Daily Archives: September 12, 2010

Update on idiot kids

A homeowner power-washed the swastika painted on a Greenwich street, and the town has painted it over. The best use of overtime I can think of. But I also applaud our First Selectman, Peter Tesei, who suggests that, if the morons are caught, they be sentenced to sitting down with a Holocaust survivor and learning what it was all about. Failing that, they should watch all 30 hours of War and Remembrance. It’s too much to ask that they read the book, alas, but the movie will light up their  few brain cells.


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Greenwich A&P closing?

That’s what Ed Krumeich thinks, in a comment he posted below (Ed was weighing in on spaghetti spoons, and tossed this tidbit in as an aside). Somewhere on the web there’s a story about A&P being sold and stores shut, so this sounds right. To be honest, while I’ll be sorry if the employees there lose their jobs, I ‘m not surprised. I spent two years shopping there with an elderly friend and, while the employees were exceptionally friendly and helpful, I was not impressed with the store itself. It’s small, cramped, lacks half of what a modern supermarket like the Stamford ShopRite offers, and the prices were high. My friend liked shopping there and knew the layout, so I never tried moving her to another store, but I’ll bet younger shoppers have found better choices.


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Short sale fraud

It’s becoming a problem.


STRUGGLING homeowners have found some refuge in short sales, in which lenders allow borrowers to escape foreclosure by selling a home for less than what is owed on the mortgage. Government programs offering incentives to both parties will push the number of short sales to 400,000 this year from 100,000 in 2008, according to CoreLogic, a financial consulting firm.

But the jump in short sales has also given rise to a new form of fraud — which, as a recent study by CoreLogic suggests, could undermine the burgeoning practice.

Fraudulent short sales take many forms, but Frank McKenna, the vice president for fraud strategy at CoreLogic and one of the report’s authors, says one arrangement is more common than others.

An agent for the borrower negotiates with the lender to obtain a low selling price for a property, then sells it to a “straw buyer,” or someone with whom the agent is affiliated. The agents are sometimes real estate agents, or employees of businesses that advertise as “foreclosure rescue” specialists, Mr. McKenna said. As the agent negotiates with the lender — and unbeknownst to the original homeowner or the lender — the agent arranges to resell the property at a higher price. The new buyers may not know that they could have obtained the property for a lower price. Or, even worse, they may be victims of identity theft, unaware that their financial information was being used to buy a home.

In other fraudulent transactions, a borrower might purposefully default on a mortgage he or she could actually afford. The borrower arranges to transfer the property to a friend or relative through a short sale, and the original borrower can remain in the home. The new owner can also transfer ownership back to the original owner through a quitclaim deed, Mr. McKenna said.

He estimated that only about 2 percent of the short sales completed in the last two years were fraudulent, but said fraud was becoming more frequent. “It’s happening a lot more in this market because there are so many more short sales,” he said. “There’s more opportunity to go after the quick buck.”


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Igor grows to a Category 4 hurricane

Nothing predicted before next weekend, but worth keeping an eye on. It seems destined to slam into the east coast, unless pushed out to sea.


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Do I really need a spaghetti spoon?

The Professor insists I do, but at $29, I have to ask, are you friggin’ kidding me? I have an aluminum colander that my father bought just after WW II, and it works just fine.


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Ahead of Time

Suzie finally reports on the contract for Leona Helmsley’s place, Our own Scuzie reported a week ago on the deal – selling broker is Jane Basham of David Ogilvy’s firm (who had the original listing at $125 million) and the price is around $30 million.


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Brave, or ignorant, people

InstaPundit reader at Tea Party rally

Thousands attend Tea Party rally underneath the St. Louis Arch, which is in danger of falling down.

Almost 45 years into its reign atop the St. Louis skyline, the 630-foot monument is suffering from growing rust and decay. And nobody knows how extensive.

Corrosion, some of it feared aggressive, and severe discoloration of the stainless steel skin have long been present, according to engineering reports reviewed by the Post-Dispatch.

The documents and interviews with metallurgists indicate that the remedy could be as minor as an “expensive” surface cleaning or as elaborate as a full-blown restoration. One report, completed in 2006, called for a deeper study, for which the National Park Service says it only recently obtained funding.


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Eating ugly fish

After considering that I’m cooking monkfish tonight. it occurred to me to look up recipes for sea robins, the ugliest, meanest fish available here in Long Island Sound (one tore off the tip of a leather boot worn by now-deceased boyhood friend, Milton Kramer). I’ve long known that their tails were reputed to be tasty, but the one time I brought one home to try that theory, I blanched, and tossed it. According to this Google search, I should have persevered.

Good article here.

1 Comment

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On a dismal day, it’s time to brighten up

Here’s what I’m cooking tonight. It’s a recipe from Martha Stewart, of all sources. Sounds delicious, and I have all the ingredients anyway (ShopRite sells monkfish for almost a pittance), so that’s what’s for dinner. No horse meat, tonight. I’ll confess that I associated Martha Stewart with fussy, complicated recipes and never investigated her web site before, but there’s a huge collection of good-looking, simple-to-make meals here. I look forward to exploring them.


2 tablespoons corn oil

4 eight-ounce pieces monkfish tail (about 2 pounds), cleaned

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons double-smoked bacon, julienned

4 cups white mushrooms, cut into quarters

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

4 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

4 tablespoons chicken stock

16 pencil asparagus tips, blanched

1 cup snow peas, blanched

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Divide corn oil between two 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillets. Over high heat, heat oil until just smoking. Place two pieces of monkfish in each skillet, and saute until fish is browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn the fish, and transfer the skillets to the preheated oven. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until a cake tester can be easily inserted into the fish or when left in the fillet for 5 seconds, the cake tester is warm to your lip.

In a large enameled pot over medium heat, add butter, bacon, and mushrooms. Cover, and cook about 4 minutes. Add garlic, shallots, and chicken stock. Reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, about 5 minutes, being careful not to let the liquid evaporate.

Add asparagus, snow peas, and parsley. Saute until just heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, and divide among four plates.

Transfer the monkfish from the oven to a cutting board, and slice the pieces into 1/4-inch-thick slices; fan over vegetables. Serve immediately.


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Another horror, revisited

The murderers of the Petits – mother and two daughters – go on trial tomorrow. This horrific crime was committed by two home-grown low-lifes, not international terrorists. It’s always something.


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