link love

Clarence Thomas’s wife leading the right-wing effort to purge officials “disloyal” to Trump.

Men of the world, you are not the weather.  (cw)

This is why my senior colleague believes that it’s time to move from stocks to bonds (he’s closer to retirement than I am– I’m just going to let things ride.)

The Trump administration plan for recent Corona-virus infected Americans comes with a side order of punishing whistleblowers.

#1254: “Does my micromanaging business partner / friend need to get a life, or have we mixed too much business with friend dynamics?”

A really interesting article on why the current stock sell-off is orderly.

Middle class revolution has a new post up!

Best ballpoint pen for someone who loves to push hard? Ask the grumpies

Heavyhands asks:

Do you have a favorite kind of pen?  I am tired of using cheap Bic work pens that get blobs of ink all over my fingers and smudge all over the page.  I have some Pilot G2 when I want to write in colors, but I really like ballpoint pens [ed: the kind with tacky ink] better, except they glop all over my hands!  I read some good reviews about the uni jetstream and bought them, but I’m not liking it so far.  Yesterday I suddenly realized, “why am I using these pens that glop ink everywhere?  I can afford to buy pens,” but I don’t want to keep ordering random pens and not like them.  I can’t afford that!

NY Magazine thinks my crappy work Bic pens are good.  (The Bic roundstic)– how can I ever trust anyone?  They get globs of ink everywhere!  But… I do trust your readers.

Does grumpy nation have any advice for me?  I think I prefer ballpoint to rollerball [ed: this is what I would call flowing ink like the G2 or my favorite Tul] because I push really hard with my pens.  I also am ok with gel pens, but I’ve only used them for fancy things like writing cards.  Since I push hard with the pens, there’s less friction with a ballpoint than with a gel pen or a rollerball pen.  I think I wreck the tips on rollerballs.

I would love to hear people’s pen recommendations?  What’s your favorite pen?

Oh gee, we both have light touches with pens.  #1 prefers rollerballs and definitely has a lot less friction with a rollerball or gel pen than with a ballpoint.  #2 prefers marker tip(!)

I think my favorite was the uni jetstream 101 (the kind you get 12 to a box, not the retractable kind), but that advice is probably not at all helpful to you since we have such different writing styles and you didn’t like the uni jetstream that you got!

This article recommends the uni-ball signo 207 premier gel pen and the Pilot Dr. Grip Ballpoint.

DH loves his space pen, though I cannot imagine spending that much ($22) on something I would invariably lose.  (DH has not lost his, though it has gone through the wash a couple of times, since it is always kept in his pocket.)

Grumpy Nation, can you help Heavyhands out?  What are your favorite pens?  Do you press heavily or lightly?

Short stories of astonishing power

Grumpeteers, I have a confession.  I started this post with notes to myself back in 2011 and now I don’t know what they mean.  Let’s see what we can resurrect from my cryptic ramblings…

This was going to be a post about what the title says.  Although actually I don’t read a lot of short stories anymore (my attention span got too short to have to keep starting over and over and over).

see list (?)

A Dream of A Thousand Cats, by Neil Gaiman
in Dream Country (exquisite)

Tastings, by Neil Gaiman

A Very Obedient Cat  [But… which very obedient cat? Librarything is silent]

Silver Water, by Amy Bloom
in the book Come to Me (Everyone should check out this book!)

Cleansed and Set In Gold, in the book Masked.  I remember this blowing my brain.

about the tea with the magician; the blind guy with the  [What did I mean?]

Sherlock Holmes, including The Adventure of the Red-Headed League

Do you have any short stories to recommend?

Getting more bait in Capital One 360 savings’ bait and switch

The interest rate on my Capital One 360 money market savings account went up to like 1.8 for a while but has been steadily dropping and is now at 1.5%.  I hadn’t heard of any big interest rate cuts and I’d seen ads for higher rates with other companies, so I decided to see what’s going on.  Surprisingly, I noticed that Capital One 360 is only advertising a Premier online savings account that has an APY of 1.7%.  Which … is higher than the 1.5% we were currently getting.

So I called up the company and got a very nice customer service representative– like extremely nice and extremely knowledgeable, who explained that they no longer offer the money market account to new customers and the new account doesn’t have a debit card, but we weren’t using any sort of card with the account anyway.  Then I asked if I could switch over, and he explained how to do that and then walked me through and closed out my old account.  It took maybe 8 minutes, and much of that was because I had to close Firefox and start over in Chrome (Firefox at work needs to be updated).   All in all a simple and almost pleasant experience.

What’s not pleasant is having to keep an eye on one’s rates because they’ve decided to lure people in with high initial interest rates but then drop the interest rates after people stop paying attention while offering new customers a different product with higher rates.  That part kind of sucks (I estimate I lost at least $40 before noticing).  But… they’re paying for really high quality customer service reps, so…

Have you been the victim of a bait and switch?  How are your online savings accounts doing these days?

Link Love

Not doing social media in the morning has been majorly crimping the link love.  I haven’t been perfect about writing in the mornings but I’ve been better.  There’s just so much that needs to get done.  Currently I’m trying to anti-Boice by doing a project a day instead of a little bit from each.  I just can’t keep 5 projects in my head at the same time and there’s set-up costs each day.  (Second half of the day is moving to service/class prep of which there’s a lot.)  I’d really like to go back to focusing on only two projects at a time, but it’ll be a while before I can do that, I think.

A major news poll sponsored by NBC and the Wall Street Journal just failed to ask questions about Elizabeth Warren even though she’s got the third most delegates.  They did ask about lower ranked candidates– either they think that only one woman can be in a poll at any time (they included Klobuchar) or, much more likely, the owners are truly worried about her proposed wealth tax and other anti-corruption things she’s likely to bring into office.  The anti-Warren junk email we’ve been getting has been getting worse too.  Bad guys are afraid.

Stop and Frisk is enough reason to not vote for Bloomberg.  Unfortunately he’s been spending a lot of money on advertising– my students tell me they know folks who have already voted for him in primaries because of his Facebook ads.  He’s sent us a bunch of mail already (straight to recycling).


An article about the Netflix show Cheer from the view of someone who used to be a cheerleader in high school.



Ask the grumpies: What is UP with VA politicians?

Jenny F. Scientist asks:

What on EARTH is up with my state’s politicians (oh, Virginia).

One word:  Patriarchy

Context:  This question was asked a YEAR ago!  Like, dudes, don’t dress as Klansmen.  Don’t sexually assault people.  Don’t wear blackface.  This shouldn’t be hard!


  • DH on why go to protests:  A typical protest I attend is simultaneously a demonstration to 1) the people in charge to say that we know what they’ve done and we disagree with it, 2) the people under attack to say that we stand with them, 3) the people sitting on the sidelines to say that something is wrong and they should care, and also 4) other protestors that they are part of a group of like-minded people. The protest generates pressure, pushing in multiple directions. It doesn’t create new laws, end old ones, or oust dictators, but I feel like it is the base form of democratic action. It says that a group of regular people care about this, and everyone in the country should know.
  • DH’s relative’s kid’s tuition was a LOT higher this semester, but I think that’s because she’s taking 5 classes instead of 4 because of the math class kerfuffle that ended up in the class being cancelled last semester.  The increase is just a little more than the cost of the class.  Another possibility is that she’s been promoted to manager at her part-time fast food job, so she could be getting less financial aid.  In any case, it’s about $1200 instead of $350 which we can afford (plus however many hundreds of dollars her textbooks end up being– last semester they were more that tuition), but a bit of a surprise.
  • DH and the kids are playing a game called Stardew Valley.  They each have their own separate games.  In DH’s game he is planning to romance and marry a character called Maru who is an engineer.  My subconscious has seized on this and I keep having dreams where he needs to make money but he can’t because his axe is getting upgraded so Maru’s parents hire him to tutor her in like history or something and she’s definitely got a crush on him and he’s oblivious (and wouldn’t date someone he was tutoring anyway) but I’m like, no I must protect you from her machinations, you are engaged to me!  Let us get married now!  I’m not sure what is up with my subconscious that I have to be jealous of a computer character that he just wants to marry to get to her robot anyway.
  • (In Stardew Valley) DC2 married Penny, but discovered you can start dating other people while married (!)  I don’t think DC2 discussed this with Penny.
  • DC1 is getting a lot out of To Kill a Mockingbird– maybe there are benefits to reading it in high school instead of in 7th grade like we did in the midwest.  (Or maybe 7th grade is fine because we’d been training on CA textbooks instead of TX ones…).
  • DC1 told me that he thinks DH is a lot like Atticus Finch because he’s nice and he does the right thing.  *sniffle*  I have such a wonderful family.
  • Wouldn’t it be hilarious if they accidentally picked a nerd Bachelor and he made one of the group dates be a D&D game with him as the DM?  OMG it would be hilarious.  And video games!
  • I’ve decided that I do like Brussels sprouts.  I feel like a large part of my identity has been stripped away.  I take comfort in the fact that they’re not the Brussels sprouts I grew up with, and therefore I may still be the same person deep down, it’s just the sprouts that have changed.
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Young house love has a podcast talked about how in the Hygge book, the guy who wrote the book rewarded himself with a chair.

For example, this guy who wrote the book had saved money for a new chair that he really wanted. But he waited until he published his first book to buy the chair. And so that way in buying the chair it reminds him of this accomplishment, and it feels like more than just the time I bought the chair. It’s like, “Remember when I wrote that book, and then I bought myself this chair to celebrate?”

I used to reward myself.  I’d read a part of an article for a referee report and then I’d get to watch a 4 min youtube video or read a section of a chapter of a novel.  If I got X done, I’d get to read a book.  And so on.

But… forcing myself to be productive via rewards has been harder to do lately… If there’s a reward I will just take it without actually doing the work.

I want it I got it.

I think I’ve been losing this ability since we got really comfortable with our finances and there’s really nothing reasonable that we can’t have (so long as we don’t want a house in Paradise).  I feel like no longer needing to deny myself monetarily has spilled over to other areas of my life as well.  Like, even if DH and I lost our jobs tomorrow we still wouldn’t be forced to live in a van by the river any time soon.  I’ve also been listening to my hunger a bit less… though my desire to not have to buy any new clothing helps a bit there.

Do rewards work for you?  How do you reward yourself?  If not, did they ever work?  How do you get yourself to get through unpleasant tasks?


Link love

But what about that one student?

What I wish my clients knew about the paypal 1099

A failed attempt at van life

Do you have a useless skill?

Ask the grumpies: Why are firms so short-sighted?

Leah asks:

Why do so many companies make decisions based primarily on short term economics and not long-term health of the company? Is it just the stock market, or is there more going on than that?

I am sure that people really do know the answer to this one in terms of how systems and laws and so on have changed to favor short-term over long-term… and I do know that a lot of that has to do with how bonuses and CEO compensation has radically increased over time, meaning short term gambles pay off a ton more than they used to.  So some of it is the stock market, but some of it is also how compensation and tax structures have changed.  This is really outside of my knowledge area though– my knowledge basically comes from skimming paper abstracts of general interest journals and working papers.

My short answer is that even though companies are supposed to be risk neutral, and are supposed to be trying for immortality, they are run by people.  And people are short-sighted.  If the rewards are for the short term and not for the long term, then that’s the direction they’ll go.