Our Classless Society

Hot Takes For A Snow Day: “Idle Hands Spend Money,” Sandra Day O’Connor, Jennifer Senior, & More

+ Do you like shopping online? Lots of people do! As my mom put it to me this weekend, “Idle hands spend money.” The best one can do sometimes is spend wisely. In that vein, Racked was super excited to report — in what they called maybe the best Monday news of all time — that Reformation has just launched a new, more affordable collection called “Obvious.” Considering how hipster-y the clothes are, they seem to have missed a golden opportunity to call it “Obvious Child” but whatevs. If you like backless bodysuits and crop tops, insert money here.

+ Speaking of my mother, she told me a story about the time, back in the ’80s, when she and the other government lawyers who were also young moms went to hear the newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor speak. They were so eager to hear her explain how she managed it, how she managed to be a wife, a mother, and one of the most prominent judicial figures in the land.

O’Connor’s answer? Outsourcing.

Hire help, she advised the audience. Hire someone to do everything you don’t have time to do. The women nodded dumbly and left. “As if it had never occurred to us,” said my mom. “As if all we needed was to be more creative in our problem solving. We were government lawyers! O’Connor came from a wealthy family, but most of us didn’t have money to hire help. It was just so tone deaf.” 


The Playing Field Isn’t Level But That Doesn’t Mean Don’t Play

Everyone has to deal with obstacles, after all, so most everyone can relate to / empathize with struggle; whereas we don’t all get trust funds or rich, supportive partners. Those are distributed inequitably. But so, for that matter, is talent.


Which Is Cheaper: Living Like A Model Or Becoming A Tree After Death?

If you want to spend astronomical amounts to have chi chi vegan foodstuffs delivered to your door, God bless. I’ll be over here, saving my pennies so that I can be a tree when I die.


$100 Million For An Apartment & It’s Not Even Pretty

What will said oligarchs and financiers get for their zeros? Space. Some amenities. A view. The knowledge that they are blocking out the sun, much like Mr. Burns once did in Springfield, before he came to a bad end.


Link Roundup! Best Retirement Ever; Think Like A Marketer; Manterruption, & More

Of course, room, board, and entertainment cost her $164,000 a year, but she gets to travel the world and dance every night. Maybe she’ll even meet a Jack Dawson!


How “Women’s Television” Does Money

How does one write a story about women and wealth on TV and not mention “Roseanne”? Or HBO’s recent reboot of “Mildred Pierce,” for that matter?


How Do We Pay Regular Bills With Irregular Income?

The regular paycheck is, increasingly, a buffalo: not a fictional creature but one hunted nearly to the verge of extinction. Because it is So Damn Useful. Regular paychecks help you plan, save, and answer such important life questions as “Can I afford to have another kid?”

On a more basic day-to-day level, they also make civilization possible: when we get regular paychecks, we can pay our regular bills. Often even on time!

But more and more of us have to cope with not getting regular paychecks, like Nicole, and like the Ortiz family of fast-food workers we read about yesterday. 53 million, by one count, or 34% of the total workforce. Robert Reich thinks, “A majority of workers will be on their own by 2030.”

We deal with dry spells punctuated by irregular bursts of money. This is the new Freelance Economy, and it’s hell or heaven depending on how optimistic/entrepreneurial you are, or how much you like having coworkers, or whether you’ve ended up in this pit of uncertainty from which you must fight your way out by choice.

The takeaway at the end of the month is the same, though: how on earth will we pay our bills?


Michael Keaton/Douglas, Hollywood, and the Empathy Gap

The man I will always think of as Beetlejuice won a Golden Globe last night for his performance in the heady, propulsive comedy Birdman. In his emotional acceptance speech, Michael Keaton revealed that his original name is Michael Douglas. (The other famous Michael Douglas with whom you might be familiar is the firstborn son of actor Kirk Douglas, who became Hollywood royalty but started from very modest circumstances: he was born Issur “Izzy” Danielovitch to Russian-Jewish immigrants in New York.) This Douglas also revealed that he grew up rough:

In the household in which I was raised, the themes were pretty simple: Work hard, don’t quit, be appreciative, be thankful, be grateful, be respectful, also to never whine ever, never complain, and, always, for crying out loud, keep a sense of humor.

My name’s Michael John Douglas, I’m from Forest Grove, Pennsylvania. I’m the son — seventh child — of George and Leona Douglas. And I don’t ever remember a time when my father didn’t work two jobs. When my mother wasn’t saying the rosary or going to mass or trying to take care of seven kids in a rundown farmhouse, she was volunteering at the Ohio Valley Hospital where I was born in the hallway.

It was a rousing speech, and it reminded me that we in America love stories of hardship, as long as they have happy endings.


Making Money in Real Estate: Crazy / Not Crazy / If Trump Can Do It …

I don’t really know anyone who does this, who puts money in real estate rather than mutual funds, who buys property beyond the property they need to live in. Anyone besides Donald Trump, I guess I should say, and he’s not exactly my kind of role model.


Two Heartwarming Stay-At-Home-Dad Stories & One Cautionary Tale

Balance remains elusive, or perhaps just expensive.