17 March 2009

academic sarcasm: priceless

the abstract of The Dakota Effect:

If challenged to do so, relatively few Americans could probably find North and South Dakota on a map, let alone correctly name, spell, and pronounce the capitals of the two states. Nor would they be able to recall anything interesting about the Dakotas, whose main tourist attractions, besides Mount Rushmore, are a drug store, a civic arena festooned in corn, and a peace garden. Although one of the Dakotas bills itself as “The Land of Infinite Variety,” its sociocultural diversity consists primarily of different synods of Lutherans who engage in endless disputation with one another because they are so similar. Dakotans prefer their food bland—they consider ketchup daringly spicy—and their politicians low-key. When they encounter something new, they call it “different,” which they rarely mean as a compliment, and they wait for it to go away—which, because there is so little to hold it in the Dakotas, it probably will do. They keep their opinions to themselves (a typical Dakotan being the fellow from Sioux Falls who loved his wife so much that he almost told her), and they do not like it when people make a fuss about themselves or anything else. Thus, when South Dakotans perceived the previously popular Senator George McGovern as having gotten too big for his britches by seeking the presidency in 1972, they saw to it that he would fail to carry his home state, and three decades later they voted long-time Senator Tom Daschle out of office as soon as he repeated McGovern's mistake of seeing a president whenever he gazed into a mirror.

(HT: Kip)

15 March 2009

sticking it to the [cable] man

in an effort to eliminate time warner from my monthly extortion bill, i have purchased an xbox 360. i was already signed up on the live network so i could play an occasional [old] xbox game with my bro, but hearing that i could have access to netflix content online was a large draw. playon throws hulu, cbs, espn, and maybe some others into the mix, too.

i just finished converting the 360 to a wired connection since hulu wouldn't play over wireless. my house came with phones wired via cat5e, so, with the help of some external awesomeness (you know who you are), i re-wired the RJ45 phone jack for my network--something i will probably do for the rest of the casa, too.

so far, netflix, which worked fine over wireless, and hulu are the proverbial bomb. i will re-evaluate the cable bill again in a few weeks to see if we're ready to cut it off completely. i already bought a subsidized digital converter for the local stations.