Monthly Archives: November 2015

He sounds like certain brokers I know here in Greenwich

Robert Riskin: "Mommy MADE me do it!"

Robert Riskin: “Mommy MADE me do it!”

“Scarface estate sells for a fraction of its original asking price”

“El Fureidis,” the elaborate California estate where scenes of the movie “Scarface” were filmed, has sold for $12.26 million—a fraction of its original asking price.

The roughly 10-acre Montecito property went on the market in May of 2014 for $35 million, then had its price cut to $17.9 million. It was listed by Riskin Partners and Emily Kellenberger of Village Properties Realtors. It went into contract in September and closed in late October, according to Robert Riskin, one of the listing agents [and scion of the firm’s founder, Rebecca Risken]. Mr. Riskin said the property was initially “overpriced,” and that the sales price “reflects its value.”

I wonder if, just as is done here, Mr. Riskin not only wildly overpriced the property at three-times its value this time, but also sold the “overpriced” living to the seller back in 2008, when he paid $20 million?

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On the other hand, the Swiss are being more neighhhhborly these days

 

Swiss on horses

Hi, ho, the derry-0, a trysting we will go

Number of people having sex with horses on the rise in Switzerland.

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De Blasio unleashes his minions on Christmas

Bums steal Christmas over in the Bronx

Vagrants are urinating in the street, hassling passers-by for cash — and now they’ve ruined Christmas in The Bronx.

The annual outdoor Christmas tree lighting in the borough’s famed Little Italy section was canceled because the soaring panhandler population forced the sponsors to spend so much on security that there was no cash left for the celebration.

“It’s unfortunate,” Frank Franz, treasurer of the Belmont Business Improvement District, told The Post. “It was a very expensive event, so we canceled it.”

The BID, he said, had to weigh the price of public safety against that of the holiday festivities, which cost about $15,000.

“Every neighborhood should be concerned about the safety and the quality of life of their neighborhood. There’s always been homeless around, but now you’re seeing an increase all over the city,” he said about the sharp rise of aggressive panhandlers.

One business owner, Rosa Paciullo, who for 20 years has owned Tino’s Delicatessen with her husband, Giancarlo, said bums even used the Vincent Ciccarone Playground where the lighting was held as a public toilet.

“My daughter took her daughter to the [Ciccarone] park and a homeless guy peed in front of them. Some of them would come in and ask for money or food. It scared some of the customers away,” she added.

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Now if they’ll just do the same thing to the attendees

Obama in chainsFrance arrests two dozen climate protestors.

At least something good has come out of ISIS’s savagery.

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Trouble is, they like their lifestyle

HOMELESS

And when you’re finished, kids, we’ll go wash up at the Esso station

Private citizens in LA attempt to help the homeless improve their living conditions. It won’t work.

Formed last year, the Pacific Palisades task force underscores the growing focus on homelessness in Los Angeles, as outdoor encampments spread from downtown’s Skid Row area into residential neighborhoods, creating a political crisis in the U.S.’s second-most-populous city after New York.

“We are not just talking about increases in places that previously had large encampments,” said Pete White, founder of the Community Action Network, which advocates for more affordable housing in Los Angeles. “We are starting to see encampments all over the city.”

The national homeless population declined 2% in 2015 over the prior year, according to federal data released this month, with the number living outdoors down 1%. But in Los Angeles County, which includes the city and other growing cities such as Long Beach, Burbank and Pasadena, the homeless population has increased 20% over the past year to about 41,000, with a 28% increase in the number of people living outdoors.

Here’s the trouble: drunks and junkies don’t want to work, and don’t want to live in shelters, and who can blame them? A job would require sobriety and a fixed schedule and people telling them what to do. As for shelters, listen to Bobby Foster, who lives on the beach in surfer land:

Mr. Foster, a [claimed] Army veteran who has been living in the park for nearly seven years, was drawn to the area by the beach and generosity of its people. Police evicted him from his usual spot in the grove and seized his food and belongings but he planned on moving back, he said. He wasn’t interested in the city’s $100 million homeless initiative, he added, explaining that he enjoyed living outdoors.

“They want to put us in a homeless shelter with basically 24 people,” Mr. Foster said. “I don’t want to live in that environment. I have been there before. It is like a damn prison cell.”

Again, who can blame him, but there’s no point trying to help him. We all make choices in life.

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This should yield two circuses: one in Paris, the other later, in Washington, when the Enemy of the People comes back and tries to ram his treaty down America’s throat

Off to Paris, to deal with the REAL threat to our national security

Off to Paris, to deal with the REAL threat to our national security

World leaders [sic] gather in Paris to permanently shut down the western economies.

[French minister of foreign affairs Laurent] Fabius vowed in an interview to forge an agreement that would be “universal, legally binding, durable and dynamic”.

And there’s the rub: “legally binding” means a treaty, which must be ratified by the Senate. Bummer doesn’t have the votes for that, so as noted here a couple of weeks ago, he’s been scrambling for a way to agree to make America legally bound, but not part of a treaty. I’d say good luck with that, but with the mainstream media behind him, who knows?

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The “Most Transparent Administration in History” runs into trouble with the people who put it in place

Pinch Sulzberger

But our elite restaurant reviews are still awesome!

The NYT is shocked, shocked to discover that the Obama administration is stonewalling and thwarting misdeeds by its agencies.

“This is by far the most aggressive assault on the inspector general concept since the beginning,” said Paul Light, a New York University professor who has studied the system. “It’s the complete evisceration of the concept. You might as well fold them down. They’ve become defanged.”

The administration has been doing this for 7 years – why is the NYT only now discovering it? Because before, the suppression and evasiveness was directed at thwarting Congressional investigations into the IRS’s enemy list and Hillary Clinton’s emails, which were good things. These investigations have been looking at offensives the Times wants punished.

Dollar Bill must be peeing in his bedpan while he awaits orders on how to respond and think [sic] about this.

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What do they know that Obama doesn’t?

Saudi-Arabia-Syria-refugees-603180

We are all as one under Allah,(cough cough)

Persian Gulf muslim states have refused to taken a single Syrian refugee

They offer a similar non-welcome to Palestinians, but that’s another story.

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The kindergartners are doing well

Ct Legislators playing computer games

Ct Democrats at work: [State Democrat Rep. Barbara Lambert Democrat Majority Leader Rep. Jack Hennessy, and the unshown person two rows behind watching baseball likely [State Democrat Rep. Russ] Morin.

State legislators have good attendance record

No shit, that’s what they’re proud of. That, and proper decorum during nap time.

We’d be far better off if they’d all just stay home – I’ll even write them notes.

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The Yellow Peril retreats, for now

yellow peril

The life of a realtor is not an easy one

Chinese buyers for U.S. real estate would now prefer not to.

Capping a five-year real-estate binge, Chinese nationals surpassed Canadian snowbirds as the top foreign buyers of U.S. homes for the year that ended in March—the most recent annual data—scooping up everything from $500,000 condos in New Jersey to $3 million vacation homes in California to $13 million Manhattan condos.

But in recent weeks, some Chinese buyers have started to pull back, scared off by China’s stock-market selloff, slowing economic growth, currency devaluation and tightened restrictions on capital outflows. On Friday, China’s benchmark stock index fell by 5.5%, its biggest daily slide since August, as Beijing authorities stepped up a crackdown on the securities industry.

Chinese and other foreign buyers have helped reshape the American real-estate market, driving up prices for homes in Southern California suburbs, skyscrapers looming over New York’s Central Park and residences in such college towns as Cambridge, Mass., brokers and economists said.

Buyers from mainland China, as well as those from Hong Kong and Taiwan, spent $28.6 billion in the year that ended in March on U.S. home purchases, according to estimates by the Realtors. While that accounts for just over 2% of American home purchases by dollar volume, the percentage is much greater in the high end of the housing market in such cities as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and, increasingly, Miami, according to the association.

Chinese residents began buying American homes in large numbers about five years ago, driven largely by growing wealth and a desire to safeguard savings against political instability, brokers and economists said.

American homes looked like a bargain after the real-estate crash, drawing busloads of Chinese buyers to see properties in California and Manhattan. To many, it seemed “a gold mine everywhere,” said Calvin Lo, a real-estate agent at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Southern California.

To sate that demand, U.S. real-estate brokerages now hold conferences with thousands of attendees in China, and such Chinese property portals as Juwai.com, advertise U.S. properties and other country listings. “Over the long term, the stock-market gyrations reinforce preference for international investment,” said Simon Henry, co-founder of Juwai.com.

Chinese individuals are limited to annual overseas investments equal to about $50,000. For years, Chinese have surpassed that limit, in part, by funneling money through relatives and employees. In recent months, the government has made it tougher to transfer money abroad, said real-estate brokers in both countries.

“It’s like barbarians at the gate,” said John Chang, a real-estate broker with Re/Max in New York City. Chinese families want to buy, he said, “but they just can’t get the money out.”

 

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Google proves it’s smarter than every Democrat on earth

Sanders supporters

Parents, demand your tuition payments back

A low hurdle, admittedly, but Glenn Reynolds reports that “Google has  deemed Bernie Sander’s economic plan a “phishing scam”

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernard Sanders’ economic plan triggered Gmail’s “phishing scam” antenna, with the mail system saying the senator’s liberal campaign promises — including lower prescription drug prices and free college for all — sound like frauds.

“Be careful with this message. It contains content that’s typically used to steal personal information,” Gmail said in a bright red warning box that appeared at the top of a message sent by Mr. Sanders’ campaign Friday, laying out his “Agenda for Working Families.”

“This message could be a scam,” Gmail says in its page explaining why it flagged the message as a “phishing scam.” Phishing is a specific type of spam email that scammers use to try to entice users to disclose bank accounts or other sensitive information. . . .

Ira Winkler, president of Secure Mentem and a cybersecurity specialist, said the campaign likely triggered Gmail’s filters because it included phrases that spammers use to try to sell prescription drugs and by offering things free of charge — in this case, the promise to pay for education at public colleges and universities.

Reynolds: “Those bots may be onto something. People who promise you lots of free stuff are usually running some kind of scam.”

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Hypothesis disproven

I was a fugitive

Hard at work at the fieldstone School

NYC Ethical Culture Fieldstone School to 6th Graders: “The swastika is a symbol of peace”

Outside school:

“Masked men attack cyclist, carve swastika in his forehead”.

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Make that Eleven

Top ten reasons to vote for Ted Cruz

Mike Bloomberg: Ted Cruz says some of the stupidest things I’ve heard.

Ted Cruz

Thank you

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There are a couple of problems with this

Indians and pilgrims

Welcome to our country – can we build you a mosque?

Not Thanksgiving, at least at the Fountain household, where John was able to come across the Casco Bridge and celebrate at Nancy’s. We had a good time laughing, reminiscing , and enjoying each other’s company, and a great meal.

No, I’m talking about our fearless leader, who yesterday claimed that this country’s Pilgrims “were refugees too” , invited to shore by friendly savages, and that therefore we should bring in a million Syrians or so and welcome them in turn.

The idea that the Indians welcomed the Pilgrims has been denounced by the Left for decades, and there’s no doubt that, had Donald Trump been on the shores of New Haven to greet them, we all would still be speaking Dutch in the Old Country or our few survivors would be grunting in Squanto.

But let’s ignore that, and go with our leader’s argument: A group of people fleeing oppression come to a foreign land, carrying with them their own culture and values and religion, and set about imposing them on the people they find; they convert the natives when they can and kill the rest. They breed like rabbits and spread across the land;  (if we had a perfect parable going, the Pilgrims would have, in addition to all that, demanded that the Indians tax themselves to support a life of leisure for the new “refugees”, but never mind).

So where are the Indians today? Pushed from their land and dumped in isolated, desolate camps where they’re drinking themselves to death and breeding generations of papooses suffering from fetal-alcohol  syndrome.

Obama thinks we should repeat this process, to ourselves? What is he, an enemy of our country?

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Probably off the web until late tonight or tomorrow

Dinner at Pal Nancy’s with Sarah, Kate and Nancy’s brother Cork. John’s been fairly beaten down lately but we’re hoping he’ll rally and can join us – if not, well hell, it’s a movable feast, and we’ll go to his house.

Reflecting on gratitude this morning and, at first blush, there’s not much there. But that’s not true at all. I’m grateful I’m here for the entire family – John told me this summer I “was always the go-to guy”, and I failed at that earlier this year before getting back on my feet and rejoining them.

I’m grateful for whatever God created us, for creating mortal creatures, but also endowing them with a capacity for love, compassion and care. It’s not such a bad world, when we benefit from that gift.

And finally, I’m grateful I’ve had 18 months with John, and hopefully more, to straighten out our past and for him to finally, truly understand how much I’ve always loved him.

A long time ago, Rodney Crowell wrote a beautiful ballad called “Things I wish I’d said”. It was directed to his father by an only son, but it works the other way too.

Have a  blessed Thanksgiving, and have mercy on that niece of yours who’s fresh from college and determined to show you the errors of your ways.

 

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The turkey speaks

obama turkey

“Father’s in the pig pen, you’ll know him by his hat”

O’ Bummer: “Absolutely no terrorist threat this holiday weekend”

President Barack Obama sought to reassure Americans on Wednesday that his administration is working overtime to protect the U.S. from terror attacks, as tens of millions hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday.

He said that after a review of America’s security posture with his closest advisers, ‘we know of no specific and credible intelligence indicating a plot on the homeland.’

‘[But] if you see something suspicious, say something. That’s always helpful.’

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More “settled science”

Back in the 70s, scientists knew that coffee was a tremendous health risk; almost as bad as the deleterious effects of the coming ice age.*

1970’s and ’80’s headline: Coffee is as serious as a heart attack

A 1973 study in the New England Journal of Medicine of more than 12,000 patients found drinking one to five cups of coffee a day increased risk of heart attacks by 60% while drinking six or more cups a day doubled that risk to 120%.

Another New England Journal of Medicine study, in 1978, found a short-term rise in blood pressure after three cups of coffee. Authors called for further research into caffeine and hypertension.

But now a 40-year study at Harvard concludes otherwise:

Dr. Frank Hu just finished a 40-year study on the effects of coffee on the human body. People who drink more coffee it turns out, live longer.

Specifically, Hu’s study found that coffee-drinkers have lower risks of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as suicide.

The research began in 1976, and involved nearly 210,000 people. With all the follow-ups over the years, the study includes 4.7 million person-years of data. The scale meant it took several generations of scientists to complete the study. Hu, a researcher and professor at Harvard Medical School, himself joined in 1996. The enormous amount of data was useful, because coffee is an extraordinarily complicated drink.

“Coffee is certainly a very complex beverage,” Hu told INSIDER. Besides caffeine, it contains hundreds, perhaps thousands, of bioactive compounds. So it’s very difficult, perhaps impossible, to tease out the effects of individual compounds or chemicals.”

Coffee’s health benefits derive from not just a few compounds, but more likely the synergistic effects of many different compounds, minerals, and antioxidants. And while most people think of caffeine when they think of coffee, both regular and decaf coffee have the same effects when it comes to blood diseases and diabetes.

Hu noticed that it’s really hard to study coffee because so many coffee-drinkers smoke.

“We found that the health benefits of coffee are more pronounced, or evident, in people who don’t smoke,” Hu said. “In other words, smoking actually masks the potential health benefits of drinking coffee, and it’s really important to separate the effects of coffee from smoking.”

In addition to Hu’s new study — which had ten co-authors in total — previous research shows that drinking coffee regularly is associated with a decreased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, and liver disease, including liver cancer. It’s also associated with a decreased risk of depression and suicide, helps the body metabolize blood sugar, improves insulin sensitivity, and can even reduce inflammation.

*screenhunter_06-may-07-09-01

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To protect and to serve

Cops raid mahjong game

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. (CBS Tampa) — Police in Florida busted a game of mahjong in Florida at a condominium clubhouse. The group accused of the crime: four women between the ages of 87 and 95.

Heritage Florida reports that police came to shut down the friendly game played by Lee Delnick, Bernice Diamond, Helen Greenspan and Zelda King.

King says word spread about their weekly gathering and that a “troublemaker” in the community called the police citing a law that prohibits playing the game for money. Police closed the clubhouse.

The women were sent a formal notice from condominium management stating that there would be no more mahjong, bingo, or poker played in the location until further notice. Police reportedly stopped by several times later that week to make sure the games weren’t being played.

“This is ridiculous,” King said. “We haven’t played in the clubhouse for weeks! We have to go to each other’s homes to play and not everyone lives in Escondido. It is an international game and we are being crucified!”

The 87-year-old said the game is good for the elderly and that even her doctor has told her that it can delay dementia. The women suggested they could “just play for fun” without money, but the property manager said they should “lay low,” until things were resolved.

In case you’re curious, and wonder whether the Altamonte Springs police might have better things to direct their time and resources towards, here are the crime statistics for the town.

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 6.17.29 AM

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 6.18.46 AM

 

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Still more on the latest campus craze, “cultural appropriation”

headdress

Cross-fertilization, and I like it

Coyote Blog nails it

If Westerners can’t do yoga and Cinco de Mayo parties, can we have our polio vaccines back?

With news that even yoga classes are being cancelled due to fears of Westerners appropriating from other cultures, I am led to wonder — why don’t these prohibitions go both ways?  If as a white western male, I can’t do yoga or host a Cinco de Mayo party or play the blues on the guitar, why does everyone else get to feed greedily from the trough of western culture?  If I can’t wear a sombrero, why do other cultures get to wear Lakers jerseys, use calculus, or even have polio vaccines?  Heck, all this angst tends to occur at Universities, which are a quintessentially western cultural invention.  Isn’t the very act of attending Harvard a cultural appropriation for non-Westerners?

I say this all tongue in cheek just to demonstrate how stupid this whole thing is.  Some of the greatest advances, both of science and culture, have occurred when cultures cross-pollinate.  I have read several auto-biographies of musicians and artists and  they all boil down to “I was exposed to this art/music from a different culture and it sent me off in a new direction.”  The British rock and roll invasion resulted from American black blues music being dropped into England, mutating for a few years, and coming back as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Or here is an even better example:  the movie”A fistful of Dollars”.  That was an American western with what has become a quintessentially American actor, Clint Eastwood.  However, it was originally an Italian movie by Italian director Sergio Leone (it was not released in the US until 3 years after its Italian release).   But Sergio Leone borrowed wholesale for this movie from famed Japanese director Akiro Kurosawa’s Yojimbo.  But Kurosawa himself often borrowed from American sources, fusing it with Japanese culture and history to produce many of his famous movies.  While there is some debate on this, Yojimbo appears to be based on Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest, a classic of American noir fiction.

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So what does the Junior League actually do, except come up with bad ideas for spending the town’s money?

Their money at work: the Greenwich Junior League ladies throw themselves a party

Their money at work: the Greenwich Junior League ladies throw themselves a party

Not much, as this missive from Walt  (is that better than screed, pal?) shows:

Dude –

So I was wondering if I was too harsh today. And I started to feel bad. Contrary to what you believe, I actually do have a conscience.

So given that the press only shows the Junior League at their annual soirée, and says NOTHING about what they actually do, I decided to dig a bit and find out what it is they actually do. And I did. And do you know what they actually do? NOTHING!! Except have an annual party to celebrate how wonderful they all are.

Actually, in fairness, for the year ended June 30, 2014, they gave away FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS!! Don’t believe me? You can see it here:
https://www.jlgreenwich.org/wp-content/uploads/JLG-2013-990990TCT-990.pdf

FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS!! In a year!! I piss that away on a hand of cards. I tip my bartender more. I pay more than that for thank you notes to the hotties!!

They had revenues of $369,540, grants of $5,000, salaries of $49,287, and “other expenses” of $309,599. The “Other Expenses” include the cost of running their clubhouse at 231 E. Putnam Ave, on their books for $1.5 million, “Food & Beverages” of $32k, and entertainment of $9k.

So they raised $369,540 of donations, and gave away $5,000!! No wonder the paper doesn’t cover their charitable causes, because there are none!! It looks like a haus frau social club to me. Nice job ladies. Give yourselves a pat on the back.

I would welcome some feedback from someone familiar with the Junior League, and tell me what I am missing. If I am wrong, I will give a heartfelt apology, and make a $5k donation to the YWCA. And do as much as the junior League apparently does in a whole year. And there is like 30 of them!! I am not giving it to the Junior league to fund their kibitzers.

Your Pal,
Walt

By the way, this whole bit about the JL was sparked by my posting of a couple of shots from  Greenwich Time of people who willingly had their photos taken, and eagerly (I assume) agreed to have them posted on the Internet, where I found them, and supplied some inappropriate captions. Pressed by a pair of angry husbands, I took them down, and, while I certainly don’t want to start that all over again, I thought to link to all the pictures here, and let readers search for the bored pair, and the person with what could fairly, but certainly erroneously be considered a lascivious leer.

Actually, there are any number of candidates in both categories, so have fun.

 

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