Daily Archives: February 16, 2011

Board of Ed’s definition of foreplay: brace yourself, Bridget!

In just one week, February 24th, the BOE plans to meet and possibly decide whether to sign over our school system to the United Nations, giving that organization full control of what, and how our children are to be taught. This seems a little abrupt to me.

For instance, why aren’t the curriculum guidelines available online? For that matter, could we see the text books currently being used at Dundee School? And why aren’t they online? Where are the materials proposed to employed at our Middle Schools and the High School?

From what I gather, our superintendent has already diverted money to the re-education of teachers around town so that they will be ready to teach the new order. Hmm, kind of makes you think he’s already pushed his decision though on this matter, especially because he’s announced to have the IB system up and running by fall this year.

Do you think Dr. Freund has something to hide?

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So what’s an IB curriculum?

I understand that the initials stand for International baccalaureate, its curriculum is somehow dictated by Switzerland, it’s been successful at Dundee for ten years, but what the heck does any of that mean? I’m getting heat from some readers for not posting on it, now that our system intends to expand IB to all our schools, but I can’t comment on something I know nothing about (liberal readers of this blog would vehemently disagree with that last bit). I can’t find a description of the program at the School Board’s website, and I’m stumped. I’ll next try Google, but I’d prefer hearing from one of you who can steer to a description of the exact program our board seeks to install.

UPDATE: Okay Google yields this home site for the IB organization but the site supplies only the same mush-mouthed aspirations and goals that any other school, private or public uses; strive! excellence! tolerance of other cultures! Tells me nothing, which would seem to be the point.

UPDATE II: Good Lord. Wikipedia says the whole thing was founded in 1948 by some Swiss lady, a member of UNESCO, and was based on her book of that year, Is there a way we can teach peace? If that doesn’t set alarm bells ringing in your noggin then you probably subscribe to The New York Times. I definitely have to go exploring on this one.

UPDATE III. Turns out, the IB organization is part of UNESCO, that Jew-baiting, Israel-hating  UN division operating out of France. So then the School Board is proposing that we turn the curriculum of our schools over to a Swiss division of a French arm of the United Nations. ARE YOU FRIGGIN’ KIDDING ME ???!!! Ooo, this is going to be fun.

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A tiny glimmer of hope

House votes to kill the alternative F-35 engine. The Pentagon and both the Bush and Obama administrations have been trying for years to kill this, without success until today. A first victory for the Tea Party but a looong way to go.

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Property listings

Reader “Global Macro” wrote to inquire why brokers don’t deliberately under price their listings so that they can save on advertising, collect a quick commission and move on. I suppose the answer is that, much as they’d like to do exactly that, it’s almost impossible to obtain a listing at fair market, let alone below market price because homeowners always want more. And in this town, there are plenty of agents willing to tell homeowners what they want to hear.

It’s also because of the business model taught all agents. Representing a buyer can be a pain in the ass. You’re committing to show dozens of houses, over a period of up to a year or even two years, if the client hasn’t left you by then, all for a single commission. So agents are taught to grab as many listings as they can, slap on a price and a lockbox and let one of the thousand other agents in town sell the house for you. You get the same commission as the buyer’s agent and you’ve expended little energy.

In the glory days, this was a viable approach. Agents who amassed 100 + listings could, and did,earn over a $1 million a year. I don’t think it’s working so well these days.

Anyway, that’s my explanation. I enjoy working with buyers so I’m cool with the process, but I do see the attractiveness of going for listings.

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Obummer Budget: kicking the children down the road

From the OMB, an interesting chart showing how the Obummer budget will lift federal spending from an already astonishing $3 trillion + today to $6 trillion in 2021. Keynes said, “in the long run, we’re all dead”, and if planning on being dead in ten years and have no children or grandchildren to worry about, then sleep well tonight.

From the OMB

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If only he were Governor of Connecticut

Florida’s new governor just killed the high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando after looking at the numbers and concluding it’s a sure money loser that will cost Florida real bucks. If a railroad between Tampa and Disney World can’t be profitable, how much do you suppose Connecticut’s railroad from nowhere to nowhere, or, New Haven to Springfield, will lose? Down in Florida, they’ve elected a man who worries about such things. We, on the other hand, have replaced one spendthrift with another. Oh joy.

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Would you rather …

When my children were very young, one of their favorite books was Would You Rather, a delightfully illustrated work that purported to offer the child a choice between, say, a delicious ice cream cone “or would you rather have a bowl  of nice slug stew?” For a five-year-old and her parent reading it aloud , it was all great fun.

I was reminded of that book today when a friend and fellow realtor wrote in to caution me that I was killing all my chances of ever obtaining another listing in town because I keep giving objective opinions of price. Hmm, says I to myself, if I were a homeowner, trying to price my house for sale, would I rather an honest opinion from an agent, or some fluffy, totally unreal opinion concocted solely for the purpose of obtaining my listing? Personally, I’d prefer the ice cream cone, even if it weren’t quite as large a helping as I might prefer, but if an owner prefers a heaping bowl of slug stew, especially one topped with a scoop of artificial ice  cream well,  I guess that’s his business.I’ll survive, either way.

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Dumbest home seller in Greenwich?

54 Rock Maple

Well there’s a lot of competition for this title, but my vote’s going to 54 Rock Maple, off of Stanwich. The seller had Fran Erlich list it for $12, 450 million way back in 2007, and if Fran didn’t tell him that she could hear us agents laughing as we left the house, she should have.

Four years, a half-dozen agents and many price cuts later, the house is finally under contract today. Its last asking price was $4.995 million and after this much time on the market looking like an unwanted dog, it is probably selling for even less than that. Had it been priced at say, $7.5 million back in 2007,I guarantee you that it would have sold long ago, and for far more than $4.5. Silly. Yet still, the buyer’s getting a good deal, so only one-half of this equation makes no sense.

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Father of the snowmobile dies at 95

1968 Ski Doo

 Edgar Hetteen invented the first snowmobile  and popularized it in 1960, and started a company, Polaris, to manufacture them. That created an  opportunity for competitors to rush in and improve on the concept. By 1968,  Canada’s Bombardier, manufacturer of the Ski Doo, pictured to the left, had surpassed the inventor’s more primitive Polaris. But even today they continue to slug it out, along with Hetteen’s second company, Arctic Cat, and Yamaha.

We drove Ski Doos when I attended a winter ski/snowmobile camp way up north of Millinocket, Maine at exactly this time of year – winter school break, back in 1967 and  68, and the machines were incredible fun.

In later years, as I got into cross-country skiing, it was popular to denounce  snowmobilers for driving over our carefully laid out tracks but, while that was true, it was also true that the machines were often ahead of us, packing down deep snow and making skiing effortless. So I never complained. I haven’t driven one since those winter camps, but I’d like to, if only to see what 43 years of technological improvement has wrought. I’ll bet it’s a lot.

UPDATE: Who, I guess so.

Polaris Colt circa 19666

2010 Yamaha

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Happy birthday, Kim Jong-il. May it be your last

North Korea dictator turns 69 today. His people are starving and even the higher-ups are receiving fake Rolexes this year, instead of the better loot they usually get on the Dear One’s birthday.

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Hmm – could the NAR be underestimaging the decline in real estate sales and prices?

CoreLogic says it is, the NAR denies it. In my experience, any time you can bet against the NAR, take that bet.

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