Daily Archives: December 30, 2009

The black helicopters are hovering

10: 33 pm:

Associated Press

Rush Limbaugh stricken with apparent heart attack while vacationing in Hawaii. Coincidence that Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi are also vacationing in Hawaii at this very moment? I think not.


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America the fair

So, precisely because your average terrorist these days is a young muslim male between the ages of 19 and 28 flying on a British, Pakistani or other Middle Eastern passport, we will not single out those individuals for special scrutiny and will instead subject the entire rest of the flying public, from infants to businessmen to 94-year-old women in wheelchairs to long, tedious waits and invasive searches. This will show our inherent decency and fairness and, at the cost of billions of dollars in wasted time, will convince our hot-headed young muslim friends to love and admire us.

That seems to be our country’s answer to terrorism. It hasn’t worked so well since 9/11 but perhaps given time …. I just wonder why, if it is unfair to punish all members of the young muslim set for the crimes of their brothers, is it fair to punish everyone else instead?


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There must be better records to beat

I say no, no no

Woman with 0.718 BAC tops North Dakota record. She was cheating, of course, because any normal person is dead at half that. Nice touch? After getting out of the hospital and on bond she skips bail and is found, again, in a stolen car, again, drunk, again. No she is not Amy Winehouse

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How long does it take the world’s fastest train to travel from Guangzhou to Wuhan?

Answer: 5 1/2 hours. 3 to travel the actual distance, 2 1/2 to stop in the middle and search for a disobedient smoker who set off a smoke alarm and shut down the train. Nice to know that China has morons in charge, just like us. I appreciate the level playing field.

Waiting for the smoking car


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Spec houses

Of the 539 single family homes on the market, at least 32 of them are spec houses priced at $5 million or more. That’s down from the 53 we had last year, but we lost a lot to rentals and very few to sales (I’ll see how many we actually sold later). Knowing what I do about the financing on many of these places, I think next year will prove a fruitful time to bid on that big mansion you’ve always wanted but could never afford. The trouble is, most of these spec jobs are on streets and land that you wouldn’t want to live on at any price. It’s always something.

UPDATE: 19 spec houses listed at $5 million and above sold this year, but 4 of those sold for far less than $5 (and millions less than their original asking prices) and several others “sold direct” which I interpret as a sale by their developer to himself, in another entity, to create the illusion of a sale and thereby maintain the prices of his other houses on the market.

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All across the land, the rich dead are nailed to perches, awaiting the New year

He's just resting, damn it!


The old are plugged into life-support machines until the estate tax repeal arrives January 1st. Hang in there, GranPa!

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Body scanners or bombs? Im thinking, I’m thinking

Full body scanners coming to airports near you. I enjoy public nudity as much as the next person, perhaps more, but I like to reserve that pleasure for warm sandy beaches on St. Bart’s or Nantucket. Displaying my hoo-hoo at Kennedy to some TSA goon makes me queasy. These scanner don’t stop at underwear, you know. Ugh.


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Does this mean anything? I have no idea

Someone made a fortune buying call options on 3L, a full body scanner manufacturer, 3 weeks before Detroit attack. Conspiracy fans, have at it.


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Did someone pull the plug on Greenwich Time’s new format?

I clicked to the site just now and was greeted with the old format and no working links to their stories. No loss, but interesting.

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In Greenwich, rumors about real estate are usually spot-on

614 Riversville Ave

Can’t say the same for rumors about who’s sleeping with whom, but real estate rumors usually have substance. Take 614 Riversville Road, for instance. Reader “Andrew” wrote this just a few days ago:

It is interesting to hear that there are pending listings. A friend of mine heard a rumor that 614 Riversville road has a buyer who is willing to pay around 1.9 million cash and no inspection. What is more surprising about this is that the seller wants to deal with the removal of the underground oil tank under her own terms: ESCROW!! That was a week ago but as far as I am aware, it is not pending yet!

It was just reported as under contract today, with a contract date of December 24th. This is that beautiful old antique across from the Audubon that started, long, long ago at $4.2 and over the years dropped to just $2 million (assessment is $2.126). So $1.9 certainly sounds like a plausible selling price. I’m sorry to hear about the no-inspection part because that usually – not always, but usually – means the buyer has no interest in keeping the house.

UPDATE: well the rumor was accurate but I’ve learned that the seller, after accepting that deal, jumped ship in favor of someone else’s bid and told the first buyer to buck off. That always leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth of the first buyer, but what would expect to get when you’re buying a horse stable?

Another thought: I wonder if buyer number one was aware that there was another contract signed December 24th? If not, how long was he strung along thinking he had an accepted offer while the seller nailed down the second deal?

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Pricing in Old Greenwich

 25 Innis Lane came back on the market today, priced at $1.049 million (from an original $1.260). It has four bedrooms, one bath, and carries an assessment of $1.062. It joins on the market its neighbor, number 29, built at the same time (1966-67) and priced at $899,000, with four bedrooms but two baths, and an assessment of $1.045 million. Why is #25 worth $150,000 more than #29? I’m not sure I know.

29 Innis

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Consumers revolt over “smart meters”

One of the main tools Obama has proposed to save energy is the smart meter, a centrally controlled meter that can be read and adjusted across the entire system. They make sense, and it’s ridiculous that utilities still send meter men into each house to record usage, but consumers hate them and are slowing their introduction.

I suspect the real resistance to their use arises when consumers discover that utilities can decide how warm or cool each house should be and, by pressing a button, make it so. This kind of bureaucratic domination gives leftists the same warm glow that forcing people from their cars and into centrally scheduled mass transit does, but not all consumers are leftists. So far, that hasn’t mattered: the leftists continue to get their way, but I’m hoping that will change. Isn’t this the year that the incandescent bulb disappears? Revolution!


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“Blogs” at Greenwich Time

I’ve never been inspired before today to look at them before but with nothing happening in the real estate market a comment on the sidebar of the newspaper caught my eye: “Why don’t you ever post anything controversial on this blog?” So I clicked over there to see what was up and by golly, the reader is right:Topics range from “faulty sprinkler heads” to the poor quality of oatmeal served at Starbucks to the issue of the day, “homeless animals need our help”.

I don’t run advertisements so I suppose it’s easy for me to say this, but unless the GT editors can develop a little testosterone and risk offending an advertiser or two, their “bloggers” will continue to be restricted to the thin gruel of bad oatmeal, and that leads to a dull blog indeed. In fact, if that’s all they’re allowed to do, why bother at all?


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Waiting for a buyer

29 Grossett

The recent sale of this Riverside house for $2.7 million demonstrates that, if you want to wait, and you can sometimes get your price from a buyer who just has to live on your street or in your neighborhood. Although its selling price was a cool million less than its original asking price several years ago, there were some of us who felt it was still over-priced – the assessment of $1.8 seemed, to some of us, closer to its value.

But “some of us” were wrong and the seller was right. Had he listened to me he’d have lost a $1 million. So it shows what I know. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes wrong. I do believe that, by steering my buyers away from this house at its asking price I did them a service but clearly one buyer agreed with the seller’s opinion of value and in real estate, one buyer is all you need.


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If we can send a skier to the Alps

Why can’t we have better cellphone reception on Round Hill Road?

Can you hear me now?

But Lee Miller and his wife Clara, tower opponents who live at 420 Round Hill Road, said they haven’t seen any improvement in their Verizon Wireless service.

“It has deteriorated significantly,” said Lee Miller, 62. “I used to be able to make calls coming from my office coming up on Round Hill Road, but now I cannot make calls. It’s impossible without getting disconnected on the lower part of Round Hill Road. So explain that one,” he said with a laugh.

Clara Miller conceded that she found cell coverage had improved along the Merritt Parkway.

That wasn’t always the case, she said, and crossing the state line from New York state to Connecticut often meant dropped calls.

“When I talk to my friends in Europe I tell them I’m going to drop you because I am crossing the border,” she said with a laugh. “I never had a problem like that in Europe; I have skied all over the Alps, and I haven’t dropped calls even when on a boat when I have been in Turkey and Greece.

I’d bet that the solution has something to do with the Alps lacking Nimbys from Round Hill Road, but that’s just a guess.

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Obama: You want decisive action? Okay, mission accomplished!


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