The Proposal

First, you make a roux. No, seriously, you’re going to need the carbs.

Add the trinity (onions, bell pepper, and celery.) Invoke the Trinity (JMJ), and anoint the router with holy water while you pray for internet speeds capable of running remote SAS.

Bring your committee members the pralines you didn’t eat (a dozen for you leaves one each for them.)

Go for another walk. Walking clears your mind so that inspiration can hit. Sometimes inspiration is the realization that you need to run a t-test instead of simultaneous equations, or that you need a difference-in-difference design and a new hypothesis. Or not.

Realize that no first draft is ever much good. Feedback may sting like an acid peel, but your paper will benefit from it, just as your skin does.

Click the send button and wait. This is the hardest part.

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Updated Opinion

My phone died about a week ago. 2 days after my surgery I had to stop my Percocet party and go to the AT&T store to get a new, expensive phone. I hadn’t backed up in forever, so I lost some phone numbers (if I’m not talking to you, then you may assume you didn’t survive the purge), but that’s NOTHING compared to what happened to my music.



First, all of my playlists disappeared. Gone. Poof. My magnum opus Driving Tunes that included Ray Charles, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Nicks, 3 Dog Night, Kanye West, Kenny Chesney, and Gordon Lightfoot is gone. I can’t recreate that genius.

Driving Tunes is lost to the world. Guess I gotta finish this PhD.

None of my music ‘in the cloud’ will play on shuffle, which means only the one John Craigie album, No Rain, No Rose, is currently on my phone.

The cherry on this hot fudge mess is that the microphone jack no longer jacks.



So, imagine my surprise, when I played the Stone Coyotes’ First Lady of Rock using the USB port.  It. Was. Awesome! I cranked it up as loud as it would go and rocked out from Port Allen to Government Street.


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Revenue Recognition

I’d like to think I’ve got the financial savvy to recognize a revenue if I saw it, but it’s not like beauty, which is in the eye of the beholder. There are pages and pages of rules promulgated by the FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board) that tell you is it is or is it ain’t a revenue.

revenue recog

AT&T, welcome to the fraud triangle.

My phone just up and died yesterday, so I went to the store to get a new one. The good news is that I was “eligible” for an upgrade (only $25.00 plus a $2.99 pro-ration fee) and my new phone is ONLY $749.00. Which I can pay in monthly installments with NO INTEREST.

Hmmmn. AT&T collects the sales tax and I just pay my monthly installments to the company store. No interest, because this is the kindest, bestest company ever and they are rewarding me for my brand loyalty?

Ha! Probably not. It’s more likely that AT&T will engage in some trickeration aka financial wizardry and move this asset off the balance sheet, fluffing the numbers so they’re nice and plump, serving them to investors like a channel stuffed Thanksgiving Turducken.

fraud triangle

Means, motive, and opportunity. Same old, same old.

When digging for some financial info on AT&T, I noticed that they are in the midst of a merger with Time-Warner. Curious I am about how this will play out. Besides the obvious:

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The Delta

Growing up, the word delta conjured images of fertile farmlands adjacent to the Mississippi River on the other side of the state.  On my side of Louisiana, the Sabine River deposited slick red clay that turned every rainy day into a thrilling adventure called “don’t get stuck on the way home.” The modern term for this is “MudFest.”


These people got stuck on purpose. I wonder if they called their Daddy to come tow them out with a tractor?

In the early years of college, delta meant something else entirely, mostly Greek parties. In statistics, we learned that Big Delta means difference or change. In calculus, little delta refers to distance when proving the limit of a function.


Big Delta, little delta. Greeks have the upper hand in calculus because they know all the letters.

The triple goddess is represented as the maiden, mother, crone. When women approach the limit of one stage and transition to the other, it’s sometimes called “The Change.”


Youth, Fertility, Wisdom. 


Henceforth,* this change shall be known as THE DELTA to honor Delta Burke, who played Suzanne Sugarbaker on one of the best shows ever– Designing Women.



*I used this obnoxious word on purpose…. Overuse of introductory phrases, hideous writing, and head-hopping are remanded to the bayou effective the summer of 2017, where they shall remain in perpetuity until the perpetrator of such abuses has been fully rehabilitated.

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Exogenous Shock*

Surprise, surprise! I went to a conference and I liked it. What’s not to like about plenty of good food, good company, a boxing bag in the gym, and setting the a/c  on 67 with no complaints from the peanut gallery?

summer in louisiana

This is me in the summer in Louisiana. And it ain’t even August, yet. I am going to try to rent some space in the Circle K beer cooler.

The best part was the small group interaction where we each had to present a proposal. Our group consisted of a hodge-podge of methodologies, topics and institutions, but our group leader was fantastic and everybody gave and received good comments.

This is a scary time in the doctoral process– dissertation proposal phase. Trying to find a good topic is a lot like trying to find a good life partner– seems like all the good ones are already taken.


It’s tricksy finding just the right balance of new versus familiar. In exercise, balance is related to our core muscles. I think it’s the same in academics– reinforce the core, be consistent, do some work every day.

bring it


So, this is my strategy: (1) one day at a time, (2) 2 steps forward, (3) three goals in 3 realms (mental, physical, spiritual) every day.


*An exogenous shock is an unexpected or unpredictable event that affects the “studied environment.”

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So Long, Farewell

It’s been a Long day, and I’m not happy about it. Our state budget teeters on the edge of a fiscal cliff and our elected leaders are passing useless, unwanted, frivolous bullsh*t, backscratching, backroom bills instead of figuring out how to get along.

We need to be long gone from playing partisan politics– every flood, fire, tornado, and terrorist act should bring us closer together. Instead we’re farther apart than ever.

Our legislative priorities should reflect the fact that the state is flat, fricking broke. We’ve already taken everything of value to the pawn shop (that’s what privatization, outsourcing, and long-term leases are), sold our state into eternal, indentured servitude to every lobbyist group in existence, and sold the people down the proverbial river.

Instead of focusing on fiscal reform, prison reform, the condition of many educational facilities in the state (can anybody say mold and asbestos?), or the abysmal roads and highways— the jackrabbits in charge have voted to change the name of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts.

I don’t care if the proposal was to name it after me. It’s not about that. It’s about the good old boy cronyism that started with the progenitor of this legacy and continues to self-perpetuate against the wishes of damned near everybody.

Friends, Family, Internet Strangers, please, please, P L E A S E! Please remember this day. Remember how nearly every single elected official ignored your calls, emails, and letters and voted to spend money we don’t have on stuff we don’t need.

Run against them. Vote them out. Remind them that Choices have Consequences.

We can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines and wait for someone to save us. We are gonna have to save ourselves.


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Insider Humor

Inside jokes are the glue of relationships. They stick in your memory like day-old grits stick to the edge of the pot– and explaining them to outsiders is just as tough as removing them.

Once upon a time, when the mailbox was more substantive than ornamental, we received a typed chain letter that suggested dire consequences– plagues of locusts, widespread internet outages*, breaking of the seventh seal, and worst of all, loss of “your hob.”

Since we didn’t have a hob, we didn’t give a Tinker’s damn about losing it. But we’ve had countless laughs over the decades inquiring about each other’s “hobs.”


He’s lost his wizard, his dwarves and his way! ~The Hobbit, 1977

Speaking of lost and Hob(bits).  And mondegreens and mumpsimis– we thought Bilbo had lost his Wizard, his DRAWERS, and his way.  We couldn’t decide whether it was a chest of drawers or underpants that had gone missing. Either way, we still get the giggles about it. Or I do.

And finally, the impetus for todays blog:


Mural in Allen Hall, LSU

Before hipsters popularized home-grown, organic produce, southerners had gardens. Or tried to.

Sabine Parish dirt is a mixture of red clay and iron ore that’s good for growing pine trees, azaleas, and sturdy people. One summer, Dad had planted some sweet corn, which God, in her infinite wisdom neglected to water.


This is not our dead corn from 1982. We only took shadowy pictures of stray cats, tractors, and random blurry shapes that I can only assume are bigfoot sightings.

Kennieth Walker’s construction crew was closing in the garage, and they nailed a crooked sign to a tree next the corn:


The paint was still wet when they put it up, because the letters dripped and dipped all over the scrap lumber they used.

There was speculation about why the farm had been condemned, and I bought an actual alphabet template, some spray paint, and on the back of some paneling wrote:


and put it under the original sign  (Yes, I know I misspelled experimental, but the sign was looked official enough that a sheriff’s deputy came to investigate the project*.)

And now you know the rest of the story, the inside scoop, and how people used to have fun “back in the day.”

*The project was clearly time travel, since my parents still don’t have cable or the internet.

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