January 27, 2009

Watching A Train Wreck In Slow Motion

A report from the Virginian Pilot. “Two years ago Maurice Watkins’ budding career as a real estate agent seemed off to a good start. Listings sold quickly, and buyers were aplenty. Now, the 28-year-old Norfolk resident spends hours each day in his apartment trolling career Web sites in search of a job. Watkins is among nearly 900 Hampton Roads real estate agents who called it quits last year amid the most sluggish housing market in more than a decade. ‘At the end of 2007, you saw a real drastic change,’ he said. ‘The market transformed. My client base was dwindling; I wasn’t making any money.’”

“Kevin Barklage of Virginia Beach, spent 18 months working full time as an agent during the sales boom. ‘It was crazy for a while,’ Barklage said. ‘I was working with friends and family mostly. It wasn’t that hard to find people who were buying, regardless of the rising prices. Then, everything started to melt down.’”

“Norfolk resident Sissy Deaton spent four years as a real estate agent before returning in November to work 40 hours a week as a bartender in Ghent. Deaton now works part time as an agent for Prudential Towne Realty. ‘I actually rode the wave a little longer than I should have,’ she said. ‘I probably should have gone back to bartending six months earlier.’”

“Deaton said that as her sales volume began to fall, she was faced with finding a way to make ends meet. ‘There was no choice in the matter,’ she said. ‘I’m not going to lose my house working in real estate.’”

“The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority…officials said that as the economy has weakened, participation in its first-time home-buyer program has dropped more than 70 percent in the past 18 months - despite offers of down-payment assistance and ultra-low interest rates for low-income buyers.”

“‘People are just not buying homes,’ said John Allen, VP of housing and financial services for Norfolk’s Up Center, which provides home-buyer classes. ‘It’s all because of the economy.’”

“Still others, said Sharon Prescott, the city’s housing development administrator, racked up so much debt during the boom years that they now don’t qualify for loans under stricter lending standards. ‘There’s a lot of interest, but people have such serious credit card debt. They can’t qualify,’ she said. ‘It’s very frustrating. If people would pay down some of that debt we’d have some winners here.’”

The Free Lance Star from Virginia. “Foreclosure and short sales jumped sevenfold in the immediate Fredericksburg area last year, with the Aquia Harbour and Lee’s Parke subdivisions leading the way, a report shows. Neighborhoods that saw the highest volume of sales during the peak of the housing boom have had the hardest time lately, said Rosemary deButts, a senior consultant with Fairfax-based Fulton Research and Consulting.”

“‘Now they can’t get easy money anymore,’ she said.”

The Daily Press from Virginia. “Charlee Gowin, who chairs the Hampton Roads Realtors Association board, said the region is back to levels before the heated real estate market peaked in 2005. ‘We’re calling it back to normal,’ Gowin said during a Virginia Association of Realtors conference call Monday.”

“Some buyers — overwhelmed with the number of available homes — have been slow to put a contract down on a house. Others are coming in with bids 10 to 15 percent below the asking price, hoping to get a deal, said Rick Brandt of RE/MAX Peninsula. ‘While they are trying to get deals, if you get too aggressive, you may not get the property they want,’ he said.”

The Washington Post. “Benjamin McNelley said he loathed the idea of walking away from the mortgage on his four-bedroom, two-bath house in Fauquier County, Va. But when both his father and his stepfather fell ill last summer in South Carolina, McNelley said, he had no choice but to quit his job and move. By then, the new house he had bought for $214,000 in 2003 and then refinanced twice during the boom years was worth far less than his mortgage, which exceeded $400,000. Selling the property proved difficult. He grew anxious.”

“In July, McNelley decided to quit paying his $2,300 monthly mortgage. He said he sent his lender, Countrywide, a letter explaining his situation, that he had moved and quit his job. Countrywide has yet to foreclose on the property, he said, and McNelley is also exploring the option of a short sale. But he sees none of these options as particularly attractive. The home is sitting empty.”

“‘I already have a ‘90 days past due,’ McNelley said. ‘It’s going to be six of one or half a dozen of the other. My credit is shot, so either way you look at it, it is not going to matter much.’”

“‘The prevailing sentiment over the last five to six years has been that a home is primarily an investment and secondarily a place to live,’ said Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance in Bethesda, Md. ‘If that is in fact your thinking, it makes it very difficult to make a decision to continue paying your mortgage if you don’t think that investment is going to increase over the next five years.’”

The News Post from Maryland. “The downturn, which began nearly four years ago, has typically pushed home prices down 20 percent from peak values. The price of a home sold in Frederick County in November, the latest figures available from the Maryland Association of Realtors, was $276,594, down 19 percent from November 2007.”

“Steve Maszoros, president of the Maryland Association of Realtors, said predictions of a turnaround in the housing market by mid-year ‘may be a bit of wishful thinking.’”

The Baltimore Sun from Maryland. “Another huge wave of layoffs hit workers yesterday, with major U.S. employers planning to cut almost 60,000 jobs across various industries in the latest sign of distress in the labor market. In Maryland, several private employers notified the state earlier this month of pending layoffs and closures that affect more than 600 workers, starting in March.”

“In Maryland, 296,652 people filed new claims for unemployment benefits last year, up nearly 34 percent from 2007, according to Thomas Wendel, the executive director for the state’s office of unemployment insurance. ‘We’re watching a train wreck in slow motion, and it’s very difficult for us who have to watch, but that’s occurring,’ said Charles W. McMillion, chief economist for MBG Information Services in Washington.”

“Federal banking regulators have told Crofton-based Suburban Federal Savings Bank that it must be sold by Friday or face a possible government takeover. The 53-year-old thrift has been trying to recover from losses on soured real-estate loans. If Suburban were to be seized, it would be the first bank to fail in Maryland since 1992.”

“Bert Ely, a banking consultant in Alexandria, Va., said it will difficult to find a buyer for Suburban. ‘It’s absolutely amazing they’re still open,’ Ely said. ‘The capital at the end of September was almost exhausted.’”

From North Jersey Media Group. “Developers wouldn’t have to pay a fee that generates funds for affordable housing projects for 18 months under economic stimulus legislation cleared Monday by a state Senate panel. Governor Corzine called for a one-year moratorium on the development fee — enacted in July 2008 as part of overhaul of state affordable housing policies — during his State of the State address earlier this month.”

“The bill that passed Monday, sponsored by committee Chairman Ray Lesniak, D-Union, extends the moratorium six months beyond Corzine’s proposal. ‘We are at a tipping point,’ Lesniak said. ‘If we fall over, we are not going to be able to get this economy back up at all.’”

The Star Ledger from New Jersey. “For decades, the massive steel structure dominated the shorefront skyline of Asbury Park. In the spring of 2006, about 80 pounds of plastic explosives finally leveled the 12-story skeleton of a redevelopment scheme that had begun 20 years earlier. The town fathers gathered for the demolition and everyone was optimistic about a new era for Asbury.”

“All the parts seemed to be in place for a town ‘where a new golden era is just beginning’ as the for-sale sign says on the luxury North Beach condo complex. Unlike in the ’80s, hundreds of units actually got built in this boom. Many remain unsold.”

“Timing is everything, they say. In Asbury Park, it’s bad timing. The town has a habit of planning its redevelopment projects so that they get underway just as a housing bubble is about to burst. ‘We thought we were right on target with it, but we missed it by about two years,’ says Deputy Mayor Jimmy Bruno.”

“‘We’re working on a new design,’ said developer Dean Geibel, who is with Metro Homes based in Jersey City. The original design called for 224 ultra-luxury units that would have been sold for as much as $2.5 million to people who would in all likelihood have used them as summer homes. But Geibel said the new plan will produce cheaper units that might be bought by people who want to live in town year-round.”

“Cindy Curto recently moved south from Wayne and opened up a dog-grooming service on Bangs Avenue downtown. She described to me some of the businesses near hers. ‘They have a great paranormal store. They have a great antique store’ she said. ‘But the stores are open weird hours so people don’t know when they’re open.’”

The Erie Times from Pennsylvania. “Two local real estate appraisers could have their professional licenses revoked or suspended by the Pennsylvania Department of State for their appraisals of houses involved in the federal criminal probe of widespread mortgage fraud in Erie.”

“The state claims that between 2003 and 2005, Natalie Rose Hurlburt, of Cambridge Springs, and Kristopher M. Porter, of Edinboro, set values for the houses in question that were as much as $28,000 higher than a state-hired appraiser says those homes were worth at the time.”

“In documents filed with the state’s Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers, the state claims that in some cases, appraisal reports prepared by Hurlburt and Porter indicate significant, short-term jumps in value for some of the properties. In one case, a property purchased for $15,000 was appraised at $72,000 five months later, the state claims.”

“The properties that were appraised, in nearly each case, were sold to private buyers by local home-redevelopment firms investigated by the FBI as part of the fraud investigation. Those firms include RLD Enterprises, owned by fraud defendant Robert L. Dodsworth; and K&D Enterprises, owned by Dodsworth and Frank Kartesz II, also a defendant in the fraud case. Both Dodsworth and Kartesz pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges related to their roles in the housing scam, and each is now serving a federal prison sentence.”

“Property appraisals became a central piece of the mortgage-fraud probe because the FBI and other agencies investigated if the sales of nearly 200 properties — nearly all of them within the city of Erie — involved inflated appraisals or other fraudulent information that led buyers to pay more than market value for their homes.”

Crain’s New York. “The Hamptons’ residential market took another beating from a floundering economy in the final quarter of 2008, with prices and sales volumes both dropping significantly from levels in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to a report released Tuesday.”

“‘What you are seeing here is similar to parts of the city,’ said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, adding that for the last four years, with the exception of one quarter, there has been a decline in transactions. ‘The drop is attributable to the credit contraction and uncertainty with Wall Street in terms of unemployment and compensation.’”

“The region has long been popular with affluent New Yorkers looking for summer homes near the water. The problem now is that mortgages are even harder to come by than East Hampton parking spaces in mid-July. That is doubly true for people looking to finance their second or third homes, according to Dottie Herman, CEO of Prudential Douglas Elliman.”

“The area south of Route 27, known for its oceanfront properties…held up amid the market turmoil. Median sales price for houses in that area soared 22.4% to $1.1 million. Mr. Miller said the uptick was a result of a lot of high-end sales that were completed during the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, median sales prices for houses north of the highway were down 3.2% to $692,500.”

“‘Oceanfront property is prime,’ said Ms. Herman. ‘There is only so much of it.’”




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211 Comments »

Comment by Arizona Slim
2009-01-27 09:34:50

“‘People are just not buying homes,’ said John Allen, VP of housing and financial services for Norfolk’s Up Center, which provides home-buyer classes. ‘It’s all because of the economy.’”

Looks like Mr. Allen gets it.

Comment by climber
2009-01-27 09:47:09

“Still others, said Sharon Prescott, the city’s housing development administrator, racked up so much debt during the boom years that they now don’t qualify for loans under stricter lending standards. ‘There’s a lot of interest, but people have such serious credit card debt. They can’t qualify,’ she said. ‘It’s very frustrating. If people would pay down some of that debt we’d have some winners here.’”

If people could pay down their debts there would be at least a glimmer of hope for the near future. In fact there are so many people and businesses so far in debt it’s going to be a long slog.

During the telecom boom I worked for McCaw Cellular. We were purchased by AT&T. Even a cursory look at the books showed that AT&T overpaid. It’s not just individuals who took on too much debt. Cerberus is getting some indigestion from what I hear as well as many other VC firms who used too much debt to acquire too little earnings.

Comment by Carl Morris
2009-01-27 10:23:10

‘It’s very frustrating. If people would pay down some of that debt we’d have some winners here.’

She obviously doesn’t understand how things work. Those people need that loan in order to get the sweet, sweet equity appreciation to pay down that debt. How else could they possibly do it?

Comment by Arizona Slim
2009-01-27 11:13:18

Ummm, lemme guess. Could they do it by working and saving money?

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Comment by Carl Morris
2009-01-27 11:21:15

Don’t be ridiculous. If that’s how things worked it would take forever to get anywhere in life :-).

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 11:28:57

Yeah, az! Sheesh, you and your tedious ‘reality’ crap…
:)

 
Comment by Darrell_in_PHX
2009-01-27 11:40:31

Working and saving??? That is pure “poor dad” thinking. You want to be poor your whole life, don’t you! Don’t drag us down with you. We’re all going to be living on passive income and investment returns, thank you very much.

 
Comment by DinOR
2009-01-27 11:52:28

“pure “poor dad” thinking” LOL!

Yes… NOW I see “it”! This dumb notion of common sense and conservative finance are what’s been holding me back, all__my__life!

 
Comment by HARM
2009-01-27 12:21:56

Yes… NOW I see “it”! This dumb notion of common sense and conservative finance are what’s been holding me back, all__my__life!

Unfortunately, there is some geniune truth to this notion. In a Ponzi-conomy rigged by high-powered crooks, con-men and bailout-crazed politicians, there isn’t much advantage in being conservative and prudent with one’s money.

Too bad I was born without the CEO/sociopath gene –I could be rich, rich, RICH!!

 
Comment by polly
2009-01-27 12:49:37

I don’t know exactly what it is an indicator of, but the Rich Dad/Poor Dad people have been buying mondo advertising space in the little paper that is distributed for free in the DC Metro. Large chunk of a single page most days for the past two weeks or so.

If they were making so much money the Rich Dad way, why do they have time to waste teaching it to other people? Besides, the Poor Dad, the engineer, right? Sounds like a much more interesting person….

 
Comment by VaBeyatch in Virginia Beach
2009-01-27 15:23:33

Same here. The Virginian Pilot had advertisements all over it for some “free” Kiosaki seminar somewhere in Southeastern Virginia. I assume there is an upsell for something. I cringe whenever I see the advertisement.

 
Comment by bluprint
2009-01-27 15:57:27

I don’t know exactly what it is an indicator of,

Advertising costs getting cheap?

 
Comment by awaiting wipeout
2009-01-27 16:36:59

“Advertising costs getting cheap?”
Funny, you should bring this up”

Listening to the “morning drive” guy on one of the Los Angeles Talk Radio show, the topic of cheaper advertising was one of the topics. Evidently there are great deals out there, due to the slowdown in advertising revenues. Infomercials are now primetime, and 3 for 1 (2 free slots) specials are now in place. Their advertising revenue streams are hurting, big time. TV was mentioned too, so newspapers must be in really bad shape.

 
Comment by WHYoung
2009-01-27 16:54:43

re cheap advertising… there was an article in Time magazine this week “the Cult of the Snuggie” (that blanket thingie with arms) and how they’ve been able to buy cheap TV on popular show. The ceo of the company said “I like to say we’re getting beach front property at trailer-park prices”

 
 
Comment by JoJo
2009-01-27 11:52:40

But, if you waited until you’d saved up the downpayment and could afford to pay the mortgage and any repairs out of your salary you might be 42 before you finally bought a house! Unthinkable!

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Comment by polly
2009-01-27 12:52:26

Well, there goes the whole “move up” model that keeps the NAR drooling. If you buy a reasonable house in your early 40’s with no more than a 20 year mortgage and then stay in it until you leave feet first or on the way to the assisted living facilty how will they get the really easy repeat business?

 
Comment by DinOR
2009-01-27 16:06:59

polly,

Not sure you realize just how accurate that is! Traditionally Americans had (3) homes in their life. Your basic starter/fixer-upper, then your “move up” or dream home and finally your retirement home.

All with many years ( to build ‘paid up’ equity ) in between. Sadly for NAR this is what we will be reverting back to. I’m sure they’d give anything to have us trading up every 2 to 5 years.

 
Comment by awaiting wipeout
2009-01-27 16:53:33

DinOR-
We are following that model to a “T”. In retrospect, if we would have bought the right house in our early 30’s, we would had only one. Our 3rd and final house, will have no mortgage. But also the fact, we carry no debt, live reasonably frugal, and bought to live in, never refi’d, are factors in our happy ending (buying in 2009, after renting a long time). With this refi/heloc orgy, not many happily ever after’s are out there.

Any repeal on Prop 13 in Ca, could sink us with cash flow issues. Inflation and taxation concern us.

 
Comment by DennisN
2009-01-27 17:26:50

DinOR,
Heck I only had two houses. I moved directly from my “starter” house to my retirement house. I’ll bet the NAR will put out a contract on me. :) Better to piss off the NAR than the NRA I always say.

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 18:43:41

‘Better to piss off the NAR than the NRA I always say.’

Say! Dennis, I never thought of this before. I wonder what’s the crossover? I mean, how many membership lists swap? All I know is, I ain’t ever wanna be on a list with a bunch of realtors, nohow.
* emits disrespectful sniff *

Actually, I’m not on the NRA lists either. Whyever would I bother? I already know I can shoot whatever I want.
Although badges are cute, I will concede. Does the NRA have badges?!

 
Comment by Martin Cohen
2009-01-27 21:25:01

We beat you by one!

One house, one kid (now 2dn year med student), soon (i.e., eventually) retiring in the same house (paid for - yay!).

It would be such a pain to move, so we are happy to stay here.

 
 
 
Comment by Victhebrickv
2009-01-27 11:45:48

Good point. Reminds me of my Valuation class when i got my MBA…this was during the Internet bubble: Prof was a 70 year old accounting background guy and said how can they value these companies when they dont have the cash flow?

As most of you remember, most internet co’s only way to stay in business was to sell more stock in secondary financings.

Just like most in this housing bubble could only pay the mortgage by taking out more cash via refinancing. They never had the means to pay via a normal job. Waaay too much debt here in the USA.

Comment by DinOR
2009-01-27 12:26:47

Vic,

Excellent analogy. A good friend traded on the CBOE at the time and noted it wasn’t until the dot.coms had any actual earnings that people seemed to realize, “Hey, we’re trading this thing at 1,800 times earnings?!”

As long as they remained in a dream-like state, everything was just fine? I’ve also long held that a “normal job” was just a vehicle to leverage during the housing boom.

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Comment by MacAttack
2009-01-27 16:03:47

Yeah, when people started using “revenue per share” as a valuation measure, I headed for the exit.

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Comment by milkcrate
2009-01-27 17:14:53

Wish I had been right alongside.
Anyone remember garden.com? Rode that one into the ground.
Little grumpy and dispirited, since the annual 401(k) tax forms are making their wafer-thin year-end arrival.
When BO is finished addressing the friendly people of the Middle East, I trust he has some plan for answering the ball cap question, “Where in the %$^#@ is my bailout?”

 
 
 
Comment by The_Overdog
2009-01-28 09:42:29

Are you sure? AT&T buys companies for their wireless spectrum, not for the customers.

 
 
Comment by Darrell_in_PHX
2009-01-27 11:30:21

‘It’s all because of the economy.’

WRONG. It is ALSO bacause the prices are still too high.

Comment by aNYCdj
2009-01-27 11:59:22

Well Hey If we used Tarp $$ for CC reduction people would be better off. 100 million cards $2000 each equals….$200 billion…

———————
‘There’s a lot of interest, but people have such serious credit card debt. They can’t qualify,’ she said. ‘It’s very frustrating. If people would pay down some of that debt we’d have some winners here.’”

Comment by Pullthetrigger?
2009-01-27 20:02:03

I’m with you on this one. The top down strategy is failing miserably. Better to give the borrowed money to the people so they can shore up their finances rather than those of the greedy bankers. Better to work from the bottom up, I say!

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Comment by VaBeyatch in Virginia Beach
2009-01-27 12:17:33

The Virginian Pilot article is related to my region. Home prices went up over 100% while salaries went down (when adjusted for inflation) since 2001. Huge amounts of denial. Many of the jobs are related to gov’t contractors, so there is *some* stability. The Military brings people in and out often as well, and many of those people have been buying versus renting even though they are stationed here 2 years.

I’ve posted on every Virginian Pilot article for years. They pumped real estate like everyone else until it was past obvious that things would bust.

 
Comment by Kim
2009-01-27 14:03:58

‘It’s all because of the economy.’
“WRONG. It is ALSO bacause the prices are still too high.”

Absolutely. Even in a “bad economy”, everything has its market price.

 
 
Comment by Ann
2009-01-27 14:45:26

Observation Today:

I know that Home Depot said they are closing up all the Expo’s. I have one that I pass about 5 days a week…for months the parking lot had only a few cars ..mind you I pass it at different times of the day..

Today..the parking lot was full..no sign outside advertising discounted prices…but still a full parking lot…

Comment by climber
2009-01-27 15:12:08

Circuit City near me is having a “liquidation” sale. The parking lot was packed. In spite of the crowds I went inside, almost everything was 10% off! Loads of people in the store, hardly anyone at the checkout counter.

I walked out empty handed, I ran some of the prices by my 7 and 10 year olds who were looking in the Wii games. They agreed with me, what a waste of time.

Comment by VaBeyatch in Virginia Beach
2009-01-27 15:25:48

Liquidation companies purchase the inventory, and then sometimes mark up the prices. They then mark it down from the marked up price. I’ve heard they will bring in MORE inventory, often items that the store did not carry, in an effort to sell other stuff. The local CompUSA going out of business sale lasted months and months.

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Comment by robin
2009-01-27 22:32:17

Ditto. 10% off full-retail-price of software. OOOHHH!! AAAAAHHH!! Be still my heart! 30% off of cables with a 200 to 300% markup (trust me) - :)

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Comment by whino
2009-01-27 15:16:38

Just like vultures flying in circles waiting for the last breath then swooping down for the meal. It doesent matter if they can afford it or not, a serial shopper will always flock to a percieved bargin.

 
 
 
Comment by Bill in Carolina
2009-01-27 09:42:33

“…The original design called for 224 ultra-luxury units that would have been sold for as much as $2.5 million to people who would in all likelihood have used them as summer homes.”

Must be nice. There are several communities along our lakeshore where large custom homes have been built, and the golf course and clubhouse and the fitness center are all up and running. But I’m told it’s like a ghost town in those places because most of the owners are there for less than 30 days out of the year.

Comment by not a gator
2009-01-27 11:49:19

1. Whatever happened to renting a summer cottage?

2. My great grandfather had some land and a shack up in Northern Michigan, but multiple generations of the family used it, often for weeks at a time. Like many such places it was probably occupied all summer.

It was probably deserted during the big chill (Michigan winters). My grandmother says they used to summer in Key West and Ft. Lauderdale, which she calls “Fort Dodder-dale”, talking about when she was 19 in the 1940’s! Didn’t have the heart to say “But Grand-maaaa, you’re the old people now.”

I guess my grandmother took a hit in class status when she married my farmboy grandfather, but she had a good life and a good spouse. Her father was respected but not loved and his personal life was a mess.

Comment by polly
2009-01-27 13:00:55

Sounds like she made a good trade.

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 18:46:56

Agreed. Farm boys is the way to go.

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Comment by DennisN
2009-01-27 09:43:36

Asbury Park: I haven’t thought about that place in decades. When I was 6 my dad had a TDY working at Bell Labs so I remember going to the amusement park at Asbury Park. Is that still there? IIRC Asbury Park was a poor relative of Atlantic City….how did they expect to sell $2.5 million condos there?

“Curto recently moved south from Wayne and opened up a dog-grooming service on Bangs Avenue downtown. She described to me some of the businesses near hers.

“They have a great paranormal store. They have a great antique store” she said. “But the stores are open weird hours so people don’t know when they’re open.” ”

It sounds like there still isn’t much “real” commercial development there. A community cannot subsist on organic dog food and paranormal stores.

Comment by DennisN
2009-01-27 09:45:34

They should have tracked down the owner of that paranormal store, and asked him about the current downturn. “I didn’t see it coming!” :)

Comment by phillygal
2009-01-27 10:03:44

Did you see the article’s comments:

Posted by peteredner on 01/27/09 at 8:42AM
“Red Bank by the sea”? More like Newark by the sea and therein lies the problem.

I only went to Asbury Park one time to see a show at the Stone Pony, and I got busted driving home. So I don’t know much about the town itself, but I have pretty fond memories of the slam.

Comment by not a gator
2009-01-27 11:51:16

Wow, one of the nicer apt complexes in GNV area is called Asbury Park. Had no idea about the origin of the name. That certainly puts a new spin on things!

It’s near a F’d development called “Park Lane” (sounds like a tiny block of brick flats from the 50’s) and a “deed restricted community” called–get this–Stillwind.

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Comment by milkcrate
2009-01-27 17:22:26

Stillwind… Reminds me of Stephen Stills, who did a free gig in your fair city during one of Bill Clinton’s tour stops.

 
Comment by not a gator
2009-01-27 17:39:31

wow, that’s a long time ago. I was still in high school and living thousands of miles from here.

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by JoJo
2009-01-27 09:56:04

My grandmother had an old shore cottage near Asbury Park. We used to go there when I was a kid. We went back around 1999 and were shocked to see it a ghost town. I remember that partly finished eyesore.

When I was a child, there were rusted street signs and curbs in some fields. My father told me that a developer had bought land and started to build in 1929 but was wiped out by the depression. They didn’t build anything on that land until the late 60’s. It looks like history is repeating itself.

Comment by not a gator
2009-01-27 11:53:15

I’ve been astounded to learn the story behind some of the architectural oddities I grew up with (since they aren’t so quick to demo bldgs in Mass. as elsewhere) as history repeats itself.

Victorians: the shoddy McMansions of their day.

Ah, gooberville.

Comment by HARM
2009-01-27 12:24:59

“Victorians: the shoddy McMansions of their day.”

Survivor bias aside, I’d take any Victorian over Troll Brothers/Lennar/KB crap any day of the week.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2009-01-27 12:36:37

A family friend worked for the Toll Brothers. While in their employ, he coined a slogan which is now among my mother’s favorites:

Toll Brothers Homes: Guaranteed for five years. Then they fall apart.

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Comment by L. Opine
2009-01-27 13:29:22

Hey now, Victorians are lovely, and a lot of them have survived 120+ years. I doubt you’ll be able to say the same things about Toll Bros. specials.

Comment by DennisN
2009-01-27 15:27:07

Victorians in SF were built out of prime heart redwood - they may last far longer than any other wood frame houses.

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Comment by robin
2009-01-27 22:38:13

So were Craftsmans, without the drawbacks that gator mentions.

 
 
Comment by not a gator
2009-01-27 17:51:17

victorians have their charms, but:

*they’re drafty
*yet they’re stuffy in the summer
*basement is a haunted house of horrors
*upper levels have “interesting” angles
*stairs creak like the dickens… good luck not waking anyone when you turn in late
*old wood/all wood = doors don’t quite fit in door frames, windows likewise “odd”
*you can forget about hurricane proofing
*fire resistant? well, let’s just say, don’t leave any magazines on those wall radiators, mkay?
*like central air/heat? too bad.
*siding/ext. paint/roof work costs more than you make in a year
*dominates the lot–hope you have a big lot
*looks like a haunted house without quadrenniel spruce job
*kitchen is typically a kind of anteroom for the back door, because Cooky used the kitchen and Mother lived in the parlour, which is, of course, the nicest room in the house
*that parlour? typically has less natural light than other rooms, too keep down drafts and summer heat

So, in short, lots of questionable design choices. Yes, some were built well and are still standing–others were built badly or badly maintained and have fallen down. Remember, this is a wood house we’re talking about. Some still standing aren’t all that plumb, if you know what I mean. Heating/cooling is especially bad. Also, most of them are ugly as sin curbside, although there are exceptions!

Disclaimer: never lived in one, though I did live in an 1890’s duplex for a month (since torn down for new development… weep), and I have slept over in Victorians many a time because I grew up in a town that was lousy with them. Although I found them kind of exciting (wood floors! staircases! stained glass!), I think I lived in more comfort day to day in our 1950’s concrete slab ranch!

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Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2009-01-27 19:54:54

I always thought of “The Munsters” when I saw a Victorian. I like contemporary and where form follows function. Victorians: function follows form.

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 20:52:16

Oh, hmmm? I always figured that functioned followed my form. It seems better that way. I mean; for me.

 
 
 
 
Comment by Pullthetrigger?
2009-01-27 20:22:14

I remember the comercials on the radio: “Raceway…Asbury Park” Over and over again. That must have been in the late 60’s. Of course, I’m dating myself, but at least I’m dating someone I like. :)

 
 
Comment by Bobby Mac
2009-01-27 09:57:42

“Benjamin McNelley said he loathed the idea of walking away from the mortgage on his four-bedroom, two-bath house in Fauquier County, Va. But when both his father and his stepfather fell ill last summer in South Carolina, McNelley said, he had no choice but to quit his job and move.

Is it me or does there seem to be some sort of epidemic around folks getting sick or ill and their in laws who happen to heloc the crap out of their house and wind up underwater?

I mean almost every article I see involves a person who needs to sell their house but can’t because somebody in their family got sick. (and they just happen to owe twice as much as thier house is worth!)

Comment by Darrell_in_PHX
2009-01-27 11:36:04

Because the used house sales people refer the reporters to people like this to drum up the support for bailouts.

A used house salesperson is NOT going to send the reporter info on the person doing a buy and dump (buy a new house at half off, then walk from the old). Even if the reporters did find those people, they wouldn’t give quotes to them anyway.

Comment by SanFranciscoBayAreaGal
2009-01-27 15:47:41

There’s that common sense again. Stop it Darrell. Just stop it. :)

 
 
Comment by DinOR
2009-01-27 11:49:10

Bobby Mac,

Yes, and it’s sweeping the Nation! Typical ploy.

“I’m vulnerable, I’m defenseless, how could you even -think- about going after me!? I’m trying to noble and generous things here!

Kind of like all the former classmates and cow-workers that were incredibly rude to you in the past but have since found Jesus. “Oh you can’t come after me. I’ve totally changed my life so I’m not -that- person any more”.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2009-01-27 11:55:23

Or, in another example, they’ve sobered up, stopped taking drugs, etc., and are now in a 12-step program. To which I say, “What about that step where you’re supposed to make direct amends to those you harmed during your drug/alcohol/whatever-you-were-abusing days?”

Comment by HARM
2009-01-27 12:28:10

Amen. Congratulations! You’re *no longer* harming NEW people. That’s a step in the right direction, but… that’s quite a moral deficit you’ve amassed there.

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Comment by taxmeupthebooty
2009-01-27 14:05:57

it’s a desease

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 19:19:39

‘it’s a desease’

Gosh, I love you so much! I didn’t know how much I’d missed you, until just now, when you came back.

 
 
Comment by DinOR
2009-01-27 12:38:08

Well right, only -now- it’s “I used to be an over-the-top binge shopper hooked on HELOC consumption, but I’ve learned the error of my ways..”

I think this crowd will find there won’t be a lot of sympathy to go around this time?

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Comment by not a gator
2009-01-27 11:57:11

Well, I used to think that Jesus stuff was a load of hooey, but I have this coworker who was an obnoxious bully and since she changed men and found the Lard she’s only 80% of the heinous b—- she used to be, tipping her from “must avoid at all costs” to “tolerable”. Which certainly improves my quality of life.

Sure, I feel a stab of conscience about her horrid ignorance (YEC–seriously???), but in general, mainstream organized religion has made her less of a pain to be around. Thank you, Jesus.

Comment by Dani W
2009-01-27 16:08:50

Until she starts trying to convert you

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Comment by not a gator
2009-01-27 17:52:56

yeah, I think she was going to try, but I confounded her with a lot of talk about the universe being 15 billion years old…

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 20:40:53

‘…a lot of talk about the universe being 15 billion years old…’

Sexy! Tell me more! * widens little green monkey eyes and puts on smart expression *

 
 
 
 
Comment by Jim A.
2009-01-27 12:19:15

Where did the ~200k go that he added to the mortgages in the refinancings? Since he’s already 90 days late, I’ll assume that he didn’t spend this on fathers’ healthcare. That’s almost 40k/yr. I smell somebody HELOCing the house payments. That’s the very definition of the death spiral of debt.

Comment by diogenes (Tampa,Fl)
2009-01-27 22:52:00

By then, the new house he had bought for $214,000 in 2003 and then refinanced twice during the boom years was worth far less than his mortgage, which exceeded $400,000.

I call equity stripping stealing. The re-finance is a LOAN. What part of loan don’t we understand. A loan is something that’s supposed to be paid back.

These folks have stolen more money than I can save in 10 years, and I am supposed to feel sorry for them?
This entire society is totally f*kd up.

 
 
 
Comment by Lionel
2009-01-27 09:58:33

There goes Ben hitting the sauce and making up names again. I refuse to believe there’s really a Rosemary deButts out there in the real world.

Comment by aNYCdj
 
Comment by Doug in Boone, NC
2009-01-27 14:06:39

I wonder if her husband’s name is Phil?!

 
 
Comment by reuven
2009-01-27 10:00:18

Ok, a little bit of a tangent, but

Now, the 28-year-old Norfolk resident spends hours each day in his apartment trolling career Web sites in search of a job

Do people really think looking at job web sites is the best way to look for a job? Why not look at all the companies that may be hiring within a 10 mile radius of you, visit them in person, and send a paper resume (in addition to submitting from the company website.) Then try calling everyone you know who has a job.

Of course, that’s work! It’s easier to sit home dicking around on the web and say you’re looking for a job.

Comment by Skip
2009-01-27 10:33:07

Welcome to 2009. Everything is on the web now.

Paper resumes require hand entering into the HR Database. Easier to just file them in the round filing cabinet.

As for visiting companies in person? Getting by the security guard out front is sometimes a daunting task in itself.

Comment by joeyinCalif
2009-01-27 11:00:04

“Who are the hell are you.. and how the hell did you get past all that security and into my office? ”
“I want a job. The rest was easy.”
“Hmm…”

 
 
Comment by dc_renter
2009-01-27 10:46:52

Applying to an ad on Craigslist is how I got my job and nabbed an interview on another (employer said she had 250 responses to her ad).

 
Comment by Pinch-a-penny
2009-01-27 11:03:19

You expect a RE agent to actually work for his pay?

 
Comment by Blano
2009-01-27 11:10:12

My ex-wife took my son job hunting this past weekend and 7 or 8 out of 10 wouldn’t even take a paper application….he had to do it online.

 
Comment by Arizona Slim
2009-01-27 11:17:59

I hate to bust the news to this guy, but there’s this thing called the phone. You use it to contact potential employers.

Or, in my business, you use it to contact potential clients. Doesn’t matter if they’ve never heard of you before. If your work’s good, they’ll be happy to work with you.

Oh, one other thing. It also helps to be publicly visible. Sitting at home in front of your computer isn’t going to help you very much. You have to get up off your you-know-what and get your face out there.

Comment by DinOR
2009-01-27 11:43:14

Arizona Slim,

Thanks ( I didn’t want to be the one that had to say it ) And it doesn’t hurt to polish your phone skills in the mean time. Start by calling the people you’d least want to work with.

Use them as “warm up” or “throw away” contacts. Your confidence level will increase. Doesn’t hurt to record yourself or even do a role play with a friend etc. Trust me, I hear how ‘most’ people sound on the phone and they sound like sh!t ( or umm… uh… Caroline Kennedy )

Comment by Arizona Slim
2009-01-27 11:58:10

True story: I recently wrapped up a website design project for a man I had originally cold-called. And he just contacted me again concerning another project.

This project would be the best-paying work I’ve ever done in, oh, 15 years in website design and development. As part of landing the job, I’m to draft a letter to the man who’s the contact for the project funding. Got that done this morning.

And I know the man via work on neighborhood and community projects here in Tucson.

So, it pays to cold call. And to be out there in the community.

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Comment by DinOR
2009-01-27 12:45:25

Arizona Slim,

Well good for you! Outstanding. Back in the 80’s & 90’s when cold calling got WAY over done, it became a real detriment. Since they passed the National Do Not Call Bill, it’s actually come full circle. ( No one knows how to do it any more )

I’ll have to agree w/ HARM though as in certain fields it’s the equivalent of admitting you’re computer illiterate.

 
Comment by Arizona Slim
2009-01-27 16:35:48

DinOR, I’m with you on the “No one knows how to do it anymore.”

Case in point: I was researching some leads this afternoon. Phone rang, and the local Better Business Bureau flashed on the caller ID.

Since most of my clientele comes from academia, and they’ve been a happy bunch of late, it would be highly unlikely that any of them would have said “Sic ‘em!” to the BBB. So, I let voice mail catch the call.

It was a message from someone wanting to speak to “the owner of the company.”

Boy, does that reek of impersonal cold calling. Jeez, fella, when I do it, I get the name of who I’m calling and refer to that name when I’m leaving a message.

And, indulge me for a moment while I share a little backgrounder on the local BBB: They recently fired their longtime director. And he was a very popular guy around Tucson. Last I heard, he had retained an attorney for a possible wrongful termination suit.

I’ll betcha that the BBB’s hitting the phones to find some replacements for all the members they lost when they fired that longtime director.

 
 
Comment by HARM
2009-01-27 12:34:11

In some industries, cold-calling or walk-ups may work, but in IT, it rarely does. Most technical positions listed expect you to submit resume/cover letter online and don’t even offer a phone number until you make the cut to the next level (phone or in-person interview). Often, hiring managers go straight to recruitment agencies, as they lack the time or inclination (or both) to pre- screen candidates themselves. However, informal networking and calling past associates is another story.

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Comment by Darrell_in_PHX
2009-01-27 11:42:38

Every job I’ve gotten since getting out of college, I’ve gotten from a web posting. Every person (except 1) hired at my company has submitted a resume through our web job postings.

Some industries, especially tech, this is very much the norm.

Comment by not a gator
2009-01-27 12:01:43

Same for me, for my “real” jobs, except once when I was rehired.

For retail/restaurant I used to burn shoe leather, but recently I’ve found the big companies only want you to apply using some online crap. Have yet to get a job that way (even from a retailer I worked for in the past!!).

If I ever lose this job and have to bag groceries for a while, I worry about the application process. Fortunately Fla. min. wage is ridiculously* high now so I can at least pay the rent and don’t have to put a “salary req.” that they’ll dismiss out of hand.

*-not actually ridic., I’ve just gotten so used to living in a world where min. wage means you have to couch surf.

Comment by Bill in Carolina
2009-01-27 12:13:26

One of our Florida friends say they went to a local golf course recently and they recognized the bag boy who unloaded the clubs from their car as a local realtor.

Sweet Schadenfreude!

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Comment by not a gator
2009-01-27 17:56:18

I guess he just can’t pass up a job on commission! (the dirty secret about caddying is that it’s 1099… many don’t report income. some make it a career. you’ll never get SSI that way.)

 
 
 
 
Comment by VaBeyatch in Virginia Beach
2009-01-27 12:25:30

He’s in Downtown Norfolk. There are bars, a high security federal building, a few banks, 3 tech companies (of which at least two have had major layoffs), and the newspaper related companies (Dominion Enterprises, Virginia Pilot) which have hiring freezes and mandatory unpaid leave. Most of the better paying jobs will be gov’t contractors. Hope he has a security clearance.

 
Comment by aNYCdj
2009-01-27 13:23:46

Rueven:

You are way off on this…..I got yelled at like a retard for showing up and asking for a job last year. the place was 4 blocks from home, and was for someone to help run auctions for a aids and homeless organization.

Otherwise you have a clueless chickypoo looking at resumes…its hard to find a Real Live Adult to talk to today.

Comment by milkcrate
2009-01-27 17:31:30

I think they all might have had their jobs moved to Bombay.
Though I don’t have a culturally sensitive way to say chickipoo in their native tongue… :)

 
 
Comment by Mo Money
2009-01-27 13:40:54

Hate to break it to you but other than fast food or low paying service jobs you are required to apply through web sites these days. Sending an unsolicited resume or calling will get you no where.

Comment by reuven
2009-01-27 17:55:19

Ok then! I’m hopelessly out of touch!

 
 
 
Comment by mikey
2009-01-27 10:35:40

“Norfolk resident Sissy Deaton spent four years as a real estate agent before returning in November to work 40 hours a week as a bartender in Ghent. Deaton now works part time as an agent for Prudential Towne Realty. ‘I actually rode the wave a little longer than I should have,’ she said. ‘I probably should have gone back to bartending six months earlier.’”

This item isn’t only one of Ben’s Classic Posts…it’s frigging …Precious :)

Comment by DinOR
2009-01-27 11:15:23

mikey,

I’ll definitely “second” that! Not only the caliber of people that flocked to this oiled-up-orgy but their level of commitment.

“I’m not going to lose my house working in real estate”

Oh but you were perfectly willing to put unqualified and unsuspecting buyers into homes they couldn’t afford as long as it got you out of slingin’ beers and relying on tips for awhile?

Comment by HARM
2009-01-27 12:36:34

C’mon DinOR, that’s what they call “flexible morality”. Don’t harsh her buzz, dude.

Comment by DinOR
2009-01-27 13:23:37

“Don’t harsh her buzz” LOL!

Yeah I’d forgotten what goes down at the bar “after hours”. You know, after a night of “dealing with @$$holes” one needs to mellow out?

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Comment by WT Economist
2009-01-27 10:52:09

“Timing is everything, they say. In Asbury Park, it’s bad timing. The town has a habit of planning its redevelopment projects so that they get underway just as a housing bubble is about to burst. ‘We thought we were right on target with it, but we missed it by about two years,’ says Deputy Mayor Jimmy Bruno.”

Not just Asbury Park, but all government works this way. Between needing tax revenues to rise for financing to be available, followed by environmental reviews, public hearings, and lawsuits, and the need for various interest groups to get paid off, public projects tend to be in construction right during development disasters.

This wouldn’t be bad if money was saved in good times so construction could take place when construction costs were low, but the windfalls are always blown and half-built projects often get abandoned during recessions.

 
Comment by palmetto
2009-01-27 10:59:44

“‘Oceanfront property is prime,’ said Ms. Herman. ‘There is only so much of it.’”

Stuff it, Ms. Herman. Stuff that oceanfront property all the way up yer posterior.

No, there is NOT only so much of it. The oceanfront shifts and changes all the time. Today’s oceanfront is tomorrow’s ocean. And vice versa. When I wuz a pup, the parents rented a place out in East Hampton. We were constantly hearing about beach erosion and “the groins” that were being constructed to prevent this. Despite all the efforts, I don’t think much of the old Coast Guard beach in East Hampton is there anymore. However, that sand went elsewhere and is piling up someplace and making “new” oceanfront.

Feh. The Hamptons have been totally ruined by Ms. Herman and her ilk.

Comment by Blano
2009-01-27 11:12:56

Bingo, Palmy.

That quote made me laugh. “There is only so much of it.” Apparently she hasn’t looked at a map of the US lately.

 
Comment by Suffolk_Them
2009-01-27 11:41:41

One day, odds are another storm like the Great Hurricane of 1938 - The Long Island Express will hit Long Island. These northeastern hurricanes hit fast and where they hit land is near impossible to predict. Evacuation of today’s massive population will not work and it could well make Katrina look like nothing. The area is way overdue.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2009-01-27 12:01:24

Hurricane Donna (September 1960) wasn’t too kind to that area.

And, even though I was only two years old, I remember that storm well. Rained so hard that I wasn’t allowed to step outside my aunt’s house.

(My parents and I were visiting aunt and family in New York State as we were driving to New England for vacation. Donna forced us to stay put for a few days.)

Comment by Suffolk_Them
2009-01-27 12:49:17

The Weather Channel series ‘IT COULD HAPPEN TOMORROW’ shows what a category 3 storm would do to New York City if it happened tomorrow. Weather Experts, Scholars, Emergency Management officials, and government officials speak about how New York is a prime target for a major hurricane and how woefully unprepared the area is for such a strike. For instance, in the event of a hurricane, authorities would focus their efforts on moving those in low-lying areas of the city- roughly 3.3 million people- to higher ground. However, New York can provide shelter for only 800,000 people, leaving the potential of more than 2 million people to fend for themselves. A category 3 storm would put Wall Street under 10 feet of water in moments, its winds would turn skyscrapers into perilous wind tunnels. A major hurricane in New York would create a national setback of enormous proportions.
(From http://www.protectingnewyork.org/?PFID=21&PID=44)

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Comment by cougar91
2009-01-27 12:01:16

There goes the ocean-front neighborhood as it will be underwater in a few decades:

Long Droughts, Rising Seas Predicted Despite Future CO2 Curbs

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 27, 2009; Page A04

Greenhouse gas levels currently expected by mid-century will produce devastating long-term droughts and a sea-level rise that will persist for 1,000 years regardless of how well the world curbs future emissions of carbon dioxide, an international team of scientists reported yesterday.

Comment by Bill in Carolina
2009-01-27 12:24:28

What a shame that articles like this aren’t challenged. Check out the Wikipedia article on historical sea level change. About 80 million years ago, sea level was over 200 Meters (over 600 feet) higher than it is now. Sea level now is about as low as it ever has been, so it’s bound to start heading higher.

Another chart in the article show sea level changes since the last glacial episode, about 20,000 years ago. From 14,000 to 8,000 years ago, the sea level rose very rapidly and then the rate of rise reduced dramatically. Coincidentally, that reduction took place just about the time human civilizations started to become established. Or was it civilization that CAUSED the rate of rise to be reduced?

Comment by BP
2009-01-27 13:11:15

Don’t use science to argue with religious folks it will confuse them.

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Comment by MrBubble
2009-01-27 15:39:16

“Global sea levels will rise by about three feet by the year 3000, a projection that does not factor in melting glaciers and polar ice sheets that would probably result in significant additional sea level rises.” Yep. That there carry over from the thermal expansion of the oceans’ll get you every time!

And challenged with what, dear Liza? Sea level were higher in the Cretaceous and so were CO2 levels when there were no people. And your point is? Oh, that there were no people then and CO2 was higher, so it’s not people doing it now? That’s pretty awful logic. Sorry to be so brusque, but I hear this fallacious argument way too much. Could those older, long-term increases be associated with the chemical weathering of silicates due to increased tectonics and subsequent erosion (100K years) or increased plant primary productivity drawing down CO2 (hundreds of years) or something else? That’s a good question!

And sure sea-level seems bound to go higher, but there’s really a 50% chance that it shouldn’t. But it is, so a question might be what are the mechanisms that drive short-term increased CO2, which feeds back increased net radiation, AKA the greenhouse effect. Well, anthropogenic CO2 is one and as the article stated, “The parts that we don’t know, that are possible but very uncertain, shouldn’t get in the way of what we do know.”

Also, information from the National Academy of Sciences, while clearly not infallible, should not be treated with the same contempt as that from the National Association of Realtors. Skepticism in fine, but it’s not as though you can run a simple spreadsheet to determine that Realtwhores don’t know what they are talking about. Today’s General Circulation Models (GCMs) are pretty state of the art. That doesn’t make them correct, to be sure, although it does make them difficult to understand unfortunately for the scientific novice (especially those saddled with literal biblical interpretations.

Sadly, the nuances are lost in the shuffle and it appears to be an “us vs. them” argument where we need to “teach the controversy”. It is not. If you really want to know more, please read the IPCC’s most recent report. The executive summary is only about 50 pages with lots of graphs and big font (which I always like!)

I have played bluegrass with Dr. Caldeira (quoted in the article) on several occasions and I would recommend that, when it comes to global warming and sea-level rise, don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. He smart. Me stupid.

MrBubble

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Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 20:06:49

Thank you. I was gonna’ embroider your post, but then I realized I’d run out of thread.

 
Comment by MrBubble
2009-01-27 20:40:13

Ouch! Pardon me while I bloviate. :smile:

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 21:31:48

No, no! Gosh, I meant I was going to make a sampler for my kitchen wall, only your words was too long, is what I meant.

Also, thanks for using ‘bloviate’ in conversation. That makes this a red letter day for me.

 
 
Comment by MrBubble
2009-01-27 16:24:59

I apologize if this is a re-post.

“Global sea levels will rise by about three feet by the year 3000, a projection that does not factor in melting glaciers and polar ice sheets that would probably result in significant additional sea level rises.” Yep. That there carry over from the thermal expansion of the oceans’ll get you every time!

And challenged with what, dear Liza? Sea level were higher in the Cretaceous and so were CO2 levels when there were no people. And your point is? Oh, that there were no people then and CO2 was higher, so it’s not people doing it now? That’s pretty awful logic. Sorry to be so brusque, but I hear this fallacious argument way too much. Could those older, long-term increases be associated with the chemical weathering of silicates due to increased tectonics and subsequent erosion (100K years) or increased plant primary productivity drawing down CO2 (hundreds of years) or something else? That’s a good question!

And sure sea-level seems bound to go higher, but there’s really a 50% chance that it shouldn’t. But it is, so a question might be what are the mechanisms that drive short-term increased CO2, which feeds back increased net radiation, AKA the greenhouse effect. Well, anthropogenic CO2 is one and as the article stated, “The parts that we don’t know, that are possible but very uncertain, shouldn’t get in the way of what we do know.”

Also, information from the National Academy of Sciences, while clearly not infallible, should not be treated with the same contempt as that from the National Association of Realtors. Skepticism in fine, but it’s not as though you can run a simple spreadsheet to determine that Realtwhores don’t know what they are talking about. Today’s General Circulation Models (GCMs) are pretty state of the art. That doesn’t make them correct, to be sure, although it does make them difficult to understand unfortunately for the scientific novice (especially those saddled with literal biblical interpretations.

Sadly, the nuances are lost in the shuffle and it appears to be an “us vs. them” argument where we need to “teach the controversy”. It is not. If you really want to know more, please read the IPCC’s most recent report. The executive summary is only about 50 pages with lots of graphs and big font (which I always like!)

I have played bluegrass with Dr. Caldeira (quoted in the article) on several occasions and I would recommend that, when it comes to global warming and sea-level rise, don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. He smart. Me stupid.

MrBubble

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Comment by not a gator
2009-01-27 18:03:00

thank you for carrying the water this time, MrBubble

what gets me is that these global warming ’skeptics’ are nothing more than the unwitting patsies, the dupes of the same guys who tried to tell us that cigarettes don’t cause cancer

skepticism without facts is unproductive

“just trust science” is a fallacy of authority. But I must say, knowing a tiny thing or two about this topic myself, that you should really keep your mouth shut if you haven’t studied physics on a college level (no, I don’t mean the MD’s gatekeeper course–I mean what the phys students take), higher level maths, and probably some geophysics as well.

Laymen, do not dispair. I believe the book Chaos by Gleik is still widely available.

 
Comment by santacruzsux
2009-01-27 18:37:28

Lol. Y’know there is a whole group of really smart guys that said, “Trust our models and we’ll make a ton of money.” These models were based upon assumptions about the future (those initial conditions better freaking hold!) while looking in the rearview mirror. Now we have a whole bunch of smart guys that say ,”Trust our models” and are essentially doing the same thing (Initial conditions? We change ‘em on the fly) but with climate and their rearview mirror sucks.

Climate science is all about big computing iron and finding the best correlation with the new algorithm on the block. Newton is puking in his grave.

 
Comment by MrBubble
2009-01-27 19:09:42

Are you evoking LTCM? Don’t make me “lol”. They used 6 years of data and discounted Black Swan events. GCMs incorporate hundreds of years of direct measurements and thousands of years of proxy data while at the same time, admitting that they can’t account for Black Swans like a 10 km asteroid hitting the planet. As new data come in and new forcings are revealed, the models and theories are revised. So yeah, we don’t know everything and are doing the best we can with what we know. And what we know points toward a scary future.

And, probablistically, it’s more expensive not to listen to these “smart guys” than it was to listen to Scholes and Merton. “Give us your money and we’ll make you rich” is a different motive than “give us your tiny bit (comparatively) of money and we’ll tell you the probable future climate, taking into account our knowledge of initial and past conditions”.

“Climate science is all about big computing iron and finding the best correlation with the new algorithm on the block.” Not so much. It’s about the perfect not being the enemy of the good enough. Annual mean temperature is increasing and can be described by an increase in anthropogenic ratiative forcing. Just read AR4 and see what they are doing.

MrBubble

 
Comment by santacruzsux
2009-01-27 19:59:32

Mr. Bubble, LTCM was run by Mr Scholes that developed that Black-Scholes PDE in 1971. The model might have only had 6 years of data but the development was a lot longer.

“Annual mean temperature is increasing and can be described by an increase in anthropogenic ratiative forcing.”

Yes that is one way to look at it. But it is still a theory. Other theories say it is because of solar activity. Theories need to be tested continuously and the models shouldn’t be changed to fit the present reality to then project into the future. But that is exactly what climate science does with modeling. Either the model works with the theory or it doesn’t, you can’t just keep changing the model to fit the data to keep the theory alive.

IF we have 10 years of cooling in the future, I’m sure that you could create a model that fits with the theory of AGW. Heck you guys can’t even agree on linear vs. non-linear behaviours! In my eyes, if you continually have to keep changing data sets or starting points, we’re looking at a chaotic system and your predictive capabilities are pretty much crap. Plus there is no recreating of experiments for control. All you have is other peoples models.

Face it, the field is still in it’s infancy and is populated with many scientists that aren’t fit to sniff Feynman’s jock.

“There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made.”

That’s Feynman. Go and re-read his cargo cult speech as well especially the passage about how scientists should talk to the layman. He was smarter than any of us will ever be.

Climate scientists should be wanting skeptics as much as the physics guys do. They love arguing and trying to prove each other wrong. Why do the climate guys always whine when somebody wants to have it out with their research methods?

FYI: My degree was in Geology. I had linear algebra, dif eq, thermo, physics, chem, and quantum. My thesis was focused on minerology, specifically on the formation of clathrates. Now I work in tech. Go figure…

 
Comment by MrBubble
2009-01-27 20:38:33

“But it is still a theory”

True, but others theories are fairly accepted and have given us some cool stuff (Theory of Relativity - accurate GPS, etc.; Theory of Evolution - “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” - Dobzhansky; Big Bang theory - explain background microwave radiation, red shift, etc.) Saying that something is “just a theory” shouldn’t be pejorative.

“Other theories say it is because of solar activity” The solar insolation theory is demonstrably false. That one you can find pretty easily.

“Plus there is no recreating of experiments for control. All you have is other peoples models.” That’s because it’s different/more complex than sticking some litmus paper into a beaker of liquid and seeing if it turns blue or red. It’s a lot of compounding, overwhelming evidence that points toward climate change and its causes.

“Climate scientists should be wanting skeptics as much as the physics guys do. They love arguing and trying to prove each other wrong. Why do the climate guys always whine when somebody wants to have it out with their research methods?”

We do and we don’t whine with people who don’t write stuff like “but it was warmer ten million years ago!” (I realize that that is not you). It’s just that trotting out increasing solar insolation (which cannot account for the changes that we have measured) doesn’t help a skeptic’s credibility. It’s like the guys who deny the Earth’s age of 4.6 billion years by arguing that decay rates have changed throughout time. Perhaps, but there is the idea of uniformitarianism (which you learned with your rox degree, as I did) as well as Occam’s Razor. No?

MrBubble

 
Comment by MrBubble
2009-01-27 20:44:44

“LTCM was run by Mr Scholes that developed that Black-Scholes PDE in 1971. The model might have only had 6 years of data but the development was a lot longer.”

To clarify, I believe that I had already written that Scholes and Merton developed the algorithm for LTCM. And regardless of how long it took them to write their equation, the fact that they based it on 6 years of data (low volatility years) was part of their undoing.

MrBubble

 
Comment by MrBubble
2009-01-27 20:54:07

santacruzsux–

For the record, I agree that the data that we have about the future is necessarily zero (unless you roll with Hiro Nakamura) and it’s a weird, inter-disciplinary way to look at science. Predictive climate science deals with subjective probability density functions, Bayesian statistics and subjective value judgments (Type I and II errors) and the like, but it’s based on lots of data and the theories that fit those data, trends, etc.

I just didn’t want to muddy the waters at first, but it’s way more fun debating this issue with someone who’s not just saying that it’s an Al Gore plot!

Cheers,
MrBubble

 
Comment by santacruzsux
2009-01-27 21:30:25

Hi Mr. Bubble,
By no means was I trying to imply that by “just” being a theory means that there is no substance. Climate change and it’s causes are still unknown aside from a generalised consensus (IPCC2007)about AGW that can’t be properly backtested. Solar variation is just as unproved as AGW. Heck it took 60+ years for plate tectonics to be accepted, and the climate guys want AGW to accepted in less than 10? Oh yeah, I forgot we all gonna die because of it.

Thanks for your replies and I’ll go back to licking rocks for fun. Oh it must be a siltstone!

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 21:35:59

I read all that you both wrote, with the greatest attention, and I should imagine that Sweet Baby Jeebus was cryin’ by the end, and feeling stupid. I know I was. I’m just happy for the internet, where I get to behold smartness in good form.

Oh, and one more things: I also like to lick rocks for fun. Hey! That IS good fun!

 
Comment by MrBubble
2009-01-27 23:38:19

That’s how I feel when folks are talking about finance on this blog! Stoopid. But wrt to the general population and MBAs, I’m am freaking financial genius.

I’m working with clays myself. They stick to my tongue! Trying to determine the climate of NW NV 50 mya. We’re working on a climate map of the western US from the Paleocene ’til, well, now. Right now, the climate folks are working with oceanic records pretty much exclusively as you probably know. Once we get it together, keep your eyes open for that back testing! We’ll publish no matter what the result. I promise. Do you realize how famous we’d be if we could prove the IPCC wrong? I’d love to do it.

The solar insolation issue has been “solved” though. The data just don’t correlate with the CO2/temp data that are out there.

MrBubble (climbing of the high horse and pouring an old-fashioned…)

PS: The IPCC consensus would’ve been even stronger if they didn’t have to get the pols involved. Look for Steve Schneider’s book “Science is a Contact Sport” on your bookshelves next year. Could be a thousand seller!

 
Comment by Blue Skye
2009-01-28 03:06:52

I expect future generations will look back on out politically charged scientific debates over global warming to be as naive as Aztec brain surgery.

One thing that I find sadly lacking in the overview discussion is ocean chemistry, which I’ll bet a dime on a donut, plays a bigger factor in atmospheric CO2 than cars or cow farts.

I’m a ChE who writes and uses complex thermodynamic models. Computer models are very dangerous in the hands of the naive (all of us) or in the hands of those with an agenda.

When someone says those without a certain qualification, such as college physics, may not enter the discussion…….

I once found an oyster bar (huge pile of ancient oyster shells) in a Nebraska road cut a mile above sea level. Does that mean the the ocean level used to be a mile higher than it is today?

LOL

 
Comment by MrBubble
2009-01-28 12:19:35

“I expect future generations will look back on out politically charged scientific debates”

1) I don’t think that we’ve brought politics into this once. And don’t argue that it is by its nature. It’s politicized by political people. That’s like the Catholic Church arguing with Galileo that a geocentric solar system is a religious argument. Well sure it is if you’re religious.

” over global warming to be as naive as Aztec brain surgery.”

2) So if we can’t get it right definitively the first time out, we shouldn’t try. Seriously?

“One thing that I find sadly lacking in the overview discussion is ocean chemistry, which I’ll bet a dime on a donut, plays a bigger factor in atmospheric CO2 than cars or cow farts.”

Ocean chemistry which is controlled by erosion rates, pCO2, etc.? Perhaps, but it’s harder to control than atmospheric anthropogenic inputs. And with respect to the GCMs, like the Prego commercial, I think that “it’s in there”.

“I’m a ChE who writes and uses complex thermodynamic models. Computer models are very dangerous in the hands of the naive (all of us) or in the hands of those with an agenda.”

Good for you! But the only agenda here is the furthering of science. Nobody I know at Stanford gives two craps about real estate, getting rich, etc. It’s just about ego. And think of the ego boost you’d get if you could prove that AGW WASN’T real! Much more famous than just being a herd modeler. Think about it.

“When someone says those without a certain qualification, such as college physics, may not enter the discussion…….”

Well, I never said that IIRC. But I relate to FPSS’s frustration when he/she (and others) has to re-explain M2 supply for the millionth time. There is some basic knowledge that you need to enter the discussion and not just, “It’s that durned Al Gore!” Let’s get real here.

“I once found an oyster bar (huge pile of ancient oyster shells) in a Nebraska road cut a mile above sea level. Does that mean the the ocean level used to be a mile higher than it is today?”

We have a theory (Plate Tectonics) that describes that oyster bar observation and projects into the future (i.e. where plates will be in X years). We also have a theory that describes the climatic data that we are seeing and models that project into the future. These models all have uncertainties. To say otherwise would be scientifically dishonest. However, those models all point to sea-level rise and increasing global mean temperatures.

MrBubble

 
Comment by Blue Skye
2009-01-28 15:18:29

Mr. Bubble,

You are a patient and considerate talker, thank you.

I can’t read anything from Jenson. He is not logical….It’s too late……must act quickly…..! Half a lifetime ago his ilk told us the next iceage was upon us.

I was being coy with the oyster bar thing. I get the shift and upheaval thing. I wanted to express that wrong conclusions are easy when you are rooted in an assumption.

It is my sincere opinion that extremely complex models that forecast outcomes with smaller increments than the cumulative error of the inputs (probably by orders of magnitude) and demand radical action are difficult to accept. I find little presented to us common folk beyond the “Accept the Truth!” argument. Reminds me of places I have never enjoyed being.

What are the chances that our “system” is self buffering over the long haul? Do AGWers consider that warm water sheds CO2 because of the solubility curve (they must)? Are we thinking the effect is actually the cause? Might events such as volcanic eruption (causing the oceans to cool and absorb more CO2 and all the feedbacks) have much more control over weater cycles than us ants? Might we have been in a warming cycle because of the long cycles in the earth’s orbit (recently closest to the sun)? Nobody discusses such off the wall things with me, rather I am told that I wouldn’t know the Truth if it hit me over the head.

OK, enough doubter rambling.

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by Navygator
2009-01-27 10:59:59

So BIL (Navy enlisted w/wife and 3 kids) lives in VA Bch. They bought a piece of crap house in ‘04 (1500sf 4/2 duplex for $142K) b/c that was all they could afford (and yes, they just HAD to have a house for the KIDS). They have HELOC’d the hell out of it to put on a new roof, new siding, new fence, new deck and other repairs. They now owe $200K and can’t sell. BIL got orders out of VA and they realize they are stuck. Can’t sell, can’t rent for what the mortgage is and can’t afford to rent at the new duty station. So SIL is staying with the kids and BIL is going to crash with some friends for the next 2 years hoping he can get orders back to VA Bch next. He will actually be deployed about 15 months of those 2 years. They aren’t really good with their money but at the same time they didn’t use the HELOC money for boobs and Harley’s. I suspect there are many military families across the US with similar stories. I feel bad for them but at the same time when hubby and I saw pics of the house they were going to buy we cringed!

Comment by wolfgirl
2009-01-27 14:45:20

I could never understand why anyone on active duty would want to buy.

 
Comment by VaBeyatch in Virginia Beach
2009-01-27 15:41:24

Navy people thought they could flip the stuff to more Navy families. Now the thing is ,all of the medium and up houses for rent all say “Ideal for Military Officer” hoping to bank on the higher paid Military families. Way too much supply. I remember seeing $640K homes on craigslist with desperate sellers offering all the furniture inside because they had orders to move. There aren’t many good private jobs around here, and the median household income (VaBeach) is $65K I think, all other cities are much lower.

Comment by goirishgohoosiers
2009-01-27 18:02:28

My MIL lives in VB and during my last visit there a year or so ago I remember an article in the Pilot about a navy lieutenant (this a likely Annapolis grad although not stated) who bought a house in Chesapeake and how it had turned into a financial nightmare. The usual litany: RE was hot, hot, hot in 2005, he was only there for 2 years before being redeployed, wife didn’y know what to do, etc.

 
 
Comment by climber
2009-01-27 16:08:12

Same thing happened around Fort McCoy in Wisconsin during Desert Storm, except there it was reservists called up for active duty buying the houses.

 
Comment by (Soon to be ex-) GS fixer
2009-01-27 16:15:34

So which came first…..the “boobs” or the “Harleys”

Somehow, they seem to belong together :)

 
 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 11:40:50

“Two years ago Maurice Watkins’ budding career as a real estate agent seemed off to a good start. Listings sold quickly, and buyers were aplenty. Now, …spends hours each day in his apartment trolling career Web sites in search of a job.’

Poor fellow! I remember when my nascent career as ‘Queen of the Universe’ seemed to be goin’ good, too. I had a big shiny tiara, and was making myself a truly impressive scepter from gold candy- wrappers and a yardstick from Ace Hardware, and I was training the frogs and ravens to pull me around on a palanquin…all sorts of plans. And of course I am already bossy, cruel, and prone to grandiose visions, so that was a plus. I was like, freakin’ THERE!
And then, dadgummit! That stupid ‘reality’ thingie done ruint all my good plans. Shoots!
Now lookit me. Just some dumb ol’ regular gal who can’t execute the deserving when I feel like it.

Hmmm. You know what, I forgot my point. Oh, wait—I was making fun of the REtard, until I started to get maudlin and regret my lost opportunity to be Queen of the Universe and execute the deserving when I feel like it. It’s probably for the best, though. There’d be about 50 people left in the world.
If that.

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 11:45:01

‘There’d be about 50 people left in the world.
If that.’

And they’d all be HBBers. And then who’d make pretty shoes for us? Huh huh huh?
Because I bet none of you can make shoes like I like to wear, with all the sparkles on them and the high heels and bows and stuff. So, I guess we’d best spare all those stupid people, after all.

Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 13:33:59

“Never go full REt@rd”, that’s what I say.

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 15:35:50

HAhahahahaHAHAHAHAH! I LOVE that movie! My stomach hurt from all the wild laughing.

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Comment by (Soon to be ex-) GS fixer
2009-01-27 16:22:48

Why do I get the feeling that, hanging alongside Olygal’s “Queen of the Universe” get-up, is a little black-leather number call “Ursula, the Gestapo Interrogator”?

“Ya, meine liebchen, you vill tell us vhat we vant to know…..”

If there isn’t, there should be……..:)

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 19:02:41

What? I thought they were the same outfit!? See, that’d save me on keeping track of my clothes and also on the mink-oil costs.

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 19:23:25

Oh, by the way, ex- gulfstream- fixer, would you like a link? ;)

 
Comment by MrBubble
2009-01-27 21:08:19

Oly –

“Don’t say coke or freebase neither–unless you got some!” in a metaphorical sense. Heh.

 
 
 
 
Comment by polly
2009-01-27 13:11:25

Gal,

You want to help a fellow ’shroom lover out of a bind. I can’t just go out and pick them, but I have some really nice big portos just waiting to be grilled. You have any recommendations? Something wonderous to brush on them as they cook? Should I use the little grill thingy? or just use a pan?

Me and my eggplant topped pencil (scepter) thank you from the bottom of our fungus obsessed hearts.

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 17:59:59

Okay, I’m going to try to restrain myself here and not go overboard with mushroom advice, Miz Polly.
* breathes deeply and prepares spiritually for that task*

First of all, one of the best things to ever do with any mushrooms is to keep it simple. Like FasterKitty quoted recently, what that one smart-funnyhair-guy Einstein said: ‘Be as simple as possible, but no simpler’ (or something like that.)

That means pick up your portobellos and examine them. Take your time, Polly. You must not rush a mushroom. When you’re all ready, murmur softly into their delicious pale waiting gills, murmur, ‘How happy I am to see you, my darlings.’ If you want, if you’re feeling all that, kiss the mushrooms lightly and allow your fingers to play over the caps caressingly. This makes them happy, and more prepared for being eaten, with butter.
That’s the next part! Like I said, simple: I like butter and maybe a dab of garlic, sauteed in your trustiest pan. I’m sure you’ve got a trustiest favorite pan.
Huh huh huh? There you go! Any mushroom will appreciate this, and will give you its’ all.

Excuse me a minute, I have to go lie down.

Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 18:06:07

This works too; read below for my suggestions.

Given that Oly and I posted within seconds of each other, we must be long-lost twins.

LOL

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Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 18:08:42

Oh, and if you follow Oly’s advice, and being the crazy garlic fiend that I am, I sure hope you do, you should use “unsalted butter” (even if you salt it afterwards.)

Trust me! ;-)

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 18:14:09

‘Given that Oly and I posted within seconds of each other, we must be long-lost twins.’

Hey, you be quiet, Mr Man! I wasn’t even done telling Miz Polly to fondle her mushrooms— in a quiet and seemly manner— and now here YOU are, urging her to bedizen them with all sorts of gaudy and flamboyant decorations.

Hasty, I call it.

 
Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 18:20:21

Oh please! What I recommended was pretty basic.

And an accusation of gaudy and flamboyant is pretty rich coming from a pink, glittery shoes plus sparkly tiara-kinda gal! :-D

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 18:21:07

‘…urging her to bedizen them with all sorts of gaudy and flamboyant decorations.’

So, actually, yes. We MUST be long-long twins.
:)

 
Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 18:43:43

So, actually, yes. We MUST be long-long twins.

HELLOOOOOO!!!

As Brahms once told a critic, “Any @ss can see that!”

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 19:12:06

‘As Brahms once told a critic, “Any @ss can see that!”

Well!
That’s kind of hostile and impetuous! And I would accept no less from a long-lost sibling of mine.
Anyhow, as Grieg then smartly replied to the man, ‘Yeah, huh? Well, let’s jist see how good your fiddle can cook a mushrooms when both of ‘em has been jammed into your Brahms. Oh, you want orange juice with that?’ *

*That’s like from literature class. I recall it perfectly. I got an ‘A’ on the quiz.

 
Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 19:26:40

It must’ve been a very windy day when the mushroom fell from that tree.

Wait. What?

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 19:34:09

Yes, probably, because you’re from fancy New York and I’m from the wilderness. But who can account for pollinization thingies?
*shakes head romantially, contemplating the vagaries of pollinization *

Oh, that reminds me, I was reading about some German guy today, ‘Haekels’, who spent a lot of time drawing stuff he saw in a microscope. I admire that.
I like diatoms!

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 19:40:39

‘I like diatoms!’

Oh, and pollen also.

 
Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 19:41:24

Have I ever told you about “chocolate-covered garlic”?

It’s really good; scarily better than it sounds.

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 20:08:06

‘Have I ever told you about “chocolate-covered garlic”?
It’s really good; scarily better than it sounds.’

Why wait? Tell me NOW. Por favor.

 
Comment by bluprint
2009-01-27 20:12:33

why unsalted butter? Does the salt make it cook differently? I add salt to a pot of beans late because it will make the beans tough if you add it early (or so I’m told).

 
Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 20:13:11

Done.

But Ben needs to approve all links so check back tomorrow or some such.

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 20:18:47

Okay.

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 20:22:28

‘why unsalted butter? Does the salt make it cook differently? I add salt to a pot of beans late because it will make the beans tough if you add it early (or so I’m told).’

….’cause he’s a foodie, that’s why. MAYBE the salt in the butter makes it go different, when you’s cooking mushrooms, but as for beans?…
and I’ll just be bold here, and fagiolicious (I made that word up) far as I can see, go ahead and put some salt in as seems good to you. After all, you know your beans better than anyone, right? Right.

 
Comment by bluprint
2009-01-27 20:38:55

I DO add salt, plenty of it. I’m just saying I add it in the last 30 mins or so b/c according to some foodie it will make the beans tough.

So adding the salt late seems ok, I mean the beans get salted, what do I care if it gets added early or in the last 30 mins or so…? It’s good anyway.

And I do make a mean pot of beans. Nuttin quite like a big ‘ol bowl of pinto beans with cornbread.

Then a giant glass of cornbread and milk for dessert. YUM!

I think I’m gonna make some pintos and cornbread next weekend…or tomorrow if we get ice and work gets cancelled again.

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 20:45:26

‘…I mean the beans get salted, what do I care if it gets added early or in the last 30 mins or so…? It’s good anyway.’

Yes, that’s my point! I don’t see any nuancey stuff, only some ticky little rules that me and all my bean experience has never recorded on my tongue, which is all that matters when it comes to eating! Is my point. And I’m glad you see that. It restores my faith in evolution, here.

“Then a giant glass of cornbread and milk for dessert. YUM!”

Oh, stop, stop! *fake swoons *
Man, I LOVE a cornbread and chilly milk!

 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 20:49:45

‘I think I’m gonna make some pintos and cornbread next weekend…or tomorrow if we get ice and work gets cancelled again.’

You know what? I think you might be toying with me here. For your idle and debauched cruel pleasure, possibly. I just thought of that, but it seems true.
That’s because you know I’m easy pickings, as far as cornbread, and beans, and milk, served in a tall chilly glass is… *

*falls off chair, crawls away feebly *

 
Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 20:54:25

I’m just saying I add it in the last 30 mins or so b/c according to some foodie it will make the beans tough.

There’s an extraordinarily simple reason.

Firstly, if you pressure cook, it simply doesn’t matter.

Secondly, acids make the cellular skin tougher, and alkalis make them into mush. So if you want mushy beans, add some sodium bicarbonate, and if you want firm beans (for salads), squeeze in a lemon/lime.

Salted water is mildly acidic.

Jeez, it’s not freakin’ rocket science just basic cellular biology. Learn some principles.

 
Comment by bluprint
2009-01-27 21:24:53

…make the cellular skin tougher…it’s not freakin’ rocket science just basic cellular biology. Learn some principles.

lol, i love this blog. If I’m ever in NYC, we gotta have a beer. I think we’re a lot alike and I gotta meet the man behind the mask.

Thx for the explanation. :)

 
Comment by bluprint
2009-01-27 21:28:35

as far as cornbread, and beans, and milk

Do you take your cornbread with or without sugar? I like mine a bit sweetened, but thats just me. :)

Really, I do think a glass full of sweet cornbread and milk is possibly the best thing ever. Some people take it with buttermilk, but I don’t care for that. I just use whole milk.

 
 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 18:10:49

Or you can get all fancy and do other stuff. Listen to the mushroom, is what I say. A good thing about portobellos is that they can withstand robust treatment. You can manhandle the heck out of ‘em! By that I mean, you can probe them and prod them full of ingredients–whatever flavor you like, mostly– and bang them around in your BBQ with a large spatula, and they will still probably come out good. Come out great, even.
One thing I don’t like to see is portobellos treated like they were pretend meat. Mushrooms should be taken as they are. Now, I know that this’s a philosphical nuance, but I’m firm on it.

Say, Polly, what kinda apron you got? Where’d you get your pots? I’m a’fascinated!

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 18:00:50

If you like tart flavors, a rosemary-balsamic vinaigrette (chopped rosemary, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, lots of pepper.)

If you like it more sweet-sour, an orange-balsamic-vinagrette (orange juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, lots of pepper.)

A fig vinegar (if you have any) works wonders with orange-blossom honey, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Yours truly,
FPSS (The Crazy Chef)

 
 
Comment by Mo Money
2009-01-27 13:45:13

“Just some dumb ol’ regular gal who can’t execute the deserving when I feel like it.”

Nobody expects the Olympiagal Inquisition !

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 18:01:49

‘Nobody expects the Olympiagal Inquisition !’

That’s what makes it funner! Surprise is good!*

*Actually, I hate being surprised. I meant, for other people, surprise might be good.

 
 
Comment by mikey
2009-01-27 14:08:03

Sheesh.. Wondering where I AM on Oly’s “Top 50 people List” out of the approx 6.76 Billion people in the world ? :(

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 18:22:46

Test

 
 
Comment by mikey
2009-01-27 14:21:07

Ben…Oly’s on a roll again!

We NEED the Taser gun and a large cardboard box….FAST!

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 18:16:57

‘We NEED the Taser gun and a large cardboard box….FAST!’

Ooooh, I’ve never had that. *looks interested *

Okay, this might be one of them rare ‘good’ surprises.

 
 
Comment by Ian
2009-01-27 19:00:14

That would leave lots of room for a lot of Roosevelt Elks!!!

Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 19:14:21

‘That would leave lots of room for a lot of Roosevelt Elks!!!’

This’s the kind of mysterious comment I would enjoy hearing explained.

 
 
 
Comment by Mir
2009-01-27 12:23:41

~~By then, the new house he had bought for $214,000 in 2003 and then refinanced twice during the boom years was worth far less than his mortgage, which exceeded $400,000. Selling the property proved difficult. He grew anxious.”~~

Soooo, basically, he absconded with 180K in moolah that he didn’t earn?

I guess the ones who walk away aren’t so dumb. He pocketed nearly 4x the average yearly salary on those refinances. And he isn’t gonna pay it back. Sweet, huh. Where’s the tragedy here? He’s getting away with theft.

Mir

Comment by climber
2009-01-27 16:11:10

Any wonder why an $800 stimulus check from broke Uncle Sam isn’t bringing this beast back?

 
 
Comment by hd74man
2009-01-27 12:31:40

RE: involved inflated appraisals or other fraudulent information that led buyers to pay more than market value for their homes.”

Anybody purchasing property today, will be well advised to secure their OWN appraisal and home inspector. The lender IS ALWAYS the principal party to the appraisal-NOT the buyer, which has been a major misunderstanding of the mortgage application process.

The consumer pays an application fee to cover “the appraisal”, credit report, and title search. Because the applicant does write the check DIRECTLY to the appraiser, he/she is designated as a 3rd party. As such, the appraiser hired by the bank, places a disclaimer in their limiting conditions which acknowledges-NO RELIANCE MAY BE PLACED ON THE CONTENTS OF THIS REPORT BY DISINTERESTED THIRD PARTIES.

In essence, the appraiser works for the lender and NOT you!

Scores of crooked number hitters and are still alive and well in the appraisal profession.

And a large number of those still around are so stinking stupid, that circumstances like the FBI ramping up industry fraud investigations, doesn’t even register on their radar.

Do your due dilligence.

Comment by JackRussell
2009-01-27 16:52:36

Even inspectors are an unregulated mess. You get people in there poking around who don’t know all that much. It impresses the client if they find “stuff”, so they look for things to write up - typically really trivial stuff. A dripping sink, or an outlet that isn’t functioning (where they don’t bother to check the circuit breakers before they write the thing up).

But an unqualified inspector will miss out on some of the the big stuff. The furnace, the roof, the foundation, the plumbing, the AC compressor, for example.

 
 
Comment by snake charmer
2009-01-27 12:31:49

“Some buyers — overwhelmed with the number of available homes — have been slow to put a contract down on a house.”
__________________________

Gee, that’s the answer. Buyers are overwhelmed with choice. Isn’t that the argument from 2006? Sounds like some desperate realtors are now reporters for the Daily Press.

Comment by Darrell_in_PHX
2009-01-27 13:41:53

Buers, overwhelmed with the massive price cuts, have decided to wait untit better and better and better deals are available later.

Comment by climber
2009-01-27 16:13:54

More like buyers underwhelmed by pathetic price reductions have decided that there is no value in this market.

One house we looked at the buyer reduced the price 2.8% - whoop de do. They paid under $200k and were asking $350k.

Buyers are finally starting to think with 1/2 a brain.

 
 
Comment by Arizona Slim
2009-01-27 14:51:24

Gosh, golly! What do these poor buyers do when they go to the supermarket? Aren’t they just overwhelmed with all of the choices in groceries?

 
 
Comment by doug-home
2009-01-27 12:36:19

I remember on one of Long Islands barrier beaches, Fire Island. Everyone wanted to buy the house behind the oceanfront house. Then immediately hoped the front house would disappear in the next hurricane. Of course when they became ocean front, no more hurricanes please

 
Comment by Sekar
2009-01-27 15:10:00

Housing market may have turned a pivotal corner
Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:43am EST
By Julie Haviv - Analysis

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The coast-to-coast fire sale in the U.S. housing market appears at long last to have caught a bit of a bid.

Yes, residential real estate remains in the throes of the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Yes, home prices are the lowest in six years and still falling. And yes, it still takes three quarters of a year to sell a house.

Nevertheless, the market may have turned a pivotal corner last month, if a surprising increase in existing home sales is any guide.

Until now, plunging home prices have been keeping many potential home buyers at bay because they were leery of buying an asset that was all but guaranteed to lose value, at least initially.

Now, though, prices appear to have fallen enough in some regions to make buying cheaper than renting, particularly in the West. Add with record low mortgage rates, demand has started to rebound.

“You can now own a home in several areas for less than it costs to rent,” said Mollie Carmichael, senior vice president with John Burns Real Estate Consulting, an Irvine, California-based consultant to the real estate industry.

In Southern California, home sales jumped 50.5 percent from the year earlier as median prices fell 34.6 percent to $278,000 and buyers snapped up foreclosed properties, MDA DataQuick said last week.

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE50L35320090127

Comment by VaBeyatch in Virginia Beach
2009-01-27 15:43:45

Ah, snapped up. I love it. Buying a home is akin to buying a Happy Meal for a beanie baby.

Comment by climber
2009-01-27 16:17:02

“Add with record low mortgage rates, demand has started to rebound.”

And as soon as government manipulation of the bond markets stops and interest rates approach anything close to market rates the new “cheaper” than renting prices won’t make sense once again.

This is the one key point I can’t get my wife to understand. Low interest rates are GREAT for refinancing, they’re HORRIBLE for buying. What happens when you want to sell and the next buyer has to come to terms with interest rates 3x yours? You think you’ll get even close to the price you were expecting - fat chance.

 
Comment by milkcrate
2009-01-27 17:16:49

Mouse traps snap, too. :)

 
 
Comment by edgewaterjohn
2009-01-27 18:57:39

Remember the good ol’ days in 2006 when the NAR so handily dismissed M-O-M sales declines? My my how times have changed.

Grasping at straws as their membership does hard time behind truck stop dumpsters.

 
Comment by darrell_in_phx
2009-01-27 20:50:50

Seasonal adjustment uses normal market norms to make assumptions about the market. Since this is not a market, numbers massaged by seasonal adjustment are worthless.

 
 
Comment by mikey
2009-01-27 15:49:34

Housing market may have turned a pivotal corner…Ha ha!

That’s just an lateral Dead Cat Bounce… onto the main Freight train line :)

 
Comment by mikey
2009-01-27 16:18:35

Milwaukee County
City seeks $10 million from state to deal with foreclosures

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/38490424.html

Note: Along with just about every other city in the US :)

Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 18:47:11

I strongly suggest a basic refresher course on “long division”.

$10M / $200,000 = 50

So they will save 50 houses assuming they cost $200K (which they don’t ’cause they cost more.)

WHOOP-DEE-DOODLE-DOO!!!

Comment by edgewaterjohn
2009-01-27 18:53:26

How much of that $10 M winds up plugging gaping holes in the city budget? Politicians in the northern cities are trying to put off a day of reckoning with their unions. It’s coming.

Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 18:57:01

I’ll give you a simpler answer.

This proposition is going nowhere; if you’re getting your @ss smoked about this, I recommend some beer and whisky.

This is boring and DOA. Don’t waste your indignation. :-D

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Comment by not a gator
2009-01-27 17:24:52

“‘People are just not buying homes,’ said John Allen, VP of housing and financial services for Norfolk’s Up Center, which provides home-buyer classes. ‘It’s all because of the economy.’”

Wrong, John. The economy is in the poop chute because of the housing bubble and subsequent bust!

 
Comment by not a gator
2009-01-27 17:27:31

‘While they are trying to get deals, if you get too aggressive, you may not get the property they want,’ he said.”

Freudian slip.

 
Comment by rudekarl
2009-01-27 18:59:16

“Some buyers — overwhelmed with the number of available homes — have been slow to put a contract down on a house. Others are coming in with bids 10 to 15 percent below the asking price, hoping to get a deal, said Rick Brandt of RE/MAX Peninsula. ‘While they are trying to get deals, if you get too aggressive, you may not get the property they want,’ he said.”

Well, I guess if they don’t get the property they want, there’s a couple thousand other properties they might want just around the corner - big deal.

I love it when the Realtards throw in the passive aggressive BS whenever anyone wants to negotiate. Hey Rick, maybe I’ll just continue to bid 50-70% off of the wishing price until someone wakes up and takes the offer since nothing else is coming down the pike.

Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 19:01:18

I would not put in a bid which is above 50% of the value ANYWHERE in the world.

This is barely the beginning. Knife-catching is pretty awful - ask anyone who bought in 1991.

Comment by rudekarl
2009-01-27 19:13:35

Yeah, after I hit the add comment button I remembered I wanted to add the following phrase at the end:

…or maybe I’ll just keep renting while I watch the real estate market crumble for another decade or so.

 
 
Comment by LongIslandLost
2009-01-27 19:15:23

Wait, last time we really shopped for a house (almost 3 years ago), there were lots of properties that I liked. All needed a lot of cleaning. None were perfect. But I really couldn’t see the difference between many of the houses.

Wait until my next Realtor hears me say “Well, I like these three. Who will give me the best price.”

I hope my wife agrees ….

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2009-01-27 19:23:42

Yesterday I cruised one of my banks’ REO listings websites for the first time. Within 5 minutes I saw several attractive properties that are asking-priced at about 1/3 of what Zillow claims them to be worth.
I’m way too lazy to closely examine what has to be hundreds of candidate properties, even if they’re all congregated in a small area.. and i dunno who i can trust to do it for me. Paint me overwhelmed.

Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 20:01:22

So offer 1/30th of the Zillow and see what comes of it. ;-)

Comment by joeyinCalif
2009-01-27 20:31:39

oh yeah.. i’m gonna get the deal of the century when the time to buy finally arrives.. But i wouldn’t take a property for free if it didn’t suit my tastes.

Finding a good agent to do the leg work (they’re very rare but they do exist) should be less of a chore than visiting the properties myself..
Then, alls we’s waiting for is blood in the streets.

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Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 21:24:13

Did you know that if you scr*w one RE agent out of their bonus, 100,000 souls go from Purgatory to Heaven? ;-)

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by Olympiagal
2009-01-27 19:22:01

So, as I was asking Dennis, does the NRA have badges? You know, like levels and things, where you work your way up to a bigger and prettier badge?

Comment by DennisN
2009-01-28 00:33:35

I simply don’t know about NRA badges. If you pay for a life member ship they give you a spiffy leather bomber jacket with their seal on the back. NRA helps out other organizations that do give out badges for marksmanship, e.g. the Boy Scouts. Would Olygal want to get involved with the Boy Scouts?

On second thought don’t answer that question….

Competitive shooting is more the domain of the Civilian Marksmanship Program. www dot odcmp dot com They give lots of badges, and even more importantly qualified marksmen are permitted to buy surplus Army guns and ammo at far below market cost. That’s where I got my M1 Garands and M1903 Springfield.

Comment by DennisN
2009-01-28 00:55:31

Actually I see Olygal being a participant in “Cowboy Action Shooting” which is a wild West role-playing game using live ammunition.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2009-01-28 04:27:14

My dad’s done that. Lotta fun.

But lately, he’s been a “shoot the bowling pins off the table at 25 yards” kind of guy. Not bad for an 84-year-old guy. And he’s still a much better shot than I am. (I need to practice more.)

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Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2009-01-27 20:07:17

A man fatally shot his wife, five young children and himself Tuesday after he faxed a note to a TV station claiming the couple had just been fired from their hospital jobs and together planned the killings as an escape for the whole family.

”Why leave our children in someone else’s hands,” Ervin Lupoe wrote in a letter posted late Tuesday on the KABC-TV Web site.

The station called police after receiving the fax, and a police dispatch center also received a call from a man who stated, ”I just returned home and my whole family’s been shot.”

It was the fifth mass death of a Southern California family by murder or suicide in a year. Police urged those facing tough economic times to get help rather than resort to violence.

Aah, the joys of being a home-pawner! Who could possibly not enjoy this stuff?

 
Comment by Happy Renter in Vancouver
2009-01-27 23:33:11

Here’s a quote to prove most Real Estat Agents arent’ smarter than your average shaved monkey…
________________________________________
“Charlee Gowin, who chairs the Hampton Roads Realtors Association board, said the region is back to levels before the heated real estate market peaked in 2005. ‘We’re calling it back to normal,’ Gowin said during a Virginia Association of Realtors conference call Monday.”

“Some buyers — overwhelmed with the number of available homes — have been slow to put a contract down on a house. Others are coming in with bids 10 to 15 percent below the asking price, hoping to get a deal, said Rick Brandt of RE/MAX Peninsula. ‘While they are trying to get deals, if you get too aggressive, you may not get the property they want,’ he said.”

————————————————————-

Hey, Rick Brandt of MAXIMUM RE/TARD Peninsula… if there’s no transaction… There’s no commission… DUH! Maybe you should get your Sellers to lower their asking (wishing) price..

 
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