Author Archive: Paul Epps

I Need to Acquire a Quirky Personality Defect

My great uncle died recently . . . of the people who spoke at his funeral, the thing that everyone seemed to zero in on was that he didn’t like to have to tell people how to do something more than once. He told you once and if you didn’t get it, he got angry about it. I wonder what people will say at my funeral? I don’t know that I have a distinguishing trait that everyone knows. In any case, I’m going to start telling people things once and once only and then yelling at them if I have to repeat myself. Read more →

My Boyhood Sports Heroes Are Dying: Frank Robinson

Frank Robinson played and managed for a number of teams, but I remember him best as part of the Baltimore Oriole teams managed by Earl Weaver, with Mark Belanger, Davey Johnson, Boog Powell, Don Buford, Paul Blair, Andy Etchebarren, Elrod Hendricks, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar, Tom Phoebus, and fellow Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer. RIP Frank Robinson Read more →

God’s Silence

“But just think of Gethsemane, Vicar. Christ’s disciples fell asleep. They hadn’t understood the meaning of the last supper, or anything. And when the servants of the law appeared, they ran away. And Peter denied him. Christ had known his disciples for three years. They’d lived together day in and day out — but they never grasped what he meant. They abandoned him, to the last man. And he was left alone. That must have been painful. Realizing that no one understands. To be abandoned when you need someone to rely on — that must be excruciatingly painful. But the worse was yet to come. When Jesus was nailed to the cross — and hung there in torment — he cried out — ‘God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?’ He cried out as loud as he could. He thought that his heavenly father had abandoned him. He believed… Read more →

Youth E-Cig Use Increases Odds of Cigarette Use?

AMERICAN ADOLESCENTS who smoke e-cigarettes are more than four times as likely to try a cigarette … as those who have no prior tobacco use history, a new cohort study finds. “Youth E-Cig Use Increases Odds of Cigarette Use,” US News This is from a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, using data from a study between 2013 and 2016 of youths aged 12 to 15 years who had never used cigarettes, e-cigarettes or other tobacco products at the beginning of the time period. Prior e-cigarette users had 4.09 times the odds of having ever smoked a cigarette compared with peers with no previous tobacco use. That’s the stat I see cited most often, always incorrectly, regarding kids and vaping. The report doesn’t say 4 times more likely to start smoking cigarettes, it says 4 times more likely to have ever smoked a cigarette. Sometimes it’s cited… Read more →

Sex Dolls vs. Real Women?

A Sun article comparing the merits of sex dolls vs. real women includes an interview with the man below, Nick, seen with his “girlfriend” Kristal, who enjoys many of the same things Nick does, e.g., sitting on the sofa watching football with a beer and a cigarette. Kristal retails for £6,000, about $7,800 in US dollars. Nick is described — superfluously, in my opinion — as “single with no children.” Read more →

Arizona is the Next California?

Unfortunately, my experience in Arizona … has been that people have zero ability to correlate specific elements of public policy with particular outcomes.  In particular, people who flee California because it is too expensive and dysfunctional come to Arizona and immediately begin voting for exactly the same policies that made California expensive and dysfunctional. Coyote Blog Read more →

5 Questions on the Covington Story

A group of black men taunted a group of white kids as faggots, incest babies and niggers (one kid was black). Would the story have been reported differently if the men were white and the kids were black? Would the story have been reported differently if a white guy was banging a drum in an Indian kid’s face? Would the story have been reported differently if no one was wearing a MAGA hat? Would the story have been reported differently if the kids were girls instead of boys? (Again, assume no MAGA hats.) Should morality of action be calculated based on race, sex and hats? (I’m going to say no to this one.) Read more →

Starbucks Open-Door Poses Challenge

After a much publicized confrontation in a Philadelphia store last year, Starbucks now aims to ensure all visitors to its cafes are treated like paying customers, regardless of whether they purchase anything. All visitors can now use cafe bathrooms and also occupy tables. That policy has brought its own challenges, says a new report in Bloomberg, particularly for baristas and other staff who are forced to regularly confront drug use, homelessness, and mental illness. LinkedIn Read more →

Is Toxic Femininity Also a Thing?

Attorney Jeffrey Lichtman, quoted in the New York Post: The past year I’ve gotten three insanely high settlements for consensual sex as sexual harassment. I think I may be some kind of savant. I get a case. And then I ask a set of lawyers who only do this kind of work what is the best settlement I could hope for. And then I triple it. I made $2.9 million for a 24 year old girl who had a consensual sexual relationship with her boss. Read more →

Buy a $1.7 Million Mansion for $25

Homeowner selling $1.7M mansion for $25 and ‘compelling’ essay NY Daily News Here in Southern California, $1.7 million doesn’t buy what I’d call a “mansion,” but this is definitely a mansion, almost 4,000 sq.ft. of living space on a one-acre property. Those interested in the house, located in Alberta, Canada and boasting scenic mountain views, must pay a $25 entry fee and submit a one page essay about themselves and why they should win the contest. It can be no longer than 350 words. Read more →

White Privilege Not Limited to White People?

Here’s a radio exchange between CNN legal analyst Areva Martin, a black woman, and Sirius XM radio and Fox Nation host David Webb: WEBB: I’ve chosen to cross different parts of the media world, done the work so that I’m qualified to be in each one. I never considered my color the issue, I considered my qualifications the issue. MARTIN: That’s a whole, another long conversation about white privilege, the things that you have the privilege of doing, that people of color don’t have the privilege of. WEBB (dumbfounded): How do I have the privilege of white privilege? MARTIN: David, by virtue of being a white male you have white privilege. WEBB: Areva, I hate to break it to you, but you should’ve been better prepped. I’m black. Wait, so you mean “white privilege” is just a generic insult to throw at people you know nothing about?! Martin’s response: “I… Read more →

CNN Runs “Breaking News” From BuzzFeed

On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported that President Trump “directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.” Robert Mueller’s office, which in 20 months has never issued a comment on a media report, then released this statement: “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.” It’s hard to know who to believe! CNN actually ran with the BuzzFeed report as Breaking News: For some reason, CNN objects to being called “fake news,” but a real news organization (I can’t think of one offhand) doesn’t broadcast an unconfirmed report from a clickbait site, no matter how bad it makes Donald Trump look, and no matter how much they… Read more →

Bucket List: Total a Car and Walk Away From It

Clerks at rental car counters always use the same phrase to push the collision damage waiver: You can total the car and walk away from it. Unless totaling the car renders me unable to walk. I’ve added that to my bucket list: total a car and walk away from it . . . Read more →

Mary Oliver, 1935 – 2019

Mary Oliver was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She died today of lymphoma at the age of 83. The Poetry Foundation has a biography and a selection of poems, although I prefer the selection at the Peaceful Rivers site. Her work had a Whitmanesque love of life. I’ve included one of my favorites here: The Journey One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice — though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full… Read more →

The Interests of Schoolchildren

More than 30,000 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) went on strike this week. LAUSD serves 640,000 students and is the second biggest school district in the country. The mean annual wage for LAUSD teachers is $75,000. In the local reporting I’m seeing on the strike, teachers and union reps are unanimous in saying that they’re striking for the benefit of the schoolchildren. I’m reminded of something Albert Shanker — former president of the United Federation of Teachers (1964-1984) and the American Federation of Teachers (1974-1997) — used to say: When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of schoolchildren. I can’t say for certain that the LA union reps are being disingenuous but it does make sense that they’d be representing the interests of the people who are paying them. Read more →

EppsNet at the Movies: The Garden of Words

The Garden of Words is a beautiful short film about loneliness and love and longing, inspired by verses from the Manyoshu, an anthology of ancient Japanese poems: A faint clap of thunder Clouded skies Perhaps rain will come If so, will you stay here with me? A faint clap of thunder Even if rain comes or not I will stay here Together with you. Rain is a central motif in the film. Like the force of love, it can’t be controlled or stopped. Highly recommended! Rating:     Director: Cast: IMDb rating: ( votes) Read more →

How the Bezos Divorce Rewrites the World’s Richest People List

Current Jeff Bezos, $140 billion Bill Gates, $90 billion Warren Buffett, $84 billion Bernard Arnault, $72 billion Mark Zuckerberg, $71 billion Future Bill Gates, $90 billion Warren Buffett, $84 billion Bernard Arnault, $72 billion Mark Zuckerberg, $71 billion Jeff Bezos, $70 billion MacKenzie Bezos, $70 billion Read more →

Since this is an era when many people are concerned about ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice,’ what is your ‘fair share’ of what someone else has worked for?

— Thomas Sowell

Profanity in Book Titles

Powell’s Books emailed a list of self-care titles aimed at making readers happier and healthier and saner. A surprisingly high (to me) percentage of the titles — 3 out of 25 (12 percent) — contain the word “fuck.” One title includes the word “shit” but it’s also one of the titles that uses “fuck” so I’m not going to double-count it. Is this a new publishing industry strategy to reawaken people’s interest in reading? Personally I don’t care for it . . . Read more →

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