Monthly Archives: October 2010

Oh, the shame: our president heckled in Bridgeport

Angry children.


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A very good buy on North Street

876 North Street is a beautiful contemporary on 5+ acres abutting the Stanwich golf course. I really liked it when I saw it back in 2009, even at its price of $3.390 because of its excellent design, condition and private location. But what I like tends not to sell quickly and that proved to be the case on this one.

It has finally sold, however, for $2.450 million, a discount from its $2.629 assessment. Someone got themselves a great house for what, in Greenwich, passes as a good price.


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When you get this stuff, just take a deep breath, then press “delete”

Greenwich cops say latest hoax is – surprise! – the latest hoax. No one is throwing blankies over babies or tossing eggs at your car (I told you, the Fountain boys quit that business back in the 60s!) as part of some weird gang initiation. But I must have received 15 copies of the same email and the cops, hundreds? If you get one of these well-meaning emails, I’d recommend that you just ignore it and indulge in a brief moment of feeling superior to the friend who sent it to you – you’re smarter than him! If you just can’t do that, then at least check out before passing it along. Don’t be dumb.


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Pontiac goes terminal

Gone, all gone. I was a hippie, VW and pick up truck sort of guy so I won’t cry all that hard, but my friends had these muscle cars back in the day, and blasting home from the Port Chester bars at 100 mph was, well, exhilarating. Different era.


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Be there or be square

The blessing of the clams

Who needs a Port Chester fish restaurant when you can catch your own?

Tomorrow, Saturday, 11:30 at Tod’s Point (Greenwich Point, if you insist) at the Old Greenwich Boat Club (they upgraded to “Yacht” club recently, but don’t let that scare you away) you can learn to clam, for free. Bring rubber boots. Have a rake or  pitch fork?  Bring them too, but there will be some to borrow. All free, (did I mention free? I haven’t checked, but I’m almost positive you won’t even need a beach card) and you’ll learn where to dig for those huge giant clams that capture Polynesian divers. Or not.

Got a kid who doesn’t want to play third string soccer? Bring that child along, and introduce him or her to the fierce independence of the non-conformist. Best thing you’ll ever do as a parent, maybe, but I should warn you: I dug for clams in my youth and you can see how that turned out.

Oysters and mussels too! Yum yum.


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FISH restaurant scales down to zero

This Port Chester seafood place has done closed and gone. I never ate there but I remember the location. It was next door to Charlie Mower’s Old Greenwich Marine Construction yard (Charlie was from OG, even if his business wasn’t). I worked at the yard summers during college (1972 and 1973, I think), and after work we’d walk over to the dive bar that was to spawn FISH years later, where we’d have a beer or two with our foreman, Joe Leo, and absorb his bitter, cynical view of the world while we gazed at the river and watched Byram River Trout wash by. Interesting times.

I was thinking of that job just yesterday, after posting on that poor Notre Dame student who was killed while trying to film the football team during a windstorm. My brother Anthony wrote in to suggest that kid was a damn fool to climb into the mechanical hoist that was to tip over and kill him. But I remember when I was 20 and worked at the yard, building huge floats for the upcoming in-water NY Boat Show. We’d stack them as we built them – four a day – into 20′ high towers, with the owner’s son, Casey, operating the crane that lifted them while we danced around on top, guiding them into place.

Casey was a terrible crane operator, and we spent a fair amount of our time on towers dodging 1,000 lb floats, 20 feet above the asphalt yard surface. Eventually my co-worker Kenny Carlson and I confronted Charlie and told him that either his son was off the crane or we were off the job. Charlie acquiesced and fired Casey.

But it took us weeks to build up to that rebellion – Declan Sullivan of Notre Dame had to make an instant decision: go up or quit, and he made the wrong choice, with fatal consequences. That’s where grown-ups should have stepped in.

Casey, by the way, was shot to death a few years later, either by drug dealers or loan sharks – I never did hear the complete story. At least one (and maybe a second) nephew is a Navy SEAL and has served honorably for years. Funny how families turn out.


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Some old favorites are shuffling off the inventory shelf

299 Palmer Hill Rd

Purchased for $1.740 in 2005, put back on the market in 2007 for $2.149, dropped to $1.595 and has now sold for $1.550. Assessment is $1.013.

20 Dingletown, spec construction that tried and failed to get $5.150 in 2007, dropped down to $3.650 this year and now has a contract.

200 Overlook Drive asked $2.750 in ’08, dropped to $1.950 this year and is now reported as “pending”.

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A religion of pieces

11:31: Bomb found on plane in London on flight from Yemen.

UPDATE: the bomb in London was found in a UPS jet headed for Chicago. More “suspicious” packages found in UPS planes here in the states. I assume, if these really turn out to be bombs, they were intended to be delivered to recipients before exploding. I mean, what fun is it to blow up a plane full of boxes? Curious.

UPDATE II: Not a bomb

UPDATE III: according to NPR, there were explosives involved, and the packages were addressed to synagogues. Hmm – must be that Christian right acting up again. In a way, this is sort of encouraging because it suggests (to me, at least) that our enemies don’t have operatives in this country capable of assembling these things. If they did, surely they’d mail them from here or drop them off personally, rather than ship them from Yemen. Unfortunately, given time ….

UPDATE  IV: More details here. Explosives, cellphone triggers, etc.


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196 Bible Street, sold new in 2007 for $4.050 million. Sold again yesterday for $2.900. Assessment is $2.713. A beautiful home but, given its location, I’m a little surprised that it sold as high as it did.

26 Marks Road in Riverside, 0.62 acres and a tear-down, is under contract. Last ask was $1.699, assessment is $1.764


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Shhh! Detectives at work

Man and his mistress shot dead in the head. Two shots, one each, in the base of their skulls. Nothing so unusual about the story – it happened in Queens – but  I love this detail:

Sources said investigators are treating the killings as a double homicide and not a murder suicide, mostly because no gun was found at the scene.


Probably took a full cup’a Joe and a jellyroll to figure that one out.

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What do I know about this stuff?

Hey EOS, and my other lady readers: Sierra Traders is selling $85 Mountain Khaki pants for less than $30. They’re stretchy, seem durable as hell, and would probably be perfect for my two crazy daughters who rock climb and do that sort of stuff (I’ve got you covered, John, don’t worry). But they only come in men’s sizes. Is that a big deal? Are girl’s pants cut differently and, ignoring that, can you guys wear men’s pants in comfort? These are the sort of questions I should have answered long ago but … any advice welcome.


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The Fountain boys are 45-years-past this, but in case the devil has spawned again …


How to remove Halloween eggs from your house and automobile.

It would cost millions of dollars to develop a nontoxic bomb for vandals that would be as insidiously effective as the ordinary chicken egg. Consider that the egg is light and delicate, yet tough enough to carry its payload to the target. On impact, it explodes with a self-mixing fury that turns its contents into an industrial shade of yellow-orange. Then there’s the gratifying ker-splat sound that it makes.


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What the heck is up with Notre Dame?

20-year-old Declan Sullivan killed while filming football practice from folding crane. My own son John did the same job at his college , so perhaps I’m overly sensitive on the subject, but this kid was sent up on a crane that carried warning stickers that cautioned not to use it when winds were above 20 mph, while in fact there were gusts of 50 mph and greater. Minutes before he died, Sullivan Twittered that he was scared to death. Dead at twenty? Where were the adults?


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I’d like to write about real estate – really!

But there’s just no real activity. We have price cuts that still leave properties priced above 2006 levels, and new listings above even that. The few houses selling are, for the most part, those that go for 70% of the 2005 market price. The rest of this stuff is just not seriously for sale, and there’s no point writing about it. If the owners get serious, you’ll hear about it here first. Otherwise, eh? Why bother.


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No joy for sellers here

92 Hunting Ridge

Tear down on Hunting Ridge. Assessed at $1.556, now asking $1.469. Owners put in a brand new kitchen this year, which was not a wise decision. Who advised them on that?

If it does sell, keep an eye out at Green Demolitions – a new kitchen should be appearing soon.

18 Ferncliff

Same story at 18 Ferncliff : another price cut, down now to $1.650 million. These poor owners have been trying to sell since 2007 but they overpriced the place at $1.995 and were then persuaded by their agent to install a new kitchen and raise the price to $2.195 (!). So now, post kitchen, they’re down to $1.650. Assessment is $1.412 – I suggested $1.350 back in 2007 and of course, it’s worth less than that now. Great house, by the way, for a single or couple.

195 Clapboard Ridge

This Clapboard Ridge house started at $4.6 million in February, 2007, and as of today is down to $3. 6. Assessment is $2.36.


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What did I say about a defective gene?

This from a reader:

you poor dear conservatives can’t help yourselves for opressing women’s right to healthcare, peoples rights to freedom of religion, and the right to asssembly and free speech. It seems that the conservative gene dances the Rand Paul Stomp of suppression,and murding doctors at church, who provide much needed healthcare to wives and mothers.

Taking the Village Idiot’s points one by one:

“opressing [sic] women’s right to healthcare”.

I guess this is about moral conservatives’ opposition to abortion. I’m not of that camp, but I do find it amusing to conflate trying to save the life of a fetus with “healthcare”.

peoples [sic] rights to freedom of religion and the right to assembly and free speech

Huh? Examples, please?

Rand Paul stomp.

Condemned by Mr. Paul and everyone else associated with his campaign. That it happened at his rally does not mean that he endorsed, advocated for or encouraged it. I suspect that liberals would likewise disassociate themselves from the Unibomber.

Murdering doctors at a church.

One doctor, one nut. See reference to Unibomber, above.


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Oh my God, it’s worldwide

Boredatwork sends along this link:

England: wear goggles when bobbing for apples.

Consultant ophthalmologist Parwez Hossain, from Southampton General Hospital, Hampshire, said dunking your head into a bowl of water to bite an apple was fraught with danger.

He said three people were admitted to the hospital with apple bobbing injuries last year, adding:  ‘Casualty staff have seen children and adults turning up on Halloween with scratches on the cornea and blunt eye injuries from impacts caused by apple bobbing.

‘There is also the possibility of people contracting potentially serious corneal infections from dirty water or residue of liquids if bowls aren’t cleaned properly.

‘At the extreme end of the scale you could end up losing your sight. Admissions to casualty on bonfire night have gone down as people have become more aware of health and safety but we have not seen a decline on Halloween.

‘Where there is a chance of a high velocity impact, for example with an apple, you need to wear eye protection such as goggles.

‘It is also advisable to remove stalks because they could poke you in the eye, especially if you are playing in the dark and can’t see what you are doing.

‘I would suggest using bottled mineral water or boiling tap water and waiting for it to cool down, like we do for clinical trials.

‘This is because stagnant water and tap water could contain water-borne organisms, which may lead to infection.’

Dr Hossain even suggested people should use their hands rather than mouths to play the game, saying: ‘It may defeat the whole object of the game, but you could remove the apple with your hand.’

He added: ”We are not telling people to avoid fun and games but we are asking people to take a bit of extra care while enjoying themselves at Halloween.

You laugh, I laugh, but this is what happens when we are forced to pay fools’ medical bills: mandatory helmet laws, bans on smoking and transfats, etc. When we’re all paying, private behavior becomes our legitimate concern. Which is a lousy way to live.

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It’s not “a lifestyle choice” – the poor dears can’t help themselves


Village Idiot Pride Parade

Defective gene responsible for liberalism



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Weenie parents

No child has ever been poisoned by Halloween candy – not one.

Take “stranger danger,” the classic Halloween horror. Even when I was a kid, back in the “Bewitched” and “Brady Bunch” costume era, parents were already worried about neighbors poisoning candy. Sure, the folks down the street might smile and wave the rest of the year, but apparently they were just biding their time before stuffing us silly with strychnine-laced Smarties.

That was a wacky idea, but we bought it. We still buy it, even though Joel Best, a sociologist at the University of Delaware, has researched the topic and spends every October telling the press that there has never been a single case of any child being killed by a stranger’s Halloween candy. (Oh, yes, he concedes, there was once a Texas boy poisoned by a Pixie Stix. But his dad did it for the insurance money. He was executed.)

Halloween taught marketers that parents are willing to be warned about anything, no matter how preposterous, and then they’re willing to be sold whatever solutions the market can come up with. Face paint so no mask will obscure a child’s vision. Purell, so no child touches a germ. And the biggest boondoggle of all: an adult-supervised party, so no child encounters anything exciting, er, “dangerous.”

Think of how Halloween used to be the one day of the year when gaggles of kids took to the streets by themselves—at night even. Big fun! Low cost! But once the party moved inside, to keep kids safe from the nonexistent poisoners, in came all the nonsense. The battery-operated caskets. The hired witch. The Costco veggie trays and plastic everything else. Halloween went from hobo holiday to $6 billion extravaganza.

And it blazed the way for adult-supervised everything else. Let kids make their own fun? Not anymore! Let’s sign our toddlers up for “movement” classes! Let’s bring on the extracurricular activities, travel soccer and manicure parties for the older kids. Once Halloween got outsourced to adults, no kids-only activity was safe. Goodbye sandlot, hello batting coach!


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Demmerkrats running scared


Nancy Barton and staff flee Demmerkrat clambake on Tod's Point

Yesterday’s mail brought a campaign flyer from a Nancy Barton, who is running, I believe, on the Democrat slate as State Senator. I was amused to see that her solution to our multi-billion budget disaster is to “cut fraud and wasteful spending” – you mean, forty years of running this state and the Dems have permitted that much fraud and waste? – but more telling was that she makes no mention of being a Demmerkrat; none!


What’s she so embarrassed about?


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