Author Archive: Paul Epps

You Think I’m Inept?

“You think I’m inept? You think I’m inadequate? If I’m inadequate, where are you going to get people who are adequate . . . if I’m . . . do you understand what I’m saying? What am I supposed to be? What are other people if I am inadequate?” — Philip Roth, American Pastoral Read more →

Sorrow Without Limits

The whole order of things fills me with a sense of anguish, from the gnat to the mysteries of incarnation; all is entirely unintelligible to me, and particularly my own person. Great is my sorrow, without limits. None knows of it, except God in Heaven, and He cannot have pity. — Sören Kierkegaard Read more →

Philistinism

Philistinism tranquilizes itself in the trivial — Kierkegaard — Paul Epps (@paulepps) June 17, 2018 Read more →

It Is Just Too Shaking and Wearing

We are just not strong enough to endure more! It is just too shaking and wearing. So often people in . . . ecstatic moments say, “It’s too much,” or “I can’t stand it,” or “I could die” . . . Delirious happiness cannot be borne for long. Our organisms are just too weak for any large doses of greatness.… Read more →

Non ridere, non lugere, neque detestari, sed intelligere. (Not to laugh, not to curse, not to lament, but to understand.) — Spinoza

Competitive Programming: POJ 3169 – Layout

Description Like everyone else, cows like to stand close to their friends when queuing for feed. FJ has N (2 <= N <= 1,000) cows numbered 1..N standing along a straight line waiting for feed. The cows are standing in the same order as they are numbered, and since they can be rather pushy, it is possible that two or… Read more →

Competitive Programming: POJ 1125 -Stockbroker Grapevine

Description Stockbrokers are known to overreact to rumors. You have been contracted to develop a method of spreading disinformation amongst the stockbrokers to give your employer the tactical edge in the stock market. For maximum effect, you have to spread the rumors in the fastest possible way. Unfortunately for you, stockbrokers only trust information coming from their “Trusted sources” This… Read more →

USC’s Unreal Finish to Win Track and Field Championship

I’ve never seen a come-from-behind finish like this! The male announcer says twice in the home stretch that Purdue is going to win the race. Female announcer: “Here comes USC.” Male announcer: “Not gonna catch Purdue . . . oh my god . . .” The @usc_track_field Women of Troy had to win the 4x400m to win the national championship.… Read more →

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Grads

Why is it always “Dads and Grads”? Mothers get the whole month of May to themselves — despite the fact that a lot of graduations take place in May — but June is always Dads and Grads. Granted, Moms and Grads doesn’t rhyme like Dads and Grads or Highways and Byways . . . but why not Moms and Proms?… Read more →

Anthony Bourdain, 1956-2018

I think of Anthony Bourdain as the guy who started the whole “bad-boy chef” industry, which has been, in my view, bad for society. Or maybe it was Gordon Ramsay. Is Gordon Ramsay still alive? RIP Anthony Bourdain Read more →

I Feared That the Dam Might Break So I Loosed the River

I can never remake the thing I have destroyed;   I brushed the golden dust from the moth’s bright wing, I called down wind to shatter the cherry-blossoms,   I did a terrible thing. I feared that the cup might fall, so I flung it from me;   I feared that the bird might fly, so I set it free; I feared that… Read more →

Competitive Programming: POJ 2488 – A Knight’s Journey

Description Background The knight is getting bored of seeing the same black and white squares again and again and has decided to make a journey around the world. Whenever a knight moves, it is two squares in one direction and one square perpendicular to this. The world of a knight is the chessboard he is living on. Our knight lives… Read more →

Those Weren’t Burglars, They Were “Confidential Informants”

F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims — New York Times It’s too bad for Richard Nixon that he wasn’t able to come up with a similarly quick-witted explanation for Watergate. It reminded me of a joke: A man sees one of his neighbors scattering crumbs all around his house. “Why are… Read more →

Galactic Meetup Scheduled

Our nearest neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, is speeding toward the Milky Way at 250,000 miles per hour and will crash into us in 3.75 billion years. The good news is that because of the vast distances between stars, it’s unlikely that any stars will actually collide. Before you mark this event on your calendar, however, remember that our sun is… Read more →

Amazon Devices Recording Private Conversations?

Is the woman’s name Alexa? No? It’s Danielle? Despite what we’re told, it’s impossible that these microphones aren’t listening until you say their name — Alexa, Siri, OK Google, etc. How do they hear their name if they’re not listening? I’m not listening until you say my name: Paul. Until then, I’m not hearing anything you say. Not listening, won’t… Read more →

When Bad Things Happen to Psychics

It’s fun when bad things happen to psychics because you can always say “She didn’t see that coming!” Read more →

I Was in the House When the House Burned Down

I may be old and I may be bent
But I had the money till it all got spent
I had the money till they made me pay
Then I had the sense to be on my way
I had to stay in the underground
I was in the house when the house burned down

Experts and Empty Suits

Our inability to predict in environments subjected to the Black Swan, coupled with a general lack of awareness of this state of affairs, means that certain professionals, while believing they are experts, are in fact not. Based on their empirical record, they do not know more about their subject than the general population, but they are much better at narrating… Read more →

Greatest Living American Authors

With the recent deaths of Philip Roth and Tom Wolfe, I’ve moved a couple more notches up the list of greatest living American authors. Why not celebrate by picking up a copy of my book? Read more →

Philip Roth, 1933-2018

The final question assigned to the class was “What is life?” Merry’s answer was something her father and mother chuckled over together that night. According to Merry, while the other students labored busily away with their phony deep thoughts, she — after an hour of thinking at her desk — wrote a single, unplatitudinous declarative sentence: “Life is just a… Read more →

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