Monthly Archives: December 2014

Blumenthal poses for the cameras, again

Vietnam vet, champion Harvard swimmer, and now an Irishman - a man for everyone

Vietnam vet, champion Harvard swimmer, and now an Irishman – a man for all seasons

Holds press conference to demand that the SEC require publicly traded companies to disclose ratio between pay of their CEO and their average worker.

I’d be much more interested in a law requiring senators, including Richard Blumenthal, to disclose the ratio between their net worth and the net worth of the average American citizen. That would be far more illuminating information.


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How odd

28 Dairy Road, $5.695 million, has expired unsold. That in itself isn’t odd – it’s the largest prefab I’m aware of, and sits down off the road – but I cut my teeth on this house back when it was a spec house in 2002 and I was a humble newspaper columnist, ridiculing the baby Brussel sprout-like plantings and the rented Rolls Royce parked in the driveway during broker open houses. It finally sold in 2004 despite those features, for $5.125 million, and came back up in January of this year but, at least as shown in this picture, both the Brussel sprouts and the Rolls are still here! I understand the plantings, although I wonder at their lack of growth the past decade, but do you suppose the car was tossed in as part of the deal?

UPDATE: Too funny – check out the comments from Paolo Tiramani, the builder of this house. Both appear to be authentic. Here’s art of one:

A little more for your readers. The brief for the home was to evoke every stereotypical mansion element we possibly could, taking cues from Baba the elephants mansion to Disney world etc and it shows, with many more elements that I think you have noticed. The idea was to attract the ostentatious buyer, the original website was even called Greenwich mansion to drive home the point and the project delivered in spades. Our architect even won an award with a prize to the Bahamas which he enjoyed. The buyer indeed owned a factory in Yonkers and rented for 18 months prior to purchase which netted us an additional $500k or so I can’t recall exactly.
Last post as I don’t read your blog but thanks for bringing back memories, fun and most profitable
Best regards

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Sale and a price cut

34 Oval Avenue

34 Oval Avenue

34 Oval Avenue, Riverside, sold for $1.440 on an asking price of $1.495. It must have sold so quickly, I assume, because it has been “thoughtfully updated”, according to the listing broker. I wonder what that means?


It's an estate sale - can you tell?

It’s an estate sale – can you tell?

522 Lake Avenue started at $4.995 million, yours today (second price cut) for $4.1.


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2 Wyngate Rd

2 Wyngate Rd

21 Wyngate Road, asking $1.695 million, reports a contract, price unspecified. Started off 587 days ago at $1.995 million. Almost 2 acres, it’s a nice piece of property, convenient to town, with a perfectly acceptable house on it though, as I opined to the late owner some years ago, I thought the value was in the land itself. That late owner (or to be accurate, the spouse of the owner), was the great ocean sailor Huey Long (not that Huey Long), the owner of a series of boats, all named Ondine, with which he won every major ocean race at least once. Colorful guy.

10 Deep Gorge Rod

10 Deep Gorge Rod

10 Deep Gorge Road, asking $2.695, down from its 2013 price of $3.195, also has a contract. Beautiful home, but the western side of town is a tough sell.


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Little city on the prairie

After 6o years of “progressive” Democrat governance,  Detroit is looking more and more like the little village founded by Antonie Laumet de Cadillac.



UPDATE: This can’t be helping – Detroit releasing suspected murders and rapists due to staffing cuts at the prosecutor’s office and a resulting warrant backlog.



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Wienies take over Harvard Law

Harvard student

Harvard Grad

Students now can’t stand seeing “trigger” words such as “violate”, as in, “does this provision violate the constitution?”

A professor at Harvard Law School warns that law students have grown so sensitive to psychological “triggers” that it is becoming difficult to teach about rape law in law school, and that many professors are considering abandoning the subject entirely.

In an article penned for The New Yorker, Professor Jeannie Suk begins by asking readers to “imagine a medical student who is training to be a surgeon but who fears that he’ll become distressed if he sees or handles blood.” That situation now more or less exists at Harvard, she says, where a number of students are actively avoiding instruction and discussion on the topic of rape law.

Student groups at Harvard, Suk says, now routinely advise students to simply avoid classes and subjects entirely that may traumatize them. Sometimes, it goes beyond avoidance, and students intend seek to modify the classes themselves to accommodate their neuroses.

“Individual students often ask teachers not to include the law of rape on exams for fear that the material would cause them to perform less well,” writes Suk. “One teacher I know was recently asked by a student not to use the word ‘violate’ in class—as in ‘Does this conduct violate the law?’—because the word was triggering. Some students have even suggested that rape law should not be taught because of its potential to cause distress.”

Depending on how she pronounces it, Professor Suk’s last name could in itself be a trigger – change it!

UPDATE: It occurs to me that much of our body of law is off limits to these fragile flowers. Real estate law, for instance, includes a provision against forcible entry and detainer.


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It’s okay; I think the Danes have a Santa Claus too

Julemanden er stadig kommer til byen

Julemanden er stadig kommer til byen

Denmark just claimed the North Pole


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Yes, but we will only end ethanol, if at all, when presidential primaries are no longer held in Iowa

Study debunks all-electric cars as being cleaner than gasoline, but this bit about ethanol, while not new, bears repeating.

The study finds all-electric vehicles cause 86 percent more deaths from air pollution than do cars powered by regular gasoline. Coal produces 39 percent of the country’s electricity, according to the Department of Energy.

But if the power supply comes from natural gas, the all-electric car produces half as many air pollution health problems as gas-powered cars do. And if the power comes from wind, water or wave energy, it produces about one-quarter of the air pollution deaths.

Hybrids and diesel engines are cleaner than gas, causing fewer air pollution deaths and spewing less heat-trapping gas.

But ethanol isn’t, with 80 percent more air pollution mortality, according to the study.

“If we’re using ethanol for environmental benefits, for air quality and climate change, we’re going down the wrong path,” Hill said.

And then there’s the quaint custom of “rolling coal” over Priuses


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Riverside sale

34 Miltiades Ave

34 Miltiades Ave

34 Miltiades, non-railroad side, sold for $1.1 million. A good friend of mine grew up here, long ago, with his brother, sister, grandmother and both parents. The children were quite successful in later life, somehow. What’s sort of sad is that my friend’s father’s job was to empty parking meters for the town of Greenwich, yet he lived barely 100 yards away from the president of a large NYC bank. The days of that kind of economic diversity in Riverside are long gone. I’m certainly not calling for some sort of government leveling program here, just observing that the town’s a far different place than it was when I was growing up.

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A lovely home, but when will its time finally come?

1 Harbor Drive

1 Harbor Drive

The listing for 1 Harbor Drive, Belle Haven, has been renewed again today, almost five years after it started off at $20 million. Like the house itself, the price is still there, unchanged over all this time. No one admires a stubborn seller more than I do, but clearly, either the market has to rise significantly or these owners must content themselves with continuing to live in a house with a very expensive price tag that isn’t tempting buyers.



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Perhaps we could ask for volunteers among her crowd to show us how it works

Seattle architect proposes human composting.

The Urban Death Project’s plans call for a three-story-high polished concrete composting structure called “the core,” which would be surrounded by contemplative spaces for visitors.

Bodies would be refrigerated on site for up to 10 days. No embalming would be necessary, since decomposition is the goal.

After a ceremony – religious or not – friends and family would help insert the body into the core. Over several weeks a body would turn into about one cubic yard of compost, enough to plant a tree or a patch of flowers.

The compost could be taken by the family or left for use or donation by the Urban Death Project.

“In this system, we transform from being human to being something else,” Spade said. “And at the end, what’s coming out, the material that we use – it’s special and it’s sacred, but it’s not human.”


Spade said human composting uses the same process as animal composting, in which deceased cows, horses and other animals are buried under wood mulch, sawdust and wood chips.

Thomas Bass, a livestock environmental associate specialist at Montana State University, agreed.

“The science follows,” he said, adding that livestock composting has grown in popularity because it is less expensive than incineration and is more ecological.

The prospect of feeding an apple or avocado tree in her post-life appeals to Grace Seidel, 55, a Seattle artist who has announced to friends and family her desire to be composted after she dies.

“The idea of being reduced to dirt and being able to be put under a tree sounds lovely to me,” she said.

Spade said the reception to the idea has been positive – mostly.

“People love the idea of growing trees,” she said. “They get really squeamish with tomatoes.”

Actually, I don’t see this as any different than what many societies, including ours, have done for thousands of years. Although I agree with those who are squeamish about using the remains in vegetable gardens.


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Waterfront sale, Lucas Point

11 Cove Road

11 Cove Road

11 Cove Road, Old Greenwich, $3.5 million, asked $5.4 million. Still a hefty price, but I’m not the only one who loves the Lucas Point neighborhood. Listing says the house stayed dry in Sandy, and I’m sure it did, but I imagine that whatever gets built here will still have to be elevated quite a bit to meet FEMA standards.


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Good catch

Pistol-packin' mama - damn, that's hot!

Pistol-packin’ mama in camo and tight jeans – damn, that’s hot!

A family from the delightfully named Warrior, Alabama, spots the men who robbed their house and holds them at gunpoint until police arrive.

The victims of a burglary captured their alleged intruders after spotting them in the street – on the way back from another break-in.

The Wyatt family’s surveillance system filmed the moment a woman and two men took two TVs and numerous Christmas presents from their home in Warrior, Alabama, last Friday.

Just two days later, Chris Wyatt spotted the suspects’ Ford Ranger pickup truck driving down a road and swerved to block them into a corner.

Mr Wyatt, his wife Sarah, and two other relatives ordered them out of the car – apparently full of stolen goods – and held them at gunpoint until police arrived.

According to Chief Deputy Randy Christian, officers received the 911 call on Sunday afternoon while they were interviewing the victims of another burglary.

When they reached Mr Wyatt and his detainees, they found the computer monitor, trumpet, knife collection and jewelry that the second victim reported missing.



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Phew! I was beginning to think even an untrained monkey could make money trading on Wall Street

(Former) UBS trading desk, Stamford

(Former) UBS trading desk, Stamford

NY Magazine’s headline story about 17-year-old trading genius who’s earned $72 million while attending Stuyvesant High is a hoax. I guess it takes a trained monkey.

Folks, we should know this by now: if a story appears with a sensational headline yet with few, if any facts or background, presume it’s false. When journalists actually do stumble across stories that obviously require verification, we know to do the verification, and to include the verification in the article. We don’t write 300 words and move on.


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A bit of real estate news in what promises to be a very quiet fortnight

172 Cognewaugh Rd

172 Cognewaugh Rd

172 Cognewaugh Road, Cos Cob, asking $1.999 million, reports a contingent contract. It last sold in 2007 for $2.050.

20 Carpenters Brook

20 Carpenters Brook

20 Carpenters Brook Rd, Westchester (well, almost), sold for $3.3 million. Builder originally asked $4.1 million, which was steep for this location, but he paid $1.1 for the bank-owned property in 2012, so I’m sure he made out fine.

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Where are the snows of yesteryear?

We're back

We’re back

Gone forever, global warmists mourned in 2000.

“Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.”

Britain’s winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters – which scientists are attributing to global climate change – produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London’s last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.

Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes – or eventually “feel” virtual cold.


Here today, and lasting at least the next for weeks, reports the Daily Mail.

Britain woke up to the biggest freeze of the winter so far today with temperatures expected to tumble to -8C [17 farenheit – I looked it up]  in some areas, making it colder than Lapland with fears there could be four weeks of snow on the way. 

The Met Office says temperatures could go as low as 8C in parts of Scotland , 1C less than northern Finland making it the coldest day of the year so far in the UK.

Widespread frost is forecast, followed by gales, snow, ice and rain this weekend. Yellow weather warnings were issued for a high probability of severe cold weather, icy conditions and some snow.

No one begrudges a faulty weather forecast, but when media idiots and politicians look at a fifteen-year weather cycle and use that to pronounce the doom of man and the necessity to tax people to prevent it, some of us object.


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Heh – Instapundit contributes this bit of wisdom

Glenn Reynolds:

DECEMBER 13, 2014

I DON’T THINK HE SHOULD RUN. BUT IF HE DOES, HIS SLOGAN SHOULD BE “I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO.”  As Romney Warned, Russian Nuclear Aggression Rises In Face of American Weakness.


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I’m beginning to rethink my advice not to go to law school: it’s going to be a field day for those who can stand up

Sorry as hell

Sorry as hell

UCLA law professor forced to recant for presenting a terrifying exam question related to Ferguson.

Law school exams often present legal conundrums ripped from headlines of the day, but one UCLA law professor is apologizing for basing a test question on what is apparently a taboo subject — the fallout from the police shooting of a black man in Ferguson, Mo.

Professor Robert Goldstein said the exam question was designed to test students’ ability to analyze the line between free speech and inciting violence. It cited a report about how Michael Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, shouted, “Burn this bitch down!” after a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.

The question then asked students to imagine that they are lawyers in the St. Louis County Attorney’s office and had been asked to advise the prosecutor “whether to seek an indictment against Head” for inciting violence. The exam reads:

“[As] a recent hire in the office, you are asked to write a memo discussing the relevant First Amendment issues in such a prosecution. Write the memo.”

But students complained, and writer Elie Mystal at the popular legal blog “Above the Law” opined that the test question was “racially insensitive and divisive.” Mystal also incorrectly alleged that the question asked students to “advocate in favor of extremist racists in Ferguson.”

“I recognize, though, that the recent disturbing events and subsequent decisions in Ferguson and New York make this subject too raw to make it a useful opportunity.”- Robert Goldstein, UCLA law professor

Goldstein has apologized for putting the question on the test and has promised not to grade the question.

“I clearly underestimated and misjudged the impact of this question on you. I realize now that it was so fraught as to have made this an unnecessarily difficult question to respond to at this time. I am sorry for this,” he wrote in an email to his students that a UCLA spokeswoman forwarded to

He defended his intentions in posing the question, making reference to both the Ferguson incident and a New York grand jury’s decision not to indict another police officer on the death of an unarmed man placed in a chokehold.

“As with many of my exams in this upper-level elective class, questions may be drawn from current legal issues in the news or from recent court reports. This helps make the exam educational and relevant,” he wrote in his email to students.

I’m serious: anyone with an ability to think independently, who isn’t paralyzed by ideas and concepts different from what he or she has been force-fed since kindergarten, has a wonderful career awaiting in law: clients aren’t interested in political correctness when they’re in trouble, and a creative thinker, unfettered by conventional thought police, could be wildly successful.

One caution, from someone with perfect LSATs who was rejected by both Yale and Harvard: keep your unconventional thinking to yourself when applying to school. That was thirty-five-years ago – the walls have only tightened since.


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When you are a Man of the People, you needn’t follow their laws

Walls are for the Little People

Walls are for the Little People

De Blasio has built his new “privacy wall” around Gracie Mansion without bothering to apply for a permit.

Mayor de Blasio failed to secure the proper permits to build his “privacy fence” around Gracie Mansion — and the Parks Department is now scrambling to file the paperwork after the fact, City Hall officials admitted Friday.

On Thursday, The Post exclusively reported that the mayor ordered the construction of a roughly 10-foot-tall fence inside an existing 6-foot brick wall to keep the public’s prying eyes out of his yard.

Officials couldn’t say whether any employees of the Parks Department, which handled the construction for the mayor, would be disciplined for building the barrier without first obtaining the alteration permits they needed.

City property owners are routinely levied hefty fines for such infractions.

Plans for the eyesore fence should have gone before the city’s Design Commission for review — but never did, a City Hall source also admitted. The job was finished in November.

Through a spokeswoman, de Blasio said White House fence jumpers sparked his desire to erect the barrier, for which the Parks Department paid $4,250.

“The head of the mayor’s security detail made the decision to increase the fence’s height after examining the perimeter with other NYPD officials, and in the wake of the White House fence jumping incidents,” said City Hall spokeswoman Rebecca Katz.

But security experts called that excuse bunk.


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Wall Street contributors to Democrats might want to consider this

Fat cat (literally) Robert Wolf, UBS, sucks up to his destroyer

Fat cat Robert Wolf, UBS, sucks up to his destroyer

Jimbo Himes was the only one of Connecticut’s all-Democrat congressional crew to vote for the budget bill – and why not? His was the provision, written for him by Citicorp lobbyists, that sent his colleagues into a tizzy, but we knew all that. Here’s the money quote:

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee objected last month when Pelosi considered Himes for a leadership post in the House Democratic Caucus, saying that “appointing a Wall Street banker who opposes Wall Street bashing is a losing strategy for Democrats.” She instead picked someone else.

Don’t you idiots get it?


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