Daily Archives: June 5, 2014

Pool owners:

Town workshop June 19th on private pool regulations. Pools kill far more (by a factor of 100) children than do guns, yet many parents don’t appreciate the danger. This might be a good expenditure of your time, just to catch up on what might make your pool safer. Not one of those things you want to learn after a tragedy.

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The country would be better off if we arrested the winners

Candidate arrested after she loses primary

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I often wish I had the money to sell short

 

Even two fads in one couldn't save it

Even two fads in one couldn’t save it

“Crumbs” Cupcake chain going belly up.  Well of course it is; how many cupcakes can people eat, or even want to eat? The bankers who brought this out at $13 made a killing and even before it debuted, it was obviously a short sale. Damn. It’s now at 27¢, and will soon be gone entirely.

Eat our product, look like our staff!

Eat our product, look like us!

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Here’s one trader who’s getting nervous

 

6 Fitch Lane

6 Fitch Lane

6 Fitch Lane, $719,000, gone in fourteen days. I thought it was a great little house and I’m not at all surprised it was snapped up, but it’s bound to feel a bit cramped for the down-sized, suddenly-redundant trader who’s buying it.

(Okay, that’s a joke – I have no idea who the buyer is)

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New Listings

 

107 Patterson

107 Patterson

107 Patterson Avenue, $4.750 million.  I can’t necessarily vouch for the price, but it certainly looks like a beautiful home. It sold, renovated, for $3.9 million in 2010 and, while it says it was “reinvented” in 2013, I’m not sure what that means or how much that’s worth.

9 Stallion Trails

9 Stallion Trails

Further north, 9 Stallion Trails has come on, asking $3.950 million. There was a sale here in the threes, once: 12 Stallion, $3.150, in 2007, but other than that, the record for the street seems to be around $2.5, so this will be breaking new ground, if it sells.

Stallion suffers from being right on the Merritt Parkway. And many of the development’s houses, like this one, were sheathed with Dryvit, that plastic stucco-like material that some people are suspicious of.  You can read the pros and cons of the material here, but I don’t personally think it’s worth the risk and the hassle of monitoring its structural integrity. Your opinion may vary.

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Which is one of the reasons the military warned against it

 

Off to visit the prisoners

Off to visit the prisoners

Taliban euphoric over release of their “five heroes”, vow to capture more Americans. A lesson that I’m sure hasn’t escaped other terrorists around the world.

Asked whether the Taliban would be inspired by the exchange to kidnap others, he laughed. “Definitely,” he says. “It’s better to kidnap one person like Bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless people. It has encouraged our people. Now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird.”

 

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Shhh! Owners may be listening in

Even illiterates can do it

Even illiterates can do it

I was speaking with another agent today while on the open house tour and he told me that, with the advent of all these mini-survellience cameras with sound capability, homeowners have started surreptitiously monitoring home showings. Some owners are just petty, complaining to their own agent, for instance, that the  buyer’s agent pointed out the outdated kitchen (duh), but what if the buyers discuss a potential offer, or anything else they might not want to share with the seller?

In the absence of a warning, it’s probably wise to assume that everything you say or do while looking at a house is being monitored, probably live, by the absent owner. Gives a new meaning to “buyer beware”.

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Smart Diplomacy™

Well, EXCEPT for that

Well, EXCEPT for that

Obama: Allies “in lockstep” in confronting Russia

France defies allies, will sell two warships to Russia

Democratic lawmakers are signaling concern with the White House’s approach. U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), along with U.S. Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) and Bill Keating (D-Massachusetts) sent a letter to the president late last week urging him to publicly oppose the sale.

“Mr. President, Members of the NATO Alliance cannot continue to arm Russia – let alone arm her with high-tech military equipment that will only abet its efforts to undermine Eastern European governments that aspire to be modern, European democracies. France, and all NATO allies, must make tough choices when responding to this new, aggressive Russian foreign policy,” the lawmakers wrote.

“We call on you to demand France suspend the sale of these two Mistral Carriers to Russia.”

But the crossed signals between the U.S. and France have been symbolic of a larger, more fundamental disagreement among Western allies with respect to a Russian response.

Members of the European Union have been reluctant all along to impose tough sanctions on the government led by President Vladimir Putin, as many member-states rely on Russia for energy supplies. Sanctions also need to be decided upon unanimously by the EU, making tough talk by individual countries nothing more than a bluff.

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Blood bath in the canyons

Lockwood & Mead's new advertising campaign

Lockwood & Mead’s new advertising campaign

WSJ: Traders going to get slashed.

A tough stretch for Wall Street traders is about to get even tougher. Slammed by declining revenue, the trading businesses inside the biggest global investment banks are expected to suffer job losses that could run into the thousands by the end of the year, according to people at the firms and recruiters who specialize in financial-services positions.

The culprit: a persistent gap between revenue and employment. For the 10 largest global investment banks, trading revenue for fixed-income, currencies and commodities, or FICC, units in the first quarter plunged 15.7% from the same period a year earlier, according to data from research consultancy Coalition. The number of FICC traders, researchers and salespeople, meanwhile, fell just 4.8% over that period.

“There are too many people on these trading floors,” said Richard Stein, senior partner at executive-search firm Caldwell Partners. “All the large U.S. banks will be looking in a draconian way to get rid of head count.” Mr. Stein said he expects banks to lay off thousands of people in coming months because they are unable to plug the gap with revenue from other businesses.

Cycles come and go on Wall Street, and firms routinely hire people when business turns up and eliminate jobs when it heads south.

But bankers increasingly worry that the downturn in trading that started last year is part of a broader sea change. Tough new rules on risk and capital, along with a sharp slowdown in market volatility, have made trading less profitable for big banks in the past few years, and banks are coming to grips with the possibility that conditions will remain weak long into the future.

Mere doctors and lawyers don’t earn enough to support current Greenwich prices, although perhaps drug dealers do.

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Forget about Alfred E. Neuman, Obama’s now lost Mr. Tingle

 

Barry, you should worry

Barry, you should worry

Chris Mathews denounces White House for its “Swift Boat” smear.

“I’ve had a few [White House] aides . . . refer to this, they didn’t expect the ‘swift-boating’ of Bergdahl, trying to bring back memories of the whole political fight with John Kerry back in 2004,” NBC reporter Chuck Todd told Matthews.

“Wait a minute,” Matthews responded. “Wait a minute. Swift-boating is totally misused here. Swift-boating is when you make up stories and misconstrue the evidence — you don’t like the way John Kerry opposed the Vietnam War when he came back and turned it into an attack on his service over there. Totally dishonest.”

“These are questions raised about a guy who left post, wrote letters, sent signals that he was leaving post as a matter of principle, he didn’t believe in the war effort,” he continued angrily. “And we don’t know what’s worse here, but the idea — where’s the dishonesty in the portrayal of Bergdahl so far? I haven’t seen it.”

“What’s been misconstrued about him so far?” Matthews asked. “I know there have been questions raised. I have those questions. Most Americans do.”

“Chris, I understand,” a nervous Todd responded. “This is not my portrayal. I’m simply reporting to you how the White House is viewing this.”

 

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Contract on Daffodil Lane

 

24 Daffodil Lane

24 Daffodil Lane

24 Daffodil Lane, to be precise, $2.450 million. I thought this was a well-priced home, and said so when I reviewed it. More important than my opinion, of course, is a buyers, and someone else obviously liked it to. This was listed for sale for a year back in 2011-2012 at $2.6 million, and wouldn’t move. This time, it sold almost instantly. The house is the same, the price roughly the same – the difference is the improved market.

Kim Horton listing.

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Mencken: The strange American ardor for passing laws, the insane belief in regulation and punishment, plays into the hands of the reformers, most of them quacks themselves.

CA bill would bar all sex on college campuses without explicit verbal or written consent.

SB 967, amended last week by state Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), would mandate that college students obtain “an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.”

Last month, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released a list of 55 schools that face federal probes into their handling of sexual assault cases. De Leon said his bill is meant to confront sexual assault problems head-on.

“Obviously, there is a problem,” he said in the report. “SB 967 will change the equation so the system is not stacked against survivors [WTF? – Ed]  by establishing an affirmative consent policy to make it clear that only ‘yes’ means ‘yes.'”

According to the language of the bill, “consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual encounter, and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.”

Condom? Pre-printed consent form, witnessed and notarized? Referee by bedside? You may kiss your date.

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