Monthly Archives: December 2012

Say, who’d have ever thought THIS would happen?

CBS Headquarters, NYC

CBS Lobby, NYC

Republicans, Democrats reach agreement: “we’ll raise taxes on “the rich” now, cut spending uh, … later!” This whole thing has never been about revenue – the tax increases on a select few won’t  make a dent – and it’s certainly never been about cutting spending, which will never happen, so why have we gone through this exercise? It’s all part of the circus: the two political parties pretend to govern and the media pretends there are principles and genuine issues at stake. Which there are, but none that were addressed by anyone in Washington. I hate to sound gloomy on the cusp of a new year, but we don’t seem to be headed in a good direction.

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Unless you distill it, that is

Party Hat, New Year's Eve

Party Hat, New Year’s Eve

Scientists: asparagus can prevent hangovers.

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Peek-A-Boo, English style

Terrorists 'll do the darndest things!

Terrorists’ll  do the darndest things!

Scotland Yard loses terrorist being kept under “close surveillance ” after he fails to show up for bed check. They don’t think he’s a direct threat to the nation “at this time” but then, how would they know that when they don’t know where he is or what he’s doing?

This is how they keep watch on the most dangerous terror suspects; lesser ones must drop them a postcard fortnightly.

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Bring on Fracking, II

Syrian rebels behead Christian, feed corpse to dogs. These are the “moderate” muslims we’re supporting. The sooner we don’t need the Middle East’s oil, the faster we can get out of there and let them play alone in their sandbox, the better.

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Hollywood celebrities respond to Newtown, non-celebrities respond in kind.

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The Milk Cliff looms

 

Got Milk?

Got Milk?

Tomorrow we revert back to one of the Post-New Deal’s greatest market interventions, “parity pricing” for milk. Expect milk to double to $7 per gallon as our government imposes 1949 price supports based on 1914 price levels.

The ultimate absurdity of the “dairy cliff” is that there is no need for federal intervention in dairy markets. The supply and demand for the vast majority of food products made in America function just fine without government price controls. The worst disruptions have perennially occurred for a handful of items such as sugar and corn, as well as dairy products, which are under political protection. Politicians have long exploited these disruptions to help drum up donations to their re-election campaigns.

There is no chance that farm-state congressmen will draw the lesson from the “dairy cliff” that they are unfit to rule American farmers, retailers and consumers. This looming debacle is further proof that the only way to reform farm programs is to abolish them.

But if we did that, what would happen to corn, and our ethanol mandate? Oh, the horror!

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Bring on fracking

Ah, but we have friends in Washington

Ah, but we have friends in Washington

OPEC takes in $1 trillion this year on oil revenues.

Muslim extremism on the rise in Africa. Wahabi schools funded by Saudis preach violence against non-believers.

Saudis fret as shale oil threatens monopoly, revenues.

Somewhere there’s an answer hidden in here – can you find it?

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Bill would have invited him in for coffee

 

Dew Drop Inn

Dew Drop Inn

DUI arrest for man who drove into AA founder Bill Wilson’s Vermont homestead. Things have gotten meaner these days.

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Why do I think this won’t work?

Teen tries to steal condoms from convenience store, flees with chewing gum instead. Never worked as a substitute caulking on my old sailboat, but perhaps his results will be better.

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There’s still time, but here’s my candidate for the year’s most idiotic combination of headline and article

MSDCOHA EC007Man dies after eating 28 raw eggs. So far, so good: love these human interest stories. But after recounting how some dumb mutt lost a bet with a friend that he could consume 30 raw eggs, the article branches off into this useless piece of knowledge:

Whilst eggs cooked properly are a great source of protein and part of a healthy diet, raw eggs could cause food poisoning and may contain salmonella bacteria.

If you are making food demanding raw eggs, such as mayonnaise or ice cream, use pasteurised eggs to eliminate risks.

Whatever caused this poor man’s abrupt return to the land of his ancestors, I guarantee you it wasn’t food poisoning occasioned by eating a bad egg.

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Another year end sale

 

15 Delwood

15 Delwood

15 Delwood (off of Church Street), $4.2 million. Built new a few years ago, it sold in  September 2010 for $4.1 million. These sellers clearly lavished some serious money and care over the past two years making this house their own, and the result was superb. I had clients who bid successfully on it but then decided in favor of a house with more land – this one has almost none. But it does have convenience to town going for it and, as noted, it’s a truly exceptional home. I know what we bid, and $4.2 doesn’t surprise me in the least. Those clients and I spent a lot of time looking at the $4 to $5+ million inventory this year and this one, as well as the one they eventually bought, were the benchmarks for comparative value. There are a lot of houses on the market now asking over $5 million that don’t come close.

That’s just my opinion, of course, and that of my clients and these buyers, whoever they are. The owners of those more expensive houses must disagree, but their failure to sell suggests that they’re wrong.

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Long time former owner of 58 North Street dies

From a reader, this obituary of Dr. Edwin Kent, who died December 18th at age of 91. NOT the last owner, who sold it just a few days ago, but a previous one. Sounds like a fascinating, accomplished man. I loved his house, that’s for certain.

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Good news for relics

46 Vineyard Lane

46 Vineyard Lane

46 Vineyard Lane, reported as under contract just a few days ago closed yesterday at $6.5 million. That’s down considerably from its original asking price 984 days ago of $9.950 but it’s not chump change either. The market for the 1920s mansions of the then-newly-rich is still breathing, apparently. Making your statement of having arrived via a century-old house has fallen out of favor over the past decade but it seems there are still people who want the “brown furniture look”, as one reader has described it.

Or else someone just wanted to grab the 6+ acres of this listing and build on two or three lots. In the two-acre zone in this location, even $3 million per lot might be reasonable and at three lots, the place is a veritable bargain.

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Not every house in Old Greenwich finds multiple bidders

3 Vista

3 Vista

3 Vista Drive reports an accepted offer, last asking price of $3.495 million. The owners paid $3.845 for it in 2007 and put some money into it but it still has the original windows and needs other work as well. This style of home is out of favor these days and I suspect it’s not coming back. Still, Vista’s a great street and I’m old enough to appreciate this house. I’ll guess closing price will be $3.175 to $3.250.

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Year end sales

Five reported, from a 1949 steel ranch in Cos Cob for $725,000 to a bidding war on Ford Lane, Old Greenwich, that closed at $5.6 million.

58 North Street sold for $3.170 million (asked $3.795) and that seems just about right. An 1888 home, right on North and with its yard chopped off and sold years ago, but a real charmer. I liked it very much and so did my clients but they decided it “was too large”, a refreshing attitude for Greenwich buyers. They’ll be building new around the corner.

127 Havemeyer Place sold for $1.5 million which had to be a sale hastened by the hot breath of a lender blowing on the developer’s neck. Bought in 2007 for $1.2 million, far more than $300,000 went into this total renovation so in-town developers beware: things aren’t improving here, yet.

39 Willow Road in Riverside, however, shows that Riverside (and Old Greenwich – see next paragraph) are flourishing. This house might fairly be considered a pure land sale, whether the buyers stay in it or not. $2,477,300, which is better than its asked-for price of $2.950, but really – really?

7 Ford Lane

7 Ford Lane

7 Ford Lane, Old Greenwich, sold new for $4.450 million in 2003, asked $5.450 this time around and went immediately for $5.6 million. it’s perched high above the water which means Hurricane Sandy left it unaffected. Got a rubber boat to get in and out and you’re set.

And then we have that steel ranch house at 4 Cedar Lane in Cos Cob, $725,000. Don’t know what exact form that steel was shaped in but being Cos Cob, the new owner will probably beat it into (snow) plowshares. And good for him.

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Back to real estate

With apologies to visiting readers, this blog is usually at least partially devoted to Greenwich real estate and while trashing local wannabe journalists is fun, I have a living to make. In fact, I owe an apology to the regular readers, most of whom probably don’t give a rat’s ass about gun rights and the Second Amendment.

So here’s some real estate news. Those of you from out of town might find it amusing to see how little you get for how much in this town.

Three sales reported yesterday, 51 Old Stone Bridge, $1.325 million, 2 Parsonage Rd, $3.450 and 23 Pond Place, Cos Cob, $770,000.

Old Stone Bridge was rented out for most of this past year so if it was purchased by the renters and that rent was credited against its sales price, the $1.325 figure shouldn’t cause other Old Stone property owners undue alarm. If not, you’re all in trouble up there.

2 Parsonage

2 Parsonage

2 Parsonage selling for $3.450 sounds about right, even though its owners must have been disappointed. They paid $3,684,375 million for this in 2008 and, I’m told, poured several hundred thousand more into improvements (though it was a new house – go figure). Noisy corner lot on two busy streets.

23 Pond Place

23 Pond Place

23 Pond Place asked $899,999, got $770,000 when the owners got real.

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Okay, enough, I want my blog back

Being an accidental celebrity isn’t all that much fun, actually, and I miss quiet little For What It’s Worth and its loyal corp of readers. I simply can’t keep up with 500 comments at a time and while I’m sure there are thoughtful insights in many of them it’s all buried in the avalanche.

So  I’ve turned off the comments on the older posts, or I’ve tried to, anyway, and will find something else to write about, mostly. I really don’t want to be the Charlton Heston of gun bloggers, although it was briefly amusing.

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At Walt’s request, a weather report

Greenwich Avenue

Greenwich Avenue

Sleet, turned to rain. I blame Bush.

Heading into the lion’s den now at CNN, where I’ll be on at 6:10 and, assuming I feel I’ve been treated fairly, again at 8:35. Why would I agree to go on and be made to look a fool? Hubris, I suppose, and a Pollyannaish idea that people might listen to reason on this issue.

What the hell, I’ve made a fool of myself in front of juries before, so I know that it’s easy and doesn’t really hurt.

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Ha! Where are the Journal News reporters in YOUR neighborhood?

Readers here at FWIW have done an admirable job of supplying that information, but here’s an interactive map - hey, boys, to answer Clevon Litttle’s question, this is where the white wimmen at!

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You can save these children or you can sign a gun-free zone petition

Save the Children

Won’t you please help?

The excuse put forth by Journal News editor Cynthia Royle Lambert* for publishing the names and addresses of gun owners is that the public needs to know which of their neighbors homes is gun free and therefore a safe place for their own children to play. This is spurious nonsense, of course: the sole reason to publish the interactive map was to follow up on the Newtown massacre and harass gun owners while emotions run high.

But if child safety were indeed the point, the paper would do far more to advance that goal by compiling a data base (easily obtained from public records) of the location and owners of private swimming pools, which are at least 530X more likely to kill a child than a gun. Can’t sell papers doing that, naturally, and property owners might be annoyed and boycott your advertisers, but “if it saves the life of just one child …”

Here’s another thought experiment: just like guns, many autos are stolen on order – thieves look for specific vehicles that have been requested by car ring bosses. Suppose the Journal News were to compile and publish an interactive map showing the exact address of each registered car owner with the year, make and model of the cars he kept. No more cruising the streets, hoping to find a 2007 Honda Accord for the Boys from the Bronx, they could drive right over to 3 Gate House Lane in Mamaroneck and pick up what they wanted – oh joy!

Strip the emotional baggage away from the word “gun” and that’s exactly what the Journal has done. Even worse, they’ve set it up so that law abiding gun owners, those least likely (almost infinitesimally) to commit crimes with their guns will have them stolen and put out on the street, where they will be used by criminals against what, in the liberals’ dreams would be defenseless citizens. So would the Journal be praised for establishing a shopping bazaar for car thieves? I think not. Same logic here: love guns or fear them, right wing nut case like me or sane, sober liberal like yourself, we should all denounce this asinine act of the Journal News.

*

Cynthia R Lambert

17 Mcbride Ave

White Plains, NY 10603 (914) 948-9388

 

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