Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hillary Team Blaming Obama For the Election Loss

That's rich.

What's the Jack Nicholson line from As Good As It Gets, "How do you write woman so well?" "I think of a man, but I take away reason and accountability."

Take accountability, Hillary. And a dose of reason wouldn't hurt, either.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Green Card Ban

Well, now Trump has done something truly dumb: he will not allow access by Green card holders from his 7 "bad" countries. Now if the opposition had not blown their wads and protested nothing, they could actually come together and gather consensus across the political spectrum to oppose this particularly stupid immigration order. I wonder how it will play out. No one ought to be defending this one. It's truly wrong. Immigrants who've gone through the Green card process getting denied entry to the US? Come on now, people. They've done more work towards being citizens than the majority of actual citizens.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

And Now the Grievance Olympics May Begin

Predictably, the LA Times has a story about the Oscars not being diverse enough this year, too.

Notice: no discussion of movies or the craft of storytelling or filmmaking.

Movies: Moonlight and Edge of Seventeen and Wild Strawberries

Edge of Seventeen is one of the better movies I've seen this year, and I'm wondering why more people aren't talking about it. I mean, here you have a female writer/director and leading role, it should be the film de jour for the moment. And yet, I don't think I know anyone who saw it. I only watched it because it was a screener and the level of storytelling craft, I think, is quite high.

Moonlight ultimately made me feel sad and depressed. I'm not sure if this is a grand accomplishment. And yet, it seems to be working from a marketing standpoint. It flatters the egos of all progressive minded people. It's kinda like you get to be "woke" if you watch and like Moonlight and that to me seems a little cheap.

Wild Strawberries had some of best scenes I've ever seen in cinema. I now understand why people love Bergman. It reminded me of the first time I watched Rules of the Game. Quite a remarkable movie.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Final Thought On the Protests

Did a lot of people show up simply because it was Saturday and the right time of year? As a hypothetical exercise: imagine this same protest scheduled during a work day: what percentage of the protestors with jobs would sacrifice one day of wages to protest whatever they're protesting?

I imagine very few. And that suggests to me the seriousness with which we should take the message (whatever it is).

Sunday, January 22, 2017


When Protest Fails.
Talking to the protesters in Washington today, it was hard not to hear the echoes of the weakness of the Moscow protests five years ago: a vague, unstructured cause; too much diversity of purpose; no real political path forward; and the real potential for the meaning of the day to melt into self-congratulatory complacency. A Los Angeles woman showing me photos of the march afterward wondered, “Where was everyone before? We didn’t do enough.” Rallying and making funny signs is easy; winning real power in American politics is not.
And whatever you want to call this - the Left, Progressives, Liberals - continue down the path of abandoning their working class roots in favor of the grievance olympics. It hasn't work. It won't work. Do they have an idea how Ashley Judd, America Ferrera, and Scarlett Johansson talking about inequality sounds to a construction worker who got his hours trimmed to 25 hours this week?

Jesus, the tone deaf narcissism of the entire endeavor is stunning.

Saturday, January 21, 2017


Saw the headline on Deadline: Woman's march in DC, Los Angeles, New York, and Sundance. Need you know more?

But seriously, I stopped by with the family for the little Burbank version of the March. People were very normal and relaxed. It was basically a little Saturday stroll. The few organizers looked a little more intersectional-feminist types, but whatever.

Overall, I don't understand the protests. What's the political goal? It strikes me as an incoherent set of ideas with the vague common purpose of diversity, equality, blah, blah, blah, which have all been unmasked as unpopular fictions for the majority of the world, save for people who live in rarified cosmopolitan environments who don't have many kids, pay a lot in rent, and attend expensive colleges.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Quite a good distillation of alt-right thinking.

I think the American people voted for Trump not due to a sophisticated understanding of his alt-right platform, but rather a gut level instinct that something is wrong with the direction of the country. This article pinpoints the idea: borders (or boundaries). America feels like it's headed toward a border-less existence, in terms of geography, in terms of capitalism/jobs, social behaviors (bathrooms), and identities. The Alt-right favors reinstating borders into our lives and I can't say I totally disagree.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Love the Alex Smith divide on talk radio. Find it a reflection of media insanity when they treat Smith like a scrub and think the Chiefs ought to replace him. If someone shits on Smith, notice they are guys who didn't play football and are creatures of the media. Notice the defenders of Smith - ex-QBs, executives, etc. So here's how I think about it:

I'm a GM/Coach in the NFL. I need a QB of the QBs out there. Take age out of the equation, so that you're not saying, I'd take Andrew Luck over Brady RIGHT NOW. F-that. You're taking Brady. Just to try and make the situation comparable.  Factor in talent, situation, etc.

Tier 1: All Timers

1. Rodgers
2. Brady

Brady's been better, but that's probably because of his situation and Belichick, right? Either way, these guys are 1-2.

Tier 2: The Franchise

3. Drew Brees
4. Big Ben
5. Russell Wilson
6. Andrew Luck
7. Derek Carr
8. Philip Rivers
9. Cam Newton

These are the guys nobody entertains getting rid of. You count QB as one of your strengths as a team. I could debate the order, but I gotta give props to the guys who won Super Bowls. Of these guys, I think Brees has been the most consistently spectacular and the engineer of explosive offenses (again, age not a factor). Big Ben and Wilson occasionally look great, but also look incredibly spotty at time. This is commonly noted on Big Ben, but for some reason Wilson gets a pass. He has a number of very subpar post-season performances.

Luck is still more talent than result. Maybe it's the team...maybe it's injury...maybe...maybe...maybe. Carr earned his spot this year. Rivers probably deserves to be higher, but lately, they just haven't been very good. One could make a very good argument for Rivers #5, just from a pure QB standpoint. He never gets hurt. He's competitive, tough, but coming in last place in the division for several years straight severely hurts the argument for him.

Cam, in my estimation, has had one great year, but shows some signs of being Cutler-ish.

Tier 3: A Franchise QB, But...

10. Tony Romo - Almost belonged in the prior category, but he got benched this year. Romo is at the top of this group because he has the ability to win games by himself.
11. Matt Ryan - One could make a good argument for Ryan to be put into the franchise category, except for the fact that there are questions about his post season ability and he's always been surrounded by incredible talent. I'll say this - when the Niners were in the NFC championship game against Ryan a couple years ago, I feared him. That said, we won.
12. Alex Smith - So I have him here, higher than most. He's a unique and under-appreciated player because he does this thing where he doesn't seem to win games...but guess what? He also does this thing where he doesn't ever lose games either. It's quite remarkable. In the last six years, He's lead his team to winning records and the post-season, or a hair away from it. I think he's more consistent than all the players below him and he stands toe-to-toe in the ring with top QBs. He's beaten Brees, Rodgers, Rivers (mult times), Carr (mult times), Brady, and Wilson in big in-season or playoff games. He's played near equal to Luck and Big Ben in two big playoff games. There are too many instances for it to be a mistake.
13. Eli Manning - he has the two Super Bowls, but neither time could it be said QB was the strength of those teams. Very up and down and a strange career. I'd take Smith over him, but could see a lot of people disagreeing.
14. Matt Stafford - lots of talent, not much in the way of results. Played with one of the most talented receivers of all time. Don't know if he's ever been in the playoffs. Something isn't clicking with him.
15. Joe Flacco - had that one stretch where he won the SB and looked incredible. The rest of the time, not so much.
16. Dak Prescott - almost in the below category, but performed a bit too well and earned his way out of it. People LOVED Dak. So that said, didn't he do this year what Alex Smith has done for the last 6 years? Played well enough to get his team into the playoffs, but came up a little short. And when's the last time Smith had the best offensive line in football. Answer: 2011-2012 when he took the team to the NFC championship game and then got bench for Kap. So if Dak repeats this year for six years, will talk radio be pooping all over him?

Tier 3.5: A Franchise QB, We Think... (But It's Too Early to Tell)

17. Kirk Cousins - top of this category for now. He's got good numbers this season and I believe gone to the playoffs. But I think the jury is still out. Seen guys do well for this length of time (Kaepernick, RG3) and it go nowhere.
18. Jameis Winston - he's looked good at times. Guess what? In his second year, Alex Smith looked good, too. I think they went 7-9 or 9-7 and then Norv Turner ditched the Niners to go coach the Chargers and Alex went into the stink-hole until Harbaugh arrived. I want to see more.
19. Marcus Mariota - ditto. I like his game.
20. Carson Wentz - people say he has the "it" factor. I see a guy who went 4-9 down the stretch with a really good defense.
21. Tyrod Taylor - I haven't seen enough, but from what I read, he makes the cut for now.

Tier 4: A Starter

22. Jay Cutler - Another unique guy, who has the talent to be in tier 2 or 3, but who clearly brings down the people around him. We have a big enough sample size now to confidently say, he's not a franchise QB you would take. But to be fair, he's worthy of a starting position.
23. Andy Daulton - maybe you could with a SB with an excellent team around him.
24. Ryan Tannehill - a bigger maybe you could with a SB with an excellent team around him.

Tier 4.5: A Starter, But...

25. Carson Palmer - has looked great at times, but big time injury and consistency problems. The guys in Tier 3 and Tier 4 don't really get benched and I feel like Palmer gets benched.
26. Sam Bradford - Brings you zero stability, but some upside.

Tier 5: Shopping For A Better Option

27. Blake Bortles
28. Ryan Fitzpatrick
29. Trevor Simeon
30. Brock Osweiller
31. Cleveland Browns QB
32. Rams QB
33. 49ers QB

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Head Coach

The Niners can't seem to find a head coach.

I wonder why? Does it begin with K?
Alex Smith

Reading some news about the Chiefs moving on from Alex Smith. I'd check out the results of the last organization who made that choice. The question, as with removing Saddam, is who do you replace him with?

Romo? What's the last Super Bowl he played in? Deshaun Watson? Good luck with that...huge risk. The Rams, anyone?

I can think of 27 other teams who envy the Chiefs season, and 4 who don't. A little better performance yesterday, a little luck, and they're in the Championship game. If I'm them, I ride with Alex. See how Hill and Kelce and Ware have all developed? You think they're developing that way with Goff, Kaepernick, or any of the bottom half of QBs in the league?

Monday, January 16, 2017


Racial politics backfire.
The problem with liberals is that they want all the advantages of racial politics and none of the detriments. They have succeeded in weaponizing entire racial groups, but when they find that they have inadvertently weaponized the ones who vote the other way, they get upset.
Kinda the problem with liberal thinking in general - wanting and seeing only benefits without acknowledging or seeing the costs.
She's Not Wrong

Trump supporting Lyft driver.
Meryl Streep

Pretty great Pauline Kael line on her:
“She makes a career out of seeming to overcome being miscast.”
I don't think it's a mistake she doesn't work with great directors anymore.
Zero Hedge

One of the best posts explaining the economics of American anger and goes most of the way to explain Trump.

I think he's spot on. Obama was worthless in this regard, not that anyone else has done any better.

Friday, January 13, 2017

I See This

...In early every person I know.
"Millennials earn 20 percent less than boomers did at the same stage of life, despite being better educated, according to a new analysis of Federal Reserve data by the advocacy group Young Invincibles."

The Cathedral left is the alt-right's mirror image.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

If It Were a Movie, You'd Call It The Inciting Incident

The Alex Smith trade sent two organizations in different directions.

I urge anyone interested in this story to glance at the buzzfeed intelligence "document." I looked at this thing and after 1 page could tell it was fake. You know why? Because I could write this. Look at the format. It's written by someone with fairly rudimentary Microsoft Word skills. "Confidential / Sensitive Source" at the top of the document. Are you serious?

COMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT. Jesus. Look the language. It's completely devoid of any type of professional jargon. Look up FBI documents on the freedom of information act. Just google anything. Read a professionally put together intelligence document. It does not read like this. This reads like a pretty smart, knowledgeable amateur put it together.

Jesus, these anti-Trumpers are shameless.

Film: Hidden Figures

Better than The Help. I suppose I am participating in a similar style of categorization as the folks who made the Hidden Fences gaffe. Although, I wouldn't have confused Hidden Figures with Moonlight or Fences, as these films share much different creative ambitions. I think the Help is a much more appropriate comparison as they both explore the African American experience historically, from the point of view of the neglected females, and both do so using melodramatic, Hollywood style-story telling. Fences is more of a character study. Moonlight falls into indy-film tropes and is a bit more cinematically ambitious, although it does borrow some melodramatic storytelling elements.

What most impressed me about Hidden Figures is the light touch of the filmmakers with respect to how the main characters reacted to racial situations. It felt more human and real. In fact, my least favorite part of the film was Taraji's big shaming speech to her colleagues. It felt out of place in the movie, but I'm sure joe-average audience for the film liked it.
Cowen Is Right On This One

If you truly believe Trump is going to be a disaster, again, you should be selling all your stock.

Sunday, January 08, 2017


Film: Memories of Murder

It's now in the top ten.
Wait...How Did That Happen?

Germany's Islamicist numbers triple in 5 years, causing security concerns.

For everyone who wants to take in more Syrian refugees.
Sports News

Grayson Allen's leg touches another player in basketball game.
Michelle Obama

To young people, "lead with hope, never fear."

Does hope pay the bills? Does it create anything? I think the hope message has always being purposefully vague and perhaps meaningless. It's sort of like saying "be good."

Friday, January 06, 2017

Misnamed Perhaps

"About half of Affordable Care Act employees are dissatisfied with the deductible."

I never understood how forcing via penalty for people to buy health insurance was supposed to fix the system or make it more affordable. If it was affordable, people would buy it.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

As It Should

Shaun King predictably weighs in (or should I say, doesn't weigh in) re: Chicago facebook live torture.
He also doesn’t need me advocating for justice. It will soon drop like Thor’s hammer without my help.
As it should.

I must be on another planet with this guy...I mean, this story of violence in inner city Chicago has been going on for years now (Chiraq anyone?) and King and other BLM want to talk about police violence? Really? He wants to talk about mistakes and bad judgement and not the evil right in front of our faces? I mean, it's one thing to ignore the torture videos coming out of the Middle East, but we're talking about our own country here and this strikes me an alarm bell for what's happening in a deteriorating locality. But it doesn't fit the racist-police narrative and so BLM and guys like King say nothing. Nada on the 762 murders in Chicago in 2016 - the majority of whom are probably victims of color - because it doesn't prove or demonstrate institutional racism. Insanity.

Other thought: a number of social conservatives are coming out with "I told you so" pieces and they are right to. In the 1990s, social conservatives were worrying about our decaying sense of decency in this country. They attacked Murphy Brown, gangster rap, Bill Clinton's sexual escapades, amongst other things because they thought it would lead to cultural decay. They were mocked by liberals and called racist and sexist to boot. I remember because I was one of the liberals who mocked them. I thought they were stupid and I liked gangster rap. But it turns out I was a stupid young person then.

They were right. People are offended by how a loud mouthed sexist liked Donald Trump could be elected to office. How do you think? Standards got more crass, just like we advocated for! We have an opioid epidemic and the breakdown of the traditional family structure in the lower and lower middle classes all across American, in white and black families, because it became more culturally acceptable to get divorced, raise a child by a single parent, etc. Gangster rap was glamourized and now normalized and therefore should it be a surprise that some youths are taking it literally?

Now, I'm not saying I agree with social conservatives, or wish we could go back, but I will at the very least acknowledge: they have a point. Will you?
Chicago Youth Take a Cue From Al Queda

I won't watch the video, but I know it contains evil.

This will be the result of listening to people like Kaepernick. The police are not the problem, it's the lack of them in certain areas that's the problem.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017


"Male college students to undergo critical self reflection."

It's no longer irony, but rather absurdity:
It’s also funny to me that if you’re a man who identifies as a woman, the university has nothing critical to say to you, but if you’re a man who identifies as a man they’re happy to tell you that you’re doing it wrong.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017


A quick holiday movie and tv round up:

Rogue One - I enjoyed it, despite some flaws. Considerably better than The Force Awakens to my mind. Loved Donnie Yen and the other Chinese guy. His first action scene was incredible and he was better in this than Ip Man or Kung Fu Killer, the only other films I've seen of his. In general, a number of the side performances were good - including Forest Whitaker.

Westworld - I feel asleep 3 times in the finale and have yet to finish. The grand total of times this show put me to sleep - around 10-11, dwarfs all other shows combined, except perhaps Law and Order, which I used to watch as a young teen before going to bed. Nevertheless, most shows I would've dropped long before, but for some reason I stuck with Westworld. It proved to be a mistake.

Kung Fu Killer - a good bad idea executed like a CBS procedural. An example of a good bad idea executed exceptionally: Se7en. An example of a great bad idea executed alright: John Wick.

Lethal Hostage - already mentioned, but perhaps my favorite Chinese mainland film I've ever seen (not that I've seen many).

Operation Mekong - a Michael Bay-esque over the top action film based on real events. Some good set pieces and terrible acting (although also some decent acting).

La La Land - struck all the right poses to get attention from the coastal crowds, but delivered very little in the way of music. My god, it made me want to rewatch Funny Girl and nothing has ever made we want to do that. But seriously...in a musical, shouldn't there be good music? And/or a talented singer? Did I miss something about this genre? I mean Les Mis got away with one poor singer - Russell Crowe - but was otherwise built on strong musical numbers and talented other performers, but for the entire movie to be built around non-singers and bad song writing...I dunno, folks...I don't get this.

Moonlight - at first I thought this was a rip off of early David Gordon Green or late Terrence Malick, but it turned for the better. I liked the melodramatic stuff. That said, I couldn't finish it in one sitting (young children), but would like to...

Fences - this was the surprise of season for me. I got into it and am looking forward to finishing it.

Dead Snow - fun dyi movie

Two Lane Blacktop - Watching it now was the first time I really appreciated the film, but I think the first half is better than the second half.