Monthly Archives: November 2012

Social Security system is solvent, solar energy will meet our needs, and now this:

Scholar and explorer, William Gastric, Greenwich

Scholar and explorer, William Gastric, Greenwich

Ancient unicorn lair uncovered near Pyongyang. 

A report released by the History Institute of the DPRK Academy of Social Sciences claims that archaeologists discovered the lair of the mythical animal just outside a temple in the capital Pyongyang.

And, unsurprisingly, the lair – according to the report – means that Pyongyang was the focal point of an ancient, united Korea.

“This discovery was inevitable”, Greenwich Democrat Charwoman Gastric told reporters. “We used the same exact scientific methods employed in our economic analyses of entitlement benefits, so of course the favorable outcome of this search was completely expected and predictable.”
Gastric also reported that the unicorn was found sleeping underneath a melting glacier and atop the very first Social Security card issued by the United States, in the name of Kim Jong-un and signed by Eleanor Roosevelt herself.


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One last sale reported, snuck in at the closing bell

79 William St

79 William St

79 William Street (parallel to Rt. One, near the hospital), new construction, sold for $1.875 million. For someone who’d prefer to live in town, this makes a great deal of sense to me. Brand new, well made, convenient to everything especially, if the buyers are older down-sizers, the hospital’s emergency room.


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Shocker: prostitutes found at massage parlor

Up in Darien. The only thing newsworthy about this story is the revelation that our state police and the Department of Homeland Security joined the local cops in rousting a couple of whores and their pimps. The Homeland Security  bureaucracy should never have been created in the first place and should be abolished in its entirety now, but it’s informative to see just how exactly it’s wasting its employees’ time and our money. And shouldn’t state troopers be out on the highway looking for speeders? Dumb.

On the other hand, here’s what cops should be doing: home invaders captured. These are the guys who hit a Round Hill Road residence, among others, and I’ve read that burglars willing to storm inside a house when its owners are present are the most dangerous of their type. Makes sense to me. Greenwich police were part of the investigation that included the FBI and other forces because of the multi-jurisdictional reach of this gang. Good for the cops. Darien police presumably couldn’t participate because they were busy conducting round-the-clock surveillance of that Korean pud-tugging place in their own town.


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Real estate – remember real estate?

A little bit of activity reported.

69 Rockwood Lane

69 Rockwood Lane

Sales: 69 Rockwood, $6.050 million, 7 Old Kings Highway, $880,000, so that pretty much spans the spectrum. 69 Rockwood is new construction, on the market for 549 days, started at $7.250 back in April, 2011. The builders contracted to pay $2.729 million for the land back in April 2008 and apparently had second thoughts after the market crashed that summer but closed anyway in October 2008. They then tried flipping it the following January but asked $3.495 for what they’s just bought and no one shared their sense of increased value. So they did what builders are supposed to do: they built. I’m not a big fan of expensive houses on rocky bits of land, but someone obviously is, so now it’s sold and despite not getting what they’d hoped for, $6 million is bound to make its builders happy. Good for them – nice house.

7 Old Kings Highway was another surprise, to me. I didn’t much like it at $865,000 but obviously at least two buyers did and one of them bid its price up to $880,000. That’s testimony both to the dearth of inventory in this price range and the importance of individual taste – one man’s meat, and all that.


450 North Street

450 North Street

450 North Street, that failed spec house across from St. Mary that was foreclosed on by Patriot Bank some years ago reports an accepted offer. The builder tried getting $6.899 for it in 2009 which was obviously the wrong price at the wrong time. Patriot sold its loan, along with others, to Summit Development last year and they finished the house (including redoing floors after pipes burst) and put it back up for sale in June, 2012 for $4.195. Whoever has now purchased Summit’s properties repriced it at $4.195, and that seems to have done the trick. Nice construction, location is marginal, in my opinion, because of the noise. But perhaps the sales price includes custom shooters’ muffs for the entire family.

14 Buckingham

14 Buckingham

14 Buckingham Lane, quite close to 450 North, is a short sale, and now has an executed contract. Asking price was $1.195, which seems like a great deal for this completely renovated ranch. Owners paid $1.250 for it in 2007 and then put a lot of money into those renovations. They asked $1.649 for it in 2008, didn’t get it and so the bank did. It had an accepted offer for $1.350 back in January but like so many short sales, that deal fell through, so it came back on at this lower price. The buyers will do well on this one, I think.


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UN out of US, now

Palestinians recognized as a state. “I promised we’d have 57 states” President Barack Hussein Obama crowed from the steps of the Emily Litella School of International Diplomacy after the vote, “and this is the first down payment on that pledge. Next year, in Jerusalem.”

The vote will not immediately end the Palestinians’ six-decade wait for independence and will not give them a vote at the UN. But it will enable them to join the International Criminal Court and potentially prosecute Israelis for war crimes, and seek rulings on territorial disputes at the International Court of Justice.


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Someone give them the bad news


Philosophy majors at work

Hamburger flippers demand higher wages in NYC.

“They’re giving us $7.25 an hour, so many of my co-workers are living on food stamps. You can’t live on that in this city,” a protester told Good Day NY.

The workers who say they don’t make enough to put food on the table for their families would  like an increase in their hourly pay to $15.

Here’s the deal: you can’t support a family on a minimum wage job and if that’s the best you can do, don’t have a family. Or go into politics – that’s unskilled labor that actually pays.


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First casualty of the synagogue wars but surely not the last

After Sandy’s storm surge, EVERYONE loves levees

Randy Caravella, owner of the property he hopes to sell to the Greenwich Reform Synagogue, steps down as president of the Cos Cob Association after neighbors and fellow merchants threaten boycott. Word I’m hearing is that the neighborhood’s heating up. Assuming Lou Caravella accepts my sage advice and sells his entire parcel to the synagogue, thus obviating the need for a lot line revision hearing, this matter will fall off the P&Z agenda until a formal application, with plans, is submitted later next year. That won’t stop intra-neighborhood feuding during the winter, of course, so look for a hot conflagration when this comes back around next spring.


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In case you were wondering whether Peter Tesei had anything better to do, the answer is no

Peter pulls a wheelie

Tesei announces intention to run for First Selectman. In a phone call to FWIW Tesei rejected critics’ complaints that he’d been a do-nothing occupant of Town Hall for the past three terms, and begged for understanding: “if practice makes perfect, and nobody’s perfect, why practice?”, he whined. “Besides, that secret backer who bought me my new house is going to want his money back sooner or later, so I need the gig.”

Greenwich Democrat Chairman Francis Fudrucker was laughing too hard to provide comment.


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One contract of interest today

And even that’s probably of interest only to my clients and I me (and the parties themselves, of course), because we know what we bid for 34 Bote Road, which now reports an executed contract. The property started at $2.795 million back in September, 2011, a price which possibly reflected the owner’s confusion about valuing this as a two-lot parcel (legally it is; practically, we didn’t think so), dropped down to $2 million by the end of its one-year listing term and dropped to $1.750 million when it was picked up by a new broker. My clients moved on to another property they preferred, long ago, and now the seller has found another buyer. A happy ending for all, I suppose – certainly my clients are convinced they came out ahead.


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Remember this the next time you hear that liberals are smarter than conservatives

New Democrats

After showering him with money and votes, Silicon Valley gets the shaft- Obama rejects their plea for more visas for scientists in favor of continuing a program to admit 50,000 uneducated welfare recipients and looters. Obama is acting deliberately – the liberals of Silicon Valley are just too stupid to see his plan.

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math. The purpose of the bill is to increase the number of visas available by up to 55,000 for immigrants with advanced degrees in those fields.

[Yesterday Obama announced that he would not support it]

The reason: In exchange for making thousands of new visas available to STEM workers, the STEM Act abolishes another visa program, called the “Diversity Visa” program, which distributes 50,000 visas through a lottery to a pool of nearly 15 million applicants with high school degrees.

The Diversity Visa program drives some people completely bonkers.

Yale law school professor Peter Schuck, who describes himself as “militantly moderate,” is one such person.

In a 2011 op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, he called for a swap similar to the one proposed in the STEM Act.

First Schuck mocks the program for its lottery process, which, in 2011, resulted in 50,000 people being told they got visas when in fact they had not.

Then he hits a bigger point, arguing that the Diversity Visa program “imposes a cost — an opportunity cost.”

“The fact that some of the 50,000 lottery winners will turn out to be desirable immigrants is an accident, not a policy.”

“The solution is straightforward: Abolish the program and use those 50,000 visas (or more) to promote carefully defined national interests, particularly in more high-skilled immigrants who, many studies show, produce jobs, innovation and new businesses.”


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It’s the weather, stupid

Heading up the Christmas trail to Al’s

Gearing up for what could be Britain’s coldest winter in 100 years. Global warmists can deny all they wish, can explain away why the earth’s temperature stopped rising sixteen years ago, why their data are “incorrect” rather than “outright lies”, but this just shouldn’t be happening in their model. They know that of course, which is why they’ve switched to “extreme weather” from “global warming”, but a new name doesn’t change the underlying fact: the platform they’ve rested their goal of domination and control on is disappearing. I’d say “melting”, but it would only encourage them.


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It’s not driven by a death wish or stupidity, Republicans will vote for more taxes because they want to stay in office

The two major parties are shaping a deal that will raise taxes now and supposedly cut entitlement payments “10-20 years down the road”. Oh, you betcha. Dan Mitchell is not the only conservative commentator to point out that when Republicans go into a negotiating room with Democrats they get the shaft, but after Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Bush fell for the trap and agreed to accept tax hikes in exchange for cuts to be named later and never got the tax cuts (instead, they were pilloried by the Democrats for raising taxes) there is no excuse for Republicans to do so again.

Republicans know this, so why would they tee up the football again? The simplest explanation is also the most obvious. Just like their Democrat counterparts, D.C. Republicans are politicians, first, last and entirely. They are all about getting reelected – indeed, that task consumes them from the morning after their first campaign win to their final day in office, decades later. The current political climate says that you won’t get reelected if you don’t raise taxes on the minority and you won’t get reelected if you cut entitlement spending.

So that’s what they’ll do, hiding their complicity with the “enemy” with loud trumpeting of the cuts to come, about how this time by golly they’re going to get serious about cutting spending, etc. Nothing changes.


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Slant the news? Us?

Discussing the renewed push by liberals to close Guantanamo Bay and transfer the terrorists it holds to US soil, Britain’s Daily Mirror says this:

President Barack Obama ordered the closing of the Guantanamo detention centre when he took office in 2009, but that was blocked by a Republican-led bill that cut off funding to move the detainees to the US.

In 2009, Democrats controlled the Senate 58-42 and the vote to block funding was 90-6. That took me two seconds to dig up on the Internet. Just saying.


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Christmas doldrums

Not much on today’s open house tour, although there are a couple of new listings I want to check out. One I don’t need to see again because it hasn’t changed since I first viewed it is 78 Doubling Road. I mention it only because it’s also on the tour today and I’m reminded that it still hasn’t sold despite being priced $2.1 million less than it sold for new in 2007. At that time, the owners paid its builder $8.6 million – today it can be yours for just $6.5. Houses like this don’t have much appeal to me but that’s solely a matter of personal taste – the house is solidly constructed, located on a great street and has a nice yard. In the past, it would have found plenty of buyers who wanted it and were willing to pay a lot of money to get it.

Obviously that’s not the case now, which speaks to the current state of the market and not this particular home.


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I’m late to this story, but perhaps you missed it too

NYPD patrolman buys warm boots for homeless man. I guess it’s been on the news but who reads local news? I found this in a British tabloid. In Greenwich, the guy would probably have held out for Manolo Blahniks, but hey …

Officer Deprimo said he was patrolling Times Square in the heart of Manhattan when he came across the man, who was huddled next to a storefront with nothing on his feet, the New York Times reports.

‘It was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet,’ the officer told the Times. ‘I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold.’

Officer Deprimo said he talked to the homeless man and found out his shoe size: 12.

He watched the man stand up and walk slowly, painfully, down the cold pavement of the sidewalk on the balls of his feet.

The 25-year-old officer went into a nearby Sketcher’s store and found a $100 pair of winter boots that he believed would keep the man warm through the winter.

The clerk, moved to the story, gave the officer his employee discount – 25 percent off.

Officer Deprimo said he keeps the $75 receipt as a reminder that ‘sometimes people have it worse.’

Deprimo, who lives on Long Island with his parents, joined the force in 2010.

The photo was taken by Jennifer Foster, a 911 dispatcher from from Pinal County, Arizona, who was in New York for Thanksgiving.

When she got home, she emailed the photo to the NYPD, which posted it to the department’s Facebook page.

She said she took the picture because the scene reminded her of her own father, a 32-year veteran of the Phoenix police department. She remembers as a child watching him give food to a homeless man.

‘He squatted down, just like this officer,’ she told the Times.


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Fudrucker screws up, again

Not a penny for his friends

Last night’s lottery winners were from Arizona and Missouri, respectively.   If there is any advantage in working with Connecticut’s lottery commissioner, it escapes me.


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Paging Dr. Krugman

NHS patients treated with cruelty and contempt.

Up to 1,200 patients are thought to have died over several years at Mid Staffordshire hospitals due to shocking care, which saw some resorting to drinking water from flower vases.

At Winterbourne View in Bristol, undercover reporters last year filmed grotesque abuse of vulnerable residents.

Mr Hunt said there was an “urgent need” to make managers accountable for poor care.

He said: “Most managers get this … but too many do not. Buried in spreadsheets they become blind to the realities of what is happening day on day inside their organisations.

It’s endemic: former midwife recounts tales of chaos, filth

And last month: Another British horror tale.

Here’s what Dr. Krugman promised New York Times readers back in 2009:

In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false.

Our health system is a mess and I have yet to read a plausible scheme for fixing it, from either side of the political spectrum. So I don’t really care if Krugman is as clueless as the rest of us. I do find it annoying that regressives cheer ObamaKare the first step to their intended goal of a national, government ruled health care system, as a plan that’s going to improve matters. As Krugman himself might say, “those stories are false”.

Don’t get old, or sick, is the best advice I can think of.


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Don’t piss on this messiah!

The original messiah? Hey, dude, like, free speech!

EBay removes Glen Beck’s auction item, “Obama in Pee Pee Jar”. 

Christ (II) in piss


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Where were his friends?

Who let Freddy Camillo’s mother dress him for last night’s zoning meeting and why did they allow him to appear in public after she did? (h/t, LK)

It’s not my fault!


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A sale and a price cut that may (should) give high-end sellers pause

35 Andrews Farm Rd

35 Andrews Farm Road, asking $6.999 million, reports an accepted offer – yippee! It’s great to see that big money is still on the prowl, buying large Greenwich mansions, but one’s exuberance might be tempered when you learn that this same property sold for $11.2 million in 2005 and has been on the market since February, 2008, when it was listed for $12.5.

Pool by Sigmund Freud?

And while it has yet to find a buyer, 39 Doubling Road will now accept $3.8 million, after being purchased for $6.250 million in 2007 (12 DOM) and being listed since June, 2010, beginning at $5.999. If memory serves, this house has no garage and no remaining FAR allowance to build one – that may not be correct; I haven’t seen it since it was first listed this go around but if so, that’s a deterrent.

But it’s a lot of house for, say, the mid-threes, and again relying on a possibly faulty memory, there are a couple of rooms in the front that could be converted into a garage without losing real living space. If this is in your price range I certainly wouldn’t rule it out based on what I remember – go see it for yourself. Good location, nice, if narrow yard.

Or, if you like the location but not the house itself, Chip Skowron’s place is just up the road around the corner – might be a deal there.


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