Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What Could Go Wrong?

Dubai to introduce robo-cops.
In four or five years, however, Alrazooqi said that Dubai Police will be able to field autonomous robots that require no input from human controllers. “These will be fully intelligent robots that can interact with people, with no human intervention at all,” he said. “This is still under research and development, but we are planning on it.”
Game 5

Barkley said it right: it came down to the Spurs bench. The Clippers starters are better than the Spurs. Paul and Griffin are the two best players in the series. Jordan is a monster on the boards, put backs, and defense. Do you see how many Spurs shots are altered near the rim because of his presence? But the Clips were worn down and tired by the 4th quarter -- especially Blake. And maybe he gets a little jittery in the head. He does continuously seem to play sloppier at the end of games -- but you know what -- everyone does during hard fought, intense games. Witness Danny Green's wide open three that barely hit the rim. And that said, Blake's shot at the end might've just rolled in anyhow. Tough loss for the Clips. But you have to tip your hat to the Spurs, especially Duncan. He's awesome. I mean, that block on Blake was, as Pop said, the play of the game. The guy has a knack for winning and being at his best when his best is needed. He doesn't have the stats of Griffin, he just scores big baskets when his team needs them and makes big plays on defense when you don't expect it of a 39 year old who can't jump. And he does it all without making a big deal of it. I know pundits are saying it is Kahwi's team now, as they said it was Parker's team years ago. Come on, bra. This is Duncan's team. Always has been.

Monday, April 27, 2015


Caught a little Champions League at the gym today. Juventus playing Monaco, I believe. Maybe it was a replay. Who knows. But it gave me a few minutes to watch the man I consider the only genius to be playing sports right now: Andrea Pirlo. Watch the man play for 30 minutes and you'll see what I mean. He sees openings a few crucial tics before anyone else. The balls he plays are ridiculous. You watch him play and think - how come that guy never runs, is undersized, slow, and not physically up to snuff for this high level soccer - and yet, is often the most effective player on the field.

I'm not saying he is the best soccer player in the world. I'm saying he's the only sporting genius I know. I call him a genius because he literally sees things that ALL the other players do not. He is one of the only players I watch who makes plays I cannot see from the TV.

Name another athlete like this. I cannot think of one off the top of my head. There are no basketball players. Steph Curry has an insane skill. LeBron is a freak athlete. But none of these guys are geniuses. Perhaps Magic or Bird in the old days...or Tony Allen's defensive freakishness.

Maybe Federer. Maybe Peyton Manning when in top form. No one is coming to me...

Saturday, April 25, 2015


Film: Alien

A print at the Egyptian. Place was packed. Really great movie, but not one that I love or treasure in any way. That is to say, it is great fun, but it speaks to me zero on an emotional level. I wouldn't bring it to the desert island.

Perhaps the most interesting element of the movie, given the history of the franchise and the Ripley character is how little she is featured in the first act of the film. She is just one of the crew and doesn't have anything more to do than many of the others and only slowly takes over the movie. Structurally, this is rather unique and could point to one reason the narrative works so well -- along with the terrific journey of the Alien itself.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Word of the Week: Dysgenics
Lynn argued that natural selection in pre-industrial societies favored traits such as intelligence and character but no longer does so in modern societies.
Also the premise of Idiocracy, an underrated film.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Drama not good in Dallas. Rondo didn't even play in 2nd half. Other playoff thoughts:

1. I enjoy watching the Boston team play.

2. New Orleans played a really good game two. Maybe I was too dismissive of them -- maybe they just looked terrible because it was their first playoff game against a great Golden State team.

3. Seeing how far Golden State can go will be an interesting test of whether a streaky "jump shooting" team can win it all (vs. inside-out basketball)

4. Inside the NBA is still the best talk show on TV.

5. I am rooting for the Clips. I love how they're developing into the bad boys of the league.

6. It says something about Kevin Love that he could not lead a Minnesota team anywhere near the playoffs and cannot figure out a way to co-exist with the best player in the league. I know you can get technical about spacing and the offense they run, etc, etc, but great players figure out a) how to win and b) how to make an impact in a game. I don't like players that play bad defense and can only get 25-12 in losing efforts. I have no idea why the media insist this guy was ever a top 10 player in the league.

7. DeAndre Jordan and Draymond Green are very good at defense.

8. John Wall is a star.

Power of Positive Thinking

Some proof it works. Doesn't surprise me.

Monday, April 20, 2015

10,000 Hours

Watching DeAndre Jordan take free throws got me thinking about the Malcolm Gladwell idea of 10,000 hours of practice it takes to get really good at something. A number of basketball players simply have trouble making free throws, seemingly the most easy part of the game. I doubt Jordan, or Shaq, or Rondo, or any of these guys who can't make free throws practice any less than guys who have no trouble making 65-75%. I just think they aren't very good at it no matter how hard they try or practice. I guess the Greeks would call it a fatal flaw. Maybe Gladwell can take that up in his next book.

Other playoff thoughts:

1. New Orleans stinks, even if Anthony Davis is good.

2. The Clippers have a chance to beat the Spurs if their defense continues to be this strong throughout the series.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Is This Lady Serious?

I can understand someone not wanting to have children, but I guess I don't see why society ought to applaud the choice.
Not having children isn’t selfish. Not having children is a perfectly rational and reasonable response given that humans are essentially parasites on the face of a perfectly lovely and well-balanced planet, ploughing through its natural resources, eradicating its endangered species, and ruining its most wonderful landscapes. This might sound misanthropic, and it is, but it is also true.
I guess she's never heard of the categorical imperative. I see it a different way -- if you choose to not have children for selfish reasons, ie you want to devote the time to yourself instead -- I'd say own it. I don't get wanting to behave selfishly and then resenting being called on it. Strange article.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

On Grantland, they compared Steph Curry to Pistol Pete, who was before my time. Thank God for Youtube. The first move Curry move that got me thinking "holy crap" was several years ago when he literally pulled #7 from Pistol Pete, but in the middle of a crowded lane. I think the comparison fits, except Curry is certainly a more ridiculous shooter.

Friday, April 17, 2015


Book: Rabbit is Rich by John Updike

I probably won't finish, as I don't particularly like his prose. Some of the large scenes with multiple characters talking, however, are quite good.

Book: Tunnel to the Sky by Robert Heinlein

The movie pitch, of course, is Lord of the Flies in space. I'm enjoying. Young adult story. I prefer his POV to the Hunger Games and the other popular YA stuff out there today.


Film: Where the Sidewalk Ends

It took me numerous starts and stops to finish this noir classic written by Ben Hecht. I realize watching noir on DVD isn't as fun as in the theater. Audiences help.

Film: Circle of Danger

Noir fest film about a man figuring out the mystery surrounding his brother's death. Some good bits and an interesting twist at the end, but not one I'd suggest others rush out to see.


TV: Better Call Saul (full season), Justified (final season), Last Man on Earth (ep. 1-8), Game of Thrones

Lots of TV of late. After really disliking the first two episodes of Better Call Saul, I completely got into the show and quite liked it by the end. Justified was a terrible final season with a terrific final scene. Last Man on Earth is one of the best network comedies in ages and gets extra kudos for creativity and boldness. I must admit to laughing out loud more during this show than any other recent comedies. But, I also get super tired of the show at times as well. It's a weird one.

Game of Thrones first episode wasn't great, but boy, what a show. In the end, I'm predicting this goes down as one of the best shows of all time.
Can't Legislate Against Stupid

I've been casually paying attention to the talk about regulating financial advisors. Then today I see this headline and can't tell if it is deliberately satiric: Should Mutual Funds Be Illegal?

I don't see why the government is so concerned with everybody's investments. First of all, if you are dumb enough to invest all your money into a high priced financial advisor and see no gains, isn't the simple solution to simply not invest with them anymore? People blow money on all sorts of dumb things like motorboats and overpriced homes. Should that be regulated? I don't see why. There's this idea out there that adult folks need to have all these rules to protect them basically from themselves. But in my experience, you can't legislate against stupid and if people want to toss their money into investment advisors who charge a high percentage and in the long run their returns end up being 2% rather than 7%, I don't see this as being an issue worthy of government trying to correct.
When Are We Gonna Learn?

And we are helping the Saudis with this plan...
Saudi officials said they are not targeting areas with Al Qaeda fighters, however, and are focusing only on the Houthis, a Shiite Muslim minority whom they view as proxies for Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival.
I'm confused who we are fighting with and against in this region. Are we fighting Iran via Saudi and Yemeni proxies? Or, are we fighting Al Queda through Iranian proxies? Let's go smart diplomacy...still waiting for that one to kick in.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Curry nails 77 straight 3s in practice.

I'd love to see the Warriors play the Clippers-San Antonio-Cleveland. If they got through that gauntlet, it'd be a season for the ages.

I still hold the Jordan Bulls never beat a great team to win any of their titles.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Screw AirBnB

Disgusting service asking to provide DL numbers and access to all your gmail contacts, etc. I'll never use again.
GoT Reactions

This is pretty awesome.

Saturday, April 11, 2015


TV: More Last Man on Earth, ep 4-5

Will Forte makes me laugh out loud at times, but this idea is running out of steam, if you ask me. I think I'd prefer this as a movie.

Film: Noir fest at the Egyptian, The Suspect and Ladies in Retirement

Charles Laughton in the Suspect. I quite enjoyed this film - very savvy, I thought. Laughton reminds me of Peter Dinklage a bit.

Ladies in Retirement. An interesting film about a woman who turns to murder in order to protect her two lunatic sisters. A little wonky at times -- the second half of the film basically follows a secondary character as he tries to figure out what our main character did -- but so what if you find that kind of thing enjoyable? I enjoy these structural incongruities that would not pass muster by the Robert McKee's of the world, and yet, still exist and work as films. Here's the thing: some stories work very well in the prescribed screenplay structure. Other stories work better told in a different way. There is no prescription. A precocious child could make this observation. Why some folks think the screenplay form ought to be so rigid is beyond me.

Thursday, April 09, 2015


TV: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, ep. 3 and 4

Very enjoyable. Almost a web series, the episodes are so short and brisk.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015


TV: Last Man on Earth, Ep. 1-3

Fairly enjoyable so far. Really like Will Forte in the role. January Jones, however, must be the worst actress on the planet. She plays being alone out in a post-apocalyptic world as if she were a pretty chick annoyed with high school graduation party details.

What are the two most expensive and burdensome elements of the American economy? Housing and education. What is similar about both of these products? Heavy government involvement, both with mortgages and student loans, but also with respect to zoning laws, development, and publicly funded Universities. So what are liberal solutions? More government subsidies and involvement. It won't work unless we take it to an extreme level no one would be comfortable with.

Monday, April 06, 2015


From what I've watched and read, good cases can be made for Curry, Harden, and James. I don't understand the case for Westbrook at all. Leading his team to perhaps an 8th spot in the playoffs? Going 1 on 5 whenever they need a score? Racking up ridiculous numbers in games where OKC barely beats Philly and other teams that are the dregs of the league? No thanks.
NCAA Championship Game

The refs got Duke back into it with several weak ass foul calls when Wisconsin had the game and then Wisconsin got stagnant on offense.
Freezing Eggs Restored My Sanity

From the Washington Post:
I don’t know if we will ever inseminate any of the 13 egg pops sitting in a freezer in Rockville. (My mom has named one of them Gigi.) But I wave to them whenever I drive by on I-270. I like to think they will be of use somehow in this world, and I’m already grateful for what they’ve done for me. For more than four years, they’ve given me some crucial peace of mind.
Because the only issue of any importance to American feminists is their own peace of mind.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015