Friday, April 14, 2017

Ivanka Trump Feminism

Ivanka Trump feminism: When a super rich white woman makes generic statements about economic equality, ignoring racism, poverty, heterosexism, and those who are gender rebels. It pays disproportionate attention to women with higher levels of educational attainment. It pays sparse attention to women with less earning power. It is a businesswoman ("lean in") and middle-class feminism, not a working-class feminism.

This is a definition in progress. Please let me know if you have suggestions for improvement.

What's The Best Van Halen Album?

I've spent approximately 4% of my life trying to determine the best Van Halen album. This, of course, is a subjective endeavor. Then again, I suppose some quantitatively minded person could develop a set of metrics to objectively make the call. But that ain't me. Let me take you through my process.

The easy part is eliminating anything that happened after 1984.

I get caught up between Diver Down, Fair Warning, and 1984.

I am quick to remove their first three albums from the picture (Van Halen, Van Halen II, Women and Children First). Each are strong albums in their own right, but none of them offer enough to make it into the final round. Van Halen II gets the closest on the strength of Dance the Night Away, and don't forget their fine cover of You're No Good. Women and Children First contains one of my top 10 favorite Van Halen songs--In a Simple Rhyme--but it's not an album that provides enough good content from beginning to end.

As I write this, I'm twisting myself in a knot, and ready to delete this, which is something I've done numerous times over the years in trying to write this post. As soon as I review the tracks of the first Van Halen album, I'm ready to put it back into consideration for best album. Goodness, you've got Runnin' with the Devil, a cover of You Really Got Me, Feel Your Love Tonight, and Eddie Van Halen doing his thing on Eruption. There's also Ice Cream Man. One day I'll tell you about how Ice Cream Man got me out of a fight in 8th grade, but you'll have to wait until my memoir.

As usual, I'm stuck, and again I'm close to hitting delete and moving on with my life. I've probably spent closer to 6% of my life with this process. You can judge me for that. I accept.

Maybe there's no right answer to the question. Maybe that's the answer I've been searching for all these years. But it's no fun to sit on the fence. The fact of the matter is that one of their albums is better than the others. I have to face another fact: I am not ready to conclude which album is the best. I will return to this another day. I have to be content with the process. For now, let's keep this thing inconclusive and enjoy the simple beauty of Runnin' With The Devil.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Melancholy Sociologist Shuns Bon Iver

When you write a poem quickly you might make a typo ("if his life"). In his life was what I was going for there. Well, editing mistakes is a reason we usually process words nowadays, eh?

Thursday, April 6, 2017




Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Fear of Catching Feelings

Maybe you want to catch feelings.
Or maybe you don't.

How long will you wait for the right one?
What if, all along, there was more than one?

Will you decide to cool your heart?
Or decide that linking your heart to another is worth the risk?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hot Take: Men and Women Can Be Friends

It's come to my attention that we are not yet in universal agreement that men and women can be friends. Here's a bullet point:

  • Men and women can be friends.
Here's another bullet point:
  • Men and women should be friends.

I am blessed to have many friends that are women. I find it rather easy to be friends with women. I haven't counted lately, but I think I have more friends that are women than men.

I heard of a prominent person in society who avoids dinners with women because he's married.

I'm very happily married. 12 years so far. There are times I have meals with women who are my friends. It's not a problem. Here's another radical detail. My wife has friends who are women--I consider them my friends too. 

So I have women friends at my workplace, and women friends I've met outside of work too. Imagine.

If this is an unusual life skill in 2017, I am happy to speak at your campus or to your organization about it for a reasonable fee. 

Thank you,

Sunday, April 2, 2017

4 Hot Takes

1. Men buy boats so they have something to name.

2. "Oh Darling" is the best song on Supertramp's Breakfast in America album.

3. The Food Network should be renamed The Guy Fieri Network.

4. April is not the cruelest month.

I am scheduled to appear on a highly-rated program to debate these points.

When and what program, you ask?

I will keep you in suspense.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

On This Snow Day, Let's Appreciate the Greatness of "It's All I Can Do"

For 16 years I've been working as a professor at Niagara University, a lovely place situated in Lewiston, NY (near Niagara Falls and about twenty miles from Buffalo). Snow days have been extremely rare in my career. I would guesstimate fewer than 8 in all those years. I'm pleasantly surprised to have a snow day today. So far I've caught up on e-mail, made pancakes, and emptied the dishwasher. Just as I was about to have my second cup of coffee, one of my favorite Cars songs came into my head: "It's All I Can Do." Time to give this one a few listens before slugging down more coffee. Once properly caffeinated, I will set to work on class prep and other sociological pursuits. Have a great day everybody.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Random Things Bracket

Middle Kids - Edge Of Town

I love when a song changes pace and catches you by surprise. The kind of song that makes you feel. It's right around the 2:17 mark when this song goes from good to great. Feeling the lyrics too. "Have you got something on your mind? Tick, tock, can I take it for a while?" And the fantastic final thirty seconds: "And I got something on my mind..." It never ceases to amaze me how much great music there is in the world. It's one of the best things about getting older. More time to accumulate music.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Listen To This Song. And Then Listen To It Again.

This is a terrific song. The video works too. A pay phone is featured prominently. There is dancing. Lovely background singing. A funky guitar solo. Smart fashion choices. Plus, it's true: friendship is a small boat in a storm. Chicano Batman is now an unofficial band of this blog, joining other musicians unofficially affiliated with this blog: Real Estate, Courtney Barnett, and Stevie Wonder. I have seen Stevie in concert. Now, let's gather Chicano Batman, Real Estate, and Courtney Barnett for a concert in my backyard. Loyal readers, you are all invited. There will be beer.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Strength Has No Gender

Did you hear the one about how, in capitalism, corporations do whatever they have to do to move product? Sometimes, the result isn't terrible. Here, Brawny does a nice job selling paper towels in a way that promotes a positive gender message. For now, I will overlook the fact that paper towels aren't good for the environment. I will admit to using too many paper towels. I try not to make much garbage, but use of paper towels is one way I regularly do so. Well, I will try to reduce my use of paper towels. In the meantime, I will buy Brawny paper towels to support their Strength Has No Gender campaign.

Scoreboard for today:
Capitalism 1
Schoepflin 0

There are even different versions!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

I Love You, Man

These are nice words by Lindsey Graham about John McCain. It's not often you hear a man say "I love him to death" about a friend. I like seeing these men express their emotions to the public.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I'll Speak At Your College. It Won't Cost A Lot. People Will Leave Feeling Good.

There's a lot of talk right now about college campus speakers. Controversial speaker gets protested. Provocateur falls out of favor.

What do you want your speaker to accomplish? Does the speaker have to say 1,000 outlandish things to remind you of the First Amendment? I'm a fan of the First Amendment. As they say, there's a reason it's number 1. Lots of ways to celebrate it in ways that don't involve hate. Got that? Celebrate without the hate.

I still remember being an undergrad at SUNY Fredonia and listening to Henry Rollins do spoken word. Good, energetic speaker that made me think critically. Inspired me to do some spoken word of my own when I was in my 20s.

I'll come to your campus and give a speech that will make people feel good. There were likely be references to love and intimacy and classic rock. Not just classic rock, I'll likely say something about Stevie Wonder and then advise everybody to listen to De La Soul's Three Feet High and Rising. My speech will be uplifting. I won't provoke for the sake of provoking. There's enough controversy freely available on Al Gore's Internet. Why amp it up? There is a love deficit in the United States. I aim to do something about it.

Being a low-profile (no profile) speaker, I don't cost a lot. I'll negotiate a fair price. I will make sure some of the money goes to a local food bank or other charitable cause.

Use the Google to find my contact info and holler.

See you soon at a campus near you.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Interview with Mark Cuban About Our Rapidly Changing Economy

Mark Cuban talks about the changing nature of work and how rapidly the economy is changing in an era of automation. Near the 14 minute mark, he says he expects an increased demand for liberal arts majors. You need a "freer thinker" who can give a fresh perspective of the data, he says. He also talks about the need to be realistic about workers being displaced in our fast-changing economy.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Respect to Rex Ryan

Yesterday I was driving around with my family. We decided to check out Rex Ryan's house. It's on the market for a $1 million. We live in a neighborhood where homes are in the $150,000-$200,000 range. We live about twenty minutes from where Rex's house is located in Orchard Park. We were curious about what kind of house fetches a million dollars. As we drove into the neighborhood, suddenly a Penske truck was driving close behind us. Not right on us or anything, the driver seemed patient, but I felt in the way. I maneuvered out of the driver's way. Then I got distracted by the sight of a huge, beautiful home. As I was admiring the home, my wife noticed a house in the other direction. It was the house we had been looking for. "Rex is driving the Penske truck," she observed. Rex, like a boss, was backing the Penske truck into his driveway. It wasn't a 21 foot truck or anything, but it was substantial size. It would have taken me 3-4 tries to back in and I'm sure I would've taken out the mailbox along the way. It only took Rex one shot to do it right. There was Rex, chilling in his sweats, apparently ready to pack up some of his belongings. One day you're making $5 million to coach the Buffalo Bills, and then you're just another guy renting a moving truck. I almost yelled out "Good luck Rex!" but that seemed ridiculous, even for me. Rex, if you happen to read this, the Schoepflin family wishes you well. Best of luck in all your endeavors.

Ain't That Peculiar

One of my favorite movies was on when I woke up this morning. American Splendor. I love that film. Each time I watch the film, I notice something different. This time it was the song "Ain't That Peculiar" -- and I didn't know it was a Marvin Gaye song until I looked it up. I know the most popular Marvin Gaye songs, but I'm new to this one. It's perfection.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Deeply Unhappy Man Seeks Constant Validation

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

Information Whiplash

It's the era of information whiplash. Wait, what happened with Nordstrom? What did Kellyanne Conway say? Ethics violation! Wait, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the executive order?! Trump tweets SEE YOU IN COURT! Did you say SNL is funny again? Yes I saw the Melissa McCarthy bit and it was hilarious. Is Rosie O'Donnell going to play Steve Bannon? What percentage of Americans know who Steve Bannon is?

Can't keep up with the news. The information that comes in puts me on an emotional rollercoaster. It's exhausting. People in the streets are yelling ANOMIE!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, not yet, but you never know.

And then I come across a news item reporting Mississippi lawmakers would like to add THE FIRING SQUAD as one of their execution methods.

I'm going back to bed.

Sunday, February 5, 2017


Democrats casting around for fresh voices -- Kirsten Gillibrand and Thomas Perez come to mind --  shouldn't forget that Bernie still has plenty energy left in the tank. Here he calls President Trump a fraud and says he will sell out the middle-class and working-class. Depending on how the next few years go, this could be a primary ad. Lose the "Feel the Bern" slogan. Keep the direct language in talking to voters.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

By the Way, It's Guilty Pleasure Saturday

I love donuts. I haven't eaten a lot of them in 2017. Like many guilty pleasures, donuts are best served in moderation. I spend half my life at the grocery store. It's hard to pass up Entenmann's assorted donuts. I only get them a few times a year. Today was one of those days. Okay, let's rank them in order of deliciousness. First are the chocolate frosted ones. Amazing. My 9-year-old and I share a love of them. If parenting is a selfless act, he will get the final one tomorrow. In second place are the plain donuts. Life is hard and stressful but these plain donuts dunked in strong black coffee make it all worth it. No disrespect to the powered donuts, but they are in last place. One is okay in my second cup of coffee, but they never taste totally fresh to me. Honestly, friends, they fall short of being inspiring in the way that donuts should.

It's guilty pleasure Saturday. In addition to donuts, perhaps a Lifetime movie is in the mix, or a listen to Van Halen's 1984 album, or maybe I'll google around for facts about Robert King Merton. Drop me a line in the comments section if you care to share your guilty pleasures!

Judith Butler Talks Gender

Judith Butler describes gender as a phenomenon that is always being produced and reproduced.

She says: "To say gender is performative is to say that nobody really is a gender from the start. I know it's controversial, but that's my claim."

She mentions bullying as a practice that tries to "keep us in our gendered place."

She says "it's important to resist the violence that is imposed by ideal gender norms, especially against those who are gender different or non-conforming in their gender presentation."

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Donald Trump's Executive Order on Refugees and Migrants

The Washington Post reports an executive order signed by Donald Trump "suspends admission of all refugees for 120 days and bars for 90 days the entry of any citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iraq, even if they have valid visas." Watch the video below from The Washington Post for a summary of the executive order. Inside Higher Ed has a piece about the executive orderAn article in Vox mentions that permanent residents (green-card holders) are being allowed, in some cases, to enter the United States even if they’ve come from one of those seven countries. Apparently, it's on a case by case basis. An article in The Atlantic further explains who is and is not affected by the executive order. I've also included a video clip of Rudy Giuliani talking about how the executive order came together (at approximately the 3:00 minute mark). News keeps coming--the latest development is from White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, "saying that people from the affected countries who hold green cards will not be prevented from returning to the United States."

I Wanna Go Surfing

Except I live in Buffalo and it's snowing.

But in between class preparation and recommendation letters and parenting it's nice to transport my mind to a warm place where there's surfing.

Opposition to the Confirmation of Betsy DeVos

An article in The Washington Post indicates that no Democrats will vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. Here are a few exchanges with senators from her confirmation hearing, courtesy of The Washington Post.

Stressful Times Call For Baking Measures

We live in stressful times. That's an understatement. I find that cooking and baking helps. Check out this unbelievably easy recipe for breakfast cookies. All you need is two ripe bananas, quick oats, and chocolate chips. I made them this morning. Nice way to start the day.

Monday, January 23, 2017

When Donald Trump Spoke at C.I.A. Headquarters

If you only have time to read one article today, I recommend it be Robin Wright's piece in The New Yorker entitled "Trump's Vainglorious Affront to the C.I.A." It's an amazing report of what happened when Trump spoke to hundreds of intelligence officials at C.I.A. headquarters on Saturday.

This is what Trump is quoted as saying about being on the cover of Time magazine:

“Like, if Tom Brady is on the cover, it’s one time, because he won the Super Bowl or something, right?” he told the intelligence officials. “I’ve been on it for fifteen times this year. I don’t think that’s a record that can ever be broken.”

Directly after the quote is this sentence: Time told Politico’s Playbook that it had published eleven Trump covers—and had done fifty-five cover stories about Richard Nixon.

That's just one of many head shaking moments I had in reading the article. Really, carve out a few minutes from your busy day to check it out.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Martin Luther King, Jr. in March 1968

In March 1968, the month before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King went to Memphis to support sanitation workers on strike. In a speech, he said "You know Jesus reminded us in a magnificent parable one day that a man went to hell because he didn't see the poor. His name was Dives." Soon after in the speech, he said:

Source: pp. 353-354 in The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Edited by Clayborne Carson (1998). Grand Central Publishing.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Good Soup to Start the Week

When it's Sunday and cold, I'm probably making soup or chili. Today I made a tasty, healthy soup to start the week on a good note. It's Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup. I worked from a recipe at Peas & Crayons, click here to see it. I used two sweet potatoes and about 3/4 of a head of cauliflower. I chopped up the potatoes and cauliflower, sliced half an onion, and put them in the oven at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. All you need for that is olive oil and spices. I had cauliflower and onions on one pan and sweet potatoes on another. The cauliflower and onions cooked faster, so I put them in the crockpot with 32 ounces of chicken broth and added the sweet potatoes a few minutes later. The recipe calls for vegetable broth, but I like chicken broth better. I used to always buy low sodium chicken broth but found myself adding a ton of salt for flavor. Now I just buy regular chicken broth and barely need to add salt. I added diced scallions to the mix, a few splashes of hot sauce, and that was pretty much game on. After only an hour of the crockpot being on high, I was surprised at how much flavor I already achieved. I thought of stopping right there because the potatoes and cauliflower were softened and I liked the taste of the broth. The recipe calls for then using an immersion blender but I don't roll with an immersion blender. Plus, I wanted to preserve the nice chucks of sweet potatoes and pieces of cauliflower. So I skipped the blender part. The recipe calls for adding cream cheese and milk but I used some half and half instead. I didn't measure it, just added enough to cream it up. I let it cook for another thirty minutes or so. It obviously sweetened the soup up, perhaps too much. I think I liked it better before I added the half and half. Don't get me wrong, the soup was good, very good, but I lost some of the wonderful salty chicken broth taste. I added a little more hot sauce. The recipe says to cook the soup for 4-5 hours, but I was all done in a total of two hours, including the 20 minutes of vegetables roasting in the oven. I put out oyster crackers and shredded cheddar cheese for add ins. This soup went over well in the Schoepflin household. Everyone but my 6-year-old liked it. Fine, little man, sit over there with your soupless lunch eating chicken nuggets, do what you have to do. Lol. My bottom line is this is a delicious soup -- you've caught my drift by now that half and half or other milky-creamy substances are optional. I think I might try this recipe sometime with curry powder. My life is an adventure and my memoir will have a lot to say about soup, so there you have it. One last thing: there is enough leftover soup for another meal. A lovely, nutritious, inexpensive soup, enough for two meals. Loving life, I am.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

What's Your Favorite Thing About This Rush Video?

Rush: a great rock band hailing from Canada with Geddy Lee as lead singer and bassist, Alex Lifeson on guitar, and Neil Peart pounding the drums. Music to my ears. Poetry meets sociology meets philosophy meets great riffs and music that makes you feel. Here they are back in the 70s with a great example of a three minute rock song, "Fly By Night." Watch it and please tell me your favorite thing that you see or hear.

a. Unconventionally long hair (using no product, mind you). Cheers for breaking gender norms regarding hair and refusing to use hair spray.
b. Lifeson's outstanding guitar solo beginning at 1:24
c. Peart twirling his drumsticks TWICE in a span of 14 seconds (2:08 first, and again at 2:22).
d. The lyrics. It's all about the lyrics. "Quiet and pensive/ My thoughts apprehensive/ The hours drift away"
e. Lee totally owning the ending. "My ship isn't coming and I just can't pretend.........."
f. all of the above
g. none of the above

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Time Al Roker Didn't Let Me Down

A few days ago, my wife showed me a Buffalo Chicken Calzone recipe making the rounds on Facebook (click here to see recipe). The recipe looked good to us, except for ranch dressing. There's no chance in H E double hockey sticks of using ranch dressing in a Buffalo anything recipe. We live in the greater Buffalo area, fyi. The interesting thing is that Al Roker doesn't appear to use ranch. He uses cream cheese (fine by me) and shredded mozzarella. Watch the video: he's solid in putting together the calzones while doing happy talk with Dylan and Tamron. I followed Al's lead and also added blue cheese dressing to my mix (I like the Marie's brand). Al went heavy on the hot sauce. I dialed it back a notch with our two kids in mind. Don't forget to put olive oil on the calzones, that's key. I think Al's look better than mine, but I'm pretty happy with how mine turned out. I make pizza all the time, but this was the first time I made calzones. I cut these in half. We had plenty for dinner and enough for lunch tomorrow. I used whatever pasta sauce I had in the house for dipping. All in all, Al didn't steer me wrong. I'll be speeding down Calzone Highway again soon. Oh, forgot to mention I served the calzones with carrots on the side just to feel better about things. You can always count on me to indulge in carbs and cheese and then be like "Hey but I also ate carrots, so I'm good." One other note: all this from one 16 ounce package of pizza dough.

Monday, January 9, 2017

My Meryl Streep Take

My Meryl Streep take is that everybody should watch Kramer vs. Kramer. It's an amazing drama about marriage, divorce, and parenting. Justin Henry provides one of the great kid acting jobs of all time as Billy Kramer. Dustin Hoffman steals many scenes, such as when he makes French toast for Billy but burns it because life is hard. I'm also known to cry when Billy and his dad eat breakfast together when they've worked their way into a quiet routine. I watch Kramer vs. Kramer whenever I'm lucky enough to come across it. It's also never mentioned as a Christmas film, which is a huge oversight. Every year there are insufferable debates about whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie which is about as interesting a debate as whether a hot dog is a sandwich. A hot dog is not a sandwich and I don't care if Die Hard is a Christmas movie. Meanwhile, people forget that Ted Kramer had to talk his way into a job at a holiday party because he needed income ASAP. He sits on a chair at a holiday party and waits to talk to The Man to get a job. He takes the job even though the salary is beneath him, because sacrifice. Die Hard is a film with gratuitous violence from what I can remember. Kramer v. Kramer is a great all around movie (also a Christmas movie, as now established) thanks to excellent performances from Hoffman, Henry, Streep, and others. Also there's a memorable scene when Henry asks a woman if she likes fried chicken but I won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen the movie.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Most Beautiful Album Ever Made

The most beautiful album ever made is Kind of Blue. I've had the CD for longer than I can remember, but I'm not one to play CDs often these days. I have an iHeartRadio app that I frequently use to play music when I'm at home. I have stations for Miles Davis, The Strokes, Vampire Weekend, Frank Sinatra, to name a few. One of the first songs that played when I opened up the Miles Davis station this morning was Flamenco Sketches, which is an amazing song. The next song that played was by Bill Evans, who played piano on Kind of Blue. It was Peace Piece, a lovely song. Now that I've shared the most beautiful album ever made and have finished up my second cup of coffee, I am ready to return to syllabi composition.

I'm teaching Research Methods this semester and two sections of a Special Topics course I'm teaching for the first time. I'm calling the course Sexualities. The book I'm assigning for the course is The Social Construction of Sexuality. I'm excited about the book and the course. Oh my, It Never Entered my Mind by The Miles Davis Quintet is playing now. Spectacular. I'm going back to my syllabi now, goodbye.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017 State of Mind

I was wrong in predicting Trump wouldn't win. But I remain in the camp that says we are in a post-fact society. I have mostly stopped watching cable news. I feel good about that.

I am not a good sleeper, but suddenly I am sleeping better than in many years. But I must be feeling anxiety about a lot of things. I had a dream last night about driving a car with breaks that won't work. It's a recurring dream, one that might end because I mentioned it. I once wrote about having a recurring dream of trying to stuff giant contact lenses in my eyes. Since I wrote that post, I haven't had the dream again. The stats I see about web traffic for my blog tell me the giant contact lenses dream post is one that gets a lot of hits. So I know I'm not the only person with weird anxiety dreams.

Listening to the radio today, I heard Chuck Schumer say "Make America Sick Again" a bunch of times at a press conference. I don't think that's a bad move. Republicans brand everything and get people to pay attention in slogany sound bytes. It doesn't strike me as a terrible idea for Democrats to get in on the action.

I don't know where America goes from here. Before you know it, the middle of 2018 will be here and the next presidential contest will be underway. Who am I kidding? It's already underway, we just don't know for sure who will be running against Donald Trump.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year (Pot Pie Edition)

I'm happy about my new coffee mug. It was a Christmas gift from one of my kids. I did some staging with this photo. See the cute little filter? It means I'm no longer popping 14 plastic Keurig cups per week and heaping them into a landfill. I'm also pleased to be saving money by using a bag of ground coffee instead of said Keurig cups. The bourgeoisie will get me one way or another, but I'm just here to drink decent coffee and hopefully retire before age 87.

Marriage is an adventure of sorts. They say a true test of marriage is if a couple can team up to make a pot pie without fighting. We passed. What better way to bring in the New Year than with a delicious pot pie? This was our dinner last night. We used two nine inch pie crusts. For the filling we used rotisserie chicken, a can of cream of chicken soup, and frozen vegetables (corn, carrots, peas, green beans, potatoes, pearl onions). Season the filling as you like. Less than 10 minutes to make and about 40 minutes in the oven. Click here if you need a starter recipe. 

Happy New Year, everybody.