Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Monday, February 13, 2012, 9:25 PM 1 Comment
This video has some spicy language, not for the faint of heart, it but c’mon, this is riveting economics humor by Yoram Bauman, the first and only stand-up economist. This new video delves into the theory of why S*** happens.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Sunday, February 12, 2012, 10:44 PM 2 Comments
My wife and I were in Home Depot today buying fixtures for a bathroom renovation and I was struck by the crazy marketing approach by American Standard for one of their toilets.
Hook, Slice or Flush?
American Standard commented on the post and graciously shared a video demonstration they put together to showcase the ability of their toilets to flush a bunch of gold balls (not sure if a sentence like this has ever been put together) and a lot of cool other stuff. Great stuff – love their marketing moxie!
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 10:00 AM Comments Off
A number of years ago, my appraisal firm provided an appraisal for the purchase of a few thousand square foot loft in a new gut rehab conversion in downtown Manhattan. This Inman article on “Homes were reptiles roam” triggered my memory of this story, of which the details are a little fuzzy due to the time that has passed. Still, it’s worth sharing since it’s so bizarre.
Our firm was served a subpoena indicating we complicit in the newly discovered “mold” problem in the condo unit. I should point out that the developer, bank, mortgage broker, real estate broker, attorneys on both sides and others were also subject to the same lawsuit.
We reviewed the appraisal and did not understand why the buyer was coming after all of us. The unit was gut renovated and never occupied at the time of the inspection. We did not observe anything unusual.
Our attorney called on our behalf and got the story. The case was soon thrown out before we had to provide anything. The story goes like this:
One night the owner was dining out and saw the adjacent table eating “turtle soup.”
The owner had an epiphany that his life’s work would be to “rescue” all the turtles he could get his hands on.
Soon there were a few thousand (my recollection) turtles living in the apartment with the heat kept warm enough to keep them thriving.
Mold began to grow within the apartment.
The owner claimed the unit was not livable due to the existence of mold and began to sue everyone connected with the sale.
The unit owner moved out and rented another apartment nearby and brought the turtles with him.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Monday, January 9, 2012, 12:02 AM Comments Off
This weekend I thought about the swirl of housing data – it’s misuse and spin. Much of the housing related data you see in the headlines has little to do with your local housing market and is often the subject material for Matrix.
Which brings me to the issue of drawing self-serving conclusions from thin data sets. Well, I have an exception, and I can prove it:
I get a kidney stone every time the Miami (formerly Florida) Marlins win a World Series or flirt with winning. Well it’s true and I am not even a fan of the Marlins. Simply coincidence? Heck no – I’ll lay it out for you in a timeline – the count is now at four balls (kidney stones) and I have clearly earned that walk to first base. Incidentally, I wouldn’t wish the pain they cause (kidney stones, not Marlins) on anyone.
Cause: In 1997 the Florida Marlins won the World Series.
Effect: In 1997 I went to the hospital with a kidney stone.
Cause: In 2003 the Florida Marlins won the World Series.
Effect: In 2003 I went to the hospital with a kidney stone.
Cause: In 2006, the Marlins, despite the odds against it after trading away their best players, flirted with winning the wild card.
Effect: In 2006, I went to the hospital with a kidney stone.
Trip to pitcher’s mound
A few years ago the owner of the Marlins actually called me directly to inquire about our services. At some point, after a few conversations, I happen to tease him about my kidney stone story and he seemed to find it humorous (or he was simply being polite). In all seriousness, what are the odds of getting a phone call like that and being able to tell a team owner such a crazy theory? It almost made the excruciating pain worth it – well actually, no, not even close.
Cause: In 2011-2012 the Florida Marlins return to championship building mode and sign former Met Jose Reyes.
Effect: This weekend I had a minor kidney stone but no trip to the hospital was needed this time.
There is more to glean from this painful experience. Each “event” was less painful then the prior so I assume if the Marlins actually win the World Series this year or get into the post-season, no pain will come of it because I saw it coming and began to drink a lot of water.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Friday, November 11, 2011, 5:28 PM 1 Comment
A few years ago I read a fantastic book called The Secret Life of Lobsters. I had picked it up at Barnes & Noble since I had already been making feeble attempts to fish for lobster for a number of years.
I wrote a post on “Lobster Prices And Subprime Lending” back on July 5, 2009, the day after our family’s annual July 4th lobster bake. The 2009 post links out to the book and a great radio interview with Mr. Corson. The book is very well written.
I’ve been talking about this issue more and more in public forums because it shows how this credit crisis touched virtually everything and everyone, especially as I usually observe 5-6 lobster-related items on the menu of nearly every restaurant I have been to for the past 2 years.
Lobster has become the Coke syrup of the restaurant business. The cost is so low but the value perception is so high that many new items containing lobster are entering the menus of many modestly priced venues.
Confession: I threw back my first lobster (the one in the photo) and I never became a very good fisherman.
Next time you go out to dinner, be sure to count the number of lobster menu items – you’ll be surprised at how many there are.
Had a fun interview with Tom and Sara this morning on the always MUST watch/listen Bloomberg Surveillance. We talked housing, rentals, vacancy and inventory. An added bonus was the addition of Adam Davidson – co-founder and co-host of Planet Money... Read More