Saturday, October 29, 2011

World Series Wrapup

If the Giants aren't in the World Series I have only two criteria for determining enjoyment of The Fall Classic.

a) The Dodgers don't win.  - Check

b) The games are close and entertaining.  - Check

Congratulations to the Cardinals fans and to the Rangers fans, condolences. You have a great team and I think you'll be playing ball in October again very soon. So with that, baseball ends one cycle and in 107 days Pitchers & Catchers report to spring training to begin another.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Why This World Series Doesn't Matter....

I'm being facetious of course, you're damn right it matters! It matters to Rangers fans who have never tasted the glory of having their team win it all. It matters to Cardinals fans, arguably some of the best fans in baseball who again, have seen their team gain an improbable entry to the Fall Classic and sit at the precipice of their 11th Championship.

But if you listen to ESPN it's not supposed to matter. In the days prior to the World Series all they talked about was that the ratings were going to be poor. Now, I'm definitely not an expert on navigating the Baseball Reference or Fangraphs websites but I don't recall ever seeing television ratings listed there. Perhaps it's because they aren't a determinant of a compelling and entertaining World Series? If it were up to ESPN there'd be no point in even broadcasting this thing since the series lacks the participation of the Red Sox, Yankees & Phillies who are as you know, the only teams that matter....facetious again.

So here we sit just hours before the first World Series Game-7 since...and it pains me just to type this...2002 when the Giants lost to The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim-Santa Ana-Disneyland-Area Code 714-Fighting Rally Monkeys and holy smokes has this been a great series.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Can't Stop The Zombies

According to IMDB stats the "Twilight" series is insanely popular with girls aged 18-29, "Harry Potter" is hugely popular with almost equal percentages of men & women 18-34 and "Moneyball" is popular with dudes with bad skin. All of that sorta fleshes out the way you'd think but this Zombie thing has me baffled.

The other day AMC renewed it's "The Walking Dead" show for it's third season. I can't figure out who the demographic here is but man, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a zombie these days. Every automotive or outdoor sports message board I'm a member of has at least one thread discussing "Zombie Apocalypse" preparedness and any hunting or firearm related forum will no doubt have multiple versions on the theme....satirical of course.

A few minutes of trolling "The Google" yields some fascinating results:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Men & Machines

As a society we've somehow lost our reverence for craftsmanship. Perhaps it's because we've become too accustomed to inexpensive stuff imported from overseas? Or perhaps because we've raised a couple of consecutive generations of Americans to believe you are a loser if you work with your hands? Whatever the reason, it is a poverty to have done so.

So in one itsy-bitsy effort to boost our aggregate appreciation for the result of one mans practiced skill, innate talent and hard work I present this video which came to me today:

MACHINE from matt machine on Vimeo.

Director - Mat Harrington
Editor - Ceinwen Berry
DOP - David Rusanow & Paul Mason
Music - Surya Bajracharya & Karuna Bajracharya
Post - Defintion Films - David Gross
VFX - Bryn Farrelly
Colourist - Trish Cahill
Sound - by Huzzah - Andrew Plain
Additional Music - Cameron Bruce
Graphics - WeBuyYourKids -​blog/​

Monday, October 17, 2011

Morocco's of Mountain View & The Issue of Gratuity

Last week the Contra Costa Times ran a small piece ( here ) stating that San Francisco restaurants were pushing for a mandatory 25% gratuity that got all sorts of attention on radio & TV and in various publications around the bay. The piece was even picked up by “The Drudge Report” furthering the “land of fruits & nuts” meme that San Francisco has in some ways rightly earned over the years. The problem is that the piece, penned by Ed Arnow, had no sources, listed no San Francisco governmental champion nor quoted a single San Francisco restaurant or restaurant worker. Much ado about nothing in my opinion and little more than an intentionally inflammatory jab at San Francisco.

So why do I make mention of it in a review of a restaurant that is not in San Francisco but in Mountain View? We’ll get to that in a bit. First the review.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vintage Racecars

No cutting insight here, just a few of my favorite photos of Vintage Racecars from Monterey Historics at Laguna Seca and the Wine Country Classic at Sears Point.

News Flash: Life Ain't Fair

Recently I have been reading “The Secret Knowledge” by the esteemed playwright, David Mamet. Mamet is a self described “reformed liberal” who over the last few years has turned to conservatism. By explanation an excerpt from the book jacket:

"My interest in politics began when I noticed that I acted differently than I spoke, that I had seen 'the government' commit sixty years of fairly unrelieved and catastrophic error nationally and internationally, that I not only hated every wasted hard-earned cent I spent in taxes, but the trauma and misery they produced..."

The problems facing us, faced by all mankind engaged in Democracy, may seem complex, or indeed insolvable, and we, in despair, may revert to a state of wish fulfillment-a state of "belief" in the power of the various experts presenting themselves as a cure for our indecision. But this is a sort of Stockholm Syndrome. Here, the captives, unable to bear the anxiety occasioned by their powerlessness, suppress it by identifying with their captors.

This is the essence of Leftist thought. It is a devolution from reason to "belief," in an effort to stave off a feeling of powerlessness. And if government is Good, it is a logical elaboration that more government power is Better. But the opposite is apparent both to anyone who has ever had to deal with Government and, I think, to any dispassionate observer.

It is in sympathy with the first and in the hope of enlarging the second group that I have written this book.
One of the strongest themes in Mamet’s tome is that of the failure of liberal and liberal arts education. The chapters on these topics, penned in 2010 bear prescient insight into the sources of frustration fueling the “Occupy Wall Street” protests and their progeny spreading to larger cities across the nation. Among the largest of the recurring complaints of the protesters is wage “inequality” in their chosen profession compared to others at similar levels of education. In listening to their complaints and reading their “I am the 99%” mini-manifestos you see that frequently the complainers are in fact very highly educated but often in highly esoteric fields.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Another thought on the passing of Steve Jobs

I own an iPod and an iPhone but I wouldn't consider myself an "Apple Guy" or by any means a habitue of the brand. I mean, it's just stuff. It's good, well designed and aesthetically pleasing stuff but I won't think for a second about buying something else that works as well or better at an equivalent price.

I recognize the brilliance of Jobs but consistently get a laugh out of his acolytes. Especially those who somehow consider Apple to be a more "morally or ethically righteous" company than others. Jobs was an absolute mercenary, a brutal negotiator, a ruthless competitor and the Chuck Norris of Identity Marketing.

Your iPhone was manufactured in Shenzhen, China.  Outsourcing baby! 

The iPhone sells at a retail price that gets Apple a 60% gross profit margin per unit and iPod's sell at nearly 90% profit margin. Greed is good my friends, greed is good!

That profit insulated Apple's stock value against the occasional shaky product launch or less than wonderful quarter. It funded the development of subsequent iPhone/iPod versions, funded the development of iPad and funds the salaries of countless neighbors & friends and may God bless Steve Jobs for it. Jobs created jobs and wealth and opportunity in a way no Government program, "Stimulus" or shady Solyndra Loan ever could.

He was the Henry Ford of the silicon age and I fear he is the last capitalist that people don't hate for his success.

Morimoto – Napa

A bit behind on blog postings of late due to overwhelming personal commitments but I wanted to get this review up before the memories escaped me. Last month Kathy treated me to a weekend in Napa to celebrate my 42nd birthday. The celebratory mood was slightly tarnished by the anniversary of the September 11th attacks (my personal thoughts here: 9/11 )   but despite that we had a wonderful weekend kicking around Napa Valley. We visited one of our favorite wineries in Napa, Grgich Cellars, took in the fantastic cellar tour at Schramsburgh (more on that in another post), and to thank Kathy for the weekend I bought her a couple of very nice one of a kind dresses from a local fashion designer.

On to the dinner at Morimoto; Masuharu Morimoto is among the best known of the Food Network’s “Celebrity Chefs". His extensive resume led him to stardom on the original Japanese “Iron Chef” TV show before the Food Network version. The most interesting element of his resume, to me, is that he spent some time as a professional baseball player in Japan as a catcher. Apparently a shoulder injury ended his athletic career, but as a baseball fan and foodie I found the information interesting.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

R.I.P. Steve Jobs

'1984' The Original Apple Macintosh Commercial 


Steve Jobs was a man of incredible vision and leadership, a transformative figure in business and technology. A brilliant entrepreneur, CEO and capitalist. He will surely be missed.

God speed.   

Monday, October 3, 2011

Are You Ready For Some......Stupidity?

Ahh, Hank Williams Jr. The party-hardy black sheep of Nashville. The rowdiest of the rowdy friends. The son of the far more talented.

And.....The recently "sacked" from the intro to ESPN's "Monday Night Football".

'Ol Bocephus shot his mouth off this morning on Fox News' "Fox & Friends" show drawing a parallel between the golf summit between Obama and Boehner and a hypothetical meeting between Der Fuhrer & Benjamin Netanyahu. Here's the video:

...and the following is ESPN's comment:
“While Hank Williams, Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize that he is closely linked to our company through the open to Monday Night Football. We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result we have decided to pull the open from tonight’s telecast.”