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, January 27, 2006

Minutia: James Frey, Bad Man with a Bad Beard

This blog is turning into some sort of frustrated-journalist-style news aggregator these days, and I don't apologize for that. I'm trying to refine what I do, and for now this is the way things will be as I write other stories/essays for print. You know you love it. Anyway, there are a few extremely quick hits I need to touch on before they get too old.

1) Oprah's Book Club pretty much runs the publishing industry right now. Getting a book on there virtually guarantees you a million copies sold, so it's akin to winning the lottery. Oprah's pretty hype machine goes into full gear for the book of the month*, and it will not stop until the author is a rich rich man or woman. Which makes this week's revelation that James "Don't call me Glen" Frey made his memoirs** up a particularly juicy item. The bearded white author printed himself a counterfeit lotto ticket, and used Oprah to cash it in.

It was great to see Oprah verbally scold Frey two weeks after publicly standing behind him. Oprah used to say that no matter what, Frey's "story of redemption" still resonated with her. But now all that resonates with her is her own internal Oprah-rage. Frey held out for as long as he could with vague pronouncments that memoirs are subjective, but in the end Oprah, his leader and benefactor, would be the one to expose him for the fraud he absolutely is.

2) Inspired, by 1), I think it's time I got on that Oprah Book Club thingy. Here's an excerpt from my totally true and redemptive memoir:

I walked into the Mayor's office and it reeked of pot -- I mean just reeked. It smelled like somebody had just put a coat of fresh cannabis on everything. There were bongs and biker magazines literally everywhere -- the couch, the desk, and the many statues of famous cartoon characters that lined the walls. His bloodshot eyes looked up at me with the glare of death, and said one word.


It was then that my jammy was whipped out, and I flat blasted all the bongs, the bong water, the biker magazines, the Daffy Ducks and the Spongebobs, and finally Mr. Nagin himself, who died the way he lived -- rambling on annoyingly about somesuch. These were his final words:
"I love pudding pops. You can't tell me that pudding pops are not good for you. If I had a pudding pop, life would be a-ok, even though my city has been destroyed and people aren't moving back and we built that wall out of shoddy building materials and then spent the leftover money on bongs and biker magazines...urgh."

He then died. Being careful not to disturb anything, I walked over, put the goldfish in the ziplock bag, and ran out of the mansion. Walking to the airport with 20 lines of New London in my veins, I wasn't even able to process what had just occurred. It never occurred to me until just now, writing this, that I probably killed the Mayor of New Orleans. Except I just saw him on TV last night talking about chocolate. So, the question is: Whom did I flat blast?
Now that's a book that screams Oprah if I ever saw one.

* Not being Oprahfied, I'm not sure if it's a book of the month, week, year, etc. Thankfully, I don't care.
** The name of the book is not mentioned here because I'm taking a stand against fraud, and Oprah's ramshackle book promotion policies.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Pam Anderson Lee Rock Lee Loves Chickens More Than Fat People

("ha, ha." is all she hears)*

Every single word of this story blurb is awesome, so I'm going to just post it here.
Pamela Anderson has lost her bid to get the bust of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) founder Colonel Harland Sanders removed from the state Capitol building. Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher has written to the actress/model explaining the bust will stay put, despite Anderson's claim that Sanders is a symbol of cruelty to chickens. In his letter, Fletcher wrote, "Colonel Sanders remains a Kentucky icon. His success story has been an inspiration to many. The industry he began has employed hundreds of thousands of workers over the years. His business and his legacy have been good for Kentucky." Anderson has fired back at Fletcher, calling Sanders' company one "that mutilates God's creatures." The actress has teamed up with animal activists at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to urge fast food fans to boycott KFC until the company agrees to clean up its slaughterhouse policies.

So, the vegetarians at PETA are boycotting KFC and they don't know why it's not working, eh? Think about it -- that's like me boycotting "Sex and the City." They're "urging fast food fans" to go where? McDonald's? Wendy's? Hot n' Now? Are those places really any better? I've seen Super Size Me, so don't try and fool me. I know all those places use pseudomeat products and chemical additives. Mmm...chemicized pseudomeat...

Also, if you're PETA, can't you find a better (and more respected) spokesperson than a former Playboy centerfold who is more famous for her stupidity and boobs than anything else? She's like a dumb, hooker-like version of Dolly Parton, without the down-home charm. If Pam Anderson comes to you with this idea to force the State of Kentucky to take down a statue of Colonel Sanders, how in the heck do you say, "We support you and lend our name to your quixotic quest"? Don't you distance from the whole thing, saying, "Yes, KFC is evil, but we have no idea who this blonde bimbo is or what planet she came from"? Did they mistake web hits for respect?

I also love the condescending way Governor Fletcher responds to her, attempting to make it a Pam Anderson vs. Kentucky issue. Ahh, politicians. The words he wrote might sound professional, but underneath them he's sticking out his middle finger and telling her to "Go back to Cali, missy, because there's no way the pro-chicken-rights lobby is going to get anything done here. This is Kentucky, girl -- have you lost your mind?"

How did Colonel Sanders become "a symbol of cruelty to chickens" anyway? Don't hate the serial chicken killer, hate what we've become as a people. Shouldn't Pam Anderson being lobbying for Kentucky to take down statues of us, the people who eat KFC and keep Mr. Sanders' enterprise in business? It's something to think about...for a second. C'mon -- they're chickens, not refugees.

* This picture was the most tasteful one of Ms. Anderson I could find, and it was further edited by This is Epth Nation for renegade-cleavage-related reasons. Sorry, but new reader, please put down your Jones and stay might like it here.

The Less Surly Penn

Let's clean up some old news stories, finally. Chris Penn died this week. Who? Sean Penn's brother (or is Sean his brother?), who played Nice Guy Eddie in Reservoir Dogs. First Mr. Blue, now him. It's a sad day for Hollywood, or at least it was a couple of days ago when he died. I'd like to take this opportunity to made a snide comment about Sean Penn, but it doesn't seem right.

There will be no homicide investigation, and the coroner said it was a "natural death." The cause of death is unknown at this point. Which begs the question, "How do they know it was natural?" In any case, this will make a top-notch episode of The Investigators when they eventually figure out how he was killed. Or how he died. Maybe I've been watching too much Court TV -- I automatically assume foul play, even when the coroner says there was none.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Let's Have a News Day, Because This is a Blog, And That's What We Bloggers Do.

Horrible News: Ford, having lost $1.6 billion dollars last year in their ill-fated car-making enterprise, is closing 14 plants and destroying up to 25,000 jobs. I know, I'm a day late with this. Everyone was talking about this yesterday, especially those good-looking news people on those shows where those numbers run distractingly in different directions across the bottom of the screen, and that guy with the goatee' who punches the button that makes bulls attack you. The consensus seems to be this: It's necessary for Ford to do this, but it still won't help. It's pretty sad when such a large business fails miserably, takes steps to unbury itself, and the consensus is still grim. Not only are they creating all sorts of hardship for people, they are doing it for no reason. I think they should keep all their plants, hire more workers, and go to the government with their hands out. That way nothing needs to change. That's what the governement is for, after all -- to stop change.

Of course, I'm being a little sarcastic. With a story like this, it's hard to know what to feel. If you read the news article I linked to, it basically goes like this: Bill Ford announces the cutting of all these workers (none of whom are likely to be named "Ford"), claiming that the company needs to do this, and that this plan would create better cars, better shareholder returns (bingo!), and "stability in the communities in which we operate" (um, shouldn't that be in the future tense, bud?). That stability statement is ridiculous, because all it means is that those lucky enough to avoid being fired will have an even lower chance of being fired in the future. Unless Ford fails again, of course. But that'll never happen, right?

The Bush administration says they hate the idea of all those communities losing all those jobs, but the "economy is strong" and there's a rainbow behind every rain cloud. Of course they don't mention that the sun needs to be shining for that to happen. I'm sure all these fired workers will be able to quickly get another job in the same industry for the same salary, right? Ok, maybe not.

The article goes on to say that the announcement was "shocking but expected" (huh?) to the workers, especially an Atlanta person named Kim. Kim claims she built her life on Ford and now there are no jobs she can go to, which is a heartbreaking way to feel but not exactly indicative of the American can-do spirit. But I'll give her a pass because I understand that it's traumatic to lose one's job. Now, she definitely should have had some sort of contingency plan, but it's likely that nobody ever told her that. It's all a big mess, and I feel like it's America's fault more than anyone else. Ahh...blame the Democrats and their culture of dependence. Or blame the Republicans and their downsizing. Or blame her for not realizing that Ford wasn't going to continue losing billions every year just so she could keep her job.

Of course, if Ford anticipates (or even follows) the increase in oil and gas prices, and builds its business on economy cars rather than Explorers and Canyoneros, Kim still has her job. Maybe, just maybe, the Fords should fire themselves. After all, Kim was just doing what she was told. It wasn't Kim that failed. The Powers That Be in the Ford Company were paid higher salaries because they were given responsibility to run the company. Well, they ran it into the ground, and then fired a bunch of loyal workers who weren't in any way repsonsible for the failure. Yikes. If you're a Ford exec, how exactly do you sleep at night?

I'll answer this one: On a big pile of money, with many beautiful ladies.

To be a little fair, they're also cutting 7,000 white collar jobs. I betcha most of those people aren't responsible for making decisions, either. Because why would you fire yourself?

Monday, January 23, 2006

NBA Midseason Report: Like You Care.

(who could have anticipated the power of Pau Gasol's beard?)
Is Kobe the best player ever? 81 points? In one game? That's quite an accomplishment, but what does it say about the rest of the Lakers that he took 48 shots without a teammate clotheslining him or stealing the ball a la Dwight from The American Office? C'mon, Smush or Bill Walton's kid -- have some pride for pete's sake. Anyway, if Kobe keeps on playing like this he may reclaim the title of the Next Jordan from Lebron, who by the way just became the youngest player ever to score 5000 points. Is Lebron-Kobe the Bird-Magic of the 00's? Can the Lakers get a suitable second banana for Kobe? How does Phil Jackson feel about this?

I'm sorry. This post was supposed to be about answers, not questions. The season is half-over, and that means we know some stuff. Not all the stuff, mind you, but some.

The Things I was Right About (with relevant quotes):

This year, the sleeping giant will awaken again, this time with improved focus. They don’t like the fact that everyone is writing them off, and they want their respect back. The core of the team that won two years ago is still intact, so there’s no reason to suggest a focused Pistons team won’t be as good as it was two years ago...This team may not lose more than 10 games all year.
I said this at the beginning of the season, and lo and behold, the Pistons are 33-5 right now. They're clearly the best team in the league. You people should listen to me more.
Whatever happened to the “all-for-one, one-for-all” attitude his Miami Heat teams always displayed when he was coach? Was signing all those shoot-first ball-hogs just a secret plot to get his coach fired? If so, why didn’t he just fire him?
This question is as relevant now as it was then, since Pat Riley indeed forced Stan Van Gundy out after a slow start. Man, I'm good.

The Eastern Conference, more or less. Comparing the order I picked with the real order so far, I had 7 of the 8 current playoff teams right, with only the Iverson-Webber connection in Philadelphia taking the place of the accursed Bulls, who may never be good again. The bad teams I picked are suitably bad, the ok teams I picked are ok (except for the Knicks -- but don't write them off just yet, holmes), and the good teams lined up pretty much like I thought with the exception of Indiana. Who could have predicted Ron Artest would go insane, though? Er...let's move on.
They have a “Run-JVR” situation going on with Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, and Richie Jefferson. After that, it’s a CBA team with marginally better uniforms.
This is talking about the Nets, whom I saw in person last week. Let me say this: If even one of those three guys is injured (as Jefferson was last week), the Nets are done. They're horrible. The Mavericks weren't trying and could have beat them by 50. Having said that, I'm marginally surpirsed they got on that hot streak and sit at 22-16. Don't worry -- they'll fall.
Let’s see, what were the Bucks’ three needs going into this year…get a real small forward, one that can shoot outside (Bobby Simmons, free agent)…get a NBA-quality point guard and get Mo Williams back on the bench where he belongs (TJ Ford came back from injury)…get a center with some post moves (#1 pick Andrew Bogut and now Jamaaaaaal Magloire, they filled this need twice).
The Bucks are vastly improved over last season, even though they have been yo-yo-ing as of late. One of the reasons they are #6 in the East as opposed to #5 like I picked is the fact that their coach sucks. I mentioned post moves in that quote; little did I know their coach doesn't believe in posting up. My bad. His bad.

Things I Was Wrong About (with relevant quotes):
In the same way I was good in the East, I was bad in the West. I only picked 5 of the current playoff teams, with Seattle, Sacramento, and especially Houston looking like they have no chance to do anything this year. Oopsie. In my defense, who knew that Houston's 5 best players would get injured at the same time? They'll be back, you'll see. Probably not this year, though.

The Clippers, Lakers, and Timberwolves are all in the playoffs, and I picked them 13th, 11th, and 10th respectively. Those long-suffering LA fans will finally have something to cheer about (or look aloof about, as is their way). Dyan Cannon looks like a clam.
That doesn’t help the people of Oklahoma City, however, who will see their only experience ever with NBA basketball end in a 20-win season and mocking derision from the rest of the league.
Yeah, they have 20 wins already. Sorry about that. You should probably ignore most of what I say. Good for OKC, though, and good for New Orleans, even though that city won't get to host the games now that the team isn't horrible. It's just one more kick to the crotch of the entire gulf region. On another note, how the heck is this team .500? Do other teams feel sorry for them? The mind boggles.
They’re probably going to start a guy named Smush at point guard. What, God Shammgod wasn’t available? This team won’t even make the playoffs if Kobe does rediscover superstardom and passing.
Ok, so Kobe's rediscovered superstardom, at least for a half-season. And consequently, those scuzzbags are in the playoffs. I shouldn't let my hatred of Kobe cloud my judgement like that. I like the quote, though -- that's why I included it here.

I also failed to take into account the beard of Pau Gasol (in Memphis) and the effectiveness of Boris Diaw(in Phoenix), but so did everybody else.

Looking Forward:

What's clear is that San Antonio is not the far-and-away best team in the NBA, like all those other punks thought they would be. Detroit is better right now, Dallas is tied with them and has looked fantastic as of late, and nobody wants to think about either Amare's return to a 26-14 Phoenix squad or a Shaq-Wade-Riley playoff combo. San Antonio is merely one of 5 contendahs right now. It should be a fun rest of the year for these guys, as long as we ignore all the lottery teams tanking to get more ping-pong balls in the hopper. That happens every year.

And what of my home team, the 21-18 Milwaukee Bucks? Well, they should beat up on some lepers here over the next couple of weeks to get to at least 25-20, and then hopefully they can get healthy and figure out that posting up Bogut and Simmons is not "of the devil" as coach Terry Stotts believes. If they can figure out some sort of identity, they can be fairly successfull. If not, they will slip to .500. It's all up to them.

Now bring on March Madness. I'm tired of these overpaid whiners anyway, dig?