tenure and public sociology

There have been several posts lately about public sociology and the tenure process, including newsocprof and thepublicandtheprivate and, most recently RadioFreeNewport. All are written by young scholars. The general tone of these remarks is either to worry about the impact of public sociology on getting tenure, or to decry older sociologists who tell younger sociologists to focus on getting tenure before getting heavily involved in public sociology. So another view seems helpful. I say this as someone who did not do public sociology until later in my career, well after I had tenure. These younger writers are ignoring the central point that tenure protects you when you do public sociology. Continue reading “tenure and public sociology”

overheard (not exactly “the rules” edition – or, “paging foucault” – central square)

man: what are you doing tonight?

woman:  I’m meeting a friend in harvard square for dinner.

man: is this a date?

woman:  no, it’s that guy I told you about, the one who is just way too sane for me.  he’s really cute, but I just can’t imagine dating someone that is so together.

man:  you know what I’m thinking right now…

woman: yes, I know.  I dated you.  but you’ve got your quirks.  you’re really only sort of normal.

invasive species

There was a lot more interest than I would have expected in my brief mention of my problem figuring out what to do with five bags of garlic mustard. The update is that I put off dealing with the problem while I finished grading, and then the bags started to leak. Most of it turned into a disgusting slime. I spread the mess out on the patio to dry. Of course it started raining an hour later. At least the rain washed off a lot of the slime. In the past two days, I picked out more second year garlic mustard that had been hiding among the violets, and realized there is a carpet of first year plants to dig out. I think I’ll be spending much of my sabbatical doing this.

You may think that weeding means I’m gardener. Nope. I have a brown thumb. The only gardening activities I am good at are destructive: mowing, weeding, and digging up bushes that are blocking the walk. Everything I’ve planted or paid someone else to plant has turned out to be a mistake: it either died or proved to be the wrong plant in the wrong place. We have the scrappiest yard on the block. My spouse thinks that if you mow your lawn you have done all that anyone can expect of you in the way of gardening, except for extreme cases that call for nuclear herbicide. We both would prefer a natural yard that looks like an unkempt woodland edge and needs no maintenance, but it turns out that neglecting your yard does not produce a natural woodland. Yard neglect creates a safe haven for invasive species. Continue reading “invasive species”

apparently, this is stuck in the eighties week for jeremy on scatterplot

Coming on the heels of my revelation of my secret hobby project: The newspaper from the small town where I grew up (Manson, Iowa) apparently is now offering back issues on CD-ROM. Someone a few years behind me in school bought it and e-mailed me an article from 1984 with this headline:

Here I am: Continue reading “apparently, this is stuck in the eighties week for jeremy on scatterplot”

two addictions, both named blue monster

Four days ago, I decided to close my blog. Be warned, fellow bloggers, it is incredibly hard to quit. I’ve never felt more motivated to blog than I have the past four days, and so I’m wimping out on my cold turkey approach and going for the blogger “patch,” a post on scatterplot (I hope no scatterbrains are insulted by this analogy). So I began to consider what would be appropriate for my first post-Blue Monster post, and given that Jeremy invoked the drink, Blue Monster, in his eulogy, I thought, “why not?” After all, I probably did as much caffeine blogging as I did soc blogging! Continue reading “two addictions, both named blue monster”

they need to be made to make sense

I spent this morning at a very interesting seminar sponsored by UNC’s terrific Center for Genomics and Society. The speaker was talking about potential “breakthroughs” in the genetics of psychiatric conditions using Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS). More on my thoughts on genetics a different time, but I was struck by an interesting set of comments. Continue reading “they need to be made to make sense”

on question wording and push polls

For the past few years I have been placing questions on some statewide (North Carolina) polls on various areas, including human rights and collective bargaining for NC state employees. The last two were my own polls, carried out by Public Policy Polling under contract to me. Continue reading “on question wording and push polls”

people are changing their minds about homosexuality

Shamus’s post on attitudes toward same-sex marriage couldn’t have come at a more opportune time, as I have been working with Bob Andersen at the University of Toronto to analyze attitudes toward homosexuality, and the first of our two forthcoming articles has just been made available on the Public Opinion Quarterly website. It should be out in print soon. We find that people have been changing their minds about homosexuality. Continue reading “people are changing their minds about homosexuality”

husband gets the glory

Since there were no sociologists in attendance at the Kathleen Edwards show in Madison (I’m looking at you, OW), I’m going to have to bring the goods to you in the following video. This particular song may be a little too Canadian for everyone except Ken–if so, please click over to the Cheapest Key video–but I have to show you this one, because Husband is in the video, right down there! He’s the goalie on Kathleen’s team; isn’t he cute?

sorry if i spammed you

You’d think that I have hung out in the parking lot behind the internets long enough to know better, but when I signed up for a new bookmarking/link sharing tool that a friend of mine recommended, I unwittingly sent invitations out to my entire address book. It is the first time I have made such a gaffe, and I am at least glad that I keep my work contacts separate from my everyone else contacts, but the way that gmail saves everything always, that latter category is ginormous and includes everyone I’ve emailed from my account for the last, oh, 5-6 years.

I am unaware whether an etiquette has emerged to initiate what Goffman would call “repair work” for this mistake. I am rather certain that a follow up “oops, sorry!” email would only double my contribution to spam, so I have resisted that.

Hopefully, the tool really is as good as my friend says, so maybe the silver lining will be that I’ve introduced something cool to people. Mostly, though, I just feel like a jackbother, and I’m sorry.

dino world!

This weekend, while the blog was self-absorbed in a lull, we were out filling our brains with knowledge about every 4-year-old’s favorite creatures: dinosaurs. It was a very special day, because we even got to bring along Kid’s Friend, who knows everything there is to know about the dinos.

Among the things we learned yesterday: flying dinos did not go extinct, and they are the ancestors of today’s birds. Who knew? There was also an exhibit on evolution, which was mostly about the life of Charles Darwin and the way he puzzled through information about species, space, difference and sameness to come to his understanding of natural selection. Alas the Kids were not as interested in this exhibit as I was. Perhaps another day.

(Jeremy, is there an extra virtual kewpie doll lying around the blog for the first person to correctly guess the dino in the photo?)