Daily Archives: February 5, 2014

Monty Python now runs England

Policeman who made a world-wide ass of himself awarded £430,000 for lost pension

A police officer filmed smashing the windows of a Range Rover in a video clip which became an internet sensation has won more than £400,000 after claiming he was ‘ridiculed’ out of his job.

Former Pc Mike Baillon, 42, won the payout when an industrial tribunal said he had lost out on his future pension and some earnings when he quit his job.

He had told the tribunal he was the butt of daily mockery by his colleagues in Gwent Poilce because of the YouTube video.

The former traffic constable told the tribunal: ‘The ridicule from colleagues was getting to me – it was every single day.

Mr Baillon had claimed a total of £750,000 in damages, but his complaints, which included hurt feelings and personal injury, were rejected by the tribunal.

It upheld his claim for loss of pension and awarded £429,434.64, and a further £10,000 for lost earnings.

Mr Baillon, who was 42 when he quit the force and is now 47, now runs a business making wooden decorative reindeer.

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Old photos of Greenwich Avenue

An anonymous reader passes along these two photos, top one of uncertain age, bottom one possibly taken around 1963, of the Morgan Manhattan building at the Bruce Park Ave/Greenwich Ave intersection, taken by the father of a Mr. Tom Horton, of Cos Cob.

(Morgan Manhattan warehouse left)

–(Warehouse, Right)
Bottom of Greenwich Avenue


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Experienced businessman or career politician – which would you choose to run your country?

Next time, YOU have to pick up after her

Next time, YOU have to pick up after her

Ex-KBG chief Vladimir Putin spends $50 billion at Sochi and can’t produce enough pillows for Olympic athletes to rest their heads on.

Community organizer Obama spends $1 billon (and climbing) on an ObamaCare website that still doesn’t work.

Mitt Romney, businessman, salvaged the 2002 Olympics, brought them in for $2 billion, and produced a $40 million surplus.

But only a person untainted by experience with private enterprise can be trusted to lead a nation.


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Revolution or home schooling; take your pick

All hail the state

All hail the state

Fresh from eliminating literature from English classes, Common Core turns its attention to math – questions like “was the 2000 election fair? ” are now in the curriculum.

Would you expect your fourth grader to be asked to create a chart of presidents along with their political persuasions? Or, how about a discussion on whether the 2000 presidential election resulted in a “fair” outcome? Or, what if the teacher for your sixth grader was advised to “be prepared” to discuss the “politically charged” 2000 election – all during math.

Common Core aligned, of course.

A curriculum developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics includes all of the above, all provided on the illuminations.nctm.org website, which claims to be the

“primary contributor of resources for teaching and learning mathematics for grades pre-K—12.”

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics will be holding a conference April 9-12 in New Orleans where they will be discussing

“such crucial issues as formative assessment in the common core state standards, number and operations, social justice, teaching computational fluency with understanding, leveraging technology, and supporting new teachers.” [Emphasis added]

Social Justice? During math?

Imagine what the social studies course work will preach.


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End game for 309 Taconic Road?

309 Taconic Rd

309 Taconic Rd

The bankruptcy trustee has accused Stanley Cheslock of “possible fraudulent transfers” and wants to see him in court February 27, the last day by which to pursue such claims. Poor Stan’s been fighting off his creditors for years now, but it’s a good bet that his 23,000 castle atop the hill at 309 Taconic is finally going to be sold off. Zillow, amusingly, estimates the place to be worth $11 million, while the last time it was on the market its price had been cut, slowly, from $20 million + to $9.975.  My guess is that the house is simply too big to hold any attraction to a normal buyer, so unless a Russian turns up at the last minute, it’ll go for land value less the cost of razing it. I say $5 million, but I could be off a million either way.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 6.25.08 PM


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Don’t tell millionaires what they can’t do

100 Club Road

100 Club Road

100 Club Road, waterfront, finally sold yesterday after a long, long time on the market. Ironically, it sold in a bidding war ($4.250 on $3.999 final ask), after starting at $7 million and meeting buyer resistance all the way down. The problem, as I see it, was that the owner of the original estate this land was part of reserved a sightline easement over part of the property to preserve his view. It didn’t significantly affect what you can build new here, but people who can pay, say, $6 million for land are driven absolutely nuts when they learn they can’t do exactly what they please.

I figure this easement knocked a million dollars, easy, off the value.

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From the department of Nothing Better To Do …

Michigan crime stoppers

Michigan crime stoppers

Michigan police track down woman in California who escaped half-way through a 16-month sentence for attempted larceny 37 years ago.

It was not yet clear what evidence led Michigan investigators to the location of Hayman, who was 23 years old and about halfway through a sentence of 16 months to two years when she walked away from the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional facility about 36 miles west of Detroit.

[San Diego police Lt. Steven Mayer] said he was wowed by the investigators’ ability to “put some dots together” and provide San Diego officers with the right address after nearly four decades. “I commend them for their tenacity,” he said. “This is a very old case.”

That’s great work guys, but one question: why?


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Practice run on the national electrical grid?


Don't worry, be happy!

Don’t worry, be happy!

The WSJ’s out with an alarming story about a professional hit on a major substation in CA.

SAN JOSE, Calif.—The attack began just before 1 a.m. on April 16 last year, when someone slipped into an underground vault not far from a busy freeway and cut telephone cables.

Within half an hour, snipers opened fire on a nearby electrical substation. Shooting for 19 minutes, they surgically knocked out 17 giant transformers that funnel power to Silicon Valley. A minute before a police car arrived, the shooters disappeared into the night.


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It’s the sham-application process that’s the problem, not the sudden change in sea level


East Point Lane, low tide

East Point Lane, low tide

Jim Himes and even Dan Malloy want the  state to reconsider denial of aid to homeowners in coastal flood zones.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., is urging the state’s public safety brass to reconsider $18 million in storm aid requests that were denied from shoreline property owners seeking to move their homes to higher ground.

The state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection last week rejected all 94 applications to elevate homes in the coastal flood plain, prioritizing projects to harden municipal infrastructure such as seawalls, levees, bridges and sewer treatment plants instead.

The decision sparked a outcry from elected officials in the coastal communities that Himes represents and were ravaged by Super Storm Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene.

“Their point of view is that citizens should be served first before municipal infrastructure,” Himes told Hearst Connecticut Newspapers on Wednesday. “I think it’s important for the committee to take that into account.”

Himes’ plea for the state to reopen its deliberations comes just days after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ordered the committee in charge of the disbursements to reconvene.

The third-term congressman, who lives on a tributary of Long Island Sound himself, said many coastal property owners were under the impression that they would qualify for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and spent significant sums of money preparing their applications.

Generally speaking, Himes said he understands the misgivings of some taxpayers who object to paying to elevate homes, but he said that the onslaught of storms has created a hardship for many of his constituents who live on the shoreline.

“In the long run, taxpayers should not be subsidizing coastal living,” Himes said. “But the weather is changing dramatically and quickly, so people are experiencing things that they didn’t necessarily buy into when they purchased their homes. In the meantime, we’ve got people who are suffering quite intensely.”

Anyone who built or purchased a home along the coast since the publication of Genesis 5:32-10:1 knew, or should have known, that he was subject to flooding, so Hime’s call to protect the ignorant from their folly doesn’t hold water. On the other hand, the imposition of new zoning rules does, as does the entire aid application process, that encouraged affected home owners to spend thousands of dollars on surveyors and engineers’ fees to complete  requests that were never intended to be granted.

The solution that seems fairest to all is to deny the subsidies but also repeal the zoning regulations and return homeowners to their original position, staying put at their own risk but also under no obligation to raise their homes to a height our P&Z employees feel desirable.


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A sentiment we can all join in


And stay home!

And stay home!

Malloy to legislators and all other non-essential state employees: go home.


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When deadlines collide

The big engine that couldn't

The big engine that couldn’t

(15 hours ago) : Slovenia: World’s best secret Paradise? Why this little country should be on your bucket list”.

(2 hours ago): Frozen Slovenia suffers worst devastation in modern memory. I’d heard WW II was no picnic in the Alps for this country, but whatever; proves that, at least in the publishing world, timing is everything.


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Hysteria hits our educators

 Theresa Nolan encounters artwork

Theresa Nolan encounters artwork

School teachers, administrators object to “no guns here” posters because they’re too scary.

“I think the general public will be alarmed by it and wonder if people have been allowed to bring guns to school in the past,” [Tinley Park High School Principal Theresa Nolan] said. In her 22 years with Bremen Community High School District 228, she said, “I have no knowledge of guns ever being in this building.”

Nolan, and others, take issue with the sticker’s design.

“I would have appreciated something more subtle, yet still recognizable — a logo, perhaps, not a gun,” she said.

“You can’t look at this (sticker) and not think about Sandy Hook,” she said, referring to the 2012 school shooting in Newton, Conn., in which 20 children and six teachers were killed.

Most of us probably can, but then, most of us didn’t major in “education”.  On the positive side, this story finally explains all those incidents where children are expelled from school for pointing fingers at each other and going “bang bang” when playing cops and robbers on the playground, or chewing Pop Tarts into vague resemblances of guns: the adult inhabitants of our school buildings are utterly incapable of distinguishing between the imaginary and the real. Perhaps we should take advantage of this mental deficiency by granting them pretend pay raises, just to shut them up come contract renewal time?

Let’s hope Miss Nolan conducts her shopping on-line, or she might encounter one of these:

No robberies


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Yeah, I was a tad bit skeptical too

"Tatses like chicken" Meal time aboard the Essex

“Tatses like chicken” Meal time aboard the Essex

Doubts arise over castaway’s “13 month ordeal”.

Alvarenga, 37, claims his ordeal began on Dec. 21, 2012, when he and a 15-year-old companion went shark fishing off the coast of Mexico and their engine broke down.

It’s a story that could be ripped from Hollywood — but some people are finding his tale a bit too compelling.

“I may have some doubts,” said Gee Bing, acting secretary of foreign affairs for the Marshall Islands, where Alvarenga washed ashore.

He noted that Alvarenga looked thin when he was found, but he could walk on his own and was not as emaciated as might be expected considering how little he had to eat or drink.

Bing said island officials are investigating Alvarenga’s story, which he told from his bedside in dramatic detail.


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Remind me again why you’re going to Sochi

Sochi cattle relax after drinking

Sochi cattle relax after drinking

Never mid the terrorists poised to blow your legs off with waves of suicide bombers, you’ll have your face peeled off if you touch the water.

Construction work that should have been long since completed is still in full swing on the eve of the Sochi Olympics.

While the main venues and Olympic Village are finished, the area around the Olympic Park and a number of hotels are effectively construction zones, according to widespread reports.

Among the nightmare stories: Hotels with stray dogs in the rooms, hotels without working elevators, and even one hotel that told its guests not to wash their faces with water because it was dangerous.

Combined with the travel nightmares we’re seeing from a variety of journalists, there’s a growing impression that Sochi is not fully ready for the Olympics, despite spending a record ~$50 billion to stage the games.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 6.01.43 AM

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School’s out, forever!

Stay home and watch a great movie

Stay home and watch a great movie like, say, Fargo

Another day, another snow. Works for me – I have no kids in day care and, best of all, I no longer have to pay for the pleasure of a snow storm by adding on extra days to the school year this June. Did they ever install air conditioning at Eastern? Those were miserable days, when we were all ready to be set free for the summer and instead were trapped in hot classrooms, paying penance for the winter’s largess.

Let it snow.


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It’s progress, damn it!

Moving day (eventually) for Morgan Manhattan

Moving day (eventually) for Morgan Manhattan

Well, change, anyway, which is inevitable. Morgan Manhattan Movers wants to convert its warehouse across from  the bottom of Greenwich Avenue next to the RR tracks to residential and retail use. With the disclosure that I know the owner, Jeff Morgan, and represented him as a lawyer a couple of decades ago when he bought his home on Gilliam Lane (Cobra, Jeff and his family bought the Fuller’s – Ryan’s house), I think the project makes sense.

At the foot of Greenwich Avenue near the intersection with Steamboat Road, the space, Morgan said, can be put to better use than stowing moving vans.

The decision to move the moving company’s operations and develop the property for more commercial purposes had been in the works for nearly a decade, and its roots extended well beyond Morgan’s own lifetime. One of his family’s company’s original warehouses was on West 47th Street in what is now midtown Manhattan. When it was first built, sheep grazed on the other side of the street.

“That warehouse became, ultimately, not the highest and best use for the property,” said Morgan. “Eventually, my great-grandfather sold it in the ’20s to a developer who was building a hotel. That hotel is still there today.

“Our business is a 163 years old, this has happened to us many times over the years.”

Like the Manhattan warehouse, the proposed Bruce Park Avenue project is a product of a changing neighborhood and the new economic opportunities that came with it.

“For quite some time, I’ve been getting phone calls saying that building shouldn’t be a warehouse anymore,” said Morgan. “Over the last 10 years some have (suggested the property’s use as) an office, some have even said car dealership. There have been any number of different suggestions, including, of course, retail.”

The proposed building would house up to four retailers, said Morgan, with three taking up the second floor, where the majority of the floor space is located. A smaller retail space of about 1,000 square feet would be on the first floor.

Storing sofas and refrigerators and parking moving vans in prime retail/residential space really doesn’t make sense, for the property owner or even the town. And the additional 104 parking spaces proposed would help ease the shortage of that amenity down there. I’m sure this will take three years of squawking to get through our zoning process; everything does, these days, but eventually, the warehouse will, or should, go.


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