Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The 15 best New Year's Eve movies of all-time

15. New Year’s Eve (2011) Starring a veritable who’s who of Hollywood past and present, everyone from Robert DeNiro to Zac Efron is in this film which is set in New York City on New Year’s Eve. It’s a hodgepodge of stories and tales about people, couples and singles alike.
14. 54 (1998) — This one tells the inside story of world famous nightclub Studio 54, all through the eyes of a young employee.
13. Trading Places (1983) — Mortimer and Randolph Duke, two eccentric millionaires that own a commodity trading company bet $1 to each other that they can take a man off the street and turn him into an investor, and vice versa. They give themselves until New Year’s Day to accomplish the task.
12. Boogie Nights (1997) — Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) is a porn star who has it all. Rollergirl is the veteran actress that helped him learn the ropes, as well as helped him audition when he was first starting out.
Over the course of the movie they bond, and ride the roller coaster of emotions that came with being a star in the late 1970’s through the drug addled 80’s.
Only one scene throughout the movie is set on New Year’s Eve, but it is a crucial one, marking the changing of the decade.
11. 200 Cigarettes (1999) — Starring Ben Affleck in one of his first projects after winning his Oscar statue for “Good Will Hunting,” he is the bartender that ties the rest of the ensemble cast together as they struggle to cope with life, and love. All anyone in the film wants to make sure that they have a date for New Year’s Eve at the bar.
10. Holiday (1938) — Cary Grant stars with Katherine Hepburn in this one about a man that wants nothing more than to spend his life on holiday. The hitch is that he has fallen for a pair of rich women that can make it happen for him, only they’re sisters and he has to choose one by New Year’s Eve.
9. Money Train (1995) — A pure action film about a New York transit cop that tries to steal a train filled with subway fares. The action packed climax takes place in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
8. The Apartment (1960) — Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine star in this film which sees C.C. Baxter (Lemmon) figure out that he can climb the corporate ladder simply by lending out his apartment to the higher ups to have their secret trysts.
The film ends with Fran (MacLaine) simply telling Baxter to “Shut up and deal” as the new year is about to be rung in.
7. Holiday Inn (1942) — Irving Berlin’s now infamous “White Christmas” was written expressly for this movie, which stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.
This film isn’t set entirely on New Year’s Eve, as it follows a complete year at the Holiday Inn.
6. An American in Paris (1951) — Jerry Mulilgan (Gene Kelly) is an American expatriot and WWII hero now trying to make it as a painter in Paris.
His plans to marry a woman whom he doesn’t love are foiled by the man that does love her at a New Year’s Eve ball. The movie was lauded for the staunch realism of the era that it displayed.
5. Sunset Boulevard (1950) — William Holden and Gloria Swanson lead this star studded cast that includes cameo appearances from more than a dozen Hollywood stars of the era.
Joe (Holden) is forced to take a low paying job at a newspaper in Ohio, unless he agrees to help Norma (Swanson).
At first he is resistant to her advances and refuses to move into her mansion, choosing instead to live in a room over the garage. Eventually as he helps her write a manuscript he becomes dependent upon her wealth and attends a New Year’s Eve party, with just the two of them.
4. About a Boy (2002) — The story of an immature young man, that learns how to be a very immature adult. Based on a Nick Hornby novel.
3. The Godfather part II (1974) — The second installment in the history of the Corleone crime family, one of the key scenes in this one includes a New Year’s Eve party in Havana, Cuba where Michael Corleone grabs his brother and utters this now famous line.  "I know it was you, Fredo — you broke my heart."
2. Serendipity (2001) — Jonathan and Sarah met when they each tried to buy the same pair of gloves. There is an instant attraction, though both are already involved in other relationships.
Years later they finally manage to reconnect after Jonathon finally discovers the book that Sarah wrote her number in.
1. When Harry Met Sally (1989) — The ultimate chick flick. This movie keeps bringing up the question of whether men and women can ever truly just be friends.
It covers their 12 year relationship of chance encounters and cross country trips.
New Year’s Eve parties from two different years are included among the history of the relationship here, including the final piece of the puzzle, which answers the question that has been posed throughout the film.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Inheritance (Book 4 of the Inheritance Cycle)

I first discovered the Eragon books (Later to be known as the Inheritance Cycle) when USA Today ran a story on author Christopher Paolini just before the second book was released in 2005.

Paolini had his first novel published when he was just 18, and it had become a New York Times bestseller. I hadn't heard of him at the time though.

I picked up the first book which by that time was out in paperback, and I quickly fell in love with story, if not the writing style.

Many of the themes are taken straight from other popular fantasy novels, it borrowed a lot from The Lord of the Rings, but then what doesn't take themes or at least influence from works within the genre these days. It's not like he had flat out ripped out Tolkien or anything.

Flash forward to Nov. 8 of this year and the fourth and final book in the series was released. It was everything I could have hoped for, plus about 150 pages. I say that with the utmost respect to the author and the story. It was excellent. Everything wrapped up nicely and then it went on and on for another several chapters and forced some extra knowledge about the characters future on us. It was unneeded and tarnished the final memory of an otherwise fantastic book series.

Paolini definitely developed as a writer throughout the series, the final book showing the most sophistication in both plot and development that he has shown in his young career.

The ending of the book, while drawn out and overly long is still well written, though as he says goodbye to the characters, many of them are not given their due send off. I say that in the sense that while they are given long send-offs, not every single one of them is wrapped up in a way that is satisfying to the reader.

Pieces of the ending few chapters seem forced, and some just seem trivial at best. All in all it's a good book, but it doesn't quite live up to the expectations that I had hyped to myself over the past three years of waiting for the release.

Overall I'd give it 3.5/5 stars.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Matthew Stafford should be the NFL MVP.

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford
delivers a pass during their preseason
 game against the Cincinnati Bengals at
 Ford Field, Friday August 12, 2011.
(Photo By: Vaughn Gurganian)
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is not yet an elite quarterback.

He may never reach that status.

That however doesn't take away from him being the most valuable player in the league. Remember folks the vote is for most valuable, not best player. No team relies on any one guy more than the Lions rely on Stafford.

Case in point, the Lions suffered through a terrible stretch while Stafford was injured, proving his worth. Ironically since he chose to try to play through the injury he have have cost himself any real consideration for the award due to the abysmal numbers put up during that stretch.

The case for Stafford includes his numbers, which are actually pretty good. He is fifth in the league in passer rating (93.8) among QB's that have started every game so far this season. He's seventh in completion percentage, fifth in total yards (4,145), fourth in touchdowns (33) thrown--though admittedly he has the most interceptions thrown among the top five in TD's thrown as well, but most of his 14 came during that streak of games when he was injured, he had thrown just three in the first half of the season, and three more since the injury.

So he's put up these numbers, but he has a great offensive line, and a few pro-bowl running backs to help the cause right?

Umm..... No.

Stafford has been sacked 32 times this season, which is among the most in the league, so while the line is improved over years gone by, it is by no means good.

Then there is the running game, it's terrible. Jahvid Best is our for the season, Jerome Harrison has a tumor and is done for at least the season, maybe longer. Mikel Leyshore tore his achilles heal before the season even started, and present starting running back, Kevin Smith, is not only injured, but wasn't even in the league a month ago.

But the defense is what's helping them win games right? It can't be Stafford.

Wrong again, the vaunted defense that the Lions were supposed to have is giving up nearly 24 points per game, which is 10th worst in the league. Several time this year Stafford has had to lead the team to 15-20 point second half comebacks, not because the offense had played bad, but because the defense had put them in a large hole.

So how else have the Lions gotten to 10 wins?

Behind the arm of Matthew Stafford, sure he has the best wide receiver in football to throw it to, but he still has to make the throws.

I'm sure that either Aaron Rogers or Drew Brees will win the league's MVP award, but let's be honest, neither of their teams rely on them as much as the Lions do on Stafford. Sure the Packers and Saints would be worse teams without their QB's but not terrible. Without Stafford the Lions are a 3-4 win team. With him they have a chance to hit 11 wins and make the play-offs.

That's why Stafford is the MVP, without him the Lions are still five years or more away from being a good team, with him they are good now.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The 16 Best Christmas Movies of all Time.

In honor of the Christmas season, we're making a list, checking it twice
finding out which films are naughty or nice.
Yes the movie buffs are recommending them tonight. 

We see them when we're sleeping

We see them when we're awake.
We know if they are bad or good, so here's the lists for goodness sake.
So now for some of the best Christmas movies of all time, as decided by your resident movie buffs.

16. A Christmas Story (1983) — Ralphie spends the entire movie fending off bullies and telling everyone that he wants a red Rider B.B. Gun. Everyone keeps telling him that he'll shoot his eye out, and he ensures them he won't. When the “old man'” actually gets him one, and he does shoot his eye out, he has to own up to the consequences, or does he?
15. Elf (2003) — Will Ferrell stars as a human that was adopted by the elves when he climbed into Santa's bag as a child. When his large size and lack of elfly skills finally gets to be to much he returns from the North Pole to seek out his real father, hijinx ensue.
14. A Miracle on 34th Street (1947) — This movie also appeared on the top 10 Thanksgiving movie list at number one, which is part of the reason it is a bit lower here. Yes Santa is a main character, but it's set at Thanksgiving.
13. A Christmas Carol — There are literally hundreds of versions of this movie, most are pretty good, pick your favorite version of Charles Dickens' classic and enjoy.
12. The Santa Clause (1994) — Tim Allen was a huge TV star at the time, so the movie industry decided to make him huge as well — by turning him into jolly St. Nick. He didn't read the Santa Clause, and hence he became Santa Claus.
11. Lethal Weapon (1987) — Many don't remember that this is set as Christmas time, probably because there is no snow, and barely a mention of Christmas throughout, but it most definitely is set during the most wonderful time of the year. The first time Riggs and Murtough got together on film, though certainly not the last.
10. Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970) — The first of the classic Ranking & Bass stop motion animated films to make this list, but certainly not the last. In this movie a mailman reveals the origin of Santa to some townsfolk.
9. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) — Burl Ives plays Sam the Snowman as the stop motion animated Rudolph and pals search for a place that they can all fit in and not be outcasts.
8. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) — The Griswald Family plans to have a spectacular Christmas, but things don't always turn out just right for Clark, Ellen and the kids.
7. Scrooged (1988) — Bill Murray stars as Frank Cross in this modern day telling of the Charles Dickens' classic “A Christmas Carol.” Although this is based on the classic tale, it's a telling all of it's own and deserved it's own mention on the list.
6. Batman Returns (1992) — Batman battles the Penguin and Catwoman while alter ego Bruce Wayne has to struggle through memories of his murdered parents at Christmastime.
5. It's a Wonderful Life (1946) — Clarence the Angel shows George Bailey what life would be like in Bedford Falls had he never been born.
4. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) — The Peanuts gang celebrates Christmas while Charlie Brown searched for the true meaning of the holiday. The best part is when Charlie rejects the large full trees that represent commercialism and instead seeks out his own personal “perfect” tree.
3. How the Grinch the Stole Christmas! (1966) — A mean spirited being with a heart three sizes too small decides to steal Christmas from all of the jovial residents of Whoville. Can a chance encounter with CindyLou Who be all that the Grinch needs to brighten up?
2. A Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) — if this movie didn't kick off the stop motion way of film making, it sure as heck is one of the most loved. Delightful music, extraordinary concept and funny to boot, it's one of the better Christmas films of the past two decades. This movie also made the top ten children's Halloween movie list.
1. Die Hard (1988) —  Alan Rickman blows you away with his performance, Bruce Willis kicks off a great franchise with one of the most beloved action icons and the action itself is gripping. The fact that it is set at Christmas is just icing on the cake. This shouldn't be that big of a shocker, as it appears on many lists across the land both for Christmas and other occasions. 

Special thanks to my fellow movie buff. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

The 5 worst Christmas Movies of All-Time

In honor of the Christmas season, we're making a list, checking it twice
finding out which films are naughty or nice.
Yes the movie buffs are recommending them tonight. 
We see them when we're sleeping

We see them when we're awake.
We know if they are bad or good, so here's the lists for goodness sake.
So now for some of the worst Christmas movies of all time, as decided by your resident movie buffs.

5. Christmas with the Kranks (2004) — If you hated John Grisham's novel "Skipping Christmas" that much, why bother to adapt it? I mean, you did hate it, if you're utterly destroying it, right? Aside from the hideous title (Kranks, because they're cranky. You suck, whoever came up with that), the message is twisted and putrid: Christmas is about being materialistic and competitive and you should always conform. I think anyone's heart would shrink three sizes after seeing this film, disgusted by the heartlessness on display.

4. I'll Be Home for Christmas (1998) — Tim Allen wasn't the only cast member of “Home Improvement” to try to and cash in on a movie career due to the popularity of the show, he wasn't even the only one to try a Christmas movie. This is one of the absolute worst Christmas movies ever made though, as the main character isn't trying to do anything other than get home so his rich father will give him a sports car for Christmas, not to spend time with his family.

3. Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 (1987) — Here's a bonus for you- two crappy movies for the price for one! That's right, half the footage was edited into this film from the first movie in the franchise, because they simply couldn't be bothered to do anymore. Though, on the plus side if you skip past those bits, the movie's over quicker! And the movie even has the perfect quote to describe its own quality: “Garbage day!”
2. Jingle All the Way (1996) — Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a great action star, or at least he did in the 1980's and 90's. This movie does have several action scenes, and they aren't terrible, unfortunately the rest of the casting decisions, the script, the acting and well everything else is that terrible. Not even Turbo Man can save this one from the garbage heap.

1. The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006) — As good as the original film in this series was, the second single made more than twelve years later has absolutely none of the same appeal. While most of the original cast returns, that may just be some of the problems as they seem to just phone this one in, and unfortunately it's on a cellphone with a bad connection. Sadly this is also the second of Tim Allen's movies to make the worst movie list, and if the list were to expand, there would be more.

Special thanks to my fellow movie buff. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cut by Cut: Answer This! (Christopher Farah, 2010)

Man I do love movie reviews.

Cut by Cut: Answer This! (Christopher Farah, 2010):

Answer This! (Christopher Farah, 2010)

Answer This! is not only a Michigan made movie but a movie shot almost entirely in Ann Arbor. The film tells the comedic story of a graduate student, Paul (Christopher Gorham) at The University of Michigan, as he has a quarter life crisis while working on his graduate doctorate and is struck with writers block. To help himself get past it, he with a friend, James (Nelson Franklin), decide to part-take in a city wide pub trivia competition. In addition to this there is a girl, Naomi (Arielle Kebbel) and the name of his father, Dr. Elliot Tarson (Ralph Williams), to live up to. All together the film was okay. The film was heartfelt and quite funny but some aspects of the film kept it from being stronger.

One troubling aspect of the film was that it felts a bit too loaded. There were many scenes and exchanges between characters which felt out of nowhere and almost unnecessary. One such scene is when Paul and Naomi are in the library, though it has a quick laugh, it was entirely unnecessary. Other scenes that felt unneeded were the montage sequences, which featured little of the characters actually doing anything of importance and just featuring shots of U of M and Ann Arbor landmarks. It almost seemed as if these montages where being used to almost show off the university and Ann Arbor. Don’t get me wrong I love Ann Arbor (I lived there for three years) and am a fan of U of M, but I felt like it was going a bit overboard with some of the montage sequences that featured random shots of the city; and though it was cool to see many places I have been to in the city, it distracted away from the story.  As for the montages that included important plot development, they were also interfered by shots that were unrelated to the scene. Most of these montages could have been cut, or written into an actual scene that helped develop the characters rather than hinting at it.

In addition to the film being too heavy, the plot of the film felt forced. The overwhelming plot lines are distinctly featured but in the end they all seemed shoved together rather than coming together naturally. This could be shown by some of the decisions Paul makes through out the film. Though some could be natural, some are out of left field with no real explanation as to how he came up with his reasoning for that decision. Also some of the plot turns almost come out of nowhere and given little explanation as to how or why they happened, in addition to being pointless, and really doing nothing for the characters in the end.

Though the film felt as if the plot was a bit lacking, it still was a cute and quirky flick that had multiple points for a good laugh. The relationships between all the characters were fun and unique. The relationship between James and Paul was always a good laugh especially when talking about the trivial nature of their hobby. Another aspect of the film I really liked was the thought that though you may be living in a great place, there is an entire world out there that you should explore. It showed that you should never settle for the easiest choices and that you should adventure and find what it is that you love. These life lessons were the major heart behind the film.  The idea that you should never tie yourself down and live one day at a time was a great theme behind various characters.

Not only was the theme a great part of the film, it was also sprinkled with clever one-liners that would sometimes catch you off guard and give you a good chuckle or in some cases a hardy laugh. The characters of James and Ice (Even Jones) were two that brought the most laughs being almost the odd couple of Paul’s trivia team. In addition to those characters, there were also the scenes featuring other teams of trivia night including the stereotypical frat guys, the group of super nice guys who are just in it to have fun and have a pint or two, and the biker group calling themselves “Bikers for Obama.” Overall the film does have plenty of laughs but this also can be handed to the acting involved.

One great part of the film was the acting. The various characters of the film, from the Professor (Williams) to the struggling graduate student (Gorham) where excellently acted. Ralph Williams plays the part of Professor Elliot Tarson who is energetic and bubbly. His charm rubs off on the characters around him as he connects with him and even though has a very short screen presence most certainly steals those scenes that he’s in. He is that professor that everyone had in college that is very likeable to be around, making class more fun than a chore. Arielle Kebbel plays the smart and quirky love interest. Her flirtatious style and mannerisms makes her a perfect fit for the role of Naomi by the way she innocently plays the strings to enter Paul’s heart. Christopher Gorham plays the role of troubled Paul who really embodies the spirit of a quarter-life-crisis graduate student. His uncertainty in life but passion for the game is well shown in his face when he is on screen.

Answer This! had its strong and weak points. Overall I felt like there was a lot that could be taken out of the film, including some of the montages that seemed empty and pointless at times, almost going out of their way at times. The story seemed like the different plot lines where forced together at the end and was not the natural conclusion some would want. Though the film had these plot issues, it still told the theme of living one day at a time with heart. The film was funny giving me laughs from the different characters portrayed in the film. These laughs wouldn’t have been had if it not were for the top-notch acting given by the actors in the film. Overall I felt like Answer This! was an okay film. 

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Star Trek Deep Space 9: Season 2

Season two starts off with a high intensity episode that sets a pace that they rest of the season will struggle to keep up with. "Homecoming" shows us how the Cardassians have been keeping prisons from the occupation of Bejor despite claiming that they are doing no such thing.

The second episode manages to keep up the pace, further the story of political strife for the season. "The Circle" remains one of the best pieces of Star Trek lore ever written. It's got fantastic dialogue and truly great cinematography, something not usually seen in Star Trek's TV incarnations.

The Siege breaks the streak of great episodes, which was going on for quite a while dating back to last season. It's not that it's a bad episode, it just doesn't live up to the past few episodes. Also it wraps up just a bit too nicely in the end. This story line could have benefited from being extended out another episode or two.

The next episode was just terrible, and it makes absolutely no sense within the characteristics we have some to know of the main protagonists of the show. It's just plain bad.

Julian Bashir begins to shine with the episode "Cardassians." His interactions with Garack are truly outstanding, and the political scheming going on it enough to placate the biggest of political junkies. It's a gem in a patch of turds to be honest, the next episode goes back to the 'blah' that the last few were.

This is one of the worst episodes of the entire series. Melora basically makes fun of cripples, and provides us with a bunch of things that just flat out don't make sense withing what a space travel show should be about. I wish I would have skipped this one all together it was so bad. This along with the next episode "Rules of Acquisition" are nothing more than fillers, and it shows.

"Necessary Evil" is another superb showing, one of the episodes that makes a person want to keep watching despite the majority of the issues the rest of season two has had so far. "Second Sight" the next episode is slightly better, but once again not a great episode. It does however get the season moving back into the right direction though.

The next three episodes are all slightly above average at best, but at least none of them moved on back into bad situations, nor did they present issues that make the viewer question the actions of the characters involved.

"Armageddon Game" while again another filler episode allows us greater access into the character of Mules O'Brien and Dr. Julien Bashir and how they are able to work together despite their differences.

"Whispers" is another O'Brien episode, and a fine one at that. It's one of the best episodes of the season so far, and holds onto that title as the rest of the season unfolds. It's a slight take on Bladerunner, which is a great movie, yet it's entirely unique. It's a wonderful episode top to bottom.

As is a trend though, the next four episodes take a step or two back from "Whispers." It's not entirely a bad thing, but it is a slight bit disappointing. Minus the penultimate episode the rest of the season is very good. That's a run of seven of eight, and really saves the season from being a disappointment.

Starting with "Blood Oath" which is a great episode to learn a bit more about both Klingons and Dax. We get to see Terry Farrell give a great performance and a lot of exposition on how the symbiote process works. In the next two-part episode we learned all about the Maquis, who would go on to play a huge part in the spin-off series Voyager.

"Crossover" while technically a filler episode is the series' 'mirror world' showing, and it stands up to the other series showing, and let's be honest here, Nana Visitor is fantastic playing her mirror self. After yet another politically charged episode in "The Collaborator" we move on to the second to last show, which is a fine episode on it's own, but has no business being this late in a season.

The final episode of the season is part of a 3-part arc that starts to set up the Dominion War that will dominate the next few seasons of the show. It's a fantastic performance from all involved. I can't wait to see how this wraps itself up in the season three premiere.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My 1,000th Twitter Follower

   Sometime yesterday I crossed 1,000 followers on Twitter. I know that for some of you, that may not be a large number, but to me it's incredible.
   To think that there are now over 1,000 (1,010 as I write this) people out there on the internet that care enough about what I have to say to follow me on Twitter, that's special to me. I mean a thousand people is a large number.
   I don't tweet groundbreaking things, mostly links to things that amuse me, links to stories on our newspaper website, and things from my worldview. Occasionally  I toss up the live tweet when out covering a game or event, as often as I am able to anyway.
   I know that I manage to get people to read my stories when they are posted online, and also this blog, but for all I know it could be nothing but family and friends clicking repeatedly over and over. (OK I doubt that, but it is always a possibility.) With Twitter I know for sure that there are over 1,000 unique people that want to routinely hear what I think about things.
   Well thank you to all that are following me, and if you are reading this and not following on Twitter, why not? I'll most likely follow you back. You can find me on Twitter @NHDaveH.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Johnson Treatment: Does She Pluck Her Eyebrows?

Can you be her slumpbuster?

The Johnson Treatment: Does She Pluck Her Eyebrows?:

I wrote this because I was being lazy. BUT, for real, I'd love if people did this. I've been in a bad "slump" lately that I'm trying to get out of, but it's hard. It'd make me happy if I heard some funny/interesting stories from other peoples lives! Hint hint..

I want my readers to be apart of my writing. So share things with me, anything at all. I won't judge or discard anything you tell me. 
Just the other day I was shopping at forever 21 and saw a girl with big eyebrows. At first I thought she should pluck them but then I looked again and they were plucked and shaped. Then I thought, well maybe she likes them that way. They kind of looked like runway style eyebrows: bushy.
Now, I'm sure someone else in the store saw this girl and wondered the same thing. That person could message me about it and tell me a short story that I could turn into a bigger story. 
This is what I'm talking about people!
Just random things in society that you see and make you wonder could be turned into something more.
And I'm not talking about having you message me something and turning it into my own story, I'll give full credit to everyone. Heck, I'll even promote you if you're a fellow blogger.
I just want others involved in my blog.
So, if you have something to share, email me. I check it everyday.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Checklist for being a real journalist

   Stuff journalists like, is a fantastic website for journo's. When I manage to sneak a free five minutes once a week out of my work day I enjoy reading the site pretty regularly. Yesterday I saw this list about what it takes to be a 'real' journalist.Numbers 3 and 10 are the only ones that don't really apply to me, at least not yet. I can see both creeping up in my future...
   Number 15 was a favorite past time for me until recently when I moved into the sports department. Ah well, some day I'll return to a council meeting I'm sure.
   Enjoy the list, and then check out the website for more awesome stuff like it.

  1. Written a 15-inch story in 30 minutes
  2. Corrected a loved one’s grammar in a greeting card
  3. Replaced one of the major food groups with coffee
  4. Own your own police scanner
  5. Eat in your car more often than you do at a table
  6. Gotten fired/laid off for no good reason
  7. Forgotten what it’s like to have the weekend off
  8. Can no longer read a newspaper without scanning for typos and errors
  9. Learned that being told to “fuck off “ and “go to hell” is part of the job
  10. Woke in a cold sweat thinking you forgot to change the date on A1
  11. Spend your down time coming up with the perfect lede
  12. Slept in your car and not because you were too drunk to drive home
  13. Found that fine line between harassment and persistence
  14. If you needed bail, the first person you would call would be your editor
  15. You analyze city council meetings the way sportscasters break down Monday night football
  16. You think it’s normal to work 16 hours a day for 8 hours pay
  17. Have conducted a phone interview while completely naked
  18. Can write an entire interview on a cocktail napkin
  19. Threatened to quit over an editorial decision
  20. You couldn’t imagine doing anything else

Sunday, December 4, 2011

McCrabby Rants...: SH!T from McCrabby - A flaw in the real estate mar...

McCrabby Rants...: SH!T from McCrabby - A flaw in the real estate mar...:

SH!T from McCrabby 

McCrabby has found a flaw in the real estate market...  As you may already know, McCrabby and the missus sold their home this month (McCrabby Moves On).  It was tough because they really didn't want to move.

But McCrabby, who has bought six homes over the years, but none in the past 24 years, uncovered an interesting "gotcha" in this new real estate market.

McCrabby listed his home for a "fair" price, much, much less than he would have gotten five years ago, but fair.  

Seems like this should've been
worth more - don'cha think?
Do you know what happens then?  Here is the process:

A home-seller and his realtor determine a "fair" price for their home, and list it.  Then, a home-buyer and his realtor view the home and like it.  They decide they'd like to buy, but they offer a bit less, trying to negotiate an even better price.  The seller and the buyer may counter one another 2-3 times.  And, finally, those four people (seller and his agent, buyer and his agent) arrive at a fair price, based upon what they have observed, compared, and shopped for.  Four people agree on this "fair" price, all of whom have stakes in the outcome. 

In McCrabby's case, an offer came in on the second day the home was listed (We're going to say it listed for $100 for demonstration purposes and then use appropriate percentages to illustrate the flaw we discussed).

The offer came in for $96.  In the countering process, McC and Mrs. M countered at $97, which was accepted, and the deal was done--right??  No, not right.

Now comes the appraisal, or what we have come to fondly call "the flaw."

Consider this:  the buyer, and/or the bank, orders the appraisal and pays the $300-500 appraisal fee.  In today's environment, unlike in the past, when the appraisal pretty much matched the offer, today's appraisal often becomes the selling price.  

Why?  Because every buyer writes into the offer that if the home appraisal comes back lower than the agreed-to price (that term is faulty, too), they either are allowed to buy for that appraised value, or they can walk.  Hmmm, let's think about that one a moment.  The buyer wants the lowest possible price, the bank wants the largest amount of equity possible, and the appraiser wants to get hired again by the bank.  

In the meantime, while awaiting the appraisal, McCrabby and Mrs. M are packing, selling some items that won't fit in the next house, and the current house is in disarray due to this effort, and will never show as well as it originally did (for the one day it was for sale).  And, McCrabby's realtor has taken the home off the market.  After all, we have an agreement.  Right??

Drum-roll, please...
Can you see this coming?  Guess where the appraisal came in... Come on, guess..  Think a moment..  Scroll down........


Yes, you guessed it -- the appraised price was $96.  Who could've guessed?  You did, right?

Just burning a few 
more bucks..
Yes, we burned one dollar (and, as the buyer's realtor pointed out, "it's only one per cent").  Yes, it's only one per cent, or if you extrapolate that to real housing dollars, it comes to SEVERAL THOUSAND DOLLARS...

Oh, yes, it's also within 1/10 of one per cent of the buyer's original offer (before the McCrabby counter-offer - what a waste of time that counter-offer was).  The appraiser just burned several thousand McCrabby dollars.

But it was fair, you say, based upon the market...  Maybe.  But, let's point out a couple things:
  1. The appraiser has the offer and contract BEFORE he ever sees the house - does that seem right?  Shouldn't he go appraise the house for a real price and then compare it to the offer AFTER he completes the appraisal?
  2. Our appraiser said, upon entering the house, "You got a good price for this," basically assuring us that we would not get our price, because we'll be forced to adjust our price to whatever whim (or adjustment number) he sticks on his report - the buyer thought it was worth $97, but that didn't matter.
  3. When he left, the appraiser told us we'd have the report back in two days, so while we packed, sold furniture, and waited six days, with our home off the market, we made it much less sale-able.
  4. McCrabby is told that the appraiser has to know the offer price because he's supposed to review agreements, etc. (shouldn't the lending institution do that?)
Oh, it's OK; don't worry about McCrabby and Mrs. M.  They'll be fine.  A thousand here, ten thousand there, it makes no difference any more.  As many friends have told them, it's only "stuff," it's only "money."  What they fail to realize is McCrabby liked his "stuff" and really liked his "money."

But, in the end, McCrabby likes Mrs. McCrabby best, and as long as Mrs. M goes with him, he'll be good.  

At least we don't need to appraise the next house (although, as the buyer, we might enjoy that)...

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