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Let’s start this with a video. Push play… wait… wait for it… almost there… OK, NOW!

So is Captain Hook right? Kids are a huge investment and the returns are negligible,  what this guy…

Bryan Caplan

…assumes to be the general sentiment of the populace . Maybe it’s true, I wouldn’t know, but it sounds like it isn’t something you’d be called crazy for saying. Anyway, this guy,

Bryan and Corina Caplan

pictured here during childless, pre-contact lense, perhaps happier, times, says that it’s a flawed generalization. You can read the article HERE.

1. Happiness research has shown that you feel the leak in your happiness tank the most with your first child, and that it lessens incrementally with each child, thereafter.

A closer look at the General Social Survey also reveals that child No. 1 does almost all the damage. Otherwise identical people with one child instead of none are 5.6 percentage points less likely to be very happy. Beyond that, additional children are almost a happiness free lunch. Each child after the first reduces your probability of being very happy by a mere .6 percentage points.

There was a time in our history when having more kids was an economic advantage. More kids meant more laborers. However, modern living has placed less need, less value, on child-rearing, a phenomena demonstrated by falling birth rates throughout the industrialized world. Let’s face it, until I have some hay to be baled, some utters to be tugged or seeds to be sown, having children would be a drag, and potentially impede my right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Not so, Caplan says, after the first one, you barely notice it.

This leads me to point two.

2. Parents have little to no influence over the kind of people their children will become. Studies have shown that a child’s projection is largely determined by biology.

Parents use many tactics to influence their kids’ schooling and future income. Some we admire: reading to kids, helping them with homework, praising hard work. Others we resent: fancy tutors, legacy admissions, nepotism. According to the research, however, these tactics barely work. Dartmouth economist Bruce Sacerdote studied about 1,200 families that adopted disadvantaged Korean children. The families spanned a broad range; they only needed incomes 25% above the poverty level to be eligible to adopt. Nevertheless, family income and neighborhood income had zero effect on adoptees’ ultimate success in school and work.

Interestingly enough, living in Korea, I have come to realize the tremendous amount parents sacrifice, with the hopes of rearing productive, successful, wealthy kids. With school, English lessons, Math lessons, piano lessons, taekwondo lessons, art lessons, some kids don’t make it home till around midnight. These lessons aren’t cheap.  Mothers take out huge loans to send their children abroad to study during their middle and high school years. “Idiots, all of them!” says Caplan. Your kids will end up the way God intended them to be so why don’t you shelve The Very Hungry Caterpillar and have a soak or make yourself a drink.

3. Child-rearing haters aren’t thinking about the long-term benefits of their potentially meager – as Caplan has shown – investments. Old age comes to most and during those years, it is a joy to be surrounded by loved ones.

As you weigh your options, don’t forget that the costs of kids are front-loaded, and the benefits are back-loaded. Babies are a lot of work even if you’re easy on yourself. But the older kids get, the more independent they become; eventually, you’ll want them to find time for you. So when weighing whether to have another child, you shouldn’t base your decision on how you feel after a few days—or months—of sleepless nights with a new baby. Focus on the big picture, consider the ideal number of children to have when you’re 30, 40, 60 and 80, and strike a happy medium. Remember: The more kids you have, the more grandkids you can expect. As an old saying goes, “If I had known grandchildren were this much fun I would have had them first.”

When I’m wrinkly and gray it’ll be nice to have someone to mow my lawn  and listen to the same rambling stories I’ve been telling my whole life.

So who’s right? Caplan or Captain Hook? I’m in no position to make any judgments on this topic. I just hope my folks didn’t have too terrible a time bringing me up, and that I’ll be able to make good on my debts eventually. Happy Father’s Day… and Mother’s Day.

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Pin-Ups

One of the beautiful things about mass-production is that we can have love affairs with people we will never meet. Like the automobile pieced together on a line, images can be produced, re-produced and distributed to such a vast number of people at a relatively small cost. Images of glamourous living, beauty and sex, in particular, make it to the masses and allow everyone, from  the cramped urbanite on a train, to the barefoot boy in a village in the third world,  the opportunity to desire and fall in love with the ideal.

May

There are too many examples to list so I’ll just throw one out. How about Scarlett Johansson?  I look at her and I think, “That girl is perfect.” She has all the attributes I want to see in a woman,  the curves of her body, her plump lips, the scratchy voice. I’m attracted to her vulnerability and loneliness in Lost In Translation and  excited by her passion and coquetry in Match Point.

July

People like that, like Ms. Johanson, their images belong to us and we can treat them as we like.

We can share them. Dispose of them when we grow tired of  their face and find a new one on any channel and on any magazine stand.  We can use them to create standards for our romantic pursuits, as a kind of  high-water mark to measure the the flood levels created by potential lovers.

Eizo, a Japanese medical imaging and precision display company,  play with this idea in one of their marketing campaigns (Butter, Berlin/Duesseldorf, Germany), a nude, pin-up calendar, sure to rumble the bowels of a few radiologists. The images speak for themselves. I like the idea. It’s fun.

August

Some advice:

“This may seem simple, but you need to give customers what they want, not what you think they want. And, if you do this, people will keep coming back.”
John llhan, Turkish–Australian entrepreneur

ufunk

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I remember my first Valentine’s Day. I was 14 years old. I bought several large bags of M&Ms, the ones that are packaged to be put in jars, bowls, etc – not the little packages you give to trick-or-treaters – and I spent the night of the 13th sifting through the browns, reds, yellows, oranges and blues, picking out the green ones and bagging them in a fancy little pouch. This was around the time that Mars was doing their “spokescandy” promotion with anthropomorphized M&Ms; plain and peanut (red & yellow) were the main faces of the campaign. There was also blue, a new color who was cool and kind of an asshole. And then there was green. She was sexy and sassy and in control. Maybe my girlfriend identified with this headstrong piece of candy, or maybe she was just a little neurotic, because she absolutely refused to eat an M&M unless it was green. If I was offering: “Are there any green ones?” If she was asking: “Are there any green ones?” So I turned this little personality tick of hers into an opportunity to be a good boyfriend, the kind who deserves long and intense make out sessions for having been so thoughtful. It worked.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I can relate to this Stefan Magdalinski guy, who dipped a brand new ipad in melted chocolate, let it sit, then wrapped and gifted it to his wife, who is an “Apple Nut.”

“Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.” – Warren Buffett

The original story.

I saw you again today, the beautiful filipina mgr, who has braces. You were getting change for the male cashier, and I said Hi to you, for no reason other than to see your smile! You looked up and said Hi back, then that beautiful smile came, and just melted me. I even came back to the counter and asked you for straw, (even though I already had one), I just wanted to look into your eyes again. I wish I had the nerve to talk to you, but you were busy, and also, I’d be afraid of tripping over my tongue! I would really like to get to know you, as a friend or whatever, so if you read this….please email me back.
Hoping and Waiting!
Aloha
D