One area where I surpass Trump

Trump is much richer and more famous than me. But in one area I clearly come out ahead—bad taste.

In the recent secret document case, Trump got a lot of ridicule for pictures showing that he had a fancy chandelier in his bathroom. Here’s a Bloomberg headline:

Berlusconi Would Have Loved Trump’s Bathroom Chandelier

I agree that it’s bad taste to have a chandelier in a bathroom—the scale is all wrong and there’s something especially tasteless about combining chandeliers with basic bodily functions.

But I can think of even worse examples of bad taste—indeed I have one in my own house. As you can see in the picture below, I have a chandelier in my half bath right off from the entrance hall:

Trump has the sort of ostentatious bad taste that one often sees with the nouveau riche. But I’m even more newly rich, and ensconced in the global center of nouveau riche excess—Orange County, California.

PS. It was hard to get a good picture, as the room is tiny (sink only) but has a 12 foot ceiling. Notice the tasteless “crown molding” that was added to this tiny room.

That same crown molding disfigures much of what was intended by the architect to be a mid-century modern home. See how in another room it crosses an opening for a cabinet:



17 Responses to “One area where I surpass Trump”

  1. Gravatar of dirk dirk
    7. July 2023 at 20:50

    Hmm… You obviously have good taste, so what is your point? That you couldn’t find a house in Orange County without some tacky features? Or is there some higher level of irony here?

  2. Gravatar of David S David S
    7. July 2023 at 22:10

    This post has made me more upset than anything you’ve ever written.
    First of all, by California standards Orange County is Old Money. If your house was built before 1985 I encourage you to get it listed on a Historic Register. In fact, if the street you live on has houses of a similar vintage you could work with your neighbors to form a local Historic District to preserve the unique and culturally significant architecture that is there for the benefit of future generations. This will also help prevent some creep from building an ADU and destroying the character and value of your sacred real estate investment. The City of Newton, where I believe you once resided, has many such Districts, and I assure you that they are the pinnacle of participatory democracy.

    Secondly, you didn’t specify whether or not you purchased the chandelier. Are you exhibiting bad taste or have you been too lazy to make some decorating improvements to your dwelling? I’ll assume that any sensible improvements were made by your wife and that your only contribution was locating the flat screen TV that sustains your Criterion addiction.

    Lastly, why would you assume that an architect designed your home, and if they did, if they had any aesthetic intentions that weren’t savagely altered by the contractor or subsequent inhabitants. Like with Mar a Lago, it’s important to recognize that bad decorating often requires the input of many people–just like classified documents.

  3. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    7. July 2023 at 22:36

    The only thing wrong with this post is “filed under Uncategorized.” Surely there should be a category for this sort of gently comic post.

    When Frank Zappa wrote the lyric “selling lamps and chairs to San Ber’dino squares,” I think this is exactly the sort of thing he had in mind.

  4. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    8. July 2023 at 05:12

    The photos make it difficult to tell what your 1/2 bath looks like. So have no opinion it could be great for all I know.

    I have to admit I enjoy your random meaningless critique of Trump. You love to mock him. It gives you some unexplainable satisfaction.

    I look at Biden, Hunter, and Doctor Jill and they gross me out——but I run away from reading about them. I get no satisfaction. Nor will I read anything on our VP or our Mr Blinkin. I believe my opinion is they are just empty heads.

    The 24 election will be the weirdest one in ——ever? I forget the name of the comedy about how mankind become radically more stupid as time goes by.

    That’s what I am virtually certain is happening to the world. Not even sure that is bad.

  5. Gravatar of Rajat Rajat
    8. July 2023 at 05:12

    Like others, I found this post unusually disturbing. I’m a fair bit younger than you, and recently moved into an apartment that matches my taste. Yet you, someone I admire, who is older and with more refined taste in the visual arts, and retired, lives with this. I feel this is going to change my whole outlook on life.

  6. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. July 2023 at 07:24

    dirk, You asked:

    “so what is your point?”

    A pathetic attempt at humor?

    David, It was designed by an architect, but I am almost certain the crown molding and chandelier were added later. As for my wife, I would have divorced her before allowing her to have added crown molding.

    It’s actually a delightful home, despite these features. Truly one of a kind—nothing else like it in the OC.

    anon, In recent years, I’ve been too lazy to categorize my posts.

    Rajat, We all must make compromises in life. The home is actually wonderful in many respects, but I don’t like to brag so I decided to highlight its warts. We can sit on our deck and eat lunch and dinner, while watching sailboats glide by on a peaceful lake.

    My wife is probably correct that removing all of the crown molding is more hassle than it’s worth, and I enjoy the chandelier in a sort of “campy” way.

  7. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    8. July 2023 at 11:17

    Trump is not “newly rich”

    His grandfather made millions running a brothel, and his grandmother started the Trump organization in queens. His father expanded on that business. That was a hundred years ago.

    And his brand sells because he has good taste. Trump’s buildings often have some of the best atriums in the world. His golf courses have won numerous awards for design. There is nothing wrong with a chandelier, although there is something wrong with a twelve foot ceiling. That’s much too small.

  8. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. July 2023 at 11:24

    “And his brand sells because he has good taste”

    Golden toilets?

  9. Gravatar of Edward Edward
    8. July 2023 at 11:29

    Sumner’s wife is Chinese, and she has connections with the CCP.
    She also works at a Pharmaceutical company.

    Considering the above, is anyone surprised he’s now a self proclaimed “elite” (he actually said this) and “Nouveau Riche.”

    What product or service did Sumner ever create? What value did he ever bring to the market?

    Notice how the Nouveau riche in America are all connected to government or pharma.

    In the old days, to get rich you’d have to sell a product or a service that benefits the community.

    When the garbage gets to the top, and the skilled entrepreneur is hated (Trump and Musk), and woke, illogical, Marxist ideas gain a footing, that’s the end of the game. We are in the last days of the Roman Republic. It’s going to fall, and fall hard, and a new dark age will emerge.

  10. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. July 2023 at 12:33

    “Sumner’s wife is Chinese, and she has connections with the CCP.
    She also works at a Pharmaceutical company.”

    LOL, and I thought Sara was delusional.

  11. Gravatar of David S David S
    8. July 2023 at 15:01

    It sounds like you got lucky with this house. Southern California probably did Mid-Century Modern better than any other part of the U.S. but the renovation churn was hard on houses from that period. Someone could have done some real damage to the architecture in the 1980’s or 90’s. Chrome and brass accent strips in kitchens and baths, etc…crap that Trump loved, of course.

  12. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    9. July 2023 at 12:07

    Wow, Scott (or Scott’s wife) has good taste. My Athens apartment building (not to flex, it’s five stories high and I own 75% of it) has high European ceilings like Sumner’s place, good for keeping the place cool in the summer, and many chandeliers, made of real crystal glass cut in Austria, that the tenants hated so much that they actually installed more modern light fixtures (plebes are such fools). And it has crown molding with hidden lights inside the recess of the molding. As well as bags of cash and coins that my demented relative stored and I found (along with the domestic help, which almost cost me my health, long story, as they were mob affiliated).

    It’s good to be rich.

  13. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    9. July 2023 at 12:41

    @Michael Rulle – Idiocracy (2006) Directed by Mike Judge is the black sci-fi comedy about people in the future so dumb (they wore Crocs before Crocs became popular IRL) that an average IQ person from today is a genius. But the idea that society degenerates over generations is an ancient one, Socrates talked about it with his “metal” ages (gold, silver, bronze, iron). Also IRL since 2000 the world has gotten dumber, “reverse Flynn effect”.

    @Edward – you’re right but keep in mind everybody successful in China is a member of the CCP (kind of like being in the “honors list” in uni), my old gf from there was, as was her family, Sumner’s wife must be a personable if she’s in pharma sales rather than R&D (pharma people put personable women into sales, often young hot girls), and the ‘value add’ of Sumner, his greatest creation, is his daughter, who is mixed race and therefore probably above average in looks and IQ (say statistics). Also maybe his students but most of them probably were looking for a good grade (that’s always how I rated my professor, that was in the days of less grade inflation than now). Also he let’s anybody post which is unheard of these days, even guys like me and you. So he gets small grudging respect.

  14. Gravatar of Student Student
    10. July 2023 at 06:16

    Bad taste or good taste… who knows. Taste is taste. I don’t like chandeliers in homes because they remind me of the stuffy old Victorian age and uptight Karen’s… but I love them in old churches… so it’s a paradox.

    Take comfort though in that chandelier def being in violation of California building code… as there is no way that chandelier can sway 45 degrees either way without hitting and obstruction. Well take pride in that so long as you are not dropping the kids off at the pool during a high magnitude earthquake lol. 🤭

  15. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. July 2023 at 09:28

    “Sumner’s wife must be a personable if she’s in pharma sales”

    I suppose if she’d been in pharma she would have been personable. Alas . . .

  16. Gravatar of Student Student
    10. July 2023 at 11:22

    Just to be clear, I was making a libertarian joke. No one likes building codes except for people like me that use them as recipe books for diy projects.

  17. Gravatar of steve steve
    11. July 2023 at 10:32

    Love the chandelier. Keep it. We bought a house to use for our staff to sleep when on call in a small town with no hotels within 20 miles. The upstairs bathroom had a bright orange sink. Absolutely hideous. We kept it of course. Gives people something to look forward to when staying there.


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