Daily Archives: February 16, 2012

If they can run as a profitable institution, good. Otherwise, who needs it?


just under a month for a letter and you're complaining? Sheesh.

USPS asks Congress for permission to cut jobs, drop Saturday mail and slow delivery. Doesn’t bother me, because, at least according to their projections, they could then be profitable for the first time in years. I’m betting that Congress will be no more willing to allow this than to let Amtrack eliminate routes to Asshole, Nebraska, in which case, nothing will change.


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In case you missed it


Like Conyers Farm, only different

When Greenwich almost became UN headquarters. Everything north of the Merritt, plus parts of Stamford and North Castle too. And Valley Road homeowners are worried about a paltry little cell phone tower?


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Local knowledge: it’s a wonderful thing

It’s useful in real estate but knowing the local waters doesn’t hurt either. A couple of guys are trying to barge new pilings up the creek (I assume they launched at Ole’s) in the dark (I’m writing this at 6:00 PM) without running lights or, obviously, any idea where the creek shallows. So now they’re high and dry, so to speak, on the bank across from my house. Too dark to take a picture but I expect they’ll still be there tomorrow morning.

I could have told them to swing wide, rather than hug the south side but then, they didn’t ask me.

UPDATE: Aw, they got off – no pictures. I can laugh at these guys, by the way, only because my knowledge of the creek and the surrounding waters was hard-won. I know where the rocks and shoals are because I probably hit every one of them when I was a kid. Not so much these days but I’m certainly capable of repeating the experience.

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Admit it: haven’t you been tempted to do this at least once?

See ya!

Man seated next to crying child opens airplane door.

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I guess we won’t be hearing from Walt for a while

I'll be with you in a minute, Dear

Police chase ruins naked bondage role play. Duct tape, Subaru, naked girlfriend, public parking lot – what could go wrong? Should have stuck to washing those dishes, fella.


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Do what you like, but I’m telling you ….

25 Woodside, a perfectly nice Milbrook home for those of you who like Milbrook, has dropped its price again and is now asking $3.295 million, just 66% of its 2007 price of $4.995 million. I don’t know whether that’s the price that will finally move this place, although it seems more in line with recent sales, but I just can’t understand why sellers are so excruciatingly slow to accept reality.

If you don’t want to sell then by all means don’t do it – it’s a lousy time to do so anyway unless you’re also planning on buying something else, in which case you can make up on one end what you’re losing on the other. Or, if you have a dream price in mind and just want to test the waters, go ahead with a three-month listing. If nothing happens, let the listing expire and go back to your golf game. But why, oh why, would you drag out the selling process for years, in a falling market, keeping your house always ready to show, disrupting your schedule and getting no results? Beats me.


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Even Photoshop can’t cure a lousy price

Time to call it a day?

22 Dawn Harbor, on the market since the beginning of the world (almost a year, anyway) seems to have added some imaginary furniture and curtains to its online listing. I suppose that’s nice for shoppers to see because the house itself is rather cold and empty – the owner returned to Japan long ago, leaving nothing behind but a few fuzzy dust bunnies in the corners, but I don’t think it will do anything to sell the house, and here’s why: the price sucks.

The owner paid $3.4 million for this place in March 2007 and did nothing to improve it that I’m aware of. Yet when it was put back up for sale last year, four years after the market crashed, his relocation company priced it at … $3.4 million (!) Perhaps it’s a Japanese relocation company and the bad news hasn’t made it across the Pacific yet but you’d think its failure to sell would ring some sort of alarm over there and perhaps produce a price reduction. It has not, unless you consider a drop to $3.299 a reduction – I call it a rounding error.

Dawn Harbor is one of Riverside’s better streets and this house has a very nice back yard, a combination that should help it overcome its master bedroom on the ground floor (a killer for families with young children) and a deficient, dated kitchen But nothing will help if the seller insists on believing that 2007 prices still prevail. Not even imaginary curtains.


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Push oil up to $200 a barrel and electric cars have a chance

What's the frequency, Kenneth?

Otherwise, the batteries are too expensive to compete with gasoline. Of course, if oil does get that high the economy will tank and no one will be buying cars of any type, gas or electric, but what do you want, egg in your beer?

But as usual, there’s an app for the problem: your money. Obummer wants to take $10,000 from your pocket and give it to someone else to buy what otherwise makes no economic sense. This is called the New Democracy.


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This should surprise no one

Foreclosures zoom up again now that the fraud “investigation” has swept those robo-signed documents under the rug. All objective observers said this would happen but I seem to recall the NAR and even a local real estate columnist (no, not me, for crying out loud) citing last year’s drop in foreclosures as evidence that the market was stabilizing or even ha ha ha, “improving”. Give me a break.


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And another house falls out of contract

Well, accepted offer anyway. 55 Oval Avenue reported an A/O February 2 but was returned today. I always thought this house looked quite attractive and at an asking price of $745,000, it’s an affordable spot in Riverside. But something happened. I haven’t tallied these things up recently but it seems to me that we’re seeing more and more accepted offers fail to bloom into actual sales. If so, I’d guess it’s due to the buyers’ inability to get financing or, as discussed below regarding Carpenters Brook, a short sale lender refusing the bid.


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When bad loans go really bad

20 Carpenters Brook, a teardown on 2 acres in Greenwich’s armpit territory (that would be under the flight path of Westchester Airport, off Bedford), is back on the market again after recently being reported as having an accepted offer. It was listed at $1.350 million, now it’s asking $1.5 million which means that whoever owns the loan rejected the first offer.

In 2007 Washington Mutual, now deceased, loaned $3.080 million on this piece of land and not to be outdone, Aegis tossed in an additional $250,000. Loans weren’t paid, borrowers moved out and the house and the loans have been deteriorating ever since.

But while someone took a bath on this one, it wasn’t the current holder of the debt. WaMu went down and its “assets” were dumped for pennies on the dollar. Aegis? Who knows what happened to them but as second in line, they aren’t getting anything anyway. I’d have thought that whatever the first offer was last month, it should have been accepted. Instead, the house will sit again and, eventually, sell for even less. Dumb move.


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Forget it Ray, it’s Chinatown

It's the other white meat!

San Francisco: man arrested for eating cats.

In a case that has shocked even investigators, a California man is in jail  for allegedly cooking and eating cats.

Jason Louis Wilmert is being held in the Kern County Jail on charges alleging  animal cruelty and using a pet or domesticated animal for food. Both charges are  misdemeanors.

Neighbors called sheriff’s deputies when they heard cats wailing and  screeching at the 36-year-old’s house in the Bakersfield suburb of Oildale.

Sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt says he has “never seen anything like  this.”

Mr. Wilmert may not be Chinese, but dining on felines is not unheard of in that mysterious land nor, I suspect, in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Should a man be penalized for exploring international cuisines? Especially in a town that suggests that all cultural norms are relative? I mean, it’s not as though he was eating a Happy Meal or something.


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Bottom story of the day

Cell tower location

Valley Road residents oppose cell tower. Just once it would be interesting to read a news article, “residents welcome development” but that is never going to happen in my lifetime (unless that proposal for a minimum security prison on Round Hill Road gets traction – the locals might welcome the convenience). Here’s the part I enjoy:

“I think this is a really lousy proposal,” River Road resident Peter Moss said. “In fact I would call it abusive to the neighbors who live so close to it, abusive to the public because it adds an ugly projection to a lovely view of a pond many people appreciate and most of all abusive to every concept we have of watershed protection and water supply protection.”

The "Pond"

I’ve posted two pictures of “this lovely view of a pond ” so readers can decide for themselves what exactly Mr. Moss is imbibing (he might be a prison guard still recovering from the Super Bowl sick day). Although he might think that view would be ruined by a cell tower, no one else will.

While it is true that up in this stretch of Cos Cob residents just yell to each other from their front stoops, those of us roaring past in our Mercedes are annoyed by the lack of cellphone reception and under Dollar Bill’s theory of sacrifice for the greater good, I say the tower should go up. For that matter, maybe the town should open up that filter plant “pond” to swimming and we can drop the idea of building a new pool in Byram.


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You didn’t hear it from me

Hoping for a four-year tenancy

XYZZY sends along this article on why it’s stupid to buy a home when you can rent one. For several years now I’ve included under “Useful Links” over on the right a “Rent or Buy Calculator”. It still works and was even thoughtfully updated by the NYT last May, probably to allow for negative numbers on the “appreciation” slide.


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I could start to like this guy

$600,000 in 1977 dollars

Governor Malloy cuts $11 million from state’s “art” budget. The stones you see here are part of a 36-boulder installation purchased by the state for $600,000 in 1977 and piled in front of the Wadsworth Athenaeum up in Hartford. Not that they’d fetch anything today, but maybe we could try selling them off anyway and retiring some debt?

UPDATE from reader “Georgie”: The Gov backed off within 24 hours. Profile in Courage.


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Your tax dollars (not) at work

It makes me sick

Connecticut prison guards told they must provide doctor’s note to take sick day on Super Bowl Sunday, union files grievance. Half stay home guarding their beer, the other half collects overtime because of staffing shortages. Requiring evidence (not proof) that they’re actually sick is an unfair labor practice?


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Odd choice of picture in Greenwich Time

Voting "present"

The gentleman pictured on today’s online version of Greenwich Time is Greenwich resident and jogger Richard Blumenthal, currently serving as one of Connecticut’s United States Senators. That’s fine – what better way to start one’s morning than by reflecting on the merits of our town’s slickest, most ambitious politician, but the headline reads, “Connecticut lawmakers blocking tax break”. The issue is the capital gains treatment of so-called “carried interest” for hedge funds and you can take your choice whether you think that’s a good idea or not, but the article itself says that neither Blumenthal nor Lieberman has taken a position on the subject. So why illustrate the article with a mug shot of Blumenthal?

I have no idea of the motive for this, I just find it curious.


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