Monthly Archives: September 2008

september madness

Fill out your brackets, everyone. The winner gets their own private farm to ride out the apocalypse.

let’s just keep things in their proper perspective, eh?

A number of us are concerned about the ongoing implosion of the world economy. Before we all panic, however, let’s try to remember where everything is in the grand scheme of things:

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i do not want to sound like an alarmist about the financial crisis

But the apocalypse is here.  I am arranging to receive my next paycheck from Northwestern in gold.  I am going to teach my class tomorrow, and then come back to my apartment and start building a fort.

ask a scatterbrain: letters

I’ve received a bunch of questions on writing letters of recommendation for students. I think the answers will be helpful both for students and for faculty. And I hope both will weigh in, as these are questions about both how faculty should handle letters and what students can expect from faculty. There are a lot of questions here, but I think they’re best addressed in one big post. The issue basically boils down to: how do you write letters for students who are on the job market together and who are applying for the same jobs in roughly the same area? Continue reading

ask a scatterbrain (jr. faculty edition): talking theory

In a comment on the job talk thread, I confessed that I struggle to communicate with students what exactly I am looking for when I want them to make explicit their theoretical contribution. My struggle usually comes when students have an interesting case that they want to study and perhaps a field site tied to that. They get tied up in the case itself, rather than using that case to answer larger questions that might contribute something to some subfield of sociology.  Continue reading

tiny dino!

It is a mom’s dream. A new tiny dino has just been discovered. I present to you the Albertonykus borealis.*

It’s just the size of a chicken, and apparently it ate ants. So cute! Maybe next, they’ll discover a big-eyed, fuzzy dino. That would rock.

*Canadians always name their dinos patriotically.

so profound

The power of email. It brings me wonders like these deep thoughts. Continue reading

friday big kid blogging

Is it Friday yet? Please?

Officially four-and-a-half now. New rights and responsibilities include looking at his own book while he poops. A major milestone for the whole family.

the soft bigotry of low expectations

Via the New Republic blogs, a NYC firefighter who escorted Sarah Palin around 9/11 memorial said:

“She seems to be up to date [with] current events and everything that happened on 9/11. She’s been given enough information. I’m sure she knows as much as the common American.”

One of the procedures for selecting the President proposed at the original Constitutional convention was, after all, to do so randomly.

hard to blame him, really

Yeah, after this, I’d want to dodge the debates too:

Just… wow.

pain in the ear

Bill Clinton is talking. Transient Random Noisebursts’ ears are hurting.

the new l-word

Well, folks, I failed to get the op-ed I wrote and mentioned here published anywhere. So I’m posting it here; not to make scatterplot the publisher of last resort, sorry! Here it is.

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ask a scatterbrain: job talk

What makes a good job talk?

that feels better

Aaaahhhh, democracy…

I am also happy to come out in support of Iowa’s proposed constitutional amendment to change language that disqualifies certain people from voting from “idiot or insane person” to “person adjudged mentally incompetent to vote.” What can I say? l’m a maverick.

pink in october

Hey scatterbrains:  This October our College goes on a big fundraising drive for cancer services.  This year I’m trying to rev up the fun and energy around the drive by wearing pink to work every work day during October.  And I’ve established a little blog to explain what I’m doing, post pictures of what I wear, and of course, solicit pledges.  Check it out here:


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