If you ever loved a link…

Wondering what people actually do with that liberal arts degree?  Here’s a link for you.

How to get at-risk kids to graduate college with nudges, linked from this excellent Ferule and Fescue post.

Is the right to bear arms really the freedom to hunt your slaves?  Given how guns are used these days and the punishments (not) incurred… the story makes sense from a modern perspective.

To the internet misogynists.

Dame magazine notes that no, it’s not all men, but it is men.

Every time the men in your life do something that is not actively harassing you, it’s cause for applause!  From the same oniony site, 70% of real women fail the Bechdel test.

this is some good rage right here

Female characters in 1960s tv.

Captain Tightpants wants to talk.

Not sure what we think about this.

These are good books.

Is the novel dead yet?

holy crap i went here and now my wishlist is exploding!!

this is great, really great

the last panel here made me lol

From something remarkable.

I find this blog interesting

mischievous uncle

A journey into type a personality land and back


Ask the grumpies: Tv for toddlers

Dana asks:

My son just turned two years old and had his first television experience watching the movie “Cars” on my laptop. He mostly watched in 5-7 minute chunks as his attention span isn’t very long and he is very active. We aren’t sure what to let him watch next.  I think his attention span might be up to 15 minute TV shows and was wondering if you had advice for shows your kids liked as toddlers that aren’t too painful for parents to watch too.  Obviously not looking for violence and educational is a plus but not required.

Well, this is going to vary a lot, so check the comments for what other two year olds are watching!

DC1 was really really into frogs, so the LeapFrog dvds (particularly the early ones on phonics) were super popular at Casa Grumpy.  Dora the Explorer, also popular.  Closer to 3 ze picked up Caillou (one of DC2’s current picks) and Kipper and Blues Clues and Word World (though many parents dislike Caillou because in the earlier episodes he’s kind of a brat).

In addition to PBS Kids, where DC2 prefers Curious George, DC2 has just discovered Youtube, which has many kids tv shows uploaded to it.  Ze is currently a big fan of:  Dora the Explorer, Pocoyo (these are nice because they’re short!), Peppa the Pig, and a bunch of seriously annoying children’s shows made for Youtube.  The best of these (from the not annoying the parent perspective) is Miss Tracey singing nursery rhymes.  The worst of these is Mr. Mike doing the same thing but with his own twist.  (Licking up the baby bumblebee?  Seriously Mr. Mike?)  In between are: Mother Goose Club and Busy Beavers.  Actually Busy Beavers will annoy the heck out of you with its repetition while the Mother Goose Club isn’t so bad.

Grumpy Nation:  What are your recommendations and opposite-of-recommendations for two year old tv watching?


  • Dear sports writers saying that Don Sterling’s big mistake (compared to other less well-publicized racists, I guess) was that he can’t “control his women”?  You know how black people aren’t property?  Turns out women aren’t either.
  • Actually, we’re sickened by all of the sexism and misogyny in the discussion of the Don Sterling thing.  All the gawd-awful comments about his wife and the woman on the tape.  Yet another way that the patriarchy is preventing anything actually being done about wide-spread racism, while bolstering its entrenched sexism.  Thanks patriarchy!
  • I looked up Don Sterling and misogyny because *surely* we weren’t the only folks to notice the misogyny in the commentary.  Well, turns out even the original story is full of sexism and misogyny too (note:  we hadn’t listened to the tapes, just the reporting about them), but nobody is paying attention to that, because wimmin, who cares, they really are property.  Here’s some [possible triggers] commentary.  Which is not to downplay the racism AT ALL.  But neither racism NOR sexism (nor their intersection!) should be tolerated.
  • I got a haircut.  The first after um, 14 months.  It’s a bob, because everybody else is getting bobs.  It took a week for anybody to say anything about it at work.  And another half week for anybody else to say anything.  Talking to my two RAs about it after the second person noticed (one of my RAs was the first person to notice), I said, “Either it doesn’t look any different from before and nobody has noticed, or it looks terrible and people are just being polite by not saying anything.”  One RA (the one who noticed) said, “People probably just aren’t noticing because they’re busy and the school year’s over.”  The other RA said, “Who knows?  It will always be a mystery.”  I told the first one, “Good answer” and the second, “Bad answer.”
  • In case you were wondering what this economist thinks about the Ta-Nesi Coates article in the Atlantic.  It’s excellent.  It actually gave me a lot of flashbacks to when I took Race in the Economy as an undergrad– Reparations were in the news back then too, and again, used as a starting point for discussions about what is actually feasible (IIRC, reparations were not feasible just from a logistical standpoint) and how and why we need to still do things to level the playing field.  My prof had been a beneficiary of affirmative action hirself and a big takeaway from that class was also that housing segregation has terrible consequences on many levels.  We read a lot of William Darity Jr. (Sandy to his friends) in that class, and Coates has as well.  Since then I’ve read a lot more and taken more classes and taught a lot more about disparities and discrimination.  An important and complicated subject and yes, we need another War on Poverty.  Inequality is getting worse, not better, in this country.  And we’ve had periods of time in which it was getting better.  It’s not impossible to make things better, even if we might never get to perfect, there’s a heck of a lot more we could be doing, and a lot we could stop doing, to bring back the American Dream for everyone.
  • My mom sometimes depresses me by talking about the state of the world.  It’s in pretty terrible shape, but she has hope that it’ll get so bad that it’ll turn around.  She lived through the 60s, after all.  I fear it’s already gotten so bad but we haven’t turned around.  We haven’t rebelled against our 1% overlords.  We’ve had chances and they didn’t work out.  And I wonder how the world would have been different in 2014 if Al Gore had been president.  Would 2014 be more like what my naive self thought it would be, moving forward instead of backward?  Or would it just have been 4 years delaying some inevitability.  (But maybe it would have been Jeb instead of W… who knows?)
  • [update]  The news depresses me.  And never ever read the comments section.  Especially when the article is about women.
  • I want to show you a video that DH and DC1 made, but WordPress says I would have to pay to do it (and I’m too lazy to remember my login to photobucket).  So no break-dancing Lego squirrel for you.

I like complex music

As the post title says.  I like bagpipes with 3 kinds of drums, picking the different rhythms and types of drums.  Mozart (yay), not Haydn (boo).  Not Chopin or Debussy, ew.**  Handel hella-yes, Bach hella-yes!  Fugues and Baroque music yes.  Rap music, yes.  Patter songs.  MC Frontalot, Salt N Pepa, Macklemore (sorry, I know he’s Wacklemore*).  My brain finds it interesting.  Things that are too simple allow my mind to wander towards my worries; things that are complex allow my mind to relax.  It’s interesting to think about.

I’m with Dr. Crazy that Dark Horse is a weird song and yet, I have memorized all the words to the rap section of it.  Although the lyrics are problematic, I find wordplay amusing.  I like to listen to a song I’ve heard many times before and find something new in it.  I also find it so useful how rappers usually announce their name in the song, so that if you like it, you know who you want to listen more to!

#2 has also been wanting to write a post about how much she likes patter songs, which, of course, includes a lot of rap.  Though only the not-misogynist stuff, of which there is a lot (though man does she miss the girl rapper groups of the 90s).  #2 hates techno because the repetition is boring and hurts her brain.  #1’s not much on techno either.

*#2 likes Thrift Shop but finds Same Love to not be that clever, although it may be well intentioned.  Still…


**#2 finds Chopin to be complex, and also likes Debussy in moderation.  Pretty pretty.  Though with classical, #2 is really a Romantic at heart even though that’s separate from patter.  Now she has Rossini stuck in her head because patter is awesome.

Tell us whether you like complex music and if so, what we should listen to!  Esp. female rappers.

Your Ideal Work Day

A few years ago, get a life phd asked readers to think about what their ideal day would look like.

My ideal work day definitely does NOT include teaching or ANY emails from students.  It does, however, include research and friends.

I was at this conference when I realized I was having my ideal work day.  No students.  No student emails.  I talked to colleagues about research:  theirs, mine.  I got inspired to learn about a new statistical technique.

I saw good friends I hadn’t seen in a long time.  I ate good food.  I had time for a nap in the middle.

I met a new research collaborator and we talked about what research we do and could share.
I could choose what was most interesting to go hear talks about.  Setting my own schedule is awesome.
That is an ideal work day.


I think mine would start off with me checking my email to find a desk accept.  :)  Or an R&R from a top 2 journal.  Follow it up with a request to do something relatively trivial using my expertise for a large sum of money (like reading a proposal or giving a discussion).

These ideal day exercises aren’t so useful to me because my fantasy scenarios mainly depend on things that are outside of my control (last week was not an ideal week– the summer started with two conference rejections and a journal rejection, also our unscoopable paper that coauthor sat on for two years got scooped), and because I’m pretty happy with my life as it is and trying to optimize instead of satisfice just makes me grumpy.  It may not be a perfect life, but spending time and mental energy trying to make it better tends to make it worse and take time and energy away from things that actually help my life improve.  I remember the morning that I first heard about the willpower research on only being able to make a limited number of decisions each day, I was completely useless because I’d second guess making any decision instead of just making it, thus adding to my mental load.

Now, if I were miserable or unhappy, then the amount of time thinking about what makes me happy would be totally worth it.  A little bit of introspection might be able to make big short-term changes.  Fortunately for me, that’s not where I am right now (rejections aside).  We will see what the future brings.

What’s your ideal work day?

Link love again

So remember how last week #2 had bronchitis?  This week she had pneumonia and grading.  But her grading is done and her fever broke, so hopefully she’ll be providing some ranty goodness again in the near future (including Monday’s money post which totally hasn’t been written yet, *cough*).  Until then, here’s some links.

Oregon and larping.  It is the worst thing.

Famous nude paintings get photoshopped to fit today’s beauty standards.  (Contains Nudity)

Pharyngula explains why race is important as a social construct.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about this GOP bill for a pilot school lunch program that only feeds rural kids.  It is true that the challenges for getting food to kids over the summer are different in urban vs. rural areas.  We ought to be feeding all kids, period.  So, as a policy, and I think there was an excellent NYTimes series on this topic last summer (that I can’t find), yes, we do need to work on the question of feeding rural kids over the summer using different methods than for urban kids.  But we should not be cutting food to urban kids.  I’m really not clear right now what this bill actually is trying to do– the media makes it sound like it’s a big program to help rural white kids while cutting funding to black and Hispanic urban kids, but the description of the bill sounds like it’s a tiny pilot program in the state that has the worst health outcomes for rural kids (WV– also why Jamie Oliver shot a show there) and isn’t touching urban at all.  This article explains a bit more, it looks like it actually is a cut on urban pilot programs.  Though these programs are pretty darn small, far too small for the need.  I am glad though that there is a big outcry starting to happen on these issues because ALL KIDS should get enough to eat.  I hope that this backlash continues to grow and that we end up with another War on Poverty, because by God, we need one in this country.

This is a new one.

Presented without comment.  Also this.

Public Image of a mathematician.

I agree with the person who said it was probably just back and forth to the pub.

Because there haven’t been enough grumpy owl pictures lately.

Partner: who needs pizza when you can have pepperoni puff pastry waffles
Me: That just seems wrong somehow
Partner: Really? Because the more I think about it, the righter it seems.

Confidential to Fussbudget:  We would strongly recommend miser-mom to that meta-filter asker.

Most of these other links that we’ve sent to each other this week seem to be discussing the efficacy and contraindications of various prescription cough syrups, which were plenty interesting to #2, but not so interesting to you all, most likely.

#2 says:

Calling Google

Q:  is interest a waste of money

A:  Interest is the cost of renting money.

Q:  do you wanna have another baby after

A.  No, but thanks for asking.

Q:  what they use to wash dishes in america

A.  Water?  (And soap…)

Q:  don’t you still love me?+grammar

A.  Don’t worry, grammar, we’ll always love you!

Q:  do you think high school students should be allowed to work only during their summer break? would it be better for students with free time to do volunteer work or internships instead of working for salary?

A:  “Allowed” or “should”?  Define “Better”.  Better for whom?  For what outcome?  In what situations?  #2 notes that according to a nifty new paper, yes an internship is better for being hired later than a crappy job is.

Q:  why you agree or do not agree with i/o theorist

A:  do your own homework

Q:  how can i sell my soul for education

A:  online?

Q:  can undiagnosed sleep apnea cause failed sobrity test

A:  it’s certainly possible, but I wouldn’t bet on that in court.

Q:  why does anyone ever have a second child

A.  Temporary amnesia?

Q:  why do we judge messy houses

A:  *We* don’t.  *You* must need a better hobby.


My big summer plan for DC1

DC1 is 7.  Seven is a wonderful year and a wonderful height.

DC1 will be going to museum camp, and doing hir workbooks, and swimming lessons and piano lessons, and no doubt reading lots of great novels and playing all sorts of games (card, computer, video, board, etc.).  There will be a week being spoiled by the in-laws, and no doubt a weekend or two with my sister.

But I, too, have a nefarious plan in store for DC1.

This summer DC1 will learn how to cook.  In fact, this summer DC1 will cook for us with minimal help at least once a week and will be a sous chef for us on a regular basis.

Ze already makes excellent scrambled eggs, and fantastic macaroni and cheese (from a box with extra cheese added, and also tuna and peas).  This summer we will add more to hir repertoire.

I hope this will be an investment that pays out many-fold.  :)

We made a list.  It says:  chocolate chip cookies (chewy), pizza, ice cream, split pea soup, Japanese rice (for sushi), spaghetti, pancakes, waffles, muffins (blueberry), tacos, queso, shrimp, shakes.  It’s a little different than what I learned to cook first (eggs, crepes, chili, spaghetti with meat sauce, macaroni and cheese with tuna and peas, box brownies, swiss steak, chicken cacciatore, spaghetti carbonara, regular rice), though with some overlap.

Many of my fondest childhood memories are in the kitchen.  When did you learn how to cook?  What did you first learn how to cook?  When did your kids learn (if appropriate)?  Any exciting summer plans?

Calling sociology readers!

One of us has a question about the AJS– if you can help, can you shoot us an email at grumpyrumblings@gmail.com ?

More generally (for those who don’t want to email but do have info):  If a person wants to write a “Comment” on a prominent AJS article (new research finding exactly opposite results, for example, that don’t contradict the findings of the paper but show that the paper is not externally valid for an important subsample), what are potential outlets for that?

Crucial Conversations: A Book Review

Someone somewhere recommended that someone read Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, and we thought that was a good idea, so one of us checked it out from the library.  She had to recall it, and it has been recalled on her, so up on her Amazon wishlist it goes.

We think this is a great book, and wish everybody would read it.  As #1 was reading it, she thought back to previous crucial conversations and how the ones that went well tended to follow their advice and the ones that went off the rails really could have benefited.

The basic premise of the book is that if you pretend to (or actually believe in) give (ing) the benefit of the doubt to people and keep your thoughts focused on the end goals with that in mind, attacking problems instead of people, you’re more likely to get what you really want, make good decisions, foster a positive environment, deescalate potentially fraught situations, and get a reputation for being professional and reasonable that will help you in the future.

They summarize their technique with the following steps:

1. Start with heart. Focus on what you really want, and what you really don’t want.
2. Learn to look. Pay attention to emotions, problems, silencing, and the conversation no longer feeling safe for at least one party.
3. Make it safe. Fix misunderstandings, apologize as necessary. (I’ve found this step incredibly helpful in blaming things on miscommunications and going back to the big goal– what we both want– really does seem to defuse situations.)
4. Master my story. Separate facts from narrative– know which is which. State the facts.  Choose a good narrative. (This is where you give the best possible story behind the other person’s actions rather than the one that may actually be true. I have found that occasionally when I ascribe positive motives to people, they tend to start believing those motives themselves.)
5. STATE my path. Share your facts. Tell your story. Ask for other’s paths. Talk tentatively. Encourage testing. These are all things a good leader will do– you’re more likely to accept a decision you don’t agree with if you trust the process that came to it. (The difference between our provost saying, “I’m the decider” and a better communication of, “Here are the pros and cons of each choice. These are the reasons I made this choice over the other choice.” I really wanted to send hir a copy of this book. BTW, hir decision was terrible and has already had some pretty nasty consequences.)
6. Explore other’s paths. Ask. Mirror. Paraphrase. Prime. Agree. Build. Compare. These are ways of talking about alternative views and coming to the best decision for your main goal while making people with other views feel validated and focused on their main goals.
7. Move to action. Decide how you will decide. Document decisions and follow up. (A meeting in which you discuss, come to an agreement and then don’t do action items is a waste of time.)

They share a lot of really helpful language along with their process.  While reading the book, I thought back to good bosses I’ve had and bad bosses I’ve had, and the good bosses almost instinctively use these techniques.  Heck, my father-in-law uses these techniques.  It’s been helping me a lot with some of the dramatic fall-out of the provost’s bad decision.

It’s not a perfect book– it almost seems like there’s some victim-blaming in the middle, and it isn’t until very near the end of the book that the book specifies that no, a woman does not have to put up with sexual harassment on her own.  This is a shame because some of the examples they use are very close to sexual harassment, and although the actions they suggest are appropriate, they come too close on the heels of admonitions to accept the role you had in whatever tragedy is going on.  Their example seems to suggest that muggings are the only crimes in which the victim is not at fault.  Sexual harassment is never the victim’s fault, and they would do well to point that out far earlier.

The book doesn’t separate by gender.  It tells everybody to use some of the softening language that Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office tells women to avoid, which may be problematic.  We know that people have different reactions to male and female managers saying the same thing in the same way– are the suggestions in this book truly gender neutral?  We don’t really know.

An interesting thing to note– in the back of the book one of the authors mentions that they get fan mail from people who have only read the introduction and the first chapter.  Apparently those first ideas of just giving people the benefit of the doubt and focusing on the big goals make a huge difference for some people.  We do think the rest of the book is worth reading through because it gives helpful language that does deescalate situations.

Also:  We’ve posted this on a Monday because it’s about work and career, but many of these techniques also work well in personal relationships.  They also give examples from marriages and dealing with teenagers.

What do you find works for dealing with other people at work?  Do you have recommendations for books on communication or otherwise dealing with coworkers?  Have you read this one?