6.  The refs.  They didn't decide the game, but there were several outrageously bad calls.  An unsportsman-like on Carlos Rodgers for a little shove at the end of the half was horrible and I thought the Niners could have tried to score there.  The hit to the head by Whitner in the first half was insane because the guy moved at the last minute and the contact was inadvertent.  Russell Wilson did an obvious intentional grounding that wasn't called.  They totally missed a huge fumble recovery on the Bowman injury, although the Seahawks fumbled the subsequent play anyway.  Richard Sherman holds on every single play and they only called it once.  They totally missed a letter of the law penalty on the roughing-the-kicker.  Truly terrible overall game that went against the Niner's at key moments.  That said, it wasn't the deciding factor of the game.

The Bad

1.  Frank Gore.  He couldn't get anything going.

2.  Penalties.  Jumping offsides on snap counts twice was killer.

3.  The first drive/red zone.  Really needed to score there and had horrible play calling.

4.  Boldin's drops.  Haven't seen him drop two passes all year and he dropped two in the first half.

5.  Defensive letdowns at key moments.  The 4th and 7 was super annoying.  The long Lynch run was one bad play.  And that's 14 points and the ballgame.  I hate to say anything about the defense because they played so well for so much of the game and it's unfair to expect them to be perfect in order to win. And they needed to be perfect.  I thought we got rid of Alex Smith to fix this problem.

6.  Deep throws to Davis.  What happened to them?

The Good

1.  Seattle is one of the best teams in the league and we had a chance to win.  Let's put it in perspective.

2.  Kaepernick as a runner.  He was our only effective offensive weapon in the game, in addition to the quarterback who totally blew it.  I wouldn't pay this guy 10-20 million a year.

3.  Pass pressure.  We got to Wilson a lot.  It was a good defensive game plan.

4.  Goal-line offense.  A big 4th down conversion for a TD -- good play calling.

I believe our window is closing rapidly.  A lot of our players are due a major raise and I don't know who we should keep.  I have HUGE questions about Kaepernick.  I even have reservations about Harbaugh.  This is the 3rd year in a row we've lost very winnable games at the end of the year.  He gets us there, no doubt, but our preparation/game-plan for the Super Bowl last year and this game were not very impressive.  Why were we able to bust out clever plays in our first drive against Arizona (a top defense) in a meaningless week 17 game, but not against Seattle in the NFC championship?  Why is Crabtree able to get open on Patrick Peterson and not Richard Sherman?  Both Harbaugh and Kaepernick are gambling their contracts on post-season performance.  Are they due top money?  Because here's my question:  if we pay Kap, what does the rest of the team look like?  Who do we build around?  Kap, Crabtree, our O-line, and linebackers?  Is that where we spend our money?  We'll lose Gore, Justin Smith, and Boldin to retirement or money soon.  Can we afford Davis and Crabtree and Kap?

If our team is built around Crabtree, Kap, some new running back, Bowman and Aldon Smith, and then somehow we manage to continue paying Willis and Vernon Davis.  I dunno.  It doesn't sound like a championship team to me.  It sounds worse than our present team unless we pick up some beast to replace Justin Smith in the middle and some amazing cornerback somehow.

I just don't think Kaepernick is the guy.  I think he's Mark Sanchez with legs.

The New York Film critics are a bunch of cowards.  Anyone with a set of balls out to quit the group in protest of kicking White out.

Key quotes of the article:
In Mr. White’s view, the expulsion was symptomatic of what he sees as a group in decline, beholden to studios that help foot the dinner’s bill and reviewers who are unwilling, if not unable, to criticize films as eruditely as he can — and thus they are jealous and vindictive. In the last few days, he has publicly likened the group to “Mean Girls” and identified “enemies” who, he says, worked to successfully kick him, the unpopular kid, out.  
“It’s an incestuous clubhouse of friends,” he said over breakfast the other day, “not people who made their bones as journalists or critics.”
When I was in college, our student newspaper was taken over by a group of friends and the content was complete garbage.  They had student journalists making up quotes for articles.  Seriously.  Making up quotes.  I caught them in the act and was asked by an editor to write a "Letter to the Editor."  I refused.  You can't have a polite disagreement or discussion with a dishonorable publication.  The paper didn't meet the basic decency of journalism.  I thought this was unique to immature, pretentious college kids.  Turns out those type of kids are not adults and behaving the same way in the world of art criticism.  If you don't think these people deserve some of the blame for the "decline of movies" you would be foolish.
Why Does Lena Dunham Irritate Everyone?

She can't do a magazine shoot without pissing people off.  I don't understand who is annoyed by this: her fans or her haters.  Do her fans feel betrayed?  Or are the haters looking for any excuse?

Niners Player Power Rankings

The Niners are a very tough team to rank.  They have no obvious best player.  Their talent is spread around fairly evenly and everyone fills a role.  Unlike Peyton or Brady their leader, Frank Gore, is not their most dangerous player.  For purposes of this ranking I am taking into consideration - talent, value of position played (ie QB is more important than middle linebacker), leadership qualities, and danger to the other team.

Power Rankings

#1 - Justin Smith.  The strength of the Niners is our defense and Smith is the centerpiece.  Willis and Bowman might be more talented and even better players, but in some ways, the presence of both devalue each other to the team.  Smith is the guy that cannot be replaced.  He is the guy that stuffs the line of scrimmage and enables the Niners to stop the run with 6 or 7 guys.  Last year, when he went out, our defense (including Aldon Smith) was a shell of itself.

#2 - Vernon Davis.  Ask any offensive coordinator playing the Niners, and I guarantee he's most worried about 85.  He is the Niners only true deep threat and poses a match up problem for every NFL defense.  He is too fast to be covered by linebackers and too big to be covered by cornerbacks.  Without Davis to stretch the field, our offense struggles.

#3 and #4 - NaVarro Bowman and Patrick Willis.  I can't separate the two.  Bowmen by all accounts has had a better year.  That play against the Falcons to win the game was one of the most amazing defensive plays I've ever seen.  But according to other NFL players, Willis is like number 5 of who they are most afraid of on the field.  Willis is a maniac and has been an All-Pro linebacker ever since he entered the league.

#5 - Joe Staley.  I have trouble evaluating offensive line play, but by some accounts he's considered one of the best left tackles in football.  He's played almost every game and neither our QB or our RB got hurt all season.  He must be doing something right.

#6 - Anquan Boldin.  He is our 3rd down security blanket.  I would vote him offensive MVP of the year.  He doesn't have the talent or the speed, but he has the skills.  I've never appreciated how good he was until watching him play all year.  He is the antidote to "tough" defenses like the Seahawks and the Panthers.  He is tougher and meaner and stronger than any of the D-backs on any of those teams and cannot be intimidated by them.  The man played once with a broken face.  A broken face!

#7 - Ahmad Brooks.  He gets overshadowed by Willis and Bowman, but the guy is one of the best linebackers in the league and just happens to play with the best tandem in a generation.  Really amazing.

#8 - Kaepernick.  I don't honestly know where to put the guy.  Part of me thinks he belongs higher because if he were out of the game, we'd be in trouble.  But that's simply because we don't have a good back up QB.  I think this Niners team would be pretty awesome with almost any league average QB.  And I can't tell is Kaepernick is above or below league average.  Part of me almost wants to put him lower because of this factor.  He's a unique player, that's for sure.  His running ability must give defenses nightmares.  But he WILL may a mistake or several every single game and he gives me nightmares as a fan as well.

#9 - Frank Gore.  Gore deserves to be higher, but he plays running back and is on the downside of his career.  He isn't as big a danger to make big plays as he used to be, but he knows how to hit the right hole and pick up 3-5 yards on first and second down.  He gives the Niners their identity as a run-first offense.  He is a leader and the heart and soul of the team on the field.  He's not higher, because they'd survive without him and the true heart and soul is Harbaugh.

#10 - Donte Whitner.  Love this guy.  Hits hard and hits legal.  Our sweeper in the secondary.

#11 - Mike Iputi/Alex Boone.  Watch the Niners get a big push on run plays.  These guys are why.

#12 - Michael Crabtree.  He might be our most talented weapon next to Davis.  He's got great hands.  We are much more dangerous when he plays.  In terms of "value," because of his youth, he's up there.  But we are still a pretty good team without him.  He's been injured and a non-factor a number of times. He disappeared in big games and people blamed Alex Smith, but I'm not so sure.  Boldin had big games as the only receiving threat.  And he doesn't break long gains.  But look at this 2-12 ranking...Crabtree is pretty close to being as good as Davis and this is a testament to the Niners greatest strength...all around depth at position play (not bench).

#13 - Ray McDonald.  Another big part of the Niners vaunted "front seven."

#14 - Terrell Brown/Carlos Rodgers/Eric Reid - all guys are solid as far as I can tell, but none really stand out as A-list cornerbacks/safeties yet.  Reid played well at the beginning of the year, but has not been as big a presence lately.

#15 - Andy Lee.  A great punter.  Adds value.

#16 - Phil Dawson.  Also a good place kicker.  Hits the one's he needs to.

#17 - Bruce Miller.  A very effective fullback, unfortunately injured.  Our biggest injury problem because even though Ian Williams is good, his replacement, Glenn Dorsey is playing well.

#18 - Kendall Hunter.  An effective 2nd running back, but will probably never be a number 1 running back.

#19 - Jonathan Goodwin.  A solid center.  Probably deserves to be higher.

#20 - Glenn Dorsey.  Filling in at nose tackle, done a very good job.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Film:  The Mission

A Johnnie To film from 1999.  Totally awesome.  One of my favorite action rentals in a long time.

"I've spent decades trying to sell out; I just couldn't figure it out."

Monday, January 13, 2014

Shame on the New York Film Critics

They've kicked the most interesting critic out of their club:  Armond White.  This is gross on many levels.

1.  Undoubtedly, White's controversial and out-of-lockstep criticism is a factor in his dismissal.

2.  Has anyone come forward and publicly stated what was said?  Every account I've read of the incident is heresy.  If his "hateful" comments were so hateful and he disputes how the information is received, why is no one coming forward and publicly saying what he said?

3.  This is the triumph of group-think over the individual.  What's worse, this is corporatized group-think.  These critics want to stay in the good graces of the industry money-people who they mistakenly believe they depend on.

4.  Why are critics only allowed to applaud?  These mealy-mouthed employees of ministries of information say they stand for "freedom of speech and expression" and don't allow this man to boo and jeer?  If you hate a film, you must stay silent, but if you love a film, you can applaud?  Who made this rule?  Why can't one boo?  I think the audience has a right to boo just as they have a right to laugh and clap.

5.  If White was as rude as advertised, the proper way to deal with it is for Steve McQueen to punch him in the nose (Richard Ford did it to a critic).  The summoning of a committee to kick Armond White out of the group is a terrifying symbol:  dare not disagree with us, dare not have an opinion out of lock-step, dare not speak you mind, for we will do everything in our power to ruin your career and reputation.  These are not liberals as in a John Stuart Mill, Voltaire tradition.  These people act more like McCarthy-ite thugs.

When did these Seattle people become such shitheads?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Brave?  No...

One of my biggest issues not with Lena Dunham, but rather the critical reception to Lena Dunham, is the idea of her nudity being "brave."

I hear this mantra ad naseum.  I see her nudity as attention-seeking, no different than Paris Hilton releasing a sex tape.  And both successfully achieved their aim.

People call Lena brave because she is overweight.  But what does this have to do with bravery?  Is Chris Christie brave because he's an overweight governor?  Would he be brave if he posed, Vlad Putin-like, without his shirt?  No.

The nudity is of the gross-out look-at-me variety, the same thing some immature 6-year olds are achieving when they pull down their pants and show the world their wi-wi's.  I've never heard a New York critic watch something like this and consider the act brave.  Then again, maybe if they showed it on HBO...
Betting Results

Indy-Pats - W (+20)

Niners-Carolina - W (+20)

New Orleans - Seattle - L (-20)

San Diego-Denver - W (+20)

Carolina 65-1 to win Super Bowl - L (-20)

Indy to win AFC - L (-20)

Overall:  Even for the weekend

Total:  $180 down 20 total

This is why I don't really bet on sports, but I'll make some gambles next weekend.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Then Me, Too

A damn good essay.

An interview with an Obamacare expert.
The problem with Obamacare is it’s product driven and not market driven. They didn’t ask the customer what they wanted. And I think that’s the fundamental problem with Obamacare. It meets the needs of very poor people because you’re giving them health insurance for free. But it doesn’t really meet the needs of healthy people and middle-class people.
And - are they really going to punish people for not purchasing insurance?  How is that going to work? Will people pay?  And remember - this will not be the 1% - or even the 10% - this will be the 90% who are getting fined for not purchasing the mandated insurance.  And you're going to throw a major penalty at them?  Does anyone think this is politically feasible?  Who is going to collect these debts?

Restricted building zone in Hollywood is putting a damper on major developments.

I live eerily close to a major fault.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

If I Bet On Sports...Week 2...

Now it gets interesting.

Total:  $180 (lost $20 on Chiefs)

Outstanding bets:

Carolina 65 to 1 to win Super Bowl
Indianapolis 15 to 1 to win AFC

This week's bets:

1.  Hedging Indy by betting New England and giving 7 points - betting $20.

(I could get middled here, but I don't like how much I have to pay on the moneyline.  I stupidly like the Colts in a close game.)

2.  Hedging Carolina by betting Niners moneyline - betting $26 to win $20 back.

Going with all underdogs because I think they CAN win.

3.  New Orleans and the 7.5 points against Seattle - $20
4.  San Diego and the 10 points against Denver - $20

If Carolina or Indy win, my futures bet will hopefully pay off in some way.
Facebook Sued and Snowden

Facebook sued because they sell private data to advertisers.

I was listening to Left, Right, and Center today and they were talking about the Edward Snowden leaks.  Continenti mae some good points:

1.  If Snowden's act was true civil disobedience, he would accept the consequences of his data release, and go to jail.  Instead, he runs off to Russia like a pussy and does this slow-motion leaking of data to remain in the public eye (or some other bizarro reason).

2.  The meta-data the US government is PROVIDED by people.  The government isn't recording conversations in living rooms without our knowledge or following us around and figuring out who we meet up with.  They are collecting and sifting through cell phone data (which you know is tracked if you ever look at your cell phone bill), your Facebook, and Google, and websearches, etc, all of which WE KNOW IS BEING LOOKED AT AND COLLECTED.  I'm a huge proponent of privacy rights, but I don't think you are entitled to make Facebook posts and then get pissed off when people look at them.  And cell phones - no one forced any of us to use cell phones - that's a choice - and you can deduce by the very basics of the technology, they aren't exactly secure. want privacy, close the window shades.  Stop using Facebook and Google.  No one's forcing you to.
Cosmic Justice

Chinese man meets internet crush and turns out to be daughter-in-law.

And the logline doesn't do the story justice.

Sunday, January 05, 2014


Film:  Her

I didn't buy it.  I'm sorry.  I don't believe these kind of premises for movies or in this outlook toward the world.  I don't believe three people and a Siri voice can sit atop the Santa Monica mountains having a picnic and a jolly old conversation.  I call bullshit.

I'm just a good old fashioned humanist, okay?  This means I believe in the intrinsic value of human life and that our politics, our culture, and our social institutions evolve out of this premise and not others.  Human life has value not because we are conscious or because we are rational, but because we are human.  That's why we can eat animals and it is not okay to kill babies.

Anyhow, this is largely the root of my dislike and distrust of hipsterism, Facebook, internet dating, and digital/computer culture in general.  They are all part of a movement to treat other people primarily as objects of amusement as opposed to something of intrinsic value.  It reduces people to an accumulation of Facebook posts, status bars, what kind of cutesy clothes they wear, or band they went to listen to last night.  And so of course, if you view other people this way, there certainly IS no difference between a person and the computer voice of Scarlett Johansson.

Niners Win

It was closer than it could have been, but we'll take it.  Kaepernick once again mixes dumbass plays with great ones using his legs.  His 3rd and 8 scramble on the final drive was the biggest play of the game.

Our game plan was good, but once again, there is some type of communication problem between Kaepernick and the sideline or something, because the Niners constantly are wasting time outs during games.  In the beginning of the 2nd half, Kaepernick forgot his wristband with all the plays on it and needed a time out on the first play of the 2nd half.

My only gripes were not running the ball on 1st and goal from the 5 and not finishing in the redzone on those early possessions.  Rodgers almost made us pay.

The final drive was great, however, burning 4 plus minutes and getting down into field goal range.  Great clock management.

Crabtree played great and the defense was stout all day.  We let them back in it, but I could tell we were playing not to give up the big pass play, which is why Lacy's had a decent running day. (a game plan the Chiefs should have used in the 2nd half yesterday).  Rodgers made some great plays - the fourth down play and one of the TD throws.  Hard to complain with how the defense acquitted itself overall.

Onto Carolina.  In my fake better, I'll be putting $40 or so on the Niners.
Stop Reading About Sports

All you need to do is go backwards and read articles written before sporting contests were played to demonstrate the inanity of predictive sports writing.

And yet, I'll keep reading.  It's like getting suckered by movie previews.
Even Smarter

On why Netflix streaming is a lousy service for customers and the algorithms are dumbed down.

I always thought the studios could make their own Netflix streaming service if it ever became valuable enough to do so.  But they have an even smarter policy: let Netflix make them money.
What’s more, the studios can watch the Netflix share price as easily as anybody else, and when they see it ending 2013 at $360 a share, valuing the company at well over $20 billion, that’s their sign to start raising rates sharply during the next round of negotiations. Which in turn helps explain why Netflix is losing so many great movies.
I still get the DVDs.
Insane Football

Got home after a wedding last night and watched the Chiefs-Colts game.  Wild stuff.  In the second half, the Chiefs defense didn't make a single stop of the Colts.  They got two interceptions, but literally could not make them punt.  And the Colts, I think, only made one fourth down.

That is getting dominated.  And horrible coaching.  The Colts were throwing on them with ease for the most part.  They barely could get pressure on Luck.  Why not put in 8 defensive backs and make the Colts run?  At least that would have chewed up clock.  Why not blitz Luck more often if your regular guys couldn't put pressure on him?  Just horrible strategic, in game, decision making.

Alex Smith was awesome.  378 yards, 4 TDs, No Ints.  Missed a pass toward the end and the strip sack was bad, but losing their best player on the first drive and then putting up 44 points.  Are you kidding?  What a strange game.

Saturday, January 04, 2014


The tournament model of employment in academia and the theater.
The “tournament model” of employment, in which a lucky few win the lottery while most people scrape by on very little, is a cruel and unattractive way to run a business. But it is cruelest in glamour industries such as the arts. Growing up on the Upper West Side, before it became the exclusive province of the wealthy, I inevitably met a lot of the people this model destroyed. The worst off were the folks who’d kept getting just a taste of success -- a minor part in a Broadway show, a critically acclaimed performance at a second-tier festival. Those folks kept waiting until their late 30s or early 40s for success and security that never arrived. By the time it was clear it never would, they were broke, and trying to start another career at a time when most people are heading into their peak earnings years. And the slow crushing of hope over a process of decades often did something tragic to their souls.
Sounds eerily familiar.

Friday, January 03, 2014

First World Problems

Let's celebrate them.
10 Years Ago

I have an old IRA from my very first job.  I got an end of the year statement email and looked back at the value from 10 years ago.  I was pleased to find the IRA had doubled in value.  Note, I never added or subtracted a penny to this account since then.  There are two ways to look at this:  1) the number is misleading because I'm calculating after a huge stock market rally.  or, 2) that time period included the great recession.  Regardless, this was the time I was alive and working, so doubling money over ten years seems pretty cool.  But then I got to that money actually any more valuable?

Cost of things then versus now --

2002 - Bought a Subaru Impreza - cost - around $20,000
2014 - Subaru Impreza still costs around $20,000

2003 rent in SF - $1000 per month
2004 rent in LA - $750 per month
2014 rent in LA - $925 per  month

(this would be significantly higher if I upgraded or had to rent a new place.  there are many factors in rental costs and maybe my rents have stayed low because i'm downwardly mobile)

2004 average cost of lunch - $5-6
2014 average cost of lunch - at least $10

2004 average cost of shirt - $35-40
2014 average cost of shirt - $50-60

2004 - cost of leather jacket - $300 range
2014 - cost of leather jacket - $300 range

2004 - cost of everyday shoes - $100-200
2014 - cost of everyday shoes - $60-200

2004 - drink at bar - $3-5
2014 - drink at bar - $5-9

2004 - gas per gallon - around $2 per gallon
2014 - gas per gallon - near $4 per gallon

2004 - movie tix - $8
2014 - movie tix - $12-15

2004 - movie rental - $3
2014 - movie rental - $1-3

This is just off the top of my head, but my basic impression is that very few things have doubled in price.  Gas and food, really, are the only costs I've noticed going way through the roof.  I imagine housing costs did the same, but I don't know much about those.  And obviously, you can spend more on items should you choose to upgrade.  If you wanted to buy a nicer car, you could easily spend $40,000.  Or a bigger place, you could spend as much as you want on rent/mortgage.  But my point is that, for the same things, costs haven't gone up commensurate with investment yield.

This leads me to believe if you can invest in the stock market over the long run, you are increasing your spending power.  Of course, if you are forced to sell at a bad time, this does not apply.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

If I Bet On Sports...

Several weeks ago, my big bet was Carolina at 65-1 to win the Super Bowl.  I didn't think they could win, but I would have put $20 on it and hedged it all the way out.  So, like in middle school where you get a fake 20,000 to put into stocks, I'm doing my fake playoff betting:

1.  Carolina $20 at 65-1 to win Super Bowl.

Since I see no clear favorite, I'm opting for higher payout potential.

2.  Kansas City - $20 at 15-1 to win the AFC.  (better value than the 30-1 Super Bowl because if they won the AFC, they'd be underdogs against any NFC team).
3.  Indianpolis - $20 at 30-1 to win the Super Bowl.  (at 12-1 to win the AFC, the Super Bowl is a better value bet).

All the wild card games are toss ups against the spread if you ask me.  I truly have no idea what's going to happen in any of them.  This is why I'm opting only for decent futures bets that I can later hedge or parlay.  Going into the semi-finals, I'll have 2 of 3 future bets still alive.

NFL Pick Em Record 2013:  130-120 against the spread.

Second year in a row finishing over .500.  Barely.  Probably statistically insignificant improvement over flipping a coin to make picks.  Still, finished 2nd out of 9 people and in the money for the first time.  I'll take it.  And be playing again next year.

Note:  Finished 3rd in 2012, but probably with roughly the same record, around 130 wins.