I'm enjoying these precious couple of days of downtime before the semester starts, just walking around all calm and dreamy. It will be good to start the semester, though, because for the past few weeks, I've been experiencing intense moneylust. It's completely socially irresponsible, and I need something to take my mind off it. I think about money all the time, about having lots and lots of it, and what I'd do with it. I've been initiating discussions with friends, asking them what they'd do with a lot of money. If I were wealthy, I'd have:

A townhouse in New York City, not sure where exactly, but I'd have celebrities for neighbors, and an estate somewhere in the south (outskirts of Atlanta or Nashville, or somewhere in North Carolina). In each home, I'd have a darkroom with the best equipment, a photography studio with lots of windows for beautiful light, a big office, a $100,000 kitchen with an island in the middle and one of those ovens that bakes your cheesecake and then chills it. I'd have a huge room with art all over the walls, like 27 Rue de Fleurus. Edited to add: I'd also have track lighting in most of the rooms. My homes would be decorated in a minimalist sparse, simple (I don't want to throw around such a loaded term, I've decided) style with a few hipster kitschy touches, like, say, a Cookie Monster or Smurf cookie jar in the kitchen.

A top-of-the-line hybrid car, with customizations like a high-end stereo and extra-comfortable seats

Every new, small, fast, high-res, multiple-gig-storage techie gadget. I'd have the best PDA, cell phone, digital camera, iPod, laptop, desktop, etc. And TiVo. And a Bose stereo.

Massages several times a week, and manicures and pedicures

A personal trainer, personal chef, and personal assistant

Unlimited credit at Sephora, Saks, Bloomingdale's, Tiffany & Co., Cartier, and Neiman-Marcus for when I'm in the South.

Yeah, I know, I'm in the wrong line of work for this lifestyle.


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life styles of the pure of heart

?Think you can slide by on this?

By Employment Level:
Entry Level Mean $41,360
Mid-Level Non-Supervisory Mean $55,600
Mid-Level Supervisory Mean $67,330
Senior Level Non-Supervisory Mean $68,100
Senior Level Supervisory Mean $72,930

By Degree (across all levels):
Bachelor’s Mean $63,510
Master’s Mean $69,140
Doctorate Mean $67,750

STC also has academics' salaries--I just don't have my password here at home. I think they run from about 40 at the bottom to about 75 at the top. The doctorate mean in the table above is an aberration this year; my memory is that it's usually @ $75 K. To knock down the big bucks in bus. & ind. you'll have to go into management (see today's Dilbert); to knock down the big bucks in academe you'll have to go into administration (a new dept head is worth @ 100K and up). Or you can become a famous textbook author.....



You may not know but now would be an ideal for me to advise that the only method I've found for avoiding that green devilish monster of jealousy and its equally incidious twin envy, is to avoid the likes of those likely to incite it! I can't keep coming here if your posts will detail such extravagances. It took every bit of my thimble of willpower reserve not to click on the $100,000 kitchen.




Must correct this since I was complaining about misspelling earlier: I meant "insidious" obviously; got so hung up on getting the html to my link correct that I forgot to look over my post. :O


Well, maybe not the Bose

I'll indulge in a little audiophile snobbery here, and suggest that Bose's speakers are a triumph of marketing over quality. There are many detailed and compelling critiques of Bose online; one good place to start is here. Basically, the argument is that Bose used to make good high-end speakers long ago (i.e., the 901s), but has done little to reinvest its profits into R&D in the past 30 years, and so is still making way-overpriced cardboard speakers, and plowing all its money into phony marketing campaigns.

Disclosure: my dad did some early work to help Conrad-Johnson get incorporated, and also has a friend who was an engineer for Marantz before they got bought out by Sony Superscope, so I've inherited some of my snobbery.

I will say that I've listened to Bose speakers in a store, and I'm unimpressed: they don't quite sound cheap or tinny, but it's pretty obvious they profit from overboosting the bass and treble, and still manage to have the bass sound muddy. After finally getting my mom's estate settled, I put most of what was left into a retirement fund, but did indulge myself with some new mid-range Bowers & Wilkins speakers, after having listened to them in a local audiophile store. They're fantastic; much better than the Bose high-end, and at a significant savings in price.

I'll also say that while I was there, I also listened to some of the really expensive (like, 4- and 5-digit) stuff, and my untrained ears could detect little difference between the super-high-end (Magnepan, Infinity Intermezzo & Prelude, Carver, Thiel) speakers and the B&Ws I got. But the B&Ws I got: man, what a difference. I listen to classical and actually hear the bow-scrapes from the strings and drawn breaths from the woodwinds; rock and hip-hop have hugely expanded dynamic ranges, so that a cymbal crash sounds like it's actually there, and you hear a bass player's fingers saw on the plucked strings' coils as he goes up and down the instrument's neck, and bluegrass has a clarity and precision beyond belief. Zeugma doesn't like it that the subwoofer's aluminum cone vibrates so, and has cocked a paw at it a couple times.

But I'm with you in being a little ashamed of consumerist lust. While I was at the store, I checked out the amplifiers I could never afford:if you ever find the cash, get yourself a Krell or a Rotel. Talk about sweet.


I know squat about stereo equipment, so perhaps I should simply have said a very expensive, high-quality stereo. If I ever have enough money to buy such a stereo, though, I'll search for this comment in my database. Thanks for the advice.

I should add, this moneylust started when I was taking my exams. I'd be pounding out a 24-hour exam and my mind would wander to thoughts of money. I listened to a lot of songs about having plenty of money; wealth songs were all I wanted to listen to.


I wish the camera was working so I could take a photo of the speakers in our house. Long indoctrinated for Bose reverence. I wonder why anyone bothers anymore. Maybe that's just us because our spectacular sound system is so seldom used. What a waste of money.


Academic Salaries

My advisor told me that getting hired as a new prof means that my TA salary will effectively triple -- which isn't quite 40, but, well, kinda close, I guess. I did see a magazine with Harvard & MIT salaries; English full prof ranges from 80 to 95, and yeah, department heads and deans get the big bucks. But yeah, I'm sure, also, that departmental and institutional affiliation have a lot to do with salary.

Clancy, I wasn't trying to be obnoxious with the stereo stuff -- just trying to share some info from my experience. Didn't mean to come off like that.


No offense taken. :)

I didn't think you were being obnoxious! Really, thanks for the advice.

You know, I don't actually want all that stuff; it's just that sometimes I think it would be kind of cool. Whenever I have things, I get rid of them after too long anyway in my ongoing quest for sparseness and traveling light.

All of us humans are really D

All of us humans are really Dick Cheney at heart, greed is a human sickness that pervades everyone to a certain degree. But the first step is realizing the problem, just as recognizing drinking salt water causes more thirst.

My hats off to all of you academics that postpone high wages or sacrifice opportunities in higher paying private sector jobs. I personally sold my soul and don't know how "get back", and would rather be doing something academic that I could tolerate. In other words my sickness is beyond cure, and I am dancing with a mental skeleton.

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