Fox Butterfield, call your office

 Of course, the organizers of the Miss Ukraine contest might have followed Carlson’s example to their advantage

Of course, the organizers of the Miss Ukraine contest might have followed Carlson’s example to their advantage

The Miss America contest gets booted from Atlantic City.

I have never, ever watched the thing, and could care less if it’s hit its demise, but this article on the pageant’s woes contains a classic Fox Butterfield: *

[New Chairwoman Grethchen Carlson] this year controversially attempted to modernize the event by scrapping the swimsuit contest, but the ratings continued to slump.

*

per Wikipedia, [NYT reporter] “Butterfield is the eponym for “The Butterfield Effect”, used to refer to a person who “makes a statement that is ludicrous on its face, yet it reveals what the speaker truly believes”, especially if expressing a supposed paradox when a causal relationship should be obvious.[5][6] The particular article that sparked this was titled “More Inmates, Despite Drop In Crime” by Butterfield in the New York Times on November 8, 2004”


Big sale price but ....

11 Mayfair.jpg

11 Mayfair Lane, over off Riversville/Pecksland, has sold for $10.5 million, but it started at $22 million back in April, 2016. Our MLS records this as being on the market for just 133 days, but my own math tells me that 31 months comprise more than 133 days. Ah, statistics!

A gorgeous, though dated 1930 house on 13 acres; have I mentioned that the market for these older homes has diminished?

Exhausted by the constant rush of air between her ears, the Democrats' favorite new barmaid star announces that she's going on vacation before she even reports for work

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Mind you, it’s not actually a vacation but rather a week of “taking care of herself” by which, as an oppressed member of the colored people population, she is taking a brave political stance, rather than merely goofing off.

For a woman whining about trying to pay her rent just a few weeks ago, I wonder where she’s jetting off to, and who’s paying the fare?

Ten years and a 70% price cut later, we won't have 918 North Street to kick around anymore

 If Disney were to build an ersatz castle in our back country, this would be it

If Disney were to build an ersatz castle in our back country, this would be it

It’s a shame, because it’s provided great fodder as a source of chortling amusement since 2009, when it started at $16.9 million, but 918 North Street has finally sold for $4.999. I think the buyer overpaid by at least $3, $3.5 million, because the highest and best use for this horrible house is a pit, ready for a new start.

But that’s just my taste, and tastes obviously differ.

 what was the stager  thinking?  this wall demands a flanking pair of knight’s armor

what was the stager thinking? this wall demands a flanking pair of knight’s armor

The course of a short sale is never smooth

 Ear muffs for the entire family tossed in as a buyer incentive

Ear muffs for the entire family tossed in as a buyer incentive

13 Meadow Wood Drive, Belle Haven, is once again being reported as having a “contingent contract”. The house, then listed at $1.6 million, was reported as “pending” (meaning no unsatisfied contingencies) this past June but, pending or not, the deal was canceled, and the property was returned to the market at $2.7 million (!). In November a new, contingent contract was announced, but that deal, too seems to have fallen apart, replaced by yet another one today.

I can’t imagine anyone agreeing to pay anything close to $2.7 for this teardown because, Belle Haven or not, it’s right on I-95, and, at least to my ears, that ruins its value.

I’ll be curious to see if this third contract holds up.

I know what I'd have advised had I been their agent but ...

marks road.jpg

Some idiot has “won” a bidding war and purchased 20 Marks Road, asking $4.195 million, for $4.210. LA Rams’ center, Riverside native Johnny Sullivan sold it to these sellers in 2015 for $3.255 and they, in turn, put in a pool and brought in a bunch of decorator furniture, and have sold the assemblage to some naif flush with Wall Street bonus money. God bless free enterprise, and P.T. Barnum.

All this reminds me of my older brother John’s coup back in the late 60s: he bought a trashed mini-bike for twenty bucks, spray-painted it metallic blue and gold and slapped “Batman” decals on both sides of its fuel tank, and unloaded the thing for a hundred. Mini-bike buyers didn’t use buyers reps back then, so they were on their own, but children with more money than brains shouldn’t venture into the suburbs without a guide.

What I said below

rocket.jpg
The new report from the Government Accountability Office — a federal auditing agency — shows that of the $3.7 trillion the federal government spent in 2015, $3.2 trillion of it didn’t require authorization by Congress that year. In other words, Congress only specifically approved 14% of what the federal government spent that year.

Over the years, Congress has passed laws that allow federal spending without any annual congressional approval. The biggest chunk is for so-called “entitlement programs” like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and welfare. Congress provided these programs with “permanent appropriations.” Spending levels are set automatically, based on eligibility rules and benefit amounts.

Over the years, this kind of autopilot spending authority exploded from $1.7 trillion in 1994 to $3.2 trillion by 2015. That’s an 87% increase, after adjusting for inflation.

The US population has increased by 24% since 1994, so “autopilot spending” per capita — again, mostly entitlements — has increased by nearly 66%.

Tulip bulbs, Bitcoin, the US Dollar?

mackay.jpg

Bitcoin is dead.

Erik Finman, who gained renown after becoming one of the earliest crypto millionaires, told MarketWatch in an interview that the virtual currency that made him wealthy is headed to the trash bin.

“Bitcoin is dead, it’s too fragmented, there’s tons of infighting. I just don’t think it will last.

“It may have a bull market or two left in it,” he added, “but long-term, it’s dead.”

Finman was especially downbeat about Litecoin — which has fallen 95 percent from its peak — as being on the way out.

“Litecoin has been dead for a while,” he said. “It’s like when the sun is going down and there’s that eight-minute period just before it goes dark. Litecoin is in its seventh minute.”

In the last 24 hours, bitcoin hit a new yearly low of $3,126, and some analysts believe it may fall even further — below the $3,000 level.

It’s been nearly a year since bitcoin surpassed $18,000 and appeared headed toward $20,000 — before falling back to earth.

As I understand these things, a currency’s value is based on trust of the issuer. Continental dollars didn’t amount to much (though I believe our new government did end up making good on most of them), Confederate dollars were worse, and Bitcoin was an implausible scheme from its inception. I’d say I was surprised by Wall Street’s jubilant acceptance of Bitcoin as something good to invest in, but nothing our geniuses do down in the canyons surprises me.

I’m more concerned about what happens when the hollow foundation of our own currency is exposed, but I suppose that will only happen when the entire global economy collapses, so who’ll notice?

I have mixed feelings about this, but on the whole, I think justice was done

 don’t like it, don’t buy it

don’t like it, don’t buy it

San Francisco Planning Commission orders renegade developer to rebuild an exact replica of the house he tore down.

A San Francisco man has been ordered to build a replica of a landmark house he illegally demolished to make way for a mansion that would have been triple the size. 

It was an unprecedented ruling from the San Francisco Planning Commission, which wanted to send a strong message about the developer's actions. 

The Largent House, which was built in 1936, was 1,300 sq ft and featured an indoor swimming pool. It was located in San Francisco's Twin Peaks neighborhood.  

Johnston had planned to remodel the two-story home and submitted plans to the city that mostly kept the first floor intact. His permit was approved.  

But his neighbor Cheryl Traverce was shocked to find the house completely gone, save for a garage door and frame, when she returned from a vacation. 

'I went to New York for about a week and a half and came back, the house was gone,' she told KPIX. 'Totally gone. I was shocked.' 

Johnston later applied for a retroactive demolition permit and asked to build a new three-story house that would expand the size from 1,300 to nearly 4,000 sq ft.

The city believes he then wanted to flip the home for a profit. Johnston has claimed he wanted to move his family of six into the planned mansion

'We acknowledge and apologize for the fact that a small portion of the work exceeded the scope in the approved plans,' he said. 

The planning commission unanimously voted to order Johnston to build an exact replica of the design. 

They also want Johnson to include a plaque that tells the story of Neutra's original house, the demolition, and the replica. 

'The fact that it was a unanimous vote should send a message to everyone that is playing fast and loose that the game is over,' Aaron Peskin, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, told the San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously voted to order Johnston to build an exact replica of the design

'We want to preserve iconic, historic structures, but even more important, we want to protect our reservoir of more affordable housing stock.

'You want a 1,300-square-foot house to be worth what a 1,300-square-foot house is worth, rather than a mega-mansion.' 

I trend towards the libertarian, do-what-you-want-with-your-own-property side of these arguments, but here there were regulations in place, the developer pretended to be playing by them, and lied. I think he got what he deserved.

(Ironically, if he does build an exact replica, with modern electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, windows, etc., he’ll probably still end up with the $4 million house he was aiming for.)

 “We acknowledge and apologize for the fact that a small portion of the work exceeded the scope in the approved plans,' he said.”

“We acknowledge and apologize for the fact that a small portion of the work exceeded the scope in the approved plans,' he said.”



It's a wonderful life — or could have been

 dope

dope

A wonderful comment found at Instapundit, and just in time for Christmas:

Someone wrote that in It’s a Wonderful Life Old Man Potter should have been the good guy. He was trying to make something of the town. George Bailey made risky loans, joked about losing money, gave a blonde a loan when she kissed him, and employed incompetent relatives. Uncle Billy literally gave money away. No wonder the S&Ls collapsed.