R.I.P. Six Feet Under - No Spoilers

One of the best shows ever on TV goes out with one of the best finales I've ever seen, making us laugh through tears and feeling sad and hopeful all at the same time. I'm going to have the music from the last several minutes in my head for days. Fortunately, Holly already purchased it from iTunes, though you have to do the whole album (which is great) to get it. Now pass the Kleenex...

The Greatest American

The Discovery Channel is running a series about deciding who the "Greatest American" is, and we, the people get some voice in deciding. To me, it's all bogus though, as their list of nominees doesn't even include Norman Borlaug.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work in increasing wheat yields, and is widely credited with saving more human lives than anyone else in history. I'm not talking about saving a dozen people, or saving a thousand people, or even saving a hundred thousand people. Norman Borlaug's work has probably saved the lives of more people than live in your entire state. His work is what has kept millions of people from dying of starvation worldwide.

To see that somehow Borlaug isn't even ranked in the top 100 Greatest Americans is extremely depressing. To see Borlaug left off in favor of Tom Cruise, Bret Favre, Mel Gibson, Michael Jackson, and Donald Trump makes me profoundly sad.

We, as a society, value two religious nutjob actors, a football player, a pedophile weirdo, and a slezy real estate developer more than Norman Borlaug? Where's the "culture of life" crowd now?

Did I also mention Borlaug is originally from Iowa?

Value of Various TiVo Rewards

I was feeling bored while I installed a server today, so I took the opportunity to calculate the various values of the new TiVo Rewards structure. You get 5,000 points for referring someone to TiVo, but the actual “value” you get from that referral depends greatly on what you spend your points on. Unless noted otherwise, all prices came from Amazon.com:


Item Points Price $/100 Points $/Referral
20GB iPod 25000 $299.99    $1.20 $60.00
Bose QuietComfort 2 (Crutchfield) 25000 $299.00    $1.20 $59.80
Creative Zen 20GB Portable Media Center 45000 $471.99    $1.05 $52.44
Nikon Coolpix 5200 35000 $349.99    $1.00 $50.00
140 hour tivo - Rebate 25000 $229.99    $0.92 $46.00
Humax DRT800 - Rebate 35000 $319.99    $0.91 $45.71
iPod Mini 4GB 20000 $179.99    $0.90 $45.00
Colored TiVo remote (TiVo.com) 4000 $34.99    $0.87 $43.74
Pro Installation (TiVo.com) 15000 $129.99    $0.87 $43.33
Delphi MyFi 35000 $299.99    $0.86 $42.86
Phonex PX-441 7000 $49.99    $0.71 $35.71
iPod Shuffle 512 15000 $99.99    $0.67 $33.33
DWL-122 (Buy.com) 7500 $41.76    $0.56 $27.84
40 Hour TiVo - Rebate 20000 $79.94    $0.40 $19.99
Linksys USB200M 7500 $24.99    $0.33 $16.66

HDTV Conspiracy

I swear, there's a conspiracy at work. Half of the first-round NCAA Tournament games are going to be shown in High Definition. For the first time in history, all three Iowa universities got in at once. But NONE of them are going to be shown in HD: NCAA First Round HD/SD Viewing Guide Thursday March 17, 2005

12:15 PM Wisconsin-Milwaukee #12 vs. Alabama #5 HD 12:45 PM Niagara #14 vs. Oklahoma #3 HD 2:55 PM Penn #13 vs. Boston College #4 HD 3:15 PM Texas-El Paso #11 vs. Utah #6 HD 7:10 PM Chattanooga #15 vs. Wake Forest #2 HD 7:25 PM Winthrop #14 vs. Gonzaga #3 HD 9:40 PM Creighton #10 vs. West Virginia #7 HD 9:55 PM UCLA #11 vs. Texas Tech #6 HD

12:20 PM Eastern Kentucky #15 vs. Kentucky #2 12:40 PM Pittsburgh #9 vs. Pacific #8 2:50 PM Iowa #10 vs. Cincinnati #7 3:10 PM Montana #16 vs. Washington #1 7:10 PM Nevada #9 vs. Texas #8 7:20 PM Utah St. #14 vs. Arizona #3 9:40 PM Fairleigh-Dickinson #16 Illinois #1 9:50 PM UAB #11 LSU #6

Friday March 18, 2005

12:15 PM North Carolina State #10 vs. Charlotte #7 HD 12:25 PM Ohio #13 vs. Florida #4 HD 2:45 PM University of Central Florida #15 vs. Connecticut #2 HD 2:55 PM New Mexico #12 vs. Villanova #5 HD 7:10 PM Louisiana-Lafayette #13 vs. Louisville #4 HD 7:10 PM Vermont #13 vs. Syracuse #4 HD 9:40 PM Old Dominion #12 vs. Michigan State #5 HD 9:40 PM George Washington #12 vs. Georgia Tech #5 HD

12:30 PM Iowa St. #9 vs. Minnesota #8 12:30 PM SE Louisiana #15 vs. Oklahoma St. #2 3:00 PM St. Mary's (Ca.) #10 vs. Southern Ill. #7 3:00 PM Alabama A&M/Oakland #16 vs. North Carolina #1 7:20 PM Northern Iowa #11 vs. Wisconsin #6 7:25 PM Delaware St. #16 vs. Duke #1 9:50 PM Bucknell #14 vs. Kansas #3 9:55 PM Mississippi St. #9 vs. Stanford #8

Secret AAC Support for Mac TiVo users

The new TiVo Desktop software for Macintosh (version 1.9) will check to see if you have Lame installed (packaged here), and if so, will let you play back your AAC files from iTunes through your TiVo and any TV or stereo system you have connected to it. This isn't documented anywhere, so it looks like someone either snuck it in, or they aren't ready to support it until 2.0, but for those of us who didn't want to re-rip our entire music collections to play them back through our TiVos, it's great news.

Damn you John Wells

I think John Wells sucks. He took over The West Wing from Aaron Sorkin, and has turned the best show on television into mediocre melodramatic crap. He tends to put the World In Crisis every other episode which is a crutch for bad writing. Anyone can make a show dramatic when you have to save the world, it takes a much better writer to create compelling drama from a day at the office. And now he's even screwing with the Presidential timetable. I thought the timing seemed off for the last few weeks, but tonight's episode revealed that the current administration only has one year left in office. Uh, pardon me, but I sort of remember him being elected back in 2002, and The West Wing has always been two years "off" the real Presidential cycle.

So, I went hunting in the Television Without Pity forums, and found this statement from the moderator:

Yes, John Wells has moved up the next presidential election by a year. The next election should have been held in November 2006, but it is going to be held in November 2005 (presumably with primaries and caucuses starting in January and February 2005). Nobody knows exactly why he did it, other than the fact that Martin Sheen's contract is about to run out. But please, I beg of you, stop asking if the elections are coming early.

I knew the show had "jumped the shark" when Sorkin left, but occasional episodes gave me glimmers of hope. But now, knowing that Martin Sheen and most of the original cast will be gone after this year, I can hardly bear to watch.

Unforgiveable Blackness

If you haven't watched Unforgivable Blackness this week, find out when it's being repeated on your PBS station (most will re-run it this weekend). I haven't watched the second half yet, but last night's installation of the new Ken Burns documentary was fantastic. It's the first Burns documentary I've seen in high definition, and the footage of Jack Johnson fighting his way to the Heavyweight Championship was great, considering the age of the film. The second half will be more disturbing, I'm sure, but just as interesting. It's amazing, and disturbing, to witness the blatant racism of an era that's less than a century old, to see white supremacy "justified" by the "science" of the day, and the outrageous lengths people would go to just to protect their fragile and erroneous world view. It makes you wonder what they'll think of us in a hundred years...