Sunday, December 2, 2012

Some Pills Make You Larger, and Some Pills Make You Small

I went Christmas shopping yesterday, butt I didn’t buy anything. All the hubbub and pandemonium seemed to interfere with my circuits rendering me incapable of completing any transactions. Just as well, as everything I saw looked unsuitable for human consumption.

jimmy chooMalika Metallic Leather Sandals $995, Saks

circle tunic alex mcqueen 1545Alexander McQueen Circle Tunic, $1545; tights sold separately

3dMitsubishi 75" Laser TV with groundbreaking Laser Technology. $4499, Best Buy. Goofy glasses sold separately

I just couldn’t get into the spirit of the season so I stopped to have a cuppa Joe and watch the world go by. What I noticed going by, other than inordinately tight jeans on both men and women was a lot of people toting big red bags from the American Girl store. I don’t know if you’re familiar, butt American Girl dolls represent every period in American history and come with their own story books (and wardrobes, of course).

Who knew that in the age of iPods and iPhones girls still pined for dolls! And uniquely American dolls at that. Indeed, as I enjoyed my coffee break there were several little girls with their moms and grandmas playing with their American Girl dolls that apparently accompanied the family on the annual Christmas shopping trip.

One of the little girls was playing with her Julie doll, a hippie-era character from the 1970’s:

julie doll 1970'sAnd another was toting her Kirsten Larson doll, a young Swedish girl whose family immigrated to America in the mid-1800s and moved to Minnesota:


While the Julie doll was cute, and vaguely familiar, I think for the current generation I would recommend the Kirsten doll. Learning a thing or two about the pioneering lifestyle may prove more useful to today’s girls than learning how to fight Julie’s War on Women. For one thing, the War on Women has already been waged and lost. So now we must just soldier on. I think that Kirsten’s life will teach girls more about what they’re going to need to know in the America of the future than Julie’s life will. Unless of course you still think the major problem a young Julie and Kirsten will be facing is likely to be figuring out who will pay for their contraceptives.

Since Big Guy has pretty much sealed the deal on a downsized America, I think they’ll have bigger issues to contend with. Because after decades – centuries actually – of steady economic progress that resulted in greater health, wealth, and general well-being for Americans, all indications are that we are now in reverse.

Labor force participation is the lowest it’s been in 30 years, personal debt is at an all time high, employment at a low unseen in generations, personal savings is the lowest in years, ditto home equity. No wonder median net worth in the US reached its lowest point since 1969. We’re moving FORWARD! From behind.

All of which demonstrates that the private sector is doing fine, butt the economy is still in trouble. Which is why we need to tax the rich more; so we can develop more government jobs. Or something.

Butt I digress: here’s why I think your daughter or granddaughter should have a Kirsten doll: she can learn how to raise a family of 6 “sustainably” in a tiny log cabin; a life skill that could prove useful in After America world.

If you don’t believe me, you should check out this story:

Step into an alleyway in the Northeast Washington neighborhood known as Stronghold, and you will see a vegetable patch, a campfire, a view of the Capitol and a cluster of what neighbors call “those tiny people, building their tiny houses.”

dc neighborhood Stronghold

So obviously we need to downsize our expectations considerably.

The old American Dream:mcmansion5R.I.P. McMansions: 1988-2008

The new American Dream:tiny houses in DCA tiny house in Washington D.C.’s alley community of Stronghold

The small homes, some on wheels, don’t warrant many trips to the Container Store. There are no kitchen islands, three-car garages or living rooms that are never lived in. In fact, their increasing popularity could be seen as a denunciation of conspicuous consumption and a rejection of the idea that more is, well, more.

Oh sure, the new American Dream homes are only 200 square feet. Butt how much room to you suppose Laura Ingalls’ family had?


It’s really just a natural regression: downsized net worth, income, savings, expectations…a downsized house is inevitable.

So here’s MOTUS’ Christmas shopping tip of the day: if there’s a little girl in your life, consider getting her an American Girl Doll from the early American history collection. That way, when she grows too old to play with dolls, she’ll at least have a place to live.


If these affordable homes — which maximize every inch of interior space and look a little like well-constructed playhouses — are the dream, they represent a radically fresh version of what it takes to make Americans happy.

From 1950 to 2000, the size of the average American house increased by 230 percent, but home sizes have been declining since 2007,

The moral of today’s story:


Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, because it may well cause you to shrink. Unless you find shrinking “radically fresh” stick with the tea trolley.

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