Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Another year bites the dust

My sixth year of full-time teaching is now at an end. Overall I think it went well, although I missed my target grade distributions in both of my upper division classes (too tough in Congress & The Presidency; too easy in Political System of the USA). One of these decades I’ll get it right.

I’m now looking forward to a very busy summer, including a conference, AP exam reading, two summer courses to teach, and three or four research projects in various stages from completely unwritten (my APSA paper) to on the verge of journal submission (my Midwest paper with Scott and Adolphus). After all of that, I’ll probably be looking forward to a relatively restful three-course semester with only one totally-new-to-me course, the first semester of graduate research methods.

Monday, 27 July 2009

A big ass, a sex tape, and an empty space in her heart

The romance of our age between Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush has come to an end. Oh, the humanity.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Things that aren't likely to appear as Facebook quizzes

Prof. Shugart passes along news of the EU Profiler. It seems to think I’d make a reasonably good Tory if I were British (which is probably true, given my moderately Thatcherite childhood socialization) but I’d be a better fit to the Liberal and Centre Union in Lithuania or the Free Democrats in Germany.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Headlines you don't see every day

“Woody Harrelson claims he mistook photographer for zombie.”

Now if it’d been Matthew McConaughey the headline wouldn’t have been quite as surprising.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

The girlie blog

Megan McArdle gives beauty product advice and Amber Taylor recommends hosiery. I’m sure this is all of some use to my female and/or hitched readers, which seem to be pretty much all of them. For the rest of my readers, I’m not convinced that chest hair is back in; we can’t all be Alec Baldwin, after all.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Friday campusblogging

Per request, here are some photos of the TAMIU campus I took over the summer; I don’t have any javelina pictures (they seem to mostly come out at night), but there are some of our whitetail deer in the pictures like the one below:


Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Only at TAMIU

From my inbox:

Members of the Campus Community -

This Fall, campus wildlife is especially prevalent, with a substantial increase in populations of both whitetail deer and javelina.

Seeing both on campus on a regular basis often leads members of the University community and visitors to consider our wildlife tame and approachable.

This is NOT the case. The animals remain wild and, if provoked, may respond.

Construction projects underway have temporarily cordoned off some favorite feeding areas and animals have been wandering more frequently into general campus areas. Mating cycles may also be in play, creating additional tensions among the populations.

Please avoid all contact with the animals and do not engage with them. Exercise caution on campus and if animals are gathered in your path, select an alternate route.

If you feel threatened by any animal population, contact University Police at [xxx]. Provide your location and request assistance.

Please exercise all relevant precautions so that all residents of our campus, both two and four-legged, can share this special environment.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Maybe I should have held out for that Georgia State interview after all

Via Lee Sigelman, a ranking of the best cities for singles with Atlanta at the top. Laredo, no doubt to everyone’s shock and amazement, is unranked.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Gotta have our priorities

Saturday, 30 August 2008

A profit-seeking entity released this?

I give you what is objectively the worst song ever to gain commercial release. I’d rather listen to white noise at 110 decibels than ever hear this song again.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Green light specials

Today’s Signifying Nothing public service announcement follows.

Unless you plan to keep your clothes on, or are in the process of producing your one-person dramatic reenactment of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, don’t sit in front of your MacBook if the little green light above the screen is on.

This concludes today’s Signifying Nothing public service announcement.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Public retrocranial inversion

Over at OTB today, helping fill in for vacationing James, I discuss PZ Myers’ defacement of a communion wafer.

More asshattery, if you can stand it, in a two thread extravaganza at, where the denizens debate the merits of hidden city ticketing rules, prompted by a Continental gate agent who’s apparently gleeful he helped his employer extract an extra $1800 from a party of customers.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Wordling the blog

Via PoliBlog, here’s the Wordle of the blog of late:

And, just for my amusement, I dumped my entire dissertation in and got this:

Monday, 14 July 2008

Roundup: kills Google Reader items dead

Time to clear out the Google Reader “to be blogged about” queue, while I wait around for the Safelite guy:

  • The old debate over academic titles resurfaces with questions over whether Barack Obama’s teaching at the University of Chicago Law School merited his claim of being a professor; Orin Kerr says yes and I am inclined to agree, particularly given that at most institutions instructors with a terminal degree in the field (which in most fields of law, horror of horrors, includes the professional JD degree) would receive the title “adjunct professor” even when teaching a single course.
  • Amber Taylor describes why she doesn’t sound like a Houstonian. My accent, on the other hand, is not really the result of any deliberate plan; it just seems to have worked out that way.
  • Political scientists only pay attention to the importance of SES in their research, not in graduate admissions.

That wasn’t all of the queue, but it took care of most of the highlights.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008


In response to Matthew Yglesias (and presumably in anticipation of Mark Kleiman), Amber Taylor considers the question of just how she’s supposed to classify her ethnicity. As someone who can claim descent from immigrants from at least England, Spain, Norway, and the Netherlands, and quite possibly other parts of Europe too, I sometimes wonder about the same thing; on the other hand, given that I have no real allegiance to any of those particular ethnic groups (all of which constitute The Man to at least some extent), I suppose the residual category “American” works about as well for me as any other, more complex label like “random European.”

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Wings! Beer! Sports!

I had a few beers this evening at Buffalo Wild Wings with Frequent Commenter Alfie and Frequent Facebook Correspondent Annie while watching the Ole Miss-Vanderbilt baseball game and various other sporting events, including part of a UFC contest. The onion rings were very good, as was the company, and even the beer wasn’t that badly priced.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Pimp my insurer

Nick Troester extolls the virtues of renter’s insurance in light of his recent run-in with Durham’s criminal element. I’ve always maintained renter’s insurance myself (excluding the six years I co-owned a house, when I had home insurance coverage), along with a supplemental policy for my laptop and additional liability insurance, and while it hasn’t paid off more than I’ve put in it over the years it has saved my butt a few times, most notably with my policy’s refrigerator/freezer power-loss coverage which I’ve had to use a couple of times.

My car insurance, on the other hand, has done relatively little for me over the years; I don’t think I’ve ever collected on a claim.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Defining Yglesias down

How on earth is this quote by Warren Beatty an Yglesias Award Nominee? Is our discourse so poisoned that a liberal actor saying that a conservative politician is conservative somehow evidence of the actor reaching across the ideological divide?

Friday, 2 May 2008

Ding dong, the witch is dead

The good news: one of my student loans is paid off, and it’s the one that had the highest interest rate (5%). The bad news: it wasn’t a very big loan to begin with, and most of my student loan debt is still outstanding—granted, at about the same interest rate than I get on the money in my ING Direct savings account, but it’s still out there.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Up now on The Soup

Kim Kardashian on doing a PSA about Burma (via Kerry Howley):

It’s an incredible story and I’m honored to have helped raise awareness about Burma’s plight. Over all it was a really fun and eye-opening experience!

As Joel McHale would say, she’s famous for having a big ass and a sex tape—not for having a high IQ.

Monday, 21 April 2008

It's all Bush's fault

If you can’t drive anywhere in New Orleans for the next two days, blame the convergence of presidents Bush and Calderón and Prime Minister Harper on New Orleans. Not that the traffic report websites have bothered warning people that you’re not going anywhere fast near I-10 or the central business district for the next day or so.

I also blame the president for having to park farther away on St. Charles than I normally do this morning, even though it’s probably really just due to my arriving later than usual and the campus being crawling with admits checking out the university before forking over their parents’ hard-earned bucks to the Tulane Educational Fund.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Disappearing acts

I lost my Bluetooth headset in my apartment last week and trying to find it is driving me crazy. I know exactly where I lost it and exactly when, and the odds of it being more than 10 feet from where I lost it are about zero, but still I can’t find the stupid thing.

My clip-on sunglasses and glasses case have also disappeared into the ether. I have rather less hope of finding them, but given that the clip-ons were less than $10 at Wal-Mart I’m less worried about them.

Update: I found the headset this afternoon—it had somehow ended up on a shelf of the bookcase my charger is on behind the books. And I replaced the clipons at the Wal-Mart in Elmwood this afternoon. All is now right in my world. Well, as right as ever.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Future work

Where my next office will be, from a bird’s eye view. (For comparison purposes, here’s where I work now.)

Monday, 7 April 2008

The vapors

Longtime Signifying Nothing staple Margaret Soltan samples a recent export from Oxford, Mississippi. I can’t say that the shirtless men were of particular interest to me during my six years on campus, but I suppose the general sentiment is well-taken.

Friends, Romans, countrymen

My LinkedIn and Facebook self-questioning of the day: should I friend* people who I just know from the blogosophere or email? I generally don’t add people I haven’t had a significant interaction with (defined loosely as “a conversation I can remember” or “we consumed sufficient alcohol that we probably had a conversation I cannot remember any more” or “significant online interaction over time”), but maybe I should make more exceptions.

Similarly, Flickr’s new Find Your Friends feature turned up one of my friends who happens to live here but disappeared off the face of my planet (but not the planet, judging from recent photos) about a year ago—indeed much of the reason I came to Tulane instead of another job with a bit more job security in the Mid-Atlantic was because I figured I’d have at least one friend here. I apparently figured wrong… although Flickr now believes otherwise.

I also saw friends in Chicago—a few new ones, now added to Facebook, and a few old ones, either already there or too tragically hip to be there in the first place. Shoutouts in particular to SN readers Dirk, Jennifer, Nick, and Sara, and possibly some of my lurkers too embarrassed to fess up to reading the blog to my face.

* I assume it is now safe to use the word “friend” as a verb. (OS X 10.5’s version of The New Oxford American Dictionary says it’s ok… and actually a revitalized archaic form.)