Daily Archives: August 15, 2008

I’ve hit the big time!

First bit of spam has arrived in the comments box. No doubt computer generated by my mention of homeopathic “medicine” (it starts, “In 2003, my company came up with a way to treat most viruses, using already existing, safe drugs. It’s the subject of patents pending….”)I deleted it before i finished so, alas, if you want to invest in this sure-fire winner, you’ll have to wait for it to appear in your own spam box.

The fellow who kept posting obnoxious comments seems to have faded away once I switched from automatic posting to moderated and I was considering going back to the unfettered format but if the computers have found me, I guess I’ll keep things the way they are, at least for now.

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Another myth bites the dust, no doubt to be replaced by five more

Airborne, a supposed cold-preventative mix concocted by a school teacher and adored by Oprah, has just agreed to pay millions of dollars to settle a lawsuit brought by the government. Users are undeterred, of course, because the stuff works in their minds and presto. “It’s hard to prove something doesn’t work if you don’t catch a cold” one regulator said, which brings to mind the old joke of the fellow who’s found painting a long green line on a Vermont road. “Keeps elephants away”, he explains to an inquirerer. “But there aren’t any elephants around here”, he’s told. “Works pretty well, then, don’t it?”

If you ever care to have your faith in the native intellegence of Greenwich residents shaken just a bit, stand by the counter at a CVS and watch presunably well-educated consumers pay big bucks for homeopathic remedies, all of which have been thoroughly debunked by the FDA, Consumer Reports and any scientist I ever heard of. Doesn’t matter to these folks and it’s not my money, so I don’t care. Until I remember that they vote.

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(White) elephant graveyard?
What’s happening to the market for our mega-mansions? To no one’s surprise but their spec builders, their prices are falling even as they remain unsold (well that’s dumb – if they sold, their prices would stop falling, even if their value didn’t, but you get the point). Today 40 Zaccheus Mead lane, originally listed in February 2007 for $11,200,000, dropped its price again, this time to $7,995,000, 30% below original ask. The real problem with this property is its yard – it doesn’t have one – but that sky high price didn’t help much.

Interestingly, this latest price drop places Zaccheus in direct competition with 8 Copper Beech, which does have a yard (but “only” 11,000 sq.ft vs 15,000). Which will sell first, and at what price? We’ll see. Ten Copper Beech, built at the same time as #8 was, like #8, priced at about $9,500,000 last summer, but its builder accepted a bid of $8,050,000 last February and got rid of the place. Number 8’s owner has now matched that price and in fact dipped a little below it at $7,995,000, but February was then and August is now. Different markets.

Finally, I see that my colleague and columnist for another paper has compared assessed value to selling price and concluded that all our homes increased in value the past year. That’s comforting but I don’t believe it – something is wrong with his methodology, I think. In any event, even he admits that sales have dropped a wee bit, like 30%. He says, don’t worry, be happy. I’m less sanguine.

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Does anyone at the New York Times know anything about business and how it operates?
This error in which the paper completely screws up the meaning of profit either reveals an abysmal lack of knowledge or an abiding faith in the economic stupidity of Time’s readers. Or both. It must have hurt to correct it.

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Even I don’t want to see our oceans destroyed
Here’s an alarming article that OwlGore and I can agree to worry about: according to this scientist, and he certainly seems to know what he’s talking about, we face the extinction of life in our oceans and a sea of slime. Ugh.

Just want to let you know that I read all sorts of things, including articles from the other side of my usual thinking. Well reasoned arguments, good; hysterical rants from fat frauds on houseboats, bad.

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Okay, we finally have a justification for the $500,000 Greenwich kitchen.
Humans got smarter because we cook. Of course in our town, that just means the staff is learning new tricks but in principle ….

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One way out of a bad real estate decision

Investors.com has an informative article today on an alternative for troubled homeowners, giving the lender a deed in lieu of foreclosure. It’s simpler (and cheaper, so less is wasted on attorney’s fees or – and this hurts doubly – real estate agent fees), faster and, at least according to the article, protects your credit history. I don’t know about this last feature, one way or the other, but I am aware of at least two instances in town where would-be builders are bailing out of their projects by exactly this procedure, so something must have appealed to them. You might want to check it out, if you find yourself in this situation.

I would think that, if it’s your kids’ home you’re trying to protect, you’d want to fight to the bitter end but if you’re involved with a failed spec project, reading the writing on the wall and turning the land, half-finished house, whathaveyou to the bank might make sense.

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Russians using any and all weapons in their invasion, but brave folks are fighting back.
Two Georgians claim they have Big Foot’s body.

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