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Archive for December 30th, 2005

Ouch

This comment from Wizbang, on the dearth of lovable corporate spokespeople in the wake of Dunkin Donut icon Michael Vale (who passed away this past week), says it all:
Anyone and anything to do with selling Mentos, (the fresh maker!) should be skinned alive, dipped in alcohol, lit of fire and then fed to pit bulls with gingivitis, processed by said dogs then used to fertilize weeds growing on old toxic waste dumps.
I don’t know why, but he had me at gingivitis.
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$300,000

At a closing this past Tuesday, an attorney told me that that the membership fee for the Trump National Golf Course right next to me in Briarcliff Manor, NY is $250,000.00. I don’t know if this is how lawyers typically gossip, but she’s wrong. It is actually $300,000.00. I believe that is an annual figure. Even if it isn’t, that is an awful lot of jellybeans. I am a capitalist and believe that people ought to be free to do what they wish with their assets. That won’t stop me, however, from viewing that as being utterly vulgar. 
This guy has a different angle.

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Limbo is in Limbo

People, mostly non-Catholics from what I am reading, have noted that the idea of Limbo is being dispensed with by the Vatican. I don’t understand the hubbub. Limbo was never a Church Doctrine. There is no reference to it in scripture, and Christ never said anything that would even lead one to conclude it exists. It was always a theological theory. It is an ecclesiastical urban myth. It is an arcane concept postulated thousands of years ago that had more use by non-Catholics to tease the Catholics in the school yard than anything else.
If the discussion of theological theory gets you a better parking space, somebody please let me know. It doesn’t make a difference in making you a better person. It is the spiritual equivalent of arguing over which end of the egg to break. However, if that’s what you like to prefer to talk about instead of baseball or Dungeons & Dragons, so long as you don’t use it to justify demonizing certain segments of the population, live and let live.

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Annus horribilis

2005 was a year that I would just as soon forget in many ways. It almost seemed doomed from the start.
Sometime around New Year a building we were about to rehabilitate had a pipe burst. We thought it had been winterized; it wasn’t. The basement was like a hockey rink, toilets exploded, and our plan to refinance it to complete the rehab had to be put on hold until we could…rehab it.
And downhill it went. Soon thereafter a furnace conked out in another property, causing another pipe burst. Later, we had a sewage line collapse, necessitating an expensive excavation. This would occur again in yet another home, giving us two pair. A full house was not to be had, and that went for the tenant vacancies we had to endure. I still recall a day in late July when I arrived at a vacant apartment and witnessed the toilet exploding before my eyes.
And then something else happened that you can’t put money away for… loved ones began to get sick and die. It started with my father in law going on dialysis. My oldest brother Tom, who had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, went from being non-symptomatic to starting chemotherapy. And then, sadly, we lost my older brother Paul quite suddenly. It still seems surreal.
Life is what happens when you are making other plans of course, so we had the joy (and fatigue) of three children in the house, as well as the stress of adjusting to my 79-year-old mother being with us 100% of the time. I also hung my own shingle as an independent real estate broker this past summer, so there was never time to curl into a fetal position, even when they raised my property by 50% after we built small addition.
We are days away from officially declaring a crummy year over. I haven’t lost my perspective though; I know I’m a pretty lucky guy. I have a great partner, whom I can completely be myself around, which is kinda scary. She possesses a huge heart, smarts, a sharp wit and the legs of a Rockette (after three kids!). We have three awesome children and hope for another. We have slowly brought our house along, so much so that even pictures from a year ago surprise us. And we have hope that 2006 will be a better year, not because we rely on the law of averages or providence, but because we intend to cause it.

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