May 04, 2015

Grizzlies may re-think defensive scheme for game #2

May 03, 2015

An inconvenient truth

May 02, 2015

Not sure I like the sound of these here Boncentration Bamps

The very centralized nature of the project is what led Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth to call systemd "hugely invasive." He went on to say "one of the ideas in systemd that we think is really bad is to bring lots of disparate pieces of technology into a single process. So lots of formerly-independent pieces of code, which happen to be under the control of folks driving systemd, have been rolled into that codebase."

Shuttleworth later acknowledged that "it's still possible to build independent packages of the different pieces from that code," which has long been Poettering's response to the monolithic charge. But there's no denying that systemd throws out the Unix philosophy of small things with narrowly defined functionality—that doesn't mean it's bad though.


Hulk-like rage emerging

Emergency workers stuck in the gridlock could not respond to calls. A missing toddler. An elderly woman in cardiac arrest (she later died.)

. . .

Mr. Baroni simply forwarded [the complaints] to Mr. Wildstein, who shared them with Ms. Kelly.  "Is it wrong that I am smiling?” she texted back.  Two more emails to Mr. Baroni; the mayor was calling his office, it was a “life/safety issue.”  He ignored those, too...


April 30, 2015

The angstenjoke: Now for the millenials set.

This is my new favorite twitter feed:

April 26, 2015

This is the best thing that ever happened in Washington

Draymond Green +/- for the Pelican series

Game 1: +23 (1st on team)
Game 2: +24 (1st)
Game 3: +12 (4th)
Game 4: +18 (1st)

April 25, 2015

Still kicking

Mark Arm has such an awesome side job.  You fly him in, he sings "Kick Out the Jams" for you.  This is a useful skill.

I still say the following performance is definitive, but Arm was a big piece of that one, too (stick around for the last minute, which achieves Total Eleven-ness):

Ordering this for some friends in Connecticut


Hard times in Damascus

April 24, 2015

Have I mentioned the shot?

Brian Phillips, Grantland:

On Thursday night, for most of Game 3 against New Orleans, Curry looked flat, almost normal; it was Anthony Davis, the Pelicans’ young power forward, a player so in the mode of the deity-ideal that he might have sprung from the forehead of basketball itself, who dominated, leading New Orleans to a 20-point fourth-quarter lead.  But the Warriors kept inching back. With 11.2 seconds left, Curry pump-faked past a flying Jrue Holiday and drilled a 3 to cut the lead to two. 

With six seconds left and Golden State now trailing by three, Curry missed what he thought was a game-tying shot (in fact his foot was on the line). Marreese Speights got the offensive rebound and kicked the ball out to Curry in the left corner. Four seconds left, tenths vanishing. One of those moments when you can hear your own heartbeat. Two Pelicans, including Davis, converged on him, crashing into him and into each other; a split second before they knocked him to the ground, he got off a shot. 

And you knew. Hindsight can be kind of a bully in sports, and it’s easy to remember certainty when all you really experienced was a kind of limbic panic. But this was Steph Curry in 2015, taking a last-second shot at the end of an astonishing comeback; maybe you didn’t understand what was happening, maybe you couldn’t quite believe it, but while the ball was in the air, you knew. 

The whole piece is really good.


Well no wonder, you can't give him THAT shot.

Oh. My. God.

Turned off the game last night and went to sleep.  The Warriors had fallen into the classic trap - on the road, under playoff pressure against a budding superstar, they'd wilted under a blizzard of bad calls and hostile fans.  Instead of going up 3-0 and cruising home, they were looking at 2-1, and a long slog ahead.  Oh well, sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.

And sometimes you shoot the bear but it's not quite dead, and while you're posing for pictures it gets up and gives you an intensely negative experience:

Here is the Pelicans' win probability chart for the game:

This is nuts.  That can't happen.

Anyway, Warriors 3-0, my bad.

April 21, 2015

I am subscribing to this fellow's newsletter

Close, it was Iceman

The most valuable man on the Warriors

Not kidding, this guy Green is incredible.  Here is the box score from last night.  The Warriors were plus 24 when he was on the court.  This happens a lot.

Anthony Davis, a 6' 10" 22 year-old who is probably your 2017 MVP, went 0-5 down the stretch with Green (6' 7", or so they say) guarding him.

After the game, Coach Kerr was offered an opportunity to comment on how he manages Green's minutes.  He said:

"I ask Draymond if he's tired, and he says, 'No.' I leave him," Kerr said. "If he says, 'Yes,' I leave him in."

April 19, 2015

Rock on, P-22

We've seen that in our core study area in the Santa Monica Mountains every young male before P-22 ended up dying when they got dispersed from mom. They either got hit on the freeway or killed by the adult male, so P-22 did find a way out to an area where there is no adult male. There seems to be plenty of prey, plenty of deer for him.


April 18, 2015

As long as it is impossible anyway..

Several European Castles Cheaper than San Francisco houses.

Oral history of the greatest movie ever made

I'm not joking.  And stop calling me Shirley.


Curry's 77


April 16, 2015

Grizzlies wondering where it all started to go wrong

Actually, the problem seems to have begun when they took the court:

At one point Thompson scored 23 straight points for the Warriors...[including] 11 points in one 89-second span...


April 12, 2015

To see the world in a grain of sand...

William Blake once penned the line "To see a World in a Grain of Sand" and that line has stood out for me for many years as a challenged to look for singular things that sum up something large and complex.
This year's Blake Moment was that Northrop Grumman ran A Super Bowl ad for a stealth bomber.
I think that one kernel sums up just about everything that's wrong with money, politics, sports, modern entertainment, and the military-industrial complex in America.

April 10, 2015

Money don't grow on trees

The Third Man

If you look closely at the box score you'll notice that one Warriors player actually had a higher +/- than Steph Curry, despite Curry scoring 45 points and going 7-for-7 down the stretch.

Grantland has a long meditation on this man, who beat out an all-star this year to win the starting power forward job, here.

But only two rebounds

April 09, 2015

That will be adequate, Mr. Curry

April 08, 2015

Does it still work if your art sucks? Guess I'm going to find out...

April 07, 2015

Farewell Stan, you genius

April 06, 2015

Nice approach so far


Odd but very interesting

This Fresh Air interview (rebroadcast from 2012) of Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, is a really odd, but rewarding juxtaposition of Gross' interest in the details of all things violent and sexual, and Mantel's extraordinarily detailed expertise in the violent and sexual court of King Henry VIII.


March 31, 2015

Why I don't get back there much

The question came up today, in an unusual setting, for the first time in many years - why don't I go back to Alaska much?  Well, I haven't heard that one for a while.

So wrong-footed was I, that none of my well-worn one-liners came to mind.  It took me several seconds to mentally reconstruct my repertoire, and to select from it from a suitable retreat-under-fire:

"Well, when I have the money and time to go to Alaska, I also have the money and time to go to Paris, so I flip a coin and for some reason it always comes up heads, and off to The Continent I go, ha ha ha."

I have various other excuses.  For many years I said I would not go back unless I could be governor.  I have half a mind to try and enforce that one at some point, but the state's gentle shift from a quirky libertarian brand of frontier conservatism to Monster Raving Loony batshittery now diminishes the probability of success for that project.

For many years I could complain about the dearth of espresso machines on The Last Frontier, but that issue appears to have been largely rectified:

Wait...none at the airport?  Forget it.

And, I hasten to assure you, my reticence has nothing to do with some effete aversion to the hard outdoor living that's so integral to the Alaskan lifestyle.  I've been up mountains on three continents, and usually gotten back down again.  I can load and fire a Winchester Model 88 and any non-automatic pistol you could name (fuck those automatics, I hate them).  In a world where ordinary men cower at the sight of a squirrel, I'll slap a bear off my bacon faster than you can say "heyday of the Anthropocene."  Alaska brings that out in me - when I'm back there I feel rough-and-ready, energized, defiant, devil-may-care, and...well, I'm getting ahead of myself.

The effect of place upon behavior and outlook is an evergreen topic, studied by sociologists, psychologists, and men of letters alike.  And yet it seems there is always something more to learn.  Indeed, meditation on this exact topic persuaded one of the most brilliant men of all time to recant his prior work and reframe his thinking along more flexible lines.

Let me again draw your attention P.G. Wodehouse's homage to Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, the (1925) Mulliner story "Honeysuckle Cottage."  Departing from his usual New Comedy plotting, the Master instead tells a ghost story, in which a hardbitten writer of mystery novels inherits a cottage from an aunt famous for her sentimental romances.  There is one condition, however - he must stay there at least six months a year.  He duly moves in, but finds the cottage is haunted, and slowly but inevitably corrupts its occupants with visions of syrupy pastoral romance as surely as the One True Ring turns its bearers to Sauron.  Thanks to the intervention of a nutty but loyal dog, he narrowly escapes its power and returns to London to resume his hard-bitten crime writing career.

"Honeysuckle Cottage" was one of Wodehouse's favorites, and was also appreciated by Ludwig Wittgenstein, who can only have read it after the Tractatus but before the Philosophical Investigations.  I am certain that the story, with its mutually exclusive language worlds of detective fiction and romance stories, was a turning point in Wittgenstein's thought, leading him away from the doctrinaire A=A framework of the Tractatus and toward a more flexible and muscular conception of language as a system of mutually intelligible games, a system in which words have context-dependent uses, not exact meanings.  I believe a diligent review of The Blue and Brown Books will confirm this to even the most hardened skeptic.

Like any great thief, Wodehouse returned to the scene of the crime a few years later, using a similar plot device in another (1928) Mulliner story "The Unpleasantness at Bludleigh Court".  Perhaps Wodehouse noticed that the haunted house device had been borrowed by John Buchan in his "Fullcircle: Martin Peckwether's Story" which was part of his successful anthology,  The Runagates Club.  Some view "Unpleasantness" as a pastiche of the Buchan story.  I suppose this is true, in the same way that King Lear is a pastiche of Holinshed's Chronicles.

Our hero, Aubrey Trefusis (née Bassinger) has grown up at Bludleigh Court ("Lesser Bludleigh, near Goresby-on-the-Ouse, Bedfordshire"), but now habitually avoids it, living as a poet in London.  He meets a girl named Charlotte, falls in love, and learns that she has been invited to a party at his ancestral home.  The place, he warns her, causes in its inhabitants an inexplicable tendency toward slaughter, an irresistible urge to kill God's creatures.  He joins her in hopes of sheltering her from this peril.

Upon arrival, Charlotte notes that "from every wall there peered down with an air of mild reproach selected portions of the gnus, moose, elks, zebus, antelopes, giraffes, mountain goats and wapiti which had had the misfortune to meet Colonel Sir Francis Pashley-Drake before lumbago spoiled him for the chase. The cemetery also included a few stuffed sparrows, which showed that little Wilfred was doing his bit."

Soon, she finds she is not quite herself, writing this poem for the Christmas issue of Animal Lovers Gazette:

Good Gnus
 (A Vignette in Verse)

 When cares attack and life seems black,
 How sweet it is to pot a yak,
       Or puncture hares and grizzly bears,
          And others I could mention;
 But in my Animals "Who's Who"
 No name stands higher than the Gnu;
       And each new gnu that comes in view
          Receives my prompt attention.

 When Afric's sun is sinking low,
 And shadows wander to and fro,
       And everywhere there's in the air
          A hush that's deep and solemn;
 Then is the time good men and true
 With View Halloo pursue the gnu;
       (The safest spot to put your shot
          is through the spinal column).

 To take the creature by surprise
 We must adopt some rude disguise,
       Although deceit is never sweet,
          And falsehoods don't attract us;
 So, as with gun in hand you wait,
 Remember to impersonate
       A tuft of grass, a mountain-pass,
          A kopje or a cactus.

 A brief suspense, and then at last
 The waiting's o'er, the vigil past;
       A careful aim. A spurt of flame.
         It's done. You've pulled the trigger,
 And one more gnu, so fair and frail,
 Has handed in its dinner-pail;
       (The females all are rather small,
          The males are somewhat bigger).

Before the story is over she, intoxicated with bloodlust, chases Pashley-Drake (who is clad only in a loincloth for sun-bathing) about the grounds, peppering him with an airgun.

And that is why I don't get back to Alaska much.

March 30, 2015


Drezner you magnificent bastard

Take the “deal or war” perspective.  The prospect of the U.S. having to use air power against Iran does sound pretty bad. Well, it did sound bad, back before the U.S. was using air power in Iraq. And Syria. And providing support for others to use air power in Yemen. And lengthening the stay of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

When you think about it that way, does adding another country to the bombing list really matter all that much?


At the same time, however, the “no deal or nuclear Iran” counterfactual is also ringing a bit hollow nowadays. This two-step argument says that a deal will not stop Iran from becoming a nuclear state, and once Iran acts like a nuclear state, it will act in a bellicose manner. That sounds pretty bad. Well, it did sound bad, back before Iran had bolstered its influence over the Iraqi government. And before it did the same in Syria. And Hamas. And the rebels in Yemen.

When you think about it that way, will Iranian foreign policy change all that much if it does become a nuclear-capable state?


Reich on two new groups

The rise of these two groups — the working poor and non-working rich – is relatively new. Both are challenging the core American assumptions that people are paid what they’re worth, and work is justly rewarded. 


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