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Dancin' ladies don't come cheap, you know.
December 25, 2011 7:27 PM   Subscribe


 
Apparently, too much for that site's creator to be able to afford to host his site on something faster than a 56k modem...
posted by schmod at 7:29 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


It takes a long time to download because it's really graphics intensive.
posted by empath at 7:31 PM on December 25, 2011


Spoiler alert: it's not the same as in town.
posted by Askiba at 7:33 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, this infographic, which I just saw linked in the comments of the Atlantic article.
posted by empath at 7:38 PM on December 25, 2011


I never understood what was so good about the 12 gifts. The five golden rings seem to be the only one of retainable value--assuming the drummers, pipers, lords, ladies, and maids are hired hands rather than slaves. Can you even hire or enslave a lord? Do the milkmaids come with cows? Is the pear tree included with the partridge? If not, why is it in the tree? What's with all the birds?

Just give me the gold and stop singing at me. Stupid song.
posted by troll at 7:54 PM on December 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hell, I'll cut the cost on Swans, there has to be about 100 floating around on my lake right now... You can have them for about $10 each... dead..
posted by tomswift at 7:55 PM on December 25, 2011


While you're waiting for this to load, solve the following puzzle: How many gifts do you get from your true love during all 12 days of Christmas?

Remember, on the first day you get one gift; a partridge in a pear tree. But on the second day you get three gifts; two turtle doves AND a partridge in a pear tree.

The answer is interesting. I'll post it here when this site loads, or at New Years... whichever comes first.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:58 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by mattbucher at 8:03 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I got up to 8 maids a milking and the site started loading again, so I'm giving up. Anyway, here's the total. No present for Christmas?
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:27 PM on December 25, 2011


The cost of livestock is up, and labour is mostly flat.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:30 PM on December 25, 2011


How many gifts do you get from your true love during all 12 days of Christmas?

Those doves, male and female? And are they allowed to live for breeding purposes, or are they to be eaten? Thinking about it's starting to sound a lot less like a gift and more like a farm as I try to figure it out ... will I get gum boots?
posted by squeak at 8:42 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh hell, not this old chestnut again.

Hey this might be a good spot to ask if anyone saw an essay about the economics of christmas a few years back. It was a hell of an argument. Check this out, has anyone heard this?

The economist said that christmas is the largest loss of economic value in the year. He argued that say for example my GF and I are exchanging gifts with a budget of $200. I want a camera, she wants a necklace, both are priced at $200. But we don't know what the other wants. So maybe she buys me $200 of power tools, and I buy her a $200 ring. But since it's not what we wanted, we don't value it for its full price, maybe I only get $50 worth of value out of the tools, and she only gets $50 worth of enjoyment out of the ring. So each gift lost $150 of value, making a total loss of $300 on gifts worth $400.

So there are some solutions to the loss of value. One is we could just tell each other what we want, and then we go buy it for each other. That's not really a gift, it's just shopping for each other. Or we could just give each other $200 in cash, but that's stupid, it's just an even exchange. So we could both just agree to keep the $200 and not exchange gifts at all.

I thought about this for a long time, and it occurred to me that this gift exchange is just an excuse to show that you're willing to blow lots of money on gifts that won't be valued as much as you spent. You are trying to express sentiment by throwing away money on someone. That is horribly wasteful. You might as well get a pile of dollar bills and burn them in front of someone as a "gift," that's what you're really doing in economic terms.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:57 PM on December 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


364 gifts. Now that is a fun coincidence.
posted by Night_owl at 9:07 PM on December 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


So there are some solutions to the loss of value.

The actual economics solution is to consider the broader concept of utility rather than just the dollar value of the gifts. In your example, the couple may attach significant utility to receiving a thoughtful (if imperfect) surprise gift, and that utility may more than make up for the apparent loss in value.

And of course there are returns and exchanges: you get the utility of the thoughtful surprise gift combined with the utility of getting what you actually wanted.

You are trying to express sentiment by throwing away money on someone. That is horribly wasteful.

It's also the entire basis of the engagement ring industry (and all kinds of conspicuous consumption, actually). As soon as the ring is purchased it loses most of its value because the secondary market for diamonds is terrible. So a diamond engagement ring represents throwing away a large amount of money on a marginally useful item, but apparently engaged couples derive enough utility from the display of devotion and excess wealth to make it preferable to, for example, spending the money on a house.
posted by jedicus at 9:12 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Please, stop. I haven't even read that slow-loading post, but I know that most dancers and musicians do not make union wages these days. I long for the days when I could make good money playing in a good rock band in the 70's, when you had to be in the union to be in a band, even in a certain Midwestern town no one has even heard of.

You youngsters have no idea. You might make 50 bucks playing in a club these days. Back then you would make 50 bucks, but that was half the month's rent, in one night.

I know your mileage may vary greatly to say the least, but still, playing in a bar band is not what it used to be.

Anyway, yeah, gold prices have gone up, yeah, and whoever prices partridges does it once a year and good for them, but that song is almost as annoying as 99 bottles of beer on the wall...although, I have to admit, the strange insertion of "five golden rings" is a really cool songster trick.
posted by kozad at 9:14 PM on December 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Can we do "Green Grow the Rushes O" next, because I'm looking for work as a Bold Ranger and not sure what to list as my salary demands.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:27 PM on December 25, 2011


playing in a bar band is not what it used to be

Not to mention how hard it is to book a gig for 11 pipers piping.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:40 PM on December 25, 2011


Yeah, the engagement ring thing is ludicrous, when you think about it.
posted by maxwelton at 10:07 PM on December 25, 2011


You might as well get a pile of dollar bills and burn them in front of someone as a "gift," that's what you're really doing in economic terms.

Which just shows the value of economics as a psuedo-science, if the inability to predict and correct for recessions and depressions weren't evidence of it as the biggest waste of intellectual capital in modern society.
posted by rodgerd at 11:26 PM on December 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


The analysis of christmas in terms of the "lost value" when people don't get what people "really" want is predicated on the idea that people know what they want. This is a dumb idea. Frequently I get stupid gifts. Sometimes I get brilliant gifts I never would have thought of myself. This is why people like giving each other presents. Well, that, and also it's a good thing in itself to spend time thinking about what other people like.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:15 AM on December 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


No one ever connects the five Olympic rings with Olympic Gold. "Five Golden Rings" is a statement about Christianity and athleticism. And the importance of Christian victory.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:23 AM on December 26, 2011


If the song reflected mathematical divinity, the lyric would be three golden rings, because of the beautiful way that three golden rectangles, whose boundaries make Borromean Rings, form the vertices of an icosahedron.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:38 AM on December 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Have you heard this song by Golden Earring? I think "Radar Love" sums up the Christmas season, don't you?
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:50 AM on December 26, 2011


That's a little more valuable than the total for the Twelve Days of Christmas as performed at the pantomime we went to on Christmas Eve, which saw these stunning gifts given:

Twelve toilet rolls
Eleven pots and pans
Ten old tin cans
Nine party frocks
Eight smelly socks
Seven slabs of toffee
Six cups of coffee
Fiiiive maaaaagic beans (yes, it was Jack & the Beanstalk)
Four cauliflowers
Three welly boots
Two rubber gloves
And a bra that was made to hold three.
posted by reynir at 3:06 AM on December 26, 2011


FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!

I'm totally going to do this next time I'm at the DMV, waiting in line to renew my licence. You take a number and you sit there, waiting for it to be called. If you showed up on a bad day you might have to wait for two hours. And they have a sign which tells you the current number. So I'm going to do that, the next time I'm waiting at the DMV. Every time the number is a multiple of five, I'm going to shout

FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!

And the next time I'm standing in the line at the Supermarket, standing in the Express line for people who have 15 items or less, but there's some idiot who thinks that 20 different vegetables are one item because they're all "vegetables", I'm going to say

FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!

And the next time I buy
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!

i'm going to return them, unopened, because I only wanted

FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:55 AM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The correct answer is £436.8mn, in 1992 pounds. Being 364 times the value of 1 Cantona . (Explanation, of sorts).
posted by Infinite Jest at 4:44 AM on December 26, 2011


None of this makes sense unless you calculate it in Gold-Frankincense-Myrrh units.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:53 AM on December 26, 2011


Ned! Ned Ryerson!
posted by fullerine at 5:01 AM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I couldn't afford any golden rings this year, so I made my true love five commutative rings.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:06 AM on December 26, 2011


This got me over to Snopes, where I actually learned something.
Some misinterpretations have crept into the English version over the years, though. For example, the fourth day's gift is four "colly birds" (or "collie birds"), not four "calling birds." (The word "colly" literally means "black as coal," and thus "colly birds" would be blackbirds.) The "five golden rings" refers not to five pieces of jewelry, but to five ring-necked birds (such as pheasants). When these errors are corrected, the pattern of the first seven gifts' all being types of birds is re-established.
Also, the song was originally French. Who knew?
posted by localroger at 6:45 AM on December 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I had never interpreted the song as meaning that you actually got a partridge in a pear tree tree every day. I always interpreted it as if this stuff was all piling up, and the singer is referring to all the things given up to that point. So it would more accurately be "my true love had given to me", but that's not very lyrical. So they used "gave" instead.

It's clearly ridiculous the way this article (and apparently everyone else but me) interprets it; who needs 9 new ladies dancing, for four days straight?
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 7:51 AM on December 26, 2011


who needs 9 new ladies dancing, for four days straight?

Wilt Chamberlin?
posted by Herodios at 8:14 AM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which just shows the value of economics as a psuedo-science, if the inability to predict and correct for recessions and depressions weren't evidence of it as the biggest waste of intellectual capital in modern society.

Two things:

1) There are values that economics can't capture. As an economist, I find the exercise here amusing, but do understand that personal value and utility are two different things. Suggesting there are better ways to maximize utility is not the same as dismissing the emotional value of gift-giving.

2) A number of people predicted that this recession was coming and the structural issues that would cause it. The fact that a number of people use the tools to game the system and not to maximize value isn't a condemnation of economics, but of our value system.

The political powers at be did not and do not listen to experts, nor will they implement the kinds of measures that economists are asking for. This puts us on par with climate change scientists, who often get blasted for their pseudo-science by people who neither understand nor have the will to act on the findings that are produced by the experts.

Washington is filled with lawyers, not economists, and the way that the economy is managed, that shouldn't be a shock.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 8:45 AM on December 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


You might as well get a pile of dollar bills and burn them in front of someone as a "gift," that's what you're really doing in economic terms.

Wow, this actually does encapsulate Christmas at my house. My brother and I always tell our mother that she goes waaay overboard with presents. Most of the presents she buys for me are not things that I really want, and I end up feeling really bad that she's throwing her money away on things that simply are not valuable to me.

She also never, ever keeps receipts, so unless she's ordered the gift from Amazon, it's impossible to return it. And she gets angry and agitated when I try to tell her that I want to return something for the money (to go back to her). She says it's "too much trouble."

Usually, she ends up keeping the present that she's bought for me for herself. In past years, she has gained a Palm Pilot, a Kindle, and an iPad from me and my siblings, among countless other items that lie around the house gathering dust, including a portable back massager and a foosball table.

This year, I tried discourage Christmas-overload by putting up a wish list with four moderately priced items on it, but she told me that she didn't think that was "enough." This is after she paid for a Christmas trip to New York last week! She paid for my train, hotel, meals, everything!

Sorry that this comment somehow turned into an AskMe, guys. I just don't understand it at all.
posted by duvatney at 9:30 AM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


So did the swan bubble burst 1995? Prior to that the price for seven swans was fixed at $7000 (which at the beginning of the index was just over half, then about 40% or the toal by 1994). In 1995 it drops to $3500 and bumps up in 02 and after 07. Did Clinton do something to regulation in the goose industry that got changed by the Bush administration? It also looks like the Milk Maids had flat wages for the past decade, I am assuming it is because automation of milk extraction made it possible to keep those costs flat compared to the skilled labor needed or dancing and music production. I broke a lot of milk bottles myself, so I can see how you could make that segment more efficient if you can control production losses.
posted by cgk at 9:39 AM on December 26, 2011


It also looks like the Milk Maids had flat wages for the past decade, I am assuming it is because automation of milk extraction made it possible to keep those costs flat compared to the skilled labor needed or dancing and music production.

That, and the crowding-in effect helped to ensure there was plenty of available labor. I blame this on the limited edition Milk Maid Barbie.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 10:15 AM on December 26, 2011


"Instead of a gift, I kept the money for myself in your name.": Me, every Christmas hereafter.
posted by Renoroc at 11:41 AM on December 26, 2011


This year, I took all the money I would have spent on right-wing relatives, and paid off Xmas layaways at a big box store for other people. I gave the relatives the receipts in a handmade card that my son made, with a note explaining what it was. It went over about as well as I could have hoped, actually.

I also made cookies. But I pretty much avoided the Five Gold Rings trap this year.
posted by dejah420 at 1:18 PM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


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