Daily Archives: July 2, 2010

$7.50 to fly standing up? I’d do it

That’s Ryan Air’s proposal and hell, what’s so comfortable about the standard airline seat, anyway?

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Hey, so you hang a few niggers to get elected, is that so bad?

Bill Clinton on KKK Byrd: He was just trying to get elected.

“He once had a fleeting association with the Ku Klux Klan, what does that mean? I’ll tell you what it means. He was a country boy from the hills and hollows from West Virginia. He was trying to get elected,” former President Bill Clinton said of Sen. Robert Byrd.

“And maybe he did something he shouldn’t have done come and he spent the rest of his life making it up. And that’s what a good person does. There are no perfect people. There are certainly no perfect politicians,” he added.

“Maybe”? I’m willing to concede that the acts of someone in 1939 should not be held against him forever, and I actually see Clinton’s point, but it still strikes me as appalling to dismiss Byrd’s leadership of a Klan unit as mere electioneering. I’m sure no black in West Virginia, 1939, appreciated the efforts of a local white boy trying to make good.

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Fireworks parking

We have room for three cars – a 1/10 mile from Binney. E mail me at christopher.fountain@gmail.com if you’d like.

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Joe Barbieri

Okay, this isn't Joe

Joe is having a whale of a selling spree these past few years, with Mel Gibson’s place just the latest of his accomplishments. . I don’t know his exact numbers but I’d guess he’s broken $100 million at least  twice now. I’m envious, but I don’t begrudge his success – he’s honest, a tough negotiator  but always a gentleman and treats buyers and sellers with respect. I’ve shown several of Joe’s listings and have always come away with the fear that I’ll lose my clients to him – he’s that nice (fortunately, that hasn’t happened). But I do enjoy working with this man.

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Hey Wall Streeters: what do you think?

Market seems to be diving – natural, I’d think, heading into a long weekend – who want’s to be long for three days? But my clients who work on the street are all bears. That sucks for this realtor (who is also bearish) but I’m curious: any bulls out there?

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Pardon my typing

My dislocated ring finger remains inflexible despite being “relocated” last week (ouch). I’m trying to correct typos on the fly, but it’s weird  not having full use of one’s right hand, having relied on it for 57 (if I make it to the 29th) years. Bear with me.

UPDATE: (trying to beat Walt to the punch): Yes, it’s playing hell with my sex life!

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Private enterprise and our government

WalMart executive screws up and is fired, immediately.

July 2 (Bloomberg) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s U.S. merchandising chief will leave the world’s largest retailer after a plan to remove some products from stores contributed to a decline in sales.

John Fleming will depart on Aug. 1, Wal-Mart said today in a regulatory filing. Until a replacement is named, Wal-Mart gave additional duties to Jack Sinclair, head of the U.S. grocery unit, and John Westling, executive vice president of planning, pricing and replenishment, U.S. Chief Executive Officer William Simon told employees in a memo today.

Fleming, an executive vice president, made a “personal decision” to depart, Simon said in the memo. Sales at U.S. stores open at least a year have fallen for four straight quarters, hurt by the removal of grocery and household items. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer is returning some items and cutting prices to draw shoppers.

Love this:

“John’s been thinking about how he could spend more time with his family,” Tovar said in a telephone interview. “The changes announced earlier this week presented him with an opportunity and he decided it was the right time for him to leave the company.”

And then we have the teachers’ union versus students:

Court blocks Bloomberg’s attempt to close 19 failing schools.

The city is considering whether to try to appeal the decision, and school officials have said they will try again to shut a dozen of the same schools next year. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said at a news conference Thursday that “what it means is that there is a whole bunch of kids that at least for one year will get a terrible education that they’ll probably never recover from.”

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Where are the Boy Scouts?

A campfire left untended set off a brush fire in the Laddins Rock park area yesterday. That doesn’t sound malicious and was probably caused by some adventurous, but ignorant kids. We learned this stuff as Boy Scouts, back in the day, but membership in that group, at least here in Greenwich, has dwindled. In the 60’s, Troop II in Riverside had more than 100 boys and Old Greenwich perhaps as many? (Plus a spin-off troop – 34? – since disbanded). But in the late 80s and 90’s, when my own son John was a member of Troop II, I think membership was down in the low 20s. There are lots of reasons for that decline – organized sports teams being, I think, a primary cause, but it’s still a shame. Learning how to camp, how to treat the woods with respect and even, God forbid, to honor the Scout Code are not bad things at all. I can’t say I always honored that code as a teenager but at least I knew I was doing wrong – guilt can be a wonderful tool for curbing bad behavior – just ask a Catholic!

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BP pays for Durango, Colorado’s fireworks

They pledged to do so back in January and are still honoring that pledge, which is nice of them. Does anyone know whether Greenwich Capital is still paying for our fireworks? They did so for years, with no fanfare, but now that they’ve merged and moved to Stamford, are they still doing it? I notice Stamford itself cancelled its fireworks this year due to budget woes, so apparently GC’s move there didn’t help in that department.

UPDATE: Bummer: Reader Mike T says: RBS (we’re not allowed to utter the words “Greenwich Capital” anymore) will not be sponsoring anything, ever again, as far as I know. The new building is nice enough I suppose but I miss the good old days and life down on Steamboat Rd…..

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A nice tribute to Ringo Starr

He’s 70 (!) today and certainly  seems to have aged gracefully. And according to this review he can still rock. You go, boy!

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Price reduction

4 Wescott Court

Hey, it’s only 920 square feet, and it’s behind McDonalds, but at $535,000 and the Dundee/Eastern school district, that’s not so bad. Kinda cute, too. I’d throw a bid of $475 at it and see what happens.

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Two modest Old Greenwich contracts

2 North Ridge

In Havemeyer, this house on North Ridge came on at $750 and went to contract almost immediately. Assessment, $704,000.

33 Midbrook

Over on Midbrook (Laddins Rock area, near the library) this 1960 house listed at $850,000 and it, too is under contract. Assessment is $802,000. From its description, I’d guess it went for land value in which case, its price seems a bit steep to me, but that’s a nice location, so ….

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Finally!

9 Lauder Way

 

This fine antique house on the corner of Lake Avenue and Lauder Way has been for sale, on and off, since 1995. Its latest attempt a few years ago began at $$7.250 and finally ended at $4.688. Assessment is $3.7 million, I’m guessing it sells at $4.2.

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None so blind

18 Ballwood

The owner of this house on Ballwood holds a real estate license, so when she listed it for $4.995 million in 2008, she had no fear of losing the listing if it didn’t sell. And it didn’t. She finally dropped its price to $2.995 and as of yesterday, has a contract.

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Market improving, or better price?

127 Sound Beach Avenue

This old, but renovated house near Binney Park was listed for $2.1 million in 2009 but failed to sell. It came back on this year, re-priced at $1.750 and sold in just 32 days for full price. I’m inclined to think that it was the price that accounted for that result but there’s no question that buyers are feeling a tad more confident these days. By the way, assessment is just $970,000 – in this case, I think the sales price is far more accurate, showing that you can’t always rely on the assessor to set value.

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Foxwoods Casino defaulting on its debt

I’m obviously late to this story, but our Indians upstate aren’t doing well financially. I don’t do casinos or Indian bonds, but I do know that a large chunk of our budget is supplied by the slot machines there. Hmm.

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Probably not a great idea here, either

German arrested for using Hitler speech as his cellphone’s ringtone. Whack job.

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This probably isn’t good news

Employers can’t find Americans with 9th Grade math skills. But over in India and China, they will.

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Hmm – will they eat coyotes?

Black bear seen near King Street

Russ Pruner and friends at the Griff

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