Saturday link love

Let’s see… I think we talked a lot this week.  What all did we discuss… c’mon gchat, don’t fail me now…

What Obama has quietly accomplished.  And a great SOTU clip about American values.

What happens when a woman announces she isn’t reading white authors for a year.  The answer may not surprise you.

60% of women in tech say they’ve been sexually harassed, and other depressing facts.  Fun times.

#2 argues that this article isn’t worth posting because who cares about Hollywood.  [I didn’t say it wasn’t worth posting; I said that I *personally* don’t care about Hollywood.]  But I say that Hollywood is the patriarchy on steroids and Hollywood magnifies what happens to women in the rest of the world.  Other women go through the same thing, but with Hollywood, it’s more visible and obvious.  The article is about how Hollywood is illustrating the patriarchy, whether or not you care about JLaw. One can care about Planned Parenthood AND about how women are not allowed to get ahead without being pulled down.  (Also, seriously Oscar’s, what’s up with the 100% white nomination schedule?  Again.  And Huffpo, was there really only one actress of color in Hollywood able to be nominated in your article suggesting potential nominees of color?)

I stand with Linda Sue Beck.

Another article about women and weightloss.

When to be shallow.

Ana had a bunch of great posts this week.  We, of course, picked out the deliberately controversial one to link to.  Well, and this review of the kon mari book.

How common are 401 K loans?

This financial advice for new faculty seems reasonable.

Go over and say hi to No Trust Fund!

Time starved skilled workers may be driving gentrification (Mr. Money Moustache in action)

Makes it hard for other teams to argue that they’re moving to LA now.

#2 sent this obnoxious unsourced opinion article on msg, because I guess the fact that she doesn’t get msg headaches means they don’t exist (#1 HATES msg headaches, which are similar to pressure headaches for her).  [I didn’t SAY that!  I sent a link and that is all.]  The whole “nocebo” thing the author is talking about is crap.  In a randomized controlled trial, people who think they are msg sensitive are.  So no, I’m not a hypochondriac, at least not when it comes to headaches.

Another article about a really sad marital/parental relationship.  I really should just not read MIM.  It’s so full of sad.


The weirdest identity theft ever.

An interesting word and a story about nudity.

Sister Notorious’s Home for Wayward Medievalists.  As of this typing, you can still buy it!

Cute kitty pictures.

Ask the grumpies: What do you think about that horrible Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci article?

Taia asks:

I read your blog occasionally and am interested in your comments on this article studying hiring preferences for male/female academics in science fields.

Anything for an occasional blog reader?

There’s already some great commentary on this terrible article (shame on PNAS for publishing it!) <– scroll down in the link for a bunch of linked studies.

In addition to all of the problems already illuminated in the linked criticism, but there are some elements of the survey design right off the bat that have been shown to decrease predicted discrimination.  For example, comparing two functionally identical resumes next to each other results in decreased implicit bias (according to a much better written PLOS One article).  That’s why good lab studies will compare across participants rather than within participants.  Field studies do often compare within participants (job openings), but they aren’t the only two resumes being considered, and even so, a new working paper by a researcher (David Phillips) from Hope college shows that by sending functionally identical resumes in these field studies, matched pair audit studies do change how the resumes are perceived.

Also the quality of the candidates matters– there seems to be a winner take all thing going in many stem fields so when women are at the top of the distribution they’re preferred, but when they’re not at the top, they are discriminated against compared to similar males.

Finally, even if the research designs were externally and internally valid (which they are not, see linked commentary), there have been at least 19 studies showing the opposite of this study, so it’s unlikely, but these results could just be random.

(That’s not even including the history that the authors have of doing bad science to support their demonstrated agenda.)

More on math and perfectionism

Combating perfectionism and its sequelae is an ongoing battle at houses with gifted youngsters.  It is hard to provide continual challenges for smart kids that allow for failure but also allow for recovery from said failure.  When life gets too easy, failures seem to become that much more devastating when they do occur.

I really like math.  And math is nice because it comes in different levels which can provide different kinds of challenges and generally there’s going to be a solution.

We really enjoyed the workbook, Hard math for elementary students, though when I say “enjoyed” it was kind of a love-hate relationship for DC1.  There were sometimes tears.  But in the end, zie always triumphed, and that was exciting for DC1 and created true pride (though an odd consequence was that when DC1 cranked through a page easily, zie decided that page was too easy!).  It truly was a hard math book.  We were thinking of going through it again, but DC1 hasn’t wanted to.  Since DC1 just got into brain teasers and is spending hours on them on hir own, I ordered Aha and Gotcha and am going to let hir explore by hirself.

One of the really good parts of math for perfectionist people is that sometimes in order to get things right, you have to get them wrong a lot first.  There’s a method of solving things called “brute force” in which you just methodically try all of the possible answers to see which one(s) work.  You *have* to get things wrong.

The game Mastermind is another example of needing to get things wrong in order to find information that gets to the right answer.  You guess and then get feedback that helps you guess again until you narrow down the answer.  The game just isn’t that much fun if you guess right on the first try.  This game too initially caused tears in DC1, but coming back to it later it has been fun.

Finally, a fun (free, online) game recommended by school is fire boy and water girl.  This is another one where you learn about the world and have to try again and again in order to get the solution.  This one has never caused tears to my knowledge, though zie has stopped playing in frustration and come back later, which is totally valid.

It would definitely be nicer if there were never tears, but the pride that happens after figuring out something that previously seemed impossible might be worth it.

Do you have any suggestions for challenges, math or otherwise?

Library Haul

After talking with #2, I decided to reread My Antonia.  I’d forgotten about the racism (#2 has been having this problem with books she read as a child as well– how did I forget?).  Also, having grown up somewhere with hot summers, I completely don’t believe that whole “it’s hot but we didn’t really notice it, and summer is totally beautiful” bunk.  Heat stroke is real, and not fun.

Anno Dracula.  It was ok.  A little bit too proud of itself.  I wanted to know more about the 400-year-old female vampire.

The Lyttelton Hart-Davis Letters (vol. 1).  Just two English guys being nice to each other, gossiping, talking about books, and how much they like each other.  Soothing and cheerful.  A good read before bed.

The Gates of Sleep, one of Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series.  Turns out I had already read it and I just kept forgetting.  It’s the sleeping beauty retelling.  The heroine triumphs through her own internal fortitude, aided by love of her family and friends.  A good popcorn read with a happy ending.  Get it from the library.

The Anchoress by Robyn Cadwallader.  Took a chance on this one because it looked interesting.  (Was it worth it?)  Yes.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson.  Not just a description, a philosophy!  The Blogess deals with her mental illnesses by writing funny things.

#2 read um… some more Loretta Chase, which continues to be mixed.  She does recommend Last Night’s Scandal and so far she’s enjoying the Dressmakers series.  She found Balogh’s Simply Unforgettable to be irritating with one of those a single serious conversation would have  ended the book a lot earlier tropes.  So much dragging.  Also, the heroes’ persistence would be scary if he were the villain.  The other books in that series are great though.

Dear “broke” person on the internet,

[Ed note:  This somewhat mean-spirited post is from an embarrassing number of years back and has been hanging out in drafts waiting for it to no longer be connectable to any specific person and for us to be out of money Monday posts.  Did the person in question ever turn things around?  We have no idea!]

You make a lot of money.  I know this because you keep telling people how much you and your spouse make.  I was shocked the first time I saw it because you are always complaining about your debt (and how the world has been out to get you).  Until very recently, your family made more money than either of ours and lives in a lower cost living area.

But you also have spent a lot of money and you keep spending money.  For example, you bought a house that you should not have bought when you had major debt that you should have attacked first.  You got upset when your readers told you not to buy the house, and you bought it anyway.  Same thing with replacing your car with a fancy new model because cars get old after 6 years.

You need to pay down that debt so you stop wasting money on the interest so that you can actually life the lifestyle for your income-level.  You can’t live that 100K+/year income life until you get rid of that debt.  You have to live on less than that.  I’m not saying to give up the private school, but you don’t have to live in as nice a house or as nice a neighborhood or drive as nice cars or replace them so frequently. I imagine there are a lot of other luxuries that you think are necessities and entitlements.  They’re not.

You are probably not going to be able to stop spending so much without help, but I doubt you’re actually going to seek help.  I doubt that because your readers have suggested plenty of places to get help, from books to Dave Ramsey classes to certified financial planners, and you’ve done nothing.  You’re probably just going to keep complaining about your debt, bragging about your high income, and complaining about how the world is out to get you.

There’s probably something psychological going on.  And I should feel sorry for you, but seriously, you make @$@#$@ing lot of money.  A lot of people would pay down their @#$#ing debt and not feel so entitled to the house they couldn’t afford and whatever else it is that you’re wasting your high income on.  Then they’d have paid down their debt by now and would be able to live the life you’re living while saving for retirement!  But you’re going to have to make sacrifices at some point, and the longer you keep this high interest debt the more it’s going to keep dragging down your finances.

Which is why, of course, we’ve stopped reading you.

Link love

When teamwork doesn’t work for women.  Btw, I have anecdotal evidence for pretty much every statement made in this piece (including what people say about Betsey Stevenson!).

I’m a bit tired of work-life balance stuff, but if we’re going to talk about it, it shouldn’t just be about women

Why elementary is better than sherlock

Give the land back to its rightful owners

What does it mean when somebody complains about political correctness?

Guns are our shared responsibility.  Guns and money.   Why Obama cried. Because he is human.

Structural workplace strategies that enhance stuff


Preliminary results

Just in case you need one

We especially like #4.  New years resolutions from dances with fat.

You can both be a moderator and an abstainer!

Writing inspiration.

Ask the grumpies: When to upsize or downsize a house

First Gen American asks:

When do you downsize, upsize, etc. When you can no longer afford the house you live in, how long do wait until you make the decision to sell. (Due to a life change..job loss, stay home with kids, etc)

We got nuthin’ for this one.  We’ve never been in that situation and never wanting to be in that situation means we haven’t bought as much house as we could afford or bought a house at all and we’ve always had lots of money in the bank.

So yeah, we’re not the people to answer this question.

The people we know who have been in this situation have generally not made the decision to sell at all– just the decision to short-sell or foreclose when forced.  On the internet, we’ve seen people take in housemates to help pay the rent, though IRL I don’t really know of this happening.  People we know tend to upsize over time and only downsize when their kids go to college or they get divorced.

It’s a good reason to live under your means and to lifestyle inflate slower than you can afford to!

#2 notes:

I have definitely moved, but not for can’t-afford-it reasons.

I got a bigger place when my partner joined me in Blasted Place after three years there alone; my place was fine for me but wouldn’t have been enough room for the two of us. We downsized when we moved to Paradise because Paradise is expensive.

#1 says:

Yeah, when moving across country we’ve sometimes moved into smaller but more expensive places (see: our current rental).  But we’ve never sold a house!

Once again, does the grumpy nation have a better response than our poor one?  It must…

Menagerie Tree

Happy twelfth night!

I like animals on the Christmas tree.  Here’s what I have right now:



2 cat ones


red Christmas pig

12 days of Christmas painted with numbers of animals




hippopotamus named Henrietta

lizard from Mexico




possibly some other ones….


Do your decorations have a theme?

Grumpy Rumblings 2015 Year in blogging

Courtesy of WordPress!

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 270,000 times in 2015. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 12 days for that many people to see it.

There were 110 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 53 MB. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was August 3rd with 1,587 views. The most popular post that day was Just spend the money? Why the answer to Mr. Money Moustache is not Spend All the Things.

In 2015, there were 261 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1,635 posts.

These are the posts that got the most views in 2015.

[Ed: Note that NONE of these are from 2015 and only one of them is from 2014(!)  That #2 post is from students trying to plagiarize a really common composition assignment.  Not sure about the popularity of the other posts.

According to our stats, here’s the most popular 2015 posts:

Ask the Grumpies: Dissertation Student from Hades

Making friends as a professor or as an adult

How do raises work where you work?

More thoughts on class

Do you think there’s any point…


The top referring sites in 2015 were:


[Visitors came from] 169 countries in all!
Most visitors came from The United States. Canada & United Kingdom were not far behind.

Your most commented on post in 2015 was Do you think there’s any point …

These were your 5 most active commenters:

Yay Chacha!  This means you get to tell us where to donate our most recent month’s proceeds from amazon sales.  Either tell us and link up in the comments (if you want more exposure) or email us at grumpyrumblings at gmail if you want it to be more secret-like.

Any blog commentary or highlights from the grumpy gallery?  Also, congratulate Chacha in the comments.  :)

January Mortgage Update and what to do when your landlord dies…

Last month (December):
Years left: 1.25
P =$1,143.40, I =$71.00, Escrow =$809.48

This month (January):
Years left: 1.166667
P =$1,147.93, I =$66.47, Escrow =$809.48

One month’s prepayment savings: $0

Bet that headline caught your attention.

It’s a bit surreal and really sad– zie was only middle-aged (and on the young side of middle age!) and the death was sudden and unexpected. I never met the landlord, but both DH and our friend out here had. It didn’t really hit me that the landlord was a real person until I remembered that zie had a 13 year old child. Somehow knowing that a person was loved and will be missed makes death that much more real.

Nobody actually bothered to tell us (either us or the other half of the duplex) about the death. We found out when we asked our neighbors if their rent check had been cashed for the month because ours hadn’t. We also hadn’t gotten responses about a couple of repairs we’d requested. Our neighbors had direct deposit set up so they hadn’t had a problem, but they googled the landlord and found the obituary and memorial service and told us. Then emailed the landlord’s partner with condolences.

Fortunately, Paradise is in a state that protects tenants more than landlords, which means that once the mess of who actually owns the building is figured out (not a lot of middle-aged people are thinking about wills, and this landlord wasn’t the most organized person), they can’t kick us out to sell the place until our lease is up. *Whew.*

According to the internet, we are to write our checks to, “The Estate of XX” instead of to XX until we get official notification otherwise. We should keep copies of the checks we send (because if they don’t get the checks then the new owner can kick us out before the lease is up). But not much else should change for the remainder of our stay.

As for repairs — DH fixed the toilet himself. I don’t know what we’re going to do about the garage door that only opens from the front when it’s warm. (Our kludge is going in the back door and opening it from the inside.) Our neighbors said the landlord was really bad about repairs anyway, but was also really bad at increasing the rent, so they just bought a new dishwasher to replace the one that broke and didn’t mention a thing to the landlord. Hopefully that won’t happen with us because I am not interested in purchasing appliances, even if we can handle toilet innards.

And if you’re ever in the situation in which your landlord dies– check your state laws.  In some states, the new owners can break your lease and kick you out without recompense as soon as ownership changes hands.  Some states will protect you so long as you’re under contract.  Some municipalities may even provide more protection if the new owners aren’t planning on selling or moving in themselves.

Also, even if you’re young, if you have people depending on you, make sure that you have a will.  Sudden and unexpected deaths do happen.