Boy, six, suspended from school for four days after package of cheese crisps is discovered in his lunch box. Why such leniency? England has ended capital punishment for those under seven. “But he’d better watch it next year,” vowed headmaster Jeremy Meek,”or we’ll show the little rat-bastard what for.”
Monthly Archives: January 2014
A reader commented today on the disparity between 17 Hendrie Avenue, in Riverside, asking $4.2 million, and 18 Porchuck Road, back country/Merritt, asking $4.5:
Wow, 18 Porchuck looks like an incredible value albeit possibly noisy.
The difference for me is that it looks like a mansion that costs millions and millions whereas in any other place (north carolina comes to mind), 17 Hendrie is just a nice newish house on a small piece of land.
The discrepancy is easily explained: no one wants 18 Porchuck’s style house any more – that’s not just my opinion, the market is shouting that conclusion. Ogilvy brought it on 18 months ago for $9.5 million and has chopped that price all the way down to $4.5 and still can’t sell it (by the way, I was gently chided by a friend at this morning’s GAR meeting for telling the NYT “for houses asking $10 million and up, my rule of thumb is to divide the price by two, although the owner’s ego always makes that hard to do.” My colleague thought that was unduly harsh but, while I can’t do high math, it seems to me that this house bears out that algorithm quite nicely.)
I digress. My point is, I remember the couple that own this house as being lovely, successful people with a beautiful home in Riverside. As the husband achieved the very top of his profession and the children grew older, they shucked Riverside and moved on up to the back country to buy this old, 1931 house that, in 1980, still spoke of arrival-of having made it. That’s what people did back then, but they don’t do it now; they don’t want to. Riverside is now aspirational, the back country is just, for most buyers, an out of the way place, rarely visited.
Things could swing back, there might be a resurgence in demand for brown furniture and dark houses with leaded windows, six miles from town, but probably not soon. There are certainly still people who like this style of house but the trouble is, most of them are old, and aren’t interested in taking on 12,000 square feet of home. Younger people seem to want something different.
My guess is that 18 Porchuck will eventually sell for land value, whatever that is – nine acres on the Merritt’s a tough one to value, but I’d think not too far off what the place is asking for now. We’ll know if I’m right if the house is still standing a year after the property sells. I say it won’t.
7 Dwight Lane has finally sold after almost four years for $3.3 million. This was a wreck of a house when it was sold at foreclosure auction for $2.5 million in 2008, and the buyers put a lot of money into fixing it up before returning it to the market in 2010 for $4.125. $3.3 is not an insignificant sum, but I’d guess that after paying for those repairs and improvements plus commissions, taxes and carrying costs, the sellers didn’t make much, if anything, for their labors.
Gambling on real estate in fringe areas is risky.
LONDON (AP) — Prince Charles… said it was “baffling … that in our modern world we have such blind trust in science and technology that we all accept what science tells us about everything – until, that is, it comes to climate science.”
Perhaps that blind trust was shattered when it was discovered that Charlie’s science pals have been engaged in exaggeration, half-truths and outright fraud. It’s unsurprising that the man who would be king would like to see a return to blind trust in one’s betters, but while the masses once were blind, now they see.
In recent decades, while some outdoor play—climbing trees, jumping rope, playing tag—faded as a childhood pastime, organized sports remained relatively strong. But that bright spot is dimming.
Social networking, videogames and other technology may be drawing children away from sports. As many as 140 kids used to try out for 45 slots on the baseball team at Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, Kan. Today, fewer than 45 kids try out, says George Sallas, the school’s athletic director.
“Kids are more trained now to stay at home and play videogames,” he says. “Sports don’t intrigue them.”
Fifteen-year-old Jessica Cronin is the daughter of a former three-sport high-school athlete. But Jessica doesn’t participate in high-school sports, choosing to spend her time outside of class volunteering in her community and going to her temple youth group each Wednesday. “I considered doing track, but it takes up so much time,” said Ms. Cronin, a sophomore at Bethlehem Central High School in Delmar, N.Y.
Football faces another hurdle: growing concern that concussions and other contact injuries can cause lasting physical damage.
Some public-health officials believe the risks associated with playing football and other sports are overblown, especially compared with the risks of not playing anything at all. “In terms of overall health, I’m more concerned about an inactive child than a child suffering a head injury,” says Cedric X. Bryant, Chief Science Officer for the American Council on Exercise.
Oscar Wilde said, “To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.” I’d say misplacing a firehouse and an entire crew falls into the latter category.
It amazes me the amount of time folks spend on their machines, not necessarily on business or letters, but just plain exploring. I must confess I sat down and did some diddling with my computer and, lo and behold, I discovered a lot of stuff all about me!
My columns? This I could understand. But pictures of me on horseback, as a little girl in Belle Haven, at parties of the Greenwich Riding and Trails Association? How in the world did they get there? I don’t like it, and I wonder, if there is anything I can do about it. Unfortunately, I asked some friends who are big in the computer world and their answer was a definite “no.” So much for that.
Curious myself, I Googled “Norma Bartol” in “images” and sure enough, the first picture that turns up is one of a very attractive young woman standing near her horse. I won’t publish that here, out of deference to her sensitivity to appearing in the mass media, but yes, the days of minding one’s business and expecting others to mind theirs is long gone. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I’ve advanced that process in a tiny way.
The study by Pavel Yakovlev and Walter P. Guessford of Duquesne University in Pennsylvania shows a direct correlation between political beliefs and the demand for alcohol. The study compares sales of alcoholic beverages against the political leanings of a state’s members of Congress, as ranked by liberal organizations Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) and the AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education (COPE).
UPDATE: Maybe this will shift the nation right: WSJ reports on artisanal “mocktails – non-alcoholic drinks made with premium ingredients and care. They sound good and, if they catch on with liberals, we can retake the Senate in November.
“We put so much care into our alcoholic drinks, it seems crazy that when someone asks for something soft, we would just hand them a Coke,” said Bryan Dayton, Acorn’s barman and co-owner. He’s been astonished at how many nonalcoholic drinks Acorn sells. “It’s not just pregnant women and teetotalers. It’s people who are health-conscious, who need to work the next day. It’s people ordering nonalcoholic after two drinks because they need to stay sharp at a business dinner.”
Mr. Dayton is one of many bartenders who said they’ve noticed a shift in patrons’ attitudes in recent years. There is the health consideration cited by Mr. Dayton above, and drunk-driving laws are tougher than ever, two factors that may be contributing to a culture of more measured alcohol consumption.
“The whole ‘mixology’ craze has been spurred by people wanting to consume less and be more knowledgeable about what they drink. People just aren’t drinking the way they did years ago,” said Eben Freeman, the noted New York barman who currently runs the extensive bar program at Michael White’s Altamarea Group of restaurants. “People now feel comfortable saying to the bartender, ‘Make me a nonalcoholic cocktail.’ That rarely happened even five or 10 years ago.”
I left after about the 15th committee report, actually, because a man can only stand so much excitement. I really just went to see who wanted to attack me to my face – no one, it turned out, but that’s not to say that there isn’t a fair amount of backbiting going on. Hey, if I dish it out, I’d better be prepared to take it.
Gmail is down this morning – related to the slight acrimony referred to in the above paragraph? I think not, but it’s annoying.
The Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, New Jersey, is offering a course called Politicizing Beyonce, which examines ‘American race, gender, and sexual politics.’
Kevin Allred, a doctoral student who is teaching the class, told Rutgers Today: ‘This isn’t a course about Beyonce’s political engagement or how many times she performed during President Obama’s inauguration weekend.’
The class supplements an analysis of Beyonce’s videos and lyrics with readings from black feminists. Allred says he’s seeking to help students think more critically about media consumption.
His course will focus on the star who has number of alter-egos as a performer, role model, fashion designer, mother and wife.
The fact that Rutgers, like all modern universities, even has a “Department of Women’s and Gender Studies” pretty much explains the high unemployment rate for graduates. And how about instructor Allred, who’s getting a doctorate in the subject so that, presumably, he can go on to teach the next generation of starry-eyed dolts.
‘She certainly pushes boundaries,’ Allred said. ‘While other artists are simply releasing music, she’s creating a grand narrative around her life, her career, and her persona.’
The lecturer will only assign readings by black feminist writers on his course, such as bell hooks, Alice Walker and Sojourner Truth.
Allred explained that he discovered the work of these women in the library while growing up in Utah. ‘Their work resonated with me in ways that other content hadn’t,’ Allred said.
‘I found myself identifying with their writing because racism, sexism, homophobia, and privilege are larger systems under which we all operate,’ he added.
Rutgers also has a class examining the theology of Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics.
Lest you think that this blight is confined to the University of New Jersey, take note: Georgetown University has a class called The Sociology of Hip-Hop: The Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z, focusing on Beyonce’s rapper husband.”
State Department (the State Department?) concludes that Keystone pipeline will not exacerbate CO2 emissions because the tar sands in Canada will be developed anyway, whether or not the oil is sold to the US.
Obama originally kicked the issue over to the State Department to avoid having to anger his base or Americans interested in cheap energy by deciding either way. Now that this obvious point – the world will continue to run on fossil fuels for a long time – has been conceded, will our leader cave? Ha! Next up, the courts. See you in ten years.
Republican leaders are ramming through an amnesty bill – the illegals benefitted by amnesty will still vote Democrat, the legal citizens who oppose it will stay home and the Republicans will remain in the minority. They don’t call it the stupid party for nothing.
A friend and reader suggests that when the NYT profiles a pessimistic real estate agent in Greenwich it’s probably a sign that the bottom’s been reached and values are about to soar. I’m inclined to agree, but in the same vein, there’s this quote from an “expert” in Bloomberg on the collapse of emerging market currencies:
Declines will prove temporary, much as they did in 1998, according to Mark Matthews, the Singapore-based head of Asia research for Bank Julius Baer & Co. Like then, the latest selloff comes after a five-year advance lifted valuations above historical averages. The S&P 500 traded as high as 17.4 times annual profit in December, the most expensive level in almost four years, data compiled by Bloomberg show. In 1998, stocks rebounded from a 19 percent drop that came as currency turmoil in Asia and Russia spread to developed markets.
The most vulnerable emerging markets “have already reached a bottom in terms of their ‘badness,’” Matthews said. “Even if they do continue to see economic slowdown, I cannot believe it would be enough to derail the strong U.S. recovery.”
So two conflicting signals – take your pick.
Marion Boucher Holmes, who left Wall Street to buy a doomed bookstore in Old Greenwich in 2008, is reportedly launching a hedge fund.
Boucher Holmes is forming Post Crossing Asset Management in Greenwich. The firm will invest primarily in loans, according to a story in the Jan. 29 edition of Hedge Fund Alert.Hedge Fund Alert is also reporting that Boucher Holmes is tapping as chief operating officer Gerald Lee, who was previously general counsel of debt-fund operator Plainfield Asset Management, which was started by Boucher Holmes’ husband, Max Holmes.
Plainfield closed in early 2013 after getting “clocked during the credit crisis,” Hedge Fund Alert reported. Max Holmes won’t be involved with his wife’s hedge fund.
I love books, and I loved old fashioned book stores, but I only continued to patronize Just Books because its then-owner Warren Cassell was a friend, mentor and a champion of my writing. It was clear by 2000 that the big box stores like Borders had doomed the independents, and when Amazon appeared, it was over. Warren sold in 2002 and retired. The next owner tried to keep the enterprise going and failed. Anyone who, in 2008, thought that an independent bookstore could be a wise investment can have my admiration and gratitude, but not my money.
15 Field Road in Riverside, which I mentioned yesterday was temporarily, I think, withdrawn from the market, so no open house, but 17 Hendrie Avenue, $4.195 million was on the tour and I went to see it. Very nice; I saw it when it was new in 2005 and it still looks and feels new. I’d be delighted to link to it but our GMLS apparently wants nothing to do with 15,000 readers looking at its listings so I’ll direct you to Zillow, which thinks it’s worth just $3 million, instead. Isn’t that silly of the Greenwich Association of Realtors? Short sighted?
In any event, it’s a great house. The listing describes it as “almost a 1/2 acre” which is technically true, but much of that is devoted to its driveway – this is a “flag lot”, so called because it resembles a flag: long driveway (pole) leading to the rectangular house/yard portion, the “flag”. All that said, there’s a decent little back yard, overlooked by the neighbors but these days, no one seems to care about that.
What does count is the interior, which is beautiful. This was built by Nick Barile nine years ago and touring it, you’ll understand why so many of us recommended him and his company back then: he built a great house. Perhaps, if he straightens out his finances he’ll do so again, but that’s irrelevant to evaluating this home.
Can it command $4+ million? Sure, or very close to it. Hendrie Avenue has seen several houses sell for $4 million (ish), and this is as nice as those. It’s an easy walk to both Eastern and Riverside schools, and the train, and there’s enough yard to play video games on. Good deal.
Or at the least, root for Derrick Coleman to play a great game. Nice story, nice gesture.
Floren said she has no plans for next January when her term will expire.
“You know, as Yogi Bear says, `You come to a fork in the road and you take it,'” she said.