‘Cord Cutting’ ebook now in the Kindle store

We became a family of cord cutters back in 2011. Even with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Sling TV, we’ve saved about $3,000 over the past five years, and we still have plenty to watch.

Friends sometimes ask for advice on how they can cord cut, so I decided to put everything I’ve learned about it in an ebook. It’s called Cord Cutting: A Quick Start Guide, and it’s only 99 cents in the Kindle store.

Here’s the official description:

41fdXxqfOxLCord cutting is all about canceling your cable or satellite subscription and watching TV some other, cheaper way. Cord Cutting: A Quick Start Guide shows you how to get started.

Using plain language, it explains how to save money without giving up your favorite shows. It lays out your options and tells you how to watch everything from classic shows and movies to live TV—including major sporting events and even cable channels—legally and without an expensive contract.

It not only answers the question of how to become a cord cutter but also helps you decide whether cord cutting is right for you. Cord Cutting: A Quick Start Guide the perfect primer for anyone who’s ready to take back control of their TV.

If you’re interested, get it here.

Rudolph, the other reindeer don’t really love you

Things 1 and 2 watched “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” this weekend, and before I say anything else, let me say that “Rudolph” is a classic. It’s become deeply embedded in the culture. When you mention the island of misfit toys, in any context, everyone knows what you’re talking about. It’s like calling a mangy-looking Christmas tree a Charlie Brown Christmas tree or walking into a new situation and realizing, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”

“Rudolph” is beloved. I watch it every year — there’s even a Sam the Snowman ornament on our tree — but watching it this weekend, I was reminded what a bad lesson it sends to children.

Let’s start with Santa.

Santa should be jolly, but in “Rudolph,” he’s a bully who crushes his employees’ self-esteem. He’s a seagull manager who poops all over everything then flies away and lets someone else clean up the mess.

For example, when the elves sing, “We Are Santa’s Elves” — a song all about him, mind you — he dismisses it with a vague, “It needs work.” 

When he discovers Rudolph’s glowing nose, he scolds Donner and writes off Rudolph as a potential member of his team, no matter how well he flies. 

“Donner, you should be ashamed of yourself,” Santa says. “What a pity. He had a nice take-off, too.”

Of course, Rudolph’s family isn’t much better.

His father is Donner (which bugs me, because the reindeer’s name is really “Donder”), while his mother is “Mrs. Donner.” She doesn’t have a first name. “Rudolph” was made in the early-1960s. She doesn’t need an actual name. She doesn’t have an identify other than being Donner’s wife and Rudolph’s mother.

Donner is deeply embarrassed by his son’s glowing nose and hides it under a clump of dirt.

Rudolph — who, let’s remember, hasn’t done anything wrong, who simply is different because of some genetic mutation or recessive gene — complains that the false nose is really uncomfortable.

“There are more important things than comfort: self-respect!” his father tells him. “Santa can’t object to you now,” because that’s the most important thing, impressing your dad’s jerk of a boss who thinks you’re a failure because of what you happen to look like.

Then, one foggy Christmas eve, Santa decides to cancel Christmas.

Santa isn’t much of a doer. He’s not a problem-solver. Rather than scramble to find a work-around, he cavalierly decides to crush the spirits of millions of children — until he’s distracted by Rudolph’s glowing nose.

Santa has an epiphany. He asks Rudolph with his nose so bright to guide his sleigh, and Rudolph, being a good reindeer but also a reindeer with low self-esteem, agrees.

Only now do the other reindeer love him and shout out his name with glee, but, Rudolph, remember this:

They don’t really love you. They love that you can help them.

Beloit, here’s a mindset list to help students understand their teachers

Every summer, Beloit College gets a fair amount earned media (what we’re calling free publicity these days) by releasing a “mindset list” on each year’s freshman class. [UPDATE: This year’s list came out Aug. 23 and is available here.]

It serves 2 purposes: to draw attention to Beloit College and to help faculty understand the point of view of a more-or-less typical 18-year-old.

Students in this year’s freshman class, the class of 2015, were born in 1993, meaning they’ve always had Comedy Central and “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Faculty should be aware of this.

But students need to understand their professors, too.

I’m here to help.

Wikipedia says the median age for a full professor in the United States is about 55, so, class of 2015, this means there’s a chance your professors:

  • Can and do write cursive.
  • Don’t need a calculator to do basic math.
  • Still pay by check.
  • Send actual birthday and Christmas cards made of paper.
  • Send thank-you notes, also on paper.
  • Use cell phones, not smartphones.
  • Email but don’t text.
  • Have landlines.
  • With answering machines.
  • That save messages on cassette tapes.
  • Can’t use a gamepad.
  • Could barely use a joystick with 1 button.
  • Watch TV shows when they’re on instead of streaming them later.
  • Buy CDs.
  • Still use AltaVista.
  • Voted for Dukakis.
  • Mondale, too.
  • Don’t recognize the “celebrities” on the cover of People.
  • Don’t recognize the “celebrities” who host “Saturday Night Live.”
  • Don’t know any of the bands, either.
  • Are asleep before SNL comes on, anyway.
  • Gave up watching late-night TV after Carson quit.
  • Johnny Carson.
  • They don’t know Carson Daly.
  • Remembers when “Seinfeld,” “All in the Family” and “The Andy Griffith Show” weren’t in reruns.
  • Think they’re cool because they’re into bands like Green Day and No Doubt — the members of which are old enough to have children in the class of 2015.
  • Think they’re young because they’re younger than the hosts of “60 Minutes.” (Median age of the 4 hosts: 67).
  • Hate being older than the president of the United States. (Obama just turned 50.)
  • Resent you and your youthful looks and health.
  • Would just as soon flunk you as look at you.