Link Love: Stay strong!

Hey guys!  It’s been another crazy week.  Here’s how to stay sane from a therapist.  I’m not sure how to best give a pep-talk, but I do feel like if I keep fighting and resisting that means that everyone like me is still fighting and resisting too.  So hang in there, because that means everyone else like you is hanging in there too.  I do feel a little lack of direction right now, but so does everybody else, including most of the bad guys, so that’s something, right?  If you want to know what you can do, our current recommendations are 5calls and indivisible, but we want to continue to encourage everybody to find a local group— especially those of you in red and purple states.  It’s time to go nuclear.

Why the Census director’s resignation is a BIG DEAL.  Not just for academics, but also for political power reasons.  The fascists can keep more political power if they under-count cities.

This NJ Republican just lost any claim of being a moderate (voted for the ACHA).

Confused by the James Comey Firing?  Here’s an easy to understand Primer from 5/10.

We linked to this before, but for mother’s day, here’s the mama’s bail out day donation page.

Here’s a plausible theory about why the GOP is going along with a fascist no matter how awful he gets.  It would seem to explain my senators…

WTF is wrong with the NYTIMES?

How our democracy was hijacked.

I wish this were my senator.  Instead I get a true believer whose people have been told to lie (“I’m just an intern, but I think I’m supposed to say that we can’t give you that information [about planned appearances], oh wait, I’m supposed to say we don’t have that information, but even if I had it I couldn’t give it, I don’t have it, I’m just an intern.”)

A couple of our older posts on health insurance markets:  How the used car market is like health insurance and What is the purpose of medical insurance?

A stressed nation (three months have passed… )

Publishing while female.  Being in business school while female.

When schoolie mcschoolface is the best of the options.

This is highly unsettling.

How big is a buttload?

Nicki Minaj went on the best kind of spending spree.

Amusing

These are even better than regular green and black  (We get no $ etc.)

Why?

Ask the Grumpies: Where to learn economics?

Leah asks:

I’d love to learn some basic econ. Where’s a good place to start that is not too arduous but is also accurate?

I know there are a lot of Econ for laypeople books out there (Freakanomics being the most famous), but when people ask me this question I always stick to two textbook recommendations.  The first is the Intermediate Microeconomics by Robert Frank called Microeconomics and Behavior.  The second is Public Finance by Jonathan Gruber.

I love Frank because he discusses microeconomics in a way that contrasts how the rational person would behave with how people actually behave.  This I think makes the theory more believable and more powerful.

Public Finance I really think ought to be taught in high school.  If you want to understand the role for government, it is a must read.  So much of what is going on with healthcare right now violates basic economic principles and after reading about adverse selection, you, too, will understand why.

Note for these that you do not at all need to buy the most recent edition.  The 1998 edition of Frank is fine for understanding the basics.  The first edition of Public Finance by Gruber is still a fantastic read.  Get whatever is available and cheap.

What economics tomes/videos do you recommend, Grumpy Nation?

RBOC

  • PSA:  If you need to save space on your grant proposal, do not, I repeat, DO NOT mess around with the spacing between letters to buy yourself more space.  Cut things, play with your margins, get rid of adjectives, whatever, but playing with the spaces between letters just makes life difficult for your reviewers.  Leave Kerning Alone!
  • We hadn’t been shopping in the city for something like 3 months.  When we finally went, we spent almost $300 at TJ’s (DH says this is a new record) and $175 at WF.  And also we bought loose tea at the tea shop and ice cream at the ice cream place and poke (yay!) at one of the new poke bars and a lasagna at the fresh noodle place and… Our freezer is now full and our pantry is over-stocked.  Since we also have the CSA (which also provides eggs and a pound of ground beef each week) going right now I told DH we weren’t allowed to go grocery shopping except to get milk for a few weeks.
  • I really like the teapot DH got me for my birthday.
  • It’s a little depressing looking at stats for random posts and seeing that some quite excellent posts haven’t had a single view in aeons.  Do they get lonely?  Do they feel unloved?  Back when we had less of an archive, occasionally we’d have people read all the posts, but I think there’s too much now.  Which is a shame because there’s some really good stuff in there.
  • I found out that the Davis, California Whole Foods recently went out of business.  If a hippie university town near SF can’t support a WF, what hope does our nowhere have of getting one?
  • It’s creepy seeing that a college ex-boyfriend has checked out your LinkedIn profile.  (He’s a product manager at Google in case you’re wondering, so I can’t imagine that he’s got any professional reason to look.  Plus apparently we only have one connection so it’s unlikely he accidentally landed on my page.)  I probably wouldn’t have minded if this guy hadn’t turned out to be a jerk, but this is not a guy I think fondly of if I think of him at all.  (Whereas I was super happy for my sweet first boyfriend when I heard through the grapevine that he’d gotten married and later he’d had kids.  I think I’m happy leaving him with that Happily Ever After.)
  • I suspect that at this point in the season I am about 70% zucchini bread by weight.
Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 29 Comments »

Purple Carrot: A Review

This review is not sponsored or anything at all.  #2 has just been nagging me to do it since everybody else is doing blue apron [which #2 still doesn’t really understand] and we’ve been doing this one instead.  We get no money from this post.

Purple Carrot is like Blue Apron except it’s vegan [#2 understands this a little better because she imagines if you’ve grown up in a meat-eaters culture, it’s harder to come up with tasty new vegetarian recipes all the time].  Each week we get a box with 3 meals (for 2 people) in it.  The servings are frequently on the small side, though.  Currently our plan is that my partner cooks on Wednesdays and Sundays, and I cook on Fridays.  (The rest of the time we fend for ourselves.)  Neither one of us is actually a vegan, but we couldn’t find good vegetarian options for my partner (he’s ovo-lacto veggie) because most other services had one dumb vegetarian option each week (pasta and a salad, we already know that, duh!).  A nice side effect of it being vegan is that I never worry whether the food is staying cold enough in the cold box while waiting outside our door for me to open it when I get home from work: no meat, no dairy, mostly stuff that won’t give you food poisoning at a picnic if it gets a little warm.  It does stay cold in that box, though.  Even though I eat meat, I’m not sure I want raw meat in a box that sits.

We have been using Purple Carrot since June 2016.  The fact that we’re still using it almost a year later is a review in itself, I guess.  Like any meal service, you can pause your subscription or skip weeks if you’re going to be out of town or just don’t like the upcoming menu.  Unlike other services, you don’t get to pick the food– you can either get all the food that week or none.  That’s it.  We’re doing it this way in order to eat more vegetables and try to have at least some healthy food.  Also to avoid decisions — all we have is go/no-go and not “what do we pick?”

Some recipes we both end up not liking (rare).  Sometimes one of us likes it more than the other.  Sometimes we agree that the food is just a bit… odd, though not bad.  And sometimes we have a BIG hit that’s delicious, nutritious, and that we didn’t have to think up ourselves (or shop for, or decide among millions of recipes, resulting in paralysis).

For us, it’s worth the cost 3x/wk, at least for now.  We might stop at some point in order to save money, or if it stops being worth it for us.  Below I’ll put a few of our favorite recipes that we loved.

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/mustard-glazed-tempeh-with-red-kraut-and-smashed-beets (it helps if you like German food, which I do and my partner doesn’t)

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/drunken-noodles (easily modifiable with other veg you have lying around)

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/miso-glazed-peaches-and-eggplant-with-rice-noodles-and-minted-spinach (one of the highlights of all time)

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/pumpkin-fettuccine-alfredo-with-crispy-sage-and-broccoli-rabe (surprisingly delicious, though it would be better with cream)

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/creamy-leek-polenta-with-summer-vegetables (eat this every day)

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/meyer-lemon-forbidden-rice-risotto-with-sweet-peas (not actually a risotto but very tasty)

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/spring-radish-fattoush-with-sumac-vinaigrette-minted-basmati-rice (#2 tried this with CSA veggies replacing sumac with lemon zest and liked it too.  Add some feta and you’ll increase the joy.  Noms!)

Grumpeteers, has anyone tried Hello Fresh though?  I’m thinking of trying that one day.  Other thoughts?  Who likes to eat veggies?  How do you get veggies into your life?

Link Love

FDA denies Trump admin directed agency to display Fox News on its tvs despite email evidence to the contrary.

Indivisible suggests next steps now that Trumpcare has passed the House.  Suggestions from Delagar.  We gave $350 to swing left— $10 for each of 35 opponents in swing districts where the republican congress-people voted to destroy lives with TrumpCare.

Even people with employer-based healthcare aren’t exempt from the negative changes from Trumpcare.

Donations from this poster sale go to help resettle refugees.  We have the LOVE poster in the hallway between our children’s rooms (next to DC2’s signs for the women’s march and the science march) and it is just adorable.

Amanda Knox on why quid pro quo is bad for the US.

Delagar shares her lack of health insurance story.  It’s not pretty.  Jen Sorensen shares hers again.

Jimmy Kimmel wasn’t enough.

This is what criminalizing free speech looks likeLiterally.

Trump’s administration is successfully terrorizing immigrants.  One of my colleagues who volunteers with a local immigrant group told me that a trailer park owner in town has been using immigrants’ increased fear of government to perpetrate fraud against them by levying fake fines that they pretend are from the city.

Stupid Puritans.

F the police.  :(

It makes me so angry that media is still doing this.  And thank you, Washington Post for pointing it out.  Angry and tired.

Wandsci is here to help.

This really is epic.

Tutus  and more tutus

Elsevier is being a jerk.

How to make time for research?  People disagree!

The tragic history of Piedmont, Alabama.  Why there was a civil war.

Hate has no home here, a burn by a 7th grader

Word can read your prose aloud to you.

Linking to a gai shan life’s link love because of the cute hedgehog pic at the bottom.

How much is too much?

The horror of the creeping bellflower

US and Canada at the same latitudes as Europe

Baby animal names

Academic Noir

Ask the readers: How do I teach my middle-schooler writing?

While we have been impressed with the math and orchestra teaching in public schools where we are, we have been less so with the humanities.  DC1 is not learning how to write.  Zie is not getting many writing assignments, and the one that zie gets are completed in-class with minimal feedback and are mostly creative writing or opinion.  (Add to that the ELA teacher doesn’t exactly show great writing skills in hir own written communications… though I suppose my blog writing doesn’t show the same level of quality as my professional writing so I shouldn’t throw stones.  Still…)

Looking online most of the recommendations seem to be “let them read a lot and write a lot”… well, DC1 already reads a lot.  And, having looked into the “research” that claims that writing cannot be taught, I am less than impressed with the methodology.  I can believe that writing cannot be taught in a single semester, and that grammar instruction without  combined writing instruction doesn’t transfer, but I have a bright 10 year old with a growth mindset for at least another 6 years of instruction, not a fixed-mindset college student for a semester of remediation.   I have to believe that there’s something more systematic that can be done than just having DC1 write about a wedding zie has attended.

I am most interested in teaching DC1 technical writing, especially given that technical writing seems to be completely neglected in hir classes thus far.  As I’m grading my college students’ policy briefs, I find I worry that DC1 doesn’t know how to use topic sentences or craft a paragraph that supports such sentences.  I want hir to learn outlining.  And have the ability to skim an article that has been written with topic sentences and an outline.

I vaguely remember learning in 3rd grade about topic sentences, diagramming sentences in 4th grade, and outlining in 5th grade.  (My juvenilia is actually pretty good… at least compared to the writings of many of my college students…)  A high school history teacher taught the art of transitions (though in college I learned that not all disciplines appreciate them, so I have stopped doing that final step except when writing in more historical sub-fields).  My mom did a lot of teaching me how to fix my grammar, clarity, and so on.  #2 also helped form my writing (her mom is a professional editor).  One of my grad advisors taught me discipline-specific tricks for writing in my main field.

Students at elite private schools get a lot of technical instruction in writing.  The results are impressive.  And I can’t believe it’s just their socioeconomic status or a greater propensity to read that’s the cause of it.  My sister got actual technical writing instruction at the private school she went to for high school and her writing ability and writing enjoyment improved tremendously (despite heavy amounts of constructive feedback).  There are rules that can be taught.

So I’m asking you:  How do I teach writing to my kids?  Is there a curriculum that would be good?  A workbook series or set of prompts that would guide them through the basics of technical writing? A Kumon-style academy that does a particularly good job?  How did you learn how to write?

What are we reading?

Most of Ruth Ann Nordin’s stuff is pretty bad– heroes trapping women into marriages by kissing them against their will in public.  Not cool (also not believable–this regency world has different rules than most).  Oddly most of her heroes are otherwise sweet usually virgins.  But taking away a woman’s agency is still awful.  One exception that was readable (this hero accidentally traps both himself and the heroine into marriage) but not buyable was a most unsuitable earl.

Carole Mortimer is really into spanking.  All her heroines seem to be naughty naughty girls.  Many of her books seem to start out with plot, then just kind of forget to have any substance after the spanking.  I am embarrassed to admit that I read 5 of them in one day– more novellas than novels and not very good at that.  Kind of like eating 5 regular somewhat stale Krispy Kreme in one sitting.

I read the highest rated Christi Caldwell, To redeem a rake, so that you don’t have to.  Amazon has been pushing them on me for years and no library seems to carry them.  It was fine.  Meh and derivative with lengthy repetitive parts that dragged.  A library read if you were bored and if libraries carried it, which they don’t.  I’m trying to decide whether or not to delete it from my kindle.  It doesn’t “spark joy” but I’m sure I will have forgotten it entirely by the time I am desperate for reading material on a delayed flight.  Still, wouldn’t rereading Candice Hearn for the 20th time be a better use of my time?

The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by KJ Charles definitely sparks joy.  Unputdownable even though it is episodic.  Wonderful.

the marriage gamble is rather sweet.  Marina Oliver’s books that I’ve seen are a bit dated and a little slow, but I do not regret reading them.

I enjoyed Rules for Reforming a Rake by Meara Platt (not to be confused with a similarly titled more excellent book by Sarah MacLean).  If you’re a stickler for historical accuracy, this one is not for you.  Suspension of disbelief FTW!  All the books in the series are pretty enjoyable– not perfect books, but the family of young women and their suitors are fun to get to know.  I think I may buy the set.

Couldn’t finish any of the Ella Quinn I tried.

I did enjoy The Mysterious Marquess by Eileen Ramsay, though not enough to buy.

I liked the latest Lenora Bell, Blame it on the Duke, though not as much as I liked the second in that series, despite the bluestocking/rake pairing which is one of my favorite tropes.  It was a bit thinner than her earlier two works.  I don’t regret buying it and I will no doubt read it again.  Again, Lenora Bell is most fun if you don’t really care about historical accuracy.

What have you all been reading?  Any great summer reads to recommend?  Also:  What am I going to do when I run out of the alphabet in my regency ebook sweep?

What to do when they dryer stops drying: Or why DH spent some time on the roof

Our dryer was taking longer and longer to get clothes actually dry.  A regular load was starting to take upwards of 2 hours to finish.

We vacuumed out the inner workings of the lint trap (as one does on a somewhat regular basis).  That didn’t help.

We vacuumed out the vent tube and vent area behind the dryer (something we do about once a year, give or take).  It wasn’t particularly clogged. That didn’t help.

Then DH did something he has never done before, despite us having lived in this house for >10 years (give or take).  He followed the vent to where it spits out.  Growing up, our dryer vents had always vented somewhere on the first floor on the side of the house … I’d never thought about that being one floor up from where the dryer was (DH’s laundry room was in the basement, while ours was on the lower ground floor of our split-level).  Turns out our laundry vents out on the roof.

So DH went up to the roof and cleaned out that end of the vent.  It was completely clogged and he doubts that the previous owners ever cleaned it either.

One immediate side effect was that timed dry regular didn’t heat so hot as usual the first time we tried it (DH suspects the heat wasn’t blocked getting out at all).  So DH tried the sensor dry which has NEVER worked since we got the dryer 10+ years ago.  It worked way too well this time, with the clothes ending up hot and bone dry.  So then he tried sensor dry slightly damp and that was perfect.  A few weeks have passed (and the weather outside has gotten warmer) and we’re back to being able to used timed try again.

So yay not having to buy a new dryer because it was just the outside vent being clogged.

Do you have any appliance repair stories to share?  What’s your process when the dryer stops working so well?