started reading freakonomics today. so far i've only read the introduction and i can't say that i'm impressed. they argue that the roe v. wade decision is responsible for the decline in juvenile violence in the 90s, and then give a lecture on the importance of causation vs. correlation. in that argument they give no hard data on abortions or crime rates, rather they offer this simplistic reasoning: "as far as crime is concerned, it turns out that not all children are born equal....millions of women most likely to have an abortion in the wake of roe v. wade - poor, unmarried, and teenage mothers for whom illegal abortions had been too expensive or too hard to get - were often models of adversity. they were the very women whose children, if born, would have been much more liekly than average to become criminals."
they also challenge the well-established notion that money helps buy elections. to my knowledge, the factors that best predict the success of a candidate are: incumbency and money raised. in two pages, though, they minimalize and trivialize this fact which has been proven over and over by political scientists. again, they do this without showing hard data: "the amount of money spent by the candidates hardly matters at all. a winning candidate can cut his spending in half and lose only 1 percent of the vote....what really matters for a political candidate is not how much you spend; what matters is who you are...some politicians are inhereently attractive to voters and others simply aren't." they go on to trivialize the amount of money spent in an average election cycle: about $1 billion is spent per year - which sounds like a lot of money, unless you care to measure it against something seemingly less important than democratic elections. it is the same amount, for instance, that americans spend every year on chewing gum." they don't mention the role that money plays in the political process, they way corporations exert undue influence on the process because of the access that their money buys, instead they trivialize the amount spent, and pretend it doesn't matter.
lastly, in their bit about the legalization of abortion and the lower crime rates, they cite two papers done by one of the authors. pretty weak academics if you ask me.
slept too much last night.
this old house is one of my favorite shows ever, but last week's final episode of the season had me a bit concerned. they did a final walk through on one of the most expensive remodels i've ever seen. it was a beautiful house, but the details that they had in that place seemed to put the project beyond the bourgeois. it seemed beyond the usual upgrade of an older place. it wasn't about restoration, it was about a multi-millionaire getting his dream house. it's still nice to see the new technology and the construction, but i thought that the show was beginning to lose its center. then, today's episode ushered in the new season. it takes place in a row house in D.C. a company bought it for $1 from the city with the caveat that they must sell it to a low-middle class family. they have a $250K budget and they're going to need it. the house had a fire and plenty of associated water damage, was once used as a crack house, and was completely neglected. it'll be fun to see them work on it with a fixed budget and for a better cause than some rich guy who wants an exotic water feature leading up to his custom made 200 lb. solid wood front door.
olympics are almost over. i didn't think sasha cohen was going to medal after her falls. that means at least two silver medals went to people who fell in their final program. i'm not a huge fan of the new system, though i understand its origins and purpose.
mancuso redeemed herself a bit, but i still agree with picabo street who cited a lack of professionalism on the woman's ski team. i'd have to throw bode miller into that as well.
"New York Knicks: Do I have to explain? This is like a broken record. Another couple of overdribbling, overpaid players (Jalen Rose and Steve Francis) come to New York, where they'll team with other overdribbling, overpaid players. Larry Brown will pull his hair out trying to make these guys try to play "the right way." Meanwhile, the Knicks' payroll spirals further out of control. Apparently, Isiah Thomas has the same budget as our federal government." - steve kerr on trades in the nba.
started working at a new location today. scraped some popcorn off a few ceilings. i like moving on to new work.
kings are starting to gel. they beat golden state by 25 the other night and pulled ahead of them in the standings as a result. granted, baron davis didn't play, but it's still a good sign that they held the warriors to under 80.
juan and i get into conversations about god and religion every once in a while. we talked about the existence of god and what i believed. he said that evil is everywhere and that it's because of adam and eve. it's hard talking to anyone about this stuff, especially when they don't have a full grasp of the language. that said, he doesn't shove it down my throat or preach to me while we're working so i'm okay with it at this point.
sister's birthday today.
if i could just get everyone in the world to say "couldn't care less" instead of "could care less" i would die a happy man. they mean to say "couldn't" instead of "could" but people don't think about it. i've heard it several times on the olympics from athletes and anchors quoting them.
updated movies list.
bode miller is more notable for his bullshit antics and near crashes than anything else. pretty disappointed by the hype that that guy generated.
olympic hockey seems more exciting that nhl hockey. i think a couple major reasons include: less holding, size of the ice, fewer traps, quicker style of play (the icing rule comes to mind), and more. that said, i haven't watched nhl hockey since the strike. i'll watch during the playoffs when the games mean something.
it seems that some of the american athletes have taken to making excuses for their performances. with weir it was that he didn't catch the bus on time, with ohno it's the "team play" of s. korea, etc. it's kinda sad to hear some of them talk about why they haven't done as well as they were expected to.
shani davis is kind of a punk. i sorta understood his not wanting to participate in the team race, but his "interview" after winning the gold was just plain rude. from what i understand he feels slighted by the institutions associated with american speed skating, but that doesn't really excuse his behavior. oh well.
just saw the skiing relay. the final leg of the italian team slowe down toward the end, got a flag and basically walked to the finish line while directing the crowd. i thought it a bit distasteful. i think it was probably worse than jacobellis' method air near the finish line. what makes her's worse is that she didn't do it successfully. i think that celebration after the competition is one thing, celebration before is where i personally draw the line. when crawford, gatlin and company rejoiced after the competition i thought it was maybe a bit too much, but i was fine with it. when people, like the italian today, leon lett in the superbowl (i thought of that example before nbc mentioned him) and jacobellis yesterday, showboat before it's over then i get upset.
relatedly, lendale white is my favorite player coming out of the draft this year. i'm not saying he'll be better than bush or leinert, but i like him more. when he gets a touchdown (and he ran for more than anyone this year) he hands the ball to the ref and jogs to the sideline. classy guy. it shows everyone that he's been there before. i'd be thrilled if the niners picked him up in the draft this year. he's projected to go anywhere from 13 to 17, the niners have the 7th pick and are projected to take vernon davis, te from maryland.
overall, these olympic games have been less exciting than some of the recent ones i remember. that said, it's still the olympics.
an amazing thing happened today: for the first time in several years i saw an episode of seinfeld that was completely new to me. "the lockbox" i thought that i had seen them all.
"I am very concerned about our national heritage, and I am very concerned that the films that I watched when I was young and the films that I watched throughout my life are preserved, so that my children can see them." - george lucas regarding the colorization of the three stooges on dvd. what a hypocrite.
got sick on wednesday night. went to work thursday and friday but felt like shit.
my olympic basketball roster: PG: billups, wade. SG: lebron, hamilton. SF: artest, bowen. PF: duncan, marion. C: shaq, b. wallace. reserves: garnett, kidd. i went for solid team players who had the fundamentals: ball control, shot making, rebounding and defense. the point guards take care of the ball, distribute it well, don't shoot too much and play good defense.
wade has a sweet 12-18 foot shot, billups is money from beyond the arc and makes as many big shots as anyone else in the league. kidd is the best rebounding guard in the league and passes as well as anyone i've ever seen. lebron is great all around. he scores, rebounds and passes well. a true team player. hamilton is a great shooter, esp. from beyond the arc. he plays good team ball and moves well without the ball. artest is probably the best defender in the league and plays as hard as anyone. sometimes he takes a few too many shots, but i think that being amongst great offensive players will stem that a bit. bowen is another great defender and is consistently one of the best, and most timely three point shooters in the game. he's been in big games several times before so the olympic stage won't phase him at all. duncan is the consumate team player with a great understanding of the fundamentals; an obvious pick. marion finishes extremely well and may even be the high scorer on this team since guys like billups, wade, kidd and lebron all distribute the ball so well and play so unselfishly. he cleans up the boards with the best of them, is extremely athletic and blocks a lot of shots. great player. shaq is simply too big and fundamentally strong for anyone in the world to guard. he'll roll over opponents and get a lot of easy rebounds. ben wallace is a bit undersized at center in the nba, but will be fine in the olympics. he plays hard, is a good inside presence and rebounds very well, esp. on the offensive end. he won't contribute much on the offensive end, but, like artest and bowen, i picked him primarily for his defense. garnett is an all-around player. he passes well for a big man, rebounds, can score, but doesn't shoot too much, and is athletic.
none of these guys are prima donnas, all of them would rather win than be the best player on the team. i left out guys like iverson and kobe because they take too many shots. i left out guys like vince carter because, though they may be good, they would rather put on a good show than play fundamental basketball. my coach would be greg popovich and the assistant coach would be up to him.
speaking of people who would rather show off than close the deal...this jacobellis chick who lost the gold yesterday because she did a trick on the penultimate jump of her snowboard cross race. afterwards she tried to say that she was just trying to balance herself. later on in the interview she sorta admitted that she was excited and trying to showboat a bit. it's obnoxious that she didn't own up to it right away. it's also annoying because it just feeds the stereotype of americans and snowboarders. she's a young girl and she's got time to make mistakes, but i still think it was a very stupid thing to do and it disappointed me a lot. i also feel it was a bit hypocritical of nbc to give her shit about it when we all know they would have played it over and over again if she had pulled the trick off without falling. tv loves the sensational and they would have rewarded her showboating by replaying it throughout their olympics coverage. to turn around and chastise her for her attempt to create an "olympic moment" is disingenuous. that said, i'm not saying it was their fault. it's her's.
movies and updates are going to be few and far between during the olympics. i love the olympics and my life basically shuts down during the two weeks that they're on.
kings looked great last night. granted they beat the hawks, who suck, but a 25 point win and allowing under 90 points (again) is still big for them. artest had six steals to go with 20 points and six assists. it's good to see that kenny thomas is back to last season's form. i'm not sure why abdur-rahim isn't doing as well lately. kevin martin is finding his legs offensively and that's good. he's been a good scorer for a while now, but it's just taken him some time to find his place in the offense. they should be really strong in the playoffs when wells comes back. yes, i said the playoffs.
detroit didn't look too hot in the 4th quarter against the heat. wade plays well in the clutch and the pistons just didn't knock down their shots.
i like fridays
i like britney's quote here. she really is a great modern mind..."Britney Spears has defended her controversial decision to take off through heavy Malibu, California traffic with her baby son on her lap, but accepts she made a mistake. The pop superstar drew criticism from family groups when she drove away from paparazzi with Sean Preston unrestrained on her lap, but she insists she had to speed off for her 'safety.' She says, "It is what it is... I made a mistake. Being put in the situation that I was in it was kinda bad, with the paparazzi." Spears reveals she feared a repeat of a traumatic snapper onslaught last week. She adds, "Last week my mom, we went out and they just kind of were really on us bad, so you do instinctively what you need to do.""
i'd be plenty happy if i could just roll paint 8 hours a day. i love rolling paint. it looks so good when you're applying it. i like clean lines and it feels a lot more rewarding than prep work.
went to see the harlem globetrotters yesterday. good, funny show. too many jokes about usc for my taste, but otherwise pretty good. there was some kid (10-11 years old) from the stands who got asked onto the court to take a few shots. he missed a couple and they joked that it was because he was wearing usc colors. the crowd booed the kid and then a heckler behind us started yelling stuff like "i'm going to kill your family" and "you couldn't get into UT."
i still think about the rose bowl everyday because there are constant reminders of it. people still wear rose bowl shirts and store marquees still read "congratulations longhorns" and the like. still depressing.
the kings are looking better and better these days. seven games into the trade, ron artest has made all the difference. i think that peja was good, but he just wasn't a competitor and his defense has always been suspect. ron artest is a true shut down guy and he can score and rebound as well. i love that acquisition and i think it instantly gives the kings a chance at the playoffs. since he's become a king they have allowed over 90 points only three times. one was in OT, which they lost, and they won the other two. they only allowed 100+ in one game - the one that went to OT. in the seven games previous to peja's trade, the kings allowed over 90 points five times, and over 100 four times. in those games the kings were 3-4. with artest they're 4-3, but they've won the last three.
link to blog entry about the death of an old friend. as best i can tell he was spiraling and ended up shooting himself. we were pretty good friends in high school. he was on the track and cross-country team and we hung out pretty much every day after school/running at the local library. he was a funny and smart guy, but also had bouts of depression from time to time. after we went to separate colleges and he hooked up with my ex-girlfriend we stopped talking to each other.
i thought about him, high school, drugs, and suicide pretty much all day yesterday. the whole thing is pretty sad. he was a good guy and certainly had plenty to offer so it sucks that he's gone.
updated movies list.
working on catching up on movie reviews. watched three more movies in the last two days so that's making it tough.
super bowl was a bit of a disappointment. not because of the outcome, i was rooting for the steelers (mostly because they're john's favorite team), rather because it seemed a bit on the sloppy side. it wasn't very well refereed either.
i should have realized that detroit has a dome. oops.
in n out 100x100!
mo funny shit.
trying to catch up on movie reviews. jon is working on a new layout for millersmovies.com. it'll have interactivity, more features, and should look a bit better as well. we're going to try it out and see if we can get some ad dollars as well. there will always be the ad-free stuff through this site though.
updated the recommendations.
updated movies list.
getting used to using notepad for all my html stuff. it takes more time, especially to do little formatting stuff like changing fonts, font sizes, styles, colors, etc. looking forward to getting composer back in several months.
kobe and iverson are great, but i think that it's probably fair to say that lebron is better than either at this point. his team is finally winning and i think it's in large part because he takes fewer shots than either of those guys. he takes four fewer shots than iverson and five fewer than kobe, per game. kobe is averaging 35.7 ppg, iverson is averaging 33.7, and james is averaging 31.0. not that big a difference, yet james takes 4-5 shots fewer which means his teammates get 4-5 shots more. he handles the ball less than either kobe or iverson yet has more assists than kobe and only 1.2 assists less than iverson. he out rebounds kobe by 1.3 and iverson by 3.5. he gets more blocks, has a higher fg% and is between the two of them in steals. the most important stat is that his team is winning. i like iverson more and i think kobe has just as much talent, but james is making those around him better by taking fewer shots, passing when the other two would shoot, and being a solid leader.
steelers are basically playing a home game in detroit. weather is cold and it's bettis' home town.
i'm pretty sure that larry david does the voice of george steinbrenner on seinfeld. never really noticed that until this week.
don't know if i made my superbowl prediction yet. i'm picking the steelers because i feel their defense is better and they're more battle-tested than the seahawks. i don't think fatigue will be an issue. i think the linebackers and safety help of the steelers will be able to keep alexander under 100 yards and that'll put more pressure on hasselbeck. i think that the steelers have the ability to put up a lot of points, even though their numbers during the regular season pale compared to seattle's. steelers by four.
"saw" is a film with a great title. really, that film could only have one title. "saw" because the perpetrator saw everything and because of the hacksaw which figures prominently in the plot.
i've had this image in my head for a few years now, but have lacked the time/energy/motivation to put it together. i told meryl about it and, since she's great and a graphic designer with time on her hands, she made it for me:
updated movies list. reviews forthcoming.
been really busy lately. work is tough. i think most of the sanding is done though, so that's good.
i hate how much stuff i have to do on the computer. i wish i had my computer with me so i could use netscape composer and some other tools i have.
i'm pretty disappointed by the list of oscar nominations. i haven't seen all the films, most notably memoirs of a geisha, brokeback mountain and walk the line (will likely see two of those before oscar time); but i still am less than thrilled by the selections. best motion picture, in particular, seems a no-brainer to me: munich. it had the best direction, the most compelling story and the most interesting characters. in a word: brokeback mountain: unseen. capote: hoffman. crash: over-rated. good night, and good luck: lifeless. none of the films outside of munich was real best picture material. if paul haggis gets an academy for his direction in crash i'll probably shit myself. it had some good performances which can't be attributed to him and some of the direction was just plain laughable. the locksmith scene towards the end comes to mind.
syriana was disappointing and i can't really understand the pick for best screenplay on that one. it felt really murky, underdeveloped, and not intentionally so. there was also a lack of characterization, also a problem in clooney's other big film - good night, and good luck. overall, i think there was some good stuff that got missed (e.g., squid and the whale, and the performances therein), and some topical stuff that got pushed along.
my oscar picks.
it occured to me that i'll probably never be anyone's best man. i also don't know who my best man would be if that issue were to arise. that makes me a little sad.