Bad Golfers Unite!

The green jacket at last! Do we forgive him for pairing it with a green shirt? Yes, we do.

Ahh, the dawning of a fresh golf season! The Masters tournament leads us into it as surely as Thanksgiving brings us Christmas.

It is around this time of year that I’m reminded how much luckier we bad golfers are than you good ones. The fact is, we get more pleasure from the game. The golf gods are capricious, they bestow miracles unevenly, unfairly. Bad golfers get their share, but we appreciate them so much more!

A group of us was sitting around last weekend sharing memories of great golf moments. My friend Jimmy, as usual, recounted the time he hit that perfect drive: “Out it sailed, perfectly straight, landing a full one hundred yards down the fairway, then rolled twenty more yards! Eight more strokes and I was in the hole, saved my 9”, he exclaimed.

Not to be outdone, another friend piped up, “Oh yeah? What about the time I used my 9-iron to land within 3 feet of the hole, and then ONE-PUTTED, what about that day, my friends”? We all nodded reverently.

We are, after all, the type of golfers who can be 30 feet from the hole and still be 5 strokes out. To understand how we view a one-put, you have only to imagine how better golfers feel after hitting a hole-in-one. Yes, for us, the one-put is a mystical thing, heard of but never experienced.

Getting back to the 2017 Masters, was it the best ever? Many say so. The competition between Garcia and Rose was absolutely the best. Going in, Sergio had a career 74 starts without a single major win. To finally get that win at the most important golf event of the year was just…perfect (very Phil Mickelson-esque, you might say). It really was almost as good as bad golf.

 

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Tragedy At Water Company Drought Office

All that remains of Aquarion Water’s Drought Headquarters building after a tidal wave swept over it.


Greenwich Gazette, April 3, 2017. Tragedy struck Saturday morning at Aquarion Water Company’s newly opened Drought Monitoring building at the company’s Dekraft Road Putnam Lake location, off Butternut Hollow. The reservoir, swollen by recent torrential rains, received an additional 3 inches more rainfall during Friday evening’s major storm, pushing it past the bursting point. Without warning, at 3:15 am Saturday morning, the newly built structure was mostly washed away by a monstrous wave of wind-driven water.

Missing and presumed dead were three life-like robots, installed recently at great expense, to monitor and record falling water levels and general drought conditions.

“Certainly the irony of this is not lost upon us”, said Aquarion bookkeeper, Marad Fogwogger, “here we are calling this a drought, yet our building and loyal employees get washed down the river by a tidal wave of fresh water. It’s weird!”

Fogwogger took the opportunity to remind Greenwich residents that outdoor watering remains prohibited, “as long as this terrible drought continues”.

Aquarion executive Marad Fogwogger (left), overseeing the release of billions of gallons of fresh water in order to make room in the reservoir for “anticipated future rain storms”.

Greenwich’s Wettest Drought II

Greenwich Gazette reporter, Wanda Round, seen leaving Aquarion World headquarters, Monroe, CT, earlier today.

Speaking to a gaggle of skeptical* reporters, a visibly irritated Marad Fogwogger,  Aquarion Water Company’s Vice-President insisted, “The drought will go on as long as I say it goes on!”. When pressed for more, he added that the public becomes “confused” when massive rainfalls appear to have no effect on the drought declaration.

Here is his full statement:

“This is too complicated to fully explain, but I will say that the whole thing can be attributed to global warming”, Mr. Fogwogger explained. “Warm air in the upper atmosphere causes warm rainfall, you see, and this warmer rain, well, it evaporates much more quickly. Yes, and it, um, warms the existing water in the reservoirs, so that water evaporates quicker, too! So, to sum up, the more rain we get, the lower the reservoirs drop, got it?”

 

 

*don’t you wish

Hanging Wit Da Brokahs OR… My Trip To Florida

The legendary, but still hip, Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami, Florida

Like me, you can think of nothing more fun and exciting than going to a Realtor’s convention and hanging out with a gaggle of Realtors. It’s “gaggle”, isn’t it? Pride of lions, pod of whales, eye of newt, gaggle of Realtors?

So down to Florida I jet, staying at the fabulous Fontainebleau, which I hadn’t seen since watching James Bond saunter by the pool in the movie “Goldfinger“. See those pictures on the website of wonderful ocean views? My view was more parking lot and some sort of inland canal, but still, over all, very nice room.

So NOT my view…

This chap talked about international real estate markets, actually interesting, I swear!

Hangin’ by the pool…(there were eight or nine different ones)

One of two iguanas that lived in the palm trees next to this pool. Note to iguana fans: have you ever seen a better set of caudal spines in your life?

Almost all of my time was spent in various “seminars” but it wasn’t as bad as that sounds. Years ago, I went into NYC to attend some Coldwell Banker broker thing, and the whole time was spent listening to lectures on sales technique, how to ask “tie down” questions, and generally how to steer hapless customers towards a sale.

This was anything but. The brokers I met with are all dominating their local markets and all of them are NOT working for national firms. There entire focus was on “building their brand”, which every broker needs to do, regardless of who you work for.

Still awake? Ok, so besides real estate, they also had interesting speakers like thriller-writer Brad Meltzer, who talked about extraordinary individuals like the cops who started the Make A Wish Foundation, and how maybe you’re not going to do anything that big, but you can still find a way to improve the lives of others (can you imagine such poppy-cock?). But seriously, I liked Meltzer’s speech the best.

I wonder if anyone here suspects I’m a white guy from CT!

 

Come on, who wouldn’t want to pose with a camel!

That building had the views…

Great spot to sit around and smoke a thoughtful cigar…

 

 

 

 

 

The Wimpification Of Greenwich

Scene of devastation: somehow the car was able to make it…

The Friday Morning Snow Storm

I actually felt bad for the snowplow guys. There they were, all buzzing around town, searching for something to plow, finding nothing but clear roads. There was a bit of snow sticking to lawns, but no customers wanted their lawns plowed.

Yep, Friday’s “snow storm” caused every school to close and, more importantly, cancelled all of Gideon Fountain’s carefully prepared house-showing plans, and for what? Essentially flurries, the sort of snow Vermonters would barely notice, let alone change their plans for.

Absolutely pathetic, and a sign that Americans, well, Greenwich Americans, get softer and wimpier every year. This despite nearly every household owning at least one 4-wheel drive vehicle. Driving in snow is what they were made for, dammit! If that makes you nervous, go find an empty, snow-covered parking lot and practice. If you fear snow, you are a sissy, plain and simple, and the world can be a very hard place for sissies. Now, get out there!

At the height of the storm…thank goodness we could take shelter in this handy tunnel!

Sorry, no more skating, no more fun, all because some sissy-pants chiropractor or urologist or something, successfully sued the Town of Greenwich when he broke his leg whilst trespassing on town property.

You wanna see the right attitude about snow? THIS is the right attitude… Copy this guy!

 

The Mysteries Of Fame

I suppose SHE is ok to look at, but this "Tarek" guy has actually caused death-by-boredom is 45 countries.

I suppose SHE is ok to look at, but this “Tarek” guy has actually caused death-by-boredom in 45 countries.

History is replete, if that’s the word I want, with individuals who have experienced un-deserved, un-earned, even outright mysterious fame. Some might call Zsa Zsa Gabor an example, but I’d disagree; all the Gabor sisters had personality and charisma.

No, a good (current) example is Kim Kardashian, who, as far as I can tell, has absolutely nothing, no charm, no wit, no ability to act. Nothing there but a well-filled top and the bodacious booty (I’ve heard she’s actually a sharp businesswoman, but never mind that, I’m trying to make a point here).

But now, suddenly, a new, upcoming inductee to the Mediocrity Hall Of Fame has emerged, and his name is Tarek El Moussa (he looks to me like a “John Smith”, but we’ll accept that’s his real name, and that it’s the only thing remotely interesting about him!)

Wanna know how certifiably dull this guy is? A study was conducted at the USC Health Sciences Campus in downtown Los Angles, just a block from the L.A. County morgue. A group of students was taken to the morgue and allowed to question six corpses for 30 minutes. They then returned to campus and watched 30 minutes of Mr. El Moussa’s home improvement-house-flipping program “Flip Or Flop“. All of the students reported that the corpses were infinitely more entertaining than Mr. El Moussa!

Dead people…more interesting! Now THAT’S dull.

Does this mean I don’t like the program Flip Or Flop? No, and I’ll tell you why: It provides you with very good information, like what should a simple bathroom renovation cost? What tiles look best with that kitchen counter? Is this house even worth renovating?

If you can just endure the hideous monotone voice of (the lovely) Christina El Moussa, who, let’s be honest, appears to be the brains of this operation, and the personality-free, graduate of the Little Rascals School of Acting, Tarek El Moussa, you can actually learn a thing or two!

Brokers Still Hate Rentals

This poor sap probably has no idea! New to the business, doesn't know any better, that's my guess...

Here’s a typical broker showing rentals, the poor sap. Note that his customers look absolutely thrilled (this never happens).

I covered this subject back in 2006, but it’s always fun to re-visit!

Suppose you were to shake me awake one night at 3:00 AM * and shout, “Gid! How do you feel about doing rentals?” Of course with no time to prepare my answer, I’d probably blurt out that I don’t care for them (and perhaps some other colorful words).

“But why then do you do so many, Mr. Real Estate?”, you might next ask, and the answer is, it’s kind of like ol’ Sir Edmund Hillary discussing the reason for climbing Mt. Everest: because they are there. You’re a broker, you have clients, they own properties that need tenants, what are you going to do, farm it out to an assistant?

Nope, it’s one of those “small” jobs you have to do yourself. Because letting a bad tenant into a client’s property is a disaster, they will never forgive you. And why should they? You are an expert, loads of experience, equipped with all the tools needed to check people out before they move in. There’s no excuse for blowing it.

Three things: credit report, employer verification, previous landlord. That’s it, that’s all you need. Even just two of those is usually good enough, but you have to actually do the work. Get that credit report, call the employer, talk to that last landlord! (oh ,and go ahead and google the person, too).

Doesn’t sound all that bad, so why do brokers hate this aspect of real estate? It’s the crappy pay. Pretty much the same amount of work as a sale, for 1/16th the money.

Let’s compare paychecks from a rental deal vs. a sale deal, shall we? This gets ugly…

Rents for $7,000/month, total lease amount = $84,000. Renting broker’s share is 3.75%, so that’s $3,150. You split that with your office and your “split” is 60/40, let’s say. So your big payday is 60% of $3,150 or $1,890, yippee!!

But let’s say God smiles down on you that day and your $7,000/month rental clients decide to buy something instead. They end up spending $2,000,000, how does that work out?

Sells for $2,000,000, selling broker’s share is 2.5%, that’s $50,000. After you split with office, your take is $30,000.

Yep, almost 16 times the pay for selling versus renting, get the picture?

 

* I promise you will never have the opportunity to do this.