Daily Archives: July 13, 2012

Turns out they aren’t endangered and are in fact still with us

Fossilized feces found in cave.


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Is there anyone in the Kennedy family who isn’t a drug-addled drunk?


It’s a family tradition

Kerry Kennedy arrested in North Castle after driving into a truck and then fleeing. Charged with driving under the influence of drugs. I have complete sympathy for addicts and alcoholics, but this family might consider taking the pledge and staying away from the stuff for, say, the next three generations.


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Obama: “the buck stops there”

But I blame Bush anyway!

Obama still blames Bush for the country’s woes, 3 1/2 years after the man returned to Texas. Today Obama also said that he models himself after Harry Truman: “the buck stops here”, he said, gazing off at the horizon with that firm, determined look that sends Chris Matthews’ leg a’tingling.

Cognitive dissonance isn’t necessarily a sign of serious mental illness, but it can be.


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Your taxes at work

Your dollars here

CDC produces survival guide for “wedding emergencies”.

The federal agency charged with promoting and protecting public health has some tips for stressed out brides during their wedding – an event the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention likened to “planning for a disaster.”

The “CDC’s Wedding Day Survival Guide” is almost solely geared toward brides and reminds those preparing for their nuptials that “planning for a wedding isn’t that much different from planning for a disaster. Just remember: Get a Kit, Make a Plan, and Be Informed.”

The “bridal kit” should include such key items as “safety pins, makeup for touchups, maybe a few sedatives.” But do be careful! The CDC, which tracks overdoses and deaths linked to prescription painkillers,said last year use was at “epidemic levels.”

“A big part of the problem is nonmedical use of prescription painkillers – using drugs without a prescription, or using drugs just for the “high” they cause,” the CDC said.

Other wedding tips include an emergency plan in case of inclement weather, and that includes anything from a rain shower to a tornado. The blog urges those planning a wedding to “Ask the reception venue for their emergency plans and evacuation routes.”

The reason these stupid stories rise the ire of all but the most ardent Democrats is that they’re tiny bites of the huge picture. Who can really grasp the enormous waste incurred in program like Head Start, that has spent billions over fifty years with the only measurable achievement – literally – is graduates who know two more letters of the alphabet by kindergarten? The $5 billion spent on developing a uniform camouflage pattern, now scrapped, for military personel when even a Head Start drop out knows that deserts look different from cities from forests?

The arrogance involved with this waste is easy to get a handle on – a few million dollars – chump change – spent to keep some government loafers busy. Would you spend fifty bucks to tell some clueless 18-year-old stranger to be sure to remember to pack some safety pins in her purse on her big day? No? Then the government will take it from you and do it with your money.

And Democrats wonder why people are so mad at their government – it’s because it has squandered our trust, forsaken its implicit promise to use our labor as carefully and wisely as we would ourselves. The Democrats call for more “sacrifice”, more money to be taken from us so that they can spew it out like garbage. We the people deserve better.


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End of the week, final activity sneaks in

(Representative photo)

203 Shore Road in Old Greenwich has an accepted offer. Asking $2.950 million, down just a bit from the $3.150 it started at three months ago. From the listing it appears that nothing noteworthy has been done to this house since it was built in 1904 but I’m sure that’s not true – they probably installed some of that new-fangled Edison stuff we’ve all heard about, for instance. Part of Lucas Point Association so that’s a plus.

(Not necessarily representative)

40 Chapel Lane in Riverside also has an accepted offer. Sellers paid $1.475 for it in 2005, asked $1.3 this time around. It’s a tear-down on Cos Cob Harbor and if the buyer can negotiate his way past all the regulatory boards who seem determined to stop any building within a mile of the water, he’ll probably do alright. I’d expect a (very) long closing date here, because gaining those approvals is going to take a year or longer, I’d guess.

Photo by Evil GAR Princess

25 Havemeyer Lane, $495,000, has fallen out of contract and is once again available. This tiny (0.15 acre) scrap of land on a busy street has been around since May, 2010, when the estate of the man who lived here tried getting $625,000. It’s got to be worth something, I suppose, but I wouldn’t think it’s worth as much as 11 Carey Road, which just sold for $453,000.


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Poverty Hollow sales

11 Carey Road, Riverside, asked $475,000, just sold for $453,500 after 62 DOM. I like Carey Road, although the houses I like most are those that front (back up to) Mianus Pond. Still, I’d rather live in this total fixer-upper than in a condominium. Better neighbors.

37 Richland

37 Richland Rd in Byram asked $599, got $565,000. Eh. Trulia’s got this estimated at $931,000, by the way, in case you’ve ever been tempted to use its numbers. Zillow’s algorithms have been getting better while Trulia’s approaching (ok, has reached) total worthlessness.


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Sometimes a bargain proves otherwise


Life on the frontier can be a bitch

56 Frontier Road in Cos Cob sold for $3.350 million in 2003, which must have seemed like a great deal considering its first asking price of $4.450. Yet when its owner tried reselling it for $3.999 million in 2008 she got no takers and she pulled it from the market. Today it’s back, at $3.195 million. Maybe, but I think there’s going to be a wait here.


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What’s that saying, better to be the first born, the second wife and the third broker?

538 Round Hill Road is now on its second broker. Priced today at $5.2 million – first broker tried $6.250, without success. Nice property, and renovated in 2006 after current owners paid $3.750 for it the year before. We’ll see if the next broker can help them break even excluding, of course, the cost of those renovations.


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Life among the Democrats

I’m sure this is just another untrue story cooked up by racist, uncaring TeaBaggers (a term for a homosexual sexual practice I personally find repulsive and disgusting but one which I do not condemn, of course).

Denise Rich, the lady who bribed Clinton and the Democratic Party to obtain a pardon for her ex-husband Marc, relinquishes her US citizenship, sells her NYC co-op for $54 million, and flees US taxes. Obama mega-donor and billionaire (March 2012 estimate $5.5 billion) David Geffen is the buyer.

Three Dollar Bill was unavailable for comment.


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Memo to socialists: if something can’t continue, it won’t

We’ll always have Paris, but we’ll have to walk there

Hollande’s vow to block layoffs hits crash barrier: Peugeot closes factory as car sales collapse.

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To one specializing in short sales and other underwater properties, presumably

Psst! Have I got a deal for you!

Manatee real estate agents switch firms.

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This is kind of neat

Woman and cops retrieve her stolen iPad using built-in locator app.

But when [the victim] got off the van and went to retrieve her luggage, the case holding the tablet was gone.

The woman called police and several officers used the tracking devices on their own iPhones to “ping” the woman’s iPad, police said. The victim provided her password to unlock the device and then accompanied police as they followed the alleged thief through The Hollow section of the city.

At several locations, bystanders told police that a man had offered to sell them an iPad, or to trade it in exchange for drugs. By early Thursday morning the officers received a strong GPS signal, and a Google Earth locator map indicated that the device was in a second floor apartment on Chesnut Street, police said.

The tenant allowed police and the woman inside, and when she activated an emergency beacon on her iPad, a loud beeping was heard from a case at the feet of a male guest, police said. That man, Jeff Blackman, 48, of Maplewood Avenue, was charged with third-degree larceny, disorderly conduct and interfering with police. He is being held on a $25,000 bond.

I like the part about the cops using their own iPhones to ping her computer.

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The elephant graveyard stirs

38 Cedarwood

Another mega-mansion sells (these are mostly May contracts, discussed here before, but closing now). 38 Cedarwood, $6.350 million. This sold new for $6.5 million in 2003 and the owners dumped a ton of money into improvements, so $6.350 was not exactly a home run, but what are you going to do? Their first asking price a year ago was $7.750, and we see how that turned out.


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Accepted offer

27 Doverton, asking $8.450. That’s less than its 2007 price of $11.750 million but still a chunk of change and suggests a hint of life in the high-end market. Didn’t do much for me; the standard Mariani cookie-cutter mold, but I’m not in the market for this sort of house. Someone who is must have liked it, and good for them.


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Riverside water views

11 Indian Point Lane

11 Indian Point (down at the end of Indian Head), $4.5 million after asking $5.950 years ago when it was first put up as a spec home. Foreclosure suit, creditors’ claims and all the usual stuff that can afflict spec projects hit this one. I had two clients tempted by this home (I did suggest that $4.5 would take it) but eventually neither could get past the stupid decision of the architect to build a closet where the view down Long Island Sound from the master bedroom should have been. That was an easily correctable problem that might have cost $100,000 to build around but my guys didn’t want the hassle.

Not a terrible house and given its location, a fair price.


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Told you so


17 Ledge

17 Ledge Road, Old Greenwich, sold for $3.4 million. At its broker open house held when it was first on at $4.199 I was asked by the listing agent’s assistant what I thought it would sell for. I said $3.4. No, I’m not infallible – any agent familiar with inventory and recent sales would have come in around the same figure as, obviously, did this buyer.

41 Bush Avenue

Over by the Thruway, 41 Bush Avenue sold for $7.850, far closer to Zillow’s estimate of $7.2 and just about as off from Trulia’s estimate of $2 million as the listing broker’s original guess, way back in 2009, of $12.750.

Far be it from me to disparage a fellow broker – perish the thought! – but does a home owner get compensated for the opportunity cost of his money when a stupid pricing recommendation causes his house to sit unsold for 3 1/2 years? Just wondering.

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In Greenwich we call them starter homes

Nanny quarters

Bloomberg News: Americans are building bigger houses. – 7,500 sq. ft. probably feels large in, say, Georgia, but here we’d be embarrassed to stick the Filipino crew into such cramped space.

The new crop of super-sized houses are sprouting after the average sales price for a new home dropped to $267,900 last year from $292,600 in 2008.

The Census Bureau reports that the average size of a U.S. house rose in 2011 to 2,480 square feet, up from 2,392 square feet in 2010. The 2011 figure is 62.6 percent larger than the 1,525-square-foot average size in 1973.

So if the average home is still under 3,000 sq.ft. and the world as we know it hasn’t ended, what exactly are people doing with super Big Gulps? Newbies don’t seem to know themselves.

Danny Jong, a New York commercial and residential real estate investor [who] currently lives in Parsippany, needed a place for his mother and the children that he and his wife would like to have.

“I grew up in a big house,” said Jong, 41, who was raised in northern New Jersey. “Why not go bigger if you can afford it?”

He said he’s not sure what he’ll do with all the space in his Randolph home, though a live-in housekeeper will take up some room. He said Toll Brothers’ reputation for quality, low interest rates, price per square foot and proximity to his New York office influenced his family’s decision.

“I’ll also have a man cave,” he said. “That was something I really wanted.”

Is that like a “mankini”?


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Attacking Clinton’s only noteworthy accomplishment (well, there was that blow job in the Oval Office)

MICKEY KAUS: Obama weakens welfare reform (again). “Here are some quick initial reactions to the administration’s apparent surprising (and possibly illegal) attempt to grant waivers of the work requirements written, after great effort, into the 1996 welfare reform law. I’m posting Thursday night; the story should break for real tomorrow (Friday). This will be updated over the next few days if possible. . . . Obama could turn the HHS rule into a big political plus if he dramatically ordered Secretary Sebelius to withdraw it, saying he wanted to encourage people to work, not go on the dole. But that’s not his style.”


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Found: the last person in America who cares about the Episcopal Church

“Episcopal” means always having to say you’re sorry. Bishops apologizing for original sin

And he reports from the doings of the Episcopal bishops’ convention soiree out in Indianapolis.

During the day, legislators in the lower chamber, the House of Deputies, and the upper chamber, the House of Bishops, discussed such weighty topics as whether to develop funeral rites for dogs and cats, and whether to ratify resolutions condemning genetically modified foods. Both were approved by a vote, along with a resolution to “dismantle the effects of the doctrine of discovery,” in effect an apology to Native Americans for exposing them to Christianity.

Other than the sheer lunacy of these dingbats, a never ending source of fun, the death throes of a once powerful church does raise an interesting real estate question, which is, what’s going to happen to all that property it owns around the country? Episcopalians own half of lower Manhattan, great swaths of prime real estate in most eastern cities, opulent Bishop’s residences in Greenwich and other tony towns and of course tens of thousands of manicured lawns surrounding the prep schools that once spat out the nation’s leaders.

Fire sale? Give it all back to those animists, our Native Americans? Or more traditionally, sell it off and stuff the cash into the bishops’ purses? It’ll be fun to watch.


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Global warming goes local

Australian wheat crop damaged by cold weather.


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