Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pity the poor homeowner

Of two homes. Yes, yesterday was closing day for The Freehold v2.

Pretty frightening, when you watch all of that money that has come into your possession at such a high cost flow out in 60 minutes with a few signatures.

Of course, the accoutant will tell you that your net worth has barely decreased, and that the appreciation of the property will more than make up for that in a very short time. (Assuming the housing bubble doesn't go *pop* before The Freehold v1 is sold.)

So now comes the cleaning, the painting, the moving and so on. We're on the job at both houses, and free time is rather limited. (Heck, this is supposed to be my lunch break.) However, it is a good chance to winnow down the possessions a bit and get rid of some of the cruft that has accumulated in 13 years.

I'll be popping in and out, but expect posting to be rather limited until mid-July. You people keep an eye on things, OK?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Good for 3 days, anyway

(Via Drudge)

Im usually encouraged by news of people trying to prepare themselves for bad times, but this is so asinine that I can't do it.

Consider businessman Tony Blank, whose new South Miami-Dade home will include a large generator hidden behind a decorative wall, with two 1,000-gallon propane tanks buried under the driveway to keep his entire home going for three days after a hurricane.

It will be able to power all air-conditioning and appliances in his 9,000-square-foot house, as well as the Jacuzzi, pool pump and the electric outlets at his dock. Estimated fuel cost: $1,846 a day.

This is so blazingly stupid that it's hard to catalog all of it. But for funzies, let's try:

  • You have 3 days of propane, and when a hurricane comes to call, the power can be out for weeks. Where are you going to get your resupply from?
  • You're going to be an oasis of light and air conditioning when everyone else doesn't have any. I hope you like your neighbors, because they will be calling on you.
  • What's Plan B, which comes into play on Day 4? You do have Plan B, don't you?
  • What if the local ner-do-wells decide to come help themselves to your air conditioned abode after Hurricane Whup-ass? Face it, you house is going to stand out at night. Are you ready for that?
  • What's the plan for dealing with the fully powered house with no roof after the hurricane? Do you have 9,000 square feet of blue tarps?
Fitzgerald was right--the rich are different than you and me. They think their money can buy anything, including safety.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Ghost of Watergate

This is too weird. Last night at the supper table, Daughter and I had a discussion centering around the NSA actions in tapping phone calls, the newly revealed government access to international banking records and Watergate.

Daughter, of course, isn't old enough to remember that time, and according the her, it's given only a paragraph in her current history book. (!) So I had to explain my remark that all of these revelations was starting to remind me of Watergate.

Today I find Wired with this: Watergate Echoes in NSA Courtroom

This article (which is dateline last Friday, showing that great minds do indeed think alike *ahem*) points out that:

The government's surveillance activities of the 1970s were an ever-present ghost in the nearly three-hour-long hearing Friday, in a case that's emerging as a crucial challenge of the law passed in response to Watergate-era abuses.

Perhaps there's some truth to the saying that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

This could happen

According to, NASA is planning a competition where companies will design and build a new generation of spacecraft, which NASA will then lease. The idea is to spur the private sector to action with prize money--$500 million worth. That's a significant enough number that it should attract some attention--look what the X Prize accomplished with the offer of a "paltry" $10 million.

This is some welcome news from our moribund space agency. I do take it with a grain of salt, since NASA does have a track record of good ideas being poorly executed.

Now, everyone, altogether: