more than a few days late, more than a few dollars short.

The following letter to the editor appeared in the “Viewpoint” section of our student paper yesterday, the second to last issue this year:

I have worked in Building Services for two years, so most of this is about the people there, plus food service, lawn care and laundry.

South Bend has one of the highest numbers of children living in poverty as compared to other towns around the U.S., and our children are also some of the worst-educated, as reported by the South Bend Tribune. The chances of them going to college are very small. In that Notre Dame is the largest employer in South Bend, they must help stop the poverty. It’s good that they help all over the world, but take care of home first. Continue reading “more than a few days late, more than a few dollars short.”

i am furious

I am so mad, that I can’t even think straight. I don’t have anything productive to say other than a string of expletives. But really, what can you say, or what needs to be said, against such utterly contemptible falsehoods?

Why am I mad?

Scalia says “Get over it. It’s so old by now” regarding Bush v. Gore. I am utterly speechless.

The Wall Street Journal endorses Scalia’s old school breadwinner/distant father/supportive homemaker mother model of a family. Thank you, oh prestigious paper covering our nation’s politics and economy, for saying something that is so clearly progressive, modern, and reflective of today’s economic and social realities.

I need to throw something or break something right now.


Is there anything sweeter than a 4-year-old playing soccer? Maybe, but I still have to share this photo of the Kid’s first soccer game with you:

It makes me think that I should organize more activities in which the Kid runs around without a clear purpose other than for my viewing pleasure. Do they make cat toys for kids?

watch people die, sociologically

Here. Click the now button for the most compelling version, especially if you just let it run while, say, being on the elliptical trainer.

Anyway, if you aren’t in the mood for tragedy, can you at least tell me if you have any opinion either about the Amazon Kindle or these new Flip Video cameras? Both have been recommended to me recently, and pre-ordering a Wii Fit this afternoon was apparently not enough to slake my gadgety thirst.

BTW, if I make it to 3.5 miles on the ET, this will be Day 62 in my pledge either to work out 200 days in 2008 or donate $25 to the George W. Bush Presidential Library for each day I fall short. I’m about four days short of where I need to be to be on pace for 200, but I’m maybe 50 days ahead of where I would be if I hadn’t made the pledge to begin with. I’m thinking about making some similar kind of pledge about writing.

the end of the semester crutch.

It might not explain Jeremy’s recent behavior, as he’s still slugging through spring quarter, but I’m sure a lot of us are suffering from end-of-the-semester burnout. You know, when you need something mindless to keep you going. Omar’s on the other side of the wall, cleaning his office. I wrote my syllabi for the fall and started filling in next year’s planner (yes, I still use an old-fashioned one, and yes, it’s the same kind I used as a student). I’m about to finish up my students’ final exam. Because I’m not ready to tackle office cleaning, it’s time to add other mindless tasks to my “cognitively easy” list because I just can’t handle anything “not-so cognitively easy” this week. What are some of your end of the semester crutches, those mindless things that keep you moving?


As further evidence that I am in the throes of the lamest midlife crisis ever, I have spent much of the weekend spurning pleasant social opportunities in favor of working alone on a new hobby so geeky/dorky I cannot bear the idea of talking about it publicly.  And given things I have mentioned about myself over the years in blog posts, that’s saying something.  (No, of course, not filking.  I would hope that in this world I have the sort of friends who would perform a serious, if necessary fatal, intervention if I ever became involved with filking.)  I feel like somewhere in my early thirties I took a wrong turn and have since been careening toward becoming a de-Enidized variant of Seymour from Ghost World.

OK, while I still don’t want to talk about it, part of what I’ve been doing involves some computer programming.  I say this only because the thing with me and programming is that when I’ve got something I want to program, I can work for 12 or more hours straight without any especial need for social interaction, websurfing, reflexive e-mail checking, food, or hygiene.  (This does not always mean that I will have a great deal to show for those 12 or 14 hours, depending on if I’ve gotten stuck on something.)  If I could fire up the time machine and go back to age twenty and start an alternative career fork, computer programmer would probably be it.

I was telling a friend about this and she promptly said, “It’s not too late!  You could still go become a computer programmer.”  Oy.  I really like being a professor.  Partly precisely because it’s a job title so broad and with so much autonomy that you can shape your actual work into a number of different things.  Why I don’t actually do more programming in my work is a different question.  As an assistant professor, I was doing a lot of programming-like work for awhile on a certain large survey I’m involved with, but then I cut that way back on that because it seemed like it was taking too much time away from other things with clearer external rewards.  Perhaps I should revisit that decision.

Does anybody else have a counterfactual career they wonder about?

Meta: Due to popular request, I have added an RSS comments feed at the bottom of the sidebar.

songs about sociology

Because there have not been any posts for two days, I will take one for the team.

Ok, there are plenty of songs about the law, which is my thing. “I Fought The Law and the Law Won,” for example. Also, Kanye West’s “Spaceship” makes me think of employment discrimination law for these lyrics:

If my manager insults me again I will be assaulting him
After I f**k the manager up then I’m gonna shorten the register up
Let’s go back, back to the Gap
Look at my check, wasn’t no scratch
So if I stole, wasn’t my fault
Yeah I stole, never got caught
They take me to the back and pat me
Askin’ me about some khakis
But let some black people walk in
I bet they show off their token blackie
Oh now they love Kanye, let’s put him all in the front of the store

Yes, I am weird. But I am hip! Sort of.

So, tell me sociology rock stars, what songs make you think of sociology?

contest feature!

When I was in New Orleans for a conference last week, I left my sportsjacket somewhere with my cell phone inside. It was later recovered, but while it was lost I had the bright idea of calling it from the phone in my hotel room. I hung up as soon as my voicemail picked up. I will give an official Scatterplot virtual kewpie doll to the person with the closest guess to what the Sheraton New Orleans charged for this phone call.

Update: Ann’s suspicion that she was going to win the kewpie doll was correct. The amount on my hotel bill is $12.35.

campaign 2008!

I received the link today for the American Sociological Association elections. For those readers interested in canceling out my vote, here is how I voted for the association-wide offices (if anybody reads this who was running and did not get my vote: no offense, nothing personal, I’m a partly-stochastic voter, etc.):

President: Pescosolido
Vice President: Burton
Council at large (vote for four): Bachrach, Mare, Morgan, Minkoff
Committee on committees (at large; vote for two): Milkie, Polletta
Committee on committees (Ph.D. granting): Padavic
Committee on committees (non-academic): Bird
Committee on nominations (vote for six): Carter, Correll, Morning, Correll, Voss, Correll
Committee on publications (vote for two): Fligstein, Ridgeway
Committee on blog parties (vote for two): Fetner, Khan

I am running for an office in the medical sociology section. My experience has been that I feel ambivalence when asked to run for something, but once my hat is in the ring, I want to win. So, if you belong to the section, I want your vote. I am running against this person, who I do not know and who looks friendly enough from his photo, but there are rumors that at a campaign fundraiser he said that sociologists were “bitter” and that he’s not a very good bowler. Also, you can see plainly from the photo that he does not wear an ASA flag lapel pin.


Spring is here and I am back, albeit with a desk full of things to do other than blog.

[an aside – I love spring. I don’t know if we haven’t really had spring the other places I’ve lived (the Pacific Northwest, the South, and the desert) or if it’s just that spring is even more thrilling after a long, hard, Midwestern winter, but I’ve really come to enjoy spring and I can’t believe the energy that it provides (or the fever to do anything other than work-work, I mean I’d even rather do housework right now!).]

To ensure that blogging doesn’t stand in the way of all the work that I could be doing, the following attempts to combine the two: I’d love your very best advice for preparing (and delivering) academic presentations. Such presentations, on original research projects, are the culmination of my graduate research methods course, and I would love some pointers to share with my students on how to formulate 15 minute presentations on their work (that they’ll hopefully use as presentations at future conferences). It seems to be the one place that I find the book, The Craft of Research, lacking.

orgtheory turns two

BTW, orgtheory celebrated its second anniversary yesterday, so wish them a belated happy biennium if you haven’t.  Even better, rumor is that they are working on a charity “Boys of Orgtheory” pin-up calendar.

We may be younger, but we are feistier and will still kick their bothers in the Wii tournament at ASA.   Although we may need to add some more athletic guest bloggers if we want to also win the Capture the Flag match to be held on the Boston common.

BTW-BTW, one of the things I did at PAA was go bowling at this place that played live zydeco while you bowled.  I haven’t bowled since grad school, and even then only a few times, but still got a 139, including a strike-strike-spare-strike run before the cocktails kicked in.  A woman in our group who hadn’t bowled before and had a delivery like one of those sidearm baseball pitchers got a 29.  It made me wonder about how on earth Barack Obama, even if he hadn’t bowled since he was eight, could only get a 37.

where do I get these ideas anyway?

Apologies for monopolizing Scatter blogging.

[begin incoherent rant]

I’ve been reading Arlie Russell Hochschild’s books, The Time Bind and The Second Shift. They are depressing. Not only are workers overworked, they overwork themselves–they don’t want to take advantage of family-friendly policies, they want overtime, they want to buy into the organizational culture of the 10 hour day that rewards face time over results. Part of it is insecurity underlying the assumption that if they don’t, they will be undervalued as a worker, and lose their job (salaried workers), part of it is needing the hours (hourly wage workers), and part of it is feeling more valued at work and more relaxed at work than they do at home, where the household tasks and childcare are undervalued and unrewarded.

Continue reading “where do I get these ideas anyway?”

in your abundant spare time

So, I know we all read a lot for work. It’s all I do. And then I do more of it online, because I am a blog addict and F5 refresher hound. I need to do that site-blocking thing Jeremy does.

But what do you read in your spare time? Me? Not enough, and it hurts me, former English lit major that I was. It wounds me to the core. Subquestion: what do you do in your spare time, since you have so much of it?

Continue reading “in your abundant spare time”