Friday, April 27, 2007


The Dodgers lost all three games, a complete sweep for the red hot Giants, who are now tied with the Dodgers for first place in the NL west. Brad Penny looked pretty good, but the bullpen was weak (the loss goes to Beimel for letting two men on) and the bats were unable to deliver when needed, leaving 16 men on base.

Defense looked weak with Pierre unable to track down a couple of balls and Kent allowing a couple of balls to bounce of his glove. They weren't errors (same with one to Nomar) but they could have made a difference.

The worst blunder of the night was a blown squeeze play that left Ethier out to dry instead of allowing him to score. Pierre must have misread a sign, because he stopped swinging in mid-steal.

Let's hope they pull it together against the Padres this weekend.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Somehow I knew a two-hour episode would not be worth even Tivo-ing, so we just watched the last five minutes live. I'm SO glad I didn't waste time watching an episode with NO RESULT! What a cop out!

I think that the results would have sent some favorite home, and they freaked out and decided to take out two next week instead, hoping that Melinda or whoever was at the bottom would move up considerably next week.

American Experience: Jonestown

I remember my sophomore year in high school reading in the paper about the massacre in Jonestown. Even at that age and in that time, it was bizarre turn of events, and the easiest way to deal with it was to make jokes about Kool-Aid.

American Experience had an excellent documentary with a huge amount of new footage, both Super 8 and video, plus the audio recordings made during the mass "suicide" (really a mass murder), and many first-hand accounts of what it was like to be a member of the church. It's truly fascinating viewing, and very moving. It's hard to imagine what it must have taken to be a part of the church, and to commit a ritual suicide or murder, but this movies makes those people much more human and sympathetic than the psychotic automatons one might imagine.

Definitely worth watching, although difficult viewing.


Mostly good performances tonight.

Chris gave one of his best performances so far.

Blake's performance of "Imagine" was one of the weakest of the night, but I think he's safe. I think it's Lakeesha who will go home, she has an extremely limited stylistic range. I wish it were Phil, but he managed to fool them again into thinking he's passable.

Melinda and Jordin were both outstanding. I'm amazed a 17 year-old has lasted this long.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Journalist David Halberstam Killed in Car Crash

Journalist David Halberstam Killed in Car Crash

I read his excellent book The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship, about the friendship between Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky and Dom Dimaggio, but he was better known for his book about Vietnam. He was an extremely talented writer, and one of the best sportswriters ever.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Good Musical Experiment

The article is a little long and takes itself a little seriously, but this Washington Post article about a social experiment regarding music is still interesting.

Russell Martin Walk-Off Grand Slam Defeats Padres

Brad Penny started off erratically, allowing three runs (two earned) and four walks in the first three innings of the game, and taking over 60 pitches to do it, but pulled it together well enough to make it six full innings.

The Dodgers did not look well at the plate, with the cold heavy air pushing all the fly balls back into the outfield, and the Pirates did not give up the lead after the third inning until the bottom of the ninth, when a passed ball allowed Wilson Valdez to make it home to tie the game.

Pirates starting pitcher Ian Snell looked good for seven innings, but their bullpen looked very weak, and when Russell Martin came up in the bottom of the tenth, it only took him three pitches to knock it out of the park. It was a very exciting game, and the crowd of almost 49,000 was loud until the end.

Friday, April 20, 2007


GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB is an excellent HBO documentary about the atrocities at the military prison complex. One of the interview subjects quite appropriately points out that the torture techniques used were probably very similar to the ones Hussein used on his own people. It's an extremely depressing film to watch, but an important reminder of how this administration has eroded human rights to a point at which the US has lost international respect.


The annual NAB convention in Las Vegas was somewhat of a bust this year. I was there only on Thursday, the last day of the show, and convention center was already emptying out. Typically the show brings in over 100,000 visitors, but this year looked smaller.

Digidesign was not showing much new material, other than a 7.4 update of Pro Tools, which can access media over an Ethernet network.

Euphonix was showing their new System 5 Fusion console, which combines their existing System 5 Digital Console with the controller surface functions to directly control either Pro Tools or Nuendo with the same faders are the digital audio tracks. The design is scaled down significantly to drop the cost to less than a third of the existing System 5. It's clearly a reaction to the Pro Tools Icon surface.

The real question is, if you have Pro Tools anyway, why invest in a Euphonix console at this point? The Icon will still cost about a third of the System 5 Fusion. Is it worth another $100,000 to be able to run Nuendo and digital audio at the same time?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Our Long National Nightmare is Over

At last, Our Long National Nightmare is Over!

Sanjaya has been voted off the island.

Now our lives can resume. Normalcy has returned.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Country music week is by far the least interesting to watch, and the least useful at determining who can really sing.

Phil, whom I can't stand, was surprisingly not bad, and will probably stick around for at least another week or two.

Jordan sang well in the idiom, and continues to show maturity far beyond her age.

Lakeesha continued her rapid downhill slide by over-singing in a genre completely inappropriate to her. She could be in danger.

Chris Richardson was OK, but mostly forgettable. He could also be in danger.

Melinda's years as a backup singer have paid off, as she moves like a chameleon between styles. Country swing was a good choice for her.

Blake made the smart move of taking a country song and making it soft rock. He's fine.

And then there's Sanjaya. I'm more convinced than ever that he's trying to get voted off the show. That was the laziest performance I've ever seen. He deserves to go home based on that performance, but based on track record, there are two or three others who could go this week.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

LA Times Film Business Article

The Times today had a group of articles that are among the best I've read about the current state of the film business, using SAHARA as its case study. There are a lot great facts in here, many of them buried in different parts of different articles, so be sure to read them all. Even on the Internet, the main article is 19 pages long.

Some facts that stick out:
  1. The producers were given a refund check for $20M at the end of shooting as tax benefits for shooting outside the US
  2. Many local workers earned less in a week than US crew would have earned in a day
  3. The director brags that they bought all of a local's possessions as set dressing "for about a dollar."
  4. The writing alone cost $14M with ten different writers doing drafts
  5. Numerous bribes totaling over $200k were written into the budget
  6. Perks for actors range from overpriced to ludicrous
  7. Numerous scenes were in the movie only for the money derived from product placement
Although it's long, it's definitely worth the read.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dodgers 9, Padres 1

Derek Lowe pitched 8 innings and gave up only 1 run, and Rafael Furcal returned to the lineup with 2 hits, 2 RBI and a run scored. Gonzalez and Clark also had strong games to help the Dodgers defeat the Padres at home.

The hated David Wells pitched poorly for the Padres, lasting only 2 1/3 innings and giving up 5 runs.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


The bottom three were Chris R., Philferatu and Haley. Chris was the only surprise; the judge had been very positive even though he gave a weak performance. I was sure it would be Phil going home, but Haley's skin-fest was not enough to keep her in. Instead of seeing Haley's legs next week, we will be subjected to Phil's bald vampire head for another week (not to mention his grating guttural voice).

Next week is my least favorite; C/W week. It will be interesting to see how some of them do.

Go Dodgers!

Brad Penny got off to a very rough start in the first three innings, giving up 2 hits and 4 walks in over 60 pitches, but still managed to pitch 6 1/3 shutout innings and got a standing "O" from the crowd when he left in the 7th. the Broxton pitched 1 2/3rd perfect innings, and Saito sealed the deal for a 6th time in a very young season, keeping his save record perfect. People talk about clutch hitting all the time, but few people refer to clutch pitching. Combined, the Rockies left 8 men on base without scoring a run.

The Dodgers had a 3-run 3rd inning with help from Pierre, Martin, Kent and Nomah; and with the pitching shutout, that turned out to be enough to win the game.

A surprisingly large crowd of 35,000+ turned out on a cold Wednesday night early in the season. They left happy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Sanjaya gave not only his best performance yet, but one of the best performances of the night, and proved why he's been there all along. I am now beginning to think he could make it to the top four. His biggest weakness is that he does not project his voice in the soft passages, and they may be his undoing.

Melinda was the best, as usual. I thought her makeover looked a lot better this week, although as one friend pointed out, she still needs a neck transplant.

Lakisha is starting to wear out. She over-sings EVERY song, and couldn't handle the Latin rhythm (although a lot of them had that problem).

Blake did really well with Mark Antony song.

The judges were surprisingly easy on Chris, who was pretty weak, but not in trouble.

Jordin was surprisingly weak after a run of weeks where she kept getting better. She picked a tempo too slow for her song.

Simon hit the nail on the head. Haley will be around as long as she keeps showing more skin each weak.

Phil was outright terrible. The judges were much too easy on him, but I still expect him to go home this week.

Dodgers Dud

The Dodgers looked terrible today. Worst of all was the little league outfield. It didn't take long for opposing teams to figure out that our outfield has the arms of a 12 year-old. They run on everything, and a sacrifice fly has no danger, even when it falls in shallow center field. Juan Pierre did not even try to throw out one runner, and on the other, from shallow center his throw barely dribbled past second base and pulled catcher Russell Martin at least ten feet off the bag.

Matt Kemp injured himself running into a scoreboard, and Jason Schmidt pulled a muscle on a routine play covering first base. None of this instills confidence in me.

Even worse, the parking and traffic were nightmarish. I've been to opening day three times, and numerous sold out games including post-season games, and I have NEVER seen traffic anywhere near this bad. We were subjected to a raise to $15 in the parking rate, ostensibly for parking attendants to help you get in and out, but they were completely invisible on exit, and the typical parking cluster f*ck was in full force. It took me an hour and forty minutes to exit the parking lot after the game was over.

Concession lines were also terrible. Credit card readers were not working.

The bathrooms were disgusting. I actually had to stand in line to get OUT of the bathroom.

The Dodgers are going to have to focus on customer service if they want to keep people coming to the park. Oh, and it wouldn't hurt to win.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


THE YEAR OF THE DOG is a very strange movie. Although there's a lot I liked about it, it's a movie that can't possibly have a wide audience.

I'm a (quasi) vegetarian and an animal lover. I sympathize with PETA but cannot condone their extremist actions. This movie is about a woman, played wonderfully by Molly Shannon, who loses her dog and becomes involved in animal rights. Unfortunately, she also slowly loses her sanity and as a result does not represent the best intentions of real animal rights activists. Ultimately, we learn that her dog died as a result of her own negligence as an owner. In fact, her character does not understand animals at all; she does not respond properly to an animal showing food aggression, and ends up becoming a hoarder, which is a confirmed psychological disorder.

Yet the characters are interesting, the casting is excellent, and the dialogue very well written. Writer/director (and occasional actor) Mike White has a great track record, writing SCHOOL OF ROCK and THE GOOD GIRL.

However, the tone is all over the place. Parts of the film are clearly intended to be darkly humorous, but I couldn't help but grimace in those scenes at the inappropriate actions she continues to follow throughout the film. It's moderately amusing at first, but increasingly disturbing.

I'm sorry I can't say I could recommend this film.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Tony Bennett week is one I look forward to. Not only do I like the music, but its melodic nature clearly separates the bad singers from the good.

Blake sang fairly poorly, but the judges were kind. I doubt he's in trouble, though.

Phil was better than usual, but still weak. I hope this is his week to go home.

Melinda is still the best pro. Her performances are effortless.

Chris was a little on the weak side again. He could be getting close to the exit.

Jordan kicked butt. She's really improved over the last few weeks.

Gina sang better than expected but was one of the weaker women. She could be in trouble.

Sanjaya's pitch was all over the place. He's really nervous. However, I stand by my prediction that he will make it to the top 5.

Haley is dressed to kill again, and may succeed. She also sang much better than I expected, although the arrangement was terrible.

Lakeesha started off WAY off pitch but pulled it together further in.

After all these weeks, the women are still outshining the men by far.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Dodgers Lose Season Opener

The Dodgers were embarrassed in their season opener in Milwaukee today, losing 7-1. Derek Lowe lost his third consecutive season opener, throwing 84 pitches in only 4 innings of work and giving up 5 walks and 6 earned runs. D-Lowe is typically a little slow at the start of the season, but this was a very weak outing for him.

Ben Sheets pitched superbly for the Brewers, going a complete game and giving up no walks and only only 2 hits and one run on Jeff Kent's solo homer. (It's good to see Kent get a home run again. It bodes well for him this year.) This was Milwaukee's first complete game since they moved from the AL to the NL.

The Red Sox also lost their season opener 7-1, against last year's worst team in the American League, Kansas City. Curt Schilling threw 89 pitches in only 4 innings, giving up 5 earned runs.

The Angels beat Texas 4-1. Lackey gave up one unearned run in 5 innings, Speier and Shields get holds, and K-Rod gets another save. Youngster Casey Kotchman got 2 hits, a walk, an RBI and a run scored.

The Angels also did something nice. They signed Troy Percival to a minor-league contract... for one night, so that he could retire as an Angel, after his final season with the Tigers was aborted by an injury.