: High on the Hog Blog
Purveyor of Idle Observation

Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at

Another Bowl Loss….


The Houston Cougars went down 44-36 to the South Carolina Gamecocks. A gamecock, if you didn’t know, is a “strong, colorful, and territorial type of chicken.” Knowing that only makes me feel marginally better. Exciting game, good finish, blah blah blah blah blah… another bowl loss is all it is to me.

Reading: Sudhir Ventakesh, Off the Books

Sudhir Ventakesh

With a finite amount of time before Contracts starts, I decided my next read is going to be Sudhir Ventakesh‘s Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor. Ventakesh was a colleague of Steve Levitt‘s (Freakonomics) whom I’ve discussed here and here. Levitt and Dubner discussed Ventakesh’s work with Chicago gangs at length in Freakonomics, comparing the organization of a drug-selling gang to the franchising of McDonald’s. The gist of that research is available in a talk Levitt gave at the Technology Entertainment Design Conference (TED).

In Off the Books Ventakesh delves deeper into the Southside Chicago neighborhood to explore the economics of the everyday lives of its residents, who, often living on the edge of survival, struggle with “their desires to live a just life and their needs to make ends meet as best they can.”

Route 1 North, Presque Isle, Maine


It’s been almost a decade – the postcard I just got for my 10 year reunion confirms this – yet I still cannot get the following song lyrics out of my head:

Star City, Presque Isle
Star City, Mile for Mile
North-east Corner of America
Star of Maine, Presque Isle

I’ve been thinking about my home town today, which made me pick up a phone and get a subscription to the Star Herald, Presque Isle’s local weekly newspaper, since I’ve given up hope that it will ever get a website. $55 for a year’s worth of ammunition in my eternal war with Brady Moffett (Covington, Indiana) as to who can out-small town the other is money well spent. Brady is cocky because his town has fewer people (2,565 to my 9,511) yet he has not calculated on the “distance from civilization” effect that pushes Presque Isle over the top. The Potato Blossom festival is an unstoppable force of small-townitude that Covington’s corn festivals and general covered-bridginess will be powerless to stop. I have a feeling fellow Hoosier Jessie Foltz has both of us though merely by the gloriously small-towny fact that Twelve Mile, IN is so named because it is 12 miles from some other culturally insignificant map speck.

I got back in touch with a good friend from high school the other day. I’ll call him Shaun X since I never know whether I’m accidentally ‘outing’ somebody when they don’t use their full name on their blog. In any event it makes him sound more mysterious. I’ve coaxed the Gringo Argentino back onto the blogosphere.

I’ve been Elfed

View it here. Gee thanks Jessie. Ever heard of defamation? ;-)

Photoshop CS3 Beta Released, 2-day tryout

I think I’m going to pick these 2 days carefully. Wired has details and screenshots. My mouth is watering.

Pluggd, Making Audio Searchable

Since Google and other search engines only index text, there’s a vast and growing amount of content hidden away in audio and video files. Pluggd lifts the veil by indexing audio content. Great app.

Malcolm Gladwell addresses racism and a short taxonomy of racial gaffs a la Richards, Gibson, Irvin et al.

New Yorker columnist and author Malcolm Gladwell weighs in on the recent outbursts of Michael Richards, Mel Gibson, and Michael Irvin on his blog in Defining a Racist. He brings up one of the most interesting aspects of Blink, empirical evidence that most of us are more racist than we think. He focused on a study conducted at Harvard using an Implicit Association Test.


Gladwell, who is of mixed race himself, was shocked to discover that the IAT test revealed his automatic preference for European American compared to African American associations. His conclusion was that many if not most of us are make negative associations with African Americans despite our belief in equality of all races, despite our strongest intentions and convictions on race, in Gladwell’s case, inspite of his own racial makeup. The IAT is substantial evidence that our racial attitudes are much more firmly ingrained than we realize.

Take a Demo Implicit Association Test on Race on the Implicit Association Test Website.

Office Space Recut

Office Space Trailer recut as horror flick. Brilliant! Thanks Jessie!