Mad Max: Fury Road

It’s been a few years since Mad Max: Fury Road came out to critical acclaim. I didn’t see it then, but I’m very glad I watched it recently.

It’s excellent, and well worth watching.

Put simply, it’s pure adrenaline. Don’t worry about having missed any of the previous movies (I had), because you don’t need ’em. The action kicks off almost instantly, with our anonymous hero chased through the desert. Captured, he’s brought back to a despotic warlord’s base, where Immortan Joe rules over his slaves and warriors, controlling his community through control of a resource (water).

When one of Immortan Joe’s lieutenants escapes with his sex slaves, our hero (still anonymous) is caught up in the chase. What follows is the majority of the movie – pure adrenaline as they struggle to escape the fleet of war rigs chasing them. Essentially, this is naval battle on a desert, in the same way that Rommel and Montgomery’s tanks fought naval engagements in North Africa – an empty landscape where speed and manoeuvrability are everything.

The movie itself is visually stunning. Gorgeous shots of hard, empty landscapes, and beautiful cinematography that uses a flat palette to emphasise the few splashes of colour that occur. That beauty, and the attention that’s given to every detail in the frame, makes for a stunning movie, and in turn make it easier to believe in this fantastic world we’re transported to. Throughout, the cinematography is excellent; tight shots, dialogue that is taut and has no slack or spare words in it, and characters that are still well rounded, well developed as they struggle to escape from Immortan Joe.


When they do escape, however, they pay the price – finding that the green oasis they had sought has become a wasteland, and the Many Mothers they sought have been driven out, reduced to roaming the desert.

It’s here again that our hero makes his turn. Throughout the movie he experiences flashbacks, visions of children and others blaming him, excoriating him. But in this hour of despair he brings hope; persuades the group that they should turn back, and try to reclaim their citadel. It’s a desperate plan, but one with a glimmer of hope, compared to the desperate roaming of the desert the group had planned.

From there, the story follows a reasonably predictable arc. Victories are never certain, and are hard won. But in the end, there’s a vision of hope – a citadel community reshaped by the decisions of those with newly won power.

Throughout, Nux, one of Immortan Joe’s warriors, is one of the more interesting characters. He is desperate for approval from Immortan Joe; but gradually he turns, uniting himself with the escapees, eventually helping them to reclaim the citadel.



Michael Lewis’ ‘Flashboys’

Michael Lewis is a gifted writer. He does a brilliant job of taking a complex aspect of an even more complex financial system, distilling the essence of the story, and telling it by recounting the tale of a plucky group of outsiders upsetting the system, and seeking wealth along the way.

It’s a formula that translated well onto the big screen in The Big Short, and Lewis is successful again in Flashboys. Flashboys is the story of how high frequency traders (HFTs) were able to use their closeness to where trading occurs to advantage themselves, and benefit at the cost of other investors.

Lewis does an excellent job of translating the enormous complexity of market infrastructure, commission systems and buy and sell order types, into the simple narrative that he needs to communicate. Throughout, he follows the story of the founders of what becomes IEX (or the Investors Exchange), an exchange designed specifically to foil HFT. Most of the story is the founders exploring what has gone wrong in the markets; the final acts focus on setting up IEX.

Throughout, Lewis is scathing. More so than I remember him being in earlier books, although perhaps he’s always been this way. Scathing about markets, scathing about the people who manipulate them to take advantage of others.

Another upside of all the research Lewis has done is that he digs out fascinating incidents; like the time exchanges cancelled orders Goldman Sachs had mistakenly made that would have otherwise cost hundreds of millions, or the weird infrastructure puzzle that ends the book.

If you think finance is interesting, then this is a good read, and not too technical.


The deep problem with the system was a kind of moral inertia. So long as it served the narrow self-interests of everyone inside it, no one on the inside would ever seek to change it, no matter how corrupt or sinister it became …

Movies: ‘An inconvenient sequel’ and ‘Jago’

An inconvenient sequel

Al Gore’s new movie has had mixed reviews – there are some here and here.

It has a little of the science, but it takes it for granted, and moves – a little – to the politics. The key plot point here is mostly the Paris climate agreement, and Gore’s involvement (apparently reasonably authentic) trying to persuade India to sign up to the agreement.

But for all that the title speaks of ‘Truth to Power’, this isn’t really a movie about politics. It doesn’t touch on what power Gore is supposed to be speaking truth to, or whether speaking truth is effective.

It’s an important topic, but I don’t think the film-makers have done it justice, or lived up to the original.


Jago is a beautiful piece of film. I hesitate to describe it as a ‘real’ story, because I want to be careful about using words like ‘real’, or ‘authentic’ when we describe a narrative. But I will say that it uses the words of someone who is not a professional story teller, then supplements it with beautiful imagery, and what I imagine is some judicious editing.

It would have been nice to see a little more about the filmmakers; for the most part, I think the concept of ‘fly on the wall’ cinema does a disservice to the audience, particularly in settings where a camera is more likely to have had an impact (and isn’t typically part of the general context, so to speak).

For all that, it’s a good story. It’s also an incredibly beautiful one; the cinematography is stunning, beautiful scenery beautifully shot. Definitely worth seeing for that alone.

The pace is slow, which can make it relaxing, rather than some of the more adrenaline packed narratives we may be used to on screen. But that’s not a bad thing; it’s taut as a narrative, and gives us time to appreciate the beauty of the film.

Mancur Olson’s ‘The Rise and Decline of Nations’

I’d been meaning to get to The Rise and Decline of Nations for a long time; particularly after I read a meta-review that concluded that the central thesis had held up reasonably well in subsequent academic research. It’s slow going at points, but it was well worth the wait, and the read.

Olson’s central argument is that small groups can organise in such a way as to benefit themselves, but imposing costs on those around them, leaving society as a whole worse off.

As part of his argument, he sets out the mathematical argument underpinning his thinking that smaller groups will have stronger incentives to organise.

The cost (C) of a collective good is a function of the level (T) at which it is provided, i.e. C=f(T). The value of the good to the group, Vg, depends not only on T but also on on the “size” Sg, of the group, which in turn depends on the number in the group and the value they place on the good; Vg=TSg. The value to an individual i of the good is Vi and the “fraction” Fi of the group value that this individual enjoys is Vi/Vg, and this must also equal FiSgT. The net advantage, Ai, that individual i obtains from purchasing an amount of the collective good is given by its value to him minus the cost, i.e., Ai = Vi-C, which changes with the level of T his expenditure obtains, so

dAi/dT = dVi/dT -dC/dT

At a maximum dAi/dT = 0. Because Vi=FiSgT and Fi and Sg are constants

d(FiSgT)/dT – dC/dT = 0

This gives the amount of the collective good that a unilateral maximizer would buy. This point can be given a common-sense meaning. Since the optimum is found when

dA/dT = dVi/dT – dC/dT = 0

and since dVi/dT = Fi(dVg/dT)

Fi(dVg/dT) – dC/dT = 0
Fi(dVg/dT) = dC/dT

Thus the optimal amount of the collective good for an individual to obtain occurs when the rate of gain to the group (dVg/dT) exceeds the rate of increase in cost (dC/dT) by the same multiple by which the group gain exceeds the gain to the individual (dFt = Vg/Vi). In other words, the smaller Ft is, the less the individual will take, and (other things being equal) Fi must of course diminish as entry makes the group larger.

It’s worth noting that the assumption that the cost of a collective good is a function of the level at which it’s provided could be criticised – I imagine it would be possible to find examples where that wasn’t the case. You could also criticise the assumptions about constant Fi, and a few other points.

More broadly, Olson sets out the logical implications, or predictions, that follow from his argument.

1. There will be no countries that attain symmetrical organization of all groups with a common interest and thereby attain optimal outcomes through comprehensive bargaining.
2. Stable societies with unchanged boundaries tend to accumulate more collusions and organizations for collective action over time.
3. Members of “small” groups have disproportionate organizational power for collective action, and this disproportion diminishes but does not disappear over time in stable societies.
4. On balance, special-interest organizations and collusions reduce efficiency and aggregate income in the societies in which they operate and make political life more divisive.
5. Encompassing organisations have some incentive to make the society in which they operate more prosperous, and an incentive to redistribute income to their members with as little excess burden as possible, and to cease such redistribution unless the amount redistributed is substantial in relation to the social cost of the redistribution.
6. Distributional coalitions make decisions more slowly than the individuals and firms of which they are comprised, tend to have crowded agendas and bargaining tables, and more often fix prices than quantities.
7. Distributional coalitions slow down a society’s capacity to adopt new technologies and to reallocate resources in response to changing conditions, and thereby reduce the rate of economic growth.
8. Distributional coalitions, once big enough to succeed, are exclusive and seek to limit the diversity of incomes and values of their membership.
9. The accumulation of distributional coalitions increases the complexity of regulation, the role of government, and the complexity of understandings and changes the direction of social evolution.

In particular, Olson argues:

In the long run, then, multigenerational special-interest groups must tend toward endogamy. This is equally true of the South African whites, the Indian castes, and the European nobility.

Later in the book, Olson takes what I think is a very interesting piece of political economy theory, and applies it to a set of macroeconomic questions that I found far less interesting. That debate wasn’t interesting then, and I suspect recent academic debate has moved well past the questions about macroeconomic growth that were relevant at publication.

For the most part, though, I found this an excellent read. It touches on a very interesting set of questions – how does a society organise itself? and proferred what I thought were interesting ideas, that the costs of organising have an impact on who can organise, and in turn, on how organised groups can impact the distribution of benefits and costs in society. It also did it in a reasonably specific way, lending itself to testing the hypothesis. If you’re interested in political economy, I’d say the first two thirds of this one are well worth a read.

It’s helpful, as well, that most research since then has seemed to confirm his hypothesis.


If the consumer or worker contributes a few days and a few dollars to organize a boycott or a union or to lobby for favorable legislation, he or she will have sacrificed time and money. What will this sacrifice obtain? The individual will at best succeed in advancing the cause to a small (often imperceptible) degree. In any case he will only get a minute share of the gain from his action. The very fact that the objective or interest is common to or shared by the group entails that the gain from any sacrifice an individual makes to serve this common purpose is shared with everyone in the group … The paradox, then, is that (in the absence of special arrangements or circumstances to which we shall turn later) large groups, at least if they are composed of rational individuals, will not act in their group interest.

The limited knowledge of public affairs is in turn necessary to explain the effectiveness of lobbying. If all citizens had obtained and digested all pertinent information, they could not be swayed by advertising or other persuasion. With perfectly informed citizens, elected officials would not be subject to the blandishment of lobbyists, since the constituents would then know if their interests were betrayed and defeat the unfaithful representative at the next election. Just as lobbies provide collective goods to special-interest groups, so their effectiveness is explained by the imperfect knowledge of citizens, and this in turn is due mainly to the fact that information and calculation about collective goods is also a collective good.

… the larger the number of individuals or firms that would benefit from a collective good, the smaller the share of the gains from action in the group interest that will accrue to the individual or firm that undertakes the action. Thus, in the absence of selective incentives, the incentive for group action diminishes as group size increases, so that that large groups are less able to act in their common interest than small ones.

In no major country are large groups without access to selective incentives generally organized – the masses of consumers are not in consumers’ organizations, the millions of taxpayers are not in taxpayers’ organizations, the vast number of those with relatively low incomes are not in organizations for the poor, and the sometimes substantial numbers of unemployed have no organized voice.

… there is for practical purposes no constraint on the social cost … an organization will find it expedient to impose on the society in the course of obtaining a larger share of the social output for itself.

The leadership of whatever party is perceived to be in control usually is to some extent concerned about the aggregate national consequences of the policies chosen, since there is some connection between the state of the nation and the election prospects of the party deemed to be in control.

… the power of special-interest groups cannot be defined solely in terms of their organizational strength but should, strictly speaking, be defined in terms of a ratio of their power to that of more encompassing structures such as presidents or political parties.

When ignorance is often a rational strategy for constituents, there is a substantial possibility that an interest group or a political leader will not act in accord with the interest of constituents.

The poor and the unemployed have no selective incentives to enable them to organize, whereas small groups of great firms or wealthy individuals can organize with relative ease. Thus life is not any gentler because of special-interest groups, but it is less productive, especially in the long run.

The trouble is that the current orthodoxies of both Left and Right assume that almost all the redistribution of income that occurs is the redistribution inspired by egalitarian motives, and that goes from the nonpoor to the poor. In reality many, if not most, of the redistributions are inspired by entirely different motives, and most of them have arbitrary rather than egalitarian impacts on the distribution of income – more than a few redistribute income from lower to higher income people. A very large part of the activities of governments, even in the developed democracies, is of no special help to the poor and many of these activities actually harm them. In the United States there are subsidies to the owners of private airplanes and yachts, most of whom are not poor …

There is greater inequality, I hypothesize, in the opportunity to create distributional coalitions than there is in the inherent productive abilities of people …

If the less optimistic theory in this book is right, there will not be competitive markets even if the government does not intervene. The government is by no means the only source of coercion or social pressure in society. There will be cartelization of many markets even if the government does not help.

Equilibrium theory may have something in common with the attachment of nineteenth-century physicists to the concept of an “ether” that was supposed to fill all space and suffuse itself even into material and living bodies.

Books on information theory

I’ve gone through a phase of reading about information theory – none of the technical detail, but some of the pop science books that are out there. It’s been interesting. The one I’d recommend is James Gleicks’ The information: A history, a theory, a flood.


James Gleicks’ The Information: A history, a theory, a flood

I enjoyed Gleicks’ book a lot. It’s a fascinating overview of information theory, wandering its ways through the history, the mathematics, and connections to a range of fields. In his tour, Gleick manages to give a reasonably user-friendly introduction to Godel’s theorem, entropy, Shannon’s information theory, and an explanation of how talking drums work. I’ve pulled out some quotes on the talking drums below, because I think they’re fascinating.

Later he explores why Maxwell’s demon is impossible, because the cost of emptying memory generates heat, rebalancing what otherwise had seemed like free energy in the system.

This is a difficult field to explore in detail without getting into the mathematics; within that constraint, however, this is definitely a book I’d recommend on information theory.

The drums

In solving the enigma of the drums, Carrington found the key in a central fact about the relevant African languages. They are tonal languages, in which meaning is determined as much by rising or falling pitch contours as by distinctions between consonants or vowels …

As the spoken languages of Africa elevated tonality to a crucial role, the drum language went a difficult step further. It employed tone and only tone. It was language of a single pair of phonemes, a language composed entirely of pitch contours …

All that mattered was for the drums to sound two distinct notes, at an interval of about a major third. So in mapping the spoken language to the drum language, information was lost. The drum talk was a speech with a deficit …

A double stroke on the high-tone lip of the drum … matched the tonal pattern of the Kele word for father, sango, but naturally it could just as well be songe, the moon; koko, fowl; fele, a species of fish; or any other word of two high tones … Thus, Carrington discovered, a drummer would invariably add “a little phrase” to each short word. Songe, the moon, is rendered as songe li tange la manga–“the moon looks down on the earth.” The extra drumbeats, far from being extraneous, provide context. Every ambiguous word begins in a cloud of possible alternative interpretations; then the unwanted possibilities evaporate.

Other quotes

In the long run, history is the story of information becoming aware of itself …

The written word-the persistent word- was a prerequisite for conscious thought as we understand it.

Within PM [Principa Mathematica], and within any consistent logical system capable of elementary arithmetic, there must always be such accursed statements, true but unproveable. Thus Godel showed that a consistent formal system must be incomplete; no complete and consistent system can exist. The paradoxes were back, nor were they mere quirks. Now they struck at the core of the enterprise. It was, as Godel said afterward, an “amazing fact” – “that our logical intuitions (i.e., intuitions concerning such notions as: truth, concept, being, class, etc.) are self-contradictory.”

It was, as Douglas Hofstadter says, “a sudden thunderbolt from the bluest of skies,” its power arising not from the edifice it struck down but the lesson it contained about numbers, about symbolism, about encoding …

Although the fluid may be at rest and the system in thermodynamic equilibrium, the irregular motion perseveres, as long as the temperature is above absolute zero. By the same token, he showed that random thermal agitation would also affect free electrons in any electrical conductor-making noise.

… the second law is merely probabilistic. Statistically, everything tends toward maximum entropy. Yet probability is enough: enough for the second law to stand as a pillar of science. To the physicist, entropy is a measure of uncertainty about the state of a physical system: one state among all the possible states it can be in. These microstates may not be equally likely, so the physicist writes [the equation for entropy]. The the information theorist, entropy is a measure of uncertainty about a message: one message among all the possible messages that a communications source can produce. The possible messages may not be equally likely …

… the organism sucks orderliness from its surroundings. Herbivores and carnivores dine on a smorgasbord of structure; they feed on organic compounds, matter in a well-ordered state, and return it “in a very much degraded form-not entirely degraded, however, for plants can make use of it.” Plants meanwhile draw not just energy but negative entropy from sunlight. In terms of energy, the accounting can be more or less rigorously performed. In terms of order, calculations are not so simple.

The gene is not an information-carrying macromolecule. The gene is the information.

… the laws of science represent data compression in action. A theoretical physicist acts like a very clever coding algorithm.

In Szilard’s thought experiment, the demon does not incur an entropy cost when it observes or chooses a molecule. The payback comes at the moment of clearing the record, when the demon erases one observation to make room for the next. Forgetting takes work.

When information is cheap, attention becomes expensive.

Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise

Nate Silver is something of a celebrity in particular circles. In part, perhaps because he was one of the first to apply the same rigour that was revolutionising baseball, to another very data-rich field – election politics. Since then he’s been excoriated by a range of critics, but I think one thing he’s done reasonably well is both make predictions (accurate, and in some cases, less accurate), and then iterate by revisiting his predictions to identify how he can improve. I’ve enjoyed his reflections on particular predictions, and the 538 aggregate estimates – they’re fascinating exercises, that have driven copies in other publications.

I was interested to read The Signal and the Noise, to see what he had to say, and which topics he’d chose to cover. Unfortunately, his book felt for the most part like a set of blog posts on different forecasting areas (earthquakes! the stock market! Bayesian probability!). There is a thread running throughout, and Silver uses it to argue that many experts overestimate their abilities, make systematic mistakes, and can improve their forecasts. But for the most part it’s an overview, high-level piece, rather than something deeper.

If you already have an opinion about Bayesian vs. frequentist probability, this isn’t the book for you. But if you’re looking for an anecdote about a particular application of probability, or want a very gentle (non-mathematical) introduction to the field, this may be the one for you.


In a broader sense, the ratings agencies’ problem was in being unable or uninterested in appreciating the distinction between risk and uncertainty.

Tetlock’s conclusion was damning. The experts in his survey – regardless of their occupation, experience or subfield – had done barely any better than random chance, and they had done worse than even rudimentary statistical methods at predicting future political events.

Political news, and especially the important news that really affects the campaign, proceeds at an irregular pace. But news coverage is produced every day. Most of it is filler, packaged in the form of stories that are designed to obscure its unimportance.

… experts either aren’t very good at providing an honest description of the uncertainty in their forecasts, or they aren’t very interested in doing so. The more fundamental problem is that we have a demand for experts in our society but we don’t actually have that much of a demand for accurate forecasts.

Vlatko Vedral’s Decoding Reality

Vlatko Vedral is, according to internet sources, a professor of Physics at the University of Oxford. His book comes across online, however, as a less-than-reputable piece, something that will have a subtitle about Kabalah and the secret to health and happiness.

I found it slightly slow going. He doesn’t do brilliantly at explaining concepts in a way that can reach the non-mathematician, or including enough material that you can work through it slowly if you want to understand the equations. So while I think the question of how information theory applies to different fields (biology, physics, etc.) is a fascinating one, this book unfortunately doesn’t live up to the premise.

Movies: Kedi, Wonder Woman, Table 19, Spiderman, Florence Foster Jenkins and Miss Sloane

So, it turns out that several flights and a few evening’s worth of entertainment add up to several movies I’ve seen recently. In no particular order (certainly not chronologically) …

Miss Sloane

Miss Sloane is one of the best movies I’ve seen for a while. It is the story of a ruthless political consultant, a power behind one of the many thrones in the empire, who is summoned to take up arms against a powerful emperor (the gun lobby). I’ll unpack it a little more below, but if you don’t want to read spoilers, just know – well worth watching.

How will her ultimate battle go? Will she win or lose? Those are all interesting questions, and ones I won’t spoil for you.

What I think is interesting is that any movie, or text, that discusses a political story, has implicit in it some theory of political economy (see for example the Potterian economy). Miss Sloane portrays a world of corrupted power and shady backroom discussions.

Within that world, Miss Sloanne is a lobbyist who is intriguing because she understands deeply the laws of power and how they work behind the scenes, and uses them to good effect in her everyday work. Because of that, she is a study in cynical exercises in manipulation. Fascinating, none the less, because she takes up a cause that even her allies tell her is doomed. Not because of some childhood incident (which would explain away her anomalous behaviour), but because of principle.

There are some moments where the movie feels slightly unrealistic. [SPOILER ALERT: I’ll be talking about key plot points from here on out]. 

In a world as cynical as the one Miss Sloane portrays, it seems unlikely that a sex worker might not have been pressured, or overpowered, into giving up the information her enemies needed. It might be unlikely, too, that her antagonists would fall quite as neatly into line as they do for her big reveal. It might be unlikely, too, for what it’s worth, for a gun-carrier to protect someone else from gun violence seems very  unlikely*.

* This paper suggests that self defence is unlikely and doesn’t reduce the risks. I couldn’t find anything on bystanders carrying and reduced risks, but let me know if there’s any data?

Table 19

I watched Table 19 over the course of two separate flights several days apart, which made it a somewhat disjointed viewing experience. But I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a fun premise: the table of people ‘Who should have known to RSVP ‘No”, bonding at a wedding as they work through their own problems.

All of them come to the table with some form of baggage; they go on a hilarious journey as they let down their guards to admit they’re all flawed. Through it they bond, and ultimately, they come out the other side just a little bit stronger. And maybe, just maybe, someone at that wedding will find true love.

I laughed out loud. If you’re in the mood for cheesy comedy, you might too.


Kedi is the story of several cats in Istanbul. It seems like the kind of story that could only be told in Istanbul, where a large population of cats roams the streets, receiving food and care from the humans they pass amongst, and largely tolerated if not sanctioned by society at large.

The story features swooping shots over the city, and brilliantly shot knee-level camera action that seems like it must have taken months. There are a few other brilliant pieces of work as well, including the night vision shot of a cat hunting. The care of the cinematographer is evident throughout. The music is well picked. If you’re tired the slow pace can be soporific, but in a gentle rather than a frustrating way.

Florence Foster Jenkins

The titular Florence Foster Jenkins was a New York socialite in the early twentieth century. She is famous for both having had a terrible singing voice, and for none the less performing widely, and purportedly being unaware of how bad her own voice was.

The movie Florence Foster Jenkins tells the story of Ms Jenkins and her partner (in a complex relationship) St Clair Bayfield. Jenkins is utterly unaware of how bad her voice is, and because of her wealth and her financial support of the artistic community, a smaller number of people are willing to tell her. Those close to her shield her from the truth.

With a scenario like that, it’s hard to know whom to settle on as a protagonist. The movie seems to settle on St Clair Bayfield; his struggle? To encapsulate Jenkins in a bubble of misguided self-esteem, protecting her from the harshness of the real world.

It could, if you weren’t thinking about it, sound like a nice thing. But the reality is that Florence Foster Jenkins had a terrible voice, and was only prevented from being disabused because of her wealth, which seems to have been wasted on some awful concerts. Perhaps she provided some amusement. But I don’t think we should admire her lack of courage or insight in examining her own abilities.

Wonder woman

Wonder woman – the story of a daughter of Zeus born in a secret all-female warrior paradise, destined to fight the god of war to save the world.

There’s been a large number of reviews of Wonder Woman – I won’t rehash most of that. I didn’t find the movie particularly enthralling as a movie, although there were some decent action scenes. I’m not well placed to comment, but from my limited perspective it didn’t strike me as a particularly well-placed blow against the patriarchy. Others may disagree.



Once upon a time there was a franchise, a set of stories about superheroes all owned by the same company. Gradually, through the magic of IP law, they were transformed into an unstoppable box-office juggernaut that suffocated anything within sight, leaving us with an endless iteration of superhero structured movies, with a plot outline so formulaic you could recite it in your sleep, and a cast so stereotyped you have trouble remembering which movie you’re watching.

If you feel like a protagonist trapped in an infinitely repeating time loop in (of course) a Marvel superhero movie, you can mark your clock by the fact that the latest (off season) Marvel movie is Spiderman. 

There is a superhero. He (sometimes she) must transform himself to save his community. He fights a villain. He is successful.

If you like all the other Marvel movies enough to be excited by the thought of seeing another, then maybe Spiderman is for you. If not, do anything else at all. Beat your head against a wall. Check for lost pens under your couch. Scrub the grime from your bathtub. Any, or all of those activities, will be better than subjecting yourself to yet another blow from the piston-like production line of Marvel movies.