Daily Archives: October 24, 2008

Off to the woods

I’m heading inland and will walk until no one recognizes the computer on my shoulder. Back Sunday night. So why the picture of a sailboat? Captures the feeling and its title is “Truant Sailing Away”. My kind of kid.

See you next week.

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Interesting if true
I have no idea how to link to his individual posts (his blog setup’s problem not mine, I think) but here’s a lengthy quote from Greenwich Round Up on the future, or lack thereof, of Greenwich Time. I’ve heard the same rumor for months but his appears to be better sourced.

“For months Greenwich Roundup has been exclusively reporting what a confidential source at the Stamford Advocate source has been telling us.

We are told that the Corporate Suits at Hearst Newspapers are going to slowly combine all of the daily newspapers like the Greenwich Time, that are now currently being printed in Bridgeport into one paper with the Connecticut Post masthead.

This much like how Gannet folded the Port Chester Daily Item, the Mamaroneck Times, New Rochelle Standard Star and close to another dozen Putnam, Rockland and Westchester newspapers into the regional newspaper called the Journal News which has the regional news website called LoHud.com , which stands for Lower Hudson, New York.

“Later the old newspaper mast heads were changed into free weekly newspapers that carried grocery and drug store ads on Thursdays and Friday’s to non-Journal News subscribers. Town that did not have a daily newspaper were covered by half a dozen or so weekly newspapers that have a masthead with the Express name.

And this is what the the Corporate Suits at Hearst Newspapers have planned for Greenwich and other towns in Fairfield County. The Connecticut Post will be thrown on your front door each morning and the Greenwich Citizen will be a mailbox wrapper for slick ad papers, weather you are a subscriber or not.

This why Hearst Newspapers did not want the Greenwich Time offices and chose to temporarily rent a small office space in Riverside, CT. Maybe the Greenwich Citizen offices in Putnam Avenue will become a local news bureau and advertising sales office. Or maybe this office will be folded into the Bridgeport facility when the lease is up.”

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351 Round Hill Road

Not content with demanding all my money for redistribution

My pal Claudette wants my time, too and keeps asking about this property. Once she put her glasses on and gave me the right address I thought I’d answered her question but now she reports that people seem to be moving in. Anything for a friend. So far as I know, it’s still for sale, and there’s no record of it ever having been offered for rent or rented – doesn’t mean a bunch of poor folks haven’t expropriated it in the name of the People, of course – just ask Dr. Zhivago about that. It came on two years ago, its price has ranged from as high as $7,275,000 to the current low of $6,450,000 (11% less). Two brokers, it’s back now with the first. I suspect that its failure to sell is unrelated to the choice of broker.

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Another brand to boycott

Baskin Robbins is peddling “Whirl of Change”
“an Election Special for 2008″ice cream with a little donkey on it. Donkey dung is more like it but, as my pal Claudette likes to threaten, when her Demmerkrats get through with people like me we won’t be able to buy ice cream anyway, so what do I care? I care about the Little People, Claudette, those who, having crammed my money in their pockets, will flock to the slots and ice cream stores to spend it. God forbid they should choke on a bit of donkey dung.

Update: Just to the left (they were trying to trick me!) of the Obama donkey dung ice cream Baskin Robbins offers the “Straight Talk Express”, which at least at first glance would seem to be a sop to Republicans and an attempt to be bi-partisan. But aha! You’ll notice that it’s covered with nuts! The vast, left-wing conspiracy is hard at work, even in our ice cream factories! Will they stop at nothing?

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252 Milbank

Going down? I liked this house very much when I first saw it earlier this year. Seven bedrooms, 8,000 sq.ft. (or something like that), a nice location just two blocks from the Avenue, and all that. What I didn’t like was its price and neither, apparently, did anyone else. Except its builder, who kept that price pegged at $7,775,000 from December ’07 until October 2, when he finally succumbed to market conditions and dropped it 10% to $6.975. He didn’t wait so long for the second drop: yesterday, he lowered it another 3% – $200,000 – to $6.775, a cool million off its original asking price. Whether that’s enough to move it is another question – what fascinates me is the slow motion train wreck we’re witnessing – how low are we going, and how quickly? I sure don’t know.

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So maybe you might want to wait on that $25 million place on Round Hill.

At least until Monday, to see how all this shakes out . According to Bloomberg News, things look rocky out there. And Mr. Bloomberg himself, speaking on the radio this morning,described the world economic scene as “a complete effin’ mess” (well, there’s a bit of translation in that, but he wasn’t encouraging).

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Here, thanks to a reader, is a WSJ article on real estate blogs. Heck, compared to what’s going on in the rest of the country, this blog’s awfully tame. I may have to step on the spice a bit.

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Shattered Rice Bowl?

Chi-com real estate tanks .
One difference between our two countries is that when you screw up bad in America, Dickie Fuld sells some art . In China, they put a bullet in your skull, sell your organs and bill your relatives for that bullet (6 cents) pour l’encouragement des autres. Given the outrage in Congress, we may soon adopt the Chinese practice but if we do, I hope we start in the Congressional chambers.

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Oh the Humanity! continued.

NPR’s reporter, one Kaye Rosenfeld, just informed us that the Anointed One will be spending the weekend in a place called “Ha – wai -ee-ee” near “Hun-o-leu-leu”. In the past, liberals didn’t bother trying out native pronunciations of cities in the civilized world – you never heard people like Kaye Rosenfeld refer to “Par-hee”, for example. The more blighted and God forsaken the location, however, the more these fine people tripped over their tongues trying to add a native inflection to show that they were one with the oppressed.

This blight on our language spread to any city with Spanish roots, except Los Angeles, oppressed or not. Now it’s begun in our 50th state because, why? Oppression? Third world solidarity? I suspect it’s because of the Native Hawaiian Restorative Justice and Recognition bill, introduced by Senator Akakka in the last Congress and promptly shot down as a Constitutional disaster that would wreak havoc in that and the other 49 states. It’s now, with the coming Demmerkrat revolution, given an excellent chance of passage and our mainstream media reporters are stumbling around in shocked surprise:”Holy, s… – there are Indians hiding in the pineapples? Get out the ‘Non-offending, Native American and Po’ Folks dictionary and find out what these people call themselves! And what the hell is poi? – am I expected to eat this crap?”

Oh, we’re in for a swell time. Just wait until the next time you fly over Iowa – wave hello to the ethanol plants of Day Moi, formerly Des Moines.

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Why our schools are in such a mess: Board of Ed delays beginning of search for new Superintendent. It will take two weeks to even start forming a committee that, in turn, will decide on the “skill set” needed by the next person to run our school. That should consume a couple of months, I suppose, then they’ll hire an “educational expert” to help conduct a national search, interview noted educators from around the world, negotiate an overly-generous contract and finally, with great fanfare, announce the latest in a long string of failures.

Why do these people speak in jargon? “Skill set” indeed. Why do they need two weeks to even begin to begin? Members are away? Let someone introduce them to the telephone or, gasp! email. And why, after 200 years, do they need to form yet another committee to decide upon the necessary skills required of a superintendent? Have things changed in 3 years? Was their previous effort in this regard a complete, colossal flop? Of course it was, but why, then, are these idiots allowed to try again? Could that have anything to do with the refusal of our local political parties to permit competition in school board elections? I report, you decide.

Right now, 40% of our students can’t pass a basic reading test -70% can’t perform at an advanced level. In Greenwich! The wealthiest, most highly-educated town in the nation is cranking out illiterates – great. It’s going to take more than a new superintendent to fix this shameful situation. I’d start with adjusting the attitude of the parent quoted in the Time’s article who objected to a new reading program because she wanted a “well-rounded skill set” for her child. Honey, you may be qualified to sit on the school board, but I suggest that, if your little darlin’ can’t read, she’ll be flattened by the world, well-rounded or not.

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Ethanol – fuel of the future!
Well darn - Iowa ethanol plants causing 15% of state’s pollution.

I’ve always admired McCain for at least one act of political courage: he appeared in that farm state back in 2000 (? – 2004?) during primary days and said he imposed federal government subsidies for ethanol because the stuff was worthless. He lost that primary yet still opposes the crud. To my knowledge he’s the only national politician who refuses to kneel at the corn altar.

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Due to an outpouring of demand for more (one, actually, and he didn’t really mean it), here’s a limerick with a real estate theme:

A builder from sunny St. Barts
Made houses from modular parts
He said with a sigh,
As he watched business die
Damn Greenwichers have too many smarts!

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But you’ll hurt their feelings!

Here’s a stupid bit of advice on pricing and low-ball offers

“”Lots of buyers think the market is so bad that they can make any offer and have it accepted,” says Carolyn Ratner, an associate broker with Fairfax Realty in Falls Church. “But people need to understand that hiring an agent to be your buyer representative means that you are interested in a fair deal, not that you are out to cheat the seller. You can’t sell a home without a meeting of the minds, which means bringing both sides together.”

Look: these days, buyers and sellers have different agents so “fairness” isn’t an issue, if it ever was. “It’s not personal, it’s business.” Still good advice. The lady quoted above is just silly to think that the choice is between a fair deal, whatever that is, and cheating, whatever that is. See house, like it, make offer. Seller accepts, rejects or makes counter-offer. We’re all adults here, we all know how to count, so there’s nothing to cheat about. I suspect that Agent Ratner feels uncomfortable presenting low-ball offers so she’s set out to convince her buyers to offer more than they want to, all under the guise of being “fair”. Phooey.

A tougher stance, one that I like much more, is also found in the article:

Ron Sitrin, a Realtor with Long & Foster Real Estate Co. Inc. in the District, says the nature of this market almost begs for low-ball offers.
“Buyers feel they have a choice, so if their offer isn’t accepted, the chances are high that they will find something else they want,” Mr. Sitrin says. “There’s no fear of loss on the buyer’s side.”

Atta boy, Ron. My advice is, if your buyer rep starts sounding New Age lovey, lights incense in her car and begins humming Kumbaya, get another agent.

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AIG to sell Stowe? The company’s woes have everyone in town nervous, probably with good reason.

“The most expensive ski facility in the Eastern U.S., owned by American International Group Inc., is halfway through a $400 million renovation that began a decade ago when Maurice “Hank” Greenberg was running the insurance company. AIG’s founder, avid skier Cornelius Vander Starr, began developing the resort more than 60 years ago after the Civilian Conservation Corps cut the mountain’s first trails during the Great Depression.”

I quit skiing Stowe in 1970 or so when I grew tired of paying $10 (hey – that was a lot of money back then) and standing in line – I used to sleep in my VW bus to afford lift tickets so I wanted my money’s worth. I found it at Mad River, but I still have good memories of Stowe and I’d be sorry to see it go under. Doesn’t sound like my kind of place any more, though.

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