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, March 04, 2006

This One's Free

I have written a short story I wish to share with y'all, in the hopes that you will become addicted and need more. Here is the link:

five to three


As always, feedback of any sort is appreciated -- even of the anonymous kind.

Friday, March 03, 2006

34 Years Ago Today...

My founding parents brought forth upon this continent me. For that, and for protecting me from bad people as I grew up, I give them thanks. I'd also like to thank:

My brothers and sister, for being so much older and wiser than me and for not beating me up too bad when I annoyed them by following them around.

My nephews and neices, I'd like to say for making me rediscover my youth but you mostly just made me feel old. Anyway, thanks for being awesome people, and for waiting until after I got married to do the same.

My other family members, in-laws, and various, for each teaching me at least one thing as I grew up. Plus, an extra thank you to those who married my siblings, because you have to put up with us and our Pape-ness.

My wife, for having her class sing me happy birthday, as well as myriad other things.

My friends, for allowing me to see a man chase another man down a street to get his comb back. Also for staying with me, and thinking of me, and everything else you've done for me.

The Jews, for existing.

The NCAA Tournament, for making March the greatest month of the year.

The US Military.

Boubacar Aw.

Seriously, though -- it doesn't really feel like I'm 34, or like this is my birthday. I'm a few short days away from death now, but it doesn't really feel any different. I could go at any second.

I get to work both jobs today, so hopefully everyone here will cooperate and give me a good experience. I strongly suspect nobody here knows its my birthday, which is just as well because they would have expected me to bring in cupcakes or something. How perverse is that, bringing in food for your own birthday? I find it both self-insulting and attention-leechish. And that's a hard word to say.

I know I've done a lot of rambling this week, and for that I don't really apologize. I've had a lot of crap to do, and I have to get it all done before I die.

God bless you all.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

NFL Armageddon?

As hard as it is to get sports-upset over NFL labor issues in March, you all should know that a kind of NFL Armageddon will come upon America today if Gene Upshaw of the Player's Union (above) and The NFL Ownership Cabal don't come to an agreement. Here is, as best as I can tell, the deal:

The current collectively bargained deal ends in the spring of 2008, over two years from now, and there is a no-strike no-lockout clause in it. So there will be no labor stoppages during the next two seasons. However, getting a deal done now is important because if they don't, the stage is set for football eventually becoming baseball in the sense of competitive imbalance, wild salary fluctuation, and diva-like players who don't try. At least that's what Mark"The Mask" Maske of the Washington Post thinks. At any rate, that must not be allowed to happen.

The whole issue here is that Upshaw thinks he can get the 8 or so big-revenue generating owners to cut their compatriots off at the knees in negotiations. Actually, it's a lot more complicated than that, but I don't think Upshaw would be negotiating this hard if those 8 or so owners didn't exist. This is an Upshaw miscalculation for two reasons:
  1. The vast majority of owners want more revenue sharing, not less.
  2. In 2008, that majority of owners could "hockey," or hold out for a more restrictive system (and probably would, too, if they were ticked off enough.)
In the short term, having no labor deal would create massive financial chaos for a number of reasons. At the very least, teams whose payrolls are over the salary cap would have to immediately cut a bunch of highly-paid players. This would be mucho bad for the players. There's a bunch of other financial issues that are too boring to get into here, but virtually all of them are also negative towards the players.

Then, in 2007, theree would be the dreaded "uncapped year," in which crazy owners could buy an all-star team of players if they wanted. But like I said, the vast majority of owners want a salary cap/more revenue sharing/etc., which would make Yankee-esqe behavior a disastrous mistake (because in 2008 there would be a salary cap, and all the players signed in 2007 would have to be released in 2008, which would cost the Yankee-esqe owners a lot of money.)

Football is not going to go the way of baseball, because look at what Upshaw is saying...he actually wants the best deal for his players (unlike baseball's equivalent Don Fehr, who just wants to justify his own existence and paycheck.) He wants more revenue sharing among teams so that everyone will be able to pay his players. Imagine if Fehr engaged in that kind of higher thinking.

The Yankees, as we know them, would cease to exist.

So the real danger here is that there might be no NFL in 2008-2009, which is a little hard to get upset about now. All this unnecessary worry is giving me a headache. I'm going to go purchase a non-caffeinated soda and calm the heck down.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

There Might Have Been Much Rejoicing...Yay...

Nobody who knows is saying anything for certain, but about a million news outlets are reporting stuff like this:
Now here's an arresting rumor that could turn into a terrific development. Although Showtime executives say no deal is yet in place, it is being reported that the premium cable channel is giving new life to "Arrested Development."
Then they go on to reiterate that no deal is yet in place, but the good news is the show isn't dead, even after the FOX knife attack. Basically, it's just a rumor. I hate this. I had buried AD in my mind, and now it comes back with new life. Sure, that's appropriate for Lent and all, but come on.

Come on, let's get this done. It's not my money, but spend it in ways that I would want you to.

Ash Wednesday

Today Lent begins, so that means no caffeine for me until Jesus rises. I think it's a good choice, because I'm already regretting it.

I'll try to post some news this afternoon, because right now I am busy trying to"take on the day" and "do the right thing." I am at work, and I am busy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Biennial EPTH Olympic Review

Whatever happened to just winning gold medals and not being extreme?

The Olympics are over, and despite the USA's obvious failures, very few watched. We'd apparently rather watch those "other" Olympics, namely American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. Anyway, The great thing about the real Olympics is that technically only 3 people or teams in any given event succeed, and the others go home totally emptyhanded and in various states of shame. Instead of celebrating the champions, who have worked way too hard on a freak sport that only takes on significance once every four years (and requires you to be cold for long periods of time), let's celebrate the losers, who probably have actual lives beyond skiing and skeletoning:
  • The Grand Daddy of Olympic Failure, Bode Miller didn't finish higher than 5th in any of his 5 (that's FIVE) events. The "brazen and unintimidated" Nike pitchman made his failure complete on the last day of competition as he got disqualified for straddling the very first gate* of his last event, the Super Duper Giant Slalom. This was choking at a Greg Norman- or (dare we say) Dan Jansen-level. Need I remind you that this dude was on the covers of Time and Newsweek in the days heading up to the games? Need I remind you that this guy wasn't just a contender but a favorite in at least 3 of these 5 races? Need I remind you that, according to english grammar, this guy mispronounces his own name? However, Epth Nation loves Bode Miller for his cavalier attitude towards losing and therefore forgives him for his brazen skiing persona.
  • Sasha Cohen, while not technically a failure (she won a silver), fell spectacularly a couple of times right at the beginning of her final program ("long program?" "short program?" "Free skate?" "Let's extend this competition to get better Olympic ratings...program?"). This ensured that she would lose the gold, which since she was the favorite makes her a failure. Not even favorable judges and a system that rewards past success could save her -- she just fell too dang much. Maybe now she can stop taking those hormones that keep her so short, and get on with her lifetime of Stars on Ice XXVII and Skating with Celebrities IX. I hope she likes Gary Coleman.
  • Lindsey Jacobellis, the heavy favorite in whatever snow-board-intensive event it was she competed, was winning. Had she just left well-enough alone, Epth Nation wouldn't have noticed her at all. However, because she saw herself as the living embodiment of the X-Games spirit, she did some obvious and anti-sportmanshippy hot-dog move at the end of her race, totally biffed, and ended up losing the gold. As grandma would say, "Serves her right for being such a poor sport." But that's the spirit of the X-Games, which have somehow made their way into the Olympics. Were it not for these X-events (and the terribly tricked-up Short Track Speedskating), we in the USA wouldn't have won 2/3 the medals we did. Even so, Norway ended up beating us. That's not Lindsay Jacobellis' fault, but since she sacrificed a gold to become the Avatar for the word "extreme," it goes in her bullet point.
  • The US Hockey Team, a team chock-full of NHL superstars, went 1-4-1 before being eliminated by Finland in the Quarterfinals. At least they didn't trash the hotel like they did in 98, right? Still, it's very disappointing. We Americans are looking for some hockey team to take the torch from the '80 team -- which is still running in place, looking at their collective watch, and wondering when the next team will show up and if they left the iron on. But think how Canada feels -- they got eliminated in the quarters, and those people actually care about hockey.
  • The apparently beloved and defintely mega-hyped Michelle Kwan waited until the last possible second to tell anyone that she wasn't going to show up, so they had to use the Concord or something to get poor little Emily Hughes over there so she could fail in Kwan's place. Despite her hype, Ms. Kwan has won a total of 0 (zero) Olympic golds. Nobody likes a bang-to-hype ratio** that's so out of whack. Maybe she'll win one when she's 40.
  • The rest of the US Olympic team, who excelled in the new sports that we invented (snow cross, snow boarding, that event where they launch themselves high up in the air and twist around, snow pot-smoking, extreme death luge, red rover on skates, nordic combined and at the same time (think about it), etc.), but failed almost universally in every other sport. And even when we didn't fail, we were horrible winners who hated our own teammates. Maybe B. Gumbel is right -- bring on March Madness.
*I didn't see it, and I don't know what this means, but I'm getting a disturbing mental picture right now. That's probably something you should be DQ'd for.

** term copyright M. Rhyner, KTCK, 1998?.