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Current Topic: Home and Garden

Fishing is never simple
Topic: Home and Garden 6:00 am EDT, Oct 25, 2007

I am kneeling in the silt at the edge of the Madison River, halfway down the Madison Valley north of Yellowstone Park. The afternoon light is dropping, and the clouds hover just above the asphalt on the highway across the river. Snow is coming down hard, skidding upstream as if it were falling in horizontal threads. I am casting a trout fly no bigger than a snowflake, letting the wind carry it above the fish - rainbows and browns - that are feeding in the shallows in front of me.

Fishing is never simple

Broken Angel
Topic: Home and Garden 1:49 pm EDT, Mar 28, 2007

terratogen wrote:

For the one-time gangster who built it, it is nothing less than "the eighth wonder of the world". The less charitably disposed dismiss it as a glorified barn, fire hazard and eyesore.

But on one thing everyone agrees: Nikolai Sutyagin's home is certainly different.

I am reminded of Dave Chappelle's Block Party. From the review in the Boston Globe:

Besides the priceless backstage moments are those when Gondry follows Chappelle as he makes his way around Bed-Stuy, talking, for instance, to the ancient owners of the amazing ruin that overlooks the block where the party is scheduled to be. (Chappelle calls the place a crack house. But it's the most Dickensian of crack houses.) He even visits the day-care center that the Notorious B.I.G. attended and that doubles as the concert's greenroom.

For pictures, see here. From the NYT coverage:

Brooklyn's skyline has only a few standouts. A building named Broken Angel is one of them.

... 10 stories high, behind a tract of starter homes ... it is a jumble of structures cobbled together seemingly without reason; some of its "stories" are no more than crow's-nest-size outcroppings perched on wooden beams.

"It's like a moonshine distillery gone crazy."

... In the "kitchen" (a dusty landing littered with tools), a piece of PVC pipe is built into the only wall. Peering through it, one's eye is guided to another pipe in an exterior wall 20 feet away. Through these pipes the viewer can read the clock on the Williamsburg Bank more than a mile away.

"My kitchen clock," Mr. Wood said.

Broken Angel

The next generation
Topic: Home and Garden 10:20 pm EDT, May 10, 2006

The grace of wildness changes somehow when it becomes familiar.

When I say the grace of wildness, what I mean is its autonomy, its self-possession, the fact that it has nothing to do with us. The grace is in the separation, the distance, the sense of a self-sustaining way of life. That vixen may rely on us for a duck or a chicken now and then, and to keep the woodland from closing in. How she chose to den so close to us is beyond me. The answer is probably as simple as an available hole. But our only choice is to leave her alone, to give her enough room to raise the next generation.

The next generation

HousingTracker: Median Home Prices & Housing Inventory Data
Topic: Home and Garden 8:27 pm EST, Feb 23, 2006

Real Estate market statistics (including median asking prices and home inventory numbers) for cities/metros across the United States.

City: Atlanta, Georgia
25th Percentile: $139,900
50th Percentile: $195,000
75th Percentile: $319,000

City: Boston, Massachusetts
25th Percentile: $329,000
50th Percentile: $429,000
75th Percentile: $619,900

City: Los Angeles, California
25th Percentile: $460,000
50th Percentile: $609,000
75th Percentile: $890,000

City: Nashville, Tennessee
25th Percentile: $129,000
50th Percentile: $188,900
75th Percentile: $339,900

City: San Francisco, California
25th Percentile: $580,000
50th Percentile: $720,000
75th Percentile: $888,000

HousingTracker: Median Home Prices & Housing Inventory Data

Good News, Bad News: Your Loan's Approved
Topic: Home and Garden 9:32 am EDT, Aug 30, 2005

As the housing boom lifts the median home price way beyond the budget of huge numbers of Americans, middle-income home buyers are increasingly turning to interest-only mortgages - a decision that could well come back to haunt both them and the banks behind the loans later on.

Many use interest-only mortgages to push their borrowing and buying power as far as it will go. On average, they borrow 94 percent of the value of their homes. Even though they are paying only interest, they devote a whopping 45 percent, on average, of their income to debt service.

"Everyone's fear is what happens when rates go up and people are stuck."

"Lenders have more to lose than borrowers."

Good News, Bad News: Your Loan's Approved

The Art of Persuading Tenants to Move
Topic: Home and Garden 9:28 am EDT, Aug 30, 2005

When landlords want to demolish a building, take over an occupied brownstone or pull a stabilized apartment off the regulated rent rolls, they call in brokers to perform the seemingly impossible feat of wooing the tenants out of their cheap apartments. They are the pied pipers of Manhattan's rental market, operating on the belief that every tenant, no matter how entrenched, will make a deal. Their job is calculating each person's price tag.

The Art of Persuading Tenants to Move

When you're buried in books
Topic: Home and Garden 1:36 am EDT, Aug 26, 2005

For the bibliophile, what to do with the books is life's central decorating issue, an ongoing discourse, a debate, and often an outright decor war, between aesthetics, the practicalities of storage and the consuming mindlessness of passion.

When you're buried in books

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
Topic: Home and Garden 1:53 am EDT, Jun  2, 2005

Publishers Weekly Starred Review.

Before antioxidants, extra-virgin olive oil and supermarket sushi commanded public obsession, the first edition of this book swept readers and cooks into the everyday magic of the kitchen: it became an overnight classic. Now, 20 years later, McGee has taken his slightly outdated volume and turned it into a stunning masterpiece that combines science, linguistics, history, poetry and, of course, gastronomy.

He dances from the spicy flavor of Hawaiian seaweed to the scientific method of creating no-stir peanut butter, quoting Chinese poet Shu Xi and biblical proverbs along the way. McGee's conversational style -- rich with exclamation points and everyday examples -- allows him to explain complex chemical reactions, like caramelization, without dumbing them down.

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

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