Daily Archives: June 3, 2010

Robin Hood, the movie – I may have to go see it

It seems that all the horrible reviews of Robin Hood stem from liberal reviewers’ distaste for the movie’s theme – old Robin, it seems, is rebelling against taxation rather than pressing a socialist agenda. It’s driving the liberals nuts: as one they deride it as an 11th Century tea party. The horror.


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Cousin Henry writes about relief wells

They will definitely do the trick – the trouble is, when?

The two wells, aimed at the bottom of the runaway well that has spewed millions of gallons of oil into the gulf, represent the most conventional solution to the disaster and the one that experts say is all but certain to succeed. Once either of the relief wells strikes pay dirt, the plan is to pump heavy drilling mud and cement down it to bring the blowout under control and permanently seal the damaged well.

Maybe August, if a hurricane doesn’t show up.

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So how bad is the Deepwater disaster, really?

Oil well in Kuwait, Gulf War

The WSJ has a horrifying piece today from an oceanographer who clearly knows his carrots, claiming that the oil gusher’s effects will be felt around the world for decades to come.

Fair enough, but because I found it curious that the author mentioned a previous huge oil well blow out in the Gulf, the Ixtoc 1, yet didn’t discuss the damage it caused, I looked it up. Turns out, that well flowed into the very same Gulf waters that Deepwater is now polluting , for ten months. and seems to have caused little damage, none of it long term or permanent.

Then there’s the Kuwait Oil disaster, brought on the world by the late Saddam Hussein and deemed number one in history.

The largest oil spill the world has seen exacted little permanent damage on coral ecosystems and local fisheries, according to a report by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission at Unesco. The study concluded that about half the oil evaporated, one-eighth of it was recovered and another quarter washed ashore, mostly in Saudi Arabia.

So maybe – I know this sounds nuts – we should wait a bit before declaring the end of the world.


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I guess the army hasn’t changed much after all

Army charges sniper for gear left behind when he was shot.

Sniper Gary Pfleider was wounded while in patrol in Iraq back in 2007. A sniper shot him through his left leg and he didn’t think he was going to make it. Luckily, he pulled through and received a Purple Heart for his bravery in combat according to Seattle Weekly.

But that’s not the only thing the Army awarded him with. They also gave him a bill for more than $3000 because of the gear he had to leave behind after being shot.

Seattle Weekly: Last June, the Army sent Pfleider a bill for more than $3,000. Technically, the clothes and weapons his unit had to leave behind after he got shot were the responsibility of his commanding officers.

Gary Pfleider doesn’t remember much of what happened after he got shot. The former Oregon National Guard soldier was in a truck on patrol in Iraq in 2007 when a bullet tore through his left leg.

“I remember grabbing ahold of my leg and realizing I had blood on my hands,” Pfleider told KVAL-TV. “And from that point on, until I got loaded onto the Stryker, it was just a big blur.”

Pfleider flew back to the states and recuperated at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where he was awarded the Purple Heart. One-third of the muscle in his leg is gone and he’ll have to wear a brace for the rest of his life.

And according to the government, he also has some debts to repay.

Last June, the Army sent Pfleider a bill for more than $3,000. Technically, the clothes and weapons his unit had to leave behind after he got shot were the responsibility of his commanding officers.

Pfleider claims he got sworn statements from his bosses that he was no longer liable. The government says he may have misfiled them, or they may be lost. It’s issuing a ruling on Friday to determine what Pfleider owes.

The feds are already docking Pfleider’s social security and put a freeze on his tax returns. Making it even more difficult for him to mentally prepare for an upcoming surgery on his leg, the ninth one he’s undergone since getting shot.

My Great Grandfather John Caldwell fought the entire Civil War (Pennsylvania 61st) and he was particularly irked when, after he’d been wounded in the second Battle of the Wilderness and shipped back to Washington for treatment, the army demanded payment for his medical care before they’d release him to return to combat! I believe the expression for military people like these is “REMF”, for rear echelon mother fuc..r”

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Midget Coleman(‘s) coffin

Gary Coleman, R.I.P.

(Photo kindly supplied by Krazy Kat)


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Is Megan McArdle losing it?

Megan McArdle

One of my favorite columnists, Megan McArdle, has just posted what I hope is a breath-takingly-stupid conspiracy theory about the BP disaster namely, that BP won’t blow up its well because it hopes to reopen it in the future. The company has lost most of its value since the explosion, is faced with billions and billions of dollars in damages and the destruction of its public reputation and will most likely end up swallowed by another oil company. Can she seriously believe that BP is sitting on a solution but won’t use it because it hopes to sell a few million barrels of oil down the road? Those would be the most expensive barrels ever produced in the history of oil production, and I’d expect an economist like McArdle would recognize that.

From one of her earlier posts, it seems the young woman is getting married soon – perhaps her excitement over that pending event has rattled her brain.


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Good thing for these two we gun nuts got the gun prohibition in national parks repealed

Bad news for the bear, of course. Man shoots charging grizzly in national park. When I was out in Glacier with my girls,  a grizzly had killed a hiker just the day before and was on the loose. We bought a large canister of pepper spray, but I would have preferred an automatic.


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No doubt he’ll be applying for work here in Greenwich

Hey Babe, ever seen a grown man naked?

Stamford cop arrested for “flashing” woman during traffic stop by showing her picture of his genitals. (Hat tip, Reader Richard)

STAMFORD — A Stamford cop, who was honored as the city’s “Officer of the Year” four years ago, has been suspended and then arrested after being accused of showing a stopped motorist a picture of his genitals on his cell phone, according to police.

Officer Paul Mabey first had his gun, badge and police identification taken from him on May 28, and was put on paid suspension as of Friday, May 28. Following further investigation, Mabey was then arrested Wednesday for his involvement in the incident,

Mabey’s cell phone was seized by investigators when he came to work last Thursday. Police and court sources confirm investigators found the picture and now have it as evidence.

According to the police report, Mabey pulled over a 26-year-old Norwalk woman for talking on her cell phone.

In her complaint letter to the Stamford Police Department, the woman said the officer showed her the picture of his genitals on his cell phone after she rebuffed his advances, saying he was too old for her.

I guess I’m lucky that I just get tickets for talking on my cellphone.

UPDATE: This pervert’s been acting up for a long time, and his superiors protected him.

Over the weekend, Johnna Paradis, a Stamford resident involved in several neighborhood groups and advocacy organizations, e-mailed The Advocate to describe an encounter she had with Mabey about 10 years ago. She claimed Mabey appeared at her front door on a Saturday night, days after being at her home to take a missing persons report.

Paradis said Mabey made several advances toward her, but she rebuffed him and he left. She said she made several complaints to the former police chief and city officials, but none were investigated.


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Vacationland in Florida

Fisher Island: Realtor Talk vs. reality

Realtors in Palm Beach, Nantucket, the Hamptons, Aspen and other posh locales will happily tell you that business is picking up.

Sure, there was that messy business of the recession. But that’s largely passed, they say. The rich are back on their Gucci-clad feet and real estate will surely follow.

Take the case of Fisher Island, the hyper-priced, members-only island near Miami. Property owners and realtors there say that after a brief respite, property prices soon are likely to resume their eternal climb.

“Fisher Island has one big advantage. It is a finite supply and I’m convinced the demand will continuously exceed supply,” year-round resident Steven Neckman, a vintage jewelry dealer, told Hannah Sampson in an article in the Los Angeles Times.

To prove their confidence, the island has embarked on a $60 million renovation, with improved tennis courts, marina, golf course and beach club.

Scratch below the surface, however, and we find that life on Fisher Island isn’t quite what it used to be.

Properties are selling for half what the owners paid for them. One unit on the island, which prides itself on its multi-million-dollar properties, was recently listed for a mere $190,000 (granted, it’s tiny).

Perhaps the biggest sign of stress is cut-rate memberships. The Fischer Island Club usually charges $250,000 for an equity membership, and annual dues of $20,000. Now it’s sent letters to a few people outside the island inviting them to be summer members for $6,700. The club said the offer was made only to a “small group of select individuals.”

Still, for communties like Fisher Island that thrived in large part on their cache, the advent of $190,000 condos and discount club memberships can’t help the brand.

And their troubles point to one of the enduring paradoxes of the recovery: While the wealthy are spending and earning again, they’re not buying vacation homes like they used to. And real-estate is still the heart of many wealthy communities.


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Sales activity

Still no large ticket items moving but less expensive homes are selling.

2 Le Jeune Court, in Havemeyer, sold in a bidding war for $1.2 million (asking price was $1.1) in 2005. The lucky winner of that war has just resold it, for $880,000. Assessment, $638,000.

12 West End

12 West End, in Old Greenwich, sold in 2005 for $1.9 million and was re-listed in 2008 for $2.265. It just sold, finally, for $1.975. Assessment, $1.425.


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And so it begins

19 Tomac

This perfectly nice house on Tomac sold for $2.225 million in 2006, and reappeared on the market, unchanged, in May of this year asking $2.895. Today it’s been cut to $2.795.


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More on Madoff

From reader LL, a nifty write up on the Madoff players (sans Noel, alas, but still fun reading)


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Boarding pass for Mr. Osama Bin Laden, Frequent Flyer


British Airways tried to announce a new, easy-to-use boarding pass system yesterday but a disgruntled employee messed things up a bit.

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