Daily Archives: November 13, 2009

The Dutch the Dutch the dirty, dirty Dutch

But they’re a damn sight better than the Irish! Still, here comes the latest from the cheese eaters: GPS tracking system will keep track of where Dutch drivers go and they’ll be charged 16 cents a mile. But it’s all to stop global warming, you see – new taxes are jut a byproduct. This idea is already being floated in the U.S. with, naturally, the western states of California, Oregon and Washington leading the way. Can Al Gore be far behind?

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Wait til next year when Congress bans light bulbs

Here’s a surprise: people hate federally mandated low-flow shower heads. And the nannies are planning to make them worse.

The quest to reduce shower-water consumption started more than a decade ago. In 1992, federal regulations capped shower-head spray for the first time. The rules said shower-heads couldn’t pump out more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute — less than half the flow that was common until then.

In response, many manufacturers took their existing shower heads and choked their flow. The typical tactic was to insert a small washer called a “flow restrictor” into the shower head. That slashed water use.

It also made for some feeble showers — a point memorialized in a 1996 episode of “Seinfeld.” After low-flow shower heads are installed in their New York apartment building, the characters can’t rinse the shampoo from their hair. After a few days of matted locks, they buy full-flow shower heads from a black-market dealer in an unmarked van.

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And you thought Walter Noel was in Colombia to visit Andre

banana010209
Colombian chefs unveil Passion Fruit/Viagra desert.

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Hey, you never know

20 Corrigan

20 Corrigan

So I’m just back from a closing where my client bought this unfinished house on Corrigan (way over on the west side of town) for $2.7 million. What’s interesting is that on June 9th of this year, when it first came on asking $3.250 million, I questioned who would want to buy an unfinished house, and listed all the questions I’d want answered before buying. I’m told that a number of Coldwell Banker agents went batshit, urging the listing agent, Juan Sosa, to file a grievance against me for maligning the place. Juan took a more sensible approach and sent in a reply that answered those questions and lo, one of my clients who was looking for property over there saw the post, and Juan’s response and asked to see the place. It took an awful lot of due diligence and a ton of negotiating between my client, Frankie Fudrucker and me on one side and Sosa on the other, but we eventually agreed on a price and, as noted, closed today.

Was it a good deal? Well Greenwich Bank & Trust thought so, appraising the place for far more than we paid for it and extending a loan to finish it. And my client thought so. The busted builder wasn’t as pleased, as he walked away with nothing and hasn’t come around to the relief he will no doubt feel,eventually, to be out from under an onerous mortgage that would otherwise be foreclosed now. I hope that a few months from now he’ll be more cheerful.

And so it goes.

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Gee, really?

29 Old Wagon

29 Old Wagon Rd

This new Havemeyer project, priced at $1.795 million, is reported as pending today. I’d thought the days of this level pricing being achieved in Havemeyer were gone but, unless there’s a surprisingly low price revealed after it actually closes, I’d say I was wrong. Assessment is just $1.3 million, so Havemeyer residents, take hope.

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Okay by me: take off that packaging!

Instapundit offers this photo from the Miss World contest.

bikinbis

 

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A truly dreadful man

From Obama’s press conference today in Japan:

With respect to Afghanistan, Jennifer, I don’t think this is a matter of some datum of information that I’m waiting on. It’s a matter of making certain that when I send young men and women into war, and I devote billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money, that it’s making us safer, and that the strategies that are placed not just on the military side but also on the civilian side are coordinated and effective in our primary goal, which is to make sure that the United States is not subject to attack and its allies are not subject to attack by terrorist networks, and that there is a stability in the region that helps to facilitate that larger goal.

And I recognize that there have been critics of the process. They tend not to be folks who I think are directly involved in what’s happening in Afghanistan. Those who are recognize the gravity of the situation and recognize the importance of us getting this right.

Okay, now here, finally, is something I can agree with Obama on. These backbenchers, these know-nothings who attack the president and his foreign policy for no other reason that political gain are guilty of treason. Screw them.Like, for instance, this guy, quoted in the Huffington Post back in 2008:

[HuPo] “During the prepared portion of his press conference, Obama also seized on Bush’s Afghanistan surgelet, knocking the approach and claiming credit for setting the direction of White House policy:”

President Bush also announced additional troops for Afghanistan. I am glad that the President is moving in the direction of the policy that I have advocated for years. But the most substantial increase will come when an additional Army brigade is deployed five months from now – in February, after the President has left office. His plan comes up short – it is not enough troops, and not enough resources, with not enough urgency. What President Bush and Senator McCain don’t understand is that the central front in the war on terror is not in Iraq, and it never was – the central front is in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the terrorists who hit us on 9/11 are still plotting attacks seven years later. Today, the Taliban is on the offensive, al Qaeda has a new sanctuary, and its leaders are putting out videotapes. Yet under President Bush’s plan, we still have nearly four times more troops in Iraq than Afghanistan, and we have no comprehensive plan to deal with the al Qaeda sanctuary in northwest Pakistan.

[Huffington Post adds this adoring comment]: Obama looked commanding and prescient, adeptly criticizing the President while also invoking the White House for foreign policy validation.

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The NFL makes even Allen Corry look bright

NFL fines Bengal player $20,000 for offering $1 bribe to official. I saw the game and the incident. A player was called for a penalty so he borrowed a buck from someone on the sideline and proffered it to the ref in a mock attempt to get off. For God’s sake, gentlemen: you banned showing cheerleaders’ legs, banned end zone celebrations, and now this? Your friggin’ game is not a church service and the duller you make it, the more fun you bleed from it, the worse it gets. Sheesh.

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Here’s a brilliant idea – re-regulate the airline industry

Labor wants the airlines re-regulated and Obama is happy to oblige. This will please my Democrat friends who hate airline travel today and reminesce endlessly of the days when only “people of class” travelled by air. These folks hate Walmart customers but at least they can shop at Whole Foods and avoid them. The trouble with cheap plane tickets is that just about anyone can afford one with the result, God in heaven, that some fat, smelly Walmart customer ends up sitting next to you! The Messiah hears your plea and will answer it. Especially if it makes the AFL-CIO happy.

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I was going to let this story alone but …

You’ve got to love the NY Post headline writers: “Dr. Jerk’ll sperm probe!”

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Madoff computer programmers arrested by FBI

It won’t provide much financial relief for the scam victims but these guys kept the game going for at least fifteen years and should have tales to tell. Will this bring down the boys? Want a house on Tomac? Cherry Valley?

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It’s not about liberal vs. conservative; all politicians crave power

Obama will extend Bush’s Patriot Act powers. Hope, but no change. Is that enough for the netroots?

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The best building site in Greenwich is selling

The best land currently on the market, at any rate.

51 Mooreland

51 Mooreland Rd

This 9.75 acre lot, once part of the estate that hosted the Scottish Games, came on in 2007 listed for $9.995 million. That was too steep even then and it dropped over the years until it hit $5.999 and is now under contract.

The site could theoretically be divided in two but you’d ruin its value. As is and undisturbed, you can put a house way up on the hill and look down over your rolling meadows and have perfection, fairly close to town. I loved the land, and so did several of my clients, but we took runs at it closer to its assessed value of $3.5 than to its then price of $7 million and were rebuffed.. There’s a $4.5 million reverse mortgage on the land which no doubt strengthened the seller’s resolve to hold firm and someone has apparently agreed to pay at least that much and probably more. Good for them – it’s truly beautiful land and down the road, I doubt you can overpay for this property.

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Slow start to the real estate day.

I have a closing scheduled for this afternoon which, assuming it comes off, I’ll write about, but for now, we have only one lousy contract reported, a ranch on Palmer Hill.

266 Palmer Hill

266 Palmer Hill Rd

It’s on a half-acre, which is nice, and was renovated not that long ago with a new kitchen, baths etc. and someone obviously felt those attributes outweighed its location. It started at $1.265 in 2008, dropped down this year to $1.099 and found a buyer at a yet-to-be-disclosed price. Assessment is $720,000.

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Kaus is this smart; I doubt Obama is

MICKEY KAUS: “Am I the only one who smells Kabuki in the reports that President Obama has dramatically rejected all the Afghan war options with which he was presented, demanding to know where the ‘off ramps’ are? If you were about to recommend a troop increase that was unpopular, especially with your Democratic base, wouldn’t you precede it with some drama like this to demonstrate that you are a) in charge, b) not being conned, and c) insistent on a withdrawal as quickly as possible? Just asking.”

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Uh huh

 A quick Googling of the phrase, “looks forward to his day in court” yields 74,500 hits. I’d estimate that of all the defense lawyers who have ever employed that stirring phrase, 74, 497 ended up plea bargaining. Maybe Tina will be the fourth.

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New private capital for failed banks

The WSJ reports that some fairly heavy money is forming blind pools to take over failed banks. The FDIC is making favorable noises about this development but what I see as significant is that it will open the door for the feds to take more banks off life support faster. Right now, there are a few private equity groups trying to buy a select group of banks that have decent assets but banks with rotten portfolios (Patriot Bank comes to mind) are drawing no bidders and so they remain zombies – walking dead. If these blind pools can take on handfuls of failed banks at a time, the fed could slip a few losers in with the better ones and sell it as a package. If that happens, watch for even more properties to hit the market at hugely discounted prices.

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Kidnapped or enjoying himself?

Kidnapped Irish priest released by MILF.

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Dial 203 for local calls beginning tomorrow

That’s the new mandatory protocol as of Saturday. Change your cellphone addresses, if you haven’t already. Or wait – we’re getting a 475 area code next month as part of all this, and won’t that be fun?

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Parking meters in Old Greenwich?

That’s the proposal of the town employee in charge of parking.

Allen Corry, the town’s parking services director, wants to install meters in all three business districts, putting an end to the era of free on-street parking and bringing those areas into line with the downtown and its premier shopping destination, Greenwich Avenue.

Aimed at increasing turnover in on-street parking, the plan could be presented to the Board of Selectmen as soon as January, according to Corry, who said that many drivers are exceeding the posted time limits in spaces.

“It’s labor intensive to enforce parking there without meters and be consistent,” Corry said.

Denying that money was a motivating factor, Corry estimated that the plan could bring in at least $200,000 in additional meter revenue for the town that would be placed in a special fund dedicated to parking infrastructure maintenance, improvements and the hiring of more enforcement officers.

In my experience, Old Greenwich has no parking problem, ever. Certainly, judging from the negative reaction of store merchants in all three districts where meters are proposed, I’m not alone in this belief. They fear losing shoppers, not gaining them if parking turned over more frequently. Corry, like so many bureaucrats, has a solution looking for a problem. He’d install meters that aren’t needed or wanted, inconvenience and annoy shoppers and then use the proceeds of his project to buy more meters and hire more enforcement officers. That’s a lousy plan.

If anything about the parking situation should be changed, it’s the ridiculous $60 penalty for overstaying an hour (to be increased to two). $60? What possible rational could there be for that?

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