Daily Archives: August 10, 2009

Even Squareheads can’t be this dumb, can they?

It’s hardly surprising to learn in the Wall Street Journal that the market for $995 children’s dresses isn’t doing well these days. Greenwich’s Best & Co. was not alone over-estimating the longevity of the market for insane purchases by proud parents who had too much money. But check out this Swedish manufacturer who doesn’t blame the recession for its woes but can’t figure out the cause:

“Parents want to adopt the same codes for the whole family,” says Ms. Rolando, who explained the “mini me” trend as the human impulse to show membership in a clan. Mothers could dress their toddlers in Kid by Phillip Lim or Acne Miniature outfits that mimicked their own styles.

Acne introduced Miniature for fall 2008, and then cut back the number of pieces in its spring collection. Its fall collection will have fewer pieces as well. A spokesman for the Swedish brand says the cutbacks “are not due to the recession” but mark a rethinking of the line.

Acne?As the name for a kid’s clothing line? Can you imagine any child old enough to sport pimples who would be caught dead in clothing called Acne? Maybe the word means something wonderful in Sweden, like “stinky rotted herring brined for sixteen months and mixed with rancid cheese” but you’re in America now guys, and you’re going to have to get with it. I do enjoy the concept of “clan membership”, though, with Biff, Muffsy, Mopsey and Clete all wearing the same clothes. Just not pimple gear.

UPDATE: It’s even worse than I thought: the Swedes came up with this name using English words to create an acronym. Acne Jeans is a Swedish denim manufacturer and part of the Stockholm-based design firm “Ambition to Create Novel Expressions” (ACNE).

Good lord – no wonder the Norwegians tell Swede jokes, like, “Why did the Swede push his house down the street? He wanted to jump-start his furnace.” Har har har.


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Andres Piedrahita flies to Mexico, pleads guilty

Well no, not yet, but depending on what Madoff’s lieutenant Frank DiPascali says tomorrow, he might want to. Sounds like Mexican prisons are a wonderland compared to our own and Andres already knows the lingo. He should have a ball.

Inside the high concrete walls ringed by barbed wire, past the heavily armed men in black uniforms with stern expressions, inmates rule the roost. Some well-heeled prisoners pay to have keys to their cells. When life inside, with its pizza deliveries, prostitutes and binges on drugs and alcohol, becomes too confining, prisoners sometimes pay off the guards for a furlough or an outright jailbreak.

“Our prisons are businesses more than anything else,” said Pedro Arellano Aguilar, an expert on prisons. He has visited scores of them in Mexico and has come away with a dire view of what takes place inside. “Everything is for sale and everything can be bought.”

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Has the market recovered?

The sellers of these three new listings must think so and perhaps they’re right. I’m pessimistic but then, I’ve always been a kill-joy.

28 Windrose Way, in Mead Point, is a 9,000 sq.ft. house on 2.9 acres with “water views”. The areal view seems to show a large pool on the grounds but the listing makes mention only of an indoor one. If the listing’s accurate, this is one weird layout because you have your neighbor’s pool right outside your living room. I tend to believe that’s not the case. Anyway, the asking price of $17,500,000 makes this about $2,000 per sq.ft. which I find aggressive. Assessed value is $8,000,000.

128 Porchuck sold for $5.2 million in 2003 when it was new. Now, six years older, the sellers ask $6.5. Assessed value, $5 million.

And 5 Tomac Lane, direct waterfront (at high tide) on 0.3 acre, sold for $7.495 million in 2007 and is back on today for $7.7 . Maybe. Assessed value, $4.146 million.


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This will get interesting

Westchester County has agreed to settle a fair housing suit and will be forced to build moderate income housing and market it to blacks in towns like Scarsdale, Bedford and Hastings-on-Hudson. I don’t know why Asians, Urdus, and the French are left out of this bonanza but if Bedford falls (apologies to Frank Capra) can Greenwich be far behind? What more tempting a target than here?


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No contracts today but 19 insignificant price cuts and some retreads

There are a number of tiny price cuts today which will accomplish nothing but it’s interesting to see the cumulative effect of some of them. 17 Hendrie in Old Greenwich started at $7.750 back in April ’08 an dis down to $4.995 as of today. 361 N. Maple, an 1865 house not dissimilar to 357 Stanwich discussed earlier, also started in the $2.6 range and  is down to $2.0 million now. 6 Chieftans has never sold, I believe, but tried for $6.196 in 2007 and is back on today at $5.475. Assessed value is $3.4 – just saying …

212 Shore Road, that scrap of land overlooking Lucas Point Beach and Long Island Sound sold for $3.535 in 2005, sold again a year later for $4.975 and those buyers tried to keep that math going by listing it for $5.695 in 2007. Oops – the music had stopped by then. Today they’ll take what they paid for it: $4.975, but the funny thing about deals like this is that sometimes the record stops spinning clockwise and, after pausing, resumes in a counter-clockwise direction. Assessed value is $2.232. Again, I’m just saying.

There’s more, but nothing particularly noteworthy.


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Himes and wife off for Israel

That Town Hall meeting thing didn’t go so well so our Congressman is off to safer climes, where he need only fear suicide bombers rather than angry constituents who want to ask rude questions. He’s flying commercial jet (bounced from Air Pelosi due to lack of seniority) which is an improvement – I want every elected official to go through first hand the insane air “security” they have foisted on us – but what’s his carbon footprint?  And do staff members get to go on these trips too? Just wondering.


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Just stop this Walter, and behave yourself

Woman says she was duped into changing man’s diapers.

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Public wising up to Global Warming bunkum

Wake me when the movie's over

Wake me when the movie's over

Turns out, latest polls show that given the choice between living in the dark and eating dirt and sticks or having cheap energy, more Americans are choosing energy.  Lefties say the pollster just asked the wrong questions, naturally, but I agree with this guy:

Ebell said he doesn’t believe the recession or the weather are eroding public concern about global warming. Rather, he said, publicity over the high cost of green policies in Europe and other regions, as well as indications that those policies haven’t yielded results and a 12-year string of stable global temperatures, are changing Americans’ minds.

European countries have imposed gasoline taxes of $3 to $4 per gallon to curb consumption, Ebell noted, and the TaxPayers’ Alliance in Great Britain estimated that the average British family spends more than $1,200 a year on green charges and levies. Despite such investments, a December report from the United Nations showed that greenhouse gas emissions have grown by almost 10 percent worldwide since 1990, if you control for the emissions-curbing collapse of the Soviet Union and ensuing economic decline in Eastern Europe.

More importantly, said Ebell, the planet’s average temperature hasn’t risen since 1997, despite a 5 percent gain in the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the same period. Twelve years doesn’t make for a long-term trend, Ebell said, but every year that goes by with no increase in average temperatures makes it harder to assert the climate is sensitive to carbon dioxide.

“I think there’s a huge amount of skepticism among the public. They’ve heard all these claims, and now they’ve been informed that there isn’t any recent warming,” Ebell said. “The public, without having a lot of information about it, is pretty astute. I think the alarmists are having a hard time making the case for global warming simply because reality is against them and the public has figured it out.” (The Competitive Enterprise Institute has taken flak for accepting funding from oil giant ExxonMobil. Ebell said the financing ended several years ago, and the funding source didn’t affect the group’s policy positions, which were in place before the nonprofit sought the money and have remained intact since the agreement concluded.)

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12 Buckingham (off Roberta). Listed at $1.295, increased to $1.5 (go figure) sold – out -of-town-broker, $1,302,501. Assessed value (70% of 2005 market value) $1.310,810.

72 Summit – quarter acre lot (with a house in the way). Listed at $795, sold for $799. Now you know what a building lot on Summit’s worth. Assessed value, $911,000.

25 MacArthur – renovated, bought for $1.450 in 2007, sold Friday for $1.380. Not too bad.

Back on market: 357 Stanwich, 1900 house on corner of Cognewaugh, listed at $2.850 August ’08, new broker (Round Hill Partners), new price: $2.095. ML# 74069.


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