Daily Archives: December 23, 2013

The hottest segment of the market is no longer the $1-$1.5 range

Brother Gideon reports on three recent sales, each $20 million plus.


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Obama secretly extends sign up deadline


Now I didn't say that EXACTLY ...

Now I didn’t say that EXACTLY …

It’s the “secret” part that’s disturbing. What kind of government do we have these days?

Administration officials have surreptitiously extended the Obamacare sign-up deadline to one minute short of Christmas Day, in yet another effort to goose enrollment numbers.

The decision also creates yet another implementation problem for executives at the health-insurance companies, who allied with Obama to push the law through Congress in 2010.

The unannounced change is hidden in software code, which was modified to extend the deadline for people seeking insurance starting Jan. 1.

The Washington Post broke the story, which the administration first denied, then conceded, then reworded its concession. Benghazi lite? Business as usual? Crooks in the White House? Your pick.


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First ObamaCare clinic opens, ahead of schedule

“One treatment, they don’t come back” crows HHS head Kathleen Sebelius. “It’s a friggin’miracle.”


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Will she relocate to Round Hill Road when she gets out?

Ingrid Okun (r) at NY society gathering Photo credit: Michelle-Marie Heinemann

Ingrid Okun (r) at NY society gathering

Tiffany executive will be moving from her $4 million Darien House to the hoosegow after pleading guilty to theft.

A former executive from Tiffany & Co. was sentenced to one year and one day in prison on Friday for stealing more than $1.2 million in jewelry from its famous Fifth Avenue location, a crime that a judge called an inexplicable act of self-destruction by someone who didn’t need the money.

Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun had pleaded guilty this year to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property. Her lawyer had asked for a sentence of six months while the government sought at least three years.

‘I’m very sorry for everything that’s happened,’ a tearful Lederhaas-Okun told the judge before hearing the sentence in federal court in New York City.

‘I can’t express my remorse enough.’

I imagine not. Her husband, hedge funder Robert Okun, tried to reclaim some of the Tiffany jewelry confiscated by the feds, claiming it was rightfully his; the judge did not agree and he told him so, oh oh oh…



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Parkinson’s law on perfect corporate buildings seems to apply to homes, too

I think we'll want a separate entrance for the nanny's suite, don't you, dear?

I think we’ll want a separate entrance for the nanny’s suite, don’t you, dear?

Parkinson’s best known law “work expands to fill the available time” is only one of several, and his law on perfect buildings seems spot on.

When a company or other organization is finally able to plan and build the perfect building for itself, the building best suited to its needs, that organization is in the throes of petrification and death.

Parkinson observed that a vital organization is always working in makeshift quarters, cramped spaces, making do, and splitting up into multiple sites to handle its overflow of employees. The dying organization has time to plan, and perhaps a static target to plan for. Beware of that perfect building. (I’ve worked for three companies that followed this law faithfully; the third time, it was easy to see that the company was obeying this Parkinson law.)

Posted by 
My own observation is that there are a lot of homes put up for sale by divorcing couples in Greenwich shortly after the construction, either of a total renovation or new, is completed. I wonder whether the project has served as a diversion from marital troubles for a few years and then, when it’s done, the couple returns to a normal schedule, spends far more time together, and remembers how much they disliked each other in the first place.
Just a thought.


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11 Knoll Street - cheap!

11 Knoll Street – cheap!

11 Knoll Street, new construction, has been asking $4.695 million and reports a contract today, while still unfinished. It’s on a half-acre of land that sold for $1.706 in October of last year. This throws Riverside land values to another level; a year ago, I’d have said top value for a new house on Knoll would be around $3.4.


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Kalashnikov dies at 94

You say there's a genie in here?

You say there’s a genie in here?

Invented the AK-47.

“Whenever I look at TV and I see the weapon I invented to defend my motherland in the hands of these bin Ladens, I ask myself the same question: ‘How did it get into their hands?’ ” Kalashnikov said in 2006. “I didn’t put it in the hands of bandits and terrorists, and it’s not my fault that it has mushroomed uncontrollably across the globe. Can I be blamed that they consider it the most reliable weapon?”

No he can’t (most of the AK-47s in terrorists hands are counterfeit, anyway). The best biography of the man and his invention is “The Gun”, by  C.J. Chivers. At 498 pages, it provided more information than I needed, but it’s an interesting history of automatic military guns, with a focus on the AK.


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Why not? They wrote it.


No change; no change at all

No change; no change at all

Zero Hedge: Goldman Sachs quickly finds the loopholes in the “Volker Rule” drafted by its colleagues in the administration.

The ink on the final Volcker Rule has not dried yet, and already the TBTF armies of lawyers have found all the loopholes in the rule they need to continue prop trading as if nothing has changed. Enter Goldman Sachs which as the WSJ reported, is raising a new fund, to which it will contribute 20% in capital, which will make investments in commercial real estate-backed loans including office buildings, hotels, and shopping centers. “Goldman has raised more than $1 billion for the new fund, according to people briefed on the matter. The fund aims to boost that total to $2 billion, and Goldman expects to invest “up to 20% of total equity commitments,” according to September marketing documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.” Just how did Goldman get the green light to allocated up to $400 million for what is clearly a prop trading bet: “because regulators excluded many real-estate loans from the tough restrictions on investment funds, allowing Wall Street firms to continue making concentrated bets—sometimes risky ones—with their own capital.” In other words, when it comes to reflating the precious real estate bubble, anything goes.

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This is a woman teaching children, but what is she teaching them?

Paula Cuneo - what's yours is mine, unless I don't want it.

Paula Cuneo – what’s yours is mine, unless I don’t want it.

The WSJ reports on a growing problem for e-retailers: as much as a third of all purchases are returned. Of course, the huge expense this entails is borne by customers, just as the predatory acts of shoplifters are. This particular example caught my eye:

Retailers are zeroing in on high-frequency returners like Paula Cuneo, a 54-year-old teacher in Ashland, Mass., who recently ordered 10 pairs of corduroy pants in varying sizes and colors on Gap Inc. ‘s website, only to return seven of them. Ms. Cuneo is shopping online for Christmas gifts this year, ordering coats and shoes in a range of sizes and colors. She will let her four children choose the items they want—and return the rest.

Ms. Cuneo acknowledged the high costs retailers absorb to take back the clothes she returns, but said retailers’ lenient shipping policies drove her to shop more.

“I feel justified,” she said. “After all, I am the customer.”

I’m sure Ms. Cuneo is a lovely person, but her ethics are those of a freeloader, with a keen sense of entitlement. No wonder she’s a proud member of the NEA.


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Happy Festivus!

Today’s the day.


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If only we’d have had one of these in Mr. Lauredson’s Industrial Arts class at EJHS

Bob Horton reports on the new 3D printer shop on Greenwich Avenue. I wrote about this last August, but now there’s a store on the Avenue where you can see a machine in action, which should be pretty cool, although the home versions being sold sound pretty much like the early computers I sold in 1976, when programs ran on cassette tapes. A couple of  years from now, however, …

Bob notes that a couple of printers have been donated to schools, one to GA, one to Central Middle, and concludes his report by saying, ” I hope to be able to write in a year or so about the cool things students at these schools have done with 3D printing.”

Unless 13-year-old boys have changed horribly for the worse, I know what they’ll be doing when the teacher’s back is turned: churning out 3-D printed guns. Cool.

Hey, kids, try this at home!

Hey, kids, try this at home!


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Wondering why your house won’t sell? Maybe your Realtor has deliberately overpriced it

Jeannemarie, reporting for work

Jeannemarie Phelan, reporting for work

A fellow realtor forwards this, along with the suggestion that it may explain why


Rob’s got spunk – give ‘im a call

certain realtors place such high prices on their listings. Well, there has to be some reason for it- have you checked your home security tapes recently?

Dick and Sandy Weiner (ouch) sue their realtors, claiming the pair overpriced it so they could use it as their private sex pad.

Coldwell Banker realtors Robert Lindsay and Jeannemarie Phelan have allegedly been caught on camera having sex numerous times in a New Jersey home which they were trying to sell about two years ago.

Now they’re being sued by the owners, Denville’s Richard and Sandra Weiner, who claim the agents deliberately steered away potential buyers so they could use the house for their
‘sexual escapades’.[and] intentionally over-priced the home to discourage buyers from December 2011 to January 2012.

According to the suit filed on December 6, the Weiners began working with Lindsay and Coldwell in early 2010 when Lindsay repeatedly told them the Wayne home would sell for $650,000.

On December 27, 2011, security cameras allegedly captured the agents hugging and kissing in the kitchen before undressing and having sex on the Weiners’ bed.

The suit says footage shows the pair allegedly hooking up many more times until they were busted by cops on January 23, 2012.

‘Sandra Weiner happened to be checking the video cameras feed at the time and saw strange people in the house with what she thought were flashlights,’ the suit states.

‘The house was dark at the time. The Weiners called the local police, who then went to the house.

‘The police opened the door to the house and found Lindsay pulling up his pants. Lindsay lied to police by telling them that he was there to prepare the house for an open house.

After watching the footage, the Weiners claim ‘they could no longer use the bedroom or the remainder of the house’ and ‘were uncomfortable and disgusted even being in their house.

“Our slogan is ‘Coldwell Banker Moves'”, Stae Longer, president of Coldwell Banker New Jersey told FWIW, “and the Weiners obviously misunderstood that. I mean, come on, did you see the videos? That Jeanemarie was moving alright, in ways my wife sure as hell never has – Holy Christ!”

(UPDATE: Bob Lindsy has relocated to a solo office in the Preakness Shopping Center, where he offers his “energy and experience” to the ladies, and Jeannemarie is now with Weichert Realty, where she promises “Personal and knowledgeable service that is genuinely responsive to your needs”. Hubba hubba!)


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