The Political Obsession

Recently a friend posted an article to Facebook about a colossally stupid thing two individuals did. The story wasn’t important, although it was interesting within it’s context. What I found really interesting was the first comment, which read “I bet they voted for Trump!”. Given our political climate in the United States over the past several years, it got me thinking: What causes people to become politically obsessed to the point that literally everything revolves around politics?

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Jerry Lewis, Under the Sea, and Idolatry

Last night at Delta Writer’s Group, I proposed a ‘speed writing’ challenge based upon 3 very random lists of prompt material that came off the top of my head. The lists were “People”, “Locations”, and “Conflict”. When I rolled the wheel, I got “Jerry Lewis”, “Under the Sea”, and “Idolatry”. Five minutes later, this appeared. Who says you can’t make a story out of the most random of things

Sebastian the crab dressed in his Sunday best
To worship the comedian revered above the rest

“Hey Mon, tis Lew day”
he screamed with delight

“We gonna follow tru day”
His psychosis bordering on fright

The chorus began its calypso serenade
As his likeness was erected and upright it stayed
In view of the crows, the mania, the glee
All praised the Lewis, under the sea

Registering a Car in the State of Mississippi

There are things in life that one just knows or assumes. Then there are things that are hidden, obscured, confusing, or that no good source on the Internet exists for. This is one of the latter.

So in case you don’t know…

  • If you buy a car from a dealer in the state of Mississippi, and you live in Mississippi, all you need to take to the tax assessor is your yellow bill of sale copy. Bring a check to pay the crazy taxes, and you’ll walk out with your license plate.
  • If you buy a car from a dealer OUTSIDE MISSISSIPPI, and you live in Mississippi, you need to wait up to 7-9 working days for that dealer to send the information to the tax assessor. You only have 7 working days (9 if out of home county) before crazy penalties apply.

If you live somewhere else, hopefully someone else wrote up this information for you somewhere.

Source: Personal experience, 2/22/2017

Frustration: Thinking that the dealer had to send information that they, do not in fact, need to send!

Much Ado About Inbox Zero

I’ve always been an Inbox Zero kind of guy before Inbox Zero was even a thing. From the time I got my first email address in 1995 to today, I’ve felt that the inbox should be empty nearly 100% of the time (I’ll outline my own exceptions below). Recently I told a friend that my inbox was empty and he was astonished, envious, and perhaps a little annoyed. It got me thinking about the practice, and about the relative merits or consequences of such a rigorous approach.

My inbox as I started typing this post up.
My inbox as I started typing this post up.

Inbox Zero has been widely discussed among productivity mavens and life hackers for the last few years, with many staunchly defending it’s usefulness, and others claiming it is a colossal waste of time and energy. Opinions on email seem to be in no short supply – some argue that push is the way to go, others take the opposite approach and pontificate that checking only once or twice per day will up your productivity to the stars.

If it isn’t blindingly obvious by now, the discussion boils down to what works best for the individual. For some, Inbox Zero will be the way to inner zen. For others, the inbox count is just a number, not one to be worried about or praised. In my experience over 20 years, I’ve found that I’m happiest when my inbox is nearly empty, so I keep up with that. If you’re experiencing email overload, you might find Inbox Zero satisfying as well (as soon as you dig out of your current overload!). For what it’s worth, I’ve tried ditching Inbox Zero and experience quite a bit of anxiety over it (which kinda scares me) – I’d like to be ‘cool’ with having stuff in there, but I suppose old habits die hard.

One final note – I mentioned that I do allow email to sit there in some circumstances. What are those?

  • Emails that serve a reminder function but aren’t important enough to get a real To Do item in my to do manager. So the student who says “I’ll be a bit late for class in 3 hours” may stick around until they arrive in class – the email then gets archived.
  • Emails that I don’t want to respond to right now! Yes, even though productivity mongers will tell you that you should respond as quickly as you can and not procrastinate, there are times I just don’t want to deal with that email yet.
  • Emails that I’m planning to show someone later on my mobile device – because once it’s in the black pit of the Archive folder, it can be hard to find it again.

This brings up the last bit of my email peculiarity: I archive everything, and never sort it. Gmail search (for my private email) and Exchange search (for my work email) tend to do things pretty well. I also backup my mailboxes every 6 months or so.

You Found Me! (Your Weird Professor)

Each year I try to write something on my blog right before school starts up again. This past week has been pretty crazy as I juggle multiple roles while making sure everything is set for Monday when I step back into the classroom for the first time since the end of April. And tomorrow I get to take on a fun new role – the guy helping to drive the Peoplemover during Move-in Day. It’s been busy, but I still found some time to put together this post. This year I’ve decided to write it to the students who will eventually find it over the next few weeks – those intrepid individuals who think “Wonder what’s on my professor’s blog” or find a link to this on social media. So allow me to introduce myself, using photos!

This is me, in my official Delta State faculty photo. It was taken in August 2014, and since then I haven't lost any more hair. So I'd say that's a success.
This is me, in my official Delta State faculty photo. It was taken in August 2014, and since then I haven’t lost any more hair. So I’d say that’s a success.
This was the first college classroom I ever taught in, Schrank Hall North 452. I was hired in Fall 2001 to teach A+ Certification, an entry level computer technician course at The University of Akron, and in February 2002, I taught my first solo class in this room.
This was the first college classroom I ever taught in, Schrank Hall North 452. I was hired in Fall 2001 to teach A+ Certification, an entry level computer technician course at The University of Akron, and in February 2002, I taught my first solo class in this room.
I've always been a bit of a computer geek. This is a picture of the last 'regular' cell phone I owned in 2002. Been on a smartphone ever since (Yes, smartphones existed before the iPhone!)
I’ve always been a bit of a computer geek. This is a picture of the last ‘regular’ cell phone I owned in 2002. Been on a smartphone ever since (Yes, smartphones existed before the iPhone!)
I finished my Bachelors degree in Psychology in 2004, my masters degree in 2007, and (pictured here) my doctorate in 2009. Here I am with my dad (on the left), and my mom on the right. The guy in the middle with me was my advisor in graduate school, Dr. Jasper. Advisors can become family - I still see mine regularly at conferences, and we catch up every other month or so via email.
I finished my Bachelors degree in Psychology in 2004, my masters degree in 2007, and (pictured here) my doctorate in 2009. Here I am with my dad (on the left), and my mom on the right. The guy in the middle with me was my advisor in graduate school, Dr. Jasper. Advisors can become family – I still see mine regularly at conferences, and we catch up every other month or so via email.
As I said earlier, I've been at Delta State since 2014, and have gotten to do some really fun things in that time. Last spring we took a group of Psychology students down to New Orleans for the Southeastern Psychological Association meeting (SEPA). Pictured here are the students, along with a few other DSU faculty (Drs Zengaro, Beals, and Zengaro).
As I said earlier, I’ve been at Delta State since 2014, and have gotten to do some really fun things in that time. Last spring we took a group of Psychology students down to New Orleans for the Southeastern Psychological Association meeting (SEPA). Pictured here are the students, along with a few other DSU faculty (Drs Zengaro, Beals, and Zengaro).
I still get some time away from work though - here is a picture of my wife, Karey, and I from our trip this summer to Pensacola Beach (We were celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary). If you happen to visit the Teacher Education, Leadership, and Research department, you might meet Karey - she's the senior secretary there!
I still get some time away from work though – here is a picture of my wife, Karey, and I from our trip this summer to Pensacola Beach (We were celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary). If you happen to visit the Teacher Education, Leadership, and Research department, you might meet Karey – she’s the senior secretary there!
This fall is shaping up to be awesome - in addition to being a professor in the psychology department, I'm also the coordinator of the First Year Seminar program and the Okra Scholars program. This means you'll probably find me in many random places around campus, but I'm always happy to answer any question I can regardless of where you physically find me.
This fall is shaping up to be awesome – in addition to being a professor in the psychology department, I’m also the coordinator of the First Year Seminar program and the Okra Scholars program. This means you’ll probably find me in many random places around campus, but I’m always happy to answer any question I can regardless of where you physically find me.

So there is a quick photo summary of your crazy professor. I’ve been teaching for a long time, but I’m still learning every day.  If you happen to read this, come up to me and tell me! Its not weird to “stalk” your professor (here or on social media) – we’re all human and we like to learn about other humans. That’s why I went into teaching and psychology in the first place! Have an awesome school year everyone!

Spanking is Wrong for These Three Reasons

As a psychologist, I often am asked questions related to children, child rearing, and development (Despite not being a developmental psychologist!). As a generalist in teaching psychology, I do my best to give researched and nuanced answers. One comment I often get from students and parents alike is that they disagree with most experts on spanking. They believe it’s an effective form of punishment and (in some cases) have told me that they will not change their mind. I figured today I’d take some time to explain the reasons why spanking is wrong, giving you a chance to think about them and debate.
Continue reading “Spanking is Wrong for These Three Reasons”

Seasonality

In August 1986 I started school. I was 2 1/2 years old, and I think my mother figured it was time for me to get out of the house and see the world, or at least the preschool at Thoreau Park Elementary School. In a few short months, that will have been 30 years ago. And while those first 3 years of pre-school (my mother really wanted me out of the house…) may have consisted only of half-days, they did run the entire length of the school year. This means that, as of Spring 2016, I’ve completed 30 school years, as either a student or a teacher.

Continue reading “Seasonality”

It’s our Friday (Joke) Secret…

So don’t tell anyone that I told you this, but sometimes I have a super special surprise Friday joke. And here’s today’s… A pilot, a know-it-all, a boy, and a minister are on an airplane. The engines fail and the plane begins to go down. There are 3 parachutes. The pilot grabs a parachute and yells “I have a wife and family, and a daughter who is expecting – I need to live to support them!” and jumps out. The know-it-all springs up, grabs a parachute, and proclaims “I’m the smartest man on the earth, I deserve to live”, and jumps out. The minister turns to the boy and says “My son, I’ve lived a long and meaningful life – take the last parachute and live”. The boy hands the minister the parachute as he grabs something from under the seat. “Turns out we both can live”, he says, “The smartest man on the earth just jumped out wearing my backpack!”