Saturday, January 9, 2010

It's Hard To Be Professional And Run A Business

I think it was easier to be "professional" in your law practice when you got 1.5% of the value of the property for a closing, 50% of referred PI cases (back before advertising when clients still sought referrals from their own lawyer), and you billed based on a minimum fee schedule, which assured that everyone charged the same minimum fee. It was unethical to charge any less. This prevented cut throat competition and assured that everyone made a decent living. Consequently, you could make a living in less than 12 billable hours a day. You had the time and energy to be noble and professional and to do some low cost and pro bono work.

The billable hour and court decisions killed a lot of that. Meanwhile, the same courts that encouraged greater business "competition" among lawyers now whine about a decline in professionalism. It is easier to be graciously professional when every minute doesn't count. Now clients treat us like plumbers because we bill them like plumbers. Everyone wants the lowest possible fee. They want it cheap, fast, and good. (I practice three kinds of law: cheap, fast, and good.  You can have any two simultaneously.)  They all want to share their losses with you, but none of them want to pay a penny extra for excellent results. I think what we're seeing is the fruit of the effort to increase competition, improve efficiency, and reduce fees. Those are all business concepts.  They aren't the concepts of a noble profession. Like any business we're now expected to appeal to "consumers." Consequently, the practice of law has become a business and lawyers have become more businessman than professional.  I don't think you can have it both ways. 

I Love My iPhone 3G! Part I -- The History

Note:  I originally drafted this post some time ago when I first got my iPhone 3G, but for some reason I never posted it.  It is no longer topical, but still holds true so I'm going to publish it now anyway.

I've  been a fan of Palm devices since my first, a Palm IIIc.  I was never good at keeping up with a paper calender.  My secretary needed one on her desk and I needed another to carry.  The only way to keep them both updated was to copy the information from one to the other.  I could never keep up  and quit carrying a calendar. The Palm IIIc linked with my practice management software Amicus Attorney and solved the problem. Now I could synchronize the calendar my secretary kept with the device that I carried at the touch of a button.

That led to my first smartphone a Treo 650.  Now I could keep my calendar up-to-date and with me and get my email too. Yippee!  I loved my Treo.  The Treo 650 died after two years and being left outdoors overnight.  I replaced it with a Treo 680 that was a source of disappointment.  Meanwhile, the Palm OS was getting longer and longer in the tooth.

I bought my wife an iPhone and it seemed good, but maybe not good enough to make me give up my Treos.  It did not have a "real keyboard" and wasn't able to handle MS Word docs.  But then I never enjoyed typing anything very long on the tiny Treo keyboards and editing documents on the tiny screen was a joke.  Actually the tiny keyboard coupled with the small screen made it really difficult.  It is simply easiest to edit documents on a laptop.  I could tether my Treo to my laptop, but learned it was much easier to find a wifi hotspot and only use hotels with wifi in the room. My wife's iPhone was pretty cool though.  Unlike the Treo, the iPhone was the Internet in your pocket! The Safari browser and big screen made surfing the Internet much easier than on the Treos.

The 680 became balkier and balkier and more frustrating.  The screen broke in my pocket, which was admittedly my fault, but had never happened before.  After the screen was fixed, the ear speaker broke.  I had to either use a bluetooth earpiece or a plug in earpiece to hear anything.  Neither was convenient when I was walking around.  (I refuse to stick a bluetooth headset in my ear and walk around looking like a dorky Borg.  After putting up with that for months, the iPhone 3G came out to pretty good reviews.  So I finally bought one and ....

I LOVE MY iPHONE 3G!  I love the big pretty screen.  I love the GPS.  I love the email.  I love the App Store. Over all on balance I really enjoy it.  Why? That's Part II.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Technological Ties That Bind

I well remember how appalled I was when I first saw a young family strolling through a mall while dad listened to a Walkman with earplugs.  He was oblivious to the rest of the family and couldn't have heard them.  This was pre-iPod so you can't blame Apple.  I felt the same when I saw a young fellow conversing on an early cellphone at about 9:00 p.m. while his female companion got their ice cream alone.  What could be so important at 9:00 p.m. that he wasn't enjoying the moment with her?  It seemed that technology was destined to interfere in relationships.

When Twitter and Facebook came along, I signed up as an early adopter.  But what "friends" I had existed only online initially.  I didn't know I single one in "real life."  However, since last July that has changed.  My generation and, more importantly, my friends discovered Facebook, especially members of my high school graduating class and many local friends.  Now I know such mundane facts as whose having steak and lobster for dinner, whose mulching the yard, and whose on a field trip with which kid and where.  Some people decry this as banal.  It is pretty banal if you're following a total stranger on Twitter and know what they had for lunch, but it becomes the tie that binds when you really know the person.  Now you and your friends can carry on with your busy lives and still stay in touch.

It isn't all daily trivia.  Sometimes technology involves the most profound of life's events.  One Friday my wife called me on my cell phone and asked if I knew what had happened to a friend's husband.  This particular friend was the youngest sister of my best friend from high school.  We'll call her Dina.  Her brother, Don,  lives in Arizona, she lives in Georgia, and we live in Florida.  My wife had figured out something was going on because Facebook postings told her that Don's parents were in Georgia, his wife was praying, and other things were going on.  I got on the phone and soon found out that Dina's husband, Ralph, was comatose and in criticial condition.  A previously asymptomatic cancerous brain tumor was discovered the day after his 44th birthday and then he had two strokes during surgery.  His brother and sister-in-law set up a blog to keep everyone from California to Florida informed of his condition.  97 people became followers.  Checking that blog became a daily event for my wife and me.  Don also stayed in touch via text messages and emails sharing details.  Sadly, it did not end well and Ralph passed away leaving a young widow, and two small children who will never really know their father.  The blog remains with transcripts of eulogies delivered at his funeral.

As I told Don, if it hadn't been for Facebook, I would never have known about the tragedy involving Ralph and Dina until the next wedding or funeral or bar mitzvah.  Thanks to technology I could offer some small support at a time of need.

Don's not on Facebook, but he uses technology to stay in touch with text messages and emails.  On a lighter note, his most recent text was to alert me of Valerie Bertinelli's appearance in a bikini on the cover of "People."  You've got to consider that she's our age and we have crushes going back to "One Day at a Time."  Her marriage to Eddie Van Halen was a crushing blow.  What could America's sweetheart see in that funny looking little rock star? Valerie! How could you?  So having her on the cover of "People" in a bikini at nearly 49 is a big deal to us.  Technology really is the tie that binds.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Brian Williams Get Off Your Wallet!

Lately it seems like even those whose income shouldn’t have changed due to the down economy are not spending their money.  That’s why an article about how NBC anchor Brian Williams is not spending his money caught my eye.  It seems that Williams, who makes $10,000,000.00 per year or about $866,000.00 per month, feels it is “not cool” and “not very sensitive” to spend money right now.  Good golly man!  Get up off your wallet and go stimulate the economy fool!  Don’t let your misguided desire to show solidarity with the common working man, take food off that man’s table.

You don’t have to “ostentatious” to spend money.  If you make enough for a Bentley Continental GT like Williams then buy yourself a Cadillac like your average Florida retiree instead.  You’ll be helping the economy, but you still won’t be ostentatious for your income level.  There’s a fine line between reckless spending and wise spending within your means.  But it seems that people have gone from acting like they have bottomless pits of money to behaving like the well is completely dry and they live in the Sahara.  It is true that people were feeling rich and spending like there is no tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean that the penduluum must swing completely the other way.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sarah Palin Naked? Says who?

 This post began as a comment to a post by Michael Seitzman at "The Huffington Post."  As you can tell from reading this blog, I'm not a McCain/Palin fanboy.  However, Mr. Seitzman's post was a scurrilous, lowbrow, ad hominem attack against every single McCain/Palin voter and not just against the candidate, Sarah Palin.  It is exactly the sort of politics that Obamafans claim to decry and want to get away from.  The basic premise of the post is that anyone who disagrees with Mr. Seitzman is an idiot.  That premise is hilarious considering that Mr. Seitzman's post is totally devoid of intellectual substance and shows a distinct lack of thoughtfulness.  But isn't that just typical of the paternalistic?  Listen to Daddy! I know what is best! But don't take my word for it, this is how his post begins:

She said "nucular." Twice.
I realized three things tonight. For one, if you are a McCain/Palin/Bush voter, you and I do not have a difference of opinion. We have a difference in brain power. Two, she really is as ignorant as I feared. And, three, she really is kinda hot. Basically, I want to have sex with her on my Barack Obama sheets while my wife reads aloud from the Constitution. (My wife is cool with this if I promise to "first wipe off Palin's tranny makeup." I married well.)

I listened to the entire interview and didn't notice that she said "nucular" even once let alone twice.  I think I would have noticed because it grates on my nerves every time Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush says "nucular."  (Did you notice that half of these presidents who misprounounced nuclear are icons of the left? Shows how smart they are doesn't it?)  Meanwhile, wanting your wife to watch you have sex with a vice-presidential candidate somehow passes for witty reparte' in Hollywood and shows how very smart you are. Imagine for a moment the indignant uproar if a Republican wrote the following about Hilary Clinton or Michelle Obama:  
Michelle/Hilary really is kinda hot. Basically, I want to have sex with her on my John McCain sheets while my wife reads aloud from the Communist Manifesto/It Takes A Village. (My wife is cool with this if I promise to "first rip off her lesbian pantsuit"/ "first wipe off Michelle's tranny makeup." I married well.)
I'm not endorsing these sentiments. I'm just making a point about double standards.  Mr. Palin might be justified in beating down Seitzman's door and impaling him with some moose antlers. I guarantee Barack would be on the next episode of Oprah decrying the misogynistic sexism of the author and saying, "Leave my wife out of this!"  As for Bill Clinton, .... Well, let's not go there. I don't want to sink to Seitzman's depths.

I think Seitzman's opening paragraph establishes Seitzman's own lack of brain power although I think he was trying to insinuate that he's smart and McCain/Palin voters are not. The rest of the post went on to accuse anyone who doesn't vote for Obama as voting for who they'd like to have a beer with. That is, any vote but a vote for Obama is a vote for personality alone.  (Deep sigh!) That's the problem.  Seitzman doesn't get it.  A vote for McCain/Palin might be a well considered vote for their policies and against the policies of Obama/Biden. Not every vote you disagree with is "personality" based. McCain even has an actual track record to base your vote on, unlike Obama.(News Flash!  If experience is the criteria, then the top of the GOP ticket has much, much more experience in all areas than the top of the Democrat ticket. If experience is your criteria, then you need to vote for the old guy.)  Nevertheless, I'll give Obama voters their due too. Some of them may have discerned his policies and decided that they prefer them to McCain's.

The irony of accusing McCain/Palin voters of being ignoramouses who vote solely for who they'd like to have a beer with is overwhelming.  Many Obamafans are voting for personality. Sit back and watch an adoring crowd listening to Obama's mellifluous voice and carefully nurtured cadences. The women squeal and swoon like he's the fifth Beatle.  The men have rapturous, vacant looks. Or is that the men squeal and swoon and the women ...... Well, whatever!  The point is that for those enraptured Obamafans, he doesn't need substance. He just needs that winning "class president" personality and nothing else. One look at them tells you they're not basing their vote on the dicates of their superior intellects.

Intelligent people will dismiss Seitzman's lowbrow rhetoric and abusive ad hominem attacks. His post is so devoid of substance that it is the antithesis of intellectualism.  Seitzman should try a little substance next time. If he wants to show that he is voting for the better policies and not just for personality, then he ought to not engage in personal attacks.  He ought to try identifying and contrasting the policies of Obama/Biden with the policies of MCain/Palin and not just dismiss those who prefer other policies as stupid. 

And let's make it clear, this isn't an either/or choice. You don't have to vote for McCain/Palin or for Obama/Biden.  If you're really tired of politics as usual, then vote for real change.  Vote for the "minor" candidate of your choice and send the message that you're not going to take it anymore. I prefer the policies of Bob Barr.  But then I believe that the greatest good for all is achieved by millions of Americans each seeking what is best for them and their families and then pursuing those choices with minimal government intervention.

By the way, suggesting that an attractive woman in her 40s makes herself up like a transvestite shows just how superficial and fatuous Seitzman is. If this is an example of the intellect of an average Obama voter, then we really are doomed.

As for me, I say a pox on both your houses.  I'm voting for Bob Barr. I really do want change and really am tired of politics as usual.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wow! I Totally Agree With Bob Barr's Stance On Immigration

I decided that it was time to put a Bob Barr for President banner on this website. Both of the major parties are supporters of ever bigger government. Neither party shows any serious effort to reduce government in any way. Look at the out of control growth of government under George Bush. Only the Libertarian Party presents a sincere smaller government option. This election year we have an experienced big government Republican versus an inexperienced huge government Democrat. So the only true choice for liberty and reduced government is the Libertarian candidate, Bob Barr. I have to admit that he has done a 180 on many of his former positions on issues as a Republican congressman. I'd like to believe that he has seen the light and perhaps has the zeal of a convert. What is important to me is that whatever his former positions personally, he now represents the party of smaller government and individual liberty.

However, almost no one ever agrees with all the positions of any party that they support. In the past, the Libertarian Party has supported open immigration (this link is to the 2005 immigration stance of the Libertarian Party so compare it to the 2008 stance). It seems they've dropped "open immigration" for a more politically acceptable and sensible stance that balances the importance of immigration with the need for control. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Bob Barr's position on immigration almost exactly agrees with my own feelings on the subject as stated in my last post, and differs significantly from unfettered open immigration. In a nutshell, we need to discourage illegal immigration and encourage legal immigration, especially the legal immigration of the highly talented and skilled. Policies that discourage assimilation need to be discarded and we should reconsider birthright citizenship. I like it.

We Need Citizens Not Just Workers

I sometimes am of two minds when it comes to issues. I can see valid points on both sides, but I still feel that one side is the "correct" one. I've been that way about immigration for awhile. I support the legal immigration of smart, hardworking, educated, entrepreneurial people who are willing to embrace all things American. Thomas Sowell recently crystallized my thinking on immigration with a single phrase. I was listening to the Econ Talk podcast. Thomas Sowell is known for his laissez-faire economic approach. The interviewer was taking the position that immigration was economically beneficial because people are a resource and immigrants are often hard working people in search of a better life. That's when Sowell responded. I'm paraphrasing here, but what he said essentially was "we need citizens not just workers." That's when the flip switched in my head and I realized he had just succinctly summarized my position in that single phrase.

On the one hand, I acknowledge that hardworking immigrants are essential to the U.S. and many immigrants just want a better life. I believe that the greatest resource in the world is the human mind and imagination. I believe that the United States of America is a nation built by immigrants. We have prospered due to an ability to attract hardworking and brilliant people from other countries who gladly make America their home and embrace American culture. There are many examples ---- Alexander Hamilton (first Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, a Scotsman born in the West Indies); Albert Einstein; Enrico Fermi (a developer of the atom bomb); Wernher von Braun (developer of the V-2 and then of U.S. rockets); Pierre Omidyar (founder of eBay); and Sergey Brin (Google co-founder). I could go on like this for pages.

As other nations become more capitalist, more technologically advanced, and better educated (e.g., China and India), more opportunities are presented for their smart, highly educated citizens to remain at home and not seek opportunity in the U.S. As the world becomes flatter, we need to attract those people to come here more than ever if we want to remain competitive with their home countries. Our immigration laws ought to encourage them to move here permanently. Creating temporary worker positions, only encourages them to move here to learn and then go back to their homeland to compete.

On the other hand, I believe that secure borders are important and porous borders are a problem. I object to people who ignore our laws living here illegally. I believe that the unfettered immigration of low skilled workers willing to work for peanuts suppresses the wages of low skilled Americans and hinders there entry into the workforce and maintaining employment. Unfettered immigration creates a labor surplus that harms American workers, but benefits big business because it can hire workers more cheaply. I don't buy the idea that immigrants do jobs Americans "won't do." At best you can say that illegal immigrants will do jobs that American workers won't do as cheaply. The agricultural sector is often given as an example of an area where Americans won't work. If that is so, why were 80% of the workers in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and mining sector native born in 2004? If we have shortages in some areas (engineering, mathematics, computer science), then I'm all for recruiting immigrants, who want to make a life here in the U.S. as Americans, to move here and work. I worry about the Balkanization of the U.S. in the name of diversity and multi-culturism. It seems to me that being a great nation still requires secure borders, a common language, a common culture, and the embrace of shared ideals (liberty, freedom. tolerance, free speech, democracy, hard work; i.e., the "American way").

My inarticulately expressed concern is that we're no longer expecting immigrants to become good citizens or to even be citizens. They are defended on the basis that being a "good worker" is enough. That is why that single phrase crystallized my thinking on the subject. Being a "good worker" isn't enough. No country needs unassimilated masses of foreigners in its midst meddling in its politics to push their own agendas and policies. When supposedly intelligent people advocate a dual legal system that recognizes a concept as alien to the existing legal system as Sharia law; when those who owe their allegiance to a foreign country are allowed to demonstrate in an attempt to influence U.S. policy while waving the flag of their homeland; when high school students attending public schools at the expense of U.S. taxpayers hoist a foreign flag above an upside down American flag, we have the beginnings of a house divided. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." --- Abraham Lincoln We do need immigrants, but we need good citizens and not just workers.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What's So Bad About The "Mojave Experiment"?

I was reminded recently of Microsoft's "Mojave Experiment" while reading an article about how Microsoft has hired Jerry Seinfeld as a pitchman. I guess if Apple has a couple of minor comedians making you look bad, you go and hire a comedian with real star power to retaliate. I had heard about the Mojave Experiment on the TWiT and/or Windows Weekly podcast, but I had never read about it. When I googled "Mojave Experiment", I found mostly Mojave Experiment haters. Seems people hate on Mojave the way they hate on Vista.

For the so-called Mojave Experiment, Windows asked XP users what they thought of Vista. Predictably, they hated it. They then showed them a "new and improved" OS that was actually Vista. People loved it! What does this tell us? It tells us that these people had never seen Vista because most of them didn't recognize the "new and improved" Mojave OS was Vista. It tells us they "hated" Vista mainly because they'd heard they should hate it from people who supposedly were "in the know." I've noticed that a lot of these public Vista haters who brag of their PC prowess include phrases like "stick with OS X" and "on my Linux install..."

Hhhhmmmm...... Maybe Mac fanboys and Linux geeks aren't the most neutral commenters on any Microsoft products? I've never used a Mac, but I'm sure they're great. Of course, if Microsoft maintained a closed system where they exercise draconian control of the hardware and the software, their products might run just as well as Apples, but then they'd really get bashed for their dictatorial business policies. As Paul Thurrott likes to point out, millions and millions of people boot up a huge variety of hardware running an even more enormous variety of software every day on millions and millions of Windows machines and they run! When you think about it, it is a miracle. I have used Linux and am convinced that while it is interesting that it is way beyond the capabilities and interest level of the average computer user. People aren't going to adopt Linux until they can just hit a button labeled "install" to download new software and don't have to worry about finding the right variety of package. In the meantime, Linux is for professional geeks and hobbyists.

So what do the Mojave Experiment bashers quibble with? One complained that the Mojave Experiment wasn't scientific and he hates bad "science." C'mon! It isn't science! It is marketing! The word "experiment" doesn't make it science. He complains of the "placebo effect"; i.e., if you tell people something is new and improved, then they'll do their best to perceive it as such. So what? These are people who perceived Vista as "terrible" and gave it a 0 out of 10. Microsoft already told them that Vista was "new and improved" and they still gave it a 0 before being exposed to it. The point is that if you don't tell them that the "new and improved" OS is the one they hate, they don't hate it. Another professional journalist "dissected" the Mojave Experiment. He concluded that you were seeing the result of a good sales pitch. It is naive to think the Vista hating isn't in part related to an equally good sales pitch. Seen any funny Apple ads lately?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What's So Terrible About Vista?

I've been using Window's Vista since December 2007. That's when I was compelled to buy a new laptop. I seriously considered buying a business class laptop with XP; however, I found such a good deal on an HP laptop that came bundled with a digital camera and printer that I bought it. Alas, that laptop came loaded with Vista. I could always retro-upgrade to XP, couldn't I?

There were a few hiccups at first. It took me awhile to get the hang of connecting it to wireless networks. As I recall, I had to download a patch to run Office 2003 and at first it wouldn't see the server on my office LAN although it would print and connect to the Internet. The biggest annoyance was a tendency to "hang up" when I shut it down while it was connected to my office network. I'd have to press the power button to shut it down. SP1 seems to have cured that. It still isn't perfectly networked, but that is due to my own ignorance of networking and the fact that I haven't called in help. I haven't had any problems in months though.

The specific version of Vista I'm using is Home Ultimate. The laptop's CPU is an AMD Turion running at 1.9 GHz and the laptop is equipped with 2 GB of RAM. It is equipped with an Nvidia MCP67M integrated graphics card. So we're not talking a high end super laptop here. Yet Vista seems to run fine. I can have multiple programs running and windows open without any problem. I can't remember ever getting a blue screen of death and if one program stops running it doesn't take all the others with it. It seems very stable. Restarts are rare. The user account control (UAC) pops up occasionally, but not inappropriately. That is, it appears when you ought to think about what you're doing and should make sure it is the right thing to do. Clicking the allow button is no big deal.

I usually find that people who are eager to tell me how "horrible" Vista is have never used it. One friend, who ought to be computer savvy, told me that he used it for a short time but "couldn't get anything to work with it" and "you can't use Office 2003 with it." He seemed shocked when I told him that I use Office 2003. I had to wonder if he even tried. I use a legal industry specific program (Amicus Attorney) from 2001 without any problem as well as other relatively obscure legal industry programs.

Ironically, as I was typing this one of those Mac/PC switcher ads came on. I watch them because I think they're funny not because they're true. In this one, a Vista PC therapy group is meeting and one of the PCs says, "We have to come to grips with the fact our operating system isn't working like it should." Hah, hah. I'm no expert but for me Vista seems to be working exactly like it should. What's so terrible about Vista?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Get Smart Is Laughable

I was hoping that the new "Get Smart" movie would be okay. I was prepared to be disappointed. But I wasn't. I was delightfully surprised. It was great. The movie is laugh out loud funny. For once, the best bits aren't all in the trailer leaving you with the feeling that you'd already seen all the funny parts. The audience even applauded at the end. A sure sign that everyone enjoyed it. I saw the first "Get Smart" movie and this is much better.

It is played straighter than the TV series. I'd say that one of the strengths of this movie is that it is based on the series without trying to recreate it. The movie can stand on its own. People get shot, knifed, and beat up and they bleed. The violence is more realistic and the stunts more harrowing. Homage is given to the series without going overboard. There are cameos by Bernie Koppel, the original Siegfried; the cone of silence; the telephone booth; Hymie, the robot agent; the red Sunbeam; the blue VW Karmann Ghia; the gold Opel; and the shoe phone. See, Smart Cars None of these touches seem out of place and are woven into the story. Bill Murray must be a fan of "Get Smart" because he has a cameo as the lonely Agent 13 who plays a Larabee like role. Larabee is in this movie, but he never shows up in a mailbox or a trash can. In fact, the movie Larabee is a jerk and doesn't seem to be a friend of Max.

The one thing I missed was the chemistry between Max and Agent 99. Unfortunately, they aren't a couple for most of the movie. They might as well have subtitled the movie "When Max Met 99." You might even classify this as a prequel. The movie provides Max's backstory. He's a first rate overly detailed analyst for CONTROL who is dying to be a field agent. When the movie begins, he and 99 haven't met yet although he's heard of her.

When I saw the trailers, I thought the casting was inspired and it is. Like every little boy in the '60s I had a thing for Barbara Feldon as Agent 99. She was everything a girlfriend ought to be pretty, witty, supportive, gorgeous .... Anne Hathaway wasn't even born yet so she's way too young for me. That's too bad because she has never looked better. She's hotter than ever as the svelte, coolly competent, kick butt 99. When she dons an Agent 99 wig for part of the movie, she could be Barbara Feldon's even better looking daughter. I thought she'd be perfect as 99 and she is.

Steve Carell doesn't look particularly like Don Adams but he does great job. He doesn't come off as someone who is trying to do a Don Adams impression even when he utters the trademark line "Missed it by that much." It isn't quite as funny when he does it. He lacks that wryly nasal Don Adams tone to his voice. His Maxwell Smart is actually very smart and perceptive and just a bit more competent than the TV Max, but not too competent. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson even does a good job as the hunky Agent 23. Alan Arkin is a great choice for The Chief. Terence Stamp is a much more menacing and evil Seigfried than Bernie Koppell ever was. There's very little funny about him. An enormous KAOS assassin bears an uncanny resemblance to Richard Kiel, who was Jaws in Moonraker and other Bond movies. He's apparently no relation though as he is professional wrestler Dilip Singh from India. James Caan plays a Bush-like U.S. president whose vice-president runs the show.

I really enjoyed this movie. Even my wife was pleasantly surprised at how good it was and the kids loved it. Speaking of children, a word for the wise --- this movie deserves its PG-13 rating. In addition to the violence, there are frequent uses of the "s word", sexual comedy (including some based on gay sex), one obscene hand gesture, and some nudity. I wouldn't take elementary age or younger children. But I do recommend that you see this movie. At the end, look for the misspelling of the word Cessna in the credits as they roll.