30 November 2009

Your Daily Photo (What Are You Looking At? Edition)

20090521_202 LA Zoo

Should get over to the zoo one of these mornings, try and snap the critters while they're a little cooler and fresher.

29 November 2009

Your Daily Photo (With a Name Like Zucky's, You Know It's Probably a Bank Edition)


That's Santa Monica's version of a historic building. It was a crap diner when it was a diner, then there was a suspicious fire back in the early 90s, then it sat for more than a decade, finally a bank agreed to repurpose the structure, even though they couldn't tear it down.

Preservationism can be truly idiotic sometimes. Here's a PDF of the City Landmark Assessment Report.

Weep at the idiocy, and marvel at the petty bureaucratic interference into normal commercial land use.

First Republic Bank (that's their branch at the former Zucky's) was recently sold off by Bank of America to some private investors at fire sale prices. Doesn't have much to do with anything, other than to show what a great job all that TARP money is doing.

I Am a Time Lapsing Fool, Baker to Vegas Edition

Finally uploaded my Baker to Vegas trip, via the backdoor, timelapsed. Taken the Sunday before Memorial Day.

Time Lapse Fun, Clouds.

More time lapse fun, taken yesterday.

He's a Canon Boy, She's a Nikon Girl, and I'm Still Not a Fan of White Boy Rap . . .

Joey L, an amazing photographer, an annoying rapper, but I appreciate the humor of this project, so here it is.

I'm a Nikon Boy, myself, so if the Nikon Girl in the video needs a more compatible 'mount', I'm her dude.

(via Gizmodo)

28 November 2009

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation: Week 12, The Picks

Now that I'm all caught up with results, time for week twelve's humiliation

BS Picks:

(home teams, ALL CAPS)

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-9) over Washington Redskins (BS: WAS)
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (-14) over Kansas City Chiefs (BS: KC)
Chicago Bears (+10.5) over MINNESOTA VIKINGS (BS: MIN)
BALTIMORE RAVENS (+3) over Pittsburgh Steelers (BS: BAL)
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-2.0) over New England Patriots (BS: NE)

All the Sunday games are divisional battles, with the Sunday night game being a virtual playoff game, given that the loser will be out of the playoff hunt. Philly will role up big yards on the Skins, and should win easily, the Chargers will likewise beat up on the Chiefs. The Bears can't be as bad as they have looked, and I'm expecting the ancient one's arm to suddenly fall off cause he has no business being a legit MVP candidate at his age, so I expect a Bears upset in Minnesota. Both the Ravens and Steelers have blown games they should have won and now might have to struggle just for a wildcard (unless the Bengals fall apart, which isn't out of the question), I expect the Ravens to bounce back from last week's tough loss, while the Steelers will extend their losing streak to three games.

Monday night is the big game of the week, with the still undefeated Saints. This is their last big test of the season, after this they get road games against Washington, Atlanta and Carolina, and home games against Dallas and Tampa Bay. I don't think the Saints will go undefeated, but if they get past the Patriots, it's a definite possibility. The Pat's are 1-3 on the road, with their only road victory coming against Tampa Bay, so not expecting them to turn around that trend in the Superdome on Monday night.

RESULTS: Weekly NFL Related Humiliation: Week 11

The Picks:

Washington Redskins (+11) over DALLAS COWBOYS (BS: WAS)
BALTIMORE RAVENS (+1.5) over Indianapolis Colts (BS: BAL)
San Diego Chargers (-3.0) over DENVER BRONCOS (BS: SD)
CHICAGO BEARS (+3.0) over Philadelphia Eagles (BS: PHI)
Tennessee Titans (+4.5) over HOUSTON TEXANS (BS: TEN)

The Results:

Dallas 7, Washington 6 (Woohoo!)
Indianapolis 17, Baltimore 15 (D'oh)
San Diego 32, Denver 3 (Woohoo!)
Philadelphia 24, Chicago 20 (D'oh)
Tennessee 20, Houston 17(Woohoo!)

Totals, my picks 3-2, BS picks 4-1

Season, my picks 23-31-1, BS 34-20-1

(Bill Simmons is kicking my ass on these picks so far, damn)

RESULTS: Weekly NFL Related Humiliation: Week 10

The picks:

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-7) over Cincinnati Bengals (BS: CIN)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-16.5) over Detroit Lions (BS: MIN)
Dallas Cowboys (-3) over GREEN BAY PACKERS (BS: DAL)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-3) over New England Patriots (BS: NE)
Baltimore Ravens (-10.5) over CLEVELAND BROWNS (BS: BAL)

The Results:

Cincinnati 18, Pittsburgh 12 (D'oh)
Minnesota 27, Detroit 10 (Woohoo!)
Green Bay 17, Dallas 7 (D'oh)
Indianapolis 35, New England 34 (D'oh)
Baltimore 16, Cleveland 0 (Woohoo!)

Me, 2-3, BS, 4-1

Season to date, me 20-29-1, BS 30-19-1

RESULTS: Weekly NFL Related Humiliation: Week 9

The picks:

CHICAGO BEARS (-3) over Arizona Cardinals (BS: ARI)
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-10) over Miami Dolphins (BS: MIA)
San Diego (+4.5) over NEW YORK GIANTS (BS: SD)
Dallas Cowboys (+3.0) over PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (BS: PHI)
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.0) over DENVER BRONCOS (BS: DEN)

The Results:

Arizona 41, Chicago 21 (D'oh)
New England 27, Miami 17 (Push)
San Diego 21, NYG 20 (Woohoo!)
Dallas 20, Philadelphia 16 (Woohoo!)
Pittsburgh 28, Denver 10 (Woohoo!)

That's more like it.

Me, 3-1-1, BS 2-2-1

Season to date: 18-26-1, BS: 26-18-1

RESULTS: Weekly NFL Related Humiliation: Week 8

Better late than never.

The picks:

BALTIMORE RAVENS (-3.5) over Denver Broncos (BS: DEN)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-12.5) over San Francisco 49ers (BS: IND)
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (-16.5) over Oakland Raiders (BS: SD)
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-3.0) over Minnesota Vikings (BS: MIN)
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-11.0) over Atlanta Falcons (BS: NO)


Baltimore 30, Denver 7 (Woohoo!)
Indianapolis 18, San Francisco 14 (D'oh)
San Diego 24, Oakland 16 (D'oh)
Minnesota 38, Green Bay 26 (D'oh)
New Orleans 35, Atlanta 27 (D'oh)

Me, 1-4, BS 2-3, season, me 15-25, BS 24-16

It's too long ago to remember what the hell I was thinking, but those are the results.

Your Daily Photo (There's Something Crooked About This Town Edition)


(this town is crooked, either that, or I snapped this while crossing the street without looking through the viewfinder)

27 November 2009

Your Daily Photo (Jogging and Backs Don't Mix Edition)


I don't know that her back was aching in that shot, but the position of her right hand doesn't appear to be part of a natural running motion.

Snapped with all the settings wrong for the conditions, but I'm calling it an 'artistic' choice. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

24 November 2009

21 November 2009

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation: Week 11, The Picks

BS Picks:

My Picks (home team ALL CAPS)

Washington Redskins (+11) over DALLAS COWBOYS (BS: WAS)
BALTIMORE RAVENS (+1.5) over Indianapolis Colts (BS: BAL)
San Diego Chargers (-3.0) over DENVER BRONCOS (BS: SD)
CHICAGO BEARS (+3.0) over Philadelphia Eagles (BS: PHI)
Tennessee Titans (+4.5) over HOUSTON TEXANS (BS: TEN)

All teams (except for Miami and Carolina who played Thursday) have seven games left, and in the next couple of weeks the playoff picture should begin to emerge. In the AFC, Indianapolis is a lock to win their division, while the East is a big muddle (especially if the Patriots slip), the North has the Bengals in control (!) after sweeping both Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and it looks like San Diego should take charge of the West when they beat Denver this week. As it stands now, I'd pick Miami, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and San Diego as the likely division winners, with both Baltimore and Pittsburgh sneaking in with wildcard births, unless Tennessee pulls off the unlikely 10 game winning streak, and finishes 10-6 after starting 0-6, which seems less unlikely than it did a few weeks ago.

In the NFC, Minnesota, New Orleans, and Arizona should all have no trouble winning their divisions, with the only division in doubt being the East. After losing four straight, it would be easy to dismiss the Giants, but they are the same team that won their first five, and their non division games against Atlanta, Denver, Carolina, and Minnesota are winnable (assuming Minnesota will already be locked into a 1 or 2 seed and have nothing to play for that week). The Giants should rally, and should get to 11-5 to finish the year, it helps they have the best coach in the division (which isn't saying much when your competition is Wade Phillips, Jim Zorn, and Andy Reid). I think Philly and Chicago will sneak in with the wildcard births to round out the NFC playoff picture.

Playoffs are a long way off, though, injuries could shuffle these divisions, and a lot of it doesn't matter, cause there's a clear top two in both conferences, with Cincinatti and Indianapolis likely to meet in the AFC Championship, and New Orleans and Minnesota a near mortal lock to meet in the NFC Championship.

(sorry Trooper York, no Manning v Manning Superbowl in Miami)

Your Daily Photo (Go, Lightly, Holly Edition)


Most folk's favorite hooker with a heart of gold.

20 November 2009

Your Daily Photo (So I Lied Yesterday Edition)


Not so much a lie, more so life intervened and I didn't have time to wander this or an adjacent city snapping photos. So you get another sculpture, and you're going to like it.

(and that shot above, intentionally out of focus, at least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it)

19 November 2009

Your Daily Photo (Is There ANY Doubt The Model For This Sculpture Was French Edition)


I'll shoot something, somewhere tomorrow, so expect something other than LACMA pics for Friday's Daily Photo.

18 November 2009

Your Daily Photo (Get to Work, These Fingers Aren't Going to Pull Themselves Edition)


Of all the possible hand or finger related post titles I could have gone with, I had to go with the classics.

I'm trying to class up the joint.

Did Rodin know his sculpture would be fodder for a 'pull my finger' joke?

Does that gag even translate into French?

Are fart jokes universal, and timeless?

Rabelais (according to the wiki on flatulence humor) used fart jokes in his works, so fart jokes in France date back to at least the Renaissance. Seems the origins of finger pulling are lost in the mists of time (and I suspect, that particular cause/effect joke is primarily, or even solely, enjoyed by anglophones, haven't done the research to reach any conclusion one way or the other, though).

17 November 2009

Your Daily Photo (Water, Flowing Edition)


Just your typical shot of flowing water.

16 November 2009

Your Daily Photo (Your Obligatory SoCal Palm Tree Shot, With Bonus Heraklean Teabags Edition)


Another sculpture by Bourdelle, this time his heroically nude (and therefore, 'teabag' showing) Herakles the Archer.

14 November 2009

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation: Week 10, The Picks

BS Picks:

My Picks (home teams ALL CAPS):

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-7) over Cincinnati Bengals (BS: CIN)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-16.5) over Detroit Lions (BS: MIN)
Dallas Cowboys (-3) over GREEN BAY PACKERS (BS: DAL)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-3) over New England Patriots (BS: NE)
Baltimore Ravens (-10.5) over CLEVELAND BROWNS (BS: BAL)

I'll get around to recapping weeks 8 and 9 later, as far as this week goes, three stinkers, and two intriguing match ups. I differ with BS on the two potentially good games. The Steelers won't get swept by the Bengals, and they ought to pour it on just to prove that they are still the team to beat in their division, so giving up a TD won't be a problem. The Indy Mannings are capable of being beaten by New England, but Peyton is just unbelievable at the moment, and the New England secondary is still kind of old and kind of slow, so coupled with Indy's young recievers and Peyton's knack for playing big during televised night games, I'm taking the home team in that one.

The other three games aren't much worth mentioning, surprised FOX isn't showing the Chargers-Eagles game locally, seems like an odd call to show the crappy Cowboys beat up on the crappier Packers, but whatever works for them.

Your Daily Photo (Spread Your Wings Edition)


12 November 2009

Your Daily Photo (What's With All the Shame, Eve? Edition)


Rodin's interpretation of Eve, after succumbing to temptation, obviously.

A Modest Proposal For Solving Two Intractable Problems of the Day, Afghanistan and Our Debt to China

Two of the myriad intractable problems facing our current government are what to do with Afghanistan, and how to manage our relationship with China as they own more and more of our debt. These problems on their surface would seem to be entirely unrelated, and the one (Afghanistan) is causing a huge strain with regards to how we can act on the other (as we spend on the war, we increase our debt).

Well, what if I had a modest proposal that would go a long way towards solving both of these problems? Luckily for Pres. Obama and his team of advisers, I have such a plan, and like most modest proposals, and like most workable solutions to complex problems, it is a solution that is both simple and elegant.

I'm sure my smarter readers have already guessed at the nature of this particular proposal, they are probably way ahead of me, and are at this very moment slapping their forehead and thinking to themselves, 'why didn't I think of that and create a blogpost delineating the details of such a simple, yet brilliant plan before that immodest proposer beat me to it'. I can't take too much credit for this plan, it comes from combining a variety of streams of thought and keeping a firm eye on both the past with a knowledge of history, and an eye to the problems of the future.

Having read Churchill's collection of his war correspondences from the region, and having known veterans from the previous Soviet conflict in the region, as well as the current conflict, I have trouble believing that there is much hope in developing stability amongst a collection of peoples and factions that have enjoyed nearly an uninterrupted supply of feuds, rivalries, and bloodshed for more than two millennia (don't think there's been a quiet period in the region of more than a decade or two since Alexander's time).

With that knowledge, seems there are three paths open to us if we wish to get out with honor, and leave some semblance of stability, or if not stability, at least leave an environment where terror can no longer be exported from the region. Those three paths are, one pick a tribe and a warlord, and arm him to the teeth and let him subjugate the other tribes. In some ways, we are doing that now with Karzai, though we are trying to be subtle about it, and we are preventing him from being overly bloody in reprisal. Seems a really half assed way to do it, but that's our current path. The second path is to do what the Soviets attempted to do, shell, bomb, and shoot them back to the stone age, but given that the region as a whole is barely beyond the stone age, that strategy imposes a cost on the foreign aggressor disproportionate to its effect on the locals. There is a third way, a modest way, and one that ties in with our debt to China (bet you thought I forgot about that part, didn't you?)

That third path, is get some other sucker on the hook. Our trade partners (and political rival) China, is looking to expand their influence on the global scene, and they have no compunction about brutality or using forced migration to subjugate a land (see both Xinjiang and Tibet). China borders Afghanistan (barely), and they have an excellent track record (depending on your point of view, again see both Xinjiang and Tibet) of sending in vast hordes of Han peoples into areas to remake the social, political, and ethnic make up of huge regions. For a modest forgiving of our current debt to China (say on the order of $2,000,000,000,000.00, I know the current value of Chinese owned debt sits at a mere $800,000,000,000.00 or so, but if we give them something in return, I'm sure they'll let us run up a nice little tab, and that extra $1.2T could go a long way in funding all sorts of wonderful projects our current administration would love to get to if they only had the means), we'll hand over rule of Afghanistan to China, no question asked, no other strings attached, and we'll take a 'see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil' stance at the United Nations with regards to any and all measures the Chinese may have to engage to quell the locals.

It's the perfect, two birds, one stone, solution, one that will ensure decades of prosperity at home while tying up Chinese expansionist fervor in a region where even the Chinese may have trouble being brutal enough to manage properly. In one fell swoop, we extract ourselves out of a tough mess, and enmesh our likely main rival over the next few decades in that same mess. I know you may think China won't be big enough suckers to take this mess off our hands, but the Chinese are hungry to prove themselves as a major world power, a worthy rival to United States global hegemony, and they would have a hard time passing up such a wonderful opportunity to give the United States a bit of a black eye in the global community, and make us look like the fading hegemon in much the same way we began taking over the global role Britain enjoyed a century ago.

This move will set China back, and shoot us forward, any cries about illegality, and colonialism, and betrayal to the people of Afghanistan will be drowned out by the cheers at the homecoming of so many of our troops, and the jeers at China as they crack down on the various peoples of Afghanistan. We will turn China's ambition against themselves, and we will appear humbled, even humiliated, yet through that humility we will emerge far stronger than if we pursue either of the other paths open to us (paths fraught with their own perils).

11 November 2009

Your Daily Photo (Veteran's Day REPOST Edition)

[from 2006]


Thank You


Thank You


Thank You


Thank You


Thank You


Thank You All

(and thanks, too, to those that have sacrificed, served, and continue to serve under other flags allied against tyranny)

(photos taken as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean at the Palisades in Santa Monica)

08 November 2009

Your Daily Photo (Would You Be Surprised to Learn That When Not Racing, This Driver Shoots Porn Edition)


I don't know for a fact that the person behind the wheel of #69/DP works in porn, but it would make so much sense if that were the case.

Either way, kudos for the highly efficient innuendo to symbol ratio exhibited by that little silver car.

(if only it were painted in a more fleshtoned hue)

07 November 2009

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation: Week 9, The Picks

BS Picks (along with words about his experiences on his current book tour)

My picks:

CHICAGO BEARS (-3) over Arizona Cardinals (BS: ARI)
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-10) over Miami Dolphins (BS: MIA)
San Diego (+4.5) over NEW YORK GIANTS (BS: SD)
Dallas Cowboys (+3.0) over PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (BS: PHI)
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.0) over DENVER BRONCOS (BS: DEN)

All the games have potential to be interesting, should be some entertaining viewing.

Your Daily Photo (X Marks the Spot Edition)


Taken at Willow Springs International Motorsports Park.

06 November 2009

Your Daily Photo (It's Tough to Remember to Post These on Fridays Edition)


Oops, two Fridays in a row I have to pretend Saturday is still Friday.

05 November 2009

03 November 2009

Your Daily Photo (Seriously, Stop With the Christmas Before Thanksgiving, Already Edition)


Abandoned used auto lot at Santa Monica Blvd and 14th St, soon to be Christmas tree lot (can't imagine will be too soon, hopefully it's just the signage they're unfurling, cause if you picked up your tree the first week of November, it'd be a serious fire hazard by the first week in January).

02 November 2009

Your Daily Photo (Fall, Southern California Style Edition)


We don't have wimpy little leaves falling for fall, we get big ass palm fronds slamming into the ground. That's how you do fall!

(big winds blew through Tuesday, leaving a mess, but no damage)