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    What Causes Poverty

    What causes poverty? The same thing that causes global warming, war, debt, and a host of other global evils ...

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    What is Money?

    What is money? And why is debt such a problem? The answers lie within. ...

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    Intimate Partner Violence (feminist’s shame)

    Surprise surprise surprise. Men are abused by their intimate partners just as much as women are. ...

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    Are Scientists Spiritual?

    Are scientists spiritual? The answer is yes! Recent research suggests that the majority of scientists at top universities in North America have spiritual leanings, even though they may not like to admit it. ...

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    What is Sociology?

    What is Sociology? Glad you asked. Sociology is the study of the world that we create. ...

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    What is Religion?

    Most sociologists would say religion is either fantasy, social gathering, or elite machination; but in fact it is so much more. ...

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    The American Nightmare

    This photo of my parents reveals much about their personalities (her’s vivacious and outgoing, his withdrawn and closed off), their relationship (little real contact), and also the times. The typicality of their lives reveals much about the USA. My mother was a farmer’s daughter whose father lost the farm to the banks, and they had ... ...


Featured Articles

Addressing the Academy

Classroom Controversy

  • Routines: Every Day a Groundhog Day?

    The film Groundhog Day (1993) puts the protagonist, Phil Connors, in a time warp. Nothing that he does matters because he is stuck in February 2, Groundhog Day, in a small rural town. For most of the film he seems doomed to repeat this day forever. Even without the help of a time warp, are we all involved in repetitive routines? Speaking mostly about myself, I seem to have been in routine most of my life, as the examples below suggest. Towards the middle of Groundhog Day, a scene in a bar suggests that the film is not just science fiction. Phil describes his situation to two local men sitting next to him along the bar: Phil: What would you do if you were stuck in one place, and everyday was exactly the same, and nothing you did mattered? Ralph: That about sums it up for me. Like me, Ralph is not subject to a time warp, but he seems stuck in routines. There are many moments in other kinds of popular culture that suggest being stuck in routines. One of my favorites is a pop song from the 40’s, when I must have had the radio on all day and into the night: If I love again, though it’s someone new. If I love again, it will still be you. I thought of this song when I read the headlines about Paul McCartney’s divorce from his second wife. Certain elements in the story suggest that the main reason he married her was that she reminded him of his first wife. The idea of routines also occurs in literature and poetry. One example is the magnificent last line from Dylan Thomas’s poem about the death of a child in the WWII bombing of London (1957): After the first death, there is no other. He seems to be alluding to the idea that since we usually are unable to complete the mourning of the first death that is important to us, we are compelled to repeat it with each subsequent one. Perhaps it’s different for the reader, but I often feel like Ralph in Groundhog Day. There have been, and still are, many routines in my life that seem to be repetitive and virtually unchanging. Without going into great detail, much of my eating, sleeping, working, quarreling, and indeed, thinking and feeling, are mostly routine. Escape from Routine Not that all routines are bad. We need routines to live, else we would drown in details. But the question arises, who is master, me or routine? Probably the latter, because when I escape routine, it is almost always an accident. Here are two examples of accidental escape, the first from my own life. My wife Suzanne and I made a trip to a conference in Atlanta in August 2003. Since my routine for most of my career has been to fly to conferences, I assumed that we would make a roundtrip flight. Since Suzanne had never been in the South, she wanted to drive both ways. We compromised by flying there, but returning in a rental car. We stayed only two days at the conference, then drove back in 6 days. The South that we drove thru was hot as Hades, but we had one helluva good time. Until this event, we both had the conceit that we talk frequently, often at length, and on occasion, in depth. Of course, we are one or both of us often out of the house. Still we thought that at least at home, we were  communicating. In Atlanta, our communication didn’t change because we both busy with the conference. The change in routine occurred during the drive back to California, when we were together all the time, with no escape, for six days. Since it would have been difficult, if not impossible to do anything else, we talked. Much of the first day was spent by my complaints. Why were we doing this? Why had I allowed myself to be roped in, etc. Late in the day, however, I said “At least I am out of my usual routine.” We both laughed. Since Suzanne is a grief counselor at the local Hospice, she talks a lot about death. So I asked her what was for me an unusual question: how would you feel if I were to die? At first she spoke about what she would do, her actions. When I repeated the question, she talked at some length about her feelings. She asked me the same question about my feelings in the case of her death. Then we spoke about asking our children a similar question. (As it turned out, the question didn’t work with them). But it worked with us. We were off to the races. That was the beginning of a five-day torrent of conversation, as if the floodgates had burst. We talked, laughed, and cried our way virtually non-stop thru Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California. After this experience, we realized that we have so many routines in our everyday life that we rarely talk about anything but our immediate business. There is work outside and at home, food preparation, repairs, garden, cleaning, etc. There are also many other routines. We had the practice, for example of watching TV or DVDs together from 8pm to our usual bedtime, 10pm. This two-hour period is never devoid of talk, but only pedestrian talk. We complain about the waste of time, but often one or both of us is so pooped that TV is all we can manage. The experience of the long drive had accidentally broken our communication routines. [ad#article]Once home, we vowed never again to lapse back. We agreed that if necessary, we would just drive in circles around Santa Barbara for at least one weekend a month. Nevertheless, there were too many pulls from our old routines. Within two or three weeks, we were back in to our old shallow talk routine, and continue with it today. (But we haven’t given up, since we are planning 12 days of driving and railroading across Canada). Emmy Rainwater led me to a somewhat parallel story from her life ...

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  • Where Are All the Women? How Traditional Structures of Academia Hinder Female University Professors.

  • The Tenor Of Our Times

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    The Last Days of the Lilliputians

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    Sociology versus Psychology – The Social Context of Psychological Pathology and Child Abuse

  • Academic Education – A Waste of Space, Mind, Money and Time?

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Feminism Redux – Grande bites back at Bette

So, in an interview Bette Midler said that she was disappointment with the risque way young Hollywood tartlets were parading their bodies around. She specifically targeted little elf Ariana Grande when she said, and I quote, It’s always surprising to see someone like Ariana Grande with that silly high voice, a very wholesome voice, slithering around on a couch looking so ridiculous. I mean, it’s silly beyond belief and I don’t know who’s telling her to do it. I wish they’d stop. I wish they’d stop. But it’s not my business, I’m not her mother. Or her manager. Maybe they tell them that’s what you’ve got to do. Sex sells. Sex has always sold…

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