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 31, 2005

April Fools!

My wife mentioned to me today that she hates April Fools, which got me to thinking: Is this a "holiday" that we need? Is celebrating lying to other people in order to cause them discomfort a good idea? Why not have, "Beat Up a Kid and Take His Lunch Money Day" and "Embezzling Day" too? We could be like, "Gotcha, place of employment -- I've been stealing money from you, you rubes." I seriously thought I was the only one who hated this. Now it occurs to me that the only people who like this are the people who are just chomping at the bit to play tricks on people. You know what we call those kinds of people where I come from? If you do, tell me, because I can't think of a proper word.

My working theory is that most people hate April Fools, they just don't want to say anything because they will be branded as someone who has "no sense of humor" or who "can't take a joke." This is only a theory, and one I thought of today, so I may be dead wrong about this. But let me sound the Trumpet! People who hate April Fools, unite! Throw those crappy tricks back at those people! If someone plays a trick on you, pretend you're super pissed! Better yet, don't say anything. Just walk away. The only way these maniacs will be stopped is by cutting their tricks off at the knees.

But seriously, the real reason I hate April Fools is that it preys on the people in society that least deserve to be preyed on -- the trusting. We have a word for this, a negative word: gullible. As far as I can tell, trusting=gullible. In this cynical age, those who are "gullible" are a breath of fresh air. Nobody trusts anyone anymore because we are all looking for ways to take advantage of the weakness of others, and everyone is aware of this. It's why Robert Tilton's new show is on BET, and it's why Politicians never tell us the whole truth. It's the gullible that have real relationships with others because they put that trust out there. We don't need to set aside a day to hurt these people, we need to set aside a day to celebrate them.

The next time your play a trick on someone, I sincerely hope the visage of Robert Tilton crosses your mind like an icepick to the temple. I further hope I have ruined everyone's April Fool's day.

April Fools! See? This is why I can't stand it.

Excited About This

The Hitchhiker's web site is up!

It's fun. I could not be more excited about a movie. Hans Gruber is the voice of Marvin! Everything about it looks fantastic and funny, and it's less than a month away! This makes 4 exclamation points! I feel like a teenage girl!!!!

But seriously, with this coming out, and then Revenge of the Sith a month later, this is like the Golden Age for nerds ages 30-45. I mean, there's a new Battlestar Galactica and a new Doctor Who series out, for Pete's sake. We're taking over like the Cylons or the Empire. I wonder if Gil Gerard and Erin Gray are busy? Can you say Buck Rogers Reunion? Now is the time for these things, I can feel it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

News Wednesday

I don't have the time or heart to get into more news today, especially since I can't be sure that Blogger will allow me to post it, but my general impressions of the news involve a lot of diseases, Johnny Cochran dying, Jesse Jackson coming out as pro-Terry Schaivo, and a bunch of tech stuff that I and probably only I am interested in.

I will say this: The Supreme Court, our Absolute Rulers, will be deciding soon on whether peer-2-peer networks are all bad or only partly bad. I sincerely hope our 9 Supreme Rulers decide to send both the scummy P2P companies, the RIAA, and Congress into a room together and not come out until they have a solution that works for all people everywhere. They did it before with VCR's, they can do something with this situation now.

The Post I Meant to Post Yesterday

This morning Blogger wouldn't let me into the start page. Hopefully, this will post...

The thing this post is about
Paul Krugman of the high-toned and up-until-this-moment kind of respected NY Times is a champion of tolerance. He obviously believes that tolerance is a value that must be upheld in the face of constant pressure from those of the "Religious Right". He also obviously believes that if something is not done about the "Religious Right", they may kill us all. Wait. I mean, we might kill them all. Does he mean me? How wide is the spray of his sawed-off shotgun of hate shooting? It's hard to tell. Does he mean to supress the views of wackos? Of all Christians? Of anyone who believes strongly and intolerantly about anything? One thing is clear: he believes his audience knows who he is talking about, and that's good enough for him. Allow me to summarize it for you in case you don't want to go through the New York Times registration process, or have a weak stomach:

He starts out ominously: "Democratic societies have a hard time dealing with extremists in their midst." Ok, he's talking about extremism: people who blow crap up because God told them to, people who think animals should have more rights than people, etc. He finishes the first paragraph even more ominously: "Nobody wants to talk about the threat posed by those whose beliefs include contempt for democracy itself." Ooo. Fear-monger much, Paul? One might ask at this point, "Who are these people you speak of, and how can we destroy them?"

He doesn't tell us right away, and the suspense builds through paragraph, where we are informed that the Netherlands tried ignoring Islamic Militants, and that led to murderous killing (of one guy -- a famous director, and then the backlash happened). Those saps. If only they would have had their own Paul Krugman to sound the Big Bell of intolerance, er, tolerance. What are we talking about here again? Christians? People who murder abortion doctors? Aren’t they one and the same? Should believing in Jesus -- and not wanting, for example, boobs on TV -- make you a prime candidate for a terrorist watch list?

What he is talking about is of course the Schaivo case, and this editorial is a prime example of the overwinded generalizing that people on both sides of the issue are engaging in. They are using this woman's plight to make broad-brushed political points on issues they have (in the case of Paul Krugman, anyway) no handle on whatsoever. Some Republicans made great pronouncements about God and Terry Schaivo that were supposed to "appease" the “Religious Right”, as if Terry Schaivo's condition were a political issue. It was supposed to mobilize them to (I guess) vote more or contribute more money. If this whole congressional and Bushite grandstanding on the issue is only a political strategy of appeasement, that's just sad. That Paul Krugman can't see the Schaivo issue in anything except purely political terms is his first mistake. He goes on to make another as he misinterprets opinion polls as a "backlash" against the "Religious Right" meddling in people's affairs and "legislating morality" (a phrase Mr. Krugman doesn't use, but that's probably because he didn't think of it). Are people really that upset that some Republicans tried to save this woman's life? Maybe they are, and maybe that will come out in some sort of anti-Christian sentiment. If Paul Krugman has his way, that sentiment will start right now. I personally think the polls reflect the unease most Americans have with the Congress meddling in their personal affairs, especially when the media has gone to great lengths to frame the debate as an issue of “Who has the right to make a decision about life or death in this case,” rather than, “What state of mind is Terry Schaivo actually in.” Of course nobody wants Congress involved in these personal decisions.

Some of the things Krugman brings up in order to make the reader scared of the "Religous Right" are -- Randall Terry, who "hasn't killed anyone but one of his friends did."; pressure to teach what he calls "Creationism" in the schools, which could possibly make our children dumb, drooling, intolerant, and brainwashed members of some evangelical church, because "Creationism" is all about surpressing science (I'm admittedly reading between the lines here -- his purpose is to scare, and why should teaching differing views on a subject be scary unless there is some insidious purpose behind one side?); Walking Zombie Religious Right Doctors and Pharmacists who will make you go to a different Walgreens to get your morning-after pill because they're just so bat-crap crazy; and, the "big step", which is to pack the courts with as many God-loving, you-hating, gun-toting, sheep-sheearingly religious justices as possible. If this is allowed to happen, every politician who does not agree with the "Religious Right" is in danger of being assassinated -- legally, I guess. I don't know. I'm still not following.

I can't take this crap anymore. I'd fire off an angry e-mail to him, but it would just confirm what he already "knows" -- I am totally nuts. And evil. Can't forget about evil.

The following are the false assumptions Paul Krugman has made in preparation for his editorial:
The Religious Right is filled with religious "extremists" who are the same as Islamic extremists (in reality, almost all of them are pleasant busy-bodies who mean well). The Religious Right opposes killing Terry Schaivo in order to get more political power (maybe a few cynical members do, but most really just want to save a life). The Religious Right includes all pro-lifers, as well as all those who believe in tradtional Christianity (in that case, it's like half the country). The Religious Right is about the majority over the minorities (they have been ostracized to the edge of society where it's fun to hate them – if that doesn’t make them a minority, nothing will). The Religious Right is a monolithic bloc of voters that threatens us all (nominate a Pro-Life Democrat for President and you'll find out pretty fast how un-monolithic (polylithic?) it actually is). The Religious Right wants people in office to be afraid of them (This is somewhat true, but isn't that the goal of every interest group out there -- to be influential? Paul's faulting them for that?). Naturalistic Evolution is a proven fact that not only all good scientists but also all good thinkers believe (it isn't). That doctors are monolithic in their diagnosis of Ms. Schiavo's condition (they aren't, even though the doctors who refer to her as a "vegetative" (now there's a loaded term) have bullied people into believing they are, because they can't be bothered with your silly questions like, “How can she be vegetative and responsive?”). That laws that allow doctors to opt out of giving people procedures for personal moral reasons will cause all doctors to be pressured and threatened by the Religious Right, and are therefore bad (even though opting out of such things is obviously a constitutional right -- Paul here seems to be advocating a pre-emptive strike against such theoretical pressure by re-writing the first amendment to exclude religious people. How F___ed up is that?)

Mr. Krugman finishes by calling for the Left and the moderates to make a "firm stand" against "religious extremism". I don't really know what he wants them to do. Publicly villify them? Call them names? Trust only doctors who disagree with the Religious Right? Take away licenses of the doctors who object to...anything on Religious or moral grounds? Supress the Right? Be intolerant of them? Dare I say it...Kill them if they don't fall into line?

With as many false assumptions as Paul Krugman makes in this editorial in the one of the most influential newspapers in the land, it's hard to know exactly what he wants done, or why we should trust what he's basing it on. I used to think Robert Smigel expressed a very isolated (and, frankly, pure evil) sentiment on "Saturday TV Funhouse" when he equated terrorist suicide bombings with the Christian kids video series Veggie Tales. It turns out people actually equate the two.

Now I’m going to explain something to you, Mr. Krugman, and all your ilk. Please read it slowly, because it’s very important that you grasp the very subtle differences between evangelical Christianity and Muslim extremism. Christians believe that you go to Heaven by believing in Jesus, who died and rose again to save all people from their sins. Muslim extremists believe you go to Heaven if you kill some people in a holy war against the infidels. I know, it's very subtle. But go back and read those two sentences until you get it, sirs.

You have made our Enemies List, Mr. Krugman. We have our Eyes on you. Security Section is watching. And if you've actually convinced yourself to be afraid of us, you're no better than people who are afraid when they see black people walking down the street. It's all based on hate. You've become the very thing you despise most: intolerant.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Blogger has been acting up...

I tried to post a big post today, but Blogger timed out repeatedly. The next available moment, I will post it. In it, I tried to respond to an editorial in the New York Times that tried to use the Shiavo thing as evidence that the shadowy evil "Religious Right" would stop at nothing to run everyone's lives. If that sounds crazy it's because it is, and I have a hard time explaining paranoia in a manner that's easily understood. Sorry. Here's one extra thought, posted now because Blogger wouldn't work today...

Some people today seem to be afraid of belief, especially religious belief. They see terrorists killing and dying for some crazy belief and then make the assumption that all fervently held religious belief can lead one to all sorts of toolsh behavior, and ultimately murder. However, I would argue that there's a difference between believing that Jesus died and rose again to save you from your sins and believing that the surest way to heaven is by killing infidels in a Jihad. I admit, this is a subtle difference, but try to remember it the next time you try to equate the 9/11 hijackers with the people having a vigil in front of the Shiavo hospital. It will save you from being a bigoted, Christian-hating overgeneralizer.

Full post tomorrow.

I Pick the Upset and Job Chaos

From time to time I predict certain upsets in sports based on what I see from the participants involved or ideas I have about the sports themselves. For example, in one week last year I picked Detroit to beat the Lakers for the NBA Championship and predicted that whatever horse that was that won the first two races of the triple crown would lose in the third, even though he was some sort of robo-horse that could not theoretically be stopped. I had good reasons for both picks: anyone who saw both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals with a discerning eye (which all those NBA "experts" apparently don't own, since they all picked the Lakers. Actually, Skin from the Ticket picked the Pistons, so I love him) realized the better basketball was being played in the East, and I have a firm longstanding tradition of hating on any horse that wins the Derby and the Preakness.

Long story short -- I was right about both. I cannot prove this, because this blog did not yet exist. As you can see, it does now, so here's my first for-the-record sports prediction on it:

Michigan State will beat North Carolina on Saturday.

I'm much less firm about this one than those other two, since college basketball is a funny, unpredictable game. All I know is I saw North Carolina struggle to beat Villanova and Wisconsin last weekend -- two teams they should have been able to dominate athletically. They make horrible decisions with the ball, and would have lost both those games had it not been for the Baby-Faced Giant Sean May's utter control of the glass. With Michigan State's rebounding greatness, North Carolina will not be able to get easy putbacks that swell their shooting percentage. They will shoot 40% instead. And when that happens, they will be in trouble.

I have no opinion whatsoever on the other game, Illinois vs. Louisville. I picked Louisville to win it all at the start of the Tournament, so I'll stick with them. My suspicion is that Illinois will win, though. How's that for being political, eh? I defy anyone to parse this paragraph and give a definitive answer on which team I stand for. I'm the Bill Clinton of sports punditry. That's a funny word, punditry. Sounds like an Indian food.

My respective jobs have started swirling around in absurdity again -- my main one is continuing its disastrous emphasis on harassing customers with extended warranties and add-on sales (quick business quiz -- if you have a philosophy of sales that defines what you do, and you apply that philosophy for 3 years, and sales continue to fall, do you a) change or b) just get more militaristic and rigid about applying the sales philosphy that's failing?) . They are also dragging their feet on moving me out of my closet and back to my old room, even though it has proven too small for me to do my job and it's location prevents me from doing a bunch of stuff for my department that I used to do.

And Papa John's has crossed some sort of stupidity line that I assumed would never be crossed. Jerry Jones bought all the ones in Dallas, right? I mean, I don't want to bring him into this sludge if he's not involved in it, but I thought his purchase of all the local Papa Johns was supposed to mean an influx of energy and cash. On the contrary, it seems like the people who run the area now just sit back and think of insane rules to inflict on the individual franchises in some sort of social experiment, you know, "how far can we push these people before they quit?" The latest fun rule involves our commissary -- the place from which we get all our food and supplies. As of last week. the only things we can buy from the commissary are food-related. We can't buy anything we can't sell as food, nor can we take out any petty-cash. Is this a reasonable cost-cutting move? Is Jerry Jones mad at the commissary for some reason? I can't explain it -- it makes absolutely no sense.

The best part is how the managers are told to deal with it. Since they can't buy: trash bags, lights, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, mop heads, etc., they're just told to take the money out of the register and go to the store, because nobody is going to care if they're short money at the end of the night. Now, I don't have an MBA from anywhere or anything, but does this sound like a good idea? Instead of actually budgeting and receiving 1000 trash bags for $14, we're getting 30 lawn care bags for $4 that we don't have to account for. Like I said before, I think they just crossed some sort of line, and could now theoretically do anything (requiring us to wear blinking vests, not allowing us to fix the Air Conditioning, etc). If they can justify overpaying for things and taking them out of the budget, I can't even imagine what they'll do next. They have not made a business decision that made any sense since they allied with the Cowboys. Hmm...

Monday, March 28, 2005

Great column, if you're into that sort of thing...

This dude, Scoop Jackson, whom I ripped on when he first arrived at, has just posted the best column on College Basketball I have seen this year. It's awesome writing.

My wife's basketball boyfriend Dirk Nowitski got Punk'd last night, as in the MTV show starring Ashton Kutcher.

UWM basketball coach Bruce Pearl has taken the Tennessee job, because he is a traitor. But hey, nobody would fault him, right? Take the money and run, right? Maybe Mr. Pearl should just count his blessings and be thankful he's no longer blacklisted. He'll find out what Marquette traitor Kevin O' Neill did -- the team with the gayest colors in Division I basketball can never be good.

I accomplished the near-unthinkable last weekend and watched 5 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 5 of Arrested Development, and 2 of Alias. I am now caught up until later this week. My TV-watching has taken a hit, and will continue to until I can get out of this Papa John's job. Everything and every sign is pointing me to getting out and advertising in the community for my new computer repair business. As always, if you live in the Dallas area, and need computer repair help, I am fantastic, professional, and inexpensive --

$40 for spyware scan/removal/education (1 hour)
$60 for virus and spyware scan and removal and education
$60 for troubleshooting and repair (+ cost of parts, of course)
$80 to set up a home network (up to 3 computers)

I can do anything computer-related, just ask me. Contact me at and we can set up an appointment to talk about it.

The gauntlet has been thrown down, and will lead me where it goes.