I gave my first Intro lecture of the new year yesterday. 475 students crammed into a classroom with maybe 478 seats. TAs not yet assigned, I was all alone in welcoming these students, making sure they got a syllabus, and seeing that they introduced themselves to two other people in the class (well, I may have missed a few of the sneakiest classmate avoiders). Classroom renovations not yet complete, sawdust on the floor, the projector screen was just installed the night before. No time to remove the old projector screen, which was lying on the floor behind the podium. Continue reading “lecture-a-go-go”


Over on Orgtheory Brayden recently explained how cultural sociology is no longer a marginalized area of the discipline. Instead, cultural sociology is, we are told, seeing a great improvement in fortunes. Indeed, he titled his post “triumphant culture” and concluded by saying:

Cultural sociology seems to have hit its stride and may be well on the way to becoming the dominant paradigm of contemporary sociology.

Perhaps this is so, perhaps not, and my own views on cultural sociology are irrelevant at the moment.* And Brayden is someone I like to think of as a very good friend of mine and so I hope that he will not take this the wrong way. But I think that cultural sociologists the world over will probably wish he hadn’t said that.

Because, honestly, saying that cultural sociology is well on its way to becoming the dominant paradigm in sociology reminds me of nothing so much as the b-list actor who asks “Is he finally dead?” about mid-way through a slasher film. And that, as we all know, is inevitably the villain’s cue to rise up and embed an axe in one or another of the speaker’s vital body parts.

Beware structuralism, Brayden. It does, indeed, know what you did last summer.

* I am peculiarly proud of that fact that, despite my long tenure in the socio-blogging world, I only rarely actually talk about sociology.

you had to know this was going to happen when you asked me to join

I’ve been trying to hold back over here- really I have- but this one is just too mind boggling for me to resist.*

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Conservapedia essay- Women wearing pants:

Continue reading “you had to know this was going to happen when you asked me to join”


I’m trying to walk to and from school, which if I did both legs, would be six miles of an efficient combination of cardio + commute at least three times a week. It is all I can do to resist buying a donut on the way to school or a double ice cream cone on the way home.  There must be a better way.  I am too poor grad student to afford Jeremy’s economic incentive approach to gold star-ing his workout goals, but there has to be a way to stay accountable other than relying on my own discipline.

biting my tongue

I am the worst kept secret in the blogosphere.* I once did a tally of all of the professors I’ve “come out” to, and in my field alone, it’s probably at least 25-30.  And mind you, 95% of these people contacted me first, either by comment or more commonly, direct email, to offer words of advice or encouragement.  My blog is a great networking tool! I don’t think I’d know so many people pre-market without it, and it’s made conference experiences better, and I’ve certainly gotten good advice and feedback from my contacts. And great extra mentoring.

Continue reading “biting my tongue”


I appreciated this.  The IRS man referenced in the previous post asked my son’s age and, when told that said son was an adult and that he had signed his own return and I was not on it as a third party preparer, told me that confidentiality laws prevent him from telling me anything about the taxpayer’s return, but I could tell him things and he could use that information to investigate a situation.  He could not legally tell me what he would do or what the tax record showed (he emphasized this several times) but he did tell me that he understood what I hoped he would do and that if he happened to do what I hoped he would do, my son would get a letter in four to six weeks and that in the mean time he need not do anything about the tax bill, although if he wanted to be safe he could send in a letter of explanation.

call me persnickety. i don’t care.

1. If I agree to review a paper, but then I am sent the paper and it is not double-spaced (and over 10 pages), I will not review it.

2. If I am sent a paper that is said to be a double-spaced version of the paper I was sent, but then I open it up and it is a paper on a completely different topic, I will not review that paper either.


It took about an hour, most of it spent on hold, but I think my son’s tax situation is cleared up.   Although his two-name surname was clearly in the “last name” field of his return, and although the person who keyed in his $10 tax payment attributed it to the correct name (starting with the first part of his last name), the person who keyed in his return used the second half.  Thus generating two IRS letters, one claiming a name mis-match for the SSN relative to past returns, and another claiming that he’d failed to pay his $10 tax bill.  The IRS agent was pleasant and efficient, but told me to tell him to stick a hyphen in his name to prevent further problems.  He commented that Spanish people have the same problem.

This is about cultural dominance as well as gender roles.  As I’ve mentioned before, we stuck my children with a two-name surname, adopting the Spanish system (although we are not Spanish):  They are Firstname Middlename Fathersurname Mothersurname, to be alphabetized under Fathersurname, space no hyphen between the names.  At the time we named them, hyphens still gave computers trouble so we thought the space was better.  As it has turned out, hyphens have been almost universally adopted to clarify matters.  This first/last business trips up Spanish-culture people when they hit the US, but it also confuses Asians, whose name conventions are the opposite of the English ones.  (A Chinese TA once give me his students’ grades alphabetized by first name.)  Matters would get a lot more clarified much more quickly if official forms switched from “first name” and “last name” or (worse) single name fields to “family name” in one box and “personal name(s)” in another.  How long do you think it will take for the dominant culture to make such a simple adaptation to multiculturalism?

trigedies of the left

What do I think of this? I think I’m reminded of how I configured LeechBlock to keep me from being able to read the Daily Kos because every time I did I kept feeling my sentiments move politically to the right.

As a bit of Jeremy Freese trivia, I think one of my grandmothers was raised believing her mother was her sister and her grandmother was her mother.