This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Saturday, September 25, 2004


Why is JAG still on? I have searched far and wide, and not met anyone who watches this show. And it's been on so long that I can no longer remember a time before JAG. I think it must have started when I was three. It's cluttering up my TV schedule. CBS could have a cruddy new show there for me to mock instead.

The question remains, who watches JAG? I know people who watch CSI, Will and Grace, Law and Order, and all the other long-running shows that never were/are no longer good. Is JAG even in syndication? Do people watch the listings and say to themsleves, "oo, the JAG where so-and-so prosecutes the rabbit guy is on tonight." And anyway, isn't JAG a racial slur? How long are we going to stand for this?

Friday, September 24, 2004

Goodbye Dolly

Dolly was voted off Survivor last night. :(

I hate that Survivor makes me use smileys, or more accurately frownys. It was a great episode up until that point, however. They had the best challenge ever. Survivors should be blindfolded more often. They kept running into things, and each other, and getting mad about it. It was great fun. And then Sarge totally freaked out and went all crazy-eyed on the token black guy. I thought he was having a flashback.

But then Dolly was stabbed in the back by Eliza. It's amazing she didn't feel the fake boobs brush by her back when she was doing it. ;)

Thursday, September 23, 2004

A fear of mine

One of my many rampaging fears is that I'm so weird I won't be able to relate to people. Like, I write stuff down and it makes me laugh, but it's so idiosyncratic and just plain un-mainstream that people won't understand where I'm coming from. Countering that fear is the fear that people will understand where I'm coming from, and just not like it. So I am ambiguous about what I mean. I try to correctly represent both sides of an issue, or throw jokes in the middle of things to keep them from being deadly serious. That is my way. But to combat all these fears, and in fact give the finger to them, here's where I stand on 9/23/04 on many issues that divide people and make them cranky . I'm about to talk Politics and Religion here, people -- if you don't want to know what I think, then don't read it.

Also keep in mind that I'm tired and don't have time to go in-depth on anything at all right now.

Let's start with the Biggies right away:

Religion: I believe that Jesus died to save me from my sins, then rose again. I believe that He's the only way to heaven, and everything the Bible says He is. Anything else is open to debate for me.

Abortion: I believe that if society can't outlaw abortion, what can it outlaw? It's murder, an unrationalizable killing of an innocent human. However, outlawing it at this point in the USA would cause a totally insane situation with millions of activists marching through the streets with rusty coat hangers and signs that have downright chilling slogans like "Every Child a Wanted Child" and "Meat is Murder but Abortion isn't". What both Presidential candidates have said, which I like very much, is that education is the key to this issue. What they mean by that may vary. They could mean instructions on how to use condoms, they could mean the medical and scientific and philosophical reasons why a "fetus" is a human being whose life is of value. I obviously like the second one better, but I'm all for condoms if they can stop murders.

Political Affiliation: This is going to shock people (yeah right), but I have voted for Republicans pretty much exclusively since I turned 18. I still really, really can't stand the Democratic Party, although I would not classify myself as a Republican anymore. I have, at age 32, seen the US economy change practically overnight into a monster that sucks the life out of the middle class and gives employers a ridiculous advantage over employees. I have reacted to this change by rethinking my supply-side ways and becoming more of a demand-sider. Is there such a thing? I'm starting to think those minimum-wage-increasing freaks and those organized labor weenies might just have a purpose in this world. I also think John Ashcroft is a lunatic. He's the only member of the Bush administration that scares me. And I'd like them to radically revise the Patriot Act to protect us from, you know, fascism. This is becoming Too Much Info, so I'll just cautiously state myself to be a Pragmatic Conservative with near-daily changes in philosophy.

Capital Punishment: I will attempt to piss off everyone with my stance on this: I don't object to it because it's immoral (I believe a Nation has the right to execute people who are guilty of murder), I object to it because out justice system is insane. By that I mean totally slanted toward people with money, and against poor people and minorities. Until OJ Simpson is convicted and all those innocent people on death row in Illinois are acquitted at trial, Capital Punishment is a weapon US crimefighting doesn't need in its arsenal. Also, it's not a deterrent, so why have it? Why take the chance of executing an innocent human?

The Deficit: I may be proven wrong about this, but the deficit has never affected our economy like deficit-haters say it does. In fact, we had a huge National debt in 1990 and paid it off in 10 years. What we need is economic growth, and then everything will be taken care of.

That's it for now. Please continue to read my blog even though I believe in all this crazy stuff. And I freely admit that I may be wrong. longer living in fear...I feel so free.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

New blog colors for easier reading.


I loved that old color scheme, but it hurt my eyes. It was time for a change. Enjoy the new "gay blue" design.


This Just In: Rock the Vote is Biased

Not to harp on this MTV voting thing, because it's obvious to all that they want to get Kerry elected, but check out the Rock the Vote Blog. There's an extremely one-sided and glowing explanation of what labor unions are. Hmm...where are they pushing the young voter, I wonder?

One might also note the all the talk about swing states and influencing elections. Once again, I have to ask...if this is all non-partisan, why all this talk about the youth vote deciding the election?

In reality this is all about certain people wanting to give all young people an interest group that fights for their issues, kind of the flip side of AARP. There are as many issues as there are young people, however, and no monolithic organization can represent them all. My favorite paragraph of the Rock the Vote blog:

And don’t forget, on Election Day, the work is only half done. The next task is making them respond to the agenda afterwards. So stick around while we push our elected officials to raise the age of eligibility for family health insurance plans and replace college loans with grants.

That's what these young people want? How much money is that brilliant plan going to cost us? i thought we wanted to get out of debt? I hope they're prepared to see children starve to pay for their free education!

Hey wait! I have college loans! Go youth! Rock that vote!

Why is a cable network interested in me voting?

Every 4 years we are treated to the MTV "Choose or Lose" campaign to get "young voters" out to the polls. Does anyone...

Hold on. Dr. Phil just said on a radio commercial, "There are 14 characteristics of a serial killer -- and your son has 9." Only 5 away, then watch out! I'd love to know what those 14 characteristics are, according to Dr. Phil. I'll research that and report later. What if one of them is totally random, like, "Eats corn on Thursdays" or something? That would be cool.

Anyway, does anyone else think it's strange that a cable network would devote massive amounts of time and resources for what is supposedly a Public Service Announcement? Especially MTV, the Pamela Anderson of cable networks (meaning beautiful, vapid, blindly liberal and socially degenerate). What are they up to? Well, the slogan for the Choose or Lose (heretofore referred to as CoL) campaign is "20 Million Loud". What does that mean, you ask? On the CoL website it has a dictionary-type definition for this:

20 Million Loud, (cutesy phonetic pronunciation), noun, a national campaign of organizations mobilizing more than 20 million young adults aged 18 to 30 to vote and be a deciding factor in the 2004 presidential election. (emphasis mine)

On first glance this looks ominously like a propaganda campaign designed to get young people to vote en masse for a candidate, thus being the "deciding factor". But it could be taken in a more benign way, making sure that young people are represented as well as other groups. But what would that matter, if they split their vote 50-50? Wouldn't that just be "20 million loud" people shouting, canceling each other's voices out?

The fact is, this voting business and how we view it is way more complicated than most people realize. I am reminded of my old high school Government teacher, whose hairy knuckles intimidated even the most jaded of high school burnouts, and who implied that people who just vote without knowing any of the issues shouldn't vote at all, and should in fact stay home and stop ruining democracy for everyone else. It was an expression of really really watered-down Hamiltonianism -- the idea that an elite and most knowledgable class of people should elect the president, and keep the stupid masses out of it -- only in this case the elite class was made up of those who simply cared enough to find out the candidate's positions on things.

And you know what? I sympathize with this concept, I really do. There's something to be said for keeping uninformed people away from the polls. But there's no way to stop them, and we shouldn't even try -- we live by the people, and we die by the people. The solution to this is informing the people, not taking away their rights. No Taxation Without Representation or somesuch. That's why Hamilton was super wrong and lost the argument way back when. But he's still on our money, which should tick off anyone who's not a snooty elitist.

So, is the MTV CoL campaign really for information purposes, or something more sinister? Well, let's take a look at these organizations that are "mobilizing young people". What are their purposes? It would seem that "Rock the Vote", "Hip-Hop Summit", and "WWE Smackdown the Vote" (not making this up) would be liberal by default no matter how much the term "non-partisan"(notice it doesn't say non-idealogical) is thrown about on their literature. What do you suppose the percentage of conservative Rockers/Hip-Hoppers/WWE Roid Restlers would be? Isn't the over/under at about 3%? What do you think their message is going to be? Comparing Bush to Hitler and scaring people into voting him out, that's what.

(Side note: It's interesting, this fear that Michael Moore and his ilk are trying to stir in people -- fear of this nefarious cabal of rich white dudes who start wars for oil and repeal civil rights legislation and rip us all off in so many ways. Interesting because they accuse the other side of using fear of terrorism to get political things done. )

(side note 2: You will notice there's no "Country Fry the Vote" campaign involved in this, which is understandable because MTV literally pretends on a daily basis that no other form of music exists outside Rock and Hip-Hop. Even normal Pop has been pretty much relegated to VH-1. Therefore, I don't count the lack of such a program involved in this as a political bias of any sort. Another way to put this is: The corporate philosophy of MTV states that nobody under the age of 30 listens to country. Which I don't mind, considering today's country music is our National Embarassment, even moreso than The US Men's Olympic Basketball Team, the Iraq war, or Dr. Phil getting his own show in Prime Time on a Network.)

Of the other groups listed, is a joint project of the George Washington U. and the PIRG's. What are the PIRG's, you ask? They have the generic name Public Interest Resource Group, but all they really are is a group of people pushing for tougher environmental legislation in each state. PIRG also has a less non-partisan voting campaign to get low-income and "historically underrepresented" people to the polls. A good goal, but one that most definitely benefits John Kerry at the expense of GW Bush. itself seems pretty solidly non-ideological despite its liberal backing, as do "Declare Yourself", "", and "Project Vote Smart". "Voto Latino" is non-partisan, but has many ideological statements expressed by bloggers and essayists on its site. It's definitely not just some sort of liberal front organization, however.

So, all these organizations are saying the right things, but it's what's unspoken that's important here. Namely, the unspoken fact that 20 million marginally informed 18-30 year-olds voting will contribute probably 10 million more votes to Kerry than Bush. You see, people who turn 18 are mostly liberal in ideology, thanks in large part to the pretty people of pop culture preaching liberalism at them. Of course, parental influence is still key at that age -- at least among the 10% or so of kids that see their parents every day and like them. But any remaining conservatives at age 18 will quickly be indoctrinated in liberalism at the college of their choice, causing the few conservative holdouts to bunkerize and get haircuts and wear ties to class and berate people with talk of flat taxes and 2nd-amendment-worship.

What all this means is that the more young people vote, the better it will be for John Kerry and the Democrats. MTV and the Artists they create know this. They can't possibly not know it. Not that I'm necessarily Pro-Bush, but it's just not fair that a TV network (especially one aimed solely at impressionable 12-20 year-olds) would devote so much time and energy to getting Kerry elected. That's why I'm proposing somebody or some TV network (with more time and money than myself) start a new "get out the vote" program, one that targets the 30-and older crowd, regardless of social position. It could be called "Choose or MTV Will Choose For You." That should be enough to scare some people. If we can get 20 million people older people to vote who wouldn't have otherwise voted, we can bring some fairness and respectability to the political process.

And how about you young people fricking think for yourselves for once and stop letting people tell you what to do? The real cool, rebellious thing to do in this election is to not vote. I mean, rich white people will decide the election anyway, right? At this very moment rich white males of both parties are organizing campaigns to go out on the street and scare trashy non-voters into voting, often by outright lying to them (proven fact). You aren't naive enough to believe that your vote counts, are you? Be reverse naive instead. And let me tell you what to do.

I disavow the last paragraph, and apologize to anyone I disenfranchised. I will end this madness by saying that the next time you see an MTV "Choose or Lose" program, shudder, because every time Drew Barrymore says, "I want to find out what this high-schooler thinks about Health Care", an angel loses his wings and gets run over by a garbage truck.

I disavow that last paragraph also. I'm leaving before I have to disavow anything else.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

College Basketball Blog

There's a human named Yoni Cohen who has what he calls "College Basketball Blog". I checked it out (because I love college basketball) and it is tremendous. If you want to keep up with college basketball there is a bunch of information there for you. Enjoy.

The Godfather, Parts 1 and 2

Finally saw these movies thanks to Netflix. The consensus on these movies is that the first one is great, and the second one is even better. I found that to be true, for the most part. Here's my take on it:

The movies are about the moral destruction of one Michael Corleone. Period. Everything else revolves around that, and gets its meaning from that. Even the Vito Corleone parts in II point to Michael's eventual takeover of the family business. And II is better than I because the Fredo storyline is just heartbreaking -- especially at the very end when Michael is thinking back to when he decided to enlist in the Marines and his family's giving him a hard time, and Fredo is the only one to congratulate him. Just heartbreaking. Nothing in the first film comes close to this, and that's only partially because Brando as Godfather has become so iconic that it's hard to take him seriously. Sure, Sonny is killed, but nobody likes him. The ending of the first film has revenge on its mind. It concentrates on that. The ending of the second has regret on its mind. Even when there is revenge, there's no teeth to it. It's sad. And when the very young Diane Keaton tells Michael that she had an's just a great scene. So, I concur: II is one of the best films America has produced.

Now, III is supposed to be horrible, although that's hard to imagine with this cast. I have a history of liking movies I'm supposed to hate (Toys, Last Action Hero), so I may Netflix it just to see what all the hubub is about.

Monday, September 20, 2004

I Smoke Therefore I Am

Why is it that "finding yourself" these days involves constantly rationalizing really stupid and self-destructive things? Why can't it involve going to the store and buying some cereal, and figuring out you don't like the corn flakes your mom bought, and you like raisin bran instead? Why does it have to involve stuff everybody knows is totally worthless/unhealthy/potentially destructive? Smoking is a great example...why do people start smoking? A desire to become addicted to something that people hate? A desire to look cool? Who thinks smoking looks cool? Seriously, who thinks that? Is there some mind control device planted by Big Tobacco in every college dorm room in America?

These are just things I'm honestly wondering, because I don't understand. Is it the parenting? The bad parenting that causes kids to hate their parents? The good parenting that kids want to break free from and rebel against? Society's pressure to "sow your stupid oats while you're young"? A desire to forget problems?

If you think I'm weird...please forgive me. If anyone knows the answer, please tell me. It's buggin' me.

So Today I'm Bitter

I'm bitter today, and it's not just that the Packers lost by 11 points at home to the worst team in the NFL. It's more the thought that Jimmy Kimmel has been on for like a year and a half. That wouldn't be so bad, but what have I done in that time? Nothing. I'm going through a classic crisis -- what the heck am I doing with my life? It's ugly, so I'll spare you the details.

A large producer of the bile I feel is Work Today. Work Today sucks.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the concept I came up with called "reverse naivete". It's where you're so cynical and streetwise you end up circling all the way back to naive. I came up with the concept during the whole G-Mail fiasco, where Google was going to launch an e-mail service that scanned the e-mails by computer for keywords and then run targeted ads at the receiver. This is what I said:

You guys who don't object to Gmail because your e-mail is already being spied on are being reverse naive. There's a difference between national security and a company looking to target ads at you. Now, you might be thinking in reverse -- that it's worse for a government agency to have your email than a private company. But, ultimately the government is responsible to us, the people. It may not seem like it, but it's true. And while the legitimacy and efficacy of scanning people's emails for national security purposes is certainly debatable, the legitimacy of scanning people's emails for advertising purposes is certainly not.
Now, I could take this in one of two directions: the evil of advertising; or, the concept of reverse naivete and what it means to you. On the second topic: Do we see lots of reverse naive people running about, so streetwise they not longer care about being streetwise?

For next time, think of two (2) examples of reverse naivete in everyday life. Discuss.

I've also thought of a similar but differently nuanced concept to being reverse naive -- one that is much more common and insidious. I haven't come up with a name for it yet, but we'll temorarily call it blind naivete. It's when person A calls out person B for being naive when person A himself is advancing a position that is just as naive. This you see all the time, especially with scientists. It's like oat bran: A regular naive person eats whatever they want because they think, "It's food, they wouldn't sell unhealthy food, now, would they?"; A blindly naive person would tell that person to eat more oat bran because science has discovered it cures cancer; A reverse naive person would tell that person that sometimes science has been wrong about things, so therefore all of science is wrong, and therefore we should eat whatever we want.

Of course, in this case the oat-bran cures cancer thing has been proved false, so the reverse naive person turned out right almost despite himself. He died from eating too many french fries hours later, btw. Who's naive now?