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 16, 2006

Quick Reminder About Last Year's NCAA Tournament

Yeah boyeeee.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Quick Hits on Just About All the TV

EPTH GETS IT RIGHT AGAIN: What did I tell you about Hoops winning the grand prize on Flavor of Love? What did I tell you? I have to apologize, though, for not anticipating the spitting incident*, which is going to end up being a Top 5 moment on TV this year. That was quite a loogie! Some on the nerdy internet boards have even suggested that it was a CGI loogie, since it would be hard to spit so large and focused a ball of saliva. But maybe Pumkin's just an experienced spitter. Anyway, that totally overshadowed the snoozer of a final episode that I'm just going to say "I told you so" and leave it at that. Oh, and I like how as soon as Hoops won, Flav was like, "NOW are you going to sleep with me?" Not in so many words, but you could tell that's what Flav wanted. 'Twas quite a show.

NOT THAT I CARE, BUT: The Surreal Life 6 is comin' to your cable TV box, and it features Sherman Helmsley and Florence Henderson, two icons of everyone's childhood (or at least everyone who was born from like 65-75 or so). Along with them, you have a bunch of spares that will torture everyone's patience. You know, they should do a "Surreal Life All-Stars" with Mini-Me, Flavor Flav, Gary Coleman, Sally Jessy Raphael, Trishelle from the Real Drunk World, and two or three other psychos from the other seasons. I don't know. Sounds fun, doesn't it? I watch too much T.V.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Two weeks ago today, ABC actually showed a new episode of Lost. Not only that, but it was probably the best one of the season. It would take an entire post or two to explain why a) Lost is a great great TV show, and b) Lost is doomed, just like Alias was. I have become convinced of both a) and b) the past few months, and I'm still puzzled about the show's unwillingness to acknowledge Twin Peaks as an influence. Also, like I wrote before, I'm knee-deep into The Third Policeman right now, and it's not all that much fun. It's gotten a little better the last 20 pages or so, though.

And I have to go to the nerdy internet boards and share my theory about Kate being an "other," or at least in cahoots with them. Somebody's probably thought of it already, though. These are some hard-core nerds we're talking about here.

FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW: On Beauty and the Geek, the smartest girl/geekiest guy won. It's bad enough that Cher was an obvious ringer (which we could see from the speeches in episode 2, where she didn't study yet managed to come up with a heartfelt and poignant story about her dead Aunt or somesuch), but did Josh have to be so painfully Woody Allen-like? Them winning was like Hatch winning the first Survivor, although I can't see either Cher or Josh getting busted for tax evasion anytime soon.

It was a cool show, though, made cooler by the fact that several of the contestants have blogs where they go "behind-the-scenes." If you want links, I'm sorry. None of you watch this show anyway, so stop bothering me. I'm just writing about it because I can.

*For the uninitiated, Pumkin got so mad at New York and her b_t__y antics that she spit right in her face, which caused New York to chase after her and basically tackle her into a TV camera. High Drama. Then, as New York ranted and raged and tried to "go after" Pumkin several times (but was talked out of it by Flav himself), Pumkin gave an on-camera interview where she suggested to herself that she should go get a gun and bring it back and shoot New York right in her pot-sleepy eye.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Quotes I Like

Every so often, I read something on the internet that I think is pretty groovy. Here are some (stolen) quotes:

Fake Brokeback music plays as Janelle convinces Paula to seek professional help for her eating disorder. This show should seek professional help for its boring disorder.

-- Stee, Television Without Pity, about last week's episode of the Real World: Key West

"It really only hurts when I swing and miss," he said. "So, I'm going to try not to do that."
-- Brewers Rookie Phenom Prince Fielder, coming back from an elbow injury.

I loved it that George Clooney is proud to be out of touch with the rest of us. I loved it that he’s proud to be part of an elite, obscenely wealthy cadre of bleeding hearts that somehow manage to delude themselves into thinking they represent the little people as they parade in their million-dollar dresses. I loved it that he’s proud to be part of a group that will gleefully and tearfully visit poverty-stricken Africa and disaster-strewn New Orleans but don’t dream of relocating there, because they have tropical islands to buy, Bentleys to drive, and, oh yeah, great art to make. I loved it that he’s proud to be one of the many souls gracious enough to give one-thirtieth of their yearly income to the people who need it most.
-- some dude named "T", on The Onion AV Club Blog Comments

Finally, a quote from Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink, on why he doesn't like baseball anymore (taken from his Page 2 conversation with Bill Simmons):

It came after the Blue Jays (my team) won the second of their World Series titles. Economic reality hit, and they basically stopped trying to compete at the top level, and I wondered to myself: Why do I care so much about a sport where some teams have $200 million to spend and some teams have $20 million to spend? I know, I know -- as Rob Neyer and others point out -- that there is no necessary correlation between payroll and success. It is possible, as "Moneyball" reminds us, to win with less by being smarter. But the point is not that if you have more money than someone else you automatically win more games. The point is that if you have more money that someone else you're playing a different game than they are. Wal-mart is not competing against mom-and-pop corner stores. They're in a different business. And it isn't fun, at the end of the day, to watch a mom-and-pop compete against Wal-mart. It's painful and pointless.

I've been searching for something that puts my meandering anti-baseball thoughts into words, and this is the best statement I've found so far. "Painful and pointless" sums up my feelings towards watching baseball quite nicely. Maybe after I finish The Third Policeman (don't ask, let's just say I'm not going to let Lost sucker me into a book again) I'll read Blink. He goes on:
...But do you think that Billy Beane, for a moment, wouldn't trade his situation with Theo Epstein or Cashman? To me, the hard cap in football -- and, to a lesser extent, the soft cap in basketball -- are what makes those sports so interesting. It's what makes them sports. Contests where one player has significantly more resources than another are not sports. They are marketplaces. To root for the Yankees or the Red Sox is the functional equivalent of rooting for Microsoft or General Electric. No thanks.
No thanks indeed. I'm glad the White Sox won last year, however. That's literally the only thing fun about baseball for me now -- watching longtime Sox fans like my father-in-law celebrate.

In Case You Missed it: NCAA Tourney Pool Announcement

Friends, family, people I know, people who exist,

This is the time of year when you give me your NCAA tournament picks. I’m sorry that this year will be so hard to pick, since there aren’t very many good teams. It’s all a big jumble. I feel obligated to point out that a) it’s not my fault, and b) that prevents the smart people from having an advantage. My point is: this is threatening to be the best tournament ever, and if you miss out on this opportunity to play our little game, you may be hurting your enjoyment of it by as much as 30%. I don’t think anyone wants that.

The rules of this NCAA Tournament Picking Game are as follows: Pick all the games of the tournament, from start to finish. They are in convenient bracket form in most newspapers today, so it shouldn’t be hard. Put in as much or as little analysis as you’d like – it won’t matter, probably. When you’re done, send them to us at, so we can give them to our Overlord, the pool program.

You get 5 points for a first round win, 7 for a second round win, 11 for a third round win, 18 for a final four team, 27 for a final two teams, and 40 for the winner. How awesome is that? The winner shall receive a TBA prize of our choosing, probably either a dinner or a shirt, depending on logistical issues. All the losers receive nothing.


As always, there will be updates after every round. I’m so pumped! Give us your picks right now! I can’t stand the excitement!

Also, send us your pick for the play-in game and receive one point if you're right! Wow!

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Greatest Time

"Hersey Hawkins, you want a piece of me?"

This is the greatest time of the year, and there's nothing you can do about it. It's NCAA tournament time, and let's start this week with some observations about college basketball you might find useful when filling out your brackets, if that's something you do:

1) Oklahoma sucks -- but so do Wisconsin, Alabama, Indiana, NC State, Airforce, UAB, Arizona, Arkansas, Bradley, Sucknell, Georgetown, etc. In fact, far more teams in this tournament suck than ever before. This will make picking brackets difficult, if not impossible. Which is why you might want to consider alternative methods of filling them out this year, such as a Psychic Detective or Just Guessing. There is no way --NO WAY -- to predict who's going to show up in 90% of these games. There will be upsets galore, although is it really an upset if the favorite isn't any good?

2) Because of this general suckiness, it's ridiculous for Billy Packer and Jim Nantz to get all mad (as they did last night) about a mid-major conference getting 4 bids, as many as the ACC. First of all, the selection committee isn't saying that the conferences are equal, merely that they each have 4 teams that belong in the field. I heard that putz Nantz on a radio program later talking about how the RPI (the Ratings Percentage Index, one of the tools the committee uses to choose teams) needs to be seriously looked at. He sounded like he was on Maryland's payroll, actually. Now I agree that Bradley shouldn't have gotten in the tournament because they haven't beaten anybody, but of course they've beaten other Missoury Valley Conference teams.

Fact: It's impossible to sort through all the teams on the "bubble" through normal means, so they need a system or tool that makes sense out of it all. The RPI does that, and does not lie, unlike you. I think Nantz believes the RPI is weighted towards smaller schools, which is absurd and evidence of his own bias. Maybe Nantz should do a little more investigation next time into why the RPI said what it said. Maybe he should look deep inside and consider for a second Florida State's own suckiness before he spouts off about the travesty that is Bradley. I don't have time or energy to defeat his arguments today, but I will tell you that he is very wrong, and possibly an outrage.

3) Having explained that general badness means impossible picking, I will not give you my Final Four (especially since a good number of you will be in my pool, and I don't want to be giving you big hints). Instead, I will give you some things to look out for:

a) Billy Packer and his snarling attack dog Jim Nantz will be magnanimous and will fall all over themselves to worship Duke. In fact, their Duke-worship may surpass Dick Vitale's this year. Keep an eye on this.

b) The Big East has 8 teams, and as such, will be in 1/4 of the first round games. They had an awesome league this year, and the Gang of Eight will probably play very tough.

c) I love this tournament.

I hope that helps you a little. I know I'm concerned about picking these brackets -- I think I'll have my dog Allie do it for me, just to see if she can make heads or tails of all these bad teams. Come here, Allie, and look at this mess. Lick the teams you like. Oh, wait -- I'm at work, and that's me licking the paper...