Daily Archives: March 25, 2014

But global warming is still the greatest danger

 

So if I understand you, Al,  nukes don't release CO2? That's great news.

So if I understand you, Al, nukes don’t release CO2? That’s great news.

Obama “concerned” about a nuclear weapon exploding in New York City. 

Glad to hear that.

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This is either discouraging or terrifying

Students at American University are asked to name one person serving in the United States Senate. They can’t. They can, however, all name the title song to a hit movie going around and I’ll bet that as the result of intensive tutoring they all got, like, really good scores on their SATs, you know?

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Travel light

 

Africa on $10 million a day

Peking on $10 million a day

Obama packs for his four-day trip to Europe: 900 staff, 45 vehicles, three planes for his own use.

Michelle has just 70 staff members with her on her own vacation, but then, her suite at the Westin is costing us $8,500 a night, so perhaps Barry made her economize.

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Low end continues to move

 

29 Evergreen Rd

29 Evergreen Rd

29 Evergreen Road, a half-acre off lower Lake and priced at $1.250 million, reports a contract after six days. In fact, when I called to show it last Saturday, I was informed that it already had an accepted offer so that was what, two days?

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Today, he’d be burned alive by Whole Food shoppers

 

Well nourished porkers demand starvation (for others)

Well nourished porkers demand starvation (for others)

Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution (that would be “genetically altered food”, to you), honored posthumously for saving a billion lives.

A statue was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday of plant scientist Norman Borlaug, the man widely considered the father of the Green Revolution and whose work helped save as many as 1 billion people from starvation in the developing world.

Borlaug, who died in 2009 and would have celebrated his 100th birthday today, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for developing new varieties of wheat that were resistant to disease and had high-yield potential.

The new breeding technique and other advances in agricultural practices that were embraced by farmers in Mexico and Asia, increased food production and helped to save millions from hunger.

According to an obituary in The New York Times, Borlaug’s “breeding of high-yielding crop varieties helped to avert mass famines that were widely predicted in the 1960s, altering the course of history.”

“Because of his achievements to prevent hunger, famine and misery around the world,” The World Food Prize writes on its website, “it is said that Dr. Borlaug has ‘saved more lives than any other person who has ever lived.'”

As usual, Penn & Teller have the scoop.

(Starts at 11:42)

 

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I don’t spend ALL my time blogging, you know

 

26 Taconic Road

26 Taconic Road

26 Taconic Road reports a fully executed contract. Asking price, $5.450 million. My clients did better than that.

Closing next week.

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Bidding war on Northridge

 

68 Northridge

68 Northridge

68 Northridge, Havemeyer, asked $949,000, sold for $975,000. Not that it took any particular genius to predict this, but we did mention what was likely to happen a month ago, when it first came on.

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The Malcolm Pray House

566 Round Hill Rd

566 Round Hill Rd

Broker open house held today for 566 Round Hill Road, the home of the late Malcolm Pray, listed for $10.995 million. To be honest, without the outsized personality of the Volkswagen King energizing it, the home appears rather threadbare and forlorn, a 1931 home of so-so design badly in need of restoration. Formica kitchen countertops, old drafty windows, baths that must have been dazzling in 1967 but seem a tad dated today, and a layout that devotes much of the 9,000 square feet to small servants cubicles. Hmm.

There’s nothing here that couldn’t be fixed, but it would cost millions of dollars to do that and, to my taste, the building doesn’t merit the effort or expense. That, of course, is just my opinion, and the lines and layout may appeal to you. In which case, go at it: the grounds are beautiful, even if you have no use for a twenty-car garage.

If I had to guess, I’d say this will eventually sell for its not-inconsiderable land value. Eight acres (I don’t think there’s enough to subdivide) is worth many millions. Eleven of those millions? I think not.

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195 Bible Street

After writing about this bank-owned property yesterday, I stopped by to see it today. It’s got some potential. It’s perched way up atop a rock outcrop, which limits its yard and, given the condition of the house itself, makes me worry a bit about the integrity of the stone retaining walls holding everything up. But the height gives it a decent view, exposes it to summer breezes, and affords an opportunity to piss on Denise Savageu’s head as she screams about the floods sure to come down below. No FEMA zone here.

Inside, the house is dark, dark dark, due in part to the previous owners’ taste for cheap wood panelling. There’s a nice master bedroom suite layout down a couple of steps at one end of the house and three bedrooms, two tired baths on the other. Everything in here should be gutted, from kitchen to baths to panelling to electric, and so forth. It looks to me that the roof has failed, including the sheathing, but as long as you were doing that you could raise the height and bring in more light.

The deck is so rotten that the bank’s festooned it with yellow hazard take to warn people off, and the mold under the eaves is thick, black and ominous.

All that said, you could probably do a lot of work on this place for, say, $250,000, and if you picked the house up for $750,000 – the bank’s asking $1.250 million, but there’s no reason you should join them in their delusion – you’d be all in for around a million. You could knock it down and build new, but the site is not going to support a hugely expensive home, so I’d be wary.

Deer hunter’s paradise; not only does it abut the archery club’s 26 acres of no-hunting sanctuary,  the deer must love this place, as it’s knee-deep in deer droppings. Set up a tree stand where the gazebo is now, and buy a freezer. Good stuff.

Deck repair needed

Deck repair needed

View from atop

View from atop

Bambi was here

Bambi was here

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As though Lyme disease weren’t enough for them to worry about

 

Coming our way

Coming our way

Wolf-dogs on the prowl in south-eastern Connecticut.

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Will no one rid us of this meddlesome clan?

 

What do you mean, how am I qualified? I'm a Kennedy!

What do you mean, how am I qualified? I’m a Kennedy!

Ted Kennedy Jr. considering run for Connecticut Senate. Just a year ago, he whispered an intention to run in Massachusetts for Kerry’s vacant seat but as a Connecticut resident, he didn’t have a leg to stand on.

What, other than a tragic past (and in Teddy Jr’s case, the ability to deliver a rousing stump speech), qualifies these people to trouble our country? From Teddy the First to Bobby Junior to Caroline to Patrick to … there’s not one of the spawn that’s demonstrated any ability to serve as a representative of the people. Worse still, the third generation of entitlement, Teddy III, announced as an 11-year-old that he’d be claiming the Massachusetts Senate seat just as soon as he was of eligible age.  God help us.

The next petulant Kennedy scion

The next petulant Kennedy scion

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I’ll admit it: even I wasn’t crazy enough to try this back when I was young and stupid

And now that I’m old and stupid, no way.

World Trade Center jumpers release video.

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So buy some ear muffs, like our president

Ear muffs on for safety

Ear muffs on for safety!

I see that 20 Cobb Island Drive has reduced its price to $2.295 million, from $2.395. Cobb Island was a mini-development put up by former Jet Randy Rasmussen in 1990 in a failed attempt at a second career – all or most of them went in foreclosure. The plus side is a beautiful view down Cos Cob Harbor to the Sound, the downside is I-95 roaring in the back yard. Tough sell.

But this is a good looking house, and for this kind of money, it certainly seems worth considering putting up with the “babbling brook” chatter of semis on their way up to Boston.

20 Cobb Island

20 Cobb Island

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If you count out-of-town agents angling for business there, it’s an even larger number

 

Stand out from the competition

Stand out from the competition

More real estate agents in New Canaan than there are houses for sale. Same is true for Greenwich, probably by a factor of two. That sounds daunting for would-be agents, and it should be, but 90% of those agents aren’t really competition.

New Canaan has a high rate of well-educated women who do not work outside of the home, making the idea of starting up a real estate business on the side seem very attractive, and perhaps explaining why residential real estate is dominated by women across the nation. In total, 71 percent of New Canaan women over the age of 25 have at least their bachelor’s degree, including 32 percent who have a master’s degree and higher, yet the percentage of New Canaan’s married women who are not in the workforce is 61 percent.

But even among the most highly educated hobby Realtors, the ventures often don’t last, Bubbico said. “You really can’t do this part time. It’s a full-time profession, and the people who try to do it part time usually don’t last very long,” Bubbico said.

[T] here is a contingent of real estate agents with goals of selling just a house or two … maybe to save themselves from paying commission when they place their own home on the market. In New Canaan, that can be a lot of money. Saving a 5 percent bite of the town’s average listing price of $2.75 million figures out to about $138,000 back in the seller’s pocket. “You have a lot of agents that get their licenses so they can sell their own house, or maybe they know their parents are going to put their house on the market, or their best friend,” Bubbico said.

“When you’re involved in your child’s activities, you’re standing at the sidelines, you become friends with the parents of your children’s friends,” said [agent] Wippern. “So that’s a big source of referrals, clients. ‘You know, I was thinking about moving,’ and their friend says, ‘Oh, well I’m a broker. I just started being a broker.'”

Those kind of sideline relationships do siphon off some business, but if someone’s willing to spend several million dollars on the advice of someone “who just started” to be a broker, or whose knowledge of the market is limited to her tennis club friends’ sales of their own houses, there’s not much to do about it. Fine by me.

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Eco-warriors discover that the yolk’s on them

 

Criminal waste

Criminal waste

British grocery chain switching from cardboard egg cartons to plastic in bid to reduce waste.

Traditional cardboard egg cartons are to be replaced by recyclable plastic packaging to save more than a million free range eggs from going to waste each year. Most eggs are currently sold in pulp cartons so if there are any breakages during delivery, the egg can leak through the box and damage other surrounding packs. Following a successful trial, Britain’s biggest egg retailer Tesco is now replacing the packaging of its free range eggs.

I can hear the kids at GHS, who seem to be constantly at war with plastic food containers, clicking away on their calculators now: energy cost of producing 1 million eggs vs.  83,333 plastic cartons. It’s close; very close. Oh, the dilemma! The uproar over “unnecessary” food packaging, which flares up in the media every few years when a bored reporter is looking for something old to write about, always ignores the alternative: in Third World countries like India, Mexico and SoHo, it’s estimated that a third-to-a-half of all food rots before getting to market. Waste not, want not.

Whole Foods shopper discovers basic rule of omelette making

Whole Foods shopper discovers basic rule of omelette making

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As college acceptances are mailed out and you’re contemplating parting with your money to educate your daughter or that lisping son, contemplate this

 

$50,000 per year

$50,000 per year

Swarthmore College holds celebration of fat day.

Swarthmore College hosted a “Fat Justice and Feminism” seminar during which students were told that President Ronald Reagan “fucked everything up” for fat people, that the Body Mass Index was invented by white supremacists and — for good measure — that communism is superior to capitalism… at least for fat people.

The seminar was taught by feminist activists Cora Segal and Nicole Sullivan, who describes herself as an “angry, man-hating lesbian,” according to Campus Reform. It took place last week, and was chronicled by Paige Willey, a correspondent for The Swarthmore Independent, who was unpersuaded by the duo’s “litany of strawmen” and “unscientific approach.” Willey transcribed some of Segal and Sullivan’s worst arguments, including their unsubstantiated attack on Reagan and promotion of the idea that obesity is healthy:

Ronald Reagan is partially responsible for all suffering of fat people, as he “f*cked everything up.” [No specific evidence about Reagan’s perverse policies or animosity toward obese people was offered.]

“Overweight people live longer. They’re better protected from heart disease.”

Sullivan and Segal also explored the notion that communism and socialism were superior economic systems to capitalism, because capitalism promotes the oppression of fat people and the tyranny of healthy eating.

And you might want to worry that your money will be spent on your child spending it on any of this:

The event was co-sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center, History Department, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Interpretation Theory and the Worth Health Center.

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