Daily Archives: October 1, 2009

Hurray for First Class

Not only does British Air offer free espresso (and stronger beverages, no doubt) in its lounge, they have (free) Internet access as well. Oh joy.

The film festival group bringing my mother and me over to Italy had at first offered just one 1st Class ticket and one coach but they upgraded the lower ticket earlier this week which relieved me no end: the thought of my poor 85-year-old mama suffering in a cramped little coach seat would have taken some of the enjoyment out of my own flight. Fortunately, she can now join me in the front of the plane.

Airport security is as ridiculous as I remember it – frisking a white-haired lady in a wheelchair while her own disreputable looking son passes through unremarked upon doesn’t make sense to me but then, I don’t believe any of this nonsense is meant for anything but show. When Rep. Charles Dingall crowed about his artificial hip setting off an alarm and generating a pat-down some years ago he said it was a sign that airport security post 9/11 was working. I thought it was a sign of the total ineffectiveness of the program and a sign of worse to come. I was right, Dingbat was wrong. Gosh.

Anyway, the flight leaves shortly and no doubt I’ll have to shut this off so I don’t interfere with the aircraft’s shielded electronics. Do you believe that’s necessary? I don’t. If business travellers’ laptops are outlawed only outlaws … oh never mind.

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Away until October 9th

gondolierI’m off to Venice for a week and won’t be posting again at least until tomorrow (travel day) and, if I can’t access the Internet (or as a reader has suggested, I can’t find anything better to do with my time in that city than blog) perhaps nothing until I return. I was going to turn off the moderation feature on comments and let all my well-behaved readers have free rein but trolls are everywhere and I balked at the task of cleaning up after them next week.

So no comments, no posts, bummer. But please do check back in a couple of days and, failing that, October 9th.

Whatever you do, don’t you dare buy a house before I return!

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Everyone knew this but I don’t recall Obama or the Democrats mentioning it

cop carFord sales down 5.2% in September as Cash for Clunkers program robbed future sales. Watch for the other automakers release the same dismal sales reports.

UPDATE: GM sales down 46%. Change, but no hope.

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Do yourself and us a favor, lady, and stay home

“Yes,” Michelle Obama admits, “it’s a sacrifice for her to travel (via four carbon-spewing jets, if you’re counting) to Copenhagen with her hubby and Oprah, but she’s “doing it for the kids”.

Jerry’s kids? I thought they were with Roman.

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Here’s a good buy in Old Greenwich

1 Sylvan Lane

1 Sylvan Lane

I liked this house back in 2003 when it sold for $1.750 million. I also liked the renovations the new owners performed in subsequent years but thought that their asking price of $2.6 million in 2006 was ridiculous. So did the marketplace, apparently, since it wouldn’t sell, but now it’s been dropped to $1.699 and I’d snap it up if I were in that price range. Assessed value is $1.599, but you could pay up a bit from that and be just fine.

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Hedge funds leave London for New York. But where next?

The Financial Times notes an exodus of hedge funds and their money from London, a phenomenon it attributes in part to new taxes and regulations imposed by Great Britain and the EU. The point I see is that money is moveable; when our own governments, federal and state, finish up their plans to tax and regulate the financial industry here, will the money move again? If it were mine, yes.

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Great news – we’re not related to Jimmy Carter after all

No relation

No relation

The Wall Street Journal reports today that this country’s worst ex-president (and worst President, in my opinion) is not related to the rest of us and in fact is kin only to his friend Hugo Chavez and certain Hollywood stars.

After 15 years of rumors, researchers in the U.S. and Ethiopia made public fossils from a 4.4-million-year-old human forebearer they say reveal that our earliest ancestors were more modern than scholars assumed and deepens the evolutionary gulf separating humankind from today’s apes and chimpanzees.

The highlight of the extensive fossil trove is a female skeleton a million years older than the iconic bones of Lucy, the primitive female figure that has long symbolized humankind’s beginnings.

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I’m not saying Walt Noel is making prank calls to Monica

In Monica's closet

In Monica's closet

But this story sounds suspicious. Walt, you need a loan? Call me; what are friends for?

Greenwich woman twice avoids being a victim of telephone scams

By Frank MacEachern
Staff Writer

 It was such a convincing telephone call that a Greenwich woman thought she was talking to a grandson locked up in a Canadian jail cell on a drunk-driving charge.

But it was a scam, and the woman’s natural caution prevented her from losing almost $3,000 as she called his parents immediately and discovered her grandson was still at home.

“His voice was muffled and it was hard to hear him,” [emphasis added] the woman said about the Monday telephone call. “He said he went to a Greek wedding in Canada and he was stopped by police after he left it.” The woman, citing fears for her safety, declined to be identified.

The man said he needed $2,800 to get out of jail and asked the woman to wire the money to him. The woman refused and told him to call his parents. She then called police.

It wasn’t the first time she was the target of scammers, the woman said.

Two months ago someone purporting to be from her bank’s credit card division asked if she had made a $5,000 purchase that day. When she said she hadn’t, the caller told her to speak with someone in security and transferred her to someone else.

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Nothing wrong with this market that the right price won’t cure

149 Old Church Rd

149 Old Church Rd

I love this renovated classic on Old Church and have mentioned it here a couple of times as its price slowly dropped over the years from $3.9 to $2.595. Today it’s reported under contract and why not? Great location, nice, renovated house and an asking price equal to its assessed value. The wonder to me is not that this house is selling but that the other similar houses on Old Church are still priced way up in the 3’s. It’s just my opinion of their relative values but if this one couldn’t fetch that price, the others won’t either. This was a good buy.

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Price reduction on Pheasant Lane

A house on Pheasant Lane has dropped from $4.795 to $3.795 today, all without input from this blog, so how did buyers know that it was overpriced? It’s a mystery. The house sits on 2.6 acres and is close to town but when I saw it back last spring, it was showing its age (1937). So what’s it worth? Certainly not a million dollars less than it was in April or it would have sold in April. The town’s pegged it at $2.5 (70% of 2005 market value) and that might be something you want to consider. Or not.

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The Titanic deck chair shuffle

Twenty-nine listings expired yesterday, the last day of September. Most will be back with us soon (like, today) but it’s always fun to see which go to new brokers, especially with the price unchanged. That’s usually not a formula for success.

I’m surprised at the large number of expirations, though, because, although the fee for a new listing is minimal: $75, in these times, you’d expect listing brokerages to save what pennies they can by extending listing contracts (no charge) rather than paying even a modest fee. So are these expireds all going to new brokers? We’ll see. One of interest is Leona’s place, marked down just a few days ago to $60 million from $125,000,000. It expired yesterday too.

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