“Freakonomics” Recap

October 19, 2011 in recap

Ok, fourth Saloon (very respectable-looking roman numeral: IV) and the first loop back to someone’s house. Jen was a little frazzled, so much so that she talks about herself in the third person and agonizes over her messy house and stuff that she wanted to do for Saloon but didn’t get done in time but it’s fine! Everyone ate, everyone drank, everyone talked and no one got hives (I hope!) or food poisoning from uncooked chicken (yet) so let’s call it a win. 🙂

There was some big food successes (as usual). Sarah made a super “fresh” veggie and cracker dip with lots of basil (which I love Sarah, don’t cut back on the basil). Jen frantically made a last minute enchilada round, once again discovering the joy of crescent rolls (see pic!). And Des made delightful and cute little Pumplin Pockets with fresh pastry dough! Very impressive! We also drank some of the “Three Philosopher’s” Beer that was a graduation gift for Sarah and I. I honestly forgot that I had that but if I’d remembered this is the EXACT time I would want to drink it – I think calling us the Three Philosophers is awesome – I just wish it was a little less intense since I don’t think Des was a big fan! 🙂


We spent a good chunk of time on this since we’re going to change our format from now on. Instead of each making our own CD the host will pick a “theme” and we’ll all make CD’s that match that theme. I also suggested putting copies of our music in Dropbox but Sarah was concerned about the copyright issues with that (much more concerned than the IT and policies girl was, BTW). I’m still advocating for that since I do want to get everyone’s music into my library; I like the idea that we have essentially 60 songs on a topic and then we can build our own CD’s from our favorites. Anyway, solution TBD.

I went first and showed off my “Covers” Album which highlights songs that are remakes of an original. Lots of well-known pieces, mostly happy and very high energy! Sarah did a 90’s CD (which just went straight into my “Kick-Ass 90’s” playlist at work) and she assured us this was only the first of MANY 90’s-themed CD’s she could offer us. Des, in honor of her and Tim’s 1st wedding anniversary (congrats, guys!) made a “Love” CD which was very sweet, mostly mellow and lead Des and Sarah to realize that were at the same Matchbox 20 concert in Wilmington in 2003. WEIRD.


Happily, everyone agreed that they liked the book – easy to read and made them think. We talked about what parts we found most compelling or had the best evidence: we were all swayed by the abortion argument which broke down the contributing factors to lowered crime one by one and debunked them before offering the alternative “abortion” evidence. I mentioned that I was intrigued by the intersection of the economist with the math background winding up in the ghetto with a copy of the only-known budget kept by a crack dealer. Sarah thought some of that info might be suspect but agreed it was interesting. And we all agreed that the real estate section and cheating info were both likely and would make us think hard about incentives in those situations: none of us trust real estate agents anymore, that’s for sure.

We kind of meandered through topics- there was lots to talk about. Des said she didn’t see evidence of cheating when she was a teacher, but understood how that could happen. Sarah was ok with the chapter on parent’s having a more limited impact of the success of the child once she understood that the data ultimately points back to the traits one inherits. Yes, it helps to be born to wealthier, older parents who live in a good school system but that doesn’t determine ultimate success. And we agreed that friends MUST play an important part in the development of a child – although Sarah also pointed out that we change friends when we make choices that differ from what our friends are doing- kind of a leader vs. follower situation for some but also a phases of life thing that we all go through.

We also talked about names a good deal. Apparently “Desiree” is a “black” name (I didn’t know) and Des gets asked about her “black girl” name all the time. Sarah and I bemoaned our middle-class names that are WAY over-used. We quietly suggested names that we’d want to give our kids – under oath not to steal any of them (like we’re gonna use “Sun Burns”, Des!). Sarah admitted that seeing here first-choice boy name in one of the common lists made her rethink using it altogether (still not going to put the name here in case she changes her mind!).


A lot of our topics overlapped with the book in some way: old friends we still talk to- and ones we don’t, traits we’re noticing that we inherited from our parents, right to live/die discussions. We didn’t really think we’d necessarily have been friends as kids, mostly because we were all pretty shy as children and most likely would have been up in our rooms reading books instead of meeting neighborhood kids. Sarah and I admitted to being tom-boys and we discussed the impact that our siblings had on us – which was considerable in each case both for good and not-so-good. I believe we’re all from families of four kids (more now that Sarah has half-siblings) which is both rare and awesome: we agreed it would be pretty tragic to be an only-child and Sarah and I both said we’d have to have at LEAST two kids (even if we had to adopt) and Des said she wants at least 6 kids. No, she didn’t. And she’ll probably punch me for typing that. 🙂

We also talked about funerals and eulogies. We didn’t really get into what we’d want said at ours (probably for the best) but we did talk about the fear of sudden death- there’s no way to say goodbye to the people you love – and how we’d like people to celebrate our lives. We’d also like to live long enough and do things worth celebrating. We compared notes on funerals or memorials we’d been to and Sarah admitted she’d never been to one. Des and I explained it was a lot like a wedding: procession, recession, lots of speech, standing up, sitting down, tears for both. A little sad to think of it that way, I suppose, but nonetheless true.

We talked about favorites: do your parents have one (yes, and they’re not always good about hiding it), do you have a favorite sibling (yes, it varies but that’s how I know my parents probably have favorites), how that affects you growing up (hard on the oldest, easier on the younger kids). We had a very interesting conversation about why we went to the colleges we went to. It wasn’t always for the right reason but we all feel strongly that the decision impacted our lives greatly – almost always for the better. We also talked about the timing of some of these things. I went to UNC (was raised a Tarheel fan) in 1992 or 1993 and decided then and there to go to UNC to be a journalist. On the same trip my dad saw an early demonstration of the internet and excitedly tried to explain how this would “change the world”, a comment I basically ignored, but that was true and what’s more, it would pretty much make that Journalism degree from UNC worthless today. Weird how things go, huh?

Anyway, all in all another great Saloon. We need to figure out a way to talk less since it was about a 4-hour-long event. The good news is it doesn’t feel that long but it is still somewhat overwhelming. We set up the date for the next event, agreed to have a big event with cookies and Christmas CD’s in December and then we were off into the cool, damp evening to reflect on our thoughts and await the discussion of “Matilda” and songs that make us want to dance like a little girl. The End.

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