Daily Archives: December 10, 2012

One last accepted offer reported for the day

331 Round Hill Road, asking $2.5 million, 60% of its original $4.1 price 676 days ago. At least a part of it was built in 1758 so with any luck the buyer doesn’t have demolition plans in mind, but these days …. Four acres left of its original land.

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Elections have consequences

What, you don't get it? What a chump!

What, you don’t get it? What a chump!

From Cos Cobber, this link: Connecticut Department of Transportation busted flat.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation is so overleveraged by its current rail and roadway projects and budget, it will lose the ability to borrow money for new projects by 2014, said DOT Commissioner James Redeker during a transit forum on Monday.

Redeker said ConnDOT is slated to lose its bonding ability in the next two years because the agency simply does not have enough money left in its budget to take on new debt service.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy also attended the forum, where he announced the creation of a new interagency workgroup to address Connecticut’s transit-oriented development needs.

There’s a 42 cents tax on every gallon of gasoline sold in Connecticut which produces annual revenue of $491 million. Despite Governor Malloy’s promise to spend “every fuel tax dollar on transportation”, he and his fellow Democrats never even pretended to honor that pledge and took at least half of the gross revenue tax  proceeds last year and spent them on more politically popular purposes. It’s safe to assume that the same thing will happen this year.

So what happens when another bridge collapses and we don’t have the ability to borrow to fix it, having long ago lost the ability to pay for it in cash? More taxes, of course – always, more taxes.

P.S. Here’s an amusing side note about the gross revenue tax on gasoline that doubles the tax we pay for fuel in Connecticut. In was enacted in 1981, a time of record oil company profits, as a “punish big oil” populist bill, whooped past the voters with a provision that forbade the tax from being passed on to consumers. Say what you will about the cretins running our state, even the dumbest bartender/senator from Wallingford knew that the anti-pass-through provision was illegal and would not stand – they included it only to provide themselves political cover. Down the street at UConn Law we were laughing at the protestations by our representatives that this would be a tax on oil company profits, not drivers and home owners, and if 3L students could see through the charade, is it possible that 300 lawyers in the Capitol couldn’t?

When, inevitably, that portion of the law was struck down the legislature refused to concede its “mistake” and repeal the tax, even though it was now a direct tax on their constituents and not Big Oil.  Thirty-one years later they’re still spending that tax and Malloy, in fact, is trying to raise it. Happy motoring.

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Narcissism – it’s not just for Greenwich anymore

A No. 1 in my book, precious

You’re A-No. 1 in my book, precious – I just love you soooo much!

WSJ: Ever-increasing number of Christmas shoppers put themselves on top of their list. After all, who’s better than you?

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Perils of downsizing

 

Wall Street Journal says you may not save as much as you think you will, given lousy prices for your big house, you may be stuck between houses and you just may not enjoy living in a storage shed; all good points.

 

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Nice house sold on Dewart

46 Dewart Rd

46 Dewart Rd

I really liked 46 Dewart Road when it came on a couple of months ago and said so at the time. Priced at $3.295, it just sold for $3.1 million. The house itself is an 1850 barn, moved on site and expanded some forty years ago, so while it has no historical value, I suppose, I’d have been delighted to live in it as is, were it affordable at my pay grade. I suspect that it won’t survive: the price really reflects just the land value of two beautifully landscaped acres and that’s probably what attracted this buyer. I don’t know that, of course, but hat tip to listing agent Barbara Daly for setting its price at a level that ensured it would sell so quickly (45 DOM). And I’m pleased that the owners did so well because I’m selling a house around the corner and had assured my buyers that the land they were buying was worth at least $2.5 million – $3.1 makes me look overly cautious but improves the attractiveness of the deal. My  folks are paying more than this house sold for, but then, they’re getting a great house along with the land, for not that much more.

The Shining?

The Shining?

And don’t tell EOS, but 12 Stone Brook née Hooker Lane, asking $2.595 million, has an accepted offer. Good house, but I’m guessing it sold despite its online pictures, not because of them.

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Say, this really works!

Safe computer sex

Safe computer sex

Poured a can of suds all over my Air Book and no more viruses – no more computer, of course, but those viruses can no longer get in and watching the sparks fly was entertaining.

 

Beer may have anti-virus properties.

 

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Executed contract up at Conyers

2 Conyers Farm

2 Conyers Farm

2 Conyers Farm, the guest house next to the gate house has a buyer after 952 days looking. It sold in 2005 for $4,050 million, had a ton of work put into into it and the ten acres it came with, and was returned to the market in 2009 at $7.995. Its last asking price was $5.895 and presumably it will sell for less than that. If you believe what’s been said about the work that went into this place, any sale under $6 will represent a loss. Oh well.

175 Zaccheus Mead

175 Zaccheus Mead

And speaking of long days on the market, 175 Zaccheus Mead has taken another price cut and now asks $4.955 million, down considerably from its 2009 price, 1,296 days ago, of $7.3. I liked this house, even if the decorating was a little too New Greenwich for my taste, and if you can grab it in the mid-$4s, it’s probably a good deal.

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Uh oh, the synagogue is now officially news

 

The WSJ has noticed. I do recall predicting that the combination of Jews, Greenwich and a zoning battle would prove irresistible to the New York press and here it begins. Can the New York Post be far behind?

 

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Can’t make a profit building houses? Ok, then the fed will make you a bank

And there’s nothing Washington exploiticians like more than a bank. Homebuilders are making far more money lending fed money than from, you know, actually building anything.

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On a rainy Monday morning comes great news

Thanks again, Omar - see you in Bali

Thanks again, Omar – see you in Bali

Climate talks end in failure, again. A new opportunity for those government employees who will continue to be employed preparing for the next farce, but better news for those of us who enjoy living in the First World. Walter Russell Mead writes the obituary:

The inexorable decline of the climate movement from its Pickett’s Charge at the Copenhagen summit continues. The global green lobby is more flummoxed than ever. These people and these methods couldn’t make a ham sandwich, much less save Planet Earth.

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The rape of the Shire

hobbittThe first (!) part of the Hobbit has been released and the reviews are unanimous: horrible, pretentious and overlong. This one from the Telegraph sums it up nicely: 

“Like butter that has been scraped over too much bread” was how JRR Tolkien described the supernatural world-weariness of Bilbo Baggins in the opening chapter of The Lord of the Rings.

This phrase, incomparably Tolkien-esque in its syntactic neatness and semantic beauty, is also a perfect description for the first instalment in Peter Jackson’s three-part adaptation of The Hobbit, which I now fear is doomed to be referred to as a ‘prequel’ to Tolkien’s fantasy magnum opus.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey barely leaves the driveway. The film lasts for 11 minutes short of three hours, and takes us to the end of chapter six in Tolkien’s original novel, which falls on page 130 of the official movie tie-in edition. That’s half an hour per chapter, or one minute and 20 seconds per page. The work of the sombre Hungarian auteur Béla Tarr, whose grinding tale of apocalyptic poverty The Turin Horse ran to a mere 155 minutes, feels nippy by comparison.

This film is so stuffed with extraneous faff and flummery that it often barely feels like Tolkien at all – more a dire, fan-written internet tribute. The book begins with the unimprovable ten-word opening sentence: “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.” Jackson, by contrast, starts with an interminable narrative detour about a mining operation run by a team of dwarfs, involving magic crystals, orc armies and details of dwarf family trees that are of interest, at this early stage in what is supposed to be a family film, to almost nobody.

And so on, all bad. Which is disappointing; I hadn’t planned on seeing it – I saw the first part of Lord of the Rings and quit there, but the Hobbit was one of my favorite books as a ten-year-old and I still hold warm, nostalgic feelings towards the story, so I hate to see it ruined for new generations of the movie-watchers who have replaced readers. Readers themselves seem as doomed to extinction as the ents.

I suspected all this when I heard that the studio and Peter Jackson had divided what was a short children’s story into three, three-hour films. All the popcorn sales in the world, literally, can’t atone for that sin. The orcs have won.

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