Daily Archives: September 19, 2012

Druxaposition

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Heh – House passes Buffet Tax

Although it’s not quite what Obama and his friend from Omaha had advocated. Now, if you’re rich and feeling wealthy about it, you can just check a box on your return and anything extra you feel you should pay will be deposited directly into a federal debt retirement account. They’re calling it “The Buffet Rule Act” but perhaps when it reaches the Senate that can be amended to make mention of George Clooney.

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Odd moments in real estate pricing

22 Bedford Road couldn’t sell at $3.895 last year so the owner rented it to “a celebrity” which I’d guess was a Lithuanian hockey player, and now that the lease has ended, has brought it back on the market again, this time priced at $4.795. The listing claims renovations were made, but $900,000 of them? If I owned a house way out here in the sticks and had no buyers, I think I’d be considering moving its price down, not up, but sellers do the strangest things.

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Will GHS teach its Cuban-bound students about Ibrahim Ferrer?

Ibrahim Ferrer’s life under Castro will not be part of the curriculum.

The GHS band’s announcement of their pending trip to Cuba mentions that hell hole’s “rich, musical heritage” but omits any reference to the heritage of oppression suffered by Cuban musicians under Castro’s reign.

No mention is made, for instance, of Ibrahim Ferrer, who Ry Cooder rescued from obscurity and provided with a brief flicker of fame with the album and film, Buena Vista Social Club before he died at 78. The reason Ferrer had to be rescued from obscurity in the first place, the reason his fellow musicians on the recording are all so old is that they were barred  from performing for forty years because Castro didn’t feel they were political enough to suit his whim. Ferrer, though considered Cuba’s finest bolero singer until Castro’s dictatorship, was forced to become a shoeshine boy; the others were assigned equally menial jobs. That sad history is as much a part of Cuba’s musical heritage as anything that came before, yet there’s no hint of it in the promotional material sent to parents nor in the links they provide “to learn more”.

If the High School Band must make this homage to Castro, and I hope it doesn’t, then how about adding another instructor to teach the students the true history of modern Cuba and the reality of the current communist dictatorship?

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Viva Castro! More details on our high school’s most excellent adventure. And it comes with “a humanitarian project” so we can all learn to get along in front of Castro’s cameras

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What, they’ve closed the Soviet Gulag to tourists?

To pledge our lives to Papa Fidel

A reader informs me that Greenwich High School is sending band students to Cuba this year, where they can all buy Che Tee shirts, join in torturing political prisoners and dine in fine “dollar only” restaurants while serenaded by the howls of starving Cuban babies outside. This seems like an ill-advised decision.

Shades of the “Venceremos Brigades”, American communist student leagues who went down to that wretched island to cut sugar cane alongside Castro’s slaves in the 1970’s and even as late as the 1980’s. Honestly, I couldn’t have cared less about what happened to those kids, most of whom went on to be professional activists, embracing with equal lack of discrimination Black Panthers, communist terrorists and the lesbian movement, nor do I really care if a pampered Greenwich child is deluded into believing that Castro’s Cuba is anything other than a vast political prison with coconuts – the little darlings will soon be in college where they’ll be fed that mush anyway.

But I do object to supporting Castro’s regime, both monetarily and symbolically. Stuffing dollars in his pockets just helps him maintain his death-grip;  sending students to his beaches where they will be used as propaganda is disgusting. There are plenty of places in the world the GHS band can go if they wish to blow their horns: A concert at Auschwitz might be more appropriate, for instance, because the atmosphere would be one of sorrow, rather than a false “It’s a Small World” charade foisted on naive school children.

Keep ’em home or find somewhere else to travel. Pyongyang?

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Shilling: look for another 20% drop in prices

Nothing too surprising here, but bound to disappoint home sellers all the same. All real estate is local, yadayadyada, which is true, but I don’t see how Greenwich is so very different in this instance. Here’s just one of the Shilling-supplied charts. Check them all out, if you’re feeling just a touch too exuberant today.

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I’d assume this is a phony (Update: nope – it’s real), but Dollar Bill sent it along with a note of contrition, so who knows?

 

 

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This should stir up the neighbors: affordable housing on Round Hill Road

557 Round Hill Rd

Okay, just kidding, but I was struck by this price reduction today for 357 Round Hill Road, from $4.1 million to a mere $3.8 – that’s just about what raw land once sold for up in the horse country, and this one comes with a house. Not a house that’s necessarily everybody’s cup of tea, but with some negotiating you could be here at a mid-three’s price, telling war stories about back when you hung with Leona and Raj and just being generally impressive, or you could be on a quarter-acre on Riverside’s Hearthstone, shooing mommy joggers with baby strollers off your porch. Obviously more people want Hearthstone than Round Hill Road’s nether end, hence the astonishing price differential, but that gap is beginning to look pretty odd.

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Why ya damn fool, reset ‘er and put her out again!

(Old joke about a Maine lobsterman whose wife washed overboard and was eventually found, drowned, with a dozen lobsters attached. “What you want us to do with her?” the Coast Guard asks, and the husband’s reply is as above).

33 Highland Farm Rd

Anyway, I see that 33 Highland Farm is back on as a “new” listing (actually, it’s been around for 500+ days) and a new price of $6.950 million, down from last month’s $7.750. This is quite a house and comes with eight acres, a pool and all the sort of things you’d expect in this price range, so perhaps it will sell now.

It was built in 2000 and sold for $4.783 in 2003, then resold in 2005 for $6.9 million. The listing shows no improvements made since it was constructed, so presumably this is pretty much the same house that sold in 2003. My general impression is that we’re at 2003 levels, not 2005, but we’ll see where this ends up.

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Destruction of the middle class, cont.

THE U.S. LAGS BEHIND THE ANGLOSPHERE TO THE POINT THAT IT’S BECOMING EMBARRASSING: Canada rises to Top Five in world economic freedom ranking as U.S. plummets to 18th. “Canada has taken its place among the Top 5 countries with the most economic freedom, according to a new Fraser Institute report — now leaps and bounds ahead of the United States thanks to the gradual shrinking of the Canadian government since the mid-1990s as America’s just got bigger. . . . Meanwhile, the United States, once a ‘standard bearer’ of economic liberty among industrial nations, spiralled 10 spots from the 2011 rankings to 18th place — its lowest position ever, and a huge drop from its second place spot in 2000.”

(Link from InstaPundit)

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June contract, September sale

30 Rustic View

30 Rustic View, asked $1.895 million a year ago, sold for $1.550 today. I personally would find it as distasteful to live on a street named “Rustic View” as I would “Flintlock Ridge” (I do like “Poverty Hollow”, though) but it seems like a nice house for this price.

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New construction in OG

(Representative photo supplied by the GAR Evil Princess)

Peter Fusaro’s finished his new house at 23 Brownhouse Road and has listed it for $2.395, which sounds reasonable (you might want to dicker a little bit if you can, I suppose). I haven’t seen it yet, other than to drive by as it’s been under construction, but Peter builds a fine house and I’d expect good things from this one. Open house is tomorrow, so I’ll report in more detail after that.

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Spare me the crocodile tears

Columbia University, 1968 – Power to the people, right on!

Dollar Bill and his cohort keep bewailing “the destruction of the middle class” as though they consider that a bad thing. Bullshit.

I went to college with Dollar Bill types and I listened, and argued with, professors who filled their little mush pans with a derisive, contemptuous dismissal of the middle class and its “bourgeoise values” – you know, a secure job, a “ticky-tacky house in a ticky-tacky town”, two cars, suburban barbecues and the rest. The professors “radicalized” their sheeple and all emerged from school with the intention to destroy the middle class family and reshape the people of this country into Marx’s “new man”, the fisherman in the morning, the poet in the afternoon and perhaps the harpsichordist during lunch. A new class consciousness would be born and Americans would be transformed into a people who thought and acted as their intellectual betters wanted them to.

So they went to work and so far, they’ve accomplished much of the task set forth before them by their professors: they’ve destroyed the family, using every tactic they had, from ironic dismissal of the very concept by television and film (and the law – did you see yesterday that the ACLU successfully sued to prevent a school’s “father/daughter dance”? ), made the middle class hate their own values and be embarrassed to hold them and done their best to bring everyone under the control of and dependent upon the government. Having done all that (oh, and don’t forget these kids’ contemptuous disdain for “assembly-line jobs” – remember those?), they now stand back and express sorrow that the middle class has mostly disappeared. They blame it on the rich, of course, because to admit their role would be to expose the game.

Here’s a series of fun charts, by the way, showing why there’s no longer a middle class – it wasn’t the rich who confiscated their meager earnings and prevented them from accumulating savings, it was done by the intellectual progeny of those long-ago professors. I’ll just reprint the first chart that illustrates the growth in taxes but if you’re curious check out all of them – the taxes go up, the middle class shrinks and the burden falls increasingly on a shrinking percentage of the population. Of course, while those no longer paying federal taxes cheer, they don’t see what’s coming: when the last rich man (not Hollywood stars, naturally) is dragged down, the spending needs will still be there, and then the really vicious fighting begins. That’ll be a good time to be an apparatchik.

TAXES PER HOUSEHOLD

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Old Greenwich price cut is beginning to make this home look interesting

5 Kernan Place – who took this picture?!

5 Kernan Place is down as of today to $3.750 million, which may not be its magic number but is certainly better than its original price of $4.450 back in August 2011. It’s a great house, built in 2008, with top-quality everything, and Kernan itself is a small dead-end off of Taconic Tomac so there’s no road noise but a convenient location.

The only problem with this place, I think, is its lack of a yard. It backs up to the Innis golf course, so once the duffers are finished slicing and hooking for the season you have all the space you need for hiking, X-country skiing (if Al Gore will permit it to snow again) and just enjoying the view. But during the warmer months, there’s not much play area.

That may not deter you – the house is positively huge and can be made still huger by finishing the basement (it has a walk-up attic, a rarity in this FAR age, so you really don’t need the basement space but hey – 12′ ceilings, dry, go for it) and the layout and quality are exceptional. Besides, your kids will all be in after-school genius classes and 3:00 AM hockey tournaments, so what do they need a back yard for anyway?

It’s a good house. If you’re looking in this range in Old Greenwich, check it out.

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