Daily Archives: September 2, 2010

Didn’t Eric Clapton write a song about this?

Propane lacked odor. Massachusetts AG investigates fatal propane explosion – no one noticed an odor before it blew up. Two points: I once met a girl (not from Nantucket) who was fabulously wealthy because her father’s family had a monopoly on whatever chemical they add to to natural gas and, presumably, propane, that gives it the distinctive, tell-tale odor, and my older brother’s rental house in the back country burned up when some idiot filler-upper-guy screwed up.

So, I don’t like porpane, but I do admire niche marketers.


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What a time to be single and broke

Russian hotties swarm the Hamptons in search of rich young hedgies in loveless marriages.

"Work you for Goldman Sachs?"


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Horror, 1939

My mother is reading a diary from her Westlake,  California schoolmates who travelled to Germany and Vienna in November, 1939. Ma’s mother refused permission for her to go, but she just received, sixty-one years later, a copy of the diary. I haven’t read it yet, but apparently it’s horrifying. What starts out as a travelogue of the old Europe suddenly twists into a tale of 50,000 Jews being rounded up and shoved into black vans, old men’s beards set afire, children hit with bullwhips, and so forth – these students watched the holocaust unfold before their eyes. I’ll read it over the weekend, and report back – sounds like an awful document, but an important one.


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More on Earl

Just out on the deck. The wind has shifted from the west to SSE. The mini-meteorologist in me (that would be “mini – me”) had figured that today’s west winds were the result of the high-pressure cold front filling in the low-pressure around Earl. If so, then Earl’s presence is now overpowering that influence.


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Pornography and the Internet or, live by the sword, die by the sword

The porn industry can’t protect its product. Pornography made the video industry (I’ll go hunt up a link, but I remember this) [UPDATE – here’s a general discussion of the subject, but the Wall Street Journal, among other publications, reported on the subject back in the day]  and then fostered the Internet revolution. People (men, I suppose) will pay for sex, while they won’t pay for news, opinion, or what have you. But now, the bootleggers and amateurs have taken over and destroyed the profit base. So what happens? We’ll see.

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Vineyard Race postponed until Saturday

Paladin (I sailed against her, never on her)

Between the time I was roughly 25 to 45-years old, I considered the Martha’s Vineyard Race, held on Labor Day weekend – scoot up from Stamford to Gay Head, then back again – kind of fun. Gradually, the event lost its allure: 2:00 am sail changes, long periods of becalmed, flat water, and so forth, so news today that Earl has forced a 12-hour postponement in the race leaves me untouched – I wasn’t going anyway.

My pal Eric Kreuter, a far-wiser (and larger; the son of a bitch is something like 6’7″) friend, once told me that you should have a foot of racing sailboat for every year of age, and I now recognize his wisdom. A 57′ foot sailboat would accommodate me nicely this year but otherwise, I’m staying put.


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Well I miss him

Back when men were men and unafraid to state the truth.

From Best of the Web:

Brussel Sprouts

Just in time for the “Summer of George,” London’s Daily Telegraph brings us this anecdote:

George W Bush did not recognise the prime minister of Belgium or understand why he was at a G8 meeting, Tony Blair has disclosed.

In his new book, A Journey, Mr Blair writes that the former US president was confused by the presence of Guy Verhofstadt at the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa.

“He didn’t know or recognise Guy, whose advice he listened to with considerable astonishment,” Mr Blair writes. “He then turned to me and whispered, ‘Who is this guy?’ ‘He is the prime minister of Belgium,’ I said.

“Belgium? George said, clearly aghast at the possible full extent of his stupidity. ‘Belgium is not part of the G8.’ ”

Mr Blair explained to Mr Bush that Mr Verhofstadt was there as “president of Europe.” Belgium held the presidency of the EU council at the time.

Mr Bush responded: “You got the Belgians running Europe?” before shaking his head, “now aghast at our stupidity,” Mr Blair writes.

Don’t you miss having a president who showed foreign leaders the respect they were due?

Somewhere, there’s a Monty Python skit on the friggin’ Belgians, but I’m too lazy to dig it up. Suffice that GWB is not the first to give the country no respect.


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If only this would happen with Greenwich houses

HP wins bidding war for 3Par, getting the company for $33 a share. Bidding started last month at $18 per share, for a company whose stock has been trading at under ten bucks. If I only knew what 3Par did, I might have made some money!


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News you can use

It seems that the frozen dessert business, including something called Pinkberry’s, is avoiding Greenwich. Never heard of any of them.


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Maybe we duck Earl

Looks like it will track just far enough east to hammer Long Island but spare Greenwich. That’s a fine margin of error, of course.


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Not in Greenwich

Can a middle class family survive on $50,000 a year? Pal Nancy and I did it, years ago, on $25,000 per year, but barely.


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Is the MLS fudging sales prices?

That’s the accusation in this article in Zerohedge. Houses sold in foreclosure auctions are reported on the MLS as having sold for their asking price when in fact they may have sold for 40% less.

So far as I know, that is not going on here in Greenwich – for one thing, we have very few foreclosure auctions, so far. I know of only a couple of dubious reported sales prices, and those were by a developer trying to keep of the value of his remaining houses. But if it’s a common phenomenon in other parts of the country, the hen housing prices may be even worse that we thought.


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