Daily Archives: September 9, 2010

If the Pentagon doesn’t want me to read it, I want a copy.

The Pentagon is trying to buy out all 10,000 copies of Operation Dark Heart, a memoir of the war in Afghanistan.I just ordered a copy from Amazon. Will I get it? Who knows? Let you know in two days.

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Is there no one with a sense of humor anymore?

Natives in Belize burn down animal sanctuary after hearing that Americans were feeding kids to pet crocodiles. Hey – they weren’t tossing Korans into the lagoon, eh? Lighten up!

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Rabies in town – nothing new

I mean, how long has Chris von Keyserling lived here?  (sorry Chris, cheap joke) But Greenwich Time has a sober article on the subject. Raccoons seem to have brought it up from the south in 1990 and it hasn’t gone away since. In 1990, we called in a Greenwich policeman who shot and killed a very sick raccoon here on tiny William Street (Riverside, not the other two William Streets in town), but I haven’t seen anything since. My Katie was vaccinated against the disease before she went into the Peruvian jungle last year, but the bats and monkeys she was studying are known to be carriers, and you don’t want to be two weeks from medical care after you’ve been bitten. She didn’t report any fun times being vaccinated, so I’d recommend against the procedure here in Greenwich. But, it’s out there.

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That does it

Full publicity for a nut job in Florida, and Donald Trump offers to buy out the temple site. I hereby announce that come Saturday, September 11th, I will burn five dozen copies of my own books with a Koran tossed on top, and convert my home to a mosque. The Donald is welcome to stop this carnage by buying my output (I’ve got a couple of cartons in the garage) and my house. Where is that red-headed bastard now?

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Fox News won’t cover Koran burning

The big three will, of course, so Fox’s decision to ignore him will do no good. Too bad – this despicable man has all of fifty congregants and his actions would be a gnat’s bite on an elephant’s ass were the press to ignore him.

EOS reports that the jerk has called it off. Thank God. Or thank his sense of self-preservation.

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Chris Christie rocks and socks ’em

I’ve asked this before: where is Connecticut’s Christie? A politician who tells unpleasant truths is wowing them in New Jersey – the same tactic would work in all fifty states, I think, if we could just convince more people like Christie to run for office. The tape is nine minutes long – give it two minutes, and you’ll capture his style and approach.

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I’ve been so tempted to do this myself

Car 54 where are you?

Seattle: robber steals police car. Here in Greenwich, our cops park their cars on Strickland Road and go into Starbucks or “My Favorite Restaurant”, leaving the car running, unlocked. Unlike the Washington burglar, I just think it would be amusing to move the car around the block and watch the cop look for it. Unfortunately, at my age, there are some things you can’t talk your way out of.

”It’s very embarrassing for the officer,” police spokeswoman Renee Witt said. ”We’re just lucky the shotgun and none of the other equipment was taken.”

The patrol car was abandoned shortly after the suspect took off about 2 a.m. He was recaptured — still in handcuffs — about four hours later near his home in south Seattle.

Witt said it was not unheard of for a suspect to steal a patrol car from an officer.

”Hopefully, the other officers won’t razz him too much because — it happens,” Witt said.

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Well, at least someone will benefit from this depression

Lobbying firms, foreseeing November election results, rush to hire Republicans.

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At least for now, I despair for Greenwich real estate

Just back from an aborted open house tour – I couldn’t stand to see another over-priced house. “Waterfront” that wasn’t but priced as though it were, crappy little bungalows asking $1.395, you get the picture. How am I expected to sell this stuff?

Houses that weren’t holding open houses were equally unimpressive.

82 Birch Lane took a price reduction today, to $3.650. The sellers paid $3.9 million for it in 2006 but, sadly, that’s their problem – we are no longer at 2006 levels. Attention, class!

6 Coachlamp, a spec house on lower Stanwich, dropped  from $3.695 to $3.049, a significant reduction, but it was never worth $3.695 so its price cut is illusory.

The latest spec on Stillman Lane, the Rockefeller development in Glenville, cut its price, but so what? Prices have been falling there for years.

190 North Street

And here’s a new listing on lower North Street. Developer paid $7 million for it in February, 2007, the height of the market, put some money into renovating it and now asks $15.750. Excuse me? For the noisiest part of North Street? 3 1/2 acres is wonderful,  but who’s going to pay 2007 land prices and $8.750 for a couple of million in construction costs?

I did see one decent house today, but it was in Stamford, at 8 Flying Cloud in Dolphin Cove. It was custom-built in 2008 and its owner made some decisions I would not have, but it’s on the water, has a dock, and is of the finest possible quality – nothing in Greenwich exceeds it. Yet it’s asking “just” $5 million. I understand the difference in land values between the two towns, but I can’t believe that it costs more per square foot to build in Greenwich than it does in Stamford – these are the same builders, material suppliers and sub-contractors, after all.  In Greenwich, without waterfront, a builder would ask millions more.

So someone’s being ripped off here, and it isn’t Stamford residents. The poor schnook who paid a huge price for Birch Lane figuring he could bail out at 2006 prices was mistaken. Don’t make the same mistake in 2010. We’re still going down.

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British, Dutch, French, Flemmish: it’s that eclectic look!

Mid-Country, 1928 house for sale, per Susan Nova. Usually (always) , by the time a house hits Nova’s column in Greenwich Time, it’s been on the market for years and is hopelessly dead. We’ll see. Five 1/2 acres, $4.5 million, it sounds as though the sellers are coming around to land value. Scrape it.

UPDATE: Oh for heaven’s sake, it’s just 546 North Street, back again. This started at $7.995 million 2 1/2 years ago and has just been dropping, dropping dropping ever since. It’s outlasted its owners and the original listing broker and will probably outlast the current one, too.

Beautiful land, but the house is a total re-do, and is on a shared driveway with some less impressive houses. At least in my experience, people with the capability to live in a $7 million house – which is about what it would cost to bring this one up to date, don’t want to share with their less important neighbors.

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Panicked first-term Demmerkrat Congressman to Tea Party

Stop me before I steal again! Okay, we will.

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Will these people stop at nothing?

Suicidal saboteur discovered. Poor little guy.

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MXEnergy?

From a reader:

Long time reader of your blog – I have a quick Greenwich door-to-door sale pitch question for you. Have you ever heard of MX Energy? The sales rep knocked on my door tonight and demanded to see my electric bill so that she could save me money. I declined, she became more insistent about seeing my electric bill. Oddly enough, she provided zero information about the company she represents… It was a very bizarre exchange.
I’m curious if anyone else has experienced a visit from MX Energy.
Cheers!

UPDATE: here’s a report from a disgruntled employee. He says they’re rip offs, but disgruntled employees tend to say that. Still, be careful.

UPDATE II: Oh my – Google “MXENERGY SCAM” – they don’t appear to be people you want to do business with.

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There goes Banksville

IGA supermarket, the only one up there, is closing. I guess there’s Armonk, which doubtless has a better, more modern grocery store, but the IGA was always a selling point for real estate buyers who wanted to live up in nosebleed altitudes but were concerned about the inconvenience.

UPDATE: More here.

Photo Credit: Anna Helhoski

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When smart people go wrong

Jerry Della Famina, ad man extraordinaire  (wrote a great memoir years ago called, “From the Wonderful Folks who Brought You Pearl Harbor” ) listed his Hampton beach house last April for $40 million and eventually dropped it to $35,000 million, where it sits unsold.

George Fontanals, a broker with Brown Harris Stevens in East Hampton who has seen Mr. Della Femina’s house, says a similar oceanfront home sold in August for $22.9 million, though he adds Della Femina’s place has a better view and is closer to the water. Neil Bersin, a broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman in Bridgehampton, calls the price for Mr. Della Femina’s listing “a good starting point.”

Unlike many of the pristine mansions in the neighborhood, Mr. Della Femina’s eight-bedroom, six-bath place has a decidedly lived-in look. There are well-worn, threadbare rugs. The kitchen is cluttered with pots and baskets hanging overhead, a George Foreman grill and cooking utensils on the countertops as well as a collection of several dozen cookie jars. The most-used room of the house, directly off the pool and overlooking the ocean, is called the “Owl Room” for its numerous figurines and paintings of owls. A large coffee table is stacked several layers deep with novels as well as dog-eared Us Weekly magazines.

“The price is firm,” said Mr. Della Femina. If the house doesn’t sell by the end of the year, he said he will take it off the market.

The article goes on to say that Della Femina paid $5,000,000 for the dump in 1987 and has tossed in $2,000,000 since then. So how does he get to $35 million from $7? Because that’s what he’s decided it’s worth. The man’s 74-years-old. If he wants to move, now’s the time to do it. But not at this price. You’d think he lived in Greenwich.

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