Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Evening Stroll in Buffalo


I love a lazy Sunday and this is one of them. Went for a walk in a park with my family. Then we went to a diner. I love diners almost as much as I love Sundays. I had breakfast even though it was lunchtime. Having breakfast for lunch at a diner on a Sunday is a great day. Plus there were a bunch of stacked tires in the diner parking lot which made for a cool picture. I'm tired and happy on this lazy Sunday.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Puffs on Plate

"Where Data is King and Jargon is Queen"

I don't want to lose track of the phrase "where data is king and jargon is queen," which appears on page 213 of This Is Not a Test by José Luis Vilson. I love that phrase. There are valuable uses for data and some amount of jargon and buzzwords is inevitable, but we need to remain critical and creative thinkers so that we don't automatically accept any new idea that comes along packaged in data and trendy language.

Throughout the book, Vilson emphasizes the importance of building relationships with students. We can introduce all the technology, accountability measures and evaluation systems we want, but what remains paramount in education is that we treat students as people, teach them with respect, and strive always to connect with them in ways that enhance the teaching and learning process.

I have a healthy respect for data but I am not a "datamaniac" (a term Vilson uses on page 184 that I like). Of course we can use data to help us understand how we can improve all parts of the teaching and learning process. But we need to be cautious about assigning magical powers to data. Data are not the be all end all.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Enormous Vehicle, Skinny Popcorn

On my way to the grocery store today, I drove behind a Hummer.

I don't see a lot of Hummers on the road these days. Which makes sense because of the price of gas. Also, it looks as though people prefer large automobiles rather than gigantic ones.

While doing my shopping I noticed a new product. I buy a lot of popcorn and this is the first time I've seen this brand.

I am inspired to develop a popcorn product called "Middle-Aged Guy With Expanding Waistline." Naturally, I will lend my own image for marketing purposes.

Look for a focus group in 2015. There will be beer and popcorn.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Some Love for Buffalo

Yesterday, I did my best to capture Buffalo in summer splendor:

It was a beautiful afternoon at the Erie Basin Marina. A perfect day for my kids to enjoy a walk on the rocks:

There are times I like to sing a Buffalo love song. Ten years ago, I wrote about how Buffalo was really the only place I could have written my dissertation. I stand by what I wrote in this piece.

I live in a suburb now but that doesn't mean I can't have strong pride about Buffalo. It's known as "Buffalove." Tina, my wife, gets this photo credit:

Buffalo and the entire Western New York region is a great place to live, work, and play. In the winter, too. Like a famous song goes, "the cold never bothered me anyway."

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bob Schieffer - "The Selfie Urge"

Bob Schieffer has fun here at the expense of the selfie. I actually like the part where he takes a crack at the famous Oscars selfie that was promoted by Samsung. He isn't in faux outrage mode. He reasonably advises against putting oneself in harm's way to take a selfie. And he concludes the piece by taking a selfie.

 In case you're wondering about my selfie stance, I'll share a few thoughts. As a fan of the human face, I am generally in favor of selfies. I think it makes perfect sense for people to take pictures of themselves with a smartphone. First of all, it's easy to do. Second of all, we're in a picture-sharing age. Third, it can be fun. Fourth, many of us like pictures of ourselves. Fifth, because why not? So I say let the people take pictures of themselves and enjoy life.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Beatles - Two of Us

The beauty of a friendship/partnership/relationship...

Do You Consider Yourself a Feminist? Interviewing People on the Street

Here's an example of a convenience sample for Research Methods teachers and students. It's a haphazard effort to find out what some people in New York think about feminism. A small amount of people on the street are asked about their views. Only a few men are included, and only a few people over the age of 30 (a safe guess, I think) are involved. Click here for an article that accompanies the video on Cosmo's website if you're interested in how they treated the subject of feminism.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Absurd Thoughts for the Day

I have an idea for a book or a play. The tentative title is Sweating to the Metrics: A Tragicomedy about Living in an Era of Data Science. The idea came to me while I was cutting the grass this morning. I was trying to think of something clever to say about an app or the latest research that could inform people about efficiently cutting their way to a lush lawn. But I moved on from that quickly. Some people care a lot about the appearance of their lawns. There are worse obsessions.

Then I was thinking about metrics and algorithms and whatever else is part and parcel of our BIG DATA-Data Science era. I like data and all but sometimes I feel like we have jumped the data shark. Notice I said "feel" in the previous sentence. I don't think we're supposed to feel anything anymore about anything. I think we're just supposed to coldly collect the data, make decisions, rinse and repeat. Some of this is overstated. I occasionally make sociologically snarky remarks.

So all I have is a title for a book or a play and a dream of someone overpaying me to write a manuscript. The big money people will surround me with a superstar public relations team and bring forth the influencers and stylists. I'll receive a boatload of money and retire with my family to who knows where.

I'm off to crowdsource for ideas about where to retire.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014



Presentation of Lunch in Everyday Life

I suppose I could present myself as a healthy eater; a vegetarian who eats extra small portions.

Or I could share a photograph of the lunch I actually devoured. Couldn't let last night's pizza go to waste ;-)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

ESPN the Magazine - The Body Issue

When I noticed that Prince Fielder was trending on Twitter today, I wondered why. Turns out people were reacting to him being featured in the "body issue" of ESPN the Magazine. There is a "Bodies We Want" gallery of 59 pictures available (this link goes to one of Fielder that I really like). Maybe it's too predictable for a sociologist to say "I like that they included a picture of an athlete who isn't chiseled." I don't care if it is an obvious thing to say. I think it's a cool picture and I like many of the pictures in the gallery (please note I haven't seen the actual magazine yet).

This link goes to a picture of Danyelle Wolf. I keep returning to this picture because I am drawn to the image of power and strength. Honestly, I didn't know who she was until I saw this photo. Now I know she is a welterweight champion boxer and 2016 Olympic hopeful.

Keeping in mind that ESPN is out to sell magazines and get page views, rather than please people who analyze images, my overall first impressions are positive. Here is a link to a picture of Omar Gonzalez--the kind of edgy picture you might expect to draw attention to the magazine. Still, I think it's a pretty cool picture. Again, just first impressions here, and I will have more to say once I obtain the actual magazine, but so far I think the gallery pictures, taken together, celebrate a variety of athletic bodies.

I can't recall ever seeing a male athlete's tan lines in a picture until now. It looks to me like ESPN tried to do something out of the ordinary with this collection of pictures. The pictures of Jamie Anderson will probably get some criticism because she's not presented in any kind of an athletic pose. In contrast, Hillary Knight is shown here in an athletic pose. There are more action shots of the male athletes, something I think warrants criticism. But the overall effect is a display of impressive female and male athletic bodies.

Monday, July 7, 2014

How to Keep Your Husband Happy

A segment with advice for women appeared today on the show Fox & Friends. Click here if you want to read about it and watch. Beware of stereotypes, generalizations, and foolishness in the segment.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Am Not Meant For Yard Work

I began today by removing a wicked shrub from our front yard. It took me almost two hours to complete the task. I asked Tina, my wife, to take a picture of me before I was able to finally get it out of the ground. We have been married ten years. In those ten years she has indulged my ridiculousness numerous times.

True That, George

George Harrison - "Blow Away"

"All I got to do is to love you. All I got to be is be happy."

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


The foul stench of corporate values. Billion dollar profits. CEOs as policymakers. Sickening.

Miserable Thought for the Day

At the supermarket this morning I overheard a worker say to her co-worker, "I'll have to wait to see what corporate says." As I left the store, walking through the parking lot, I thought to myself: "We all answer to corporate now."

They paved paradise and gave us a corporate state.