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Economics Educator. Improviser. Community Builder. Always looking for the next new thing, for better or for worse.


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Back in the early 1990s, my father prepared venison on the eve of my 7th birthday. He insisted it was a prime cut of steak purchased from the butcher down at Grand Union. …


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I’ve seen many smart people trying to explain what exactly herd immunity is, like the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins. Some are trying to figure out when we will get to the magical herd immunity. Some question if we ever will.

You see, I’m not a smart person when it…

Illustration by Jackie Gianico

By James Tierney & Samuel Jaye Tanner

I clicked on the link. Another Zoom meeting. I entered the waiting room. I was the only participant, but there was a strange feeling. You know, like when you think you aren’t alone. But you obviously are. …


Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Is your toddler developmentally appropriate for their age but still an idiot? Do they have difficulty pronouncing certain letters, and more often than you’d like them to, say things incorrectly?

Ha! Sucks to have a dummy as your kid. It’s definitely because you didn’t read to them enough while they…

My Drawing

Everyone on the Zoom call presented as female. Besides me. They represented 21/22 of those participating in the first session last Tuesday of Jana Marie Foundation’s Breathe Together — a virtual workshop series creating a space to spark conversations, build connections, and promote mental well-being.

The workshop series, offered in…


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I was conflicted. You might be too. Am I too healthy to deserve the COVID-19 vaccine? I’m not that overweight. I don’t smoke that much. Am I too isolated to deserve the COVID-19 vaccine? Sure, my wife and roommate work in-person 5 days a week, but I work from home.


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It’s been difficult to connect with students via Zoom this semester as I teach large lectures that approach 400. To help, I added a question to my pre-class survey this semester in my intro to macro class: Is there anything you’d like to know about me as a person?



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At the beginning of each semester, students ask what it takes to succeed in my class. I tell them attendance and note-taking are the foundation but real learning comes from having the ability to learn outside of the classroom. …


Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

For Christmas this year, Kimberly Tierney bought me a writing guide from 2011 titled 642 Things to Write About, introduction by Po Bronson at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.

This year, I plan to use the prompts to post more by writing in the guide and reposting here with no…


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

My aim each semester is to inspire students to continue exploring economics. If I’ve accomplished that goal, I consider the semester a success.

One way I can measure success is by the number of students who request further readings. …

James Tierney

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