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Cambridge musician considers selling Kurt Cobain note to help pay the rent

Juliana Hatfield shares her inner monologue about making ends meet through a note from Cobain.

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It says just that right in the headline of this article.

I don't know if this woman is a good musician or not, but fishing for publicity using Kurt Cobain's name is probably not the best way to go about drumming up publicity for yourself.

Oh, and if you "live in one of the most expensive cities in the United States: Cambridge, Massachusetts" and can't afford the rent, maybe its time for Malden.

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"I don't know if this woman is a good musician or not," but I have to open my ignorant mouth anyway.
People on the internet just gotta be jerks, I guess.

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She is trying to promote herself on the back of somebody else, all while playing the woe is me card.

I want to live in the seaport. I can't afford it. End of conversation. I don't run to the press and complain about it. Neither should she .

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How the hell do you know if she's trying to "promote herself" you judgemental asshole? Do you know her?

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You've never heard of her. She's from the Boston area and was in the Blake Babies, had some solo hits and has collaborated with Evan Dando. She is quite talented. And no, I don't know her, but I know of her and saw her perform many times in the 1990's in Boston

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Another rich kid from Newton who made a small impact in the late 80s. Hatfield's time has passed and if her music money has dried up and she has run out of items from her radiologist father's art collection to sell off, she may need to consider other career options.

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He is from Essex.

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Thought the exact same thing...shows how much these trash talkers really know about all of this.

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Yes, and also it was not the 1980's it was the 1990's they were still in high school (and so was I) in the 1980's!

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The Lemonheads formed in 1986, and that is when I first saw them. Indeed you were still in high school. Some of us weren't, and were in clubs in Boston seeing bands. If your first exposure to them was their 1992 major label debut you were way behind .

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I didn't speak to the decade they formed in because I figured it was probably in the 80s, though the 90s had their biggest mainstream success. Car Button Cloth is one of my favorite albums of theirs, personally.

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I thought he worked at the Globe.

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Her mother- Julie Hatfield- was the Globe feature writer

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I have heard the name. Just don't recognize her music.

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...uh, getting a JOB?

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In 1986, my rent and utilities were $350 a month. I made $9 an hour at my co-op job.
In 2016, rent and utilities run to $1,000 a month, even in a shared apartment. My son makes $13 at his summer internship.

Do the math - living expenses have outstripped wage growth. This isn't limited to small-time musicians from wealthy backgrounds.

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Plenty of jobs out there that pay $50k or more right off the bat. Your choice - work for the man at a soul-sucking corporation like everyone else does and be able to pay your bills and have a good chunk of money left over, or keep whining about the lack of money while enjoying the warm fuzzy feeling of working for some albino transgender platypus-saving nonprofit.

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Otherwise you'd have imbibed the party line enough to realize that the albino platypus is too privileged to need saving by virtue of being too white.

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It's the TRANSGENDER albino platypus that's endangered.

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Why not a trans-species platypus? You know...like a duck that thinks it's a platypus. Those are even rarer, I would surmise.

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Care to show us some ads or links to people offering these $50K entry level jobs?

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Google it. Pretty much any IT, engineering or finance job will pay at least 50K right off the bat. The only problem is, you need a real degree from a real school, not a PhD in white guilt studies from Simmons.

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Those are not entry level jobs.

Also, take a look at the student loan debt that you run up getting that "real degree" from a "real school" to train for those jobs - unless you have wealthy parents, you will NOT have "gobs of money" on a $50K salary. You will be lucky to afford to live outside of your parents' house until you get some ground on the still high interest student loans. That wage qualifies you for "affordable" housing in Boston.

Sorry. I have young people in my house. I know how this reality works - and how your perception of it is complete nostalgic and simplistic uberfail.

Oh, and note that my engineering salary coming out of a "real school with a real degree" from MIT in 1988 was $32,000. I split rent and utilities with my fiance for $400 a month. I had only $10,000 in student loans, too, and all at guaranteed rates. My car payment on my $8,000 car was $125 a month, and insurance was $50. Now you leave with $12,000 in the lower interest loans and $50,000 in the higher interest loans that accumulate interest during your time in school to get that "real school real degree". The budgets for those colleges you mention are $60,000 a year! Unless you have rich parents like you obviously must have had to believe what you are saying. No car payment now though - no loans will be given with that much debt.

Just do the math - I know that's hard on your brain, but ... do the math. Salaries have not even doubled, yet the debt load has quadrupled to quintupled, rents have at least tripled.

Again, WAGES ARE NOT KEEPING PACE WITH EXPENSES. How many ways do we have to show that to make it clear to your nostalgic numbskull?

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About 20 years after you got your degree, I got mine from Not-MIT and was hired with a 60k starting salary. I started with two or three damn kids out fresh out of even more Not MIT places like UW and Purdue (gasp! a public school!).

My rent and utilities was about 1350 out in one of the newer McApartments out by 128, and my new car cost about 15k (real price, sticker price was something like 18 or 19), which I paid off in a year at 1k/month, but nominal payment on my 5-year loan was 250/month. Car insurance was about 90 a month (more of that white privilege you keep talking about: alumni discount).

The only number on that list that more than doubled was rent, and only because Mass doesn't build housing in the inner belt suburbs, and I felt like I had a little money to burn. A college friend of mine moved up here the same time I did (starting salary 85k) and rented a place further out in the boonies for about 900.

Edit: Purdue in-state tuititon: ~10k/year x 4 years = 40k, not 20. So yeah: even public colleges are growing like weeds and sucking up more in tuition.

2nd edit: Purdue is 20k/year, not 10.

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Currently playing $20K a year after honors scholarships at UMass.

You're full of shit.

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I read that wrong. Purdue is 20k in state too. So 4x above than inflation.

My point still holds. The only thing that's above inflation is colleges, not living expenses. And who do we blame for that...

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Living expenses are much higher.

Much much higher.

When I graduated, making 30K a year, rent and utilities were about $400 a month.

In 2016, when similar grads make $50K a year, rent and utilities are about three times that.

I know because the apartment I rented now rents out for three times as much.

The house that I bought in 1998 has more than doubled in value - and was already 50% more in cost than what it sold for ten years before that (public records are nice to see sometimes).

A $150K house is now a $450K house
A $400 a month rent is now a $1200 a month rent.

$50K now is not $90K = (3x$30K) then.

Then we have the cost of owning a car - there are no longer any $8K new cars. Same trebling.

Don't drive? A $28 pass will be close to $100 now.

That's a problem.

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... and recent college graduate wages have stagnated. Most of them do not get close to $60,000.

First, the increased cost of food. Information from the USDA:

2006 Cost of eating at home
IMAGE(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7750/26294682514_1b6ef293f3.jpg)2006">https://flic.kr/p/G4z825][img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7750/262946... cost of food on Flickr

2016 Cost of eating at home
IMAGE(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7452/26294695494_69112fe1cd.jpg)2016">https://flic.kr/p/G4zbSS][img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7452/262946... cost of food on Flickr

Now, regarding entry level salaries for college graduates, according to the US Department of Education, out of 70 Massachusetts colleges and universities, only the graduates of 12 were earning over $60k a year 10 years after enrolling; that would be 4-6 years after graduation-- not exactly entry level. If you walked into a $60k job right after graduation, you are rare.

The Atlantic did a good job looking at recent wage rates for graduates just a couple of years ago: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/07/millennial-entry-lev...

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I didn't reach $50k until my early forties. I work with graduating seniors who are struggling to line up $30k jobs; many aren't getting that.

Is your degree in engineering? I know that's the one field with consistently decent entry pay

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60k in late 2000's. Today that would be maybe 70 or 75 depending on how you cook the books to compute inflation over the last decade. As I said, that was on the low end, but good benefits kinda makes up for it.

Similar numbers for most of my friends that either went into technical work or tried to become investment bankers.

Many skilled machinists, technicians, and draftsmen I've worked with made about the same with 2 year degrees or just high school. I went to a place down in Stoughton a while back that did contract fabrication and charged their guys out at something like 150/hr or more, meaning they were probably getting paid more than I get paid now.

And from what I hear, out in central and western Mass, there's a shortage of people willing to do that kind of work.

Less applied training like lit or other humanities...well I don't disbelieve your numbers at all, and the real tragedy is racking up debt for something of questionable financial utility.

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Honestly, becoming a social worker for families with special needs children, or a research assistant at a pharmaceutical company, or a three-language translator in an emergency room, should not be of questionable financial utility. Yet, over the past 4 years, I've had student workers graduate & do all these jobs for under $35,000/year.

Not great under any circumstances, but absolutely bad with heavy student loan debt on top.

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The problem as I see it from my little island is that in a number of these jobs, the competition comes from "volunteers" and interns and you get a younger, high-turnover labor pool that doesn't always mind making under 35.

Heck, at my company, interns, even graduate students, don't make that much because...they're interns and they're getting more than the paycheck out of the experience.

I wonder: do the students you work with go that go into other translation work (ie not strictly medical) get similar starting offers? Other than the pharma research assistants (competing with high-turnover interns or people biding time until grad/med school), your list looks to me like it would skew toward jobs that are tied to government reimbursement rates or budgets in one form or another. Do you see a differential in the same jobs in more private sector areas?

Disclosure: I work in defense, so my pay is also tied to government budgets, and it's not too much lower than it might be working for a Google or Amazon, but it's lower, as I understand from my former colleagues who've jumped ship to the Dreaded, Dreaded Private Sector.

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Hey, I'm a former federalista myself!
I can't speak to the lab researcher, but the other two aren't impacted by volunteers, or particularly by free intern labor.

The translator is fluent in Croate, Italian, Spanish, and English, majored in criminal justice and minored in biology. She wanted to go to nursing school, but needs to work for a while, with the hope of maybe getting a job in a hospital that might assist her with more school. This lead to the ER job. Not a lot of volunteers speaking Croate and Italian. She looked at relocating somewhere she would be paid more with her language skills, but what more she would make in DC or New York, she would lose in rent-- she lives with her parents now. The combination of low pay and high cost of living has her cornered.

The young woman who works with special needs kids is now getting her masters in social work, but she couldn't afford to go straight into a graduate program. She was working either directly for the state of RI or for a contractor, I'm not sure which.

I worked in a department that, by its nature, couldn't use interns-- I'm sure you'll understand that as you're in DoD, and probably know the limits of security clearances. I was happy to be in an agency where we were GS 5-7-9, which is high compared to private, academic, or municipal library/archives work without an MLIS, and is directly related to the need to have clearances.

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The City of Boston subsidizes programs at various universities in town for people who chose the wrong career and are no unemployed. I teach coding 50 year olds, some of whom got MS in other fields. If that's too much to ask from her, I noticed our local Target is hiring.

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Just how many entry-level coding jobs do you think there are? Or could be?

If you try and tell me that every person studying in a non-IT field could switch over to IT and the economy would absorb all those entry-level devs, I'll think you flunked math. If you try and tell me that you think anything close to that could happen without affecting YOUR salary (or basic employability), I'll think you flunked more than that.

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May I ask where you teach coding? All of the job-training programs targeting older workers that I am familiar with advertise skills like MS office, posting electronic resumes, and other skills to equip someone to compete in the 1998 job market. I'd love to find a program with a more contempoary focus.

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In 1986 most of Boston was a dirty, run down, crime ridden hellhole on the path to becoming a Baltimore. Very different from today's real estate market.

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Yes, there were parts of Boston that were like that, but large parts of the city were pretty much the same as today - just a lot less expensive to buy into.

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Pre embryonic you?

I lived in Boston at that time. Nope, nope, and nope.

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i, too, lived in the city then and could afford to do so.

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Spent a good deal in Boston in the 1980's... you have no idea what you're talking about. Like any city, there are neighborhoods that are safer and in better shape than others depending on the decade. However, Boston proper for the most part was a well-maintained and safe place to live and visit.

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Dead wrong.

Many 'hoods weren't gentrified and crack and the violence associated with its dealing caused a lot of problems in some 'hoods but comparisons to Baltimore are laughable.

I had a blast running all over the city in the 80's. Curious what "hellhole" you were in then.

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I have some portraits of George Washington for sale. I won't consider any offer under $0.26. There are also paper copies, signed by the Secretary of Treasury. $1.01 or best offer.

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But I'll be generous and offer a full $20.00 for the soon-to-be-rare portraits of Jackson.

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I had to sell a Gretzky rookie card to make a payment on my 84 Rabbit and took that same Rabbit at some point around that time down to Providence to see the Blake Babies on the Sunburn tour. That was 26 years ago. It was a good show but it wasn't the Zooropa tour and her output wasn't Paul Welleresque by far.

We all make sacrifices for what we need and want. She got a lot of breaks via the Globe on her way up. Might be time to see that reruns of 120 Minutes on VH1 Classic aren't going to shoot out enough royalties and move on, or move to Lewiston Auburn.

Sorry. I'd give the Ocean Blue, Jesus Jones, and Throwing Muses the same advice

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So many GenX cultural touchstones there!

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If you aren't living:

*In the home your parents or grandparents paid off and willed to you

*In a student dorm or housing

*In public or subsidized housing

*Aren't making big $

*Aren't a Trustafarian

Ms. Hatfield needs:

Get a way to acquire more $ asap to finance the lifestyle she's become accustomed to

Get room-mates

Get in public or subsidized housing

Move to a location that's more affordable.

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Thank god we have the internet so I can read all of these extremely enlightened and nuanced opinions about what Juliana Hatfield should do with her life and what she should have been doing with it for the last 30 years

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Maybe she should stay away from the press.

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Her parents are Tim Leland and Julie Hatfield, retired editors at the Globe. She grew up in Duxbury in a million dollar historic waterfront home on Washington St.Dry your tears, she'll be fine.

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And why is that relevant, anyway?

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1. Zillow or Trulia (look up Washington St. in Duxbury, note value of waterfront houses)

2. Because it is a hell of a lot easier to be able to make a modest or even meager living as an artist (or even dare to try) if you have the backstop of a wealthy family.

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It fetched mid 600s. So again I ask, where are you getting million dollar home price?

Do you know how long that took to find out on the Internet? About 60 seconds. Please avoid the urge to weigh in on everything.

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What my parents sold their home for at the same time.

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Noted. Selling a house for $655k in 2013 doesn't mean you're rich. Not in Eastern Massachusetts anyway.

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Just another privileged artist who thinks she has it tough. Cry me a river, honey, and then go away.

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...well maybe it shouldn't, given the people here.

I was (and still am) a fan of Julianna Hatfield. I've have probably seen her 7-8 times in concert, and all of them but one were free. She used to do free concerts in Tower Records, Strawberries and at the Cambridge Side Galleria, and she never charged for autographs - and despite sometimes being shy, I'd see her pose with fans for a quick photo (pre-cell phone camera days)

If you've followed her career, you'd know that like many artists, she ended up in a bad record deal or two. Is all her stuff great? No. Is it for everyone? No. She has actually been looking for other income (doing custom songs / albums) for several years, and is financing her own label - eg - her own business. Do you really think she's still living off her parents? Do you really think her mom is some wealthy writer? Both her folks are probably in their 80s by now, if even still alive.

Would you prefer she go on welfare? I think this, again, is a clickbait sort of headline which everyone does to get people to read and get page views. The only valid point, maybe, is about living in Cambridge (though from previous articles, I believe she has sold her previous house and downsized)

Many people believe all singers are millionaires...is that why so many of them are bankrupt, or sell out to maintain a lifestyle of flashy clothes and drugs?

More incorrect information - Evan Dando lived on the North Shore, and went to the Commonwealth School (which is hard to get into) - they were both on the edge of the GenX period, but keep in mind...they wereb oth born in 67, which means they are almost 50 years old - hardly the disaffected youth that once roamed the streets.

Could she get a 'real job' - as what, a secretary? It isn't a lifestyle I'd choose but I respect her for following her dreams and talent. If you think Joey JoJo over at Fidelity making 110K just to commute out to North Andover in his SUV that is a lease, and his house with another 20 years of payments while the kids go to day care and the wife goes to Yoga isn't miserable and drinking himself blind twice a week to forgot his life is better off than Julianna is, you are the more foolish my friend.

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"Would you prefer she go on welfare?" On her list of things to pay, she lists storage for things she can't fit in her apartment. One can't go on welfare if one owns things worth more than 5000 dollars. So your question is silly - she can't.

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Thanks for trashing a profession the many have and enjoy.

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Those of us who have administrative assistants would be lost without these organizing people to help us!

And we know it, if we're smart.

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There's a lot of animosity directed at the author. She's not complaining. Just relaying her fond memories of Cobain and describing the choices she has made as an artist. She's not railing against the world or crying out against the capitalist system. Certainly nothing she wrote merits the hostile, judgmental responses here and elsewhere.

Good luck to her and let's all hope someone who has been very open about her significant struggle with depression can find some peace and satisfaction.

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Why this? Why now? Why out in public in the press, on the eve of her setting out on tour?

Hmmmm.

And would Kurt have approved of her selling the Dali paintings? Enquiring minds want to know!

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But I'll engage your foolish query. I know you're on the north end of the generation (if not a baby boomer), but most people who listened to Nirvana and knew his story would understand Cobain didnt come from money, bounced around multiple living arrangements in his formative years, and would have understood the need to sell things to make ends meet.

Also, Kurt Cobain was an out of control drug addict who was completely self destructive. So his posthumous value judgments should be taken with a grain of salt.

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Cobain was eight weeks older than I, and from the same part of the country and socioeconomic stratum.

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Definitely music that spoke to MIT grads embarking on their professional careers. Guffaw.

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Do you realize what bands played MIT in that era?

REM. Ministry. Squeeze.

Do you really think that it was all BU students at the Rat? MIT-based bands PLAYED the Rat.

Stick to your mom's Debbie Gibson collection, dear.

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"If you ever need anything please don't hesitate to ask someone else first."

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This does seem like a lot of ado about a washed up, small time singer with a handful of fans, who comes from an apparently comfortable background. But reading her piece, she does come across as awfully pretentious. "I'm down to just two small amps". Oh, the poor dear. "I had to sell my father's Dali prints that I never cared about in the first place". I mean, come on. How "let them eat cake" can you get?

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Cobain's lifestyle and talents aside, does Julianna really believe the note is worth $20,000? Spare me. Having watched Pawn Stars, Antiques Roadshow and the like, even a Bible signed by God himself wouldn't bring that, especially since this note is of no significance. Perhaps consider rolling the dice on Fluffy and drop the "pet insurance" before complaining.

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There is money in historic autographs, but yeah $20k for a note where the only interesting thing is the signature is unrealistic. Even if the singer herself had a million dollars in the bank, I doubt she would spend $20k to buy the note back from someone else.

And I don't see anyone spending $200,000 to buy Lady Gaga's old studio piano.

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I only wish I inherited some Dali prints from Dad. Could also use the cash.

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When I was living in Boston and broke as hell, there was a night I spent the last couple of bucks I had going to see Juliana Hatfield. It was a great show. Love her!

The note is really sweet.

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"There is nothing more pathetic than an aging hipster."

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