The Central Time Zone is a big place — any area that includes most of the Dakotas, all but a sliver of Texas, and the entire state of Alabama qualifies as "big" by almost any standards — but little thought is given to it by the national corps of pundits, most of whom seem to dwell on the East Coast. And there are distinct disadvantages to the place, I suppose, if you measure the quality of your life by how closely it mirrors fiction in The New Yorker, but the fact is, there are lots of good things about living on Central time:

  • If you stay up until 11:45, you can watch all of Letterman, not just the monologue.

  • It's still possible to find a decent home in many places here without going into six figures' worth of debt.

  • Nobody feels compelled to apologize for driving a domestic car.

  • Nobody feels compelled to apologize for drinking a domestic beer.

  • There are still places out here where you can't be reached with a cell phone.

  • With few exceptions, our multi-ethnic communities are too busy being surprised by the fact of their existence to worry about how best to exploit the situation for political gain.

  • I-95 doesn't come anywhere near here.

  • The Today Show and its network ilk begin at the same time here (7:00) as they do on th