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.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Unda De Limbo Steeck

I feel like I'm in writing limbo right now, mostly because we're in that weird time of the year where no sports besides (baseball) are going on. We are anticipating football season, and basketball season, and even hockey season, but right now it's just speculation and stories about players going insane.

I feel like my NFL Preview is just arbitrary and a big pail of guesses. Last year, I predicted Green Bay will meet Tennessee in the Super Bowl. Whoops. Basketball I know about -- football is a mystery to me. So this year I think I'll trick up the predictions somehow, to keep myself interested. Yes, that's what I'll do.

A NBA preview right now would be out of the question, because so much player movement is still happening. I mean, Michael Finley hasn't even decided which contenda he's going to yet. I will say that as of today, the teams I think improved over the off-season are: Cleveland and Milwaukee. Teams I have no idea what to do with: about 10, starting with LA and NY.

My next recap of My Super Sweet Sixteen will happen tomorrow. The thing is, I need like a solid 3-hour brick of time to get that done, and the only day I have that kind of time is Saturday. This last week was kinda boring, anyway. They tried to make a narrative arc, but the pot at the end of the rainbow was filled with nothing instead of gold. That's actually a really good summary of that episode. I might use it.

Those evil girls soccer players are still locking the door to the Field. I would jump the fence to get in, but I wouldn't trust myself to make it out of there after exercising. My girth would drag me down. Plus, I don't want the vigilant and militant Richardson cops to fine me. I don't want to re-declare my undeclared war on them, because I can't fight a two-front war. I'm only one man with only two arms.

God bless you all, and smell you later.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Dallas is Going to Heck

I'm not saying you should blame me, but Dallas' descent into crapulence has accelerated in the years since I moved here. Have you heard that the FBI is investigating like half of Dallas' City Council? It was originally only the black ones, though I think the search has now spread to whites. It's quite the wide-sweeping investigation, actually. I can't say I'm surprised. All that money has to go somewhere, since it's obviously not going to fix schools or fight crime. I live near a cesspool.

I think it's about time I wrote some more "Things That Make You a Dallas-ite," don't you? I'm in a bad mood, and somebody has to feel my wrath. Yes, it's about time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

News for Wed. 8.24.05

It's water day! I've been drinking a lot of water since Operation: Girth Destruction began 3 days ago, and I need some more. The water guy is bringing it. Yay!

I also have declared an undeclared war on the Dallas Sting. Who are they, you ask? "They" are the girls' youth soccer organization that built a soccer field right across the street from my apartment complex. "They," after 2 years of an open-door policy regarding use of the field when the future Mia Hamms aren't out there, have decided to put a lock on the door. Is it their prerogative? Sure. But have you seen Bobby Brown lately? Sometimes making stuff "your prerogative" doesn't quite work out as well as you think it will. Sometimes your prerogative makes you do things that hurt other people. And the Dallas "Sting" has hurt me deeply.

Man, you should see this field. It's exactly what I need in terms of a running surface -- short-cut grass with dirt underneath that's flat as a pancake. It's perfect. And now, instead of being able to come home at lunch and run around the 1/2 mile square, I have to run on the uneven, wildlife-infested, Sonic-passing, not-mown-very-well empty field located in between the Kroger and the youth hockey center (yes, in one city block we have a girl's soccer field and a youth hockey center. Both are brand new. If we next get a youth baseball diamond, we could have the holy trinity of irrelevant sports). It's like I live in Kenya or something. Kenya with a Sonic.

You've taken something away from me for no reason. Are you afraid somebody is going to steal the goalposts? The sprinkler system? Some thigh pad a girl forgot? Of course not. You're doing this specifically to hurt me, Michael Pape. Don't think I didn't notice. So the undeclared war Did you know that the Dallas Sting are so lame they couldn't even register That belongs to a volleyball team. What a bunch of lame-o's.

(you can end this now, Sting. All you gotta do is open the door.)

Britain is cracking down on the terrorists by coming up with a list of "unacceptable behaviours," which will result in deportation. I think that's a Pet Shop Boys album, actually. Actually, "Actually" is the name of another Pet Shop Boys album. Can you think of any more? Ahh, "More." Are we very...ok, I'll stop. This is being boring, er, getting boring.

Anyway, it's good to see Britain taking the steps that may save some lives. The plan includes provisions for "tackling those who seek to foster hatred or promote terrorism, sending a strong message that they are not welcome in the UK." The US has offered to supply Britain the Cincinnati Bengals to help them accomplish this.

The big news yesterday, of course, was Pat Robertson's brilliant plan to assassinate the President of Venezuela for political reasons. People all over America are now using his insanity to promote their own agenda. Jesse Jackson is trying to reclaim his relevance by calling for the FCC to "investigate," the Venezualans are calling us hypocrites and sticking their hands out for US money to shut them up, and liberal organizations the world over are pointing out that Robertson and Bush love each other so much they want to marry each other (if they were for gay marraige, of course) in an effort to sully the President's good name and drag him into this. It is shocking that P. Robertson would have stepped in it to such a deep degree, but the statement isn't exactly surprising. He's been ignoring the portions of the Bible that don't support Conservative ideology for so long, he was bound to forget stuff like "Thou Shalt Not Murder."

I'll be curious to see where P. Robertson goes from here. Will he apologize, or will react the opposite way and become so shrill and insane that Terry Meeuwsen has to tazer him and drag his twitching body off the set? The mind boggles.

I've been hearing a bunch of crap lately from all over the place advancing the scientific establishment's view on Intelligent Design Theory. It's like they want to pave over the truth, and it's ticking me off. However you feel about evolution or ID Theory, you should, as a truth-seeker, hate editorials like the one below from the New York Times. Without actually giving any evidence, the author actually asserts in a major US newspaper that the purpose of ID Theory is to hide the truth, not discover it. The last half of the article is just this person putting his/her fingers in his/her ears and saying "LALALALALA I'm not listening!"

I'm now going to quote it and put the lies (or mistakes that 5 minutes of investigation or thought could have corrected) in bold. I'm also going to put the politcally disputed things that the author advances with no evidence in italics. This should be fun:

August 23, 2005

Grasping the Depth of Time as a First Step in Understanding Evolution

Last month a team of paleontologists announced that it had found several fossilized dinosaur embryos that were 190 million years old - some 90 million years older than any dinosaur embryos found so far. Those kinds of numbers are always a little daunting. Ever since I was a boy in a public elementary school in Iowa, I've been learning to face the eons and eons that are embedded in the universe around us.

I know the numbers as they stand at present, and I know what they mean, in a roughly comparative way. The universe is perhaps 14 billion years old. Earth is some 4.5 billion years old. The oldest hominid fossils are between 6 million and 7 million years old. The oldest distinctly modern human fossils are about 160,000 years old.

The truth of these numbers has the same effect on me as watching the night sky in the high desert. It fills me with a sense of nonspecific immensity. I don't think I'm alone in this.

One of the most powerful limits to the human imagination is our inability to grasp, in a truly intuitive way, the depths of terrestrial and cosmological time. That inability is hardly surprising because our own lives are so very short in comparison. It's hard enough to come to terms with the brief scale of human history. But the difficulty of comprehending what time is on an evolutionary scale, I think, is a major impediment to understanding evolution.

It's been approximately 3.5 billion years since primeval life first originated on this planet. That is not an unimaginable number in itself, if you're thinking of simple, discrete units like dollars or grains of sand. But 3.5 billion years of biological history is different. All those years have really passed, moment by moment, one by one. They encompass an actual, already lived reality, encompassing all the lives of all the organisms that have come and gone in that time. That expanse of time defines the realm of biological possibility in which life in its extraordinary diversity has evolved. It is time that has allowed the making of us.

The idea of such quantities of time is extremely new. Humans began to understand the true scale of geological time in the early 19th century. The probable depth of cosmological time and the extent of the history of the human species have come to light only within our own lifetimes.

That is a lot to absorb and, not surprisingly, many people refuse to absorb it. Nearly every attack on evolution - whether it is called intelligent design or plain creationism, synonyms for the same faith-based rejection of evolution - ultimately requires a foreshortening of cosmological, geological and biological time.

Humans feel much more content imagining a world of more human proportions, with a shorter time scale and a simple narrative sense of cause and effect. But what we prefer to believe makes no difference. The fact that life on Earth has arrived at a point where it is possible for humans to have beliefs is due to the steady ticking away of eons and the trial and error of natural selection.

Evolution is a robust theory, in the scientific sense, that has been tested and confirmed again and again. Intelligent design is not a theory at all, as scientists understand the word, but a well-financed political and religious campaign to muddy science. Its basic proposition - the intervention of a designer, a k a God - cannot be tested. It has no evidence to offer, and its assumptions that humans were divinely created are the same as its conclusions. Its objections to evolution are based on syllogistic reasoning and a highly selective treatment of the physical evidence.

Accepting the fact of evolution does not necessarily mean discarding a personal faith in God. But accepting intelligent design means discarding science. Much has been made of a 2004 poll showing that some 45 percent of Americans believe that the Earth - and humans with it - was created as described in the book of Genesis, and within the past 10,000 years. This isn't a triumph of faith. It's a failure of education.

The purpose of the campaign for intelligent design is to deepen that failure. To present the arguments of intelligent design as part of a debate over evolution is nonsense. From the scientific perspective, there is no debate. But even the illusion of a debate is a sorry victory for antievolutionists, a public relations victory based, as so many have been in recent years, on ignorance and obfuscation.

The essential, but often well-disguised, purpose of intelligent design, is to preserve the myth of a separate, divine creation for humans in the belief that only that can explain who we are. But there is a destructive hubris, a fearful arrogance, in that myth. It sets us apart from nature, except to dominate it. It misses both the grace and the moral depth of knowing that humans have only the same stake, the same right, in the Earth as every other creature that has ever lived here. There is a righteousness - a responsibility - in the deep, ancestral origins we share with all of life.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bathroom Story

I was in the public bathroom at my place of employment yesterday, as always seated on the toilet in a stall (I'm not a "stander.") Since it is a public bathroom, the public has an unfortunate tendency to come in and use it. As I was sitting there, this guy comes in and gets in the stall next to me. He sits down, and underneath the stall wall I spy: a big cane, which the man has put to rest against the stall door; and, the man's foot. It is without a doubt the most humongous foot I have ever seen. I sort of inch my foot over towards it to compare, and it's like twice the size of my foot. So I decide I'm using the bathroom next to a giant, and I feel a little irrational fear, like the man's going to kick the wall down and attack me with a club as I'm going through my post-lunch toilet work. I realize this is completely irrational, and that the man is probably more of a gentle giant a la Shaq or Andre the Giant. I hurry myself up anyway, and go to the other side of his stall, where the sink is. As the disease and self-scum is falling from my hands down the drain, I look down at the man's other foot. It's at least 10 sizes smaller than the first one. In fact, it looks slightly bigger than my foot. I leave the bathroom, shaking my head in wonder at what I've seen.

The moral of the story: You cannot judge something correctly if you can't see all of it. What you think is a giant may just be a man with a giant foot. Remember that.