30 November 2006

I'll Be There

At the LA Auto Show, it's an annual tradition with me and my friend.

Instapundit points to the Popular Mechanics coverage.

Going early Saturday and I'll be snapping shots like a mad man.

Expect a series of posts starting Saturday evening (whether you like it or not).

Any requests on which vehicles to focus?

(besides the Focus, that is, those are boring)

Personally, I'm a Subaru fanatic, so expect deep, deep coverage of their display (which is almost always rather disappointing).

29 November 2006

"I know, this brain-teaser will take hours to resolve"

Actually, no, no it won't.

RESULTS (Week TWELVE) Weekly NFL Related Humiliation

Better late then never right? A mediocre week of picking, 3-2 against the spread. Original post here.

Chicago 13 New England 17
(Chicago +3.5) DOH!
Missed it by thaaat much (guess I have that catchphrase thing going around on my mind). I thought Rex Grossman could manage not to lose this game, I was wrong. Still, if he lead the receiver as he should have on Chicago's last play, they were looking like they were in good shape to get the go ahead touchdown as time ticked down. Instead, New England held on to win in a game they desperately tried to give away. A win is a win is a win, and New England are a solid team, but they are going to have a very tough time getting all the way through the AFC playoffs. And as far as that good gentleman from New England who comes here and gloats when I pick against New England, where were you when I picked them and they lost?

New Orleans 31 Atlanta 13 (Atlanta -3) DOH!
I don't get this team. Atlanta has great talent on both sides of the ball, the most explosive player in the game, he had one of the great all time performances running the ball as a QB (127 yards rushing in the first half, an all time NFL record), and they were never even close in this game. They can gain yards like crazy, but they can't score. It's just sad, and tough to watch. I refuse to make a pick in a game they are involved, simply too unpredictable to judge. Of course I said that before and they pulled me back in (wait, that's a film catchphrase, nevermind).

Pittsburgh 0 Baltimore 27 (Baltimore -3) Woohoo!
This proves nothing, other than Baltimore are one of the better teams this year, and Pittsburgh are a shell of their Superbowl selves. I've got nothing else to say other than Baltimore look poised to possibly go all the way this season, so long as McNair stays healthy.

San Francisco 17 St. Louis 20 (San Francisco +4.5) Woohoo!
Wrong team one, but right score for my pick, and that's what really counts. Neither team is out of the hunt in the NFC Lousy Division, though Seattle would seem to have a commanding position now given the return of their stars and a 2 game lead over both these teams. Another outstanding day from the best RB you've never heard of, Frank Gore.

Philadelphia 21 Indianapolis 45 (Indianapolis -9) Woohoo!
Indianapolis would seem to have quickly broke themselves of playing down to the skill level of their opponents. They bounce back nicely from their first defeat of the season and easily handle an Eagles team missing their heart and soul. Eagles are unlikely to challenge for a playoff spot with Jeff Garcia or AJ Feeley at QB. This game doesn't change my opinion regarding the Colts chances of making it to their first Superbowl since moving to Indianapolis, however. Too many strong defensive teams that they are likely to face in the playoffs. I just don't see them beating San Diego or Baltimore. The AFC Championship game ought to be exciting, however.

Hasn't He Heard of EMail?

H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad President of the Islamic Republic of Iran writes another letter to the United States.

Daniel Drezner responds on our behalf so that the rest of us don't have to.

Thank you Prof. Drezner.

(and thank you Prof. Reynolds for linking to Prof. Drezner).

28 November 2006

Really Embarrassing Thing I'm Doing This Very Moment

Computers are wonderful things, yet easy access to so much of the accumulated detritus of modern pop culture has its cost.

In other words, I'm listening to Emma Bunton's (at one time Baby Spice) most recent album (in the US, she has an album that hit the UK this month), and I'm liking it . . .

Managing Effluvia Better

A sad tale from the United Kingdom about opportunistic infections contracted at hospital.

This problem is far from unique to Britain (though their socialized medicine 'paradise' sounds far, far worse off in that regard than our 'inhumane' semi-free market health care system), in the United States, hospital acquired infections kill more people annually than better publicized diseases (and better funded in opposition) such as AIDS or breast cancer.

The solution is far simpler than a new drug cocktail or use of controversial new treatments, the solution is discipline within the medical community to follow their best practices when seeing patients (in other words, wash your damn hands upon visiting and leaving every patient), even while busy and understaffed. Vigilance by family members of patients in observing and monitoring the care their loved ones receive is one way to help stem this problem.

Don't be afraid to be an asshole, whenever a doctor or nurse visits a patient you know, guide them towards the wash basin and make sure they soap up (and it should go without saying, do the same yourself). The life or health of someone you know depends on it.

Borat, Make Benefit Glorious Marriage of Pam Anderson and Kid Rock . . . . . . . . . . . . NOOOOOOTTTTT!!!

On the one hand, the Borat film contributed to the break up of a marriage that seemed destined to last a long, long, long, long time (at least 15 or 16 months, not 5).

On the other hand, now Pam is single again and Borat has his chance . . .

(via Drudge)

(also, anything reported in Page Six must be taken with dozens of doses of salt)

"I find it significant as it's the first Second Life story not involving furry sexplay to pique my interest."

If that doesn't get you to click here, then I don't know what else I'm supposed to do.

27 November 2006

I Was Going To Blog About It Also . . .

. . . but the NYT exceeded my capacity for ridicule (and that takes some doing as I have a capacious capacitor for ridicule), and as my circuits were overloaded, I was incapable of coming up with anything.

(via Althouse)

26 November 2006

Yes, Los Angeles Does Have a Downtown

UPDATED to fix factual errors

It's a special extra urban edition of Sunday Dog Walking photoblogging. Ventured into the wilds of Downtown Los Angeles. The set can be viewed here.


The two tallest building this side of the Mississippi. OK almost got that right, the US Bank Building (appears smaller, but is taller) is still the tallest building this side of the Mississippi, but the Aon Center has been surpassed by a few building in Dallas during the 80s building boom.


A close up of the Aon Center. also, while I'm at it, I like my shot better than the one that accompanies the Wiki on this building.


An even closer up of the Aon Center.




You can't tell very well from this photo, but that bright spot in the middle is a driving rig with two motorcycles, one of them with Mary J. Blige perched upon it. Most likely a video shoot. I passed two different shoots while walking the dog today.


City Hall (from a distance)


A rather poor snap of Disney Hall (see, I don't hate everything Gehry's done)


Went down Broadway on the way back to the car, it's the vibrant center of the area, and almost like stepping into a foreign country. Also, my doggie didn't seem real popular, I think he looks a bit too much like the kind of dogs dirty cops use to intimidate in Mexico and beyond.


How long since they changed that marquee?


A couple of tempting shows upcoming at the Orpheum


A few shots of the exterior of the United Artist Theatre (now a church).



25 November 2006

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Week TWELVE)

The better late than never edition. Missed prognosticating upon Turkey Day's games, that's OK, those were pretty predictable (I probably would have picked Denver over KC, but Detroit and Dallas were no brainers).

I'll leave it up to John Clayton of ESPN to pick which games I choose to pick. He has his five top remaining games, and they'll be the five I'll stake my reputation on.

Chicago at New England (-3.5) Chicago +3.5
Chicago (9-1) travels to Foxboro. New England (7-3) are hard to beat at home, but the Bears are made up of a bunch of hard men. Grossman seems capable of not losing this game, while the Chicago defense are more than capable of disrupting Brady. New England is a very good team, but Chicago is better. Chicago will prove themselves on the road against a quality team, and continue to look like the only dangerous team in the entire NFC (besides possibly Carolina).

New Orleans at Atlanta (-3) Atlanta -3
Why, oh why is this on the list? Oh, right, both teams are .500 or better and fighting for the lead in their division. I said last week that I'd not pick for or against Atlanta (5-5) cause their too unpredictable (as are the Saints), but John Clayton made me do it. New Orleans (6-4) has stumbled since their stellar start, though Drew Brees continues to put up amazing numbers. I'm picking this game solely based on home field advantage, it could be close, or it could be a blow out in either direction, neither team has shown they have what it takes to win consistently, that's why they'll both be 6-5 after this contest.

Pittsburgh at Baltimore (-3) Baltimore -3
Baltimore (8-2) at home. That should be enough. Pittsburgh (4-6) seem to have turned a corner, but it's too little, too late. The next six games are all playoff games for Pittsburgh, lose any one of them, and they're done. In other words, they're done after Sunday.

San Francisco at St. Louis (-4.5) San Francisco +4.5
Red hot San Francisco (5-5) travel to ice cold St. Louis (4-6). The Rams have dropped five games in a row, I think they'll make it six. I can understand why folks don't believe in San Francisco just yet as their five wins have been against weak teams (including St. Louis). But St. Louis are done, they are finished, their season is over, and they'll lose this one just to prove it (and there's no way they should be 4.5 point favorites).

Philadelphia at Indianapolis (-9) Indianapolis -9
Indianapolis (9-1) should have a bad taste in their mouth after playing poorly against Dallas and losing for the first time this season. Philadelphia (5-5) have to overcome losing their best player, Donovan McNabb. Picking the Colts to win this game would be easy, except the Colts have been lousy against the spread this season (5-4-1). After a bunch of unimpressive victories, I think the Colts will put together an impressive game on both sides of the ball. Besides, it's not hard to pick against Jeff Garcia.

24 November 2006

Ashes, Ashes

Don't fall down, it's The Ashes.

Yeah, I don't get this sport either.

I like Douglas Adam's take on the whole thing.


A new Kat Dennings video masterpiece.

Woohoo! (watch and enjoy)

Has This Become a Laker's Blog?

Almost, just finished watching the Jazz defeat the Lakers in Utah.

Kobe disappeared in the 4th quarter. I don't know why he does that some games.

I know the Lakers are emphasizing "Team" this season, but Kobe needs to be Kobe in the 4th quarter.

Utah looks as good as their 12-1 record, though. Good mix of players and fierce rebounding. They aren't going away (so long as Kirilenko stays healthy).

23 November 2006

Gobble, Gobble

Hope y'all had a festive Turkey Day.

Plenty, and plenty to be thankful for, that's our great country in a nut shell.

Don't listen to anyone who claims otherwise, they're full of something other than stuffing.

And, if you brave the crowds at the stores tomorrow, try to remember that not getting that hoped for deal isn't the end of the world, and that those harried sales associates are people too.

22 November 2006

Everybody Poops

Even Mommies and Daddies (which is why this product comes in handy).

(via Gizmodo which in turn was via [Mommysentials via Baby Gadget via Gearlog via Boing Boing])

21 November 2006

Cross Building Rivalry

It was the big Lakers v Clippers contest tonight at Staples Center. Both teams looked good in stretches, and pretty awful in other stretches of the game. #24 for the Lakers made some crazy circus shots and lead all scorers with 40 (he had 20 by the end of the 1st quarter). Andrew Bynum continues to be the big surprise of the season.

Also, the Lakers managed to not score at all for the entire first 6 minutes of the 4th quarter, blow a 9 point lead, and still win this thing. Despite being a young team, they seem to have players other than Kobe willing to up the intensity when it counts.

Got caught up watching the game, didn't even notice the cable/internet went kaflooey (woohoo! TimeWarner).

(we'll just pretend I posted this at 11:59pm on November 21st)

20 November 2006

The Best Science Show on Television?

That's the headline to this NYT article.

That's debatable, but in my opinion Mythbusters is the best engineering show on television. There's a lot more engineering than 'pure' science, though the two go together often. Plus, they do love to blow 'stuff' up. That's always a plus. And despite being based in the hippie dippy Bay Area, they all seem to know there way around firearms, so they can't be all bad.

Also, Kari is sooooo my type.

Yet More Photoblogging, Hancock Park + Miracle Mile Edition

Sundays are for watching football, and driving someplace different to walk the dog.

Did not anticipate temps in the mid 80s on November 19th, but sometimes you have to suffer for your art. Doggie did o.k., though his tongue grew to prodigious lengths by the end of the walk.

Went to Hancock Park "aka" LACMA "aka" La Brea Tar Pits. Wasn't as much shoot worthy as I anticipated, but it was a pleasant walk, and it was opening day for the big Magritte show (which I'll try and get to sometime in the next two weeks, naturally I'll blog my impressions).

Whole set here, below a select few with comments


Doubt and Pain










A shot of the big poster at the entrance, and some shots outside the exhibit area for the Magritte show, I was shooed away by security, big dogs aren't welcome on the plaza between the museum spaces (just in the park area surrounding).

That's enough pictures, if you want to see more, go over to flickr.

19 November 2006

RESULTS (Week ELEVEN) Weekly NFL Related Humiliation

Original post here.

I'm just killing time until the playoffs now. There are four teams in the AFC that I wouldn't be surprised to see in the Superbowl, Baltimore, San Diego, Denver and New England (yes, I'm leaving out Indianapolis, they're too vulnerable on defense to do well in the playoffs).

If Rex Grossman plays well, then it's Chicago and nobody else in the NFC, but that's not a certainty. On to the results for the picks.

Chicago 10 NY Jets 0 Chicago -7 (woohoo!)
Did I mention that the Chicago (9-1) defense is really, really, really good? Nothing else to say really. Rex Grossman was mediocre again, and it didn't matter. They are like the Baltimore team that won the Superbowl with Trent Dilfer, as long as their QB doesn't lose games for them, they'll go very far in the playoffs. NY Jets (5-5) on the other hand are going nowhere fast and are likely to slide completely out of playoff contention within 2 or 3 weeks.

Atlanta 10 Baltimore 24 Atlanta +4 (doh!)
I thought Atlanta (5-5) could pull of an upset. But instead they let B.J. Sams roll up 212 yards on 6 kick and punt returns. Giving Baltimore (8-2) a short field too often cost Atlanta who looked like they could have pulled off the upset until they gave up a couple of big punt returns. Michael Vick didn't take advantage of Baltimore's aggression on defense as I expected. I just don't get Atlanta sometimes, they are far less than the sum of their parts right now.

Indianapolis 14 Dallas 21 Dallas +1 (woohoo!)
Indianapolis (9-1) suffered their first loss, those '73 Dolphins can crack open the champagne. Dallas (6-4) looked good. Tony Romo is a looking more and more like a big time QB. Ironically the Colts looked better in this loss than they have in many of their victories. I still don't buy them as a team that will win more than one playoff game this season. Their defense is too shaky.

San Diego 35 Denver 27 San Diego +2.5 (woohoo!)
San Diego (8-2) started to roll in the second half. They overcame Denver's (7-3) 24-7 lead early in the 3rd quarter. An impressive comeback from an impressive team. Both teams are really good, but San Diego has the better talent on offense. That may make the difference come playoff time.

I really should stay away from picking games involving the Falcons. As far as those bonus picks (even against the spread), New England (woohoo!), Miami (woohoo!) Cincinnati (woohoo!), Carolina (woohoo!), and San Francisco (woohoo!).

New England turned things around after their mini-slump. Miami could win out, get to 10-6 and make the playoffs, that would be an amazing turn around after starting 1-6. Cincinnati is still a possible wild card team, and if they make the playoffs will be dangerous. Carolina looks like the best team in the NFC not named Da Bears. San Francisco still might surpass Seattle and St. Louis and win the NFC Crappy (West) Division.

Also, by the rules I set up of both teams over .500, I should have made a pick on the NY Giants at Jacksonville game. I could have sworn Jacksonville was like 3-6, but whatever.

So, since I'm writing this post Sunday night, I'll include a bonus pick on the Monday night game (results will be posted as an update on this post).

NY Giants at Jacksonville (-3.5) NY Giants +3.5
Despite both teams having winning records, they're both unimpressive. NY Giants (6-3) are coming off of a tough loss and looked discombobulated against Chicago. Jacksonville (5-4) managed to get swept by Houston. Houston! Houston!! The Houston Texans do not sweep season series against teams, they are the sweepee. I can not pick a team that gets beaten by the Texans twice, sorry, as much as I think the Giants are off their game, Jacksonville are worse.

18 November 2006

So This Has Become Just Another Photoblog?

Yep. More dog walking photoblogging.

From earlier today, the set is up at flickr.




Can you buy a car without balloons? Guess not.



Award winner for least inviting shop in Santa Monica. I always get the feeling that the person who owns this store on prime Wilshire Blvd. real estate hates to part with any of his wares. I always imagine some Basil Fawlty type fella, I guess the "OPEN FOR SERIOUS COSTUMERS ONLY" is what does it. But seriously, where else are you going to find a full suit of armor?



Coming to LA? Why not rent yourself a red GTO convertible , or even better, a big white caddy convertible.


Feeling reflective?





Douglas Park, on this site many a bomber was built by the likes of my paternal grandmother (when it was Douglas Aircraft). Now it's a nice (but somewhat bum-infested) park. There's history there. And ducks.





Finally, passed by a certain globally famous architect's home. I think it's even designated a local historical landmark. (sigh . . .)

17 November 2006

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Week ELEVEN)

Here we go again. Another week closer to the real season, the playoffs. Only four games with both teams above .500 and still entertaining serious hopes of the playoffs. Those will be the games I'll hazard a guess as to the outcome.

Chicago at NY Jets (+7)
Chicago (8-1) love NYC (or East Rutherford, New Jersey, anyway) so much they play there on consecutive weeks. Last week they started poorly, but finished very strong. Rex Grossman settled down and looked solid for the first time in about 10 quarters. The NY Jets (5-4) beat division rival New England, and looked good doing it. But Chicago has a disruptive defense that will destroy Chad Pennington's rhythm, if not his body. It's going to be another miserable day for those rooting for the home team. Chicago will win and cover the touchdown spread with ease. Chicago -7

Atlanta at Baltimore (-4)
Baltimore (7-2) would seem to be in for an easy home game this week. They've won 3 in a row, and their foes, Atlanta (5-4) are riding a two game losing streak to Cleveland and Detroit. But, if Atlanta plays smart on offense, and does enough on defense to disrupt McNair, they have a real chance in this game. You never know which Michael Vick you'll get from week to week. Given the aggressiveness of Baltimore's linebackers, a running QB can roll up big yards if he doesn't get killed first. Atlanta plays like a young team, poorly against poor teams, but they'll get up for this battle and play over their heads and defeat a tough Ravens squad on the road. Or not. Atlanta +4

Indianapolis at Dallas (+1)
Dallas (5-4) despite their mediocre record, seem like a really talented team. Also, Tony Romo has proven worthy of the starting job these past few weeks. Indianapolis (9-0) continues to be the crappiest looking 9-0 team in football history. This is the Cowboy's first home game since October 23rd. I think they'll give the home fans a good show and contain the potent Indianapolis offensive attack while putting up some big numbers themselves. Dallas +1

San Diego at Denver (-2.5)
Denver (7-2) hosts San Diego (7-2). This game will go a long way towards deciding which team wins the AFC West, and which team ends up as a wild card with a 4 or 5 seed in the playoffs. Both teams have the same records, but they got there in very different ways. The Chargers are the number one in the NFL as far as points per game at 33.0, while Denver is in the back of the pack with only 17.6. But that's only one side of the story, Denver's defense is formidable, they just don't let other teams in the end zone averaging a league best 12.3 points per game allowed. The Chargers are respectable in that statistic as well (despite giving up 41 points to Cincy last week) at 19.4. It's strength against strength when the Chargers offense lines up against the Broncos defense. This game will be decided while Denver has the ball. If Plummer plays mistake free ball and doesn't turn the ball over. Denver will win at home. But that's not going to happen. Offensive mistakes by Denver will put too much pressure on their defense, and they'll allow an uncharacteristic 3 or 4 touchdowns and San Diego will win. San Diego +2.5

There are other games that might end up having playoff implications. Other games to keep an eye on NE at GB, MIN at MIA, CIN at NO, STL at CAR, and SEA at SF. Quick non-binding picks on those, NE, MIA, CIN, CAR and SF (I'll only count them if I turn out to be right).


No comment.

16 November 2006

I'm Happy to Be Wrong

The Democrats chose less unwisely than they could have when picking their number two in the House.

It's good for them and good for America, but bad for Speaker to be Grandma Nancy Pelosi.

It's been a topsy-turvy world of late, next thing you know, cats will lay down with dogs (in the most biblical sense of the phrase) . . . . . .

(oh wait)

(via Drudge)

15 November 2006

Are You Getting Geeked Up For Ian?

I don't know, I'll probably go see this new Blondie Bond fella, but it looks a bit too humorless.

Of course one of the problems with recent Bond films has been the attempts at something that resembles humor but falls far short.

So maybe this one will be worthwhile, the reviews have been good enough.

14 November 2006

Whether You Want It or Not, Here's a Belated Sunday Dog Walking Photoblog Post

That's right, doggie got to go on long walks twice this weekend. For Sunday's walk, I drove a bit to the south first.

Went to the Ballona Freshwater Marsh near the intersection of Lincoln and Jefferson.

The still under construction (but mostly completed), absolutely massive Playa Vista development is across the street. It was opposed by the BANANA folks, but got built anyway. And all the tales of ecological destruction? The wetlands are healthier and better managed because of this massive (largest in 50 years on the westside) building project.

Mofo loved this place, the smells weren't the smells he's used to. You can't gambol in the marsh, and why would you want to? But, for a dog it's all clearly within sniffing distance, and that's good enough.

As it's mid-November, the sun gets to be at a low angle pretty quickly, and the path around the marsh forced most of my snaps back towards the sun, not the best situation for good photography. Also, it's not a colorful time of year for the marsh, and the wildlife has sense enough to stay far away from the edges, so mostly just shots of greenery, and the detritus of construction projects (as usual, if you want to see everything, go here).


That this sign even exists makes a very strong case for folks to be sure to spay and neuter. I'm not just talking about pets either, folks who even think of abandoning their pets in this way should be spayed and neutered themselves.


It may not look like much, but it plays a crucial role in keeping the bay clean, and serves as a rest stop for migrating birds.


And almost within spitting distance you have planned urban(ish) density. Ain't the modern world grand?


Also on this corner, the modern sweatshop known as EA's Los Angeles office.


Oohhh, Look! Wildlife!


And standing in almost the same spot turning the other way, we have stacks of Jersey barriers.




I'm a big fan of piles of rubble.




Back to nature, unleash the Emerson within . . .


And a parting shot of a tight close up of a plant which I forgot to get the name of (but a rose by any other name . . .)