They (don't) believe in science

 one of these is not the same

one of these is not the same

Male “identifying” as female wins women’s international bicycle race.

A biological male who identifies as a transgender woman won a women’s world championship cycling event on Sunday.

Rachel McKinnon, a professor at the College of Charleston, won the women’s sprint 35-39 age bracket at the 2018 UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles.

McKinnon, representing Canada, bested Carolien Van Herrikhuyzen of the Netherlands and American cyclist Jennifer Wagner to take home the gold.

McKinnon celebrated the victory on Twitter, writing: “First transgender woman world champion…ever.”

McKinnon in January was quoted in USA Today arguing against requiring biological males to suppress testosterone as a requirement for competing against women. (RELATED: High-School Boy Wins All-State Honors In Girls Track And Field)

“We cannot have a woman legally recognized as a trans woman in society, and not be recognized that way in sports,” McKinnon told USA Today.

“Focusing on performance advantage is largely irrelevant because this is a rights issue. We shouldn’t be worried about trans people taking over the Olympics. We should be worried about their fairness and human rights instead.”

I read an article a week or so ago about girls giving up many track events because they can no longer compete against boys who think they’re girls. What’s interesting about all this is the insistence by third-generation feminists that there are differences between men and women: California’s new law requiring equal representation of women on corporate boards was justified as being good for companies because women will bring a different, more profitable perspective to those companies (so why don’t they start their own companies, and beat the pants off their male competitors?), but deny that there’s any biological difference between the two sexes.

These are the crazy years.

The madness of social media

 But i have my  own  truth!

But i have my own truth!

Kavanaugh hates Indians and the homeless. From my friend Walter Olson at the Cato Institute:

How efficient is social media in spreading viral-junk misinformation about the law? Well, the following post about Tuesday’s two-page Supreme Court ruling in Brakebill v. Jaeger, a case about voting procedures in North Dakota, has gotten more than 18,000 shares as of this morning: 

Screen Shot 2018-10-14 at 7.35.56 AM.png

Let’s take a look at its errors, or at least the first four biggies:

1. Brakebill was not Justice Kavanaugh’s first ruling. If you so much as glance at the Court’s opinion, it’s hard to miss its second sentence: “JUSTICE KAVANAUGH took no part in the consideration or decision of this application.”

2. There is no indication that the vote was 5 to 4. Liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer did not join the dissent.*

3. Justice Ginsburg’s dissent contains no language even remotely like that put within quotation marks here. Her tone is technical rather than indignant, and she does not challenge anyone’s motives as illegitimate.

4. The Court did not issue a decision upholding the laws. It was a denial of an application to vacate a stay, not a ruling on the merits.

And we haven’t even gotten to the merits! Three and a half days after posting, its author has not seen fit to correct any of his errors.

Overlooked September listing

 314 North Maple

314 North Maple

Friggin Squarespace — it published an early draft of this post and didn’t include the revisions/additions that were meant to comprise the final draft. That’s been happening a lot recently, and it’s driving me crazy. I’ve tried to recapture what I originally wrote, and am reposting it now.

314 N. Maple Avenue, $3.4 million, hit the market a couple of weeks go, and I neglected to mention it. My bad, because it’s a beautiful house. Originally built in 1925, it’s been completely redone by my friend Ferdinand Steyer, principle of Mountain Works.

Ferdinand is one of the very best of the builders working in our neighborhood — he’s at least the third generation of Austrian woodworkers in the family and though he’s been here on our shores for 40 years or so, he carries that heritage with him. Scrupulously honest and a fantastic builder, if he re-did this house, it’s perfect. Go see this house.

And of course, it has the Zebra (s)

 Zebra One

Zebra One

 Zebra chairs

Zebra chairs

 We’ve seen this pelican before, and Zebra Three — do you Suppose David Ogilvy rushes around toting the same pelt and art work around the house, or hire assistants?

We’ve seen this pelican before, and Zebra Three — do you Suppose David Ogilvy rushes around toting the same pelt and art work around the house, or hire assistants?

History repeats itself


111 Dingletown Road dropped its price today to $2.8 million from $3.250. Back in 2013 my pal Joe Barbieri had it listed at $3.250, a price I suggested to him was pretty steep for a dated builder colonial on a back lot, but Joe still managed to sell it for $2.8 that year, demonstrating why Joe’s gotten rich at this gig while I have not. (Mind you, a final $450,000 off that price didn’t quite prove me a fool.)

The new owners spruced it up so that it is no longer dated, but it remains what it was, and lipstick only goes so far.

My guess? Watch for further discounts.

Another ho-hummer on Clapboard Ridge

 Reminds me of Idle-a-while airport

Reminds me of Idle-a-while airport

65 Clapboard Ridge Road is back today with yet another broker but the same price it expired at last month, $7.995 million. The owner paid $10 million for it back in 2007, —more fool he — and has been trying to get rid of it since 2015, when he priced it at $12.995, apparently under the mistaken impression that he’d scored a coup with that 2010 purchase. Wrong, so very wrong.

The demand for 15,000 sq.ft homes is limited these days and, to this eye, they all seem pretty much the same: big, swooping entrance halls, kitchens with spaghetti faucets and Viking ranges that will never be used, unless the caterer forgets to bring her hot plates, dated master bathrooms, high taxes, and land that has to be maintained, never mind that the family and their guests won’t venture past the fencing that keeps deer and their ticks at a safe distance. If these houses aren’t exactly a dime a dozen, there are certainly dozens of them searching for buyers.

I wish the new agent luck; he’s a friend of mine, and sells a bunch of these things, but I’m not convinced that substituting brokers while retaining a failed price will accomplish much. What’s that (falsely attributed) '“Einstein” quote, now reduced to a cliche? “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. It’s a cliche because it’s true. Get out an eraser, call the accountant, and work out the benefits, if any, of a long-term capital loss.

 genius kitchen design: fill a pot with 8 pounds of cold water at the stove, add a pound of SPAGHETTI, bring to a boil and then manhandle the whole steaming thing over to the sink to drain it. Unwieldy, but at least you got to pay a plumber to provide a cold water line above the range. Trickle down economics, in a way.

genius kitchen design: fill a pot with 8 pounds of cold water at the stove, add a pound of SPAGHETTI, bring to a boil and then manhandle the whole steaming thing over to the sink to drain it. Unwieldy, but at least you got to pay a plumber to provide a cold water line above the range. Trickle down economics, in a way.

Price cut on Macpherson


One Macpherson Drive, $4.850 million, down from its opening price a month ago of $5.250. Great, 1929 house, beautifully renovated, on an excellent street. Well worth seeing if it’s in your range.

Looking up its tax card, I was struck by the town’s appraisal (100%, not the 70% appraised value), of just $2,401,500. That’s ridiculous: 145 Weaver Street, discussed below, is appraised at $2,798,800. The latter may be too high; the former is way, way too low.

In fact, Greenwich’s entire appraisal process is out of whack. Pal Nancy’s and my own house on Riverside saw a jump in property tax from $6,000 in 2015 to $15,200 in 2016. Conceding that the original tax was probably low, bumping it to $15 in one year was brutal. So we sold it, at far less than the town’s valuation of $1.8+.

Our tax system is broken.

Well now, here's an aggressive price



150 Weaver Street, over in Glenville, is new today at $3.295 million. I almost never comment on a new listing’s price because I’d rather the market speak for itself — buy or reject — instead of my own big mouth, but I’ve sold houses on Weaver and think I’m fairly up to date on pricing there, and this price caught my eye.

The house was built in 2000 (the town tax card still shows a 1908 construction date, so someone’s due for a reappraisal, maybe), and it looks to be in great shape, freshly renovated since these owners paid $2,397.500 for it 2010, but Weaver Street values haven’t appreciated as much as these owners hope or at least, that’s my take.

That’s not a comment on the house itself, which seems to be very nice, but the price gives me pause. Time will tell.

UPDATE: Well that was quick: an hour after posting this, the property’s been relisted at $3 million.

Just caught up with this news: Stamford real estate attorney Burt Hoffman, crook, committed suicide on June 8, 2018


I’ve written of Hoffman over the years, citing him as one of the worst of the worst criminals controlling the foreclosure process during the post-crash era, but it took the state a long time to catch up with him. Finally, in 2016, he was arrested for larceny and theft and resigned from the bar in lieu of being disbarred. His death followed.

A reader has just sent me a bit of what’s been going on since Hoffman’s death; suits by defrauded clients and lenders, and a suit against a limited partnership called Mimarjo LLC which, interestingly could be considered to be comprised of Hoffman’s three sons, at least one of whom is still practicing law in Stamford: Mi (Mitch) mar (Marc) jo (Jon).

My problem with dealing with Hoffman and his firm was that you couldn’t complete a short-sale or foreclosure: they managed to derail the process and sell the property to their own clients in return, it was rumored, for a substantial kickback. It came to the point that if a deal had Hoffman on one side of it, I’d just bail, knowing that any effort i expended would be wasted time.

A bit more research on the man reveals that, beside his fraudulent loan activities, Hoffman was accused of stealing from elderly clients, stripping them of their savings. Not a good person, and I wonder how he managed to continue all these years when so many of us in the real estate field knew (at least part of) what he was up to.