Wandering Early and Late

Here we go, again

No, that’s not me pictured at right, but it pretty much sums up my recent state of being.  A path beckoning. Family close at hand. The year withering.

I actually take great solace at this time of year. Despite the sinking temperatures and paucity of daylight, there’s something Continue reading


Physical Conversations of Different Kinds

American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus
Lisa Wade

As a young social science student  I took a class sure to be easy. A 200-level course, it promised to use popular culture to illustrate major concepts in sociology.

Piece of cake, I thought. I like to read, it’s popular culture. How hard can it be?

Sixteen weeks later I was  dead from the punishing pace of reading 600-page novels, such as Thomas Mann‘s Continue reading

What’s in a Name?

mortarboardIt’s graduation season and so the chattering classes have taken their annual turn towards dissecting what’s right and wrong with the American educational system. This year, as it has for a while, the subject of choice has been the cost of a college education and whether it is worth it.

I have refrained from addressing the cost issues of college head on. Readers Continue reading

Send My Credentials

The Credential Society: A Historical Sociology of Education
Randall Collins

Credentials. It has such an authoritative ring, doesn’t it?  You can almost hear the man asking to see yours.

CollinsAnd why shouldn’t it? The root–cred–is from the Latin credere which means to believe. So you get all those great, strong words: creed, credulous, credulity, even street cred. It all boils down to the same thing: it’s safe for you to believe in the idea or the person at hand.

Randall Collins might  ask, is it really? More specifically, he might ask that Continue reading

Two Tales from the Front Lines of Capitalism

Two things that appeared on the radar.

Ian Frazier in 2010 Photo by Larry D. Moore via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve noted the skinny on Sandy Frazier before.  Well, he’s added to his repertoire in the February 6 issue of The New Yorker. In a piece entitled Out of the Bronx, he looks at the impact of private equity. Specifically he looks ta the acquisition of  Stella D’Oro, a longtime maker of specialty baked goods, by a private equity firm, Brynwood Partners.

The business press allows for a limited number of hatchet jobs, usually on agreed-upon miscreants. That makes sense–readers don’t like to be told what they’re interested in is bad, wrong, evil–and Continue reading

On the Use of Data

Derek Thompson posts on The Atlantic about a study from The Hamilton Project under the title ‘The Hollowing Out of the Middle Class.” This one bears some digging into which I promise to do. But Thompson has focused in on a few graphs in the Appendix of a 50 page report.

Let’s be honest, not all data are created equal and most authors use it to Continue reading