The Deadman Night Rider

A forum for evening students of the SMU Dedman School of Law and other outlaws..

Monday, July 23, 2007

More grinch

I guess this is more fodder for the grinch pile. This weekend I was noodling around on Instapundit and followed a link to the Amazon review for One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding (don't ask me why--I have no idea). A couple of interesting facts came out in the related links, like that before WWII, people didn't usually buy engagement rings or expensive wedding dresses. Maybe that's why we had a positive savings rate as a country back then. Consider this, from a review of the book in the Washington Post:

About a dozen years ago, an old friend of mine was told by his daughter that she was going to get married. This suited him fine, but he balked at pouring untold thousands of dollars down the drain of a full-dress wedding. "I'll tell you what," he said to her. "I'll give you a choice: You can have a wedding, or you can have $30,000 to help you get started on your new life." Without a moment's hesitation, she astonished him -- and me, too, when he told me the story -- by replying, "I'll take the wedding."

To paraphrase the Lone Rider of the Apocalypse: and them's 1995 dollars. I'm sure everyone's seen something like this. I remember a young woman in an office I used to work in--a very well-educated, level-headed CPA--who explained why it was that her fiancee had to max out the three months' salary rule for her to be happy about it.

"I don't really want a ring that expensive," she explained. "I want him to want to give me a ring that expensive. It's a symbol."

If that's the case, wouldn't a joint IRA contribution be a better symbol, showing all the intent in the world to stick together until age 65 to draw on it? Of course, flashing a joint IRA statement around the office to the other gals doesn't get quite the same effect, which I think gets alot closer to the heart of the matter.

Of course, it's easy for me to be preachy on this subject, since my three months' salary has been safely earning interest all these years because I got married an ocean away, where blowing that kind of cash wasn't something you just had to do. As much as I'd like to think otherwise, I'm sure that if it had happened here, I'd have been sucked through this same wringer. For example, logic has availed me little against house fever. In that area, I've even indulged in the ultimate irony: paying more money for less stuff, just so that stuff would be in a house.

So, there you go. I guess the best we can hope for is that when the Russians and the Chinese start spending their bulging foreign currency reserves, they at least hire us to plan their weddings and fix up their digs for them.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

More martial arts philosophy

As I've posted on before, you never know what rare nuggets of wisdom you're going to run across in reading martial arts training material (e.g., the first response to pain must be anger, not submission). Here's one I just ran across surfing around:

As a practitioner of combative martial arts, one must forever strive to reach the goal of, "one strike, certain death."

I wonder what the Chinese pictograph symbol for that is?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Is this the American Dream?

I guess we're all feeling old and curmudgeonly this week. I managed to stay out of Roscoe and Kellus' discussion about the precipitous decline in customer service in cities as opposed to small towns, but this photo really got to me.

For anyone who doesn't recognize what's going on here, here's a quick quiz. This guy is hoisting his prize overhead, exulting in victory, because:

A. He won an Academy Award.

B. He won a local spelling bee.

C. He stood in a line for an embarrassingly long time for the rare privilege of forking over an obscene amount of his own money for a toy.

Of course, C is the correct answer--we are looking at the proud owner of an Iphone. This apparently is what passes for accomplishment nowadays.

To paraphrase the movie Gladiator, the Founders had a dream for our country, but this isn't it.