But what’s worse, is this Payne in here

We are pleased to present to you John David Payne as a guest blogger. John is returning to the blogosphere after taking the year off in 2005. He is the proprietor of House of of Payne International, a faux group blog on politics and international relations. John lives in Boston and is studying political science at MIT. He has made a fine career out of graduate school and is now working on a dissertation on democratization and counter-terrorism. Although 30 and not married, CES has given us permission to let him guest blog on the tenuous premise that it will be a boost to his social life.

John was an undergraduate and masters student at BYU and served a mission to the land of Og-den. He is related to one of the perma-bloggers, judged high school debate with a second, and was roommate to a third. All three agree that John is a wonderful fellow and we look forward to having him with us.

Welcome, John!

23 comments for “But what’s worse, is this Payne in here

  1. March 27, 2006 at 11:42 am

    You told CES what? I am outraged on general principles! I refuse to let this boost my social life! Fight the power, ladies! Continue to find me uninteresting!

    “We shall overcooooooooome…”

  2. Mark IV
    March 27, 2006 at 11:48 am

    Extra credit if you sign your posts Casa de Dolor.

  3. March 27, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    Welcome to T&S, John!

    I, for one, would love to see a post on defining terrorism…

    ( 30 and unmarried, eh? Is he cute? )

    ; )

  4. Costanza
    March 27, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    But does he wear on his shoulder a siamese cat?

  5. March 27, 2006 at 12:17 pm

    I don’t wear cats anywhere. But I do wear a leopard-skin pillbox hat that balances on my head, just like a mattress balances on a bottle of wine.

  6. March 27, 2006 at 12:26 pm

    Silus: Judge for yourself. (Personally, I am of the opinion that my marital status and my relative cuteness are what we in the social science biz call “causally related.”)

    Mark IV: Which Mark are you? Bangerter? Simmons? Trombly?

  7. Elisabeth Calvert Smith
    March 27, 2006 at 12:33 pm

    LOL, John!! Looking forward to your posts here. House of Payne is a great blog, btw. Glad to see you’re back!

    P.S. For the prescriptivists reading this (you know who you are) – are the names of blogs italicized? quoted? underlined?

  8. March 27, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    : )

    I don’t know how anyone can say “no” to a man in argyle.

    Now… back to the question of terrorism…

  9. March 27, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    Wow. I honestly didn’t even know MIT had a political science department. Out of curiosity, could you tell us about MIT’s lesser known departments? I know everyone thinks engineering, computer science, and physics when they think MIT. Is that fair?

  10. March 27, 2006 at 1:57 pm

    Actually, defining terrorism would make a great post. Thanks for the idea, Silus!

    And thanks also to ECS for her kind words about my little blog.

  11. March 27, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    Clark, here is a list of all the departments (and department-like things) at MIT. You’ll notice that all of the courses (=departments) have numbers attached to them. My understanding is that they are numbered in chronological order, with the lowest numbers assigned to the courses which MIT offered earliest in its history. It is interesting to note that the first 13 are all either engineering or natural science. (Course 14 is Economics, a social science.)

    When I first tell someone I am studying at MIT, I often joke and tell them that my degree will be in “political engineering.” Then I wait for the double take.

  12. Frank McIntyre
    March 27, 2006 at 2:31 pm


    I thought about using “I focus on the Payne, the only thing that’s real”

    just to throw off the Dylan connection, but I am a man of limited willpower.

  13. March 27, 2006 at 2:35 pm

    How much emphasis do they put on the other departments though? I seem to recall an article from a few years ago that MIT was going to try and push humanities more and was putting a fair number of resources into it. All schools clearly have departments that are stronger than others. I’m just curious as how this all turns out at MIT. Also MIT is infamous for the difficulty of its programs – requiring a lot of self motivation and a lot of out of class research. Much more than even at other top tier schools. I wonder if this translates to its other departments as well.

  14. Frank McIntyre
    March 27, 2006 at 2:53 pm


    The MIT economics department faculty and graduate program is undoubtedly one of the finest in the country (top 5 certainly, considered by many the very best grad program). I don’t know a thing about the others.

    Oddly enough, I heard that at MIT, econ is considered a “humanity”.

  15. Kristine Haglund Harris
    March 27, 2006 at 3:29 pm

    No, Frank, you must have misunderstood–it’s just that when you tell people you’re in econ, they say “oh, the humanity!”

  16. Mark B.
    March 27, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    Darn. I wish I had thought of that, Kristine.

  17. Mathew
    March 27, 2006 at 3:33 pm

    I’ve had lunch with you.

  18. March 27, 2006 at 3:43 pm

    Frank– As far as I know, economics is not considered one of the humanities at MIT. It is, however, part of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS). MIT requires undergrads to take a certain number of HASS courses. It’s kind of amusing, since humanities, arts, and social sciences are considered a complete education at plenty of other universities.

    Clark– I can’t tell you how much emphasis they put on the non-science-and-engineering departments. I wasn’t an undergrad here at the Institute, and grad programs are (unsurprisingly) pretty insulated. But I do think you’re right about the programs being pretty difficult. The undergrads I come in contact with are almost uniformly stressed out and sleep-deprived. That said, they do some pretty cool stuff. One student last year asked me for an extension on an American Foreign Policy paper because he was having problems with the joints on the legs of a robotic spider he was building for another class.

  19. Frank McIntyre
    March 27, 2006 at 4:11 pm


    I think the HASS elective thing is what I was thinking about. So, if I understand you right, you can take economics as an elective instead of taking, for example, the history of Jazz or 19th century Victorian literature?


    They might say that if they weren’t so shocked.

  20. Kiskilili
    March 27, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    Brother Payne! Now you can virtual home teach me on the bloggernacle! ;)

  21. March 27, 2006 at 9:46 pm

    Sure thing, ami-go. The lesson for this month is: Saunas are the creation of the devil, and Nokia makes the worst cell phones in the world.

  22. Tona
    March 28, 2006 at 9:13 am

    Hey Clark, (#9, #11 & forward) – I went to MIT undergrad and ended up with a degree in Course 21-Y. Course 21 is the HASS major mentioned above, and the subcategory Y was for “Anthropology/ Archaeology.” I was the only recipient of a 21-Y degree in my entire graduating class. But, I always make the case to kids looking at colleges, that it can be a good thing to go to a college with strength in a certain area (say, engineering) and study something ELSE entirely. Your professors are top of the line, the books you want are always on the shelf, your advisor’s always happy to see you, and the classes in your major are small. Win-win. Oh, and at MIT the freshman year is pass-fail. That helped with differential calculus a little.

  23. March 29, 2006 at 11:42 am


    I think I need to explain my previous post. I don’t actually know who you are. I have not spent enough time in the bloggernacle to have become familiar with the various psuedonyms people use here, let alone to have puzzled out the real identities behind them. This, I guess, is one of the problems of anonymity. Anyway, from your name I guessed that you were my friend Ami, because “kiskilili” sounded vaguely Finnish to me. So my previous post was just a little teasing directed at the person I thought was Ami.

    Anyway, after having read a post on another blog that’s attributed to you, I am now quite sure that I was mistaken. (And I think I know which of my home teachees you are. I don’t know how much anonymity you want here, so I’m not going to use your name.) I feel like such a dope. I’m sorry, and I hope my stupid anti-Finnish jokes didn’t offend you somehow. Now, excuse me while I try to pry this foot out of my mouth. It makes typing difficult.

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