Daily Archives: September 12, 2013

Frost on the pumpkin, not

Now do you believe?

Now do you believe?

So much for folklore so far as it applies to katydids. I first heard them six weeks ago and that’s supposed to mean the first frost tomorrow, September 13th. I thought that sounded dubiously early at the time and so it proved to be: 64 °F predicted low tonight. What could have happened?

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As a colleague, I’d like to know what she did wrong

 

There's a customer in here somewhere!

There’s a customer in here somewhere!

Realtor arrested for trading in waste grease. I mean, what else do we realtors do?

Bushwick — A real estate broker was arrested Wednesday after using a phony license to collect and sell thousands of gallons of used restaurant grease, sources told DNAinfo New York.

Seon Intrator, 45, allegedly bought used grease from fast food restaurants in Williamsburg, Bushwick and Flushing, Queens, and then sold it to waste transfer stations for four times the price — while flashing a fake waste hauling license at the shopkeepers, authorities said.

Intrator was arrested Wednesday morning by the NYPD Organized Crime Investigations Division  and Business Integrity Commission investigators and charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument.

Sources told DNAinfo Intrator sold up to 1,000 gallons of grease each week from March until June.

She allegedly convinced the eateries to sell her their waste for just $1 a gallon, and then sold it for $3 or $4 per gallon to waste stations, which use the grease to make ethanol and other products. Intrator even bought a 14-foot box truck for $10,000 to haul about 250 gallons at a time, sources said.

“Brazen tactics like these show what the good actors are up against,” said Shari C. Hyman, the commissioner of the Business Integrity Commission. “We are happy to be partnering with legitimate industry business to keep their marketplace level and competitive.”

So she bought from willing sellers and sold to willing buyers – what’s the crime, other than screwing up the Business Integrity Commission’s [sic] scheme to fix prices among the lady’s competitors?

Bizarre waste of taxpayers’ money.

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But I thought his religion was supposed to help restore our international reputation and bring peace to the Middle East?

The Wrath of Hussein

The Wrath of Hussein

Anti-Americanism spreads in Syrian refugee camps.

After cursing the American president in Arabic, he continued, “Obama is ‘Hussein’ – son of Muslims. If he were a Christian he would support us. But he’s a Muslim.” He shakes his head and his eyes tear up. “It’s always Muslims against Muslims.”

We all share the poor man’s pain: we had such high expectations, too.

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Generators

When you absolutely, positively need your power ....

When you absolutely, positively need your power ….

The best company around that I know (nothing against other dealers, I just haven’t worked with them) is the generator division of Greenwich Construction (I think they have a separate website for the generator business, but I can’t find it and I’m in a hurry – just use the construction link to get to them). Lou Van Leewuen – (203) 223-0634,lvanlee@optonline.net are the personal contact numbers I have, and although I’m sure there’s a corporate path to reach them, screw it: wake up Lou directly and tell him I told you to do it. Greenwich Construction builds a great house and excellent renovations but I’m writing here about his Generac generators. I like his prices: he quoted a client of mine under $10,000 for a 20K generator, all in except for the propane supply, so that’s the generator, the electrical, the pad for the generator, trenching, all permitting, the whole system, which was something like $4,000 less than the next lowest bid.

Greenwich Construction has been around a couple of decades and both the company and its principle are in Riverside, so when your power goes out in the middle of the night you’ll know where to go to complain.

Good company, good people.

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Open House report

Saw two homes of note, one old (1867), one brand new. I mentioned both earlier this week when they hit the market and said I expected them to be exceptional. To my taste, they lived up to expectations.

159 Park Avenue

159 Park Avenue

159 Park Avenue, the 1867 house, $3.595 million, is in beautiful shape and has all best features of a fine house of its era: detailed moldings, great woodwork, high ceilings, decent flow of rooms. It has lost, I assume, much of its original land but there’s enough left to offer a good back yard and it’s on one of the prettiest streets in Greenwich, especially “in-town”. Worth checking out.

7 Heartstone

7 Hearthstone

And 7 Hearthstone Drive, Riverside, was built by Tim O’Malley of Argus Development (Old Greenwich), so of course it’s well made -Tim builds a great house. The master bedroom is on the third floor, but there are two other bedrooms on that same level (and a fourth one a short flight down), so the squalling infants can be kept close enough to ruin your sleep and the teenaged-drummer will be free to disturb your neighbors, not you.

All that aside, this house is really special, with a great design inside and out, huge finished basement with nanny-suite/bath, excellent kitchen and comfortable living space. At $3.795 it’s priced a little bit above its competition, but not so much as to make you feel foolish for buying the best looking house on the street. Nice job.

(I don’t know when the broker is going to get around to posting pictures of this house, but check back later. Better yet, go see it.

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Buyer remorse

21 Midwood Drive

21 Midwood Drive

21 Midwood Drive is back on the market at $10.850 million after selling just this past June 28th for $10.650. The house languished for years as its price dropped, ever so slowly, from $16 million to that final selling price. Let’s hope the new owner doesn’t suffer the same fate.

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Accepted offers reported

Four of them.

171 Cognewaugh

171 Cognewaugh

171 Cognewaugh, an 1800 house on 2+ acres, asking $1.289. I assume this will prove to be a land sale only, which is too bad; Cognewaugh and Cat Rock are just about the last streets in town to still have antique homes, and they’re disappearing at an increasing pace.

11 Meadow Drive

11 Meadow Drive

11 Meadow Drive, in Cos Cob, asked $744,500 and has gone in 9 days. At this price, in that neighborhood, no surprise.

75 Ct. Avenue

75 Ct. Avenue

75 Connecticut Avenue tried without success to get $3.895 back in 2007 and was rented out since. When the owner cut $1.150 million from its price and listed it at $2.699, it sold. Good house, but it overlooks chicken shacks and pig pens on the street behind it.

2 Carey Road

2 Carey Road

And good gracious, 2 Carey Road, Riverside, has another buyer. This wreck of a house has a boulder for a yard, no access to the Mianus (no easy access when the cops don’t cut it down, a rope swing allows visiting swimmers to drop in), and just 0.16 of an acre to build on. Notwithstanding those limitations it found a buyer last June, only to have the deal fall through. Now it’s done it again.

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The madness continues

Two sales that have me scratching my head.

78 Havemeyer Lane

78 Havemeyer Lane

78 Havemeyer Lane, bidding war – a bidding war! – asked $609,000, sold for $650,000. Was this the result of an online auction? Could the buyer possibly have actually visited the property and taken in the ambiance of Havemeyer Lane? The mind boggles.

6 Lake Drive So., Rvsd

6 Lake Drive So., Rvsd

In Riverside, naturally, another surprising sale, 6 Lake Drive South, pressed up against a cliff and across the street from Riverside train station, asked $2.495 an sold for $2.353 million. This is a tired old house of undistinguished pedigree on a half-acre. It couldn’t sell in 2007, or 2009, so it as rented out; never a prescription for improvement, and returned to the market just a short time ago when, of course, it sold. With a picture that was probably taken in February of 2007. Gosh.

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Not to make light of a tragedy, but we should probably have seen this coming

Anyone who traveled regularly past the DeMaio home on Round Hill Road was bound to note its most prominent feature, the huge fountain in its front yard. Who puts fountains in the front yard of their New Jersey mansions? The Mafia and the Russian mob, that’s who, and while you can move a Jersey mansion to Greenwich – especially a pre-fab one, you can’t leave the mobster behind. Doubt this? Well here, just as a for instance, is the home where penny stock fraudsters Alan Chalem and Mayir Lehmann were killed by Russians in 1999 (I actually went after the victims once, but I used the NASDAQ arbitration process, not a 9mm).

N’uff said.

Murder most foul

Murder most foul

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Now she wants to kill us

 

First Family Guinea Pig - "see, hasn't hurt HIS brain cells".

First Family Guinea Pig – “see, hasn’t hurt HIS brain cells”.

First Lady Michelle Obama inaugurates campaign to encourage Americans – especially Republicans, presumably – to drink more Dihydrogen Monoxide, (DHMO), a clear, colorless, chemical compound that’s been labelled “the most dangerous substance on earth”. Will these people stop at nothing?

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You can’t fix stupid

The Democrat brain on crack

The Democrat brain on crack

Democrat chairman Debby Wasserman, a perennial candidate for dumbest, most prevaricating member of Congress,  claims that “voter suppression” caused the anti-gun control voters to win in Colorado.

“The recall elections in Colorado were defined by the vast array of obstacles that special interests threw in the way of voters for the purpose of reversing the will of the legislature and the people,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. “This was voter suppression, pure and simple. “….[l]awsuits filed by the likes of “the NRA, the Koch brothers and other right wing groups who know what when more people vote, Democrats win,” actually prevented voters from sending in their ballots.”

That’s pretty rich, considering that her Democrats passed the law in the first place by holding closed hearings, cut off emails from constituents and rushed the law through so as to get it done before emotions had calmed after Sandy Hook. Remind you of Democrat tactics here in Connecticut and New York?

In any event, Debby, Democrats did vote in the recall election and they voted to toss the bastards out. Especially angry, it seems were women and blue collar, Hispanic workers. according to this analysis.

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Only if you stop stuffing your face

Daily Mail asks, “Can ‘miracle knickers give you a peachy bottom?

Not here in America, land of the omnivorous, as this photograph of one of our Democrat candidates shows.

 

Shopping for supplies for Cos Cob Democrat Clam Bake (Photo credit, Farricker)

Shopping for supplies for Cos Cob Democrat Clam Bake
(Photo credit, Farricker)

 

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Racism in our schools

All for naught

All for naught

Why can’t poor children learn anymore?

Liz Peek, The Fiscal Times:

One of the lesser-broadcast features of the most recent jobs report is that unemployment for African-Americans actually ticked higher, to 13 percent, even as the rest of the country held even at 7.3 percent. Unemployment for Hispanics was 9.3 percent and for Asians 5.1 percent. Also worrisome, the number of African-American adults who held jobs actually declined last month, and fewer than 61 percent of blacks are working–the lowest participation rate since 1982.

… Blacks are increasingly left behind, at least in part because their leaders do not demand better schools. The greatest source of “disparate impact” in this country, to borrow a phrase currently popular with the Justice Department, is that most black kids can’t read or write. Upward mobility for the African-American community, tenuous at best, is squashed the minute they enter kindergarten.

Too harsh? Not by half. Consider the results from the recent Common Core testing in New York, one of the first to measure how students meet the new nation-wide standards. Statewide, 31 percent of public school students in grades 3 through 8 were considered proficient in English; only 16 percent of blacks met that test, compared to 50 percent of Asians and 40 percent of whites – results which the state’s education department says reveals “the persistence of the achievement gap.”

Only 15 percent of black kids were deemed proficient in math, while 60 percent of Asians and 38 percent of whites made the cut. It begs saying that results across the board are appalling; but that less than one in five black kids can read or write with any fluency is truly criminal.

The shocking outcome of New York’s tests immediately sparked criticism – mostly directed at the test, as opposed to the teachers or schools that are presumably preparing our children.

Public school teachers and administrators are always quick to find another culprit when their students come up short. For poor black children, they blame the collapse of the African-American family, pervasive poverty, inadequate school funding – the list goes on and on. The only problem with this finger pointing is that some educators are able to break through those very real barriers.

Eva Moskowitz, head of the Success Academies in Harlem and the South Bronx, left every other public school in the dust in the recent testing. SuccessAcademyBronx 2, with an 85 percent poverty rate and not one white or Asian student in the test pool, outperformed every other city school; 97 percent of the kids achieved “proficiency” in math and 77 percent in English.

To the extent I’ve been following the NYC Mayoral race, it seems that the winner of yesterday’s Democrat primary, Bill De Blasio, promises to handcuff the police and close or restrict schools like the Success Academies. We don’t need any more disgruntled policemen – we already have a surfeit – but if New York City doesn’t want her, perhaps we should ask Eva Moskowitz to come to our own troubled schools and help out. At the very least, maybe we should form another committee so beloved in Greenwich and send its members down to Harlem to see what Moskowitz is doing and how she’s getting the results that she does. That would be a better expenditure of our money that introducing “digital learning tools”, which strikes me as just another expensive “fix”, just like all the other fixes we try, to divert attention from our failures.

Any such committee should be comprised entirely of non-union teachers and citizens not affiliated in any way with our BOE or its employee Dr. McKiersie, people who are determined to keep the present failing structure in place. Of course, any reforms we might try to introduce in Connecticut would be thwarted by our local Democrats and their allies in Hartford, blacks and whites, but at least we’d know what we’re missing.

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