Daily Archives: March 7, 2011

Jew’s harps

Listening just now to “The Low Anthem”, a (very good) Rhode Island band, on WFUV and I noticed both the band members and the DJ referring to a “Jaw Harp”. WTF? I guess it’s no longer permissible in some circles, and WFUV folks are very much in one of those circles, to refer to a “Jew’s harp”. Turns out the mouth instrument originated in China, not Jerusalem, but it’s been known as a Jew’s harp for maybe seven hundred years, with nothing derogatory about it. 

Children, children: there’s nothing wrong with the word “Jew” in most contexts, and certainly not when used to refer to this classic, simple instrument. What irks me is that, by avoiding the word in this instance, the speaker is implying that there is something dirty or unseemly going on. Okay, rant over, I’m off to the deli to buy me some fresh-baked Jawish rye.


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A job from Hell – or in it

AOL opens new offices in Orlando and get a load of the working environment for its computer engineers. It must be hard enough recruiting for a dying business, but forcing employees to sit along one long table in a windowless room can’t make the task any easier.

Of course, I haven’t been in a real “office” in a hundred years, so maybe this is this is the new normal. It reminds me, sort of, of what I learned in college when an advisor encouraged me to take an accounting course if I even harbored a dim thought of becoming a lawyer. I dutifully signed up for a class, lasted a half-hour and walked out, figuring if I ever needed accounting skills in a legal career I could hire it. That worked out pretty well. Same thing with being a computer engineer, I guess. I may have missed out on Google riches, but at least I never worked at AOL.


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Who moo?

The price of a single cow hide is up to $82 and heading higher (hider?).  I’d have guessed maybe five bucks per, had anyone asked me but fortunately, no one did. I do find the more obscure edges of the global economy fascinating.


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Short sale on Dubling

139 Doubling Rd

This house started at $2.795 back in 2009 but went nowhere and just sold, via shortsale I think, for $1.450 million. (Old) assessment is well over $1.6, so not a bad deal. Bad news for other Doubling Road residents, if this drags down their value.


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They’ll get this right, eventually

418 Riversville Rd

This 3.75 acre lot (in the 4 -acre zone) is not a bad piece of property but the house itself is spread out and tired. I wasn’t impressed with its $3.495 price tag in 2006 nor any of the other prices various new brokers attached to it over the past five years as the sellers kept trying.

Today, broker number 5 or so has lowered it to $1.999, well below its old appraisal of $2.5, so perhaps the sellers are getting serious. I’d still value this as a land value deal, but $1.999 is approaching reality.


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Get out your cynicism pills

 Tomorrow sees the start of the great circus, the insider-trading trial of Raj Rajaratnam of Galleon Group. It should have everything the Justice Department and the media craves: wire taps,a hugely rich defendant and, with luck, maybe even some sex. But most important, it will deflect attention from the real scandal here, the refusal of the Justice Department to pursue the people behind the financial collapse of 2008.

Country Wide’s Mozillo, a friend of Dodd? No criminal charges. Dodd himself? Off to collect $1.5 million per year as a lobbyist in California. Dick Fuld? Jamie Diamon? Fannie Mae’s execs? Are you kidding me? It can be argued, and I do, that insider trading causes no harm to investors – the same can not be said for what establishment Wall Street and Washington’s pals in the mortgage business did. But the latter have political protection, Raj does not.

So enjoy the spectacle, but don’t lose sight of the fact that this is all intended to create the illusion that our government is policing Wall Street when in fact it is doing nothing of the sort.


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