Monday, December 28, 2009

At What Point is Flying More Trouble Than It's Worth? is suggesting that Air Travel may be going the way of the horse and buggy. Forget the lines while you wait to get on the plane, the real torture starts when you are in the air. Gizmodo lists the new rules, and flying has just become a far more miserable experience than it ever was before; we now have to sit on our hands:
1. Passengers must remain in seats beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.
2. Passenger access to carry-on baggage is prohibited beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.
3. Disable aircraft-integrated passenger communications systems and services (phone, internet access services, live television programming, global positioning systems) prior to boarding and during all phases of flight.
4. While over U.S. airspace, flight crew may not make any announcement to passengers concerning flight path or position over cities or landmarks.
5. Passengers may not have any blankets, pillows, or personal belongings on the lap beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.
Does this put us at the tipping point where people might start flocking to trains? Or change our attitudes toward travel?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Latest Surge in Existing Home Sales Spurs Optimism for 2010

November's better than expected housing data is reinforcing last summer's market turnaround. As existing home sales for November rose to their highest level since February 2007, industry watchers are anticipating a buying spree in 2010. Stocks rallied with new signs of a stabilizing housing market.
The momentum is expected to continue into 2010 since the $8,000 tax credit was extended and expanded with $6,500 tax break for repeat home buyers that expires on April 30.

Current sales remain at the highest level since February 2007 when they hit 6.55 million, according to the National Association of Realtors®

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Few Survival Items for "The Blizard of the Century"

Brett and Kate McKay are living proof that their eclectic website: The Art of Manliness is not for men only. Their latest collaboration is "13 Things A Man Should Keep in His Car." If 13 seems like too many to cover most emergency contingencies, scroll down their page for many more practical reader additions(This is only a selection from the first 94 posts -- please forgive any duplication) including:

- A good lockback knife
- Rope and/or tiedown straps
- I keep a 2 liter bottle of water stuck in a corner of my tirewell in the event of overheating
- rags or cloths for cleaning up after a tire change
- I always keep a can of Fix-a-Flat in my car. I’ve never used the stuff myself, but more than once I have handed it to someone else when I didn’t really trust the way a stranded motorist situation looked.
- Keep a general interest book you love and don’t mind re-reading. Great way to entertain yourself when stranded anywhere.
Flat and Phllips head screwdrivers, knife, channel-lock pliers, a crescent wrench, some long cable (zip) ties,
Space blankets (Takes up less space than normal blankets; plus, it can be used for signaling.)
Two more essentials: a $20 in the first aid kit, and a hide-a-key with a working key.
Steel coffee can with a roll of toilet paper inside
Granola bars
A 2-liter pop bottle filled with water (but with enough room left for expansion if it freezes)
A towel
A socket wrench set, hammer and pliers....
a Battery Booster/ Air Compressor/ small appliance charger with a built in flash light. I find it to be a life saver since it combines so many necessary features that I think are a must have for your vehicle.
- a winter sleeping bag
- snow gear (boots, snow pants, proper jacket, winter gloves, several cheap toques, ski goggles are handy)
- 3 or 4 pairs of simple cotton gloves
- A full-sized shovel, forget the folding shovel this will cause more aggravation than good, do yourself a favor and bring a full sized shovel on all long winter trips. i leave mine in the car all winter.
- hot pockets hand-warmers.
Water resistant coveralls stuck in the tool box will keep you looking your best upon return to civilization and give you an added level of protection from automotive fluids. Don’t forget the leather work gloves and a box of disposable nitrile gloves as well.
Nobody’s said road flares yet, as far as I can tell. These, along with jumper cables, have been by far the most commonly used and important things I’ve had in my trunk.

...the Bible is also a great book in any situation; but especially good for warmth, cheering up, confidence and encouragement. Also, heaven forbid… it’s thin pages are great fire starters.

Sometimes the trunk may become inaccessible and you can’t get to what you need.
If you can carry what you need in the back seat in a small box, it could possibly save your life and prevent frostbite.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Your Guide to Copenhagen

The earth’s temperature has risen by 0.74 degrees Celsius in the last 100 years.

An increase of increase of just 2 degrees Celsius more will lead to massive loss of species, 100 million climate refugees, and other major stresses.

We need to set strict emissions restrictions by 2012 in order to avert a worldwide climate catastrophe.

The conference marks a milestone in climate change history, so if you’re not familiar with all the issues being discussed and the global changes we need to make to ensure a sustainable future, read on for Inhabitat's green guide to COP15!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Foreclosures Foreclosed

As foreclosed homes became more and more widespread, investors and bargain hunters have sought them out in growing numbers. But what happens when the owner of bank owned homes is foreclosed on. You then can have an FDIC owned home that may be an even bigger bargain. The Huffington Post reports that decent homes can be often found for as low as $500 at the FDIC website.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Down By the Riverside

Which would you prefer: An oceanfront, lakefront, or riverfront home? Most North Jersey folks would probably put riverfront living 3rd on the list because of flooding reports from monster storms of recent decades. As discussed in an earlier post, homes that need flood insurance are usually priced below market value and often turn out to be good deals. Many may have never had serious flooding but require close examination for signs of water damage. An older finished basement with wood trim, for example, may be a safer bet than a cleaned up concrete unfinished basement.
Garden State MLS listings are no longer required to state whether or not any property is in a flood zone or requires flood insurance. Yet even in non-flood areas, sellers are required to disclose if they have ever had water damage -- even in unfinished basements.The best time to find bargains is a few days after a major storm. Even several weeks after water levels have receded, tell-tale garbage piles can still be found in front lawns.
Incidentally, our office currently has three low priced listings in good condition with backyards on the Passaic River. The largest at 148 Bergen Ave. in Woodland Park(top), is listed at $269,900.
Two smaller properties at 4 and 5 Barber St.(below) in Little Falls are priced at $195,000 and $240,000 respectively. Since they are adjoining lots, they could be combined.