Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hahahahaha

One of our (many) readers in Bovina writes to suggest I punch in “45 Meadow Wood Drive” in Google Maps, then click “street view”. I did, and here’s what pops up:

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 7.41.14 PM

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OMG! Pajama Boy busted!

News of the prepster drug dealers caught down in Philadelphia stirred up quite a reaction, but it was only while looking over the pictures of the perpetrators that I realized that I, and the media, had missed the real story: That’s Obama’s Pajama Boy in the red onesie and handcuffs!

pj1

 

 

Pjaama Boy

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Our government has obviously been studying the EU and wants what they have

obama-smokingBritish authorities instructed that they may not query immigrants on how long they plan to stay or even what their plans are – to do so would violate Brussel’s rules.

Border guards have been banned from asking EU nationals how long they intend to stay in the UK or even what they plan to do here. The Brussels move, confirmed by the Home Office, prompted incredulity among MPs, who called for Britain to regain control of its borders. EU officials claim asking new arrivals even basic questions would breach free movement rules. The diktat’s existence, revealed last night in a report by MPs, means the Home Office is powerless to count net migration to Britain accurately.

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Shoreland buyers are back in force, and damn FEMA, damn Denise Savageau

 

29 Grimes Road

29 Grimes Road

29 Grimes Road, Old Greenwich, asking $5.299, reports a contract, 420 days after starting at $5.995 (and 510 days after Hurricane Sandy had her way with Shorelands). I assume this house was built high enough to overcome its location in both the VE and AE zones, and if it withstood Sandy, it ought to be good for whatever Al Gore and our town’s conservation officer Savageau throw at it.

Grimes Road, Hurricane Irene, Sept., 2011

Grimes Road, Hurricane Irene, Sept., 2011

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Back on the market

 

23 Pierce Rd

23 Pierce Rd

23 Pierce Road, Riverside, this time listed with Sotheby’s Daphne Lamsvelt-Pol (don’t blame Daffy, she’s Dutch, and parents there do all sorts of cruel things with their kids’ names) for $2.150 million. I thought this was a nifty house a couple of years ago when it was on, and I still do. Yes, there is highway noise, because that’s where Pierce is, but a client of mine who was particular about that issue even brought along his own decibel reader – I kid you not – and pronounced himself satisfied. In fact, had he not suddenly been transferred, he’d have bought it.

It’s on a half-acre, easy walk to train and Riverside School/Eastern, and was beautifully updated/renovated in 2010. For what Riverside’s fetching these days, this looks pretty good.

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I thought it read, “Cos Cob Mob Neighborhood Meeting”

 

Tony, you get south Riverside, Mario gets Havemeyer

Tony, you get south Riverside, Mario gets Havemeyer

Turns out, the headline is Cos Cobbers mob meeting.

If there’s a difference. Either way, your annual fees for snowplowing and garbage pickup have now been set.

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Either way, there’s a story here

11 Langhore Lane

11 Langhore Lane

11 Langhorne,Lane a vestige of the defunct Antares residential building program, was reported to the GMLS as sold last week, for $17 million, which I reported here, on April 16th.

Today, the Greenwich Time reports that it sold yesterday, for $13.5million.  The paper is either a week late and $3.5 million short, or the sales price reported to the GMLS was inflated. So the question is, did GT read the actual tax conveyance form and figure out, correctly, the actual selling price, or did it get this wrong?

Don’t know.

UPDATE: In fact, there’s no story. A reader points out that there are two lots here, and speculates that the $13.5 sale GT picked up covered the house and 4 acres, the “missing” $3.5 probably was assigned to the second lot.

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Another price cut

 

 

45 Meadow Wood Drive

45 Meadow Wood Drive

45 Meadow Wood Drive just sliced $500,000 off its price and is now down to $9.250 million.  This started as a spec house in 2007 at $17.9 million, dropped to $16.7 in 2009, then was rented out and came back in October, 2013 at $14.9. A month later it dropped to $10.750 and in March of this year, $9.750. If you wait another thirty days, I’m sure it will be into the $8s.

But will there ever be a right price for this house? I’ve always thought it would end up being bulldozered off the face of the earth, but we’ll see. Besides its kitchen, here’s its prime problem: I-95 in the back yard.

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 3.10.50 PM

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A Keystone decision for illegal aliens – punt.

que ama a su bebé?

que ama a su bebé?

Hard on the news that Obama’s been pushing for a drastic slowdown in enforcing deportation orders, comes this report: Nationwide tech meltdown cripples deportation system. Coincidence? Let’s see if the computers are repaired before November 4th.

A computer meltdown is crippling the nation’s immigration courts — creating an overwhelming backlog of deportation cases, The Post has learned.

The problem began April 12, when five servers that help power a nationwide computer network failed and shut down the entire system, an insider at the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed.

Without access to the electronic records, court proceedings have slowed to a crawl and officials are resorting to old-fashioned methods — including paper, pens and cassette recorders — to keep track of cases.

One illegal alien who was ordered deported to his native Brazil following a DWI conviction even got to skip a scheduled flight home Friday due to the problem, the ICE source said.

He claimed to have filed a last-minute appeal, and prosecutors couldn’t check to see if he was lying — so he was released under an “order of supervision” that relies on him to check in with deportation officers, the source said.

That man, who was not identified, came to the United States illegally in 1988 and has a history with ICE of skipping out on bond.

The parts needed to repair the busted servers — located in Fairfax, Va. — aren’t expected to arrive for at least two weeks, the source added.

A veteran immigration lawyer, Alexander Cane, predicted the glitch would help aliens, possibly even leading to their release over “due process” issues caused by delays.

Court workers are prioritizing cases and struggling to make and maintain official records without their computers.

Another immigration lawyer, Eva Kozlowska, said the problem was wreaking havoc with her practice because she can’t check online about the status of cases.

“Furthermore, the toll-free, 1-800 number that gives information about respondents, their court dates, what judges they are before and other information is also not working,” Kozlowska said.

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Pending Old Greenwich sales

 

 

24 Rocky Point Lane

24 Rocky Point Road

24 Rocky Point Road, $2.699 million, 14 days on market

 

25 E. Point Lane

25 E. Point Lane

25 E.Point Lane, $10.995 million, 19 days. 

Once the image of flooded streets passes, people return to Old Greenwich for the same reason they always have: it’s a great little section of town.

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I won’t identify the house, but speaking of proportions

Here’s what’s either a basketball court or a family living room – your choice. From one of the houses on today’s open house tour.

High school gym

 

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Open House report

 

449 Lake Avenue

449 Lake Avenue

449 Round Hill Road, mentioned here yesterday, had to be the star of the day. At $8.250 million, you’d expect it to be, but nonetheless, a very impressive home. Its pictures don’t capture it somehow, but every room is beautifully proportioned, from a huge living room that still somehow seems comfortable and warm, to small touches, like the cooking nook for an office upstairs. I know nothing about architecture but, like great music, the proper proportions evoke a knowledge that something is right. We could bring Plato into this discussion, but we’ll pass. A very, very nice house; if I had a huge 2013 bonus burning a hole in my bank account, I’d give serious consideration to plunking it down on this house. Steve Archino listing.

 

 

749 Lake Avenue

749 Lake Avenue

749 Lake Avenue was also special, but at $10.5 million for 10,000 square feet, I told its listing agent Dancy Cassell, with whom we just accomplished a sale for 26 Taconic Road, that I thought my clients had gotten the better deal. They paid $4.850 for 7,500 sq. ft. ($646) and got the same exceptional Kali-Nagy quality this one offers at $1,000 per foot. You can adjust for slightly better land (but still two acres), and the different location, which, depending on your desire for proximity to town, is either better or worse, but I think 26 Taconic comes out very well. That said, this is an excellent house.

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And there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth

 

Berkeley students can go home now

Berkeley students can go home now

Libertarian Advocate sends along this great news: Supreme court upholds Michigan ban on affirmative action, 6-2.

The Supreme Court has upheld Michigan’s ban on using race as a factor in college admissions.

The justices said in a 6-2 ruling Tuesday that Michigan voters had the right to change their state constitution to prohibit public colleges and universities from taking account of race in admissions decisions. The justices say that a lower federal court was wrong to set aside the change as discriminatory.

The decision, widely expected since the Court heard oral arguments last October, will still be a shock to our Constitutional Law assistant currently occupying the White House: he reversed the Bush administration’s position and advocated instead for increased preferences. Then again, he’s never been known for respecting the law of the land, so …

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One more take before I head out to celebrate Earth Day

"I told her, no modified peanut butter!"  Death bed of Madame Bovary

“I told her, no modified peanut butter!”
Death bed of Madame Bovary

“GMO’s cause food allergies.” Nope – the theory is pure bullshit.

“Speculation that GMOs might produce new allergens has been challenged by scientists. Kevin Bonham, a Harvard immunologist, responds to one such claimby the Union of Concerned Scientists:

Before getting started, let’s go back to the statement from UCS that I find so objectionable:

[GE crops] may produce new allergens and toxins

This is patently false – genetic engineering techniques allow us to precisely add genes of known structure and function to crops. It would in principle be possible to engineer corn that expresses anthrax toxin, or introduce peanut allergens into soybeans, but this would have to be by malicious intent of the scientists, not some accident. We know how genes work, and we know what kind of protein an individual gene will make.

A recent widely circulated report claiming to link GMOs with celiac disease, a severe form of gluten allergy, by Jeffrey Smith, who heads the one man Institute of Responsible Technology, is absurd because there is no approved GM wheat on the market. The claim was immediately challenged by the Celiac Disease Foundation’s CEO Marilyn Geller, who stated, “there has been no scientific evidence put forward for a GMO/celiac disease link that is supported by the CDF Medical Advisory Board.” Yet the claim still shows up on many anti-GMO websites.”

 

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Peanut hysteria

Mre.PeanutYes, some people are allergic to nuts including, I regret to learn, FWIW reader Stanwich. That said, the response, according to Harvard Medical Professor Nicholas Christakis  *is  an example of mass hysteria. 

The issue is not whether nut allergies exist or whether they can occasionally be serious. Nor is the issue whether reasonable accommodation should be made for the few children who have documented serious allergies. The issue is what accounts for the extreme responses to nut allergies and what to do about the responses and the allergies themselves.

The responses bear many of the hallmarks of mass psychogenic illness (MPI), previously and quaintly known as “epidemic hysteria.” MPI is a social network phenomenon involving otherwise healthy people in a cascade of anxiety. Outbreaks typically occur in small towns and in schools, factories, and other institutions, and they are most often prompted by fears of contamination. It does indeed provoke anxiety to imagine a hidden, deadly danger in so innocent a thing as having a snack in kindergarten. And being around others who are anxious heightens one’s own anxiety.

Seeing the concern about nut allergies in schools as a type of MPI is helpful in two ways. Firstly, the wholesale avoidance of nuts contributes to the problem by resulting in children who, lacking exposure to nuts, are actually sensitised to them. Through a feedback loop, the policy of avoidance ends up creating the epidemic it is trying to stop. One recent UK study of more than 10 000 children documented that early exposure to peanuts reduces, not increases, the risk of allergy (Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2008;122:984).

Secondly, well intentioned efforts to reduce exposure to nuts actually fan the flames, since they signal to parents that nuts are a clear and present danger. This encourages more parents to worry, which fuels the epidemic. It also encourages more parents to have their children tested, thus detecting mild and meaningless “allergies” to nuts. And this encourages still more avoidance of nuts, leading to still more sensitisation. The cycle of increasing anxiety, draconian measures, and increasing prevalence of nut allergies must be broken.

The professor points out:

About 3.3 million Americans are allergic to nuts, and even more—6.9 million—are allergic to seafood. However, all told, serious allergic reactions to foods cause just 2000 hospitalisations a year (out of more than 30 million hospitalisations nationwide). And only 150 people (children and adults) die each year from all food allergies combined.

Compare that number with the 50 people who die each year from bee stings, the 100 who die from lightning strikes, and the 45 000 who die in motor vehicle collisions. Or compare it with the 10, 000 hospitalisations of children each year for traumatic brain injuries acquired during sports or the 2000 who drown or the roughly 1300 who die from gun accidents. We do not see calls to end athletics.

About 3.3 million Americans are allergic to nuts, and even more—6.9 million—are allergic to seafood. However, all told, serious allergic reactions to foods cause just 2000 hospitalisations a year (out of more than 30 million hospitalisations nationwide). And only 150 people (children and adults) die each year from all food allergies combined.

Compare that number with the 50 people who die each year from bee stings, the 100 who die from lightning strikes, and the 45 000 who die in motor vehicle collisions. Or compare
it with the 10 000 hospitalisations of children each year for traumatic brain injuries acquired during sports or the 2000 who drown or the roughly 1300 who die from gun accidents. We do not see calls to end athletics. And more children assuredly die walking or being driven to school each year than die from nut allergies.

*Nicholas A Christakis is professor of medical sociology, Harvard Medical School, and attending physician, Mt Auburn Hospital, Cambridge,

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Well I give them credit for not being hypocritical in this aspect of their lives, at least

The lady dozes

The lady dozes

Michelle: “We’re too busy and tired to go to church.” I don’t go to church, so I certainly don’t demand that the country’s First Family attend for me, and it’s actually somewhat refreshing to hear that they sleep in on Sundays rather than drag their asses off to uncomfortable pews just for the cameras. Still, “too busy” didn’t prevent other presidents from finding two hours once a week – I’d prefer her just to come out and admit that she and Barry are godless communists with no intention of wasting time on a meaningless gesture.

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Back again on upper Lake

 

1068 Lake Avenue - commuter helicopter pad optional

1068 Lake Avenue – commuter helicopter pad optional

1068 Lake Avenue, up on the Bedford border, has been listed with Sotheby’s and returned to the market at  new price of $4.175 million. The owners paid $4.980 for it in 2000, so surely this is approaching its market value. I haven’t seen it since 2008, when it started on its tortuous path to sale at $7.380 but I remember it as a very large (12,000+ sq.ft), nicely done home that was grossly overpriced. One thousand six hundred days later, the market seems to still agree with that assessment, but perhaps this new price (it expired last fall still looking for $4.8 million) will do the trick.

The trouble, as I see it, is that there’s a very thin market for houses this far out of town and an even thinner market for houses this large. Even when it was new in 1998 and looking for a buyer at $5.8 million, it took two years to find these owners, at a million less. And that’s with the builder’s certification that the house had been constructed in strict accordance with the laws of feng shui. Assuming those laws are immutable, that benefit remains.

 

 

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Ending peanut allergies in our time

 

 

Modern fairy tale

Modern fairy tale

British parents object to supermarket change labeling nearly everything it sells with caution, “may contain nuts”.

Parents are petitioning against Tesco for labelling too many products – from potatoes to fruit juice – with the unlikely warning ‘may contain nuts’.

Mothers of children with nut allergies have complained that it is ‘almost impossible’ to feed their offspring if they take the over-cautious policy at its word.

‘We recognise there will be risk in some foods, such as chocolate and biscuits.

‘However, when you attempt a weekly shop for your family and find that everything from baked beans to pizza, butternut squash, potatoes, fruit juice and more are suddenly labelled as being potentially unsafe it is very disruptive and leaves you with extremely limited options for feeding your family.’

Tesco said that the foods would previously have been marked as having been made in factories where nuts were also used. But it told the Times that the need for a larger font has changed the warning.

New rules come into effect in December which will make the labelling of possible food allergens compulsory.

Tesco told the paper that it takes great care to label its products with allergy advice where necessary. It added: ‘We only display these warnings where there is a risk of cross-contamination.’

What’s the risk that has these mothers so alarmed? Not much of one.

Up to ten people a year die from reactions caused by coming into contact with even minute quantities of peanuts.

Peanut allergy, which is now thought to affect at least one in 50 children, can cause serious breathing problems.

The most severely affected could experience a life-threatening anaphylactic shock or even die when exposed to just a trace of the nuts in their food.

Sufferers have to carry an EpiPen, an autoinjector to administer adrenaline in an emergency.

But the fear of accidental exposure can reduce their quality of life and severely limit the social activities of allergic individuals, their families and even their friends.

If 2% of British children are believed to be allergic to peanuts, I wonder what the rate is here in Greenwich – 25%? We have very special children in our town, and very sensitive mothers.

On the other hand, good for the British government: by placing most food off limits, the children of hyper-sensitive mothers will starve to death and move off to that great peanut brittle castle in the sky, taking their allergies with them, and allowing the rest of us to resume our normal lives.

 

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But will they be allowed to play with all-organic children?

 

 

Warning label for children

Warning label for children

Scientists editing genes to cure deadly diseases, expect to begin trials on humans soon. My guess is that the same mommies who forbid their children to enter homes that serve GMO snacks will shun the living products of gene manipulation too.

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If it saves the life of one river smelt ….

 

The irrigated greens of Sunnyland Golf Club, where Obama played after saving Californians from drought

The irrigated greens of Sunnyland Golf Club, where Obama played after saving Californians from drought

Man-made drought in California shutting food banks for the poor.

The effects of California’s drought could soon hit the state’s food banks, which serve 2 million of its poorest residents.

Fresh produce accounts for more than half the handouts at Bay Area food banks, but with an estimated minimum of 500,000 acres to be fallowed in California, growers will have fewer fruits and vegetables to donate.

With less local supply, food prices will spike, increasing as much as 34 percent for a head of lettuce and 18 percent for tomatoes, according to an Arizona State University study released last week. With fewer fields planted, there could be as many as 20,000 unemployed agricultural workers who will need more food handouts, especially in the Central Valley.

And what caused this disaster? “Environmentalists”.

The San Joaquin Valley was one of the most fertile agricultural regions in the world until environmentalists created a dust bowl to save a three-inch fish called the Delta smelt.

This little fish, not much bigger than a minnow, suddenly became useful when radical leftists realized they could cut off the water for nearly 25 million people and millions of acres of fertile farmland in the interests of expanding federal control of the environment.

From his courtroom in Fresno, U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger declared saving the fish more important than feeding humans and, citing the Endangered Species Act, in 2007 ordered the pumps watering the valley from the Sacramento River turned off, lest the Delta smelt be disturbed.

Choosing between saving a minnow and watering the nation’s food basket was an easy call. Instead of irrigating crops of fruit, fabric, vegetables and grain, the water from the river was diverted from the farms to the Pacific Ocean.

Families, farmers and some elected officials in the Valley have pleaded with the government to turn the spigots on again. The Valley continues to shed jobs as farms dry up. The environment suffers as the parched earth invites wildfires.

Rather than working to get water to flow into the Valley again, the president offered thirsty Californians only a bailout of $160 million in federal aid. He blames global warming, of course, and his allies in Congress, like Little Sir Echo, dutifully repeat his message.

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