Daily Archives: July 30, 2009

Whack-a-mole in the House

No sooner does Nancy Pelosi cut a deal with Blue Dog Democrats on limiting (a little) her version of ObamaCare than black and hispanic representatives say they won’t go along. What’s Nancy to do? If she gives away the country, she pisses off the Blue Dogs, if she doesn’t, she’s got every Congressman of color screaming bloody hell. She needs the votes of both groups to get any bill at all passed, but she can’t have one if she includes the other. Mongo have great pain between ears.

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Draining the moral swamp that is D.C.

Democrats refuse to issue subpoenas that would reveal Friends of Angelo in their ranks. The Chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee says he’s “too busy” for such nonsense and he’s right; these poor folks are just snowed under with investigating Roger Clemons and his possible use of steroids years ago.

Nothing to see here, move along, move along.

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Housing sales jump – the Mother of all head fakes?

Some people think so – I’m inclined to agree with them. We are certainly seeing more activity than last winter, but there’s no robust recovery here yet. Here are some statistics for single family house contracts:

                2007          2008                2009

May        58                 44                      35

June      63                 49                       39

July       40                  39                       36

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Gee, next thing you know they’ll be telling us that global warming’s a big pile of poop

No BHT? Ecch!

No BHT? Ecch!

50 year study: organic foods no healthier for humans than conventional food. But they’re pricier, which I thought was the point. Homeopathic “medicines” anyone?

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Riverside Contract

60 Meadow Road, that nice brick house I mentioned earlier last week, has gone to contract in ten days. $3.995 or something like that. Nice house on an acre of land. My guess is that someone local has admired this house for awhile and when it became available, jumped. Good for them.

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Ferdinand Steyer, Mountain Works

I’ve recommended my friend Ferdinand before (and provided a link to his business over on the right) . A reader used that link, hired Ferd and sends along this report. Speaks for itself. And good job, Ferd – if you’d screwed up I’d have gained an angry reader nd lost my cred.

Chris, I just wanted to thank you for recommending Mountain Works.  Ferdinand just finished a job for me at my house installing new doors and updating our electrical.  His work (as you already know) is simply the best – outstanding craftsmanship, fair prices and a pleasure to deal with.  I can’t wait to use him again for our next home improvement project.

Ferdinand:

  • Mountain Works, Ferdinand Steyer , Greenwich. (203) 216-3329
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    Uh oh, Walt’s sicced the dogs on me!

    Received the following email from some Fairfield Greenwich Group PR guy. I’ll call him after lunch and report back but it sounds like fun. Oe question: where is FGG getting the money to pay a PR firm?

    Christopher:
     
    I just left you voicemail. I’m a media adviser to Fairfield Greenwich, and some comments that were posted to an item on your blog have raised concern. I hope there’s an easy way to resolve it. Please give me a call at [                               ] , when you have a moment.
     
    Thanks,
    Seth Faison

    UPDATE: I spoke with Mr. Faison, who turned out to be very polite and had a simple request: someone commenting on an unrelated blog posting here several  months ago had put up the name, address and telephone number of a person vaguely related to FGG and would I consider taking it down off the Internet? Of course I would do that and have done so. I try to weed out that stuff before it gets posted because it can lead to real abuse of people, but this one slipped by. So now it’s gone, end of matter. How dull.

    I did express my surprise to Mr. Faison that FGG was still around to pay a PR firm and he told me that “there are a lot of law suits out there”  who knew? And Faison’s firm is working on putting out fires. Interesting.

     

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    The love that dares not speak its name

    Man arrested for having sex with horse, twice. Thanks for the link to Walt who is naturally protective of his filly(ie)’s and keeps a constant guard up for shameful stories like this.

    Posted in July 29th, 2009 by Claudette Rothman in Animals, Rape

    Fifty-year-old Rodell Vereen was arrested for having sex with a horse twice in less than one year after the animal’s owner caught him on surveillance camera.

    Last year, the South Carolina man pleaded guilty to having sex with the same animal and was placed on the state’s sex offender list, and earlier this month, he returned to the same stable outside of Myrtle Beach to have sex with the horse, again.

    The horse’s owner, Barbara Kenley told authorities that since the last incident, she had been waiting for Vereen with her shotgun and camera, but earlier this month when he returned she couldn’t shoot him because she did not want to go to jail.

    It is believed that Vereen suffers from a mental problem

    Two observations: First, under Greenwich’s new sex offender law, poor Mr. Vereen won’t be allowed at our beaches, school grounds or parks now that he’s a registered sex offender in South Carolina (although maybe he can apply for a pardon – the Governor of that state would probably lend a sympathetic ear). Two, this story is the subject of  a joke so old that only the Fountain family remembers it (it can happen in the best of families, as Walt will attest): Two Englishmen are in their club, drinking whiskey, when one asks the other,

    “I say, whatever happened to  Featherstone? Haven’t seen him around in ages.”

    “Oh, haven’t you heard? He ran away with his horse.”

    “His horse! Mare or stallion?”

    “Mare, of course. Nothing queer about old Featherstone.”

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    This house not for sale?

    I ws scanning the data, looking for houses in the $3-6 million range that have been on for a long time, reasoning that some might have come down low enough to prove an attractive bargain for some clients here this weekend. I didn’t find much, but I did see 9 Lauder Way, Ml. # 65448, which is a great old house completely redone in 1991 and still in good shape. Good land: 1.8 acres, with pool, and excellent location, but I crossed it off my show list because these are obviously sellers who want their price and are willingg to hang on forever until they get it. I don’t fault them at all – it’s a lovely house, but its $6.5 price tag, down just a touch from its 2007 price of $7.205, doesn’t give the sense of bargain that my clients want. Especially when assessed value is $3.693.

    The (non) sales history of this huse is even more daunting. They tried to get $4.5 million for it in 1995 and kept it on the market until 1999 but reduced it to just $4.025 over those four years. Now it’s been back since 2007, adjusted to accommodate what the seller obviously feels is a proper rate of appreciation, and again, haven’t budged.

    So we won’t be visiting this one.

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    Some statistics

    Russ Pruner’s firm, Shore & Country, always has a good data base on line and he’s got an interesting chart up now, showing the fall off in volume and sales in the first half of 2009 from the first half of 2008.  Check the entire chart, but here’s a brief summary:

    Single Family Homes        2008                                        2009                           % change

    Units:                                   270                                           111                                        (59%)

    $ Vol.                             $768,659,932                 $250,800,602                          (67%)

    Avg. Price                     $2,846,889                       $2,259,465                                (21%)

    Med. Price                     $1,950,000                      $1,405,000                              (28%)

     

    Keep in mind that by 2008 the market was already starting its dive. For the full year, 2008’s unit sales were off 37% from 2007 and dollar voulme off 35%. I’ll dig around to get the six month data.

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    McKinney drops out of Himes race – Frantz at the gate?

    As predicted here months ago (well, maybe last week), John McKinney couldn’t raise enough money to mount a campaign against Jim Himes and so has annunced his intention to stay in Hartford. Does this mean Scot Frantz, the Riverside resident who swears he’s not bored in Hartford, will enter the race. Of course it does. If nothing else, moving down to Washington for a few years will allow him to escape the noise and disruption of  all that castle-building going on and scheduled for his end of Meadow Road.

    Frantz may have competition though, at least briefly. From what I can discern reading between the lines, former Congressman Chris Shaysis in a financial pickle because of the defalcations of his former aide, and owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid payroll taxes and the like which the aide took for himself. The Republicans would love to help Shays out – he was popular, honest and a loyal Republican, but can’t do much unless he’s campaigning for something. So maybe he starts a run to regain his seat, collects enough money to pay off what was stolen and graceful retires again.

    There are supposedly other candidates out there, but my money (a figure of speech – give real money, even once, to a politician and you’ll be on every call list of every politician across the country forever) is on Frantz.

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    Are banks making too much money from foreclosures to bother modifying them?

    That’s what the Times suggests – fees for insurance, appraisals, handling etc. all dwarf the puny payment the feds offer if they’ll work a deal with their customers. BusinessInsider has a summary. I don’t know whether it’s true but when it comes to banks, not much would surprise me.

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