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.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Brett Favre

He's coming back for next season! His wife is doing well with the cancer treatment!

This dude has been through a ton in the past two years, from the death of his father to the death of a brother-in-law in a tragic ATV accident to his wife Deanna being diagnosed with cancer to Reggie White's sudden death (mentioned in this Journal Sentinel Online article -- it hadn't occurred to me before that Reggie would mean all that much to Mr. Favre). You have to admire a lot of things about him as a man, like his massive growth in maturity from his early 20's and his intestinal fortitude.

What this news means is the Packers can stave off total collapse for another year at least. It also means that we should get ready for another year of drooling superlatives directed towards Favre from unctious announcers. Unfortunately, it also means another early-round playoff loss caused by Favre trying to do too much, but we forgive him because he's so much fun.

It is a stated dream of mine to watch a game in the Favre family box with Deanna Favre and the rest of them. I think that would be so cool, to be cheering with them. If any of you out there could make this happen, you would have my gratitude. I might even owe you one, and I have a staunch personal policy against owing anyone one.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Footnotes, David Foster Wallace, and You

The thing I found online that precipitated this post is found here. Gosh, I've linked to a lot of sites today. Anyway, I've decided to try and make you people understand why I like David Foster Wallace's style, specifically his footnotes. They and he have come under fire lately, in the article I just linked to, in other literary outlets (which have tons of backhandedly complimentary reviews of his latest book of short stories, Oblivion -- nearly every single one says something like, "Thankfully, there are very few footnotes."), my wife, my reader Brian, etc. The hatred spewed towards the footnotes usually mentions the fact that it's a pain to stop in the middle of an article (and sometimes in the middle of a sentence), look up the footnote, and go back and try to remember what you were reading. It's an issue of hassle and mental investment, when you get right down to it.

I understand that, and (being a person who hates hassle) I maybe even agree with it a little bit. But allow me to suggest that one purpose of the footnotes is to get you to slow down and actually understand what you are reading. DFW is a hard writer to undertand sometimes -- he uses super big words that barely exist and he inserts abbreviations that make the text seem like it's either written in shorthand or a long-forgotten English dialect. If you have to slow down and read things twice, he knows you will have a better chance of knowing what he's getting at.

As a person who has a tendency to over-parenthesize everything, the footnotes make the text look more streamlined. Has it occurred to you people that you don't actually have to read the footnotes? The text rolls along just fine if you skip them. But that brings us to the crux of the issue, doesn't it? The stuff in the footnotes is valuable. It's often very funny. You don't want to miss out, so you go through the hassle just to see what's there. That is the main reason I like them -- they're often better than the main text.

All of this brings us to the real reason I think DFW uses footnotes -- he is trying to establish a tone with them, a tone that is more conversational and irreverant than would be possible given his big words and overproper grammatical style. It is as if he is creating a second voice to comment on the voice of the main text, removed from the main text and therefore more free and easy. I'm admittedly just talking out of thin air here.

Embrace the footnote, America.

Not really news, but high-brow humor

The Dallas Morning News has launched a point-counterpoint type section called "Points", which you'll find here. The Dallas Observer, the independent paper in town, has created their own section to mock "Points", which you'll find here.

(The Dallas Morning News site requires registration, and the Observer mockery requires Adobe Acrobat. If you have both of those things or can figure out how to get them, you pass for today. If not, I'm sorry, but no funny for you.)

And in the op-ed section, here's a thing from the NY Times (also requiring registration) on why Wal-Mart's evil (at least in an American economic sense) has been overstated.

A sports note: UW-Milwaukee won by one point last night in the Horizon League championship, sending them to the NCAA Basketball Tournament for the 2nd time ever. I hate the school (for admittedly not very well-thought-out reasons that involved a former friend and some Nicaraguan chick he met there), but I just love the basketball team and their frenetic style of play. Two years ago they very nearly upset Notre Dame in the first round. Watch out for them, and their Nicaraguan girlfriends.

4 more days until Selection Sunday. Isn't it glorious? This news section would be a good time to mention my annual NCAA Tournament Pool, which is not gambling because it is free to anyone reading this right now. The winner gets a little prize -- a free dinner (if they know us, and visit us) or a t-shirt of a team they like, or something else entirely. We don't know what it will be, it totally depends on the winner. If you want to be in the pool, e-mail me your picks:

Thank you for your support.

U.S. News -- no fricking World Report, though

US NEWS: Our infrastructure is eroding, and that's not only because of Dan Rather's retirement. But hey, it's not all bad -- Solid Waste gets a "C+". Congratulations are in order, so good job, toilets.

Quentin Tarrantino is in preliminary talks to direct the next installment of "Friday the 13th". I've been thinking about this for 2 minutes and I still have no idea if I like this. Why couldn't the Broccoli people just let him do James Bond like he asked? I'm sure this slasher thing will fall through, too, because apparently nobody in Hollywood wants to make any money. Can you imagine a Quentin-directed Bond? As the Sports Guy would say, who would be against this?

Part of my problem is that I refuse to report news I find uninteresting or just flat-out hate. You won't see me report about the Jackson Trial or the Robert Blake Trial or Russell Crowe being targeted by Al-Qaida in 2001 as part of their "destabilization" plan. I don't care about cell phone viruses or volcanic ash or anyone with the last name of "Bolton" either. So that cuts down my US News today. I'm sorry about that.

Oil prices are staying at a ludicrous level these days and there's no relief in sight. Why don't we mandate fuel-efficient cars? Why don't we drill for some more oil here? I hear Alaska has some. Screw the marmots. Why am I paying twice as much for gas as I was 5 years ago? Ok, I apologize for the anti-wildlife rant...but something needs to be done about this!

Finally, be on the look out for Middle-Easterners, especially if they have the last name "Sanchez", or are trying to speak in a Spanish accent.

Epth -- The Most...Trusted Name in News?

What I was going to do today was rip apart every single one of new Page 2 columnist "Scoop" Jackson's introductory "beliefs", because I disagree with pretty much all of them. But then I thought, how fair is it for me to logically and systematically tear apart things that he believes because of pure emotion and intuition? I mean, "I believe there should be a women's sports network"? That's like opening a big and tall clothing store for midgets. Me commenting on this would be like crushing a fish that's lying on the street with a steamroller.

So, instead of that plan, I've come up with a plan to become more relevant, at least for today. You know how these so-called "News" blogs are getting all this press for trumping MSM? (MSM blogger for Main Stream Media, because apparently compound words don't exist in the Blogosphere).* I think it's time that I reported the news as it happens, because you demand it. Now, my reader base is such that nobody will read this until probably tonight, but that's ok. This is to branch out into other areas, in yet another attempt to start my plan of world domination. Wait -- did I type that or just think that? Anyway...

France story of the day: Protests erupt as France considers upping its official work week from 35 hours. That's right...if you're in France, you can't work more than 35 hours a week without getting OT pay (and your overtime can't exceed 220 hours/year). Even though this work week situation has counterintuitively caused high unemployment, the French overwhelmingly support the protests.

Also in France, and this is so obscure I couldn't find a link: I was watching French News on the International Channel in bed this morning, and unless the subtitles were lying to me, thousands of high-school students stormed the streets in major cities Tuesday protesting an education bill that would (gasp) require more language classes. That's it, just more language classes. They don't want to learn other languages. Those French will protest anything in the extra time afforded them by their ridiculously short work week. Nobody speaks French, so the bill makes sense to me. The Government leaders are probably scared their French society could lag behind other countries in international commerce.

Also, according to the French News this morning, it appears that there are simply no black people in France. What of Yannick Noah and that one figure skater? Are they the only two?

Tech News: The official Bittorrent client underwent a major revamping, and I can tell you that 4.0 is awesome, but I can't tell you how I know that, for draconian Big Brother reasons.

Sony has unveiled a line of MP3 players that they are hoping will crush the IPOD shuffle. Of special interest is the LED screen built in, which the Shuffle doesn't have. No word on if the Sony models will be comparatively priced. One thing we do know is that the Sony players will not work with ITunes, because nothing in music works with ITunes except stuff starting in "I".

See, wasn't that fun? More news soon on your favorite Wednesday news source (and by calling it your favorite it will automatically become your favorite) -- Epth News.

*This shot doesn't mean to suggest that I'm anti-blog. I just appreciate the better acronyms, like SCUBA.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Bud Selig, Invertibrate

There's been a lot of talk lately about steroids in baseball and what it all means. Guess what? The commissioner of baseball doesn't think it means anything. Get a load of this quote from an AP story (really more of a blurb) via
Commissioner Bud Selig said Sunday that no records will be taken away from players suspected of steroid use.

"That would be unfair to do that," Selig said before a game between the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels. "In fairness to those players, no one has been convicted of anything. And we can't turn history back."

"My job is to protect the integrity of the game. Each era, each decade has had situations where people said there were unfair advantages."

So it boils down to this: It's not that steroids create an unfair advantage for hitters that cause them to hit more home runs, it's that people are saying that steroids create an unfair advantage for hitters that cause them to hit home runs. Oh, and it's not unfair to take an illegal substance that helps you, but it is unfair to those players if we point that out for record-keeping purposes.

Memo to Bud: The cat is out of the bag and mewing. It's scratching baseball with its claws right now, and no amount of smoothing over (which only makes you look like more of an idiot, btw) will change the public perception that the major home run hitters of this era cheated to get more home runs. It doesn't matter if there's an official asterisk, because there will always be an asterisk in our hearts.

Baseball's records are different from the records of other sports: They actually mean something. Maybe it's just because I hate what baseball has done to itself in this era, but it would give me great pleasure to see all of the hall-of-famers that come out of 1990's-2000's baseball carry a black mark on them because of all the steroid suspicion. The only ones that could have stopped it were the players who were clean*, and they decided to go with the flow in order to get themselves more money and less trouble. As Roid Freak Barry Bonds nears the all-time home run record, we're at a point where baseball either has to say it doesn't care if some players cheated, or it does care and proven Roid Freaks should get asterisks by their names, at the very least. At some point the "steroids-are-bad/steroids-aren't-a-big-deal" dance has to stop at one or the other, because these mixed messages are hurting baseball. Of course, baseball has a pretty crappy track record on recognizing when it is hurting itself, so Bud will probably stay the course until he dies or somebody stops him.

*My reasoning behind this statement is the owners weren't even able to get themselves a salary cap after dropping the nuclear bomb of cancelling the World Series in the mid-90's. The players ruled the league then and they rule the league now. Besides, the owners benefitted as much as the players from steroid use, and were in no hurry to tell the players to stop even if they were able to.

The Great Space Coaster and Sesame Street...

...turned me into the boring, inattentive, uncreative, and dumb blogger I am today. Who knew?