Saturday, December 22, 2018

Saturday Morning Links

  • Poke under any of these beach homes and you'll quickly discover that salt air, erosion, and driving winds extract a tax of their own. If it's metal it rusts, pits, and chalks. If it's wood it rots. If it's glass it's sandblasted. If it's plastic it becomes sun bleached and brittle. Water and sewer pipes, electrical conduit, natural gas pipes... ashes to ashes. You get maybe twenty years before these things need a serious overhaul. I'm amazed some of these places haven't exploded already. Notice the patches, scabbed joists, sistered support beams, cross braced retrofits, fortified pilings, taped fix-it jobs, and good-enough this-should-hold-for-a-while Hail Marys. You don't own a beach house in Malibu. You rent from the Pacific. [Granola Shotgun]
  • Is Craftsman and Mission style architecture the only native California form which will stand the scrutiny of the ages? Which will be both loved and lived in? [Up In The Valley]
  • The timbers, I notice, are well-preserved, straight-grained and true. Old growth, probably. You can't get it anymore, at any price. Anything hockable has been stripped, hauled off in shopping carts and bartered at the scrapyard, then converted to crack cocaine and exhaled, unsatiated, in a fit of tachycardia in a tent by the Orange Line. The metals will journey onward via container to Long Beach, then China, which will melt it down and sell it back to us as a consumer good. [Up In The Valley]
  • The bigger the house, the less people use them. (A corollary: the fancier the kitchen, the less people cook.) Larry Ellison of Oracle owns ten, right here, within a mile of each other. I don't think he has a mistress stashed away in each one. He's hoarding, not from the little people, but from other mega-wealthy. [Up In The Valley]
  • In Guatemala City, almost nobody owns an AC or heater. The temperature hovers around 70° fahrenheit year round. When the temperature dips down to 60° at night, Guatemalans may squirm and put on a heavy jacket — an entertaining scene coming from New Jersey's winters — but beyond that, Guatemala's climate is perfect and its residents know it. This extremely temperate climate leads to all sorts of magical results: Windows are open all year round and homes are built to accommodate natural heating and cooling. Most malls, stores, and restaurants are completely open to the outside, with little more than shelter from rain and a gate at night. Guatemalans, despite the serious concerns over crime in the city, spend huge chunks of their lives outside eating, socializing, and working. [link]
  • Jerry Falwell Jr. confirmed that he loaned $1.8 million to a young pool attendant he and his wife had befriended while staying six years ago at a luxury hotel. Buzzfeed News had previously reported on a lawsuit that claimed the evangelical leader and his wife had developed a "friendly relationship" in 2012 with Giancarlo Granda, then 21 years old, at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, and Falwell confirmed in a court filing that he helped set up the younger man in business. [link]
  • The Left isn't formally the state, it's its own network which overlaps heavily with the permanent arms of the state proper (i.e. the bureaucracy) but is also larger than the state. It also spills over to other entities which aren't formally part of the state, but which are under its influence. Say education. Some of it is part of the state, i.e. public, but a big chunk is private. It doesn't matter, the social networks of public education workers are connected to private education workers, and so they all have the same opinions, marry each other, promote each other, etc. The same applies to the media, and increasingly to sheer capitalism companies, as we are seeing with Woke Capital. Managers of big companies have been integrated in the same social networks as the bureaucracy and so they are basically the same social class. Again, they marry each other, have the same opinions, etc. [link]
  • You could own a house, freshly constructed, near the ocean in California for $368.95 a month at today's wages. As you may have already observed, the fates of Venice and Van Nuys, as neighborhoods, have diverged. In Piketty-ish terms, the family which chose the smaller lot by the beach, as opposed to the larger one in the suburbs would have realized an exponential rise in capital over labor. [Up In The Valley]
  • The mockups for the new Rams stadium in Inglewood depict three tiers of luxury boxes and every seat filled to capacity in 2020. We're not moving in that direction. At $2.6 billion, it will be the most expensive sports stadium ever constructed. Personal Seat Licenses will range from $175,000-$225,000 for club seats. That's what you pay Stan Kroenke, billionaire, to obtain the rights to pay him another $350-400 per ticket to see the game live. [Up In The Valley]
  • For an extra forty bucks, I could skip all that. I'm now at the age in life where I'm willing to spend money to avoid misery. I park at the $16/day garage that is connected to the airport instead of at the $6/day shuttle lot because I hate the uncertainty and the noise and the crowding of the shuttle. That's where I am as a human being right now; willing to drop $10 a day so I don't have to ride for 10 minutes in a bus. Thirty years ago I earned two and a half dollars an hour scrubbing pizza pans after midnight so I could pay six-dollar entry fees for Saturday morning BMX races. My childhood self doesn't understand this extended dream I live now, an endless progression of travel and attractive women and Kimpton reservations and $50 filets. Certainly he wouldn't have spent a month’s worth of pan-scrubbing income to ride in a different kind of car to the airport. Yet that is exactly what I did. The app told me that there was a BMW 5 Series on the way. Eight minutes later, it arrived: the undifferentiated bulk of a scratched-up black 2011 535i. The driver got out and to my amazement he was a body and face double for Skip Sudduth's "Larry" in Ronin. He was wearing a very bright pink polo shirt. On a man who easily out-bulked me by 50 pounds, it was a spellbinding effect. [Truth About Cars]
  • Dealers, not civilians, are the real customers of the automakers. They buy the cars and they assume the multi-million-dollar liabilities and they buy all the stupid $200,000 service computers and they spend millions on adhering to the automakers' ridiculous architectural guidelines. They take the risk and they reap the reward. Right now it's pretty hard to not earn seven figures with a major franchise, but I can easily remember a time when dealers went bankrupt in droves. They are not banks. They are not too big to fail. They do not use union labor. They will never be bailed out by a blue wave. [Truth About Cars]
  • The Three Views of Japan (日本三景 Nihon Sankei) is the canonical list of Japan's three most celebrated scenic sights, attributed to 1643 and scholar Hayashi Gahō. [Wiki]
  • "When The Donald calls aspiring apprentices into the boardroom to determine which one to fire, I'm always hoping for a miracle. I want him to can ALL of them." Thus spake Robert Farago nearly thirteen years ago when he started the General Motors Death Watch. Just fifty-one months later, General Motors filed for Chapter 11. Our august founder got his wish. Or most of it, anyway. The weak-sister brands were sold off — although, looking at the stunning resale value of Hummer H2s on the West Coast, one wonders if perhaps that nameplate should have been retained; it would certainly play well in an era where $100,000 is the new normal for a loaded full-size SUV. [Truth About Cars]
  • I live in a master planned 'bubble' North of Houston replete with soccer moms easing their woes away at local nail salons. The funny thing is that the area is festooned with late model Yukons/Yukon XL's/Tahoes/Suburbans etc. Yes, there are a lot of Mercedes G Wagens/GL's etc etc but there is no 'shame' in driving the big GM battle-cruisers! [Truth About Cars]
  • The vast majority of the time there's no excuse for hitting a pothole. You should be looking far enough ahead to see the pothole and to adjust your lane. Of course, this won't happen if you are looking right in front of your grille. It also won't happen if you're distracted by your phone or your passengers or your lunch. Last but not least, it won't happen if you are tailgating. [Truth About Cars]
  • Mark my words, there is yet another ruthless consolidation coming for the present-day automakers. And this time it will target the slowest gazelles on the savannah, the near-luxury brands that need $15,000 discounts just to get people into a showroom. [Truth About Cars]

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