"You don't know what hell is unless you were raised in Scarsdale"

 The royal cushion is delivered to the prince

The royal cushion is delivered to the prince

Until now, that was my favorite quote, from a Columbia University "radical" back in 1968 — it started me on my journey to conservatism when I was just 14, but it's now been supplanted. It turns out, the world's leading eco-warrior, Prince Charles, has been harboring the same seething sentiments all this time: "Nobody knows what utter hell it is to be Prince of Wales".

Lots of great stuff in the linked article, and well worth reading in full, what with revelations of his traveling with his personal bedroom, replete with personal toilet seat and proper toilet paper, but I especially enjoyed this bit:

He was also unusually particular about his gardens at Highgrove. Because he refused to use pesticides, he employed four gardeners who would lie, nose-down, on a trailer pulled by a slow-moving Land Rover to pluck out weeds.
In addition, retired Indian servicemen were deployed to prowl through the undergrowth at night with torches and handpick slugs from the leaves of plants.

As a general rule, from the perspective of one whose ancestors were French nobility, only a few of whom escaped the mob, I'm against the regular use of the guillotine, but in this case, perhaps an exception could be made.

And still another west side contract

 Sturbridge Village South

Sturbridge Village South

Three Tree Top Terrace, reports a contract. It's recently been asking $1.360 million, which is down a bit from its 2010 ask of $1.695 (had you been there with me then when I toured the place, you'd have caught me coughing up my sleeve). 

But never mind — houses here, built in the 1990s (1992, in this case) have been fetching around $1.3 the past decade, so these buyers will be pretty much where they should be.

I do enjoy, however, the listing agent's description of the building as "a stately colonial". Samuel Adams must be spinning in his grave.


West side contract

Thunder Mountain.jpg

19 Thunder Mountain Road, asking $2.995 million, has a buyer. It's a nice house; in fact, I placed a client there, as a renter, back in 2012, and he stayed happily ensconced until business took him elsewhere. Owned by a famous baseball player who, after signing a wonderfully generous contract with a local team, got injured and, so far as I know, never played an inning for his new team. He's been down in his hometown of Mayagueze for a long time now, doing good works. 

Not that he can't afford the hit, but he paid $3.8 for this in 2006.

Hah! Found this over in Intapundit's comments section: a reply to the walk-out today


And then there's this, from PowerLine:

Beyond the contemptible enlisting of uninformed children in a political cause, today’s demonstrations were disgusting because they represented a massive passing of the buck. The demonstrations were, ostensibly, on behalf of school safety. But who is responsible for the security of our schools? The administrators who run the schools. If they believe that crazed “shooters” represent a serious threat, it is up to them to do something about it. 
Sending kids out on the playground or the street with signs about gun control does absolutely nothing to make schools safer. There are, however, practical measures that administrators can take. They can secure schools the same way many thousands of office buildings are secured, with locked doors and controlled entry. There are few office buildings one can enter with a rifle under one’s arm. They can dispose of the idiotic “gun free zone” concept, which acts only as an invitation to any potential murderer. They can hire one or more armed guards. They can encourage teachers to be trained in firearms use and to obtain carry permits. These measures, unlike pointless demonstrations in favor of banning random categories of semi-automatic rifles, would actually make schools safer.
But, for whatever reason, most public schools apparently are not taking such steps. Instead, they are using silly demonstrations by ignorant children to deflect attention from their own dereliction of duty.

Australia offers a quick exit for white South Africans fleeing their shit hole of a country

 goodbye to all that

goodbye to all that

The black government of South Africa has voted to confiscate the land of whites remaining in the country, without compensation, so Australia is working to speed up its visa program for white South African farmers.

If Zimbabwe's own program of confiscation of white farmers' land proves the model, and it will, the large, industrial farms will go to the corrupt politicians, who will then break them up into tiny plots and dole them out to loyal supporters. What   is now a working agricultural system that produces enough of a surplus to actually export grain, beef and the like will quickly revert to subsistence farming; men, women and children grubbing the soil with wooden hoes and, if they're fortunate enough to have one, an ox to pull a plow.

We had friends in South Africa, a family whose ancestors had arrived almost 200 years before; liberal, anti-apartheid, they sold off their property and left their country for Australia in the late 70s, explaining, "there's no future for whites in Africa". They, and tens of thousands of their peers, were prescient — those who attempted to hang on are only now discovering their folly.

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as "bad luck.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

Probably not a home run here

 82 Cat Rock Road

82 Cat Rock Road

82 Cat Rock Road, asking $3.3 million, reports a contract after 963 days. In fact, its developer/ builder has been trying to unload it for far longer that that. He paid $2.825 for two lots here back in 2006 ($3.5 in inflation-adjusted dollars), and two months later, tried to resell them for $3.8 (in those old 2006 dollars) because, according to the listing broker, he'd scored such a coup. I've never understood the ignorance of people like this: what they pay for property is the market value — if no one else was willing to pay more, then its value has just been set, by you. It's exactly what the old adage says: if you're sitting around a poker table and can't figure out who the chump is, you're the chump.

Regardless, the buyer eventually gave up on finding a greater fool and built two spec houses, number 80 (simply dreadful), on the back lot, and this one in front of it, number 82. The back lot is still hanging around, unsold. It started, and who among us doesn't enjoy a good chuckle, at $4.450 million, dropped to $3.995 and then last month — here's that chuckle, come 'round again — to $3.990. Meanwhile, he marked 80 down from a starting price of $3.995 to $3.3 — my guess is that it's going for less than that. That's a lot of carrying costs.

Worse, assuming this house's final selling price proves less than $3.3, and that's a pretty solid assumption, the ugly house in back has just dropped to, at best, to that same $3.3. Most back lots are worth less than the house in front of them, so that figure is almost certain to be discounted further. The builder might, maybe, break even here, but my guess is that he's losing his shirt. If for some reason you are willing to live in this portion of Cat Rock Road, in an ugly house, you might pitch a bid of, say, $2.250, and see if you can't get a nibble. Failing that, wait until the bank owns it, and try $1.75.

I'd advise against it.

 80 Cat Rock:  I think not, thank you

80 Cat Rock:  I think not, thank you

George Carlin on plastic bags, styrofoam, and our ephemeral presence on earth

 Say goodbye

Say goodbye

"Greenwich Taxpayer" sent along this wonderful, brilliant commentary by the late and lamented George Carlin on "Saving the Planet". Probably because my minor in college was geology, I've long had an appreciation of exactly how insignificant our temporary visit on earth has been, and will be, but Carlin says what I've long preached, and so much better than I. In fact, my own thoughts on the subject are even tinier compared to Carlin's than are the 200,000 years of human existence vs the 4.5 billion years our planet's been around.

The entire 8 minutes of this video are very much worth watching, but if you're pressed for time, Carlin's discussion of plastic bags begins three minutes in.

But really: watch the whole thing.

Contract, Burning Tree

burning tree.jpg

63 Burning Tree Road, asking $3.595 million. Just 54 days on market, which suggests it's going for something close to that asking price (and which should, I hope, reinforce my regular lecture here about the importance of listing your house early in the year if you want to capture the spring market). 

It's a really nice house, right on Frye "Lake" — many, many years ago, my father told me that any body of water you could see across was a pond, not a lake, but then added, "unless you're a real estate agent, in which case everything's a lake". He taught me that lesson in about 1965, and it's as true today as it was then.

I liked this house very much back in 2008, but laughed at its opening price of $3.695, and that laughter was merited: it finally sold in 2010 for $2.475. But these sellers  did extensive improvements, and now its price seems (more) reasonable.

The only quibble I have is the owners' insistence that its light fixtures are excluded. For heaven's sake, for $3.5  million, let go of your wall sconces and chandeliers, won't you? Back when my law practice included residential real estate, one of the main sticking points in negotiations was who got the friggin' curtains. If I was representing the seller and we "won", I often followed up a year or so later and asked my clients what they'd done with those disputed window treatments. Invariably, the answer was "Oh, we found out that they didn't fit in our new home, so they're in the attic". 

Let it go.

 Once again, "The Chair" saves the day

Once again, "The Chair" saves the day

Not sure the street will support this, but maybe it will

69 circle drive.jpg

After 403 days, 69 Circle Drive Extension, asking $2.499 million, has a contract. Most sales on this street and Circle Drive proper (which is even closer to I-95 and the railroad) have been selling in the $800,000 -$900,000 range, but the have been modest homes. This one, although built in 1954, had been extensively redone, and if the cheaper homes are also slated for re-dos, then fine. Otherwise, not so fine.

I remember the Marshall and Mary Ann Heaven built a spec home near this one, years ago, and did alright, but our GMLS erased its records for sales dating back 10 (15?) years ago, so I can't give you that selling price. 

This one is a really nice house, and I can understand its appeal — I just wonder whether the buyers will prove to be pioneers, and it's the pioneers who get the arrows.

 Deerfield, MA, 1704: Injuns drop in for a visit

Deerfield, MA, 1704: Injuns drop in for a visit