Annual Charitable Giving

Aiee!  We’re running out of time to do a charitable giving post!  Aiee!


Planned Parenthood: Really what is needed is to get back government funding, so if you can’t give but can write a letter to your local politicians, then do that!  Heck, do both!



sweet nourishment from someone’s facebook post


Southern Poverty Law Center: Has been doing a lot of good advocacy and illumination of racism and other hate-crimes recently.

We need diverse books:  has made a difference this past year.

Moms demand action:  I get a lot of mail from the Brady Center, but I hear a lot more from other places about Moms demand action.  I don’t know where your sensible gun legislation dollars should go, but this year I’m trying a new advocacy group instead.

Child’s Play.   Who doesn’t want to make life easier for sick kids in hospitals?

Your local library/cat shelter/food pantry– clean out your towels, etc.  also they need your volunteer time.

What are your donation recommendations this year?


Link love eat it up yum

Scott Walker rewrites election rules.

koch brothers get each other same election for christmas GOP billionaires buying election(?)

UN report:  United States blithely ignores all international human rights.

And so it starts (various triggers)

If you read one link this week, read Men explain Lolita to me .  (Lots of other people have linked to it this week because it is excellent.)

Salt and Pepa want more women in rap today.

Girls of Color in Dystopian YA fantasy

the first amendment is not a free pass to harass

Lowering the bar

I want to watch this.

The intersection of capability and circumstance

This makes me feel a little bit better about my in-laws’ gift giving

I do not like the caricature of Angela Merkel as humorless.  (Note: did not link to the caricature)

Star Wars script page leaked.  LOVE it.


Jane Austen gets a hangover, really.

A happy guest post from N-son

Let It Sleep

BCN advent calendar

Ask the grumpies: favorite shows/movies for kids

Leah asks:

What’s your favorite shows/movies for kids?

My little pony: Friendship is magic.  Except the first season has a couple of problematic episodes in terms of race. Oh why oh why oh why did they feel it necessary to include the magic negro trope (Zecora) or to trade native buffalo land for apples.  I mean, really?  But with the exception of those two episodes, it is a wonderful wonderful feminist series that is really entertaining for all ages.

Imma go old-school:  Reading Rainbow, back in the day.

(#1 notes:  both my kids hated Reading Rainbow because it is SO SLOW)

edit:  related tv for toddlers

What are your recommendations, Grumpeteers?

Enjoying being the smallest fish in the big pond

Since graduate school I have been on the fringes of fame.  Some famous people you’ve probably heard of can pick me out of a crowd if asked.  Even more would say my face looks familiar.  A few may be familiar with some of my work.

I’m at an R1 that has been rising in the ranks.  We hire people who are cooler than I am, which is a good position to be in, and they’re happy to make the move (getting offered an extremely high salary helps).

I have an amazing leave position but my office is definitely the after thought… but I have an office and not a cubicle.

I’m on the fringes.

Right when I graduated it bothered me that I was in the bottom half of my class.  Many people thought my placement was disappointing.  Many people thought less of me after asking where I was going (an R1, but not a top 15 school) or what my teaching load was (average, rather than low) or what my salary was (high but not phenomenal).  There’s nothing quite like being asked those questions and then having the questioner say, “Oh” and turn to talk with a more important person.  I remember sitting at a post-conference dinner with a guy I knew from grad school a year after we’d gotten jobs who hadn’t placed highly (but was still higher placed than me!) bemoaning how he wanted to be one of them but he wasn’t, he was just on the fringe, and he’d always be on the fringe.  And I felt exactly the same way.

Reputation means a lot in economics.  We, possibly more than other fields, use signals to indicate quality rather than letting work speak for itself.  Most of our journals are single, not double-blind.  People at top programs get more benefit of the doubt.  They say it doesn’t happen, that it’s just that quality is higher when you’re a top person surrounded by top quality colleagues and RAs, but I catch myself doing it and I’m aware that I do it (so I’m able to try to counter-act my initial feelings).  Many people don’t have any idea they do it, and, as we know, implicit bias leads to bias unless actively counter-acted.  So it’s harder for someone in my situation to get the benefit of the doubt with publications, especially given a female name.  I’m not automatically accepted to conferences.  I can’t just coast on my reputation or potential.  I actually have to produce.  As one of my friends says, I have to work twice as hard to get half as far.

But I still sometimes get accepted.  I still sometimes get invited.  I get to hang out from time to time with truly amazing people who are doing great work.  Having my university’s star rise means that some of that glory is reflected back onto me.  By having amazing colleagues (who help me do amazing work), it no longer seems like my placement was disappointing.  My teaching load is still average and my salary is no longer “high” (for an economist– it’s still pretty high) but I’m not yet willing to try for an outside offer to counteract years without raises.

And I no longer feel like I’m a disappointment or that there’s anything wrong with being on the fringes.  Yes, life would be a lot easier with more benefit of the doubt and better RAs and more funding and on and on and on.  But I have room to grow.  And just being in the same building as superstars is pretty amazing.  (And, a small part of me notes that many of the stars in my graduate class are no longer even in academia, while several people who were afterthoughts to their advisers have moved up to be professors at top schools after extremely important post-dissertation publications.)

It’s much easier now for me to think of others’ cvs as goals to aim for (and being honest, without an army of highly qualified RAs and a lower teaching load, there’s no way my cv will match my counterparts’ at top schools, but I can still try to finally get a top general interest paper) rather than evidence of my own inadequacy.  People are treating me better and I’m more confident.  I do good work.  And this year I’m spending a lot of time trying to sell it.  And, tiring though that is, and as much as it takes me away from you know, actually doing work, it’s kind of fun.

I like being on the fringes.

Do you prefer being on top or bottom or somewhere in between? Does the situation make a difference?

What did we read over Thanksgiving?

Earlier I read A Darker Shade of Magic by V. S. Schwab.  I enjoyed it: YA fantasy about multiple Londons existing simultaneously.

I also liked Orbital Resonance by John Barnes:  teen nerds in space.

I’m loving the Cormoran Strike novels by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling).  I can’t put them down and have stayed up way too late reading, also sometimes reading before work and almost being late.  Number two is The Silkworm.

Then we had a long weekend and I read a lot.

Mira Grant’s series about bloggers vs. zombies (Feed, Deadline, Blackout) are each around 600 pages in paperback.  I read the first two over Thanksgiving, along with some graphic novels.  I loved them, but they’re too violent for #2.  I still haven’t gotten to the third book in the series.

Lady Killer, continuing my trend of reading comics featuring strong women.

Lumberjanes #2, in which the girls earn their “Friendship to the Max!” badge.  Also dinosaurs.  You don’t need to have read the first volume to enjoy this one.

I really just love reading books very, very much.

#2 reread Seducing an Angel, not realizing she’d already read it even though she read the others in the series and was sure she hadn’t read the brother’s story yet when she most recently read the cousin’s story (in fairness I read the paperback ages ago not realizing/not caring it was part of a series and it looks nothing like the hardback).  It is sometimes fun to read books out of order and then you get a completely different feeling for them reading again them in chronological order when you know all of the characters.

Also, if you want a free kindle book, #2 enjoyed Daisy’s Aunt.  Yes, the plot is ridiculous (“Victorian melodrama”-lite), and if you’re looking for Mapp and Lucia you’re not going to find those levels of mean-spiritedness (even the villain is treated benevolently by the author), but E.F. Benson’s biting sense of humor definitely shows itself here and there, particularly in descriptions of the country estate.  And some of the main character’s dialogue, and some of the ridiculous minor characters.  Light and fun with little bits of devilish writing that make you take a second look and highlight with a little smirk.

What do you love doing very, very much?  Alternately, how do you approach series?

A super-late update on my super-boring finances, how fun is that

I last talked about my boring finances waaay back in 2010.  Since then I have:  gotten tenure, quit my job, gotten engaged, moved across the country from Hell to Paradise, planned a wedding, gotten married, and gotten a new job… and gosh, a lot has happened in five years.

So, you may be wondering, how has all of this affected my boring finances?

student loans:  These were due to be paid off in 2018.  I got rid of them in 2013 mostly because of the loan servicer changing to one whose interface SUXXORED.

Wedding/Honeymoon: Thank every one of the gods and goddesses that the planning is over.  The wedding was a blast!  Everything was great.  The pictures came out wonderfully, the food was tasty, there was some laughter, nobody killed each other [despite the swordplay].  When I look at the photos of that day, all I see is love.

We paid for the honeymoon (and the wedding) ourselves, thanks to our savings and a windfall from my partner’s job.  Thanks also to both sets of parents who gave us cash gifts they could afford, thus freeing anybody from arguing about loans or who got to make decisions.  We <3 you, parents.  Cash is always appropriate.

We went far away on our honeymoon, and because it was our one-and-only honeymoon, we sprang for business class on the long-haul flight (both ways).  We haven’t done this before, and it was really worth it. Business class really cuts down on the amount of pain we’re in after a long flight (although it doesn’t completely eliminate that phase of the flight where every part of your body hurts, but it does make it shorter and less severe!).  By ‘long’ flight I mean over ten hours.

We ate everything, we stayed at nice hotels, we did touristy stuff, we loved it.

Car: I had to buy one when I moved to Hell in 2008.  Paid it all off on my junior professor salary.  It’s slightly the worse for wear at the moment, but still going quite strong.

house down payment:  Nope.  Since we moved to Paradise, we can’t afford a house.  I am just as happy renting in a place that I love, and I’m glad I didn’t try to buy in Blasted Wasteland.  Because now I would own a house in Blasted Wasteland.  Ugh.  Or I would have had to unload it on some other poor sap of a junior faculty person and then they’d be stuck there.

retirement:  After some time off between jobs, my retirement account is a bit anemic for my age.  Yipes!  But now that I’m employed full time with benefits again, I’m going to try to make up for lost time.  (I know that compound interest means I can’t, really, but I can only work on the future.)  Starting in Jan., I’ll be putting THE MAX you can put in each year.  It’s kind of a scary-large amount of money.  But it seems like the right choice.  My overall retirement amount is very small so far….

How our joint finances work:  Big changes here, due to my unemployment and then re-employment, us moving, my partner changing jobs, and getting legally married.

We’ve got a joint account for savings for our next life adventure, whatever that may be.  We’ve already had a wedding and we’re priced out of real estate.  Maybe my partner will make a career change?  We also each have individual checking and savings.  My partner pays all the bills and occasionally I chuck some money his way.  He’s paying more than half, since his salary is about 2.3 times mine.  I’m on his health insurance, which is way nicer than the one at my work, and turns out to be the same price or cheaper for much better service.  We are each other’s beneficiaries on stuff like retirement accounts and life insurance (free through work).

We used to have method one of sharing finances, but these days we have no spreadsheet at all.  One big thing that has changed is that with legally tying the knot, all our finances are legally “ours” instead of his-n-hers.  We still use them mostly as his-n-hers, which is fine, but our thinking is much closer to “enh, it’s your money too” than we used to be.  But now we’ll be doing taxes as married-filing-jointly, and my lower income will help offset his higher tax burden.  Because we had some complex tax things go on, I leave the taxes up to him, because his job had a bunch of wacky tax implications with stock options and things I do not understand.  Maybe in 2016 our taxes will be simpler and I will go back to understanding them.

So, uh, yeah?  How are your finances?  Any changes in the last 5 years or so?

It’s beginning to look a lot like Link Love

Now that song is in your head.  You’re welcome.

Speaking of songs, I still think this is funny (I amuse myself).


This is my favorite thing this week: Cats destroying the patriarchy.  #23 is my favorite.

A lot of money on clothes (our minds boggle).  Speaking of which, OMG this is half-price and we both want it so hard. In polka-dot red!

This week #2 learned a new thing about statistics (part 1, part 2).  Yay, statistics.  Meanwhile, she had to re-explain this topic to #1, because I had got the basic idea (I could tell that someone was DOING IT RONG and I was mad at them) but I kept getting the denominators wrong.  Erf.  Math!  Important.  (I swear I can science.  Really I can.)

Trumpington.  Go home, stupid-hair man, you’re drunk.

And to prove that #2 can’t stop sending me HuffPo articles, this.

A good man in a tragic situation.

Oh goody, more white men being terrorists.

If you get bored, go learn about bats or some stuff.

We might just have the spirit of Christmas in our hearts.

Books make great gifts (watch carefully when he says “although not impossible”):

(This video displays excellent taste in books; you could do worse than to follow John’s suggestions!)