Link Love

New York readers, please call your state reps:

California readers, please call your state reps:

Here’s a donors choose for a district in Texas that is trying to help its LGBTQ+ students.

Doot doot doot do do do doo

Random gossipy question:  I noticed from a blogroll that The Frugal Girl has signed a housing lease.  I haven’t read her blog much since 2019 when she decided that giving Chick Fil A free advertising was more important than respecting LGBTQ+ people, and it wasn’t clear from the post– what happened?  Are they downsizing?  Is she divorced?  Widowed (if it’s widowed I’m going to feel guilty because that’s really sad no matter what your politics)?  I know it’s none of my business, but also… curious.  Whatever it is, unless it’s just downsizing/traveling because the kids are grown, it’s a good reminder that having a career of your own can be important even if your spouse makes enough to support the family.



  1. Wrote 10 postcards to voters for Columbia County, FL
  2. Donated $25 to We Need Diverse Books
  3. Donated $25 to Brooklyn Public Library to help teens across the country get ebooks and audiobooks
  4. Donated $25 to Donors Choose to support diverse books in a state where diversity is under attack.

Ask the Grumpies: Easy ways to blog from an iPhone?

bookishbiker asks:

[I]s there a particular blogging platform that is easy to post to strictly from a phone app? I’m going to be taking a year off and doing some travel and might do a limited duration blog if I can find an easy way to do it. I’ll have an iphone but no laptop and probably no tablet.

I do not know the answer to that question. But maybe someone in grumpy nation does? WordPress is ok but not easy. You might want to look into getting a keyboard for your iPhone. I’ve seen them at conferences.

Congratulations on the travel!

Jenny F. Scientist Says:

Blogger has a function where you can email in your posts. I don’t know about photos though!

Steph Says:

Tumblr has a pretty good mobile app. I used it for a travel blog while I was in the UK several years ago, and I did have some trouble posting on wifi sometimes, but I also didn’t have any real cell service there. If you’re planning to get a better phone for international travel, it will probably work well with Tumblr.

You can also look into IFTT – IF This Than That. I used it to crosspost Instagram posts onto my Tumblr blog, and they have interfaces with a lot of services.

Sometimes I just get tired of trying to please people

Another unposted post from 2011, this one I’ve left unchanged– probably I could have filled in the yadda yadda part or explained more the “could be quiet” but I’m not sure what we meant about that, but otherwise I think it’s been good to go lo these 11 years.  It is still so true.:

You can’t please everyone.

Flaws, yadda yadda…

Could be quiet, people want to silence

But people who don’t bow to social convention tend to do pretty well for themselves.

Own the awesomeness.  Stick up for rights.  Don’t be a doormat.  Don’t accept mediocrity (unless mediocrity is justified).

Some people won’t be happy.  That’s their problem.

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 1 Comment »


  • I got invited to give two talks this summer in Europe within a week and in nearby cities.  They’re both doing the “you pay your way, we pay your stay” thing and my bursary will cover my flight.  One of the cities is also near a lot of second cousins I’ve never met, but my sister has met.
  • After a lot of thinking and concern about covid etc. we decided that the whole family should go.  I don’t know if this is the right decision or not (the state department doesn’t think so), but who knows what European rates are going to be like compared to US rates in the summer.
  • While we were booking our flights, United brought to our attention that we still had $1900 of travel credits left(!) from our anniversary trip and DH’s family trip getting cancelled by Covid.  I totally thought they had expired.  Thank you for bringing that to our attention, United.
  • Total flight cost after credits and minus my flight:  $1600.
  • It’s kind of weird realizing that in a year and some change, DC1 will be off to college and may not always be included in family trips anymore depending on what zie is up to.  This is kind of our last chance to give hir these travel opportunities I never had as a kid.  Maybe zie will study abroad a semester, but that’s not the same as experiencing things as a family.
  • I also have two flights for giving talks scheduled for May.  I’ll also be going to an in-person conference in July.
  • Turns out DC2’s passport expires just before our summer trip.  We renewed DC1’s over break because it was going to expire earlier, but we figured we weren’t going to be going anywhere and could renew DC2’s at our leisure sometime after the school year.  Unfortunately even with expedited we need to renew hirs right away, and we can’t do it locally because there aren’t any appointments available.  We’re going to have to drive an hour and a half to a post office in a small town we’ve never heard of.  (We could do an emergency renewal but we’d have to put off renewing until right before and do it in the city, and we’d rather have that be a last resort option if it truly is an emergency.)
  • There was a last minute cancellation in the town next to ours, so we were able to only drive 30 min instead of 70.  It took half an hour (not including the travel time) and over $200 with all the expediting to get it to arrive in 5-7 weeks.  But it will be worth the peace of mind so long as it actually comes in 5-7 weeks.
  • After we bought our flights, the mask mandate thing was cancelled.  Though it would have expired in early May anyway.  I wonder what international flights will do.
  • I bought some more large masks of various types so DH will have things to choose from.  I also got more POSH masks for the rest of us because the BOTN masks are getting complaints about the nose piece being worse than it used to be and if that happens with POSH I want to have backups.

Link love

Missouri teacher accused of teaching critical race theory loses her job.

I was curious about how the severe calorie restriction studies were going.

Ask the grumpies: What should kids know before they move out of the house

First Gen American asks:

[What are] things your kids should know how to do before they go to college[?] Socially and practically. (Safe sex, how to make eye contact, manners, laundry, managing money, dishes, etc.)

We live in a school district with zero sex ed.  DC1 got some age appropriate instruction in 5th grade when we were on leave, and DC2 has read both a boy’s and a girl’s version of puberty stuff.  I believe zie asked DH some questions about them and he gave matter-of-fact answers.  DC1 also has the teen vogue issue on sex, though I’m not sure if zie ever opened it.  We’ve spent a lot of time discussing consent.  We’ve also discussed sexual identity and sexual attraction (specifically, why DC1 may not be feeling attracted to anybody yet even though many other 15 year olds are dating).  But we haven’t yet talked about birth control/STDs (DH says they did when DC1 started going through adolescence and we got those puberty books, but it was a talk aimed at a much lower age), or, what I think is more important, how to deal with sex as a teen/young adult (other than the consent thing, which we have emphasized goes both ways).  We will definitely have those conversations before zie goes off to college (or after zie gets a significant other, whichever comes first).

We’ve been focusing on basic cooking skills, including some simple dishes without a recipe and how to follow a recipe.  Both of our kids can now feed themselves and follow a recipe well enough to feed other people with minimal help.

Laundry is another important thing.  One would think people could just read the instructions on the washer/dryer, but given my experiences at boarding school and college, no, people (including high school me) need instruction.  I’d rather have my kids be doing the instruction than the other way around.

How to make a bed.  How to be a good guest.  How to load and unload a dishwasher.

How to drive and pump gas and use a credit card, maybe even a checkbook.  And how not to get into consumer debt.

DC1’s school recently had a “learning how to adult” day, which is new.  But they gave such terrible advice!  The financial person (who works for a local bank) was 100% Dave Ramsey (name-checked him a lot) and said never to ever use credit cards.  They showed them how to write checks and recommended they call up to negotiate the price on their land-line every time the introductory rate changes.  (Which is great advice for all our rotating services, but who has a land line?)  The college person said that everyone should apply to exactly three schools (aspirational, good chance, safety– not bad advice, but for kids in DC1’s bracket, aspirational and good chance blur a lot and they need to apply to more) and either go to the university in our town, or if they can’t get in, then to a specific one of our regional state schools (one that’s about 7 hours away, which is weird when there’s others that are closer).

Grumpy Nation, what do you think kids should learn about adulting before they leave the nest?

Cognitive dissonance is painful

Another abandoned and revived post from 2011…

Our major is difficult and our new undergraduate students are often not used to thinking.

Graduate school was a similar painful change, though in a different way…

But there’s definitely this battle between a self-concept that has reasonable self-esteem battling with facing difficult challenges and, in many of our students’ cases, being forced to go from black and white thinking to something more nuanced with shades of grey.  Learning that there’s not always a right answer but you have to make decisions anyway.

Ow ow ow ow… It can be painful while you’re getting used to it.

Then everything is ok.  Maybe some scar tissue.

One of the things we’ve done to help our students is to have sections in the syllabi of all our initial core courses explaining how they’re learning to think– learning how to ask questions, not just answer them, and how they may think they’re dumb, but that’s actually just their brains growing.  It seems to have helped.

Have you ever had problems with your self concept vs. new challenges?  How did you get through it?


  • This is not my area of expertise, BUT, I suspect that the reason there’s so much unionizing activity is because minimum wage hasn’t kept pace with inflation and is now at levels that don’t allow living wages.  If we had higher wages, workers wouldn’t *need* to unionize.
  • Unpopular opinion:  Not a fan of unions because they incentivize insider/outsider behavior and lead to inefficiencies that only benefit people in the union, often at the cost of other people, not just companies (see:  police unions).  Unions are a second-best solution in a world with monoposonies.  That said, in the current environment I (unpopular opinion with economists) support unionization.
  • Unpopular opinion (among half of economists, among most economists if you include my why):  I am a fan of higher minimum wages because I think people who can’t/won’t work such that they’re productive enough to make a living wage are probably terrible workers.  And I think a lot of the jobs that unproductive people can do go against basic human dignity (ex. being used as targets of ridicule by insanely wealthy people).  Minimum wages are also a second-best solution, but they cover everybody, not just those who can unionize.  And the effects of an increased minimum wage filter up the payscale, at least at the lower levels where they need to filter.  And the evidence is really mixed on the effects of higher minimum wages on employment overall, especially at these levels.
  • Unpopular opinion:  I would rather try out a basic income system that fed and housed and kept people healthy to a minimum amount of decency and get rid of minimum wage entirely.  This is not efficient, but I think in a society with as much surplus as we have, not everybody has to work and we can still afford to give people basic human rights.
  • Unpopular opinion:  Pay caps on CEOs etc. don’t do harm.
  • My students this semester have bought the company lines that nobody wants to work and that’s why employers are having trouble hiring.  Which is ridiculous because in Econ 101 we start with the assumption that nobody wants to work!  That’s why we have to pay people to work!  I explained that not working for pay doesn’t mean you’re not productive.  Many people would rather do meaningful charitable or creative work for free than work for pay.  We call it leisure in our models, but that doesn’t mean people are just watching tv.  (Deep down I do believe that most of us probably want to read books and watch tv and play videogames… the so-called technophysio revolution in leisure time, but working for The Man isn’t in any way morally superior than playing animal crossing.  But the current propaganda have made my students believe it is.
  • The part they’re forgetting is that nobody wants to work at current wages!  Econ 101 works both ways.  The current equilibrium is at a higher wage, which isn’t surprising in a world with high inflation!!  The reason companies are having trouble hiring is because *employers aren’t offering enough money.*

Link Love

Texas CPS people are quitting because of the anti-trans stuff.

Scalzi’s man cred

I recommend watching all of these

Did your parents buy your first car?


1.  10 postcards to encourage voting by mail to Citrus County, FL
2.  4 x $25 to Donors choose classrooms that are trying to help Trans kids in states where they are under attack

Ask the grumpies: Minimalist or Maximalist?

Steph asks:

Are you minimalist, maximalist, or somewhere in between?

#1:  Maximalist!  Especially with books!  Our apartment is stuffed.

#2:  A little from both.  I think I’m sort of a natural minimalist (except with books, spices, and whatever it is I’m currently collecting), so I don’t tend to bring that much into the house, but also I like completing sets.  Right now our pantry is bursting at the seams.  I have a hard time getting rid of stuff too… except a couple times a year I go into major Spring cleaning mode and everyone uses that opportunity to get rid of their unwanted stuff even if I made DH hold on to it earlier.  DC2 literally filled up my car trunk with hand-me-down toys for the 4 year old kid of one of my colleague’s over Spring Break.

It’s weird because I like both clean empty spaces AND comfortable clutter.  Like, I like both simple modern art AND the kind of visual clutter one sees in Dutch Masters.  Similarly with home decoration– I like clean modern looks AND cozy wood with a million things.  Though in reality I don’t like owning bric-a-brac because I have a massive dust allergy.  But other people’s bric-a-brac is cool!

In terms of other stuff… I guess I see a lot of shades of grey.  Like, I do hate evil and don’t want to excuse it and have come around to believing in evil rich supervillains (see:  Trump, Peter Thiel, etc.).  But also I see that most people (who aren’t evil rich supervillains) have complicated situations and it can be hard to make good decisions.  Very little pleases everyone.  Some things (video games) I have to quit cold turkey, but other things I’m fine with in moderation (ice cream).  Mostly I satisfice stuff when it takes time to optimize (new appliances).  But not always (my husband)!

What about you, Grumpy Nation?