Bubbles within bubbles

by Honolulu Mother

We’ve talked before about the idea that Totebaggers generally live within a comfortable urban-coastal bubble. But this Prospect article suggests that many of our business and political leaders live in yet a smaller and more comfortable bubble, which makes it difficult for them to understand the everyday experiences of the great majority of their fellow citizens:

Sanders, Trump, and the Hassles of Regular People

Daily life is more and more of a hassle for more and more people, whether it involves insecurity of jobs, of pay, of schools, of health care, of retirement, of unaffordable apartments and tuitions, of long lines and crumbling transit systems—you name it. And the super-elite doesn’t care, because they literally don’t experience any of this.

The article is short and unfocused and a bit of a humblebrag, but the idea it raises is an interesting one. Totebaggers, what do you think?

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190 thoughts on “Bubbles within bubbles

  1. Totebaggers, what do you think?

    I had a bubble moment when Denver Dad referred to the Hyatt Regency Clearwater as a luxury hotel. I’m like.. “A Regency is a mid priced chain hotel!” I guess my understanding of these things is somewhat skewed.

  2. I think this is probably true but his examples are terrible (losing his laptop after flying in a jet across the country?). I was chatting with an admin the other day and she was saying how she had to move apartments because the one she had was getting too expensive so her 13 year old had to switch schools again. Or the other day she was talking about some medical bill that she just couldn’t pay. I haven’t had to worry about stuff like that since I was 22 and making a really low salary living in Boston, so I think you do forget how tough budgeting is in the face of all of these things that come up when you’re living paycheck to paycheck.

    I do just find it so funny that people think the answer is Trump or Bernie Sanders. Trump is the furthest thing from a regular person there is and Bernie has spent his whole life in government making six figures and has no net worth.

  3. I think that particular Hyatt is luxury too. I remember pricing out a trip to Clearwater after the kids saw Dolphin Tale and that hotel was about $700 per night.

  4. Hyatt Clearwater is definitely luxury

    It’s mid-level like a Sheraton (SPG), Hilton or Marriott. The Luxury brand of Hyatt is Park Hyatt, SPG’s luxury brand is St. Regis, Hilton is Waldorf Astoria and Marriott is Ritz Carlton.

  5. “I do just find it so funny that people think the answer is Trump or Bernie Sanders.”

    As with FDR, it’s all about how they present themselves and how relatable they are. And when your opponent is Jeb or Hillary, it’s not difficult to pull that off.

  6. Looking this week the Hyatt is $235 the Hilton and the Sheraton are $320. I assume your $700 would be similar at Hilton and Sheraton during the presumably vacation week you attempted to book.

  7. DH was complaining when I left Biglaw for a fed job. We were sitting in Wendy’s when I noticed a couple with their two small kids. I pointed them out to DH – two partners in my former firm (live in a mansion, blah, blah, blah) and they’re eating at Wendy’s – just like us!

    Tee hee.

  8. Rhett – I generally agree w/you on your hotel categories. I’ve never stayed at that Hyatt but $700 per night is more than the Ritz or St. Regis costs (although the only St. Regis I’ve stayed at was the one in Atlanta).

  9. I think when I looked into that Hyatt it was for spring break so things were more expensive.

  10. I think it’s an interesting idea. At a very simple level, from what I understand, the federal benefits are generally not only excellent, but simple to implement — e.g., great health insurance with broad coverage, so you’re not in the world of paying up front and then seeking reimbursement; a great 401(k) variant with simple, low-cost funds; etc. How can we expect Congress to understand the problems most people deal with on these kinds of issues, when they are handed a gold-plated option?

    At a broader level, I think most politicians and business leaders just never have to worry about the logistics of day-to-day life — the demands of the jobs are such that they have someone else to take care of the kids and run the house (whether that’s a spouse, nanny, etc.); and the demands of their work schedule are such that they have assistants and staffers to plan out their days for them. So the reality of needing to leave by X to get a kid before daycare closes, or how physically draining it is to work nights, or how do you deal when the school calls because your kid has a 101 fever and you have a filing deadline that afternoon — that’s all just not part of their lives.

    I also think that’s why we have an at-times obsessive focus on the “everyman” political story, the guy who comes from humble roots, or the guy who makes it a point to fly home every weekend, or whatever — we want reassurance that the people we elect lived in the real world for some period of time, in the hopes that they will remember what that feels like when they are making policy.

    Not that that actually happens. The blessings of privilege are insidious; they work their way in without you even noticing, and you’re taking them for granted before you even realize they’re there. I mean, I’ve finally made it to Southwest’s A-List (talk about a non-1% accomplishment!), and I have Global Entry/Precheck. And when I have to fly another airline, or change my flight at the last minute and board as a C, or there’s a problem with the booking and my Precheck status doesn’t print out, it’s a shock — I’m not even aware of how much I take for granted my speedy trip through the airport and into an aisle seat until it suddenly isn’t there any more.

  11. I’ve never stayed at that Hyatt but $700 per night is more than the Ritz or St. Regis costs (although the only St. Regis I’ve stayed at was the one in Atlanta).

    I just looked for April vacation 2017. The Hyatt is $501 and the closet comparable Ritz is $1,028.

  12. I love this topic, but too busy to play now. Looking forward to seeing what everyone has to say.

  13. “I’m not even aware of how much I take for granted’

    That’s Rhett “Horrors…no upgrade”

  14. Rhett – “somewhat skewed”. LOL!

    One of my clients is a pilot, sort of for a living but I think he only makes like $15K/year since he only takes the shifts he wants. (This is FAR less than he makes from dividends/interest every year, just in case you were wondering.) So when he wants to go from his giant farm to NYC (very rarely), he just flies himself there and takes a car into the city.

  15. I don’t recall what we actually paid at the Hyatt Clearwater. I’m thinking around $275 a night because SIL worked out a group rate. It was mid-June so an off-peak time.

    I consider “a mid priced chain hotel” to be something like a Hampton Inn or Embassy Suites.

  16. Oddly and just based on my casual observations, I think Trump has more understanding of the problems of the unprivileged little people than either Hillary or Sanders or many other politicians. I think I partly base that opinion on Trump’s work in the private sector.

  17. I looked at June, the place we stayed was $200/night, Hyatt was about $450/night

    In what world is over $400/night not a luxury hotel?

  18. This article is one reason why I tend to support veterans for public office, and I would consider crossing party lines to do so. I would have voted for Webb in the general (whose original plan, maybe a little ironically, was to score big with the voters from whom Trump has found adoration).

  19. I was surprised it costs so much because we did stay at a Hyatt Regency in Denver for a reasonable price…

  20. “I consider “a mid priced chain hotel” to be something like a Hampton Inn or Embassy Suites.”

    I agree with this. Low-end chain would be Motel 6 or Red Roof.

  21. In what world is over $400/night not a luxury hotel?

    In a world where actual luxury hotels are $1,028. Keep in mind we’re talking about a school vacation week where the demand is super high. Next week for example the Hyatt is $212, the Ritz is $577 and the Hampton Inn is $119.

  22. Wine, I think that’s because the Clearwater one is a “resort and spa”, not just a hotel.

  23. So you guys are going back and forth arguing about whether an Acura or an Infiniti is a luxury car.

    “A $40k car is a luxury! We bought a Camry for $25k”

    “No, a Mercedes E-Class is $60k! That’s a luxury.”

    There are tiers.

  24. I am so friggin’ tired of these bubble accusations. The implication is that if you aren’t a rural white, you are somehow not real. Most of my students would utterly fail that stupid bubble quiz, yet they are most definitely NOT wealthy or entitled. They are the kids of police officers, immigrant restaurant workers, housecleaners, and yes, parents who are not employed at all. They largely grew up in cities. Some come to us from homeless shelters. But they are urban, and mainly nonwhite. Their culture is not a rural white culture. Maybe someone should make a bubble quiz based on their world.

  25. I’d say there is luxury and ‘ultra luxury” not sure where the line would be

  26. After about half an hour, Rubin said that we had to wrap up the conversation because he needed to go to the airport. Oh, I said, I have to go to the airport, too. Maybe we can finish the interview in the car.

    He looked at me, with mild amusement and pity. “Oh, I think we’re going to different places,” he said.

    I think I may have swooned a little at the part.

  27. And paying more than 25% of your gross for a mortgage is a luxury too. :)

  28. In a world where actual luxury hotels are $1,028.

    Rhett, this goes back to your first comment. For people outside the bubble, it doesn’t even occur to them that a hotel room that costs that much actually exists.

  29. “And paying more than 25% of your gross for a mortgage is a luxury too. :)”

    I think of that as the opposite. If you are poor, you are forced to spend a huge percentage of your income on a place to live because there are no other options, whereas a Totebag person can chose to “slum it” in a $400K house instead of a $800K house and spend the extra $$ on all kinds of things like SLACs and dessert tomatoes. :)

  30. agree, I think those struggling have their housing as a high % of their gross wages

  31. check out author Adam Silvera, gay Puerto Rican (I think), grew up in the Bronx, I think all 4 of his family had to share a room

  32. You’re probably right Ivy. For a Totebagger, it seems like extraneous spending on houses, cars, etc. is somewhat of a moral question.

    I know $1000 per night hotels exist but I just can’t imagine spending that much. I’ll stay at the Ritz but only if it’s less than $400, whereas I’d probably spend more on a house that I would enjoy every day.

  33. LfB has described perfectly the bubble DH now lives in. Most of the time, he is at work, kids are with parent in charge and he for the most part doesn’t deal with any day to day hassles. He travels for business and is Rhett like in that aspect. A good candidate for Washington with a hard luck story in the now distant past. When, I tell him about this, he seems genuinely surprised. Still thinks of himself as the kid he once was.

  34. I have considered spending $700 or upwards for someplace like Ventana in Big Sur or Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego. Okay, I’ve actually done the Hotel Del, but it was a big room with a balcony that looked directly out over the ocean. And I only did it once. That much money for some chain hotel? No way.

  35. Doesn’t everyone live in some sort of bubble? I only know/slightly comprehend the bubble that Rhett and Meme live in because of this site. I live in my own. Politicians/elites don’t have to deal with the hassles that they impose on ordinary people. And the sun rises in the east.

  36. Yes, we all do live in our own bubbles. I used to read storybooks where people would be having a picnic and then got rained on. I would think, “Oh come on. It doesn’t rain in the summer! What deus ex machina nonsense is this?” (I was a kid, okay?). Then I moved to North Carolina, where it basically never stops raining all summer.

  37. “You’re probably right Ivy. For a Totebagger, it seems like extraneous spending on houses, cars, etc. is somewhat of a moral question.”

    I guess for me, who did say that I personally did not want to spend in that range of % income, it’s less of a moral question than a consumption choice. I would rather spend money on things other than housing. I don’t think my consumption choices are more moral – sports tickets, fancy dinners and private school are definitely not “better”, just different.

    I also like the idea of having low fixed costs in the case of a job loss or change, whether or not the numbers really matter at this point in my life. It’s the idea of “if we lose our jobs, we aren’t having to dip into savings to get by” when dipping into savings to get by isn’t necessarily a bad thing long-term. I also want the option to retire early. This mentality aligns to Milo’s list from yesterday for when to go all in and be “house poor” for awhile.

    OT – I definitely think that not dealing with everyday hassle is a different kind of bubble.

  38. “Doesn’t everyone live in some sort of bubble?”

    Absolutely. And leaving aside the “horrors – no upgrade” kind of thing that DH and I are certainly guilty of, I’ve been spending time in a city an hour north of me where some people can’t buy food because they’re choosing to buy bottled water instead. It takes over an hour to have a bath — you have to heat the bottled water on the stove, carry it to the tub, then add cooled bottled water to make the bath temp okay. So, they do that once/week and the rest of the time, they wipe themselves down with baby wipes.

    I feel like I live in a bubble simply because I can step into the shower any time I want, and use water from the tap without fear of health risks to my kids or pets.

    And of course, I came back from said city on Monday, determined not to take our harmless water supply for granted, and promptly took it all for granted a few hours later when I was cooking dinner and cleaning the kitchen and not thinking twice about using the taps.

  39. We live in a bubble. We have enough money to send our kids to college, live in a safe part of town, and not worry about paying the bills.

  40. “I’ve been spending time in a city an hour north of me where some people can’t buy food because they’re choosing to buy bottled water instead.”

    This thought utterly petrifies me. To not be able to trust the water. That’s an essential need.

    Risley – I read somewhere that Pur water filters was supplying those cities with filters. Do the filters work for that magnitude of contamination? Do you know if anyone tried that?

    $700 on a hotel for a night?!? That’s a bubble I’ll never visit.

    I think LfB and Atlanta came closest to the “everyman” bubbles – making ends meet, medical bills, housing costs… no politician today can even come close to understand those traits. You need to have money to get into politics, and by the time you get to the presidency you’re so far gone you’ve forgotten.

  41. Rocky – “What deus ex machina nonsense is this?”

    I fell over laughing in my chair. This is my new favorite sentence! :)

  42. At a broader level, I think most politicians and business leaders just never have to worry about the logistics of day-to-day life — the demands of the jobs are such that they have someone else to take care of the kids and run the house (whether that’s a spouse, nanny, etc.); and the demands of their work schedule are such that they have assistants and staffers to plan out their days for them. So the reality of needing to leave by X to get a kid before daycare closes, or how physically draining it is to work nights, or how do you deal when the school calls because your kid has a 101 fever and you have a filing deadline that afternoon — that’s all just not part of their lives.

    Right. They don’t understand what it’s like to deal with “the juggle”, even in the way that the totebaggers deal with it, let alone how the true middle class and lower class has to deal with it.

  43. Rhode – I’m told that the filters that purportedly work are much heavier duty and require a contractor to install. It’s my understanding that DIY ones like the Pur ones I believe you’re describing do not work. Partly, I think, this is because there is not only lead from the pipes, but also a host of other chemicals as a result of the various waves of contamination (ecoli and others) from the river water itself.

  44. “Rocky – “What deus ex machina nonsense is this?
    I fell over laughing in my chair. This is my new favorite sentence! :)”

    Same here, especially since she was reporting what she was thinking as a young child. Somehow, it doesn’t surprise me at all to hear that Little Rocky was thinking such thoughts at 8 or 9 or whatever it was.

  45. I agree, I have my bubble.

    What’s the classic question, I think asked of Bush 41, “How much does a gallon of milk cost?” No clue. But every (sexist comment warning) mom with kids knows that number. And I do too, because I’m still in the grocery store pretty much every weekend, so some dads know it.

    Probably my/our bubble that’s the significant difference compared with lower SES is our answer to something like “how quickly could you come up with $1000 for an unexpected expense?” (Here’s a link from an article in CNNMoney: http://money.cnn.com/2011/08/10/pf/emergency_fund/ ). That’s the big deal…when the car needs a $632 brake repair when you thought you were going to spend $30 for an oil change, tire rotation, and state inspection.

  46. I am not sure that politicians need to be bubble-free in order to understand what issues might be important to their constituents. Just like you don’t have to be a woman to support women’s rights or a minority to support minority rights. But you do have to be able to see beyond your nose and not be an a$$hole. That seems to be where so many of them fail.

  47. I think this is true if you really have enough time and money to live in a bubble. For example, I still take the subway all over the city. I travel through some interesting neighborhoods and I travel during rush hour when I am smushed against someone that is a millionaire, or could be on welfare. The subway is a true equalizer if you utilize the system.

    I have a friend and when I met her father, he said that he doesn’t “do public transportation”. This was 25 years ago, and I have since met a few people that feel the same way.

    I think it is hard to be in walking city such as NY and truly live in the bubble, but I’m sure the elite can do it through cars with drivers, and staff that shops for them or everything delivered to their homes.

  48. Lauren, I can’t imagine how you could *not* take the subway in NYC during certain times of the day. Traffic can get rough!

  49. “But you do have to be able to see beyond your nose and not be an a$$hole.” Amen, Kate.

    I think there is something to having lived it, though I’m not sure that’s anything we can require. I remember a lot of the financial hustle from my youth, and it colors how I perceive things even now. I still remember my shock at law school where a classmate opined, “Well, everyone gets a law degree eventually. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and now seemed like as fine a time as any.” I was borrowing and hustling and didn’t have a bail out plan. Totally different realities.

  50. Rocky — when I was growing up I assumed that when a book or movie showed someone talking about the weather, it was supposed to show that the person was incredibly boring and unimaginative because why would you talk about something that’s the same every day? Then I moved to Boston for college and suddenly it was a fascinating conversational topic.

  51. I think there is something to having lived it, though I’m not sure that’s anything we can require.

    It’s harder to ignore, for one thing.

  52. HM – when I went on my honeymoon to Hawaii it was the first time I had been to a place where the weather forecast was sunny, high 85, low 75 for 7 straight days. My DH and I laughed about how easy the weathermen have it.

  53. Lemon, don’t forget the morning and evening showers in windward and mauka areas. ^_^

  54. I’m about to go out of my mind because it seems like it’s almost as easy to predict the weather here.

    Cloudy, drizzly, showers at times, high 73, low 51. It’s miserable, with no real end in sight.

  55. It has been terrible, Milo! I think I am developing SAD. I should buy one of those special lamps.

  56. I’ve seen this image about gun owners on my Facebook feed and it made me think about the bubble. I’m curious about how my Facebook feed is affected by my bubble, because either you’ll say “I saw that often” or “I never saw it.”

  57. I haven’t seen that one in particular, but it would not surprise me. The DH of one of DW’s friends from college posts a lot of similar memes.

  58. I have not seen that specific thing, WCE, but I have seen similar things in my feed. Particuarly from one (twisted and crazy) branch of the family tree. They have been strangely quiet ever since one of them shot at his spouse during an argument. Turns out having a gun sometimes does escalate things!

  59. They have been strangely quiet ever since one of them shot at his spouse during an argument.

    Good thing he’s a terrible shot.

  60. “Good thing he’s a terrible shot.”

    Maybe he just intended a few warning rounds.

  61. WCE, I may not have seen that one, but I have seen enough like it not to recall which ones I’ve seen.

    I’ve never seen the Make American Great Britain again

  62. Yep. Most of my family members are appalled. I am surprised it took this long for something to happen.

  63. Alright folks… see you in 2 weeks. I’m off to the wonderful desert of ID, followed by the wonderful spring snow of Yellowstone.

  64. This article/topic reminded me of hearing that the Trump kids had not registered in time to vote for their dad in the NY primary. I thought, well, why would they ever vote? With their money, how do laws/politics affect them?

  65. Most members of Congress are not part of the 1%. They get lots of perks while in office, but they don’t get paid as much as many of the regulars here, and they often maintain two homes so money can be tight. (Rick Santorum didn’t send his kids to the school our sons attended until AFTER he left office, for example.) Most other policy wonks who make decisions affecting ordinary people aren’t part of the 1% either. They have to stand in line at the DMV like everyone else.

  66. That’s awful, Kate. My crazy side of the family liked to keep loaded handguns in their glove compartments. I’m amazed it hasn’t led to serious injury or death thus far!

    WCE– I’ve got a couple friends who post things like that, but not many. But FB is truly a bubble, at least politically.

  67. Completely off-topic: Whatever happened to intercoms? When I was a kid there were houses with intercom systems so the parents didn’t have to yell for the kids. Now you never see them.

  68. Rocky – for some reason, I was just thinking about that the other day. A lot of people in my neighborhood had them. My friends family had considered it when they built their house, but they had cordless phones with 2 foot long metal antennas that also function as intercoms to the base, so they thought it would be redundant.

    I think that nowadays, with houses being much more open, they’re really not necessary. But if you did want them, they would just be digital and portable. Even when I was a kid, I bought a couple of portable ones from RadioShack just because I liked gadgets, but we grew tired of them.

  69. We had to stop going away with our friends that we met when DD was in preschool because they moved from luxury to uber luxury. We stay in Four Seasons/Ritz/Mandarin Oriental or similar for work, but we stay in Marriott/Hilton or suite hotels when when traveling with DD.

    They asked us to join them at a Ritz on an island during a holiday week. We did it, and it was pricey. We state one less night, and we had a great time. We decided to eat the cost because it wasn’t unreasonable, and it was important that DD was able to be with a friend. We try to take at least one vacation a year that involves a friend or family for DD because it can be hard to spend a week alone when you’re an only.

    The next year they asked us to join them at a resort in Mexico. It was the resort where Sandberg’s husband passed away. I looked at the rates and it was easily $1500 per night for the cheapest room without taxes and fees. We passed, and we’ve had to say no to other selections because they stay in hotels that are $1200-1800 per night during a holiday week. They both travel an incredible amount for their jobs, and they really want to relax and be pampered during their time off with their kids.

    I

  70. I have not seen that on my FB, but I could very well have missed it as I seem to miss many posts these days. However, I just saw this, from a friend who posts anti-Trump things almost daily. ” So anti-Trump but concerned about immigration issues. I don’t think my FB feed is a bubble.

  71. My house had an intercom system, my yelling voice works better, so we never used it and had it removed (partially) when we did the kitchen remodel. Not sure why there was one to start with, its not that big of a house.

  72. One of the primary uses of our landline is as an intercom. We use it all the time. We also text each other from different ends of the house.

  73. Yeah, our landline can also function as an intercom. We never use it. It’s kind of loud and I think DH would jump out of his skin if he were sitting quietly and reading and then my voice came blaring out of nowhere.

  74. You can kind of do that with the Echoes — if you have a remote you can use it to tell the device it’s connected to, “Say blahblahblah,” and it’ll say “Blahblahblah” with no warning to surprise of anyone near it. And even without a remote, you can use the Alexa app to start a specific device, say the one in a kid’s bedroom, playing a song or book to the surprise of the kid.

    Of course, I’m not talking about communication, just about trolling loved ones.

  75. Oh, and it is my understanding that you could use IFTTT to set it up to say or play something at a specific time. With Hue bulbs you could also set it to turn the lights on and off at that time, if you really wanted to freak someone out. I haven’t done that, because I’m not cruel despite having an evil mind.

  76. We use the ring function instead of the push to talk for intercom purposes. So I can call my DH to let him know dinner’s ready.

    Rhett I don’t think that caption is false, at least for the majority of immigrants. This animated map shows which countries have sent the most people to US since 1820.
    http://metrocosm.com/animated-immigration-map/

  77. Lauren,

    From what I’ve read, the key difference is a place like the Ritz in St. Thomas might be 180 rooms on 30 acres such that Christmas week it’s pretty busy. At an Aman,level resort it’s 30 suites and villas spread out over 30 acres designed in such a way that even at peak capacity it feels like you’re there alone.

  78. Rhett I don’t think that caption is false, at least for the majority of immigrants.

    Is it true for the majority of Hispanic illegal immigrants now? I’m not sure I understand the point of the graphic.

  79. Edit – It appears the Aman Turks and Caicos is: ” Nestled on an 18,000-acre nature preserve, the resort is a world unto itself. Stretching for one kilometre, Amanyara’s powdery, white-sand beach and its crystalline, turquoise waters frame a gently undulating landscape.”

  80. “Is it true for the majority of Hispanic illegal immigrants now? I’m not sure I understand the point of the graphic.”

    The only thing that I’d consider close to true is that the US makes much more accommodations for non-English speakers. I don’t think ballots came in 19 different languages back then, for example. As to the point, I can only speculate. I’m sure not going to ask her! But I just show it as an example of a post from an anti-Trump friend.

  81. We actually passed on a week at the Ritz in St Thomas with them because it was approx $1000 night, and I knew that place was only worth 300- 400 a night. It was not that nice. This was before they went uber luxury. This other Ritz was in Aruba. It was nice, but it isn’t the same as staying in a real Ritz in the states because the staff is always the key at a Ritz, and the quality was different.

    When I was looking for a really special splurge hotel for my milestone bday, I looked at five different hotels/resorts that I’ve learned about from them. We really can’t go due to the health of my relatives, but I was interested in a Rosewood hotel that looked beautiful and peaceful. I wasn’t looking for kids all over the place since DD will be in camp. I’m just going to keep waiting to see if I can tag alone with DH to London. If that doesn’t work out, then this will be a milestone + 1 year celebration in 2017.

  82. And, for London, it’s not all that expensive. Tomorrow night starts at $473 and that includes breakfast and a bottle of champagne.

  83. Whatever happened to intercoms? When I was a kid there were houses with intercom systems so the parents didn’t have to yell for the kids. Now you never see them.

    I’ve never once seen a house with an intercom.

  84. We stayed at the Rosewood in Bermuda a while back when we got a good deal on it. It was awesome!

  85. We had intercoms in the house in which I grew up. Never used them. Not once.

  86. I appreciate how the nicest rooms at the Rosewood London go way past suite to include the Grand Manor House Wing which includes:

    One master bedroom and five additional bedrooms including four bedrooms with a king-sized bed and one bedroom with two double beds. The Master suite has the option of one king-sized bed or two king-sized beds

    But, two king size beds in the master bedroom of a 5 bedroom wing? Is that for the Emir and his 4 wives…?

  87. I’m trying to tag along on a business trip that he has in London. The hotel will just be his regular work hotel near the London office.

    The Rosewood hotels that I was interested in are in Mexico.

    It’s clear that this is going to end up as a last minute thing, but I just hope something works out.

  88. When we moved into our house in Texas in the 70’s (it was about 10 years old) there was an intercom system in place. We fooled around with it for the first week or two, and then never used it again. It wasn’t very reliable, and yelling worked better.

  89. Lauren,

    Before today I’d never heard of Rosewood. From what I can tell they offer ultra luxury accommodations for regular luxury prices. I checked Mexico and London and the trend seems to hold. Would that be your assessment?

    To use London as an example: the Rosewood is £378, the Mandarin is £420 and Claridge’s is £480. Yet, while not as nice as Claridge’s it’s much nicer than the Mandarin.

  90. New life goal- have enough money to spend a couple nights at a Rosewood and not feel guilty.

    And maybe hang out in the lobby or bar to see how the other half lives.

  91. Kate,

    I haven’t read the Vanityfair article yet but I did check out he hotel website.

    I don’t know the story of the Rosewood Menlo Park, but here is my guess based on the photos on their website. It’s like the 3 bedroom 1500 sq/ft bungalow in Palo Alto. It was originally the Best Western Menlo Park c 197? and someone rich (Rosewood) bought it recently and lavishly gutted it to within an inch of its life and now it’s fantastically expensive. It’s the Silion Valley experience expressed in the rise of a hotel.

  92. I don’t know much about the history of the hotel other than it was bought out about 5 years ago by a Chinese company. The Menlo Park hotel is kind of weird because it looks like an office park but is also really nice. The rooms are beautiful. But then some rooms look out over Sand Hill Rd.

    But read the article. Lots of weirdness of SV.

  93. Kate,

    The women, on the other hand, tend to be assertive without the ability to turn it off. “They have a tough time being women,” she explains. “Most are very successful, and to succeed in corporate America you have to be strong. That’s fine, but guys might want to hire them, not take them home.”

    So Andersen and Ericson set out to solve the problem.

    I’ve mention our neighbor who is now an even more senior executive at a very big global company and is unhappily single. Maybe these ladies could solve her problem? Not that it’s going to be all that easy to work into a conversation….

  94. Rhett – you should casually mention this hotel and how you started talking to the bar tender and how explained the whole thing, blah, blah, blah. And then you read the article, etc. She’ll Google and find true love.

  95. Kate,

    You flatter me. I was at the W Silicon Valley which is now the Aloft Silicon Valley. No one would buy me at the Rosewood.

    When Lauren said, “We stay in Four Seasons/Ritz/Mandarin Oriental or similar for work…” I could only note to myself, “If only you’d done your homework in high school.”

  96. The only reason I was able to stay in those places is that the banks negotiate lower rates due to volume.

    I did have to stay one night in an inner courtyard room with no windows at an “old” five star hotel in Chicago. I think the manager explained that was the deal with that rate. Same in Ritz Buckhead.

    That usually wasn’t the case, but it did happen sometimes. I’ve also stayed in plenty of Marriotts, Ws, Hiltons that weren’t memorable and could have been located any where in the US.

  97. When Lauren said, “We stay in Four Seasons/Ritz/Mandarin Oriental or similar for work…” I could only note to myself, “If only you’d done your homework in high school.”

    @Rhett: FWIW, I did my homework in HS, and I am currently sitting in a Residence Inn in Birmingham, Alabama. Although I am at least driving a convertible (DH insisted on the upgrade, despite the almost $200 extra. Grrrr).

  98. A lot of the 70s era houses in my neighborhood growing up had intercoms. I hate yelling, so I just text someone upstairs and tell them to come down if I want to talk to them, dinner’s ready or whatever.

    WCE, I get things like that on my FB feed, in addition to old sorority sisters my age at the gun range, with a rifle out on the ranch in a full-length fur, college age daughters learning to shoot at granddad’s ranch, etc. Gun ownership is not uncommon among my old friends or my current neighbors/colleagues, and many of these people have a much nicer bubble than me. I don’t have any Trump supporters on my FB feed, but a lot of anti-Obama memes that are chock full of nonsense, and multiple this week about Hillary having said she will repeal 2nd amendment if she is elected and able to appoint Supreme Court judges. (Urgent!)

    Rosewood-level hotels are not even on my radar, sadly.

  99. The only reason I was able to stay in those places is that the banks negotiate lower rates due to volume.

    Chuckle. They could have negotiated even lower rates based on volume at the Hampton Inn*. The reason you got to stay at the Mandarin was because of how valuable you were as an employee.

  100. LfB,

    You’re not doing too bad. However, sticking with Marriott properties, the Rennisance Birmingham Ross Golf Resort and Spa is only 9 miles away and is $20 more a night ($195 vs $175.). But, it seems much nicer. The Marriott flagship property in Birmingham is the Grand Bohemian, at an eye watering $283. The Bohemian doesn’t seem worth it.

  101. “I hate yelling, so I just text someone upstairs and tell them to come down if I want to talk to them, dinner’s ready or whatever.”

    We have a gong. It is awesome.

  102. @Rhett – oh, I’m not complaining. 😉 This suits me. We are with my dad, so I wanted a 2br. Plus we lucked into happy hour tonight — plates of bbq and sides and beer, all for free. So, you know, I’m good.

    We did look at Grand Bohemian (they have a deal with the place we are here for) but I agree, it didn’t seem worth it, especially needing two rooms vs one.

  103. LfB – I knew someone on here had mentioned having a gong, but couldn’t remember who. I think that is awesome.

  104. A gong ! I would love that but DS is a VERY noisy kid and he would love that. He would use it to summon us !

  105. I thought Sheryl Sandberg’s recent comments were relevant to the bubbles within bubbles theme.  When I read it a few days ago, I admit it did kinda rub me the wrong way.  In my privileged state I have often pondered how difficult it must be for a single parent on a limited income, but I’ve never been in that situation.  I have known family, friends, and co-workers who deal with this.

    … Ms. Sandberg lost her husband, Dave Goldberg, in a tragic accident last year; and in a recent Mother’s Day Facebook post, she writes this: “For me, this is still a new and unfamiliar world. Before, I did not quite get it. I did not really get how hard it is to succeed at work when you are overwhelmed at home.”

    Ms. Sandberg may be overwhelmed, but she in in no way “gets it.” As a billionaire, she can afford all the help in the world. Nevertheless, being the good progressive she is, she claims single parents need a “safety net” and calls upon the public (read: taxpayers) to support single, working mothers — a longtime feminist goal….

    That a Harvard graduate can’t see the irony of her own words speaks volumes….

    (I don’t really suggest you all read the rest of the article because it’s a bit over the top for progressive thinkers.  However, be forewarned that our post coming up later this morning may get your blood boiling a bit!)

  106. CofC,

    That Suzanne lady seems very angry. She’s like a mom version of Ann Coulter.

  107. Hoi polloi TSA update. 8:05 am departure today from logan term C. Since I was driving self, leaving home just before 6 was best for traffic and finding a space in the garage. Reached the security line at 6:40. TSA pre is random for me. Didn’t get it today. Took a half hour., very efficient and courteous, with constant announcements and pull outs for flights departing within 40 min. Thus is a same day trip for me. I plan to investigate paying for TSA pre for hubby’s sake, as soon as I get home. Does anyone know offhand if Canada flights require global entry rather than TSA pre. It looks like jet blue even more speed, which you can purchase from the app as you walk up, offers significantly reduced wait.

  108. SS’s comments re: single parenting just struck me as kind of clueless. Being a single working mom has got to be very, very difficult. Particuarly when you don’t have billions of dollars. It shouldn’t take the death of your husband to figure this out.

  109. “That Suzanne lady seems very angry. She’s like a mom version of Ann Coulter.”

    Now that’s funny, although it does sound like something Trump might say.

    If I didn’t have to apply in person, I’d pay at least double for global entry. That’s my bubble perspective.
    https://www.dhs.gov/comparison-chart

  110. “It shouldn’t take the death of your husband to figure this out.” — Exactly.

  111. Meme,

    Global Entry is automated passport control (you use a kiosk rather than waiting in line for a person at immigration) but it also comes with TSA Pre. You should go ahead and get Global Entry it’s like $20 more but you got both features.

  112. I wonder if the lack of empathy that seems to be so prevalent among successful people is a driver in their success. That you might need to lack it or at least be able turn it off in order to succeed at a top level. Or maybe they all would score fairly high on the narcissistic personality disorder tests.

  113. What I can’t fully support is the idea that it’s the responsibility of taxpayers to ensure that being a single parent is every bit as advantageous as rearing children in a dual-parent household, in no small part because it never can be, and the more you try to do so, the more you encourage the choices that lead to the very conditions that you’re trying to alleviate, poverty and inequality. Of course, death of a parent is not a choice, but that’s why we have Social Security survivor’s benefits. Perhaps those should be a little more generous. What we don’t want to encourage is more people like the son of my tree guy to think that there’s no need for him to get off the couch to support his ex-girlfriend’s kid, since taxpayers have it covered.

    So while I don’t agree with Sandberg’s political aims here, I don’t see anything wrong with acknowledging that you didn’t realize how difficult a situation can be until you experienced it first-hand (especially if she likewise acknowledges that her wealth insulates her from a portion of the hardships). To criticize the bubbles in which the elites exist, but then to turn around and also criticize them when they do experience difficult tragedies because they could never *really* understand, puts them in an impossible situation.

  114. ““It shouldn’t take the death of your husband to figure this out.” — Exactly.”

    But the other possibility is that she just thought it would be a good idea to spin it this way for her own political agenda. Either way, it lowers her credibility in the eyes of some people.

  115. What we don’t want to encourage is more people like the son of my tree guy to think that there’s no need for him to get off the couch to support his ex-girlfriend’s kid, since taxpayers have it covered.

    Would he get off the couch if the kid was going to starve?

  116. There is another option for them just to keep their heads down and stay quiet. Not everything needs to be for public consumption.

  117. I wonder if the lack of empathy that seems to be so prevalent among successful people is a driver in their success. That you might need to lack it or at least be able turn it off in order to succeed at a top level. Or maybe they all would score fairly high on the narcissistic personality disorder tests.

    That’s a really good question.

    But the inability to empathize is everywhere. I’m constantly startled at the number of Christians who lose their faith when something bad happens to them. Didn’t you read the paper? Didn’t you see all the horror around you all the time? Why did it take the death of your child (or whatever) for you to wake up?

  118. RMS – I think some of the faithful really do believe that if you pray about something hard enough, God will deliver. So, I imagine it is very difficult when he doesn’t come through.

  119. Kate – I agree. I don’t think anywhere in my faith it is said that nothing bad will happen if you pray but lots of people take it that way. It says, that in tough times, it will give you strength to carry on. I really have a problem when prayer becomes meaningless uttering of words or worse you pray for a thunderbolt to smite your enemy.

  120. I actually think Sandburg is one of the great thinkers and observers of corporate culture. If you read what she writes, in her own words (as opposed to what other people write about what she says), she has some extraordinary insights into how people operate, and therefore how their corporate cultures operate. I find it fascinating.

    I also think what makes her a great thinker is her ability to continually analyze, and admit when her perspective changes. So few people can adapt and engage that cognitive flexibility, but it’s a great skill. I’m great admirer of hers.

  121. “Would he get off the couch if the kid was going to starve?”

    I think so. Obviously, we wouldn’t want to test the theory to that extreme, but I don’t think we can ignore the adverse effects of well-intentioned subsidization.

  122. I don’t like the criticism that Sandberg is getting. We would never denigrate the observations of a friend in the same situation. We would never say “You lost your husband and are raising your kids on your own. You have no right to say anything, because at least you have money.”

    If we held ourselves to this standard, we would have no right to complain about anything, ever.

  123. But Houston, she’s not our friend, and it’s the lack of empathy that’s annoying. And we Totebaggers don’t really have a right to complain about anything, ever, but we still do, and that’s why this blog is here. Do you think I could complain about financial stuff anywhere else? My real-life friends, many of whom really do make $50K or less, would definitely tell me to STFU.

  124. LfB,
    I want to go back in time to have three boys at home and a gong.
    We had a ship’s bell outside, installed by a retired admiral, to call in wandering boys from the woods, but the gong would have been awesome. Where did you get it? I still have college DS for a few more years.

  125. For me, it is not the money. It is the cluelessness and inability to have empathy until experiencing the same thing.

    And I think we do and should hold public figures to a higher standard. She is making money off of a book about leaning in. Turns out it is hard to lean in without a spouse/co-parent. To many of her critics, this was obvious.

  126. “And we Totebaggers don’t really have a right to complain about anything, ever, but we still do, and that’s why this blog is here. Do you think I could complain about financial stuff anywhere else? My real-life friends, many of whom really do make $50K or less, would definitely tell me to STFU.”

    But then you’re making a case for stratification and isolation. Sandberg can only complain to fellow billionaires (is she really a billionaire?) because small time CEOs with $100M will tell her to STFU, you and SoFLMom will tell them to STFU, we’ll tell you to STFU, your church friends will tell us to STFU, the people on food stamps will tell your church friends to STFU, and Third World people with no running water or reliable energy will tell them to STFU.

  127. We had a ship’s bell outside, installed by a retired admiral

    What about a whistle like Capt. von Trapp in The Sound of Music?

  128. “It is the cluelessness and inability to have empathy until experiencing the same thing. ”

    That’s us. That’s everyone. That’s human nature.

  129. Hum…if she retired and at a 3% withdrawal rate that would generate $796,153.84 in income. A week.

  130. But then you’re making a case for stratification and isolation. Sandberg can only complain to fellow billionaires (is she really a billionaire?) because small time CEOs with $100M will tell her to STFU, you and SoFLMom will tell them to STFU, we’ll tell you to STFU, your church friends will tell us to STFU, the people on food stamps will tell your church friends to STFU, and Third World people with no running water or reliable energy will tell them to STFU.

    Yes. What’s your point?

  131. “We had a ship’s bell outside, installed by a retired admiral”

    Did he explain about the number of bells for “ringing someone aboard”?

  132. “Yes. What’s your point?”

    That it’s counterproductive to a society that attempts to have mutual understanding among the ranks.

  133. People with unreliable tap water…for my whole childhood we had to boil tap water and then drink it. Now, there are filters attached to faucets in the kitchen. My brother as a toddler was very curious, he wanted to know what was in the giant vessel that was cooling on the counter. He looked in, hot water badly burned him. It was an incident that I recall vividly.

  134. SS has everything money can buy, and still struggles as a single parent, and her children will struggle without their dad. If she had stopped there, it would have been a much more powerful post. But her compulsion to make a larger point about other people’s money detracted from anything valuable she had to say. Most single moms are not widowed, and the father of their children is not dead. That is the reality that she fails to acknowledge in her post. DH has a nephew who quit his job after his girlfriend had their baby, because she was eligible for public assistance and they could live on that. He called it “paternity leave.” Eventually, he did go back to work, but this is the mentality that Milo describes and that SS completely sidestepped in her tome.

  135. Random, but the bell got me thinking of this. I recently discovered in an antique shop a metal sign, presumably from the late 1800s or early 1900s, that reads “This room is powered by Edison Electric Light. Do not attempt to light with a match; simply push the switch located on the wall. The use of electricity for lighting is perfectly safe and does not affect the soundness of sleep.”

    I have it posted prominently at the top of our basement stairs, by the light switch. I love it.

  136. Regarding water– when I was a child, my grandparents, aunts/uncles only had access to running water for a few hours a day. They would fill huge storage containers during this time and use the water through the day.

  137. The use of electricity for lighting is perfectly safe and does not affect the soundness of sleep.

    That’s awesome. I love stuff like that! Although, I must say it’s surprisingly steampunk of you.

  138. new term for me, but yeah, I like that sort of thing. I’m going to be doing more of it. The entire basement is my canvas.

  139. Steampunk Milo – that sign is fantastic! That is the single best antique store find I’ve ever heard of (other than the unexpected finds of items valued at millions of $). But for keeper items, that one wins for sure.

  140. It’s similar to this, but printed in a few colors, and it does say push the button, not turn the key:

  141. Louse — I love reading your comments about your background. My parents lived in a rural part of Texas until just before I was born, and I remember visiting relatives back there where if you wanted a drink of water you’d go to the big pail in the kitchen and scoop your drink out with something like this. Ah, the good old days. not!

  142. I think it would awesome to show up at my next job with a steampunk laptop:

  143. Milo,
    We didn’t get to meet the admiral, who had lived in the house some years before the previous owners. Our next door neighbor was also a retired admiral, and though he told us great stories about WWII (especially the liquor establishment his ship saved from the Japanese, and whose owners sent him so many free bottles in gratitude that he had quite a stash in his basement), we didn’t get the details about the bell.

  144. I may not have thought to purchase the sign if it weren’t for visiting a friend of mine who (stole?) one from the Army Navy Country Club’s men’s room and posted it in their powder room:

    “Gentlemen are kindly requested to adjust their shirts and ties before re-entering the Lobby. –Army Navy Country Club”

    And I read it several times over trying to figure out what situation the proprietors were trying to avoid, initially thinking that they saw too many people with unkempt shirts and ties. (Then realizing that what they really mean is to NOT be tucking in your shirt out in public.)

    It’s delightfully priggish.

  145. Well, from reading the chain of posts just now (was too busy yesterday) I have now come to the conclusion that unless you are a single parent raising 5 sick babies in a mud hovel with cholera infected water and a civil war raging around you, you have no right to complain. Guess we better tell all those Angry White Voters (tm ) to be quiet.

  146. Steampunk Milo, love it!

    we should all have nicknames , nice ones though, not ones Trump would come up with

  147. However, be forewarned that our post coming up later this morning may get your blood boiling a bit!

    intriguing!

  148. Coc – I have numerous bizzare incidents from my childhood. One had to Keep Calm and Carry On.
    The water dipper is familiar to me. My grandparents had one but made out of the shell of a coconut with a wooden handle.

  149. the water dipper made me think of DH’s grandma (now deceased 10 years) she had well water on her farm

  150. I have a lot of trouble understanding how Trump’s nicknames are so effective. They are mainly just lame, and remind me of the 4th grade bully who doesn’t have the verbal skills to come up with anything truly stinging

  151. Rhett – love the key on the laptop. You’d need some kind of hat/helmet to complete the look. Or a monocle at the very least.

  152. “I have a lot of trouble understanding how Trump’s nicknames are so effective.”

    One theory I read that I think explains part of it is that Trump is the bully to the bully. In other words, for those of us who feel that someone like Crooked Hillary is essentially a bully who will break whatever laws that suit her in order to get her way and laugh at or ignore anyone who tries call her on it, Trump is the bully of the bully.

  153. Rhett – perfection! Might be a hassle to travel with though. And yes on the winding!

  154. My grandma had well water (but pumped into the house, no water dipper by the time we grandkids were around.) It always smelled of sulphur, and they spent a lot of time figuring out the water softener, filters, etc. Every time I returned home after a long visit it made me really appreciate our clean, safe tap water.

  155. Scarlett – Speaking of flag officers’ old houses, I remember seeing this in the news:

    http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/2015/09/28/marines-launch-nonprofit-buy-chesty-pullers-house/72062112/

    A little background is required here, because Chesty Puller is so legendary that he’s one of the most popular subjects of running cadences. His pithy and dead-pan quotes are probably a big help to this effect; e.g. “We’re surrounded. That simplifies our problem.”

    Considering his fame, the house is shockingly, or perhaps fittingly, modest.

  156. “I don’t see anything wrong with acknowledging that you didn’t realize how difficult a situation can be until you experienced it first-hand (especially if she likewise acknowledges that her wealth insulates her from a portion of the hardships). To criticize the bubbles in which the elites exist, but then to turn around and also criticize them when they do experience difficult tragedies because they could never *really* understand, puts them in an impossible situation.”

    I totally agree with Milo & Houston on this one. I liked SS’s Mother’s Day post.

    On top executives being able to turn of empathy. Absolutely they have to be able to do that – you have to be able to in certain situations do what is right for the business even if it is going to affect people personally. I don’t think you need to be totally void of empathy, but you have to find a way to deal with carrying our decisions that will negatively impact people in a personal way.

  157. “One theory I read that I think explains part of it is that Trump is the bully to the bully. In other words, for those of us who feel that someone like Crooked Hillary is essentially a bully who will break whatever laws that suit her in order to get her way and laugh at or ignore anyone who tries call her on it, Trump is the bully of the bully.”

    And the bullies Trump is bullying were bullying his voters, and is giving them a voice.

    DS and I were discussing this a couple weeks or so ago, and think there is something to it.

  158. “I don’t see anything wrong with acknowledging that you didn’t realize how difficult a situation can be until you experienced it first-hand (especially if she likewise acknowledges that her wealth insulates her from a portion of the hardships).”

    This made me think of the movie “Trading Places” with Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis.

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