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[Comments] (11) Inflation Pools: Like Alyson, Susie and I also went to the movies last night. And like Alyson, I would have liked to have seen The Polar Express, but Susie wouldn't hear of it. I suppose it has something to do with that old Richardson tradition of telling your child, shortly after leaving the womb, that Santa is indeed a farce. I sincerely hope that is not a Walsh tradition. But I digress already...

We saw The Incredibles and it was really good. I had my doubts about this one, thinking it would be a cliche movie hero movie, but I was proved wrong. We went to the last matinee of the day (5:30) to save $6. Some things in life just outstrip inflation, I suppose. Like medicine and college education, I guess movie making is just one of those items. Though one wonders. For example, for the past 3 or so years, movies have been advertising on screen before the show starts. This brings in revenue. But have ticket prices gone down as a result? No way Jose. I hear in Century City and Hollywood it costs $13 to see a movie. It is $9 in the OC. But Ernst & Young audits a movie chain, so I get discount tickets for $6. I have always wondered, what with Hollywood being so Democrat and all, why the stars have never made some of their features pro bono, as a way to thank the proletariat. I guess that is one of the many Democratic enigmas I am never allowed to understand, as an outsider. I guess since we all still pay the big bucks to see the flicks, that supply and demand still holds true. Maybe Rachel can calculate the elasticity of demand for me, as an econ graduate.

But I digress again. The point: The Incredibles was, well, incredible. It truly lived up to the Disney/Pixar name of its predecessors. I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up; fine holiday fun!


Posted by Sumana at Sat Nov 13 2004 08:55

Leonard and I laughed out loud at several points in this entry - well done - but of course I cannot help but respond to your question about the secular leftist elite in Hollywood and their inevitable hypocrisy :-). I took an introductory economics class in college, so I feel highly qualified to glibly answer any and all questions about price elasticity.

So! There are many movie stars and other actors in Hollywood, and many of them are Democrats or otherwise pretty liberal (examples of conservatives in Hollywood include Ron Silver and Arnold Schwarzenegger). But they don't own cinema chains; in order to get movie ticket prices down, they'd have to buy or build one, or stage an event where they paid for free or subsidized tickets to some showings. The latter sounds like a really interesting option and I've never heard of anyone doing it; I have heard of Michael Moore authorizing free private screenings of his recent documentary.

Many musicians are also liberal, and will go and perform at free venues to reward fans. (It's difficult to arrange to perform in a big venue and give out free tickets because Ticketmaster will charge ticket buyers $15-$20 processing fees; many musicians are unhappy about this.) Music venues can and do change prices based on the price of hiring the musician and staging the show; movie theaters don't charge more to see a special-effects-laden blockbuster than they do for a Dogme 95 character study. And they don't change prices for individual movies based on demand, which is pretty weird. If you've run into a movie theater that actually does the sensible-seeming price elasticity here, let me know!

I'd bet that substitution effects lead to more and more renting of videos/DVDs since the price of a cinema ticket relative to the price of renting has gone up so much, but I haven't done the research, of course. Again, comparison to the music industry: the RIAA has *punished* stores for selling CDs under the suggested retail price! There are all these arcane legacies in the movie industry that baffle me and probably explain these weird price effects.

You may want to read Lore Fitzgerald Sjoberg's funny take on "if movie theaters were introduced today":

There! I guess I can turn that in as my Ph. D. thesis. The other day I dreamt I was teaching at Yale; maybe my dream-Yale will take it.

Posted by Susie at Sat Nov 13 2004 10:06

John is referring to the Walch Family; We don't know any Walshes. And, by the way, he never asked if I wanted to see Polar Express. I was invited to see The Incredibles and I accepted.

I realize now that I would have earned more than the $6 if I had worked the last 45 minutes of work, especially since I was getting overtime at that point. Oh well. We were out late enough as it was.

Posted by Frances at Sat Nov 13 2004 11:18

I don't think it's either a Richardson or a Walch thing. It's my fault. I don't believe in fooling kids about Santa, and I never did. When I was about five years old I figured it out, and I asked my mother, and she verified my suspicions.

The Richardsons, on the other hand, used to do the most elaborate Santa scam on Christmas, where Santa came in person and brought each granchild a toy. Everyone had to sit on his lap and get a picture taken with Santa. Then he would run out the door jingling his bells and crying ho ho ho.

Posted by Kristen at Mon Nov 15 2004 16:12

Wow Sumana. You're smart. My dad used to tell us there was no such thing as Santa that he and mom were Santa, but that is just because I think he wanted to take credit for what he did. Either that or he enjoys seeing the shocked/sad looks on our faces.
I also saw Incredibles and it was such an awesome movie. Very clever and original.

Posted by Sumana at Tue Nov 16 2004 10:03

Thanks, Kristen.

My parents never told me there was a Santa. I may have tried to believe. I also don't remember any traumatic playground confrontations where I disillusioned anyone. Teachers in the US have gotten reprimanded for telling the truth to kids on this issue - sigh!

Most parents lie to their kids about SOMETHING -- "don't worry, everything's going to be fine," "this won't hurt," "if you act like that no one will like you," "there is a Santa Claus," "there is a Tooth Fairy," et cetera. Maybe I should tell any kids I have that there is a Santa Claus just to practice lying so that other, more important lies will be more believable. I think I'm not very good at lying.

Posted by Joe at Tue Nov 16 2004 11:25

I like the tradition. How many people know that the first Thanksgiving was actually in June? Thanksgiving has been built up around all kinds of myths and legends. I think that we will keep the Santa Clause tradition alive in our family (except he will be wearing swimming trunks and his reigndeers will be bounders. . . er kangaroos.;)
Kids need to have some fantasies and they need to feel invincible when they are young before the world crowds in on them and they start thinking about killing and war, abortion and homelessness, and all the other messy details of grown up life. I will probably tell them anything to make them feel safe and happy. (Remember that Itallian film "Life is Beautiful".)

I still enjoy the magic of Christmas, and in reality most of that is simply a grand fairy tale that has been created. What matters, however, is how I take it in and make the tradition mine.
How many people do we know have to lie to themselves everyday in order to get themselves out of bed in the morning. . . "I'm not such a bad person," "Today will be better than yesterday."

It if fun to pretend and it is always good to hold onto hope even without guarentees, and sometimes our dreams do come true. That is what Santa Clause and the "Christmas Spirit" means to me.

Posted by Kristen at Tue Nov 16 2004 15:35

I liked having a Santa. We got more gifts that way. Some from mom and dad and always some from Santa.

Posted by Frances at Tue Nov 16 2004 16:58

I never believed in lying to kids. "This won't hurt" is a horrible lie, and very soon exposed. I always told my kids, "This will hurt a little bit; do you want me to hold your hand?" I think you can have Santa without telling lies, however. Santa is just part of the fun, as is Easter Bunny.

Posted by Susie at Tue Nov 16 2004 18:53

You could always just get Rachel to cry for your kids while they get their shot. Remember when your mother told that to you about having a baby. Hah!

Posted by Joe at Fri Nov 19 2004 08:59

I am far from being an expert father so I can't speak from experience.

Some things just have to do with mental state, and depending on different mental states the world will either be bright and wonderful or dreary and dross.

I think that, and I know that there are inherent contradictions to what I am saying, that I will make it more bearable by presenting life as a road with a few bumps but nothing that isn't overcomeable.

I think of Alyson and Dave. Whenever they take Atticus for his Three-Shot Deep Tissue Painfull Botox Treatment, they tell him the pain that is associated with it, but they also give him incentives that will cause him to anticipate the day more then dread it. They promise that no matter what, he will get a choice of toys, and a treatment to the Mayan restauraunt nachos, or something like that. Atticus gets lots of attention at the doctors office, and his anticipation of the treats afterwords helps to dull the dread and pain of the shots. Overall, it is a good experience in which Atticus could say..."yeah, I did that and it wasn't so much of a big deal." That is where bad things can turn into a celebration rather than a poo party.

Posted by Joe at Fri Nov 19 2004 09:05

Oh and by the way, Why does Atticus like to collect super hero figurines, and play wrestle in which the adults get pinned down by him (even though he is only big enough to pin down the person's head!!) It is good to have a sense of infinite potential and ability to do anything. That is where I think that Kids need to learn how to hitch their wagon's to the stars (as Henry Ford would say) and imagine a little bit. All of this is essentially fake, lying, or artificial reality, but on the other hand, how often does artificial reality become true and how does it become true.

I remember one of Alyson's favoriot Books that was also an opera called "The Little Prince" that dealt with these themes.

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