Daily Archives: December 29, 2015

I don’t believe any of it

new home buyers

Screw the schools, we’ve got no volatile organic compounds in our paint!

Architects predict future home design trends for the coming decade, and they’re all smoking pot.

1. Disaster-resistant designs

With more extreme weather brought on by global warming, architects anticipate that design features intended to protect homes from flooding, fires and wind damage will become more common even in noncoastal areas. Such protective measures can include elevating a home several feet in the air, safe rooms or back-up power generation.

[Global warming consistently ranks last among Americans’ worries, and no one’s going to pay more for these precautions – further, find a young mother with kids in strollers and fifteen bags of groceries who wants to climb steps to get into her house and I’ll show you Old Greenwich – but those young mothers have nannies, there.]

2. Healthy building materials

Mirroring the move toward organic, farm-t0-table cuisine, homeowners are becoming more conscious that building materials can make them sick, according to AIA. Architects anticipate a move away from paints that give off chemical fumes and toward natural materials, such as wood and brick.

[I call bullshit – buyers want to know the grade of granite in the kitchen, not whether the flooring is bamboo. Every “green” house in Greenwich that’s tried to recover some of its extra expensive by building in these features has failed.]

3. Smart-home automation

Architects anticipate that smart-home automation will catch on further, including being able to control temperature, security and lighting from a smart phone. Some surveys show thatyoung people aren’t necessarily especially keen on such gadgets and rated keeping costs down as a much higher priority.

[Indeed – the reporter understands what the architects don’t]

4. Designs catering to an aging population

Design fixes that will allow people to stay living in their homes longer are likely to become more popular as the population ages, including wider hallways, lower windows and more bungalows.

[okay, this seems likely, though I’d expect more condominiums, not bungalows].

5. Energy-efficient design

Homes that use less electricity and water have become increasingly trendy in recent years and architects expect that to continue, but it is still unclear whether the costs outweigh the benefits. Mr. Suter, the Connecticut architect, said he encourages clients not simply to think of energy efficiency in dollar terms but to think of unforeseen benefits, such as a wood stove that can be used in case of a power outage.

[Again – and again – people won’t pay extra for this. Lord knows I’ve tried to interest buyers in super-efficient boilers, triple-paned windows, 2X6 framing to accommodate extra insulation, etc., and they give me the fish eye.]


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It’s what Lincoln said when told that Grant was imbibing: “find out what whiskey he drinks and send a barrel to all my generals”.

Reagan is said to have read Tom Clancy’s “Red Storm Rising while preparing for Cold War summit with Gorbachov. Naturally, Britain’s Independent weighs in in its oh-so-smug condescension.

The exact extent to which the Clancy thriller coloured the President’s thinking will remain unknown. But the Downing Street memo offers a tantalising suggestion that the former film star may have begun to conflate fact with fiction when it came to interpreting Mr Gorbachev’s actions. [emphasis added] 

Red Storm Rising, which describes a war fought to the brink of a nuclear conflagration, features a slick and duplicitous Politburo chairman who makes Washington a generous offer on arms reduction while all the time secretly planning for war.

Mr Powell wrote: “The President also showed deep distrust of Soviet motives. Their attempt to freeze US research into strategic defence was cover for them ‘to go ahead like crazy with their own missile defence plans’.”

While the apparent use of a work of fiction as a crib sheet for the delicate process of negotiating away weapons of mass destruction might not inspire confidence in Mr Reagan’s grasp of geo-political detail, [emphasis added] Mr Clancy was at least highly rated as an observer of Cold War technology.

Red Storm Rising was written with apparent expertise in sensitive military secrets such as America’s stealth bombers or the USSR’s Typhoon-class nuclear submarines.

When a senior Washington admiral read Hunt for Red October, his initial response is reputed to have been to shout: “Who the hell cleared this?”

So this unsophisticated  rube, this “former movie star” “conflated fact with fiction” yet somehow brought down the Soviet Union. If only our “former community organizer” would read any one of the Vince Flynn series, instead of memos from Valerie Jarrett; we’d be a safer nation today.

On the Beach

The movie that informed a generation of smug idiots


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World got you down, a little scared about the future? Then brighten up, Bucko, we bear glad tidings

“President” (I prefer “Resident”) Obama just sank an awesome shot while golfing on vacation.”

President Obama is currently on vacation with his family in Hawaii, where he’s been indulging in his favorite pastime — golf.

If his display Monday during a round at the Mid Pacific Country Club in Kailua was any indication, he’s pretty good.

On the 18th green, Obama set up for a nearly 40-foot chip shot, which is no easy task for any golfer. He lined the shot up perfectly, hit it with just the right amount of force, and sunk it.

Not bad, Mr. President.

It’s a relief to lean that he’s good at something, I guess.

Soldiers in battle

We gotta move – the President wants to play through


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Why I’m a Patriots fan

(Although I did secretly enjoy watching the Jets beat ’em Sunday). Sarah just dug up and posted this photo from last year, when the Patriots invited them down to meet cancer survivor Marcus Cannon, tour the place and, the next day, put them on the 40 yard line, one row back from the field. Greenwich’s Jim Bell (NBC Olympics) made a call for me, for which I’m very grateful, but I was hugely impressed that the organization, and Marcus Cannon, would do such a nice thing for a my boy.

(I see that, by coincidence, I’m wearing the very shirt John was wearing that day – I knew that someday, my repeated failure to heed his request for medium-size clothing would pay off, and this large size fits his father perfectly! Now, where’s that parka I gave him?)

John and Sarah

John and Sarah at Foxboro November, 2014


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Not surprisingly, the real estate market’s dormant this week (as it was last week)

No open houses, no particular news to report on – 160 Bedford Road, asking $2.2 million, has a contingent offer, but it’s subject to bank approval, so let’s wait t see where it shakes out.

Wrote about this property many times over the years, including as recently as this past December 9th, when I commented on the 100% financing extended on its $3.3 million sale price, back in the glory days of 2007.



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