'Predominance of the 'quad dog' labrador':
Reacting to the 'upper-crust Anglophiles' post below, Reader No. 1 has a fascinating canine research proposal for aspiring sociologists and/or NYT reporters:
"1. I agree with your diagnosis on the labrador's popularity (function of perceived class status). Remembering my college days and the predominance of the 'quad dog' labrador, I propose somebody should do an historical study on the canine population of top American universities and track it against the AKC numbers. The NY Times could surely get many stories out of it.
"2. This previously unknown to me blog
has some interesting observations on the Great Room - 'spaces in which people could be alone together.'
"3. As the owner of an aircraft-carrier sized kitchen island and a built-in stainless steel refrigerator, I can say that (a) the panelling option has been around for awhile and (b) why anyone would choose that look is somewhat baffling to me. Matching the refrigerator to all the rest of the cabinetry tends to eliminate visual contrast, and makes the kitchen look more monolithic. Plus it's easier to get confused trying to find a popsicle or a cold beer.
"My sneaking suspicion is that many of these kitchens are never used, which is why it's OK for them to make them look like Edwardian drawing rooms by panelling over all of the appliances. The NYT could surely get a story out of this too..."Hub Blog's response
-- Good points. It should be added Reader No. 1, whose wife is an accomplished cook and caterer, needs a big kitchen and kitchen island. But for 98 percent of the others, I suspect it's all show ... And don't get me going on an Under the Tuscan Sun rant.Update
-- Definitely check out Grant McCracken's blog
mentioned above by Reader No. 1. McCracken's anthropologic analysis of 'Great Rooms' is quite fascinating, though I think he brushed up against another truth when he noted Americans seem to be 'reinstalling the great hall of the medieval home.' Replace the word 'home' with 'castle' and recall the discussion about Labs, and I think you have another layer of class motives. The description 'Great Room' itself speaks obnoxious volumes. ... FYI: Glad Grant notes the term 'Great Room' seems to have come into vogue about 10 years ago. Just about the time when I first started hearing it. I thought it would go away. It hasn't. Time to start mocking.