Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Driverless Cars

I'm skeptical on numerous levels.
Technologies have an unerring tendency never to perform as their initial architects envisaged. But there is a more fundamental reason to stop and think: when all these claims are examined, they reveal one worrying underlying common assumption – namely, that human error and weakness are the real problems that need fixing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Canceling ESPN

I'm thinking of dropping ESPN completely. I already let go of Insider. They lose their two best commentators, Simmons and Cowherd, and they keep suspending people left and right. The quality of the programming is down and sports have becoming incredibly over-covered.

Monday, August 24, 2015


Peggy Hubbard's video.

Black Lives Matter focuses on police brutality above and beyond a more pernicious cultural problem: violent crime. I wonder if police brutality should be viewed as a symptom more than a cause of violence.
No Tricks

With the Fed keeping interest rates so low for so long, what tools do they have left to "boost" the economy? Not as many. And with the markets tanking right now, should policy makers be nervous?


A market correct was long overdue. Hopefully, this pullback is simply a correction rather than a plunge, because if there is a plunge, I'm not sure whether the government has many tricks up their sleeve to stabilize the markets.

Just on a personal note, I hope this swoon puts a damper on the housing prices, which are totally ridiculous.

Book: Forty Lashes Less One by Elmore Leonard

Hat tip, Viner. A great little read. End sequence amazing. Apparently, QT wanted to make it as a movie at one time.
All Lives Matter

Ben Carson is not wrong.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


TV: Show Me A Hero, e. 1 and John Adams, e. 1

Mini-series week!

I've been meaning to watch John Adams for years and somehow never get too into it. Yet, in watching it, the mini-series is quite good.

On the flip side, the first episode of Show Me A Hero was a bit disappointing. Felt like your standard docudrama with an undercurrent of finger wagging. Could title it, "Show Me A Lecture." I'm not sure if I'll stick with it. "Race" as a topic in contemporary American drama is nearly as boring as super hero films.

Monday, August 17, 2015


Film: Mission Impossible 5 and Straight Outta Compton

Both pretty enjoyable summer films -- maybe the two most enjoyable summer films this year. MI5 was too long, but worth it for the villain actor (Sean Harris) and some of the stunt work. Straight Outta Compton was quite good. Like most biopics, I enjoyed the first half better than the second.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Film: The Cooler, The Matador, Locke

Three movies about men at the end of their ropes. The Cooler is a shockingly good movie and the best of the lot. The Matador is really weird, but one of the most interesting Pierce Brosnan performances I'm aware of. Locke is a movie about one man in a car taking phone calls. I was tempted to turn it off, but stuck it out for the 85 minutes. It was a one man play and much of filmmaking, as far as I could tell, was just random shots to break up the monotony of looking at one guy. A very writerly piece and a reminder why the director is and should be king.

TV: Mr. Robot pilot

I wasn't a fan, especially considering all the ridiculous over praise. First off, hacking is lame. Second off, this whole anti-corporate, anti-debt ethos is old and trite and boring.

Sunday, August 09, 2015


TV: True Detective s.2 finale

There's nothing much to say. I watched it.
GOP Debates/Candidates/Hillary

How do I feel about Trump? Listen, the man is an egomaniac and a clown and cannot win the GOP nomination, much less the Presidency. But I like what he brings to the early election cycle: a bit of recklessness, a bit of showmanship, a bit of aggression, and the willingness to shake up the field. Commenters and pundits and people who find him crass, vulgar, etc, I think miss the point a bit. He creates competition, he makes others hone their political skills, he brings up issues that are not otherwise being talked about, and he engages people not traditionally involved with politics. I believe these to be all good things. The political class is calcified, in my opinion, and Trump is like adding some vinegar to help clean it up.

From what I've seen, my favorite candidate is Carly Fiorina. I watched her get interviewed by Chris Mathews this morning and she gave the best answer to the economy and tax code questions that I've heard from any candidate. She said the 75,000 page tax code out to be 3 pages. She said the overly complicated code benefits the rich and well connected because of their armies of lawyers and accountants. She wants to cut taxes and Wallace said, well, isn't that just trickle-down economics -- isn't that what Hillary Clinton is going to attack you about -- and Fiorina said, look, I lived in California for 12 years. And in every single state where progressives make policy, the gulf between rich and poor has grown. Their policies don't work. And man, she's not wrong. But can she last? I don't get the impression she gets much support from the GOP money people and will be crushed by Jeb Bush. I don't see why she isn't more mainstream -- but maybe she isn't very connected politically speaking.

Ron Paul - did not do well in the debate in my opinion. He comes across like Sideshow Bob from the Simpsons and has this arrogant smirk on his face. When one-on-one, however, he comes across much better.

Jeb Bush - seems to be the establishment candidate and more likable than his brother, but maybe not more lovable, if that makes sense. I got the impression a lot of people loved GW (and a lot hated), but Jeb maybe doesn't arouse passion in the same way.

Scott Walker - has a little bit of a sleepy eyed, unhealthy look I think. Also, is he short? I don't know. He doesn't convey Presidential, although his answers in the debate were pretty good. He might be too conservative for a mainstream election.

Marco Rubio - I think he comes off a little young, and maybe like a rookie and too boyish. I don't think his line about paying off student loans four years ago was endearing - at least not to me. I feel it makes him seem simply too young and frankly, unsuccessful.

John Kasich - I found him to have an endearing, coach-like, teacher-like demeanor. I did not know him before, but I doubt he will win over the GOP establishment.

Ben Carson - I enjoyed hearing him speak, but he seems like an incredible long shot and I can't imagine how long he will last.

Rick Perry - comes across as maybe not too intelligent, which is not a good thing.

Ted Cruz - he comes across as smarmy and perhaps untrustworthy to me, although I have no idea whether this is true or not. I actually think his biggest problem is visual - he seems like a bad guy in a cartoon.

Chris Christie - I'm not entirely sure what makes this guy a Republican, to be honest. Seems like a very okay candidate who I imagine Hillary would crush.

Mike Huckabee - Was more impressive in the past. He strikes me as having gotten a little weirder as he's gotten older.

My basic thoughts on Hillary: America knows who she is and does not love her. She's had a million swings at the plate, it seems, and does about average or even a little below average. She has a cult like aura around her, which makes her supporters see her with rose-tinted glasses and they do not grasp how unappealing she is to regular people. This makes her overconfident and can be partially to blame for her losing the candidacy last time around. I don't think she is a particularly good politician. How many elections has she won? One? As Senator to New York because those goobs are star fuckers. What is her signature anything? Being an "involved" first lady? I feel like when you dissect Hillary, her failures are more notable than her accomplishments:

1. As first lady: Hillarycare
2. As Senator: Her vote of support on the Iraq War
3. As Presidential Candidate: losing her lead to Obama
4. As SoS: Benghazi and email scandal

What are her accomplishments? Being a woman and being part of the Clinton machine? Knowing a lot of people? I sense her best accomplishment has been to stay politically relevant for a really long time. And I guess she is able to possess some type of aura of political power. Maybe because I'm in LA and far away from Washington, I see that like Varys the Spider sees it - a magic trick and a shadow on the wall. I just think there's a reason she's never been able to break through in the past, despite having numerous opportunities.

Friday, August 07, 2015

GOP Debate

Gotta admit, Trump makes this thing a whole lot more exciting. I mean, the guy is a clown, but he's forcing a number of issues onto the agenda I think are worth talking about. His basic premise that America doesn't win anymore is pretty spot on.

Monday, August 03, 2015


TV: True Detective s2 e7

I'm generally pretty good at following crime stuff, but I got utterly lost last night. What's the big deal with the diamond heist from 23 years ago? Who stole them? Who cares? I feel like we found out who killed Casper, but I honestly don't remember whether we met the character or who she is. And so whoever killed Casper isn't connected to the "bad guy" land stealing plot? Also, I totally visually forgot the Vinci PD boss and when he stepped through the shadows and said, "I hear you've been looking for me." I was like...Whaaa....who's this guy? Only later did I recall. I was happy to see Colin F get some poon tang from Rachel McAdams and wasn't the least bit surprised to see Taylor Kitch get killed.

Basically, the main plot can be properly understood as numerous, interweaving plots as it seems every single character (big small, and even unseen) has their own little story and move they're making. I'm finding this structure pretty unsatisfying because it leaves our main characters - the characters we are actually following - as perhaps the least interesting characters of all. They are ten steps behind everyone else and their backstories end up standing completely alone from the main story. I mean...the backstories are OK in and of themselves, but I don't see the connection with the actual story thematically or otherwise. I guess we have to wait for the conclusion. That said, I'd like to bitch about serial TV -- the makers of such TV will often say "wait until the end, don't review a book until it's finished, etc." Did I miss something here? If I wanted to read a book, I'd read a freaking book. TV is an episodic format and you really expect the audience to wait and hold out judgment on a piece until it is complete? I suppose you could make the argument a little better if a show were sold as a mini-series -- but this whole don't evaluate until it's done is preposterous.

Film: Southpaw

Pretty mediocre. I enjoyed Forest Whitaker parts, but a pretty rote boxing movie.