Sunday, November 29, 2015


Book: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by GRRM

A ton of fun for those who like to nerd out on Game of Thrones. The first story is by far the best. But the others are quite good, too. Martin is a terrific storyteller.

Film: Bridge of Spies

I still need to watch the third act, but the first half of the movie is a courtroom drama. Who wants a courtroom drama? I was looking for a spy movie. There's yet to be any intrigue and I'm waiting for a big twist. I guess I should finish the movie before writing about it, but this is a slow, plodding story, more befitting a BBC miniseries than a Spielberg movie. The big U2 crash sequence was cinematically awesome, but I felt no emotion because the character was a nothing to me. It could've just as well happened off screen and it wouldn't have made much difference.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Medical marijuana legalization leads to more overall consumption, including amongst youngsters.

I don't think this is a good thing.

Friday, November 27, 2015


Film: Creed

Why oh why did I get suckered into this one? I knew it wouldn't be good...just knew it...but thought the idea was so great that perhaps the movie could overcome a not very good writer/director. The old axiom remains unbroken that a good filmmaker can make a bad movie, but a bad filmmaker cannot make a good movie. And I don't mean Ryan Coogler is an awful director - he can use the camera and show flashes of talent. I just think he doesn't have much dramatic sense for story or drama and like in Fruitvale Station, Creed has a number of nonsensical dramatic elements peppered throughout. A quick list:

1. The girlfriend stomping off in anger when she finds out Michael B Jordan is Apollo Creed's son.

2. Rocky lying about his cancer and MJ finding a brochure about it in his pocket.

3. MJ running through the streets with bikers chasing after him

In fact, the movie could almost do entirely without the love story or the Rocky having cancer because neither of these elements amount to anything dramatic whatsoever.

Other thoughts:

1. I don't find Michael B. Jordan very compelling. Still his best role to date is Vince in Friday Night Lights as part of a TV ensemble.

2. The first fight scene was better shot than the last fight scene.

3. Opening scene/set up was terrific.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

NFL Team Design

I've written about this before, but if you're an NFL team without an elite quarterback, isn't a pretty good model for success to build around your defense and run game and underpay the QB position? It worked for Seattle under Wilson. Ever since they needed to pay Wilson, they've become considerably less dominant. I think there is an inefficiency to be exploited here, with selling high on non-elite QBs.

Gabbert is a better QB than Kaepernick.

Mathieu is a smart player.
Hipster Thanksgiving


Film: Carol

From a formal perspective, the film is made perfectly. Haynes is in total, absolute control of his material. And after seeing the film, it makes me wonder if that's a good thing. Maybe there ought to be a little more life and messiness in movies than technique, technique, technique. Which brings me to Blanchett. Blue Jasmine was the perfect role for her and I can't say I like her much in other things. I don't gravitate to her screen presence. She's like a poor, Australian Meryl Streep. Great technique and completely unlovable.  Rooney Mara is good.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gender Discrimination

Female TV biz Assistant files lawsuit for gender discrimination. Several thoughts:

1. It doesn't appear she provides any evidence of discrimination, gender or otherwise.

2. Don't see how not being promoted constitutes discrimination.

3. Strikes me as utterly ridiculous Deadline publishes an anonymous article about a supposedly serious topic. If someone isn't serious enough to stick their name on it, the accusations shouldn't be taken seriously.

4. If there are 1000 people who want executive jobs, and 100 jobs, there are going to be a lot of sour grapes.

5. This sounds like sour grapes.

6. There are a lot of people in her similar position and the majority of them will not make it into the executive ranks (or rise very high in them).
The Warriors

16-0, a new record. And this, a year after they won the NBA championship. One narrative going around the sports world that I find completely foolish is the Warriors were "lucky" both last year and this year because they suffered no significant injuries. Beyond the fact one could say the exact same thing about any given championship team (weren't the Pats lucky for that interception in the Super Bowl? Weren't the Lakers lucky Kendrick Perkins was hurt in the last Lakers-Celtics finals?), there is another reason the Warriors don't get hurt much: depth and age.

Should we consider it unlucky if a team relies on an older than 35 superstar and that superstar gets injured (Lakers, Mavs?) Gimme a break. This is a design flaw, not bad luck. Plus, the Warriors are incredibly deep. Even if you took away their transcendent star, Curry, they'd still be better than 85% of the other NBA teams and can win on any given night without Curry going crazy.

The Warriors are so good, they blow most teams out by the 4th quarter and don't need to work hard in order to finish games. This is one reason why they don't suffer injuries. I mean, look at what the Cavs needed to do in order to win two games against the Warriors last year -- Dellavedova went to the hospital after playing the game of his life. They won that game, but in no way is that sustainable over the course of a 7 game series, which is why they lost.

Also, Steph Curry went through the offseason and clearly practiced and improved his game, a year after an MVP season. In contrast, James Harden came into the season out of shape. Will it be luck should Harden get injured and Curry remain healthy?

Now...all that said, I think there is a way to beat the Warriors from a tactical standpoint. Everyone talks about their invincible small ball line up. Horse shit. Everyone can be beat. Remember a few years ago when dumbass sports commentators were saying the read-option was impossible to stop? How long did it take NFL coaches to come up with an effective counter? Half a season?

Here's how I'd beat the Warriors:

1. Frustrate Draymond Green. He is the lifeblood of the team. I would frustrate him on both offense and defense best I could. Throw a bigger, longer guy on him defensively. Pound him down low. So, if I'm the Clippers, I'm putting Jordan on him defensively and offensively, I making him guard Griffin.

2. Cover Curry one-on-one and contest his 3s. The Dellavedova tactic. What's hard for the Clippers is that they throw Paul on Curry and he needs to expend so much energy on the defensive end, it ends up hurting him late in the game. In the last game, Paul played out of his mind, but come the 4th quarter, he was ineffective. No doubt this had something to do with the amount of energy he expended early on both offensively and defensively, especially after coming back from injury. Ideally, a team has pitbull defender like Patrick Beverly or Dellavedova who can harass Curry all night defensively without being a crucial offensive component. The problem with Paul is that he needs to play both roles and no one can reasonably expect to do this (save maybe Westbrook who is a physical beast).

3. Force Klay, Iggy, Barnes, etc to make decisions. If you just give these guys open lay ups and threes they'll make 'em. This happens when you double Curry. That's why you need to cover Curry one-on-one and when these guys have the ball, play tough one-on-one defense and make them make plays.

4. Post up and rebound. Nothing is more frustrating in basketball than when you can't get a rebound. If the Warriors go small, counter with a post game. One problem is that tons of teams these days can't post up, which is ridiculous. How has DeAndre Jordan not figured out to catch the ball with his back to the basket and make a move and a 5-foot shot? Remember how the Lakers crushed the Celtics in game 7 with Gasol and Bynum getting the ball down low and pounding the offensive rebounds? The Warriors are able to rebound when you take 3s and midrange shots because the rebounds bounce off those type shots and whoever is around - guard, forward, center - can catch the ball. But if you're taking shots inside 10 feet, the rebounds fall closer to the basket and taller guys can just reach over and grab them. It'll be interesting to watch the Spurs-Warriors in a 7-game series. If I were the Spurs, I'd throw Aldridge and Duncan out there to counter the Warriors small ball line up and literally post up one or the other every single possession. The other one pounds the offensive rebounds. Surround with a couple 3 point shooters and see how the Warriors defend. Imagine Harrison Barnes trying to cover Duncan 5-10 feet from the basket. Yeah, right.

Also, I think teams way overreact to Curry getting hot. If the guy gets hot, just keep playing tough. Maybe switch new legs onto him. The Clippers problem is that their perimeter defenders basically all suck. Crawford, Reddick, and Rivers are useless defenders thus putting too much pressure on Paul. Maybe not all teams have guys have the right personnel, but I'd throw a pitbull type if you have one and possibly longer defenders, like a LeBron, to mess with him. If the Clippers ever want to beat the Warriors, they might need Paul to commit to defending Curry and defer some ball handling elsewhere to save Paul for the 4th quarter. They could use Bledsoe.

If you decide you must double Curry at all times, you have already lost the game. I would throw occasional doubles at him at the time and place of the defenses choosing. I would not react to him "getting hot." I would switch it up so he would not know when or why it was coming.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Kaepernick... on season ending IR and obviously done for in San Francisco. So if the Chiefs make the playoffs without Jamal Charles, does anyone want to revisit the Kaepernick vs. Smith debate? I sure do.

And I don't want to say I told you so, but I definitely told you so.

Film: Sicario

A disappointment. Way too obvious in its bleakness. I found the story quite boring, actually. Have these people (and I mean the characters in the film) seen No Country for Old Men? Does the awfulness of the cartels escape anyone who doesn't read the news? I felt like the movie borrowed for Cormac and Bigelow and didn't add anything to what we've already seen about the world of powerful criminals and serious military men. And it totally lacked humor.
Sounds About Right

CNN reporter on the different reactions to the latest Paris attack and the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


I actually think this is a brilliant idea to de-congest Los Angeles: building tons of tunnels around the city for cars in congested areas. A tunnel from downtown to Santa Monica would totally free up the 10 freeway. In fact, I trumpeted the idea in this blog maybe 8 years ago.

I skimmed the LA Curbed critique which says the idea is bonkers because a) It's big b) it will be met with resistance 3) fossil fuels

Well, I think Americans and Angelinos are capable of big projects if they make sense. And this makes sense. LA is a driving city. It seems to me way more absurd to think we would transform a 65 year history of being a driving city by building a subway or streetcars. How many people in LA would actually live near a subway stop? It's not an answer. Tunnels and faster buses if you ask me. I like the Metro, but it will always be a limited option here.

A de-congested Los Angeles with more land to build homes because of quicker, easier access around the city might make LA the best city in the world. As for the fossil fuels - telecommute.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Bad People

BLM invade Dartmouth Library and shout down and confront other students peacefully studying with verbal assaults.

Eloquent and Brilliant

This is the women who should be running for President.

The "peaceful majority" of Muslims are irrelevant. As were the peaceful majority of Germans under Nazism, the peaceful majority of Japanese under their Imperial government, the peaceful majority of Russians under Stalin, etc, etc. Why our politicians and actual leaders can't speak this way is beyond me.

And she ends it nicely, "we need to put political correctness where it belongs: into the garbage."
Re-Evaluation of the Chiefs

I thought the KC Chiefs were done this year when they lost consecutive games to the Bears and Vikings to become 1-5. But let's look back and analyze the games in light beating the first place Broncos, the Bronco QB situation falling apart, and the Vikings and Bears suddenly revealing themselves to be playoff contenders.

1. Houston - W -  KC was up 27-0 at halftime and looked like a Super Bowl contender. A bad sign was the final score only being 27-20.

2. Denver - L - KC was ahead by 14 and then totally fell apart and lost on the Jamal Charles fumble.

3. Green Bay - L - they lost to Green Bay in Lambeau without their best corner. No shame.

4. Cincy - L - to arguably the best team in football

At this point, they should've been 2-2, but instead were 1-3 to three undefeated teams. Not the end of the world.

5. Chicago - L - blew the game against the Bears when their best player (Charles) gets injured. This result sort of ruled the Chiefs out of the playoffs, but now, the Bears are looking a lot better than everyone thought.

6. Minnesota - L - sent them to 1-5, but now Minnesota is looking like they might be good enough to win their division.

This 1-5 stretch, while bad, now tends to look like an incredibly tough schedule. Then,

7. Steelers - W - sure, all they did was beat Landry Jones, but still, the Steelers aren't bad.

8. Detroit - W - embarrassed them

9. Denver - W - embarrassed them and ruined Peyton's night

Now they're 4-5 with an easier stretch of schedule. They have the Raiders twice and if they can win those games (not easy), they have a good shot at the playoffs. But then again, every time you get your hopes up with the Chiefs, you are bound to be let down.

Friday, November 13, 2015


It sucks.

I am confident we can defeat the Islamic Fascists by destroying their safe havens. Some will scurry off to caves, some will try and live on social media, but these attacks happen with the Islamicists hold territory. Without territory, the Islamicists will lose momentum and eventually wither and die in the caves. I am not impressed with this attack. The news touts it as some type of amazing feat to hit three targets at once. Game of Thrones shoots episodes on three continents at once. If running around with guns and doing a few suicide attacks is the best these guys can muster, we are facing a weak opponent who should be not too difficult to crush if only we have the will.

9/11 happened when Al Queda was free to gather, train, and exchange ideas in Afghanistan. Now that ISIS controls major areas of territory in Iraq and Syria, it should come as no surprise they borrowed a page from Al Queda's playbook and launched an attack against the West.

And BTW, I don't know if it is confirmed these killers trained in Iraq and Syria, but I'd bet the house they did.

I'll say a couple of things that are not politically correct and somewhat inconsistent:

1. France should have stood with us in effort to remove Saddam Hussein. France opposing the coalition divided the Western civilized world, a divide the Islamicists and Russians have exploited to their advantage.

2. Nevertheless, I saw "we" when discussing the French because I am quite fond of the people and country even if they are highly mockable.

3. It is possible the wisest (and certainly cheapest in the medium term) strategy would've been to leave Saddam and Assad in power and passively support their regimes with the calculation that the devil you know is preferable to the devil you don't.

4. What the French and the Western Left in general failed to grasp post-9/11 was that Islamicists are an enemy that need to be defeated unconditionally. The Left considers Islamicists impossible to defeat, some sort of inevitable force in a part of the world they do not care to understand, and are deeply suspicious of actions that can be taken to defeat them. The Left views Islamicists as inconvenient and that the big enemy is still Capitalism, Republicans, Conservatives, whatever-you-fill-in-the-blank. This is a common mindset of losers and contributes to the deep divisions in the Western world about how to confront this menace.

5. We had the Iraq War won in 2011 despite it being much harder than originally promised. The wise move would've been to leave US military in Iraq and commit to keeping it stable as we did in Germany and Korea. Instead, Obama pulled out all the troops to fulfill a campaign promise because a large number of Americans were tired of the war and many rooted for its failure. I mistakenly supported this move because I got beaten down by the stories of "the longest running war in American history," and the idea that "we can't keep the troops there forever." Dumb logic.

6. I speculate this doesn't have to do with the refugee crisis, but if it does, I imagine European countries will no longer welcome anyone from Syria.


When oil prices fall, the news reports it as "oh no, oil is down, your stocks are hurting." When oil is up, the news reports as "oh no, gas prices are up and your pocketbook is hurting."
A More Reasonable Take

From Tyler Cowen on the university stuff. His best point:
4. My personal preference is to see controversial ideas discussed and debated openly on campuses,more so than is currently the case. Those ideas are going to be out there anyway, so let’s have universities contribute to shaping the broader social discourse. For instance imagine that more advanced forms of genetic engineering someday become possible, and parents can selectively abort an embryo with a higher chance of being gay. Do we really want to be in a position where universities have shied away from discussing this issue for decades? I say no, realizing that in the meantime some peoples’ feelings will indeed have ended up being hurt. If you are gay, and sitting in a classroom discussion of this topic, or maybe you just have a gay friend — whatever — I doubt if there is a fully comfortable way for this discussion to proceed. Yet the rest of the world is going to be talking about this, the internet above all, and making the university a “safe space” won’t make the broader world one, if anything the contrary.
Signs of a Fascist

1. Humorlessness

2. Sensitive

3. Easily "Offended"

4. Destructive (ie, wants people to be fired, put in jail, moved, hurt, etc.)

5. Bad Taste in Art

6. Not Well Read

7. No Sense of Irony

8. Makes Demands

9. Dislikes Halloween

10. Uses Big Words with Confusing or No Meanings

11. Has Not Read the Constitution Carefully, Nor Plans To

12. Does Not Believe in Freedom of Speech

13. Does Not Build Things

14. Prone to Crying

15. Is Not Fun to Be Around

16. Thinks of Self as a Victim

17. Cannot Distinguish Between the Private Realm and the Public Realm

18. Unable to Distinguish Between the World of Adults and World of Children

19. Cannot Separate the Art from the Artist

Report Hurtful Speech

University of Missouri students scared to talk because they can be disciplined for hurtful speech.

If I were a taxpayer, I'd vote to defund the University until they abide by the First Amendment (which is a right vs. being not being offended, which is not a right).

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Thought Police Have Arrived

How long before these campus activists start burning books?

Just saw at Claremont McKenna College, a dean retired because students were mad about other students Halloween costumes. These kids have gone crazy and this is not going to end well.
Again, No Free Speech

A tenured professor fired for an op-ed about the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

As far as I can tell, these protestors can only take scalps.

If you ask me, I think this is all about economic anxieties with a dash of attachment parenting and grievance politics. It won't lead anywhere good.
A Plague of Racial Hoaxes

Why are there a plague of racial hoaxes on campuses across America? I know why...I'm asking rhetorically...

...the first time this happened about 7-8 years ago at Claremont McKenna College and I took note because I went to the school next door. I know the place. There isn't an ounce of racism or homophobia there. So when a professor's car was vandalized with homosexual slurs, it sounded incredibly out of character and difficult to believe. And then it turned out to be a lie. The professor herself vandalized the car to make a point. Ah ha.

So read the above article and explain this:

IF structural racism is such a big problem, then why...why oh these folks feel the need to make these hoaxes? Shouldn't there be ample evidence of structural racism without the hoaxes?

The reason why these hoaxes happen is because we reward this behavior. We reward victimization. We give it attention and it serves the agenda of the social justice warriors who yearn to tear down any institution of power they can get their hands on.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

And Weirder...

A Missouri professor refuses to cancel class and an exam. And then quits.

This is hysteria. Students are afraid of the KKK. When is the last time the KKK did anything? This is madness and I hope people recognize it.
And It Gets More Bizarre

The hunger strike student is from a family worth over $20 million.

Not exactly cut from the same cloth as Vietnamese monks or Rosa Parks are these folks?

Like I said, they don't believe in free speech or the first amendment. The protestors are literally shouting "hehe, yo yo, reporters got to go." These people are insane, stupid, and dangerous. They are afraid of being exposed for what they are: neofascists.

And if the democratic party doesn't clearly distance themselves from protests and ideology like this, I'm out.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Coddled College Students, Privilege, etc.

Several years ago my new roommate brought over a friend on a Friday evening and a group of us got into a casual discussion of Obamacare. I was skeptical and didn't think the new bill would work. I guess the jury is still out, but with the rate increases coming this next year, the super high deductibles, and various unions, etc lobbying for aspects of the bill to be overturned, I think there's a pretty good chance I'll turn out to be right.

In any case, this friend of my roommate was young and during the argument got completely hysterical, cried, and called me privileged. Well, how can I respond?

Afterwards, I apologized to my roommate for letting the argument escalate. I don't like making people cry, and especially in my own house. But I thought back to that incident just now in the wake of the hysterical Yale student losing it on her dorm master and in the wake of the University of Missouri stuff and am changing my opinion.

I was right and she was wrong.

I was expressing an opinion and taking a reasoned, passioned position based upon logic and understanding of the world. She hijacked the conversation and made it about her unhinged emotions. And I think this was the first time I noticed a change from my generation to whatever we call this group that Lena Dunham and her ilk belong to. My first impression was that perhaps I took things too far, but now I realize something is seriously wrong with these kids.

They don't believe in free speech. They cannot tolerate disagreement. They meltdown when their immature an ignorant "beliefs" are questioned. They have no understanding of war, history, economics, or basic elements of how the world functions. Their argument always goes to the same thing: privilege. Anyone who disagrees with their dumbshit positions is simply arguing from a position of privilege and therefore incapable of being right or even have a point.

I'm calling bullshit because the fact is, all of us are privileged. THEY are privileged.

This guy who goes on a hunger strike for the injustices at U. of Missouri...are we going to take this seriously? What person in their right mind thinks college is an unsafe place for minority students? If U. of Missouri was so bad, aren't there literally hundreds of other schools he could attend? If it were so terrible, why is he there? Is there no where in America safe for students of color? Why do all those students attend this racist school in the first place? None of it makes any sense.
Gotta Go With The Hot Hand

Niners going with Gabbert again.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Is Nothing Sacred?

The PC police, who strangely, are students at Yale, are now attacking Halloween costumes. Specifically, they want a "school master" to step down for arguing they ought to let people dress how they want in the name of free expression. I guess it makes it pretty impossible to concentrate on schoolwork knowing someone else is wearing an offensive costume on Halloween. Jesus Christ, what's next?

Hey, if these folks don't believe in the First Amendment, there's a constitutional process to get it overturned.

Saturday, November 07, 2015


Restaurants: Providence and Belcampo Meat Company

Providence is probably the best restaurant I've ever been to. A truly special place. Fixed price menu. We got the most simple, four-five courser and it was still incredibly filling. Not cheap, but well worth it for a special occasion. They made a great gin martini as well.

Belcampo Meat Company might be the best cheeseburger in a town with a number of great cheeseburgers. My three favorites used to be: In and Out, Five Guys, and Father's Office. Now, my two favorites are Plan Check and Belcampo Meat Company.

Movies: Trainwreck and Bone Tomahawk

Trainwreck is the best movie Judd Apatow has directed. Like most of his movies, it went on too long for my taste and got needlessly sappy. But the first hour is great. I'd heard through the grapevine LeBron was good, but I thought he was a bit of a torpedo in the film. John Cena was the standout small performance.

Bone Tomahawk takes awhile to get going, but was quite gripping by the end. Great bad guys. But overall, the directing was unimpressive. The frame felt empty and too often static. The casting was okay. Still, I enjoyed it. Glad for the change of pace. Thought -- for those who talk about no difference between film and digital, I offer up this movie as a discussion point. I don't know this for a fact, but I imagine they shot digitally because the sunlight was too blown out throughout the film. Film would've looked considerably better on all the exteriors even without much DP expertise.