November 19th, 2010

"Bottle of Sunshine"

T. has recently discovered that the iPads play music. Also, he understands that he can play my iPod on the boombox. And they all have Milkshake's "Bottle of Sunshine" on them. Guess what he does.

R. would never put up with this, because he would rapidly overwhelm and put a stop to it. It's a lot more than I'm comfortable with. Especially with Teletubbies on the TV.

Also, R. has gotten tired of T. asking him to put it back on that particular track, so one iPad is set up on auto-repeat.

Since T. has gone into the playroom to throw alphabet blocks (not hard and not far; it's this odd little over the shoulder and down the arm thing that's kind of cool, especially since no one else in is in there with him at the moment), I've muted the tubbies and paused the iPod, which means I'm currently down to the autorepeat iPad. I'd turn it off, but the odds are _way_ too good that T. would be in here about three seconds later turning everything back on again. OTOH, he has an iPad in the playroom with him that's playing a different song...

Today's Activities include: Maynard is Cool

We went to the korean restaurant (Little Pusan, IIRC) in Maynard today. We were trying to go for a tandem bike ride, but it turns out that my legs and the tandem do not play well together. It'll be fine if I'm in front, but not in back. The good way to look at this is we already have the appropriate bike for when T. outgrows the trailabikes, and I might be able to get my walking partner M. to ride the bike with me. The bummer is that it is not going to work for R. and me together.

In any event, we gave up on riding the bike to the restaurant and instead took the car. After lunch, we poked our heads into a little art gallery, which looks really cool, and will be a great place to buy Christmas ornaments some time after T-day (not out yet). Next door was a computer repair and recycle shop with a truly amazing display of ancient hardware.

Maynard is Cool. Also, it's the only place nearby that allows drive thrus. The golden arches there has been closed for a while being completely rebuilt; I'm looking forward to its return, hopefully with a truly amazing indoor playspace.

pictures

T. was playing in the playroom on the big playset (love that thing). Standing on the landing above the slide (yes, this is what is in our dining room), he points at the most recent picture of A. (an 11X14, so pretty big). It was taken in August, and she's crawling through or under a plastic Little Tikes toy on the grass out back. He points at it and says her name, which he has a very unique and appealing pronunciation of because of the whole consonant thing (the L and the N sound more like Ys, and it probably throws in an extra syllable as well). I agreed with him. Then he adds a full sentence: his-sister's-name playing on grass.

I think that might be the first observational full sentence I have ever heard him make. He'll ask for things, answer questions -- operational stuff. But this was just a shared observation. It was cool. I offered that A. is crawling, and he repeated that back. We passed the three ideas around a few times (that's A., A. is playing on the grass, A. is crawling) before he went back to what he was doing.

I got the Space Mountain picture off the wall to talk to him about it, but he mostly just asked me to put it back.

A. has been very interested in the Chef Mickey and Buzz Lightyear pictures of, respectively, the family including grandma and grandma, A., and me. She points at people and I say their names. Also, she tries to feed Chef Mickey in the picture. They are hung low enough for her to reach if she stands on my chair and she will try to remove them from the wall if I don't get to them first.

I had a whole stack of frames out on the dining table (in the living room, since the dining room isn't a dining room any more), trying to get pictures up on the wall. I've been mostly successful, and very pleased both because we have more pictures up on the wall, instead of sitting in envelopes waiting to find a home, and because they are there for the kids to notice and comment on and think about.

who is rich?

I had a long conversation today with one of my brokers. It turns out we actually agree on some things that are believed to be wildly controversial (means testing on social security benefits, removing the income cap on contributions to social security), that heartens me about the possibility of making sure important safety net programs are preserved to be around for future generations.

But along the way, we went down a little rat hole about whether or not people making $250,000 a year can be considered rich. One of T.'s arguments was that people who make that amount of money, but who live in an expensive place -- like, say, New York -- can't be considered to be rich because their cost of living is so high.

Let's think about that with a little bit of readily accessible data.

I pulled this out of a note in a wikipedia entry about New York City, subhead Demographics.

http://www.fiscalpolicy.org/SamRoberts4Sep05.htm

That's someone's copy of a New York Times article from September 4, 2005, titled "In Manhattan, Poor Make 2 cents for Each Dollar to the Rich".

Here are the relevant bits of information:

"The lowest-income census tract in the city is a triangular patch of East Harlem east of First Avenue and north of East 119th Street, where, despite a hint of gentrification in a renovated brownstone or two, the neighborhood is dominated by the mammoth though generally well-tended public housing project called the Wagner Houses. The median household income there is $9,320, most of the residents are black or Hispanic and do not have high school degrees, 56 percent live below the poverty level and about one in 10 are foreign born."

and

"Manhattan's highest-income census tract is a six-square-block rectangle bounded by Fifth and Park Avenues and East 56th and 59th Streets. The median household income in this mostly commercial section of East Midtown is $188,697 (average family income is $875,267); none of the residents identified themselves as black; nearly one-third have advanced degrees and more than one in three are foreign born. Even there, though, the poverty rate is 16 percent."

I think that if you make substantially (honestly? Don't _you_ think that over $60,000 is substantially?) more than the median income in the _richest_ census tract in New York City (particularly since we may well be comparing apples to oranges, in that median income in these statistics may or may not be the same as AGI, which is what the $250K thing is all about), you might qualify as rich. Don't you?

Sure. _Average_ family income in that tract is much, much, much higher, because even in that richest census tract, there are a small number of families who have fantastically more money than the rest of the rich people. But that doesn't change things. If you've got -- call it 30% more money -- than half of the other families in the _richest census tract in NYC_, you are probably rich.

I am _so_ going to write that Memo to Rich People.