Daily Archives: September 10, 2010

9/11, nine years after

It still hurts and will hurt forever.


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Trouble in Paradise?

Obama is no longer wearing his wedding ring.


HEH: “Maybe it was dropped in the fires of Mount Doom…”


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Here’s a real hero

Medal of Honor to be awarded to a living soldier. The few they’ve been issuing recently have gone to brave, dead men. This man lived. It’s an exceptional honor, obviously and besides being always recognized among the military, I believe the recipient’s children are automatically granted admission to his parent’s military academy. The soldier. Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta would seem, by his name, unlikely to have ancestors who fought in our Revolution. God bless all immigrants, whenever they came. That isn’t intended to be patronizing but rather. to recognize the talents and skills of all this crazed “mix of mongrels” Hitler so despised.

Giunta was a specialist serving with the Airborne 503rd Infantry Regiment on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan when his unit was attacked on the night of October 25, 2007.

According to Defense Department documents, Giunta and his fellow soldiers were walking back to base along the top of a mountain ridge when the enemy attacked from their front and their left. Taliban fighters barraged the Americans with AK-47s, rocket propelled grenades and Soviet-era large machine guns.

Giunta saw several of his fellow soldiers go down. He ran forward, throwing grenades and returning enemy fire, to help one soldier who had been shot but was still fighting, the documents say. Then he noticed one of the wounded soldiers was missing.

Searching for his wounded friend Sgt. Josh Brennan, Giunta ran over a hill where moments before Taliban fighters had been shooting at him. Now he was alone, out of sight of his fellow soldiers, in an area that the Taliban had controlled just moments before.

Giunta saw two Taliban fighters dragging Brennan away. He ran after them, killing one and wounding the other, who ran off.

Giunta instantly started providing first aid to Brennan, who had been shot at least six times, the documents say. Eventually a medic arrived and a helicopter was called in to take Brennan to a hospital, but he later died of his wounds.

Giunta’s action, however, meant that Brennan was not at the mercy of the Taliban, and his parents would be able to give him a proper burial instead of wondering what became of him.


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Well, they charge more for babies

Pal Nancy, vacationing on the Cape, tells me that they’re charging $12 a pound for lobster to the tourists. ShopRite and Stew Leonards have them for $4.99 down here, so someone is trying to milk the final drops from the vacation crowd. Next week, Cape Cod lobsters should be selling for wholesale, which is probably two bucks.


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A little higher and he could have won a posthumous Darwin Award

A W. Hartford man shot himself in the leg while drinking brandy, watching TV and cleaning his .45.

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More of this to come in the incandescent ban

Why has Greenwich Avenue been dark for so long? Because the light bulbs in use are no longer manufactured and had to be special ordered. Wait until 2014, when we’re all in the dark, then let’s grab torches and burn down the Capitol.

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Selling it

Pumpkin Patch

EOS says that, to engage in pumpkin chunking, one must grow his own. I used to do just that when I lived in Maine but when we moved to crowded little Riverside, I gave it up. Except for one year, when we gave over our entire yard to the vines and grew a whole batch of them. The girls, maybe 8 and ten then, set up their vegetable stand on the corner of William Street and Riverside Avenue and sold out immediately – even faster than the tomatoes, beans and squash they usually sold (which far out fetched whatever they might have made from a lemonade stand). I suggested to Nancy that I borrow a pick-up truck and head north for re-supply because I figured we’d make more from two little blonde girls selling “home-grown” pumpkins than I could earn as a lawyer. We never did it, but I was tempted.

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Horse meat: it’s what’s for dinner!

National Velveeta

Horse meat is back on the menu in Scotland after protests ebb. Readers with a long memory may recall when a horse meat store opened up at the A&P shopping center in the late sixties, early seventies. What a hue and cry! My father observed that while the Anglo-Saxons worshipped the horse, the French did not. So we don’t eat horse in England and its colonies while the French are free to chow down.


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Jumping the gun

Unless the Food Mart’s catering to pumpkin chunker contestants who want to practice up for the November 5,6th shoot – off. (h/t, EOS – who knew?)


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Now this is cool

Record breaking pumpkin launch in Utah

MOAB, Utah (AP) — A team that shoots pumpkins from a giant air cannon says it achieved the holy grail of the sport – chucking a pumpkin a distance of more than one mile.

The ”Big 10 Inch Team” from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey says it launched the 9.5-pound pumpkin at Moab’s old airport on Friday.

The team used a 90-foot, compressed-air cannon and traveled to southern Utah hoping the high elevation and thin air would help the vegetable sail farther.

Makes my 300-yard potato cannon look pathetic.

UPDATE: geeze, thanks to EOS, I’m learning that there’s a whole world out there determined to set records in pumpkin chunking. But their machines cost $100,000 or so. My potato cannon, built from Home Depot pipes, cost maybe nineteen bucks. I’m content.


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Some recorded sales

547 Lake Avenue is reported in the newspaper as sold for $4.5. So far as I can tell it was never on the Greenwich MLS, so I have no idea whether this was a good deal for the buyer or the seller. In the good old days, I believed that sellers shortchanged themselves when they skipped paying a commission and sold direct. These days, I suspect that it’s the buyers who are overpaying, but without knowing the details, I can’t say. If both parties are happy with their deal, then that’s great.

Same thing with 26 Mooreland, which sold for $5.850 million. Again, no record that it was ever exposed to the market.

By way of price reductions, I see that 33 Pleasant Street in Riverside, which started off in 2009 at $3 million, is now down to $2.395. I  think that’s still too high, but my tolerance for highway noise is low – you may disagree.


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This one will be interesting

45 Close Road

New listing on Close Road. In 2007 it sold almost instantly for  full price: $5.5 million, twice its assessment.  Back then, it was an 1800 cottage (3,100 sq. ft.) with 4+ acres and direct access to Wilshire Pond. The buyer did a ton of work to it but bumped the house out to just 3,500 sq. ft.. She has now put it back on the market at $7.9 million. Can you get that much for 3,500 sq. ft? Maybe, because it’s a great setting. I’m looking forward to seeing it at its broker open house next Tuesday. I’m guessing it will be gorgeous.


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I scream for ice cream

NPR is broadcasting (a repeat) show about the merits of “home made” ice cream. Which reminded me of a Riverside kid I’ve written about before, Ben Van Leeuwen, His superb ice cream can be found at Whole Foods, among other places – I recommend the ginger, which is sublime, but you can’t go wrong with strawberry, vanilla, and so forth. Great food.

I can’t get the video to load, but here’s the Wall Street Journal on Ben’s success.


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Slow news day


Panicked woman attempts to open Jet Blue jet’s door during flight! I’m sorry the woman panicked (she apparently suffers from some anxiety disorder) but you can’t open an exit door while in flight. They open inward, for one, and the pressure difference between the cabin and the atmosphere outside means that door is going nowhere. Now if she’d tried burning a Koran, that might be a story worth reporting.

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Coming our way?

British government to propose privatizing or selling the Royal Mail. For the same reasons plaguing our own USPS: declining volume – do you remember the last time you mailed a letter?; inefficiencies; “universal service guarantee; labor unions and pensions.


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Picking on Tim Armstrong

Riverside’s own (well, for the past few years) is written up by BusinessInsider for his “weird” sports investments. As the author states, “I didn’t know there even was such a thing as the National Lacrosse League”. Amusing reading for a quiet Friday afternoon.

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This happens a lot

286 Round Hill

Round Hill listing withdrawn. 286 is a beautiful old (1900) house on 3 1/2 acres in the 2 Acre district. I liked it very much, but it was listed in July, 2009, at $5.375 million. That price was cut substantially in September ’09, to $4.950 and again this past January to $4.495.

Having cut almost a million dollars from her desired price without effect, the owner has evidently decided that she will go no further, and who can blame her? Of course, she still owns the house, and if the point of listing for sale was to get rid of it, withdrawing won’t accomplish that objective.

As discussed here before, there are many houses “for sale” in Greenwich that really are only for sale at the owner’s desired price. When reality strikes, those homes disappear.


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And sanity creeps in on little cat’s paws

10 Limerick Place

This house on Limerick (off Cognewaugh) started off asking $2.1 million in March, 2009. Today it took another price reduction to $1.350. Its assessment is $1.330, so it’s just about there. But what a long time it’s taken to reach this destination. And considering how long it has been on the market, buyers may still not be satisfied with its value.

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Garage sale at the Commons

Space 24

$15,000. That’s what Granny paid for our house in Riverside back in 1957, just for comparison.

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Nostalgic for Playland

Bob Horton has a most excellent essay on Playland and lost youth in today’s Greenwich Time. It may do nothing for those who weren’t there, but it sure brought back memories to me.


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