Monday, January 30, 2012

Oscar Nominees - So Far

My wife and I are trying to see as many of the Best Picture nominees as possible before the Academy Awards take place. We have managed four so far, and here is what I think about them.

Moneyball - Sports movies often suffer from the difficulty in translating the game to film. Fortunately, this one is about the most important part of professional sports - the part that happens off the field. More specifically, it is about the business side. If you are a sports fan, this is your chance to see how the sausage gets made.

Midnight in Paris - I am beginning to believe that Paris itself is a great actor. It gives every movie it is in a kind of whimsy that seems to be unique to the city. I think it must be the way the directors feel about their subject that brings this out, but Woody Allen certainly loves the city. Owen Wilson does a nice job of playing the self-aware character in a crowd of intelligent but oblivious upper-crusters. This movie also gives you the chance to see a guy who once played Tony Blair debate with the real life wife of Nicholas Sarkozy. That does not happen everyday.

Tree of Life - I have no idea. I admire the concept. I like people trying new artistic methods. I don't mind the placement of cinematography ahead of storytelling. I am impressed by child actors who can seem like real kids on film. I love space. I like the idea of asking big questions. And yet, I spent most of the movie being distracted by things like "who is this person who is now braiding the mom's hair?" and "what kind of dinosaur is that?" Really, I have no idea.

The Descendants - Clooney! Clooney! This is a great movie. The dialogue at the beginning about how everyone thinks people who live in Hawaii are immune to life sets the tone perfectly. This movie is about real life, or at least what real life is like when major life events happen. The are sad, funny, and maddening all at the same time. This movie has all of that, and it has a lot of George Clooney running funny. My front-runner for Best Picture.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I don't know much about Terrell Suggs, but I like him a little bit more now...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dynasty of Fishiness

There has been an awful lot of smoke around the New England Patriots over the last decade. Between Spygate, tampering charges, and spawning a general manager that most Chiefs employees believe is spying on them, I think there is pretty good evidence a fire is burning somewhere. And with all of that context, this:
Cundiff told me he initially thought he was at fault, that he had looked at the scoreboard too early, before the down number had been changed. In fact, the Gillette Stadium scoreboard was off by a down. On Monday, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs told ESPN that Ravens players thought the team had made a first down after receiver Anquan Boldin fumbled out of bounds on first-and-10 from the Patriots’ 23-yard line. Instead, the ball was marked where Boldin had lost it, a yard short of a first down. On second and third downs—which the scoreboard said were first and second—the Ravens threw unsuccessfully into the end zone. Ravens P.R. director Kevin Byrne told me—and Cundiff later learned—that team officials watched the All-22 video of the game on Monday and confirmed the scoreboard malfunction.
Could this randomly happen? Sure it could. But it sure could also fit into a tidy little pattern.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Big Shot Rob

Kobe vs. Shaq?

Robert Horry says Phil Jackson started the whole thing...

I think Phil Jackson started that feud. It happened many times that after team practice he would say, “Kobe said this about Shaq, and Shaq said that about Kobe… We couldn’t believe how could that happen, because just the day before we saw them together, jumping on one another. Phil liked it when there was conflict of some sort.  
I always tell people; if you look at those championships, you’ll see who were the closest players on the team. Normally those are the guys who are the first to hug each other. And when we were winning, it was always Shaq and Kobe who hugged. I think this will answer your question. Later it was blown out of proportion by the media and both players started doing something that didn’t make sense.
Very interesting... (via True Hoop)

Friday, January 20, 2012

You Wouldn't Believe Me If I Told You

If you are conservative that is literally true I think because I don't work for Fox News...

Democrats trust everything- except Fox News. NBC does the best with them at +50 (67/17), followed by PBS and CNN at +49 (66/17 and 65/16 respectively), ABC at +38 (57/19), CBS at +35 (58/23), MSNBC at +33 (56/23), and even Comedy Central at +4 (36/32). Fox News comes in at -36 (25/61). 
Republicans meanwhile don't trust anything except Fox News. PBS comes the closest to breaking even among non-Fox outlets, although not very close, at -30 (26/56).  It's followed by CNN at -49 (18/67), MSNBC at -51 (18/69), NBC at -52 (17/69), CBS at -54 (17/71), ABC at -56 (14/70), and Comedy Central at -59 (12/71). But Fox News comes in at a stellar 73/17. 
Independents are with the Democrats. They trust everything except Fox News. Main takeaway from this poll: tv news has become just as polarizing as the political parties in this country.
This is from a Public Policy Polling study. The full thing is here. Very interesting.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Other Side Has Them Too

The Creationists may be full of it, but many ministers are less sanctimonious than some scientists. Like this guy, for instance...


I love the moment around 3:30 where Robert Wright puts his hands up as though he might be concerned about vomiting. I would suggest that might be from the stench of bullshit arising around him.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Creationists Be Creatin'

Your Missouri House of Representatives at work:

(b) If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a course of study, biological evolution and biological intelligent design shall be taught. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught. If biological intelligent design is taught, any proposed identity of the intelligence responsible for earth's biology shall be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation and teachers shall not question, survey, or otherwise influence student belief in a nonverifiable identity within a science course;

What Are Newspapers For?

Granted, there is a follow-up post where the New York Times Public Editor tries to explain himself, and in all honesty there is some room for debate on where the line gets set... but this is how he started the first post on newspapers and the truth:
I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge “facts” that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.
Uh, yeah. They should do that.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Envy and Math

So I guess I am outsourcing most of my blog posts to others these days, but they are just saying things I think deserve to be repeated. This time it's Matt Yglesias in a post on Mitt Romney's comments about inequality concerns really being just envy.

This is the real issue here. There's a sense that a lot of us have that our public policy ought to be aiming to produce large gains for everyone. You often hear that for one reason or another the United States "can't afford" this or that. We "can't afford" to pay people Social Security benefits. We "can't afford" to build high-speed trains. We "can't afford" to give everyone early childhood education. But why can't we afford this stuff? Are we a poor country? No, we're not. We're one of the richest countries that's ever existed. Are we a poorer country than we used to be? No, we're not. But a very large share of the gains we've made over the past three decades have gone to a relatively small number of people. If the gains had been broadly shared, then the burden of paying for that basic infrastructure and public services would have to be very broadly shared. But the gains have been very concentrated, and so if we're going to afford that stuff, a large share of the revenue has to come from the people who've gotten the money. 
That's not envy, that's math.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How to Be Remembered

Forever to be known primarily as the guy who cut the best basketball player ever, Clifton "Pop" Herring sounds like a guy who is probably remembered by the guys who played for him for much fonder reasons.
Pop had his best season two years after Jordan left. The Bucs made the state playoffs for the first time in their history. In their opening game, against Hoke County, they had a 12-point lead with 90 seconds left. Pop emptied his bench. One assistant coach nearly had a fit, because the game was still in question, but Pop wanted all his guys to be able to say they'd played in the state playoffs. He even put in a kid they called Bouffant because of his perfect red hair. "Bouffant can handle the pressure," Pop said, and Bouffant could. He scored two points, and the Bucs won by 11, and they rode home in celebration, grooving to Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, because Pop always loved his music.
A much better way to think of the guy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quote of the Day

From Kevin Drum, in a piece explaining that Mitt Romney's experience makes it harder for him to get by on platitudes about the free market.
Americans may be ideological free marketers, but operationally they're just folks who believe in a day's pay for a day's work. If you rub their noses in the the true face of modern capitalism, they aren't going to like what they see.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

This is What Dedication Looks Like

A friend of mine posted this pic on Facebook. Either somebody mislabeled these or...

Frank Martin knows intensity and passion, but he thinks excitement looks like a guy in an erectile dysfunction commercial (ok maybe he is right about that one too).

And dedication? Well, he looks dedicated to working on his Rock imitation anyway.

Juvenile Humor to Start the New Year



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